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understanding the atonement


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#1 kevieb

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:57 PM

I'm pretty clear on how the atonement works when it comes to sin and repentance and being forgiven and how Christ's mercy will satisfy the demand for justice, but i have heard that the atonement covers everything else in your life---such as sickness and sorrow and poor relationships, etc. I don't understand this. I have several medical issues--some i may be able to improve, some are probably going to be with me for life. i have had struggles with my family (siblings and parents) I have also had struggles in my marriage. How can the atonement help me with these things? i understand that in the Garden of Gethsemane that Christ suffered for all of our sins and that he has experienced--i assume vicariously, every experience we will ever have. Basically, I have been taught that he understands every challenge we deal with---but I don't understand how the atonement can help me with my health problems or my relationship challenges. Is there a Gospel scholar out there who can explain this to me in simple terms that I can understand?

#2 pam

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 04:08 PM

"If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27). I believe part of the atonement allows us to turn our weaknesses into strengths if we will but lay our burdens at Christs' feet with all sincerity. Also if we do it with all humility.

#3 Traveler

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

I'm pretty clear on how the atonement works when it comes to sin and repentance and being forgiven and how Christ's mercy will satisfy the demand for justice, but i have heard that the atonement covers everything else in your life---such as sickness and sorrow and poor relationships, etc.

I don't understand this. I have several medical issues--some i may be able to improve, some are probably going to be with me for life. i have had struggles with my family (siblings and parents) I have also had struggles in my marriage.

How can the atonement help me with these things? i understand that in the Garden of Gethsemane that Christ suffered for all of our sins and that he has experienced--i assume vicariously, every experience we will ever have. Basically, I have been taught that he understands every challenge we deal with---but I don't understand how the atonement can help me with my health problems or my relationship challenges.

Is there a Gospel scholar out there who can explain this to me in simple terms that I can understand?

I believe that you have connected to one of the greatest principles of the atonement. That through the atonement we change the sufferings of this life from a focus on us (to have benefit for us) to a focus on other. It is not that the atonement ends suffering but brings us to understand that we (as G-d does) endure suffering that others may not suffer our pains and suffering.

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#4 bytebear

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

We are imperfect, and live in an imperfect world. If we all were righteous collectively, we could be as the city of Enoch and literally be lifted to heaven. But we aren't, so we do our best given our circumstances. I am also reminded of the Prodigal Son, and how we are often powerless when it comes to the decisions of others, and we just have to sometimes be patient, and pray for the hearts of others.

#5 Drpepper

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

I'm no scholar, that's for sure. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Alma 7:12 Infirmities here in my opinion just dosen't mean our sins, it also covers our weaknesses, faults, mistakes, bad decisions etc. If Christ truly does no how to succor his people, and he does. Then he needed to understand and experience the whole spectrum of human trials and sorrows. Which he did. I thought I had my head around the atonement pretty well, similar to what you mentioned in your OP but last year I read three books that really helped me a lot more and realised how little I really knew. I suggest you add these books to your gosple library. Ohh and the scriptures :) The broken heart: Bruce c Hafen The infinite atonement : Tad d callister Believing Christ : Stephen e Robinson

Edited by Drpepper, 01 January 2013 - 02:54 PM.

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#6 applepansy

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:14 AM

After I read this thread I ran across the Mormon Message:

Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ

#7 LiterateParakeet

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

I'm not a gospel scholar, but I can tell you what it has come to mean to me. It is hard to put all my thoughts on this into a short blog post...but I will try. Sometimes as we move through this life horrible, nightmarish things can happen. Why God allows this is a subject for another day. For now, we will just accept that He does, and what is important is that He will not leave us comfortless. Thus for me the Atonement is about how the Savior can truly understand what we are going through, because He has felt it. Because of this understanding, He can and will weep with us, just as He wept with Martha and Mary after Lazarus died. But is also about how, because He has overcome the sins AND PAIN of the world, He knows how to help us get through our pain. Spiritual and emotional pain takes time to heal just as physical wounds do. I believe the Atonement is about helping us through that process. The Savior does not whoosh the pain away....I'm sure He could, just as He healed the blind and others in His day. But in our current time, He generally does not instantly heal people physically, or spiritually. One of my favorite quotes, from one of my heroes is this quote by Admiral James Stockdale. He was a POW in Vietnam for about 7 years. When asked later how he survived, He said, "“I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” Notice that last part...a defining event which he would not trade. If he can say that about being a POW, then it gives me hope that someday I will be able to say that about healing from my childhood abuse. And that you can say that about any or all of the adversities you face. How we get from here (where we are) to there (the event we would not trade)...can be greatly facilitated by the Atonement. In essence, to me it means that He has the knowledge, the skills and the compassion to walk with my through my healing. To guide me and direct me...but it does not mean that He will make it go away instantly, nor that it will be easy. It is hard...very hard, but walking that painful, oh so painful path, with Him...is what makes us stronger and more like Him with whom we have walked.

