One night, as a young woman, lay weary and fast asleep she dreamed a dream, yet, it was so real that it surely wasn’t a dream. You see, she had died in the dream, but felt nothing of the death, it was as if she had been translated for it was painless and instantaneous as she stood at the place where she had been sent and it seemed familiar as she took in her surroundings. There were groups of people being taught, each divided into age groups and they were anxiously engaged in the lessons. She could feel them soaking in the knowledge as workers dressed in white appeared with a gentle smile and guided her to a room where she was to wait.
She stood in the room for what seemed like a very long time then suddenly she was aware that she had come home and for a moment she was frightened and sad for she was alone and maybe this was her fate. Then she felt it, a fullness, enter the room, it was warm and the whole place filled with a presence. She became suddenly aware that someone was standing behind her, so, she turned to look, and her entire being changed.
“It’s You!” she exclaimed with wonder and amazement, “It’s really you”; and she was filled with absolute indescribable joy as she threw her arms around the neck of her brother and held him tight. At long last she had returned home and was greeted by her loving brother while at the same time, her mind and spirit awakened with a perfect knowledge. She knew immediately who she was, where she had come from, and she knew him, her brother, Jesus Christ, the same as she knew her own earthly family and she was full of joy with the return of her memory and the greeting of the one she loved so dearly. All that she had believed was true, all that she had hoped for was real, as the Lord stood before her with a smile, also filled with great joy for her awakening and love for him.
Then suddenly and without notice, the scene changed and the two; after their loving embrace, were transformed to another room where the young woman stood at the entrance and looked upon her brother who now sat upon a throne made of fine gold and workmanship. It was breathtaking at the very least and she gazed, for he was regal and majestic and the surroundings matched his countenance, yet, he still smiled and she felt impressed to move closer.
She began to walk the length of a golden carpet laid before her and as she came closer to him, her brother, her mind again was enlightened and she knew him, she knew everything about him, she knew of the decision he had made and she remembered being there when he had accepted it, she remembered her decision to follow him, she remembered the lessons she was taught, the promises that were made she remembered life before they were born, she knew it all as if she had wrote it in her journal and as she looked upon the Savior with this perfect knowledge, she fell to her knees clasping her face in her hands, the recognition of the moment crashing upon her.
She knelt before the Savior her Lord and king, and at that moment she not only knew of the pains he had suffered that she would live and be free, but she felt them. She had a clear recollection of all that he had graciously suffered and great sobs of agony poured from her as she bitterly wept drowning his feet with her tears. She had made mistakes in her life on earth, how could she have been so blind, how could she have forgotten her promise to be true, oh how could she have made him suffer so with her choices, someone she loved with her whole being. At that very moment she had a perfect recollection of her life, a perfect recollection of his sacrifice and she wept, for she had not honored him as her heart had desired, and she could no longer look upon him for she was unworthy and she fell before him at his feet, indeed and ever heartbroken, she could not be consoled from her grief.
Then she felt it. His hand as he laid it upon her head, he caressed her hair like one would do for a little child and consoled her speaking in the mildest of tones with a love and tenderness she had never before known, saying, “daughter why do you weep so,” she would not look upon him but could feel the gentle smile he possessed, it penetrated her, and she felt a love so full and strong that it was palatable. HE lifted her chin with his hand that their eyes would meet and said “Thy sins are forgiven, thou art a good daughter, be not down trodden, go thy way, sin no more” (© . All rights reserved)
In reference to the atonement, “to the thoughtful woman and man, it is “a matter of surpassing wonder” that the voluntary and merciful sacrifice of a single being could satisfy the infinite and eternal demands of justice, atone for every human transgression and misdeed, and thereby sweep all humankind into the encompassing arms of His merciful embrace. But so it is.” -Jeffery R Holland of the quorum of the twelve apostles of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In a manner to us that is incomprehensible and inexplicable, He bore the weight of the sins of the whole world and in doing that, opened the kingdom of heaven…..
"Through his suffering, Jesus redeemed the souls of all men, women, and children “that his bowels would be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he would know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” In doing so, Christ “descended below all things”—including every kind of sickness, infirmity, and dark despair experienced by every mortal being. The utter loneliness and excruciating pain was so great that it caused him, even Christ to cry out “My God My God why hast Thou forsaken me” and he did this in order that He might “comprehend all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth" -Jeffery R Holland of the quorum of the twelve apostles of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints we are taught from our youth of the atonement and its importance; but with this knowledge we have of the atonement of the Savior, it is important for us to remember and not forget that it covers everyone.
