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

For some years, brothers and sisters, there has been an increasing and profound sense of existential despair in the world. This mortal hopelessness both reflects and affects much of mankind. Whether tribal or national, wars constitute “the continued experience of twentieth-century man” (Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, London: Oxford University Press, 1975, p. 74). A grumpy cynicism pervades politics in so many places on this planet. Holocausts, famine, pestilence, and tides of refugees have taken a terrible toll on human hope, with much of that toll coming from man-made, avoidable disasters. Causality can be assigned to one or another form of iniquity. No wonder, as the scriptures say, despair comes of iniquity! (See Moroni 10:22)

Of course, many disagree over what constitutes sin, but surely they do not welcome the deepening of human despair! Some moderns do not lament the loss of traditional faith either, but surely they lament the further loss of hope and charity, ever in such short supply anyway.

Does hope really matter, or is it merely an antique virtue?

. . . .

Only the acceptance of the revelations of God can bring both direction and correction and, in turn, bring a “brightness of hope” (2 Ne. 31:20). Real hope does not automatically “spring eternal” unless it is connected with eternal things!

“What is it that ye shall hope for?” Moroni wrote. “Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moro. 7:41; see also Alma 27:28). From this triumphal act, resulting in the eventual resurrection of all mankind, so many lesser hopes derive their significance!

Prophets have always had and taught ultimate hope in Christ. Jacob wrote, “We knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and … also all the holy prophets which were before us” (Jacob 4:4).

You and I can be repeatedly reassured concerning this grand hope by the Comforter, who teaches us the truth about “things as they really are, and … really will be” (Jacob 4:13; see also Moro. 8:26). Such hope constitutes the “anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19). Such hope is retained through faith in Christ (see Alma 25:16; Ether 12:9). In contrast, a resurrection-less view of life produces only proximate hope (see 1 Cor. 15:19).

Having ultimate hope does not mean we will always be rescued from proximate problems, but we will be rescued from everlasting death! Meanwhile, ultimate hope makes it possible to say the same three words used centuries ago by three valiant men. They knew God could rescue them from the fiery furnace, if He chose. “But if not,” they said, nevertheless, they would still serve Him! (Dan. 3:18.)

Unsurprisingly the triad of faith, hope, and charity, which brings us to Christ, has strong and converging linkage: faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ, hope is in His atonement, and charity is the “pure love of Christ”! (See Ether 12:28; Moro. 7:47.) Each of these attributes qualifies us for the celestial kingdom (see Moro. 10:20–21; Ether 12:34). Each, first of all, requires us to be meek and lowly (see Moro. 7:39, 43).

Faith and hope are constantly interactive, and may not always be precisely distinguished or sequenced. Though not perfect knowledge either, hope’s enlivened expectations are “with surety” true (Ether 12:4; see also Rom. 8:24; Heb. 11:1; Alma 32:21). In the geometry of restored theology, hope has a greater circumference than faith. If faith increases, the perimeter of hope stretches correspondingly.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell,

“‘Brightness of Hope’,” Ensign, Nov 1994, 34

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