Sunday, October 25, 2009


I spent a couple of weeks studying the topic of Temples. Here are some of the things that I learned or relearned.

Temples (from gospel topics at
Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father's children.
Temples are places of learning. Their principal purpose is to provide ordinances necessary for the children of God to enable them to return to dwell with Him. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything in the Church—the meetings and activities, the missionary efforts, the lessons taught and the hymns—all lead to the work done in holy temples.
One ordinance received in the temple is called the endowment. The word endowment means "gift," and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God. The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants to live righteously and follow the requirements of the gospel. The endowment focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father's plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him.
Another temple ordinance is celestial marriage. In this ordinance husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity. A sealing performed in the temple continues forever if the husband and wife are faithful to the covenants they make.
Children born to parents who have been sealed in the temple are born in the covenant. These children automatically become part of an eternal family. Children who are not born in the covenant can also become part of an eternal family once their natural or adoptive parents have been sealed to one another. The ordinance of sealing children to parents is performed in the temple.
People who have died without these essential gospel ordinances may receive those ordinances through the work done in temples. Acting in behalf of ancestors and others who have died, Church members are baptized and confirmed, receive the endowment, and participate in the sealings of husband to wife and children to parents.
Those who enter the temple must be worthy, which means that they keep the commandments and are prepared to make and keep sacred temple covenants. In two interviews—one with a member of a bishopric or a branch president and another with a member of a stake presidency or a mission president—Church members certify their worthiness to enter the temple. In these interviews, the priesthood leader asks about the individual's personal conduct and worthiness. Those who are worthy receive a temple recommend, which allows them to enter the temple.
In addition to being a place where sacred priesthood ordinances are performed, the temple is a place of peace and revelation. It is a place where spiritual guidance can be received for crucial decisions or concerns.
The Lord blesses those who attend to the sacred ordinance work in the temple. And the blessings He gives will not be limited to the time spent in the temple. Those who do temple work will be blessed in all aspects of their lives. Their labors in the temple will strengthen them and refine them spiritually.
Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings - Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Ensign, May 2001, 32–35

