Atonement: Basis of Church Doctrine

Reading: “The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, jesuschrist.lds.org

If you haven’t yet, you should check out the church’s new site, jesuschrist.lds.org. This site was created to help show that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is indeed centered on Christ.

In an article on the Atonement found on that site, Elder Holland states:

Indeed the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh is the crucial foundation upon which all Christian doctrine rests and the greatest expression of divine love this world has ever been given. Its importance in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be overstated. Every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this pivotal event.

A study of the basic doctrine of our church is always taught around the Atonement. First, someone might learn about the Fall of Adam, which is the reason we need the Atonement. Or, someone might learn about the plan of salvation, which revolves around the Atonement. Or, someone might learn about repentance, which is possible because of the Atonement. Even the behavioral aspects would be pointless without the Atonement, because we would all be damned anyway for past sins and there would be now way we could improve ourselves.

When you realize how central the Atonement is to everything, it thus becomes apparent why we focus so much on Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ we are saved. We go to Jesus Christ for everything, for teaching, for repentance, for help and understanding. We are the church of Jesus Christ in every way.

This is something I have not always understood. Sometimes, I think, the centrality of Jesus Christ can get lost in all of our teachings. We talk about faith and hope and tithing and missionary work love and humility, and those things are easier to understand than the Atonement and the role of Jesus Christ. This must be why the Church does so much to keep us centered on Jesus Christ.

Yesterday when I was thinking about ways I can increase my disposition to do good, one of the things I came up with is putting up pictures of the Savior in my house. So, today, I am going to stop by the Distribution Center here in Provo and pick up a picture of the Savior and put it on the wall someplace it will be seen all the time. Then when I see it I can think about how central the Savior is to everything.

I am wondering, do you ever have trouble grasping the importance of the Savior in our teachings? What experiences or lessons have been effective in helping you to understand how central the Savior and Atonement are to the gospel?

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