#8 Traveler

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

Thought I would restate my thought. The atonement is not just a means of getting rid of our sins (dumping them on someone else). It is a means by which we become reborn, or born of the spirit to be “one with G-d”. In essence the atonement is not just about our sins and shortcomings and being forgiven of them. It is about a “great change”. The change is from our fallen sinful state to a saint of G-d. Or in other words - Christ like.

What is it that most defines Christ that we should be Christ like? Answer: His suffering and atonement:

· 1Peter 1:4 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

  • Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we sufferwithhim, that we may be also glorified together.”


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#9 kevieb

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

DrPepper--I have believing Christ and Following Christ------One of the stories that gives me the most hope in my stumbling life is the "Parable of the Divers"---I believe it is in "Following Christ" applepansy--I'll make the time here soon to look up the mormon message you mentioned To the rest of you that gave varying insights--you made me think of something--and I wonder if it was the atonement in action. I have identical twin daughters--beautiful girls, and always very tiny. They have both had eating disorders. One did not act on the impulses until she went to college and had difficult room mates. She is married now and doing quite well---actually both are married and doing well. The first one to start with the eating disorder used to cry when she was only 4 years old because she was afraid she would get fat---I hoped we weren't headed for an eating disorder. When she was in 9th grade, she often did not look happy--but claimed there was nothing wrong--they had always been so skinny, I did not notice weight loss. She started acting on her eating disorder in Nov of her 9th grade year at about 14 1/2 yrs old. Over the Christmas holiday, she and her twin sister and the next daughter down were all diagnosed with celiac disease. I took all three girls to the Ped GI in Feb to have him talk to them about their condition. He told me that only one of the girls looked sick. He checked her thyroid, which was fine----it must have been apparent that she was losing weight by this time---I assumed it was the celiac disease---so we went about figuring out ways to add calories to her food---this is when she figured out how to throw up. The Ped Gi tried to suggest to me it could be an eating disorder--but I could just not believe that could be true. She ended up in the hospital the last month of school, just before she turned 15, at only 67 lbs. She was in the hospital for 3 months before we were able to bring her home. She appeared to do well for a time, but the following winter I was sure I was going to have to put her into treatment again. I searched for places on the internet as I sobbed, and requested info from one place. I received a phone call surprisingly fast--but it was someone else. It was a gal that had dealt with an eating disorder herself and had been to the very treatment center I requested info from. I had been given her name--but I had never called her. She was at work and was on her break. She told me that she just felt like she needed to call me--she had had to call my sister to even get my phone number, and wondered if it would be alright to call---my sister told her she thought it was an answer to prayer. She said she had been a patient at the place I was looking in to and she offered to go with me to tour the place if I wanted. i think she had even requested they send her info. I was amazed. It didn't fix anything or even make anything better at the time---but what it did do, was make me realize that the Lord was aware of me and that he knew I was suffering. just that knowledge alone buoyed me up for days--it brings tears to even remember----was this the atonement in action I was experiencing?

#10 LiterateParakeet

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:36 AM

It didn't fix anything or even make anything better at the time---but what it did do, was make me realize that the Lord was aware of me and that he knew I was suffering. just that knowledge alone buoyed me up for days--it brings tears to even remember----was this the atonement in action I was experiencing?


Yes, I believe so. He often helps us through other people.

#11 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:27 AM

I'm pretty clear on how the atonement works when it comes to sin and repentance and being forgiven and how Christ's mercy will satisfy the demand for justice, but i have heard that the atonement covers everything else in your life---such as sickness and sorrow and poor relationships, etc.

I don't understand this. I have several medical issues--some i may be able to improve, some are probably going to be with me for life. i have had struggles with my family (siblings and parents) I have also had struggles in my marriage.

