The Atonement or what does it all really mean?

I had the opportunity to teach a lesson this last Sunday about the Atonement to my 12-14 year old class. We had to start out with the basics and I feel it is too good to not share some of it.

First of all, what is it?

Well, we all sin. Either we have in the past or will in the future. It is because we are not perfect and mistakes happen. We are not perfect. We are here to learn that.

We are not able to return to Heavenly Father because of those sins because he cannot be in the presence of sinners.

Therefore, we need someone to atone for our sins. To pay for them so that we can return to Heavenly Father when the time comes.

What kind of person should that be? Well, I found the best description here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/he-lives-all-glory-to-his-name?lang=eng

Richard D. Scott said this of Jesus Christ’s challenges:

First, an enormous sense of responsibility, for He realized that except it be done perfectly, not one of His Father’s children could return to Him. They would be forever banished from His presence since there would be no way to repent for broken laws and no unclean thing can exist in the presence of God. His Father’s plan would have failed, and each spirit child would have been under the eternal control and torment of Satan.

Second, in His absolutely pure mind and heart, He had to personally feel the consequences of all that mankind would ever encounter, even the most depraved, despicable sins.

Third, He had to endure the vicious attack of Satan’s hordes while physically and emotionally pressed to the limit. Then, for reasons we do not fully know, while at the extremity of His capacity, at the time the Savior most needed succor, His Father allowed Him to shoulder the onerous responsibility with only His own strength and capacity.

Wow! Now that we put it this way,  Jesus did do something amazing for us!

Now, can we still sin and be able to enter in the presence of Heavenly Father? No.

So what can we do and how do we learn about it?

We are to repent (see the sin within ourselves and never do it again, doing all within ourselves to repay what we did). That is simple-even the worst sins can be let go.

We learn in going to church, reading our scriptures, listening to Apostles who will teach us, and praying for understanding.

With what Jesus did for us,  is it important for us to do all we can to keep from being part of the pain that he suffered?

Look within ourselves and see what we can do to become better. In doing so, we will be greatly blessed!

The Gospel according to Mary

I was born and raised in the church and found that many words had no meaning to me because I had heard them so often and assumed that I knew what they meant. They were words such as “Remission of Sins”, “The Atonement of Christ” and “The Gospel”. At one point in my life, I decided to really find out what “Remission of Sins” really meant. When I did a lot of studying in the scriptures, I found that it really meant that every little sin was removed. That the soul was pure and if we work hard at it, we can keep it that way.
I found that I really did not understand what “The Gospel” really meant. People threw the word around so easily, that I knew that it was a thing. I knew that it was so important that people have died for it. I knew that the whole basis of our church was founded on it, but I did not know what it really was.
What is it? How complicated is it? Is it something that I could understand in it’s simpliest form?
I began to fast and pray. I began to really open my scriptures.
Now, I do believe that answers can come immediately because they do. They happen to me quite often and I appreciate it. If the answer is not one that I want to hear, I hear it anyway. If I do not receive an answer, that is my answer. The key is that after I pray, I listen. I spend maybe more time listening than
praying. Some people may think that I am sleeping because I relax so much when I do this, but when I am finished, I know what my answer is and I act upon it.  The words “God is Love” began to form in my mind. Then “The Love of Christ” followed after.
I found that I have to put my information to the test, so I challenged the Lord. I told him that if I did everything possible to be Love, to give Love for one day, that I would be following his commandments. I would then expect to receive the blessings that he has promised to me.

WOW!!! Be careful what you ask for!
I found that my focus was on love. That if I felt any other feeling, that it meant that I was not a follower of our Savior. I did not want that to happen, so when other feelings crept in, I would then do my best to remove that feeling as soon as possible.
I then asked for a blessing to make some decisions in my life because the life of a single mother, raising 2 children basically on her own, who had lost her job, was losing her home, a boyfriend that wanted to marry her, but could not decide if he was ready, and had a plethora of other issues plaguing her.
I was told that I was going to be making a lot of hard decisions and that they were going to hurt. But to know that I was not alone and that I would have the courage to do these things.
Within 24 hours, I had found that I had a new place to live that would not cost anything for a short time and that it would give me a chance to get back on my feet.
I had a temporary work service that found a job that would give me more than the unemployment that was going to run out in 4 months. It was still temporary, but it gave me a chance to catch up and clear out some debts that were getting nasty. My sons were beginning to talk with me again-yes, we had encountered the teenage angst that I had hoped to miss. I saw old friends that I found that either have greatly improved their spiritual lives or else need my love to help them grow. I also realized that my boyfriend was not for me because he could not cherish me the way I needed, so I gave him up. This was difficult, but it really defines the word “Unconditional Love”. I loved him unconditionally, and so I hope that his choices in life will give him joy. I was saddened by his choice, but I was not angry at him.
So, now that I have rambled on, let me tell you what the Gospel really is to me. It is a four letter word called Love.
That’s it. Love.
Heavenly Father gave us this place to live and give us a chance to be like him because he Loved us.
Heavenly Father gave us his most precious gift because he Loves us.
Jesus Christ gave his life for us because he Loves us.

We are to love everyone around us no matter who they are because they need it.  I challenge you to try this out. Only for one day. Do everything throughout the day only with the focus of love. If there is any other feeling, address it and change it to love. If you like the results, keep it up each day. Pray for the ability to keep it with you each morning so that it stays fresh in your heart and mind. I promise you that many doors come open to you when this happens.