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

Once or twice in a thousand years—perhaps a dozen times since mortal man became of dust a living soul—an event of such transcendent import occurs that neither heaven nor earth are ever thereafter the same.

Once or twice in a score of generations the hand from heaven clasps the hand on earth in perfect fellowship, the divine drama unfolds, and the whole course of mortal events changes.

Now and then in a quiet garden, or amid the fires and thunders of Sinai, or inside a sepulchre that cannot be sealed, or in an upper room—almost always apart from the gaze of men and seldom known by more than a handful of people—the Lord intervenes in the affairs of men and manifests his will relative to their salvation.

One such event took place six millennia ago in a garden which was planted eastward in Eden when the man Adam and the woman Eve fell that men might be. Another such event altered the course of history when an aged prophet believed God and built an ark wherein he and seven others, out of all the inhabitants of the earth, were saved from a watery grave.

The most transcendent of all such events occurred in a garden called Gethsemane, outside Jerusalem’s walls, when the Chief Citizen of planet earth sweat great drops of blood from every pore as he in agony took upon himself the sins of all men on conditions of repentance. Yet another of these events, destined to affect the life and being of every living soul, happened in the Arimathean’s tomb when the sinless spirit of the one perfect man returned from the paradise of God to inhabit again—this time in glorious immortality—the pierced and slain body that once was his.

. . . .

Once or twice in a thousand years a new door is opened through which all men must enter if they are to gain peace in this life and be inheritors of eternal life in the realms ahead.

Once or twice in a score of generations a new era dawns: the light from the east begins to drive the darkness of the earth from the hearts of men.

Now and then in a peaceful grove, apart from the gaze of men, heaven and earth share a moment of intimacy, and neither are ever thereafter the same. Such a moment occurred on that beautiful, clear morning in the spring of 1820 in a grove of trees near Palmyra, New York.

Man asked and God answered.

Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son.


Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Once or Twice in a Thousand Years, General Conference, October, 1975

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