Monday, February 25, 2008

My Talk about the ATONEMENT - Feb 2007

“There once was a man who wanted something very much. It seemed more important than anything else in his life. In order for him to have his desire, he incurred a great debt.

“He had been warned about going into that much debt, and particularly about his creditor. But it seemed so important for him to do what he wanted to and to have what he wanted right then. He was sure he could pay for it later.

“So he signed a contract. He would pay it off some time along the way. He didn’t worry too much about it, for the due date seemed such a long time away. He had what he wanted now, and that was what seemed important.

“The creditor was always somewhere in the back of his mind, and he made token payments now and again, thinking somehow that the day of reckoning really would never come.

“But as it always does, the day came, and the contract fell due. The debt had not been fully paid. His creditor appeared and demanded payment in full.

“Only then did he realize that his creditor not only had the power to repossess all that he owned, but the power to cast him into prison as well.

“ ‘I cannot pay you, for I have not the power to do so,’ he confessed.

“ ‘Then,’ said the creditor, ‘I will exercise the contract, take your possessions and you shall go to prison. You agreed to that. It was your choice. You signed the contract, and now it must be enforced.’

“ ‘Can you not extend the time or forgive the debt?’ the debtor begged. ‘Arrange some way for me to keep what I have and not go to prison. Surely you believe in mercy? Will you not show mercy?’

“The creditor replied, ‘Mercy is always so one-sided. It would serve only you. If I show mercy to you, it will leave me unpaid. It is justice I demand. Do you believe in justice?’

“ ‘I believed in justice when I signed the contract,’ the debtor said. ‘It was on my side then, for I thought it would protect me. I did not need mercy then, nor think I should need it ever. Justice, I thought, would serve both of us equally as well.’

“ ‘It is justice that demands that you pay the contract or suffer the penalty,’ the creditor replied. ‘That is the law. You have agreed to it and that is the way it must be. Mercy cannot rob justice.’

“There they were: One demanding justice, the other pleading for mercy. Neither could prevail except at the expense of the other.

“ ‘If you do not forgive the debt there will be no mercy,’ the debtor pleaded.

“ ‘If I do, there will be no justice,’ was the reply.

“Both laws, it seemed, could not be served. They are two eternal ideals that appear to contradict one another. Is there no way for justice to be fully served and mercy also?

Let me stop the story right there I will get back to it later …


Consider this

A mortal father, who knows the weaknesses of his son, may by reason of that knowledge predict the sufferings awaiting his wayward boy.

He may foresee in that son's future - forfeiting blessings that could have been won, loss of position, self-respect, reputation and honor; even the dark shadows of a prison cell may appear in the saddening visions of the father's soul.

He foresees the developments of the future, and he finds only sorrow and anguish in his knowledge. Can it be said that the father's foreknowledge is a cause of the son's sinful life?

The son reaching his maturity; he is the master of his own destiny: an agent unto himself.

The father is powerless to control or to direct the son’s actions and, while he would gladly make any effort or sacrifice to save his son from the fate impending, he fears for what he sees as the consequence of his son’s actions.

Our Heavenly Father has a full knowledge of the nature and dispositions of each of His children, a knowledge gained by long observation and the experiences He has had with each of us in our pre-mortal existence.

By reason of that knowledge, God reads the future of men individually and of men collectively as communities and nations; He knows what each will do under given conditions, and sees the end from the beginning.

His foreknowledge is based on intelligence and reason. He foresees the future as a state which naturally and surely will be; not one which must be - because He has willed that it shall be.

2. Man Free to Choose for Himself.

"The Father of souls has endowed His children with the divine birth right of agency:

He does not and will not control them by force; He impels no man toward sin; He compels none to righteousness.

Unto man has been given freedom to act for himself; and, associated with this independence, is the fact of strict responsibility and of individual accountability.

In the judgment with which we shall be judged, all the conditions and circumstances of our lives shall be considered.

The INBORN TENDENCIES due to heredity,

The EFFECT OF ENVIRONMENT whether conducive to good or evil,



These and all other contributory elements must be taken into account in the rendering of a just verdict as to the soul's guilt or innocence.

This is what I have always believed and to see it in writing helped me know the mercy of the Lord –

(This is the reason that I try hard not to judge others. I know that I do not have all this information at hand, and for me to judge with out it would not be fair to them or me. Please be careful not to judge others with out all of the information needed to pass a true and just judgment.)

3. The Fall a Process of Physical Degeneracy.—

This is something new to me but as I was studying for my talk I found a good reason for the fall, one that I had never considered before, but now makes perfect sense.

