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

By , on August 6, 2014

Madsen, Temple

To receive him fully is to receive the fullness of his atonement. Think about it—the at-one-ment that Jesus Christ wrought by the shedding of his own blood. The atonement was, and is, to enable us to overcome through his grace and healing power three things: Ignorance, sin, and death. Hence I often say the temple is a matter of life and death.

“A man cannot be saved in ignorance.” This passage refers to a specific kind of ignorance. The preceding verse is talking about sealing, about coming to know by revelation through the power of the Holy Priesthood not only that Jesus is the Christ, but also that a relationship has been forged between you and Jesus Christ. It is a testimony that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that he is making you his. How do you come to know that? I can only tell you that the promise does pertain to the temple. And we may come to a like testimony about temple sealings to our progenitors and our children.

The Savior said that he came that men might have life, and have it more abundantly. Life, abundant life, is pluralized in the teachings of Joseph Smith as “eternal lives.”

You are all alive in several ways and to certain degrees. You are alive intellectually; you think, you study, you teach. There is, no matter what else we do each day, the life of the mind. Then there is the life of the heart. The word in Hebrew is leb, “heart,” the inmost throbbing center. A hard heart is different than a malleable, tender heart. Christ’s heart is tender. Those who come to him feeling mercy and gratitude for his mercy are tenderized in the very center of their being.

. . . .

In religious tradition much is said and even canonized about how God is “absolutely other.” Not one sentence you can utter about human being applies in any way whatever to God; God must be absolutely different, say they, or we could not love and worship him. Joseph Smith died to get back in the world the truth that we are in fact in the image of God. In fact. That means that as a statue exactly resembles the person it represents, so man exactly resembles the nature of the Father and the Son. That’s the great and glorious secret. Man and woman are theomorphic; they are in the form of God. That is the foundation of divine-human love.

In some patterns of worship, it is thought that the way to convey proper relationships to God is to cultivate darkness, magnify distance, use only the kinds of music, or words, or ceremonial procedure which invoke awe and even irrational fear. The testimony of the restored temple is that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ yearn not to widen that gap, but to close it. In the house of the Lord we may come to him in light, in intimacy, and in holy embrace. And he will, I quote again from the prophet, “manifest himself in mercy in his house.” That is love.

Truman G. Madsen

The Temple and the Atonement, abridged from a lecture delivered in Saratoga, California, October 16, 1994, the Maxwell Institute


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