As temples are prepared for our members, our members need to prepare for the temple.
In preparing to receive the endowment and other ordinances of the temple, we should understand the sealing authority of the priesthood. Jesus referred to this authority long ago when He taught His Apostles, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” That same authority has been restored in these latter days. Just as priesthood is eternal—without beginning or end—so is the effect of priesthood ordinances that bind families together forever.
Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings enable individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life, the greatest gift of God to man. Eternal life is more than immortality. Eternal life is exaltation in the highest heaven—the kind of life that God lives.
Preparation also includes qualification for a temple recommend. Our Redeemer requires that His temples be protected from desecration. No unclean thing may enter His hallowed house. Yet anyone is welcome who prepares well. Each person applying for a recommend will be interviewed by a judge in Israel—the bishop—and by a stake president. They hold keys of priesthood authority and the responsibility to help us know when our preparation and timing are appropriate to enter the temple. Their interviews will assess several vital issues. They will ask if we obey the law of tithing, if we keep the Word of Wisdom, and if we sustain the authorities of the Church. They will ask if we are honest, if we are morally clean, and if we honor the power of procreation as a sacred trust from our Creator.
Why are these issues so crucial? Because they are spiritual separators. They help to determine if we truly live as children of the covenant, able to resist temptation from servants of sin. These interviews help to discern if we are willing to live in accord with the will of the true and living God or if our hearts are still set “upon riches and … vain things of the world.”
Such requirements are not difficult to understand. Because the temple is the house of the Lord, standards for admission are set by Him. One enters as His guest. To hold a temple recommend is a priceless privilege and a tangible sign of obedience to God and His prophets.
One prepares physically for the temple by dressing properly. It is not a place for casual attire. “We should dress in such a way that we might comfortably attend a sacrament meeting or a gathering that is proper and dignified.”
Within the temple, all are dressed in spotless white to remind us that God is to have a pure people. Nationality, language, or position in the Church are of secondary significance. In that democracy of dress, all sit side by side and are considered equal in the eyes of our Maker.
Brides and grooms enter the temple to be married for time and all eternity. There brides wear white dresses—long sleeved, modest in design and fabric, and free of elaborate ornamentation. Grooms also dress in white. And brethren who come to witness weddings do not wear tuxedos.
Wearing the temple garment has deep symbolic significance. It represents a continuing commitment. Just as the Savior exemplified the need to endure to the end, we wear the garment faithfully as part of the enduring armor of God. Thus we demonstrate our faith in Him and in His eternal covenants with us.
In addition to physical preparation, we prepare spiritually. Because the ordinances and covenants of the temple are sacred, we are under solemn obligation not to speak outside the temple of that which occurs in the temple. There are, however, some principles we can discuss.
Each temple is a house of learning. There we are taught in the Master’s way. His way differs from modes of others. His way is ancient and rich with symbolism. We can learn much by pondering the reality for which each symbol stands. Teachings of the temple are beautifully simple and simply beautiful. They are understood by the humble, yet they can excite the intellect of the brightest minds.
Spiritual preparation is enhanced by study. I like to recommend that members going to the temple for the first time read short explanatory paragraphs in the Bible Dictionary, listed under seven topics: “Anoint,” Atonement,” “Christ,” “Covenant,” “Fall of Adam,” “Sacrifices,” and “Temple.” Doing so will provide a firm foundation.
One may also read in the Old Testament and the books of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. Such a review of ancient scripture is even more enlightening after one is familiar with the temple endowment. Those books underscore the antiquity of temple work.
With each ordinance is a covenant—a promise. A covenant made with God is not restrictive, but protective. Such a concept is not new. For example, if our water supply is not clean, we filter the water to screen out harmful ingredients. Divine covenants help us to filter out of our minds impurities that could harm us. When we choose to deny ourselves of all ungodliness, we lose nothing of value and gain the glory of eternal life. Covenants do not hold us down; they elevate us beyond the limits of our own power and perspective.
A Temple-Motivated People - Pre. Howard W. Hunter Ensign, Feb 1995, 2
Yet there are many members of the Church who have only limited access to the temples. They do the best they can. They pursue family history research and have the temple ordinance work done by others. Conversely, there are some members who engage in temple work but fail to do family history research on their own family lines. Although they perform a divine service in assisting others, they lose a blessing by not seeking their own kindred dead as divinely directed by latter-day prophets.
I recall an experience of a few years ago that is analogous to this condition. At the close of a fast and testimony meeting, the bishop remarked, “We have had a spiritual experience today listening to the testimonies borne by each other. This is because we have come fasting according to the law of the Lord. But let us never forget that the law consists of two parts: that we fast by abstaining from food and drink and that we contribute what we have thereby saved to the bishop’s storehouse for the benefit of those who are less fortunate.” Then he added: “I hope no one of us will leave today with only half a blessing.”
I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.
Furthermore, the dead are anxiously waiting for the Latter-day Saints to search out their names and then go into the temples to officiate in their behalf, that they may be liberated from their prison house in the spirit world. All of us should find joy in this magnificent labor of love.
What a glorious thing it is for us to have the privilege of going to the temple for our own blessings. Then after going to the temple for our own blessings, what a glorious privilege to do the work for those who have gone on before us. This aspect of temple work is an unselfish work. Yet whenever we do temple work for other people, there is a blessing that comes back to us. Thus it should be no surprise to us that the Lord does desire that his people be a temple-motivated people. I repeat what I have said before: It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of—and to carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it. The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families.
Let us truly be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. We should hasten to the temple as frequently, yet prudently, as our personal circumstances allow. We should go not only for our kindred dead but also for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety that are within those hallowed and consecrated walls. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.
Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing. Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call. Let us plan for and teach and plead with our children to marry in the house of the Lord. Let us reaffirm more vigorously than we ever have in the past that it does matter where you marry and by what authority you are pronounced man and wife.
All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God’s presence without them. I encourage everyone to worthily attend the temple or to work toward the day when you can enter that holy house to receive your ordinances and covenants. As the prophets have said, the temple is a place of beauty; it is a place of revelation; it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It must be holy and important to us.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Atonement of Jesus Christ

I have studied the Atonement of Jesus Christ for several weeks now. Here are some things I have learned on the subject.

