The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

February 21, 2017

Christmas, General Authorities, Nelson, Resurrection

Comments Off on Jesus Descended Below All Things in Order to Rise Above All Things

Now, two millennia later, though we don’t know all the details pertaining to His birth, we certainly understand the unique parentage of this Babe of Bethlehem. We declare solemnly and with conviction: Jesus was born of an immortal Father and a mortal mother. From His immortal Father, Jesus inherited the power to live forever. From His mortal mother He inherited the fate of physical death.

Those unique attributes were essential for His mission to atone for the sins of all mankind. Thus Jesus the Christ was born to die (see 3 Nephi 27:13–15). He died that we might live. He was born that all humankind could live beyond the grave. His Atonement was wrought in Gethsemane—where He sweat great drops of blood—and on Golgotha, or Calvary, where His body was lifted up upon a cross above the place of the skull, which signified death.

This infinite Atonement would release man from the infinitude of death (see 2 Nephi 9:7). His Atonement made the Resurrection a reality and the gift of eternal life a possibility for all who would obey His teachings. His Atonement became the central act of all human history.

Our recollections of Christmas are enriched by these realities. Each one of us with a testimony of the Lord has the privilege in faith to know of His divine parentage and to testify that Jesus is the Son of the living God.

Jesus descended below all things in order to rise above all things. He expects us to follow His example. Yoked with Him, we can rise above all challenges, no matter how difficult they may be (see Matthew 11:29–30).

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Christ the Savior Is Born“, New Era, Dec. 2006, 2–5

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August 29, 2016

General Authorities, General Conference, Marriage, Nelson

Comments Off on Temple Marriage Embraces Partnership with God

Our Heavenly Father declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”20 The Atonement of His Beloved Son enabled both of these objectives to be realized. Because of the Atonement, immortality—or resurrection from the dead—became a reality for all.21 And because of the Atonement, eternal life—which is living forever in God’s presence, the “greatest of all the gifts of God”22—became a possibility. To qualify for eternal life, we must make an eternal and everlasting covenant with our Heavenly Father.23 This means that a temple marriage is not only between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.24

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Celestial Marriage,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 92–95

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May 6, 2016

Christmas, General Authorities, Nelson

Comments Off on An Immortal Father and a Mortal Mother

Now, two millennia later, though we don’t know all the details pertaining to His birth, we certainly understand the unique parentage of this Babe of Bethlehem. We declare solemnly and with conviction: Jesus was born of an immortal Father and a mortal mother. From His immortal Father, Jesus inherited the power to live forever. From His mortal mother He inherited the fate of physical death.

Those unique attributes were essential for His mission to atone for the sins of all mankind. Thus Jesus the Christ was born to die (see 3 Nephi 27:13–15). He died that we might live. He was born that all humankind could live beyond the grave. His Atonement was wrought in Gethsemane—where He sweat great drops of blood—and on Golgotha, or Calvary, where His body was lifted up upon a cross above the place of the skull, which signified death.

This infinite Atonement would release man from the infinitude of death (see 2 Nephi 9:7). His Atonement made the Resurrection a reality and the gift of eternal life a possibility for all who would obey His teachings. His Atonement became the central act of all human history.

Our recollections of Christmas are enriched by these realities. Each one of us with a testimony of the Lord has the privilege in faith to know of His divine parentage and to testify that Jesus is the Son of the living God.

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Christ the Savior Is Born,” NewEra, Dec 2006, 2–5

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November 2, 2015

General Authorities, Mercy, Nelson, Pingree, Reconciliation

Comments Off on How Can We Claim the Blessings of the Atonement?

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Essential ordinances of the gospel symbolize the Atonement. Baptism by immersion is symbolic of the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Redeemer. Partaking of the sacrament renews baptismal covenants and also renews our memory of the Savior’s broken flesh and of the blood He shed for us. Ordinances of the temple symbolize our reconciliation with the Lord and seal families together forever. Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life” (“The Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 35).

Anne C. Pingree, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency: “It is essential to have Christ at the core of our lives. In these ‘perilous times,’ oh, how we need Him! He is the source of strength and safety. He is light. He is life. His peace ‘passeth all understanding.’ As our personal Savior and Redeemer, He invites us, one by one, with outstretched arms to ‘come unto him.’ … I testify that He is always there, His merciful, loving arms outstretched” (“Choose Ye Therefore Christ the Lord,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2003, 110, 112).

Rejoice in the Atonement of Jesus Christ
Ensign, December, 2005

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November 2, 2015

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Mercy, Nelson

Comments Off on I am Encircled about Eternally in the Arms of His Love

Let us . . . ponder the deep meaning of the word atonement. In the English language, the components are at-one-ment, suggesting that a person is at one with another. Other languages 18 employ words that connote either expiation or reconciliation. Expiation means “to atone for.” Reconciliation comes from Latin roots re, meaning “again”; con, meaning “with”; and sella, meaning “seat.” Reconciliation, therefore, literally means “to sit again with.”