My message today maybe for you, to let you know that His sacrifice was not for everyone else except you because your sins and mistakes are too great or because you feel you will never be good enough. But that His sacrifice IS for you, if your sins are too great and you feel you are not good enough.
And my message today may be for you, to remind you that. It’s important to remember that the atonement is not just for you because you are a member of the church magnifying your calling and living the letter of the law. But that it’s also for those who may not be members or are not doing so great with their job and may need extra help with the law. In fine, the atonement is for everyone.
It is imperative that we also remember that the atonement covers all things. Pain, sorrow, grief, irritability with one another, day to day misgivings, judgemental attitudes, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, sadness, forgetfulness, selfishness, and a host of human imperfections we are guilty of, if, we can but use the time we are given, to prayerfully seek forgiveness and direction, and to accept council and guidance.
The Atonement is the greatest of all gifts, it heals, provides safety, and peace, it absolves us from the sin of Adam, it ensures the resurrection of every man woman and child that ever lived or ever will live upon the earth, AND every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this single event. Everything that we do, everything that we have is because of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Of course by now you know that the topic I was asked to speak about today is the Atonement and I think its because I have been seeking an even deeper knowledge and understanding of the nature of Christ. And as I have come across things that make me think and feel differently I have had a great desire to share them that all of us together will have a deeper and greater understanding.
Even so, there's not a lot that I can tell you that you probably don’t already know. The LDS Church is generous with curriculum and the voice of our general authorities in teaching us true and correct doctrine and principles. From the time we are children until the day we leave to return home, the Lord through faithful servants, has provided for us, so that we are not left alone and on our own, but have the guidance and direction that we need.
What I can tell you, however, is this. I WAS that woman stricken with grief at His feet. In fact, I was, a sinful woman. I was without a doubt blind and made him suffer because of my choices and through my own personal repentance process, I felt the real physical feeling as the holy ghost left when he was removed from me; after which I sat in sacrament meeting and watched the bread and water as it passed me by because I could not partake.
Many times as Latter day saints its unimaginable to us to not be able to partake of the sacrament or be without the holy ghost for it is freely given us upon baptism and it can in many instances be taken with a grain of salt attitude. The idea was inconceivable for me, until it happened; and many who do have to attend to the process of repentance that I did, don’t return at all. But for me, I grasped onto the hope of the Atonement and held it with dear life, for I had felt it, I had felt it with a real physical feeling, I had beheld it with my natural self, thus it was my entire goal to gain a true knowledge of the gifts of the atonement and allow it to work in my life. For oh, oh how I longed to be with my Savior once again!
At the very moment I chose to accept the Atonement and allow it to work and to accept the consequence of my actions, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He lives, that the Atonement is real and not a Sunday Story made up, it is not a game, He lives! and he died that I, that we, could be saved and live also.
When the time came after my repentance process that I was reinstated, and I was able to partake of the sacrament for the first time, I wept with great sobs even almost unable to eat, for I was so full of humble gratitude for what he had done for me. I have not only received forgiveness of my sins and been made new, I have also received healing and strength from tragedies, I continue to be carried in my day to day struggles and my heart and mind think upon him through my days when the world seems to fall upon me. So it is my greatest desire to have an even deeper understanding of this gift Christ has given us, it is my desire to more reverently partake of the sacrament and stay focused, it is my true and honest need to be able to watch with him one hour, without falling asleep and it is my desire for you to join me.
We are told again by Jeffery R Holland that “[The sacrament] should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to ‘get over’ so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting. And everything that is said or sung or prayed in those services should be consistent with the grandeur of this sacred ordinance."
2. Remember that we are renewing baptismal covenants.
3. Seek to feel forgiven of our sins.
4. Seek inspiration for solutions to our problems.5. Partake of the sacrament worthily so we can be filled with the Holy Ghost
Therefore, today, it is my suggestion and prayer that we all give more heed and focus for the Atonement of our Lord and Savior even Jesus Christ. That we attend our sacrament meetings and not skip for whatever reasons; as our entire lives, our very souls, rest upon our partaking of the sacrament worthily.
Let it not be the time to prepare lessons or work, let it not be for things of the world and let us strive for it to not be a stressful time with ill feelings and judgements. Let us focus with reverence and love, let us renew ourselves with him that we may be strengthened, let us learn for ourselves that we may, in the ways of Christ, show others how they too through the Atonement can be new, how they too can have hope, how they also can press forward; and let us honor him as our hearts so desire to do, that when he comes, after we have sat to watch, we will not be asleep, but will be indeed awake…..