President Faust said, “... I wish to speak about the greatest event in all history. That singular event was the incomparable Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. This was the most transcendent act that has ever taken place, yet it is the most difficult to understand. My reason for wanting to learn all I can about the Atonement is partly selfish: Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the Atonement. 1 Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. The Atonement advances our mortal course of learning by making it possible for our natures to become perfect. 2 All of us have sinned and need to repent to fully pay our part of the debt. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement pays the rest of that debt.”

As used in the scriptures, to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.

As descendants of Adam and Eve, all people inherit the effects of the Fall. In our fallen state, we are subject to opposition and temptation. When we give in to temptation, we are alienated from God, and if we continue in sin, we experience spiritual death, being separated from His presence. We are all subject to temporal death, which is the death of the physical body.

The only way for us to be saved is for someone else to rescue us. We need someone who can satisfy the demands of justice—standing in our place to assume the burden of the Fall and to pay the price for our sins. Jesus Christ has always been the only one capable of making such a sacrifice.

From before the Creation of the earth, the Savior has been our only hope for “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).

Only He had the power to lay down His life and take it up again. From His mortal mother, Mary, He inherited the ability to die. From His immortal Father, He inherited the power to overcome death. He declared, As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26).

Only He could redeem us from our sins. God the Father gave Him this power. The Savior was able to receive this power and carry out the Atonement because He kept Himself free from sin: “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). Having lived a perfect, sinless life, He was free from the demands of justice. Because He had the power of redemption and because He had no debt to justice, he could pay the debt for those who repent.

Jesus’ atoning sacrifice took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. In Gethsemane He submitted to the will of the Father and began to take upon Himself the sins of all people. He has revealed some of what He experienced as He paid the price of our sins”

“I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink he bitter cup, and shrink—

“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men” (D&C 19: 16-19)

The Savior continued to suffer for our sins when He allowed Himself to be crucified—“lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 11:33).

On the cross, He allowed Himself to die. His body was then laid in a tomb until He was resurrected and became ‘the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Through His death and Resurrection, He overcame physical death for us all.

Jesus Christ redeems all people from the effects of the Fall. All people who have ever lived on the earth and who ever will live on the earth will be resurrected and brought back into the presence of God to be judged. Through the Savior’s gift of mercy and redeeming grace, we will all receive the gift of immortality and live forever in glorified, resurrected bodies.

Although we are redeemed unconditionally from the universal effects of the Fall, we are accountable for our own sins. But we can be forgiven and cleansed from the stain of sin if we “apply the atoning blood of Christ” (Mosiah 4:2). We must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized for the remission of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985, 9

"His rising from death on the third day crowned the Atonement. Again, in some way incomprehensible to us, the effects of his resurrection pass upon all men so that all shall rise from the grave.

As Adam brought death, so Christ brought life; as Adam is the father of mortality, so Christ is the father of immortality.

And without both, mortality and immortality, man cannot work out his salvation and ascend to those heights beyond the skies where gods and angels dwell forever in eternal glory.

Now, the atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths.

Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life.

But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.

We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth.
We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation.

As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God—the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

In Eden we will see all things created in a paradisiacal state—without death, without procreation, without probationary experiences.

We will come to know that such a creation, now unknown to man, was the only way to provide for the Fall.

We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth.

Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world. And because of transgression a probationary estate of trial and testing will begin.
Then in Gethsemane we will see the Son of God ransom man from the temporal and spiritual death that came to us because of the Fall.

And finally, before an empty tomb, we will come to know that Christ our Lord has burst the bands of death and stands forever triumphant over the grave.
Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.