Rich meaning is found in study of the word atonement in the Semitic languages of Old Testament times. In Hebrew, the basic word for atonement is kaphar, a verb that means “to cover” or “to forgive.” 19 Closely related is the Aramaic and Arabic word kafat, meaning “a close embrace”—no doubt related to the Egyptian ritual embrace. References to that embrace are evident in the Book of Mormon. One states that “the Lord hath redeemed my soul … ; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” 20 Another proffers the glorious hope of our being “clasped in the arms of Jesus.” 21

I weep for joy when I contemplate the significance of it all. To be redeemed is to be atoned—received in the close embrace of God with an expression not only of His forgiveness, but of our oneness of heart and mind. What a privilege! And what a comfort to those of us with loved ones who have already passed from our family circle through the gateway we call death!

Scriptures teach us more about the word atonement. The Old Testament has many references to atonement, which called for animal sacrifice. Not any animal would do. Special considerations included:

• the selection of a firstling of the flock, without blemish, 22

• the sacrifice of the animal’s life by the shedding of its blood, 23

• death of the animal without breaking a bone, and 24

• one animal could be sacrificed as a vicarious act for another. 25

The Atonement of Christ fulfilled these prototypes of the Old Testament. He was the firstborn Lamb of God, without blemish. His sacrifice occurred by the shedding of blood. No bones of His body were broken—noteworthy in that both malefactors crucified with the Lord had their legs broken. 26 And His was a vicarious sacrifice for others.

While the words atone or atonement, in any of their forms, appear only once in the King James translation of the New Testament, 27 they appear 35 times in the Book of Mormon. 28 As another testament of Jesus Christ, it sheds precious light on His Atonement, as do the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Latter-day revelation has added much to our biblical base of understanding.

In preparatory times of the Old Testament, the practice of atonement was finite—meaning it had an end. It was a symbolic forecast of the definitive Atonement of Jesus the Christ. His Atonement is infinite—without an end. 29 It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering. It was infinite in time, putting an end to the preceding prototype of animal sacrifice. It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all. 30 And the mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him. 31 It was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.

Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being.

Elder Russell M. Nelson

The Atonement,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 33

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November 2, 2015

Faith, General Authorities, General Conference, Nelson

Comments Off on Why Do We Need Such Resilient Faith?

Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter-days, those who diligently follow the Lord ‘shall suffer persecution.’ That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness, or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives.

Elder Russell M. Nelson
General Conference, April 2011

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April 3, 2015

Change, Conversion, General Authorities, General Conference, Nelson, Repentance

Comments Off on When Jesus said “repent,” He asked us to change – to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit

The doctrine of repentance is much broader than a dictionary’s definition. When Jesus said “repent,” His disciples recorded that command in the Greek language with the verb metanoeo. This powerful word has great significance. In this word, the prefix meta means “change.” The suffix relates to four important Greek terms: nous, meaning “the mind”; gnosis, meaning “knowledge”; pneuma, meaning “spirit”; and pnoe, meaning “breath.”

Thus, when Jesus said “repent,” He asked us to change—to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit—even our breath. A prophet explained that such a change in one’s breath is to breathe with grateful acknowledgment of Him who grants each breath. King Benjamin said, “If ye should serve him who has created you … and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath … from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.” (Mosiah 2:21)

Yes, the Lord has commanded us to repent, to change our ways, to come unto Him, and be more like Him. (See 3 Nephi 27:21, 27) This requires a total change. Alma so taught his son: “Learn wisdom in thy youth,” he said. “Learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. … Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.” (Alma 37:35–36)

To repent fully is to convert completely to the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy work. Alma taught that concept when he posed these questions: “I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” ( Alma 5:14) That change comes when we are “born again,” converted and focused upon our journey to the kingdom of God.

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Repentance and Conversion, General Conference, April, 2007
(See original for footnotes on Greek terms)

November 5, 2014

Covenants, General Authorities, Nelson, Plan of Salvation, Temple

Comments Off on The Basis for Every Temple Ordinance and Covenant is the Atonement

The temple is the house of the Lord. The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant—the heart of the plan of salvation—is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house. Our efforts to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead all lead to the temple. Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, (See “Following the Master: Teachings of President Howard W. Hunter,” Ensign, Apr. 1995, 21–22; Howard W. Hunter, “The Great Symbol of Our Membership,” Tambuli, Nov. 1994, 3) as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families.

President Hinckley said that “these unique and wonderful buildings, and the ordinances administered therein, represent the ultimate in our worship. These ordinances become the most profound expressions of our theology.” (“Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 53)

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” Liahona, Jul 2001, 37–40