How can the atonement help me with these things? i understand that in the Garden of Gethsemane that Christ suffered for all of our sins and that he has experienced--i assume vicariously, every experience we will ever have. Basically, I have been taught that he understands every challenge we deal with---but I don't understand how the atonement can help me with my health problems or my relationship challenges.

Is there a Gospel scholar out there who can explain this to me in simple terms that I can understand?


Part of the "atonement" includes the resurrection of Christ. Christ overcoming death allows us to overcome all the corruption we experience by becoming mortal. It allows us to have perfect bodies with resurrection. This will overcome all the "imperfections" we experience through being "natural" people. Mind you, that also includes carnal tendencies introduced by the body. The carnal temptations will be gone and therefore we do not have to fight that battle any longer, that is what is meant by, come unto my rest. We can rest from those struggles. The battle is won.

#12 kevieb

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:25 AM

Seminarysnoozer---if I am understanding you right, some of the blessings of the atonement will not come about until after the resurrection? My belief has always been the same as what you are saying---as far as many of our "mortal corruptions, carnal tendencies, etc." are concerned--that if we continually strive to overcome in this life, but don't quite seem to make it to the top before we die, that Christ will make up the rest. I have just been told so many times that the atonement would take care of things that made me sad or physical illness-------and somehow i felt like it was being implied to me that it would take care of it in the "here and now". I felt like I was not understanding the atonement, or that my faith wasn't strong enough to make me not feel sad, or.........I think I actually have listened to a couple of people that have a tendency to be a little self-righteous and get so deep into gospel "doctrine" that it no longer is "simple" as the scriptures have always taught us the Gospel Of Christ should be. I'm a little ashamed to admit that i actually avoid talking to one of them because I so often feel like I get a religious lecture.

#13 PaPa

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:36 AM

I'm pretty clear on how the atonement works when it comes to sin and repentance and being forgiven and how Christ's mercy will satisfy the demand for justice, but i have heard that the atonement covers everything else in your life---such as sickness and sorrow and poor relationships, etc.


More like how you deal with them...if we never got sick we would never die, and never reunite with all that was lost. Atonement = Restoration (total)...joy.

#14 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

Seminarysnoozer---if I am understanding you right, some of the blessings of the atonement will not come about until after the resurrection? My belief has always been the same as what you are saying---as far as many of our "mortal corruptions, carnal tendencies, etc." are concerned--that if we continually strive to overcome in this life, but don't quite seem to make it to the top before we die, that Christ will make up the rest. I have just been told so many times that the atonement would take care of things that made me sad or physical illness-------and somehow i felt like it was being implied to me that it would take care of it in the "here and now". I felt like I was not understanding the atonement, or that my faith wasn't strong enough to make me not feel sad, or.........I think I actually have listened to a couple of people that have a tendency to be a little self-righteous and get so deep into gospel "doctrine" that it no longer is "simple" as the scriptures have always taught us the Gospel Of Christ should be.

I'm a little ashamed to admit that i actually avoid talking to one of them because I so often feel like I get a religious lecture.


Yes, even Paul lived with a thorn in the flesh throughout his whole life and he could not get rid of it. He realized he wasn't supposed to want to get rid of it in this life.

#15 Traveler

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:50 PM

Part of the "atonement" includes the resurrection of Christ. Christ overcoming death allows us to overcome all the corruption we experience by becoming mortal. It allows us to have perfect bodies with resurrection. This will overcome all the "imperfections" we experience through being "natural" people. Mind you, that also includes carnal tendencies introduced by the body. The carnal temptations will be gone and therefore we do not have to fight that battle any longer, that is what is meant by, come unto my rest. We can rest from those struggles. The battle is won.


Perhaps I do not understand you correctly but what I think I understand - I do not agree. It is my understanding that if one committed adultery in this life and refused to repent that they will be in bondage (a slave) to that temptation in the next life.

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#16 classylady

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:30 AM

Perhaps I do not understand you correctly but what I think I understand - I do not agree. It is my understanding that if one committed adultery in this life and refused to repent that they will be in bondage (a slave) to that temptation in the next life.