If there had been no fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no atonement of Christ, by which cometh life.

And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

Spencer J. Condie, “The Fall and Infinite Atonement,” Ensign, Jan 1996, 22

"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

Let us briefly review the remarkably clear teachings of the Book of Mormon regarding the relationship between the fall of man and the Savior’s infinite atonement.

The Fall
Inspired Book of Mormon prophets repeatedly teach us that the Fall was a necessary and foreseen part of the great plan of happiness and that “the way [to salvation] is prepared from the fall of man” (2 Ne. 2:4; see also Mosiah 4:7). Far from being a great disappointment and disgrace to their Heavenly Father, Adam and Eve were his instruments to further the divine plan “which was prepared from the foundation of the world” (Mosiah 15:19). Indeed, Father Lehi taught his son Jacob that “if Adam [and Eve] had not transgressed [they] would not have fallen, but [they] would have remained in the garden of Eden. …

“And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Ne. 2:22–23; see also Alma 12:22–24).

The purpose of the Fall is succinctly summarized by Lehi: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25). Much of this joy is found in our posterity.

The Atonement
One of the most profound and unique doctrinal contributions of the Book of Mormon is its teachings on the principle of restoration as this relates to Christ’s infinite atonement. In atoning for our sins, he made it possible for us to be restored, after the Resurrection, to the state of existence for which we are prepared.

Alma teaches us that “there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment” (Alma 42:22). By atoning for our sins as our Father planned, the Savior stands “betwixt” all of us sinners and the demands of justice, “having … taken upon himself [our] iniquity and [our] transgressions” (Mosiah 15:8–9). An atonement which could satisfy justice required the sacrifice of an innocent person who would vicariously suffer the punishment for the sins of others (see Alma 34:8–16). Justice demanded death, and the Redeemer died that he might become the firstfruits of the Resurrection and overcome the bonds of death. Mercy opened the way for the resurrection of all.
Spiritual restoration. To his struggling son Corianton, Alma clearly explained that “it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works” (Alma 41:3). Thus, after the Resurrection and Judgment some will be “raised to happiness according to [their] desires of happiness … ; and the other[s] to evil according to [their] desires of evil” (Alma 41:5). Continuing, Alma explicitly taught that “the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful” (Alma 41:13). Alma cautioned Corianton not to suppose “that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

Amulek taught Zeezrom that “we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt” (Alma 11:43). Alma explained to his son Corianton that “the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all” (Alma 41:15). That is the hard, wintry side of justice, judgment, and restoration.

But there is also a merciful side of restoration. Alma declared that “mercy cometh because of the atonement,” and though “justice exerciseth all his demands, … mercy claimeth all which is her own” upon conditions of true repentance. Alma then posed the provocative question: “What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God” (Alma 42:23–25\).
It is impossible for each of us to overcome the demands of justice solely through our own individual efforts. Nevertheless, we have been promised that “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). Contrary to the distorted doctrine of being saved solely through grace and by predestination, the Book of Mormon teaches us that we must strive to keep the commandments and repent of our sins, and then the Savior makes up the difference.

A necessary part of “all we can do” includes participation in essential ordinances of the gospel.

Physical restoration. In writing of the Resurrection, Jacob taught the exquisite completeness of a physical restoration in which “the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal” (2 Ne. 9:13). Amulek also testified that in the Resurrection “the spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame. …

“And even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame” (Alma 11:43–44; see also Alma 40:23).

Alma adds his testimony to those of Jacob and Amulek in testifying that “there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works” (Alma 40:21; emphasis added).

An Infinite Atonement
The Book of Mormon teaches us of an infinite atonement (see 2 Ne. 9:7; 2 Ne. 25:16; Alma 34:10, 12, 14), an atoning sacrifice by Christ that is unbounded by time, ethnicity, geography, or even kinds of sins, save for the unpardonable sin of denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:6). The Resurrection includes all people “from the days of Adam down” to the end of time (Alma 40:18), those “both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female” (Alma 11:44). The Atonement is also infinite in the sense that the Savior not only overcame death and sin, but he also took upon himself “the pains and the sicknesses” and the “infirmities” of his people (Alma 7:11–12). The Atonement is infinite, too, in that because of the redemption made possible by his beloved Son, our Heavenly Father is able to forgive us “as often as [we] repent” (Mosiah 26:30–31; see also Moro. 6:8).

