"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
February 5, 2008

How Key Is the Atonement?

Now let us suppose a modern-day case. Suppose we have the scriptures, the gospel, the priesthood, the Church, the ordinances, the organization, even the keys of the kingdom — everything that now is down to the last jot and tittle — and yet there is no atonement of Christ. What then? Can we be saved? Will all our good works save us? Will we be rewarded for all our righteousness?

Most assuredly we will not. We are not saved by works alone, no matter how good; we are saved because God sent his Son to shed his blood in Gethsemane and on Calvary that all through him might ransomed be. We are saved by the blood of Christ.

To paraphrase Abinadi: “Salvation doth not come by the Church alone: and were it not for the atonement, given by the grace of God as a free gift, all men must unavoidably perish, and this notwithstanding the Church and all that pertains to it.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, p. 416)

September 12, 2007

Meaningful Experience

What did Adam and Eve know after they returned to God’s presence that they hadn’t known when they were originally with him in the Garden?  What can we know after our own return to God that we didn’t know in our premortal life? The scriptures explain that God expected and desired that Adam and Eve’s children would have the same kind of mortal experiences as their first parents had, which suggests that the redemption of Adam and Eve was not just a convenient way to erase the effect of an unfortunate error.  Rather, it was an intentional element in a course of instruction designed by God himself for their preparation, if they freely chose to accept it.  Without that course of instruction, they would not have developed the capacity to live a meaningful celestial life.  So it is with our experience as their children: Mortality is not mere estrangement from God — it is the crucible through which the possibility of truly meaningful life becomes real.  (Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, pg. 39)

September 9, 2007

Balm

….emphasizing God’s mercy may lead some to believe they are entitled to divine divine protection against all of life’s natural adversities. There is already enough theological difficulty for those who believe that their activity in the Church should somehow protect them from tragedy and sorrow. Our understanding of the Atonement is hardly a shield against sorrow; rather, it is a rich source of strength to deal productively with the disappointments and heartbreaks that form the deliberate fabric of mortal life. The gospel was given to us to heal our pain, not to prevent it. (Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, pg. 5)

May 11, 2006

Christmas Spirit

“Latter-day Saints have always been the greatest advocates of the Christmas spirit; nay, they have shocked and alarmed the world by insisting on recognizing as a real power what the world prefers to regard as a pretty sentiment. Where the seasonal and formal aspect of Christmas is everything, it becomes a hollow mockery. If men really want what they say they do, we have it; but faced with accepting a real Savior who has really spoken with men, they draw back, nervous and ill at ease.

“In the end, lights, tinsel, and sentimentality are safer, but a sense of possibilities still rankles, so to that we all continue to appeal. For by celebrating Christmas the world serves notice that it is still looking for the gospel.” — Hugh Nibley, “Christmas Quest,” 5

April 12, 2006

By Personal Study

“It is a paradox that men will gladly devote time every day for many years to learn a science or an art; yet will expect to win a knowledge of the gospel, which comprehends all sciences and arts, through perfunctory glances at books or occasional listening to sermons.  The gospel should be studied more intensively than any school or college subject.  They who pass opinion on the gospel without having given it intimate and careful study are not lovers of truth, and their opinions are worthless.” — James A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 16-17

March 21, 2006

Except By Revelation

…the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)

That, of course, is the grand secret, the great key: no man ever receives true religion and the pure gospel except by revelation. — Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 142