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I've been taught that whatever desires, cravings, addictions, etc. that we have in this life, and did not take care of, (repent from) would go with us into the next. But, yet I also understand that there is progression beyond the veil. So, perhaps, we leave with those same desires that we have in this life, and then have the opportunity to over come them at some point in the next? I've also been taught, but don't know if this is doctrine, that anything we need to overcome in the next life is much more difficult to do.

#17 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:11 AM

Perhaps I do not understand you correctly but what I think I understand - I do not agree. It is my understanding that if one committed adultery in this life and refused to repent that they will be in bondage (a slave) to that temptation in the next life.

The Traveler


While they are in the spirit world, yes. Until they have paid the price for such a thing and then at that time they will be judged and receive a degree of Glory, which is a state in which no sin can reside. They may refuse to repent but they will still come to a full understanding of what they have done and at that point their suffering is full and eternal but that does not suggest that they will continue to have such desires. Only those that have a spiritual witness to such things and still deny the spirit will become sons of perdition and be cast out. (I think we are just talking about the adulterer who eventually makes it to the Telestial Kingdom)

Even the Telestial Kingdom is overseen by the Holy Ghost. Think about how spiritual one has to be to have the Holy Ghost around all the time. The people in the Telestial kingdom will not be doing anything that would chase away the Holy Ghost, otherwise how could they dwell in such a place where the Holy Ghost rules? .... pay attention to the "until" below.

Gospel Principles; "
Telestial

These people did not receive the gospel or the testimony of Jesus either on earth or in the spirit world. They will suffer for their own sins in hell until after the Millennium, when they will be resurrected. “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” These people are as numerous as the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore. They will be visited by the Holy Ghost but not by the Father or the Son. (See D&C 76:81–88, 103–6, 109.)"

#18 Traveler

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

While they are in the spirit world, yes. Until they have paid the price for such a thing and then at that time they will be judged and receive a degree of Glory, which is a state in which no sin can reside. They may refuse to repent but they will still come to a full understanding of what they have done and at that point their suffering is full and eternal but that does not suggest that they will continue to have such desires. Only those that have a spiritual witness to such things and still deny the spirit will become sons of perdition and be cast out. (I think we are just talking about the adulterer who eventually makes it to the Telestial Kingdom)

Even the Telestial Kingdom is overseen by the Holy Ghost. Think about how spiritual one has to be to have the Holy Ghost around all the time. The people in the Telestial kingdom will not be doing anything that would chase away the Holy Ghost, otherwise how could they dwell in such a place where the Holy Ghost rules? .... pay attention to the "until" below.

Gospel Principles; "
Telestial

These people did not receive the gospel or the testimony of Jesus either on earth or in the spirit world. They will suffer for their own sins in hell until after the Millennium, when they will be resurrected. “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” These people are as numerous as the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore. They will be visited by the Holy Ghost but not by the Father or the Son. (See D&C 76:81–88, 103–6, 109.)"


Not sure if I agree with your understanding of the symbolic relationship of the Telestial with the Holy Ghost - which after the resurrection will be in every way as Celestial as both the Father and the Son.

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#19 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

Not sure if I agree with your understanding of the symbolic relationship of the Telestial with the Holy Ghost - which after the resurrection will be in every way as Celestial as both the Father and the Son.

The Traveler


If I implied that, I apologize. That is not what I was trying to say. Yes, the Holy Ghost is part of the Celestial Godhead.

How do you reconcile the Holy Ghost consorting with adulterers then? .... my answer, they have paid for their own sins in hell UNTIL the resurrection as stated in Gospel Principles at which point they are not adulterers or murders because they will receive a resurrected Telestial body that has no propensity for such behavior. It is a body of glory, that equal to the glory of the Holy Ghost as it's head in the same manner that we can host the Holy Ghost in this life, by maintaining a certain level of purity to keep the spirit. If it were not so the Holy Ghost could not rule there. This is the purpose for spirit prison, to allow for the paying up of those sins not covered by Christ. Do those in the Telestial kingdom still have unpaid sins? Then, how could it be a place of glory greater than anything found in this world if they did?

Edited by Seminarysnoozer, 08 January 2013 - 04:46 PM.


#20 missionary0204

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:52 AM

Maybe I don't understand your statement Seminary. I struggle to accept that the Holy Ghost will only have a Telestial glory like body. The same would go for Jesus. Would the Lord not have a body exactly like the Father's? There must be more to the separation factor. Please elaborate on your theory. I hate how text can be so misconstrued.




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