The Miracle of Forgiveness
The Lord himself revealed to Alma that “as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
“And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation” (Mosiah 26:30–31).

Does this mean that I am expected to forgive my neighbor whose dog dug up my garden? Yes! Is an injured wife required to forgive her unfaithful husband? Yes! Are parents required to forgive their prodigal child who has besmirched their good family name? Yes! Are children required to forgive abusive parents? Yes! Must I really forgive a business associate who bilks me out of my pension? Yes!

But where do we acquire the spiritual and emotional strength to forgive those who have offended us and sinned against us? Mormon provides the prescription: “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love … ; that when [Christ] shall appear we shall be like him … ; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moro. 7:48).

The goal of the great plan of happiness is to become like Christ so that we may someday dwell in his presence and in the presence of our Heavenly Father. An unforgiving and vengeful heart is unholy, as is the heart of an adulterer or someone addicted to pornography. Any inability we might have to forgive others becomes a barrier between us and the Savior. If we are to become like him, we must freely forgive others as he has forgiven us (see 3 Ne. 13:11; D&C 64:10).

From Precept to Practice
It is, of course, always easier to speak of Christlike attributes in the abstract than to practice them in the heat of battle, but if we are to become like Christ, we must learn to forgive as he forgave.

Our Savior, at the close of his brief ministry among the Nephites, posed the following soul-searching question: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27). And what manner of Son was he? Abinadi foresaw that Christ would suffer but not yield to temptation. He would “be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people” (Mosiah 15:5). He would be “crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7).

When our will is swallowed up in the will of the Father and of the Son, then we are truly reconciled unto them. We will then be full partakers of the Savior’s atonement and experience the greatest miracle of all—the miracle of forgiveness.

Thoughts and Impressions on Mosiah 4

These verses are great in explaining the atonement of Jesus Christ. The people felt their own inadequacy. They knew they needed to take part in the atonement. They had felt the spirit prick their hearts. They humbled themselves before the Lord. We need to do the same. We at times feel our own inadequacy. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord. We need to have the spirit in our own heart. It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we are able to return to our Heavenly Father. The Atonement was prepared from the foundation of the world.

King Benjamin taught how his people and everyone can receive the Atonement. We should put our trust in the Lord. We should diligently follow the commandments of the Lord. We should continue in faith through out our lives. This is how we can receive the Atonement in our lives.

We need to believe in Heavenly Father. We need to believe that through Him all things are possible. We need to believe that He has all wisdom. We need to believe that we need to repent and forsake our sins. We need to humble ourselves before Heavenly Father. We need to pray for forgiveness with all sincerity of heart. If we stay humble before Heavenly Father, by calling on Him daily, and standing steadfast in the faith; we can always have happiness and feel the love of Heavenly Father with us all ways.

I find it interesting that after King Benjamin taught his people about the Atonement of Jesus Christ he then taught the people to teach their children and to take care of the poor. It is a smooth transition from the three subjects. As we have the Atonement in our lives we will want to teach our children the same truths. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children. Also when we move beyond our family we are instructed to serve others who are in need. In the ministry of the Savior where was he found? He was found with the children and with the poor. As we follow Him shouldn’t we do like wise?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How am I doing?

The past few weeks I have been posting some of what I am learning during my scripture and gospel topic study. I thought it might be time do a little bit of an update on me. First I hope anyone who reads my study posts enjoyes them. I am just sharing meaningful things and if I am the only one getting anything out of them that is ok. But if anyone who reads them gets to thinking or gets anything meaningful out of them as well that is a bonus.

My scripture study has been like a roller coaster, up and down. We had a great talk on sripture study in church a few weeks ago. That really helped me decide to take an active stand in improving my scripture study. I can really tell a difference in the past few weeks. It has really given me strength in our everyday struggles. I have felt the spirit more aboundantly on a daily basises. I highly recommend it to anyone else who could use the spirit and strength in their lives.

School/Work seems to be going well. We had some rough patches with behaviors but everyone seems to be setteling in. I have two students that in the past have had behavior issues. They are both, I have been told, doing a lot better this year. Again I have been told that I am doing a good job with them. Whether it is my efforts or the kids growing a little more mature I don't know. It can seem like a really struggle to reach my kids. So it can be hard to tell what is getting through to them. So I try to take it one day at a time and keep in mind there needs. I pray that I can be inspired in reaching my kids and giving them what they need.

My braille class is coming along. It is hard to believe that midterms are coming up. It is a hard but interesting class. Braille is like learning a new language. There are so many rules we are learning and contractions that is getting a bit over whelming. Everything is based on a cell of 6 dots in two parralel standing lines. Dots 1,2,and 3 are on the left line and dots 4,5, and 6 are on the right line. Dots 1 and 4 are at the top of their lines. Each combination of dots have meaning. Putting combinations of cells together have meaning.

Lets take the letter e for an example. The letter e is represented with dot 1 and dot 5. So writing out say apple you would do dot 1 and 5 for the letter e. The letter e also stands for the number 5. When righting numbers you have to proceed with a number sign which is dots 3,4,5,and 6. So to write the number 5 I would do dots 3,4,5,and 6 then dots 1 and 5. We also have one-cell whole word contractions. So in a sentance if the letter e is by itself it stands for the word every. We also have initial letter contractions. This is wen dot 5 perceeds a letter. For dot 5 and then dot 1 and 5 for e means ever. There are rules to use initial letter contractions in words to shorten them. Then you add in short form words, punctuation, capitalization and you can see how much there is to learn and remember. There is a lot of things still to learn. We are only up to chapter 4 in our book.

I am still the assistant ward clerk over finance in the ward. I am trying to keep up with it and everything it intails. It has been a struggle at times learning what to do. It has not been by favorite calling. But I serve the best I can. That is all any of us can say.

Well I will close this update. Hope if you are reading it you are doing well. I hope you get something positive out of it.

Thoughts and impressions during scripture reading

Mosiah Chapter 3:1-19

These verses are all about the Atonement of the Savior. King Benjamin is teaching his people things he learned from an angle. The angle visits him in answer to his prayers. Once again, it is proving that Heavenly Father will answer prayers. He is commanded to teach the people the words of the angel. He learns a little bit about the life of the Savior. He learns that the Savior will come down from heaven. He learns the Savior will come and do miracles. He learns that the Savior will be subjected to temptations. He learns that the Savior will suffer for mankind. He learns the Savior will bring salvation unto those with faith in Him. He learns that the Savior will rise the third day. He learns the Savior will judge the world in righteous judgment. He learns that the Savior atoneth for those who sinneth in ignorance. He learns that those who rebel against God will not be saved except through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. He learns men must become as little children, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father
and believe that salvation cometh through the blood of Jesus Christ.

So what about us in our day? The things King Benjamin taught his people still apply to us today. Nothing has changed in regards to these truths. It gives us comfort to know that Heavenly Father is mindful of his children in all dispensations. That there is a plan that was began before the world was created in order to help us return home to Him. The Savior lived and died and lives again to be our example and to give us the way back. We may struggle from time to time in this life whether it is physically, spiritually, emotionally, or psychologically but Jesus Christ can lift us no mater what the circumstance. He knows exactly how we feel and how to help us overcome. It can be hard at times with the distractions of the world and the Adversary. However we have to do all we can and He will do the rest. We have to be submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things that may come our way. We need to believe and trust in Jesus Christ. When we do these things we can have the Atonement in our lives. For if the Lord is with us, how can we fail?