Atonement in the Book of Mormon (Foundation Series)
Foundation of the Book of Mormon Series
Isaiah 59:1-2; “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Think about this for a moment.
Where would you be today if Jesus hadn’t saved you?
Would you be just like you are right now? (We hope not!) Would you be divorced, married, estranged from loved ones?
How about your personal disposition? How much worse off would you be? Are people able to see a marked difference in you since that time?
As humans we tend to measure our lives by the successful moments. Kids, marriage and job promotions seem to take top honors in our list of must haves. I’ve noticed however since I’ve accepted the Lord, the Christian’s biggest and most memorable success in life is the day they accepted Jesus as their God and Savior. Christians have acknowledged they’re sinners and are in need of some serious intervention. Their day of reckoning on this side of heaven has arrived.
As a Mormon that never would’ve crossed my mind and the reason why you ask? There is no such thing as a “day of salvation” in Mormonism.
After all, I always told people that of course I’m a Christian; I was born into the Mormon Church. Yet the terminology of saved, born again and not even the word grace ever crossed my lips.
And that brings me to the subject of atonement. While reading countless articles of and about Mormonism there’s always been one word in their vocabulary that’s stumped me. That word is obviously the subject of this installment in our series.
This particular article has been on my list of to-do’s for a long time. I’ve been in prayer asking the Lord to open my eyes and show me what I’m missing in the way Mormons use this word. It seems misplaced and causes whatever they say to lose meaning and confuse the reader.
The rabbit trails of their definition not only confuse those of us who know how to look for truth, but the poor Mormons as well.
And then it hit me.
It’s their rejection of the cross.
The rejection of original sin and man’s necessity for Jesus’ atoning work to bring us into a relationship once again with God. Our estrangement from God is because of our sin and when you reject this you’ve rejected the fact you need a Savior.
It’s also their desecration of who He is…
The utter rejection of His sacrifice…
The defamation of God’s word…
The slanderous descriptions of His bride…
All those things are a culmination of why Mormon leaders and members alike throw the word atonement around like it was last week’s news being trampled upon by passersby.
There’s no value to the word atonement in Mormonism because they’ve deliberately used it inappropriately and in the meantime contradict themselves. I’ve used this example before, but it’d be like me saying “I drove my car while I walked to work”.
It doesn’t even make sense and so it is with the majority of Mormon terminology.
An example of this can be found in a statement by Apostle David Bednar;
“The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.”
Where in that statement is the gratitude for Jesus giving His very life because we need a Redeemer? He died! Jesus died because of our sinful pride and you’re talking about what you can do to get saved…oh my.
Where in that statement is there any reference to the reason why we need atonement or an example of atonement from the Old Testament? And exactly what is “the enabling power of the atonement”? What is the meaning of that phrase?
There was no other reason for God to provide a Redeemer for us other than His pure and unadulterated love for us. There’s no other explanation for what He did and when we believe we can do something to help out then we’ve essentially told Him “Oh that’s too bad you had to die but I have a plan of my own”…
While we need to pray this Mormon gentleman gets saved, we also need to pray his message falls on ears of people who will want to know why he said the things he did.
I’ve listed all the places in the Book of Mormon where you can find the word atonement. I would ask that you take the time to look at a few of them and ask the Mormon in your life what that particular verse means to them.
After they’ve given you their opinion, share with them what atonement is from the Bible. Play the part of a journalist. Use the “who, what, where, when, why and how” method to teach them about its significance. Show them how to use a concordance while you look up the location of verses that will explain what God says.
As a brand new ex-Mormon one of the biggest shocks for me was when I found out about the Strong’s Concordance. Sharing the gift of learning something new is always welcomed by a Mormon.
With Love in Christ;
2 Nephi – 570-544 BC
2:10 – atonement
9:7 – (2x) atonement
9:25 – atonement
9:26 – atonement
10:25 – atonement
25:16 – atonement
Jacob 544 – 421 BC
4:11 – atonement
4:12 – atonement
7:12 – atonement
3:11 – atoneth
3:15 – atonement
3:16 – atoneth
3:18 – atoning
3:19 – atonement
4:2 – atoning
4:6 – atonement
4:7 – atonement
13:28 – atonement
Alma 91-53 BC
13:5 – atonement
21:9 – atonement
22:14 – atone
24:13 – atonement
30:17 – atonement
33:22 – atone
34:8 – atone
34:9 – (3x) atonement
34:11 – atone
34:12 – atonement
36:17 – atone
42:15 – atoneth, atonement
42:23 – (2x) atonement
Helaman 62-2 BC
5:9 – atoning
Moroni – 400-421 AD
7:41 – atonement
8:20 – atonement
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I think that Elder Bednar is more explaining how this belief and hