Last year, our newly called General Relief Society President gave a talk at the Relief Society Broadcast titled, Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in our Hearts? During Sister Burton’s talk, she gave three principles of the Atonement that would help us increase faith in Jesus Christ. The three principles included:
One: All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Two: There is power in the Atonement to enable us to overcome the natural man or woman and become true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Three: The Atonement is the greatest evidence we have of the Father’s love for His children.
When I listened to the talk, I felt an immediate rush of gratitude and love for this new Relief Society President. Personally, I loved Sister Beck (Sister Burton’s predecessor), and I couldn’t really imagine loving another Relief Society President so much. But she gave this powerful talk which confirmed to me that she was the new General Relief Society President–called by God. I was grateful for both the witness and the talk she gave. It was just what I needed. (Isn’t that always the way?!)
After the conference, I talked to a friend about the Atonement. She suggested I do a “scripture study series” on the Atonement. I laughed it off…I mean all of the scriptures are about the Atonement. The task seemed impossible! Even though I knew I couldn’t do a scripture study series on the Atonement, I also knew that there was something I should work on…
A friend of mine -who is a Relief Society President – sent me an email shortly after the Relief Society Broadcast. I will share a part of it with you here, (I hope that she doesn’t mind!)
“Did you just love the RS meeting Saturday night? I thought it was amazing and realized I need to strengthen my testimony in the areas Sister Burton talked about. The question I went away with was about the first principle of the Atonement she spoke of, that all that is unfair about life can and will be made right through the Atonement. Can that be true during this life or is it meant to be looked at in an eternal perspective? I have complete faith that it will be taken care of after this life. I’m not there for this life though and sometimes it makes me feel unfaithful. I see so much trouble and pain in my calling as I work with the sisters in our ward, that I can’t see how it can be solved in this life. It would take a miracle. And then I think well, that’s what I should have faith in, that she (the generic, composite she) will let God make a miracle in their life, that she will follow gospel principles, that she will get her act together through the power of Jesus Christ. But the odds are not in her favor at all. Drug use, bad choices, ignorance, a lifetime of bad habits, mental illness etc. It is all stacked against her. I have faith that the atonement can fix those things, but there’s so much personal participation required, I guess that’s where the disconnect lies. Any thoughts?
I saw Sister Burton’s talk as a personal challenge; not just to strengthen others testimony of those principles, but really work on my own.”
When I read this email, especially this part, it galvanized what I was feeling as I watched the talk Sister Burton gave. It gave me even more insight. I know that in a way, I trust that the Atonement is powerful. Yet I reassessed my faith. Do I have faith–even of a mustard seed? What do I really know about the Atonement. Do I truly understand and even trust the three principles that Sister Burton gave? How can I strengthen my faith and testimony–not only of Christ–but of His infinite Atonement?
At about the same time, I had started on a project–creating a Scripture Study Companion of the New Testament. While working on this, it hit me. As a part of the scripture study companion, I would create exercises for each chapter of the New Testament that included an in-depth study of the Atonement. I had this feeling (and I still do) that everything in Christ’s life can teach us about the Atonement…sometimes it takes a little probing, but we can learn more.
The point of all of this is to invite you to also complete this course of Study: The Atonement and Your Personal Relationship with Christ.
You can find the assignments in each chapter of the Scripture Study Companions that I’ve published. They can be downloaded for free and are available in various formats.
Click here to download the New Testament Study Companion: Matthew
Click here to download the New Testament Study Companion: Mark
Luke and John will be coming soon.
I will be writing a couple of times a week here on my blog–about my own study experiences. I will include the exercise/assignment. And my own thoughts. I’d love it if you studied and also shared your own insights. I’m hoping that we can follow Sister Burton’s charge to better understand the Atonement and have this knowledge written on our hearts so our faith and love in Christ can be strengthened and we can be strengthened as we navigate the trials of our lives.