The principle of the Word of Wisdom was revealed unto Adam. All the essentials of the Word of Wisdom were made known unto him in his immortal state, before he had taken into his body those things that made of it a thing of earth. He was warned against that very practice. He was not told to treat his body as something to he tortured. He was told that he must not take into that body certain things which were there at hand.

He was warned that, if he did, his body would lose the power which it then held of living for ever, and that he would become subject to death. It was pointed out to him, that there are many good fruits to be plucked, to be eaten, to be enjoyed. And it was told unto Adam: Touch not these things; for in the day that thou doest it thy life shall be shortened and thou shalt die. "

God knew the weaknesses of Adam & Eve and he knew that one or both would fall to temptation.

Could he have stopped it?

When my children were still young and needed my permission to do something, they would come and ask if they could go some where that I felt was not safe.

I would tell them NO

They, as all children do, wanted to know why.

I would say “What kind of a mother would I be if I allowed you to walk into temptation?”

But now that they are out on their own I have to trust that they will use the teachings that I tried to instill in them.

They are now living their own lives, and will make their own mistakes. I can not live their lives for them. Nor would I want to.

We have to let our children make their own choices.

We teach and train our children how to be a good person and a great citizen; we pray and hope that the teaching and training take hold. We let them out into the big bad world and hold our breath.

Like God, we know to some degree what our children will make of themselves. Good or bad we can only stand by; offering advice; praying they will use it; and being there if they come to us for help.

Remember in the story - “He had been warned about going into that much debt, and particularly about his creditor. But it seemed so important for him to have what he wanted right then. He was sure he could pay for it later.

God presented a plan - the “Plan of Salvation” – The plan of Happiness – the Atonement” to us in heaven before we ever came to earth, because He knew that we would be like this man, having a debt that needed to be paid and no way to justly pay for it.


“ ‘If you do not forgive the debt there will be no mercy,’ the debtor pleaded.

“ ‘If I do, there will be no justice,’ was the reply.

“Both laws, it seemed, could not be served. They are two eternal ideals that appear to contradict one another. Is there no way for justice to be fully served and mercy also?

“There is a way!

The law of justice can be fully satisfied and mercy can be fully extended—but it takes someone else. And so it happened this time.

“The debtor had a friend. He came to help. He knew the debtor well. He knew him to be shortsighted. He thought him foolish to have gotten himself into such a predicament. Nevertheless, he wanted to help because he loved him. He stepped between them, faced the creditor, and made this offer.

“ ‘I will pay the debt if you will free the debtor from his contract so that he may keep his possessions and not go to prison.’

“As the creditor was pondering the offer, the mediator added, ‘You demanded justice. Though he cannot pay you, I will do so. You will have been justly dealt with and can ask no more. It would not be just.’

“And so the creditor agreed.

“The mediator turned then to the debtor. ‘If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor?’

“ ‘Oh yes, yes,’ cried the debtor. ‘You saved me from prison and show mercy to me.’

“ ‘Then,’ said the benefactor, ‘you will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible. I will provide a way. You need not go to prison.’

“And so it was that the creditor was paid in full. He had been justly dealt with. No contract had been broken.

“The debtor, in turn, had been extended mercy. Both laws stood fulfilled. Because there was a mediator, justice had claimed its full share, and mercy was satisfied”

The Lord knew that we would need a friend to step in and help us. This friend would give US the mercy we need and give God the justice that is asks for.


4. Christ Wrought Redemption from the Fall.

Christ Was the Only One Who Could Atone for Our Sins

There are several reasons why Jesus Christ was the only person who could be our Savior. One reason is that Heavenly Father chose him to be the Savior. He was the Only Begotten Son of God and thus had power over death.

(John 10:17–18) Jesus explained: “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again”

Jesus also qualified to be our Savior because he is the only person who has ever lived on the earth who did not sin. This made him a worthy sacrifice to pay for the sins of others.

We see all throughout the scriptures that when a sacrifice was offered up unto the Lord, it was a pure and unblemished.

"The Savior thus becomes master of the situation—the debt is paid, the redemption made, the covenant fulfilled, justice satisfied, the will of God done, and all power is now given into the hands of the Son of God—the power of the resurrection, the power of the redemption, the power of salvation, the power to enact laws for the carrying out and accomplishment of this design.

5. Redemption

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the doctrine of the fall, and the account of the transgression in Eden, as set forth in Genesis; but it affirms that none but Adam is or shall be answerable for Adam's disobedience; that mankind in general are absolutely absolved from responsibility for that 'original sin', and that each shall account for his own transgressions alone; that the fall was foreknown of God, the necessary condition of mortality.

A Redeemer was provided before the world was.

Redemption comes to all without their seeking it: but that individual salvation or rescue from the effects of personal sins is to be acquired by each for himself by faith and good works through the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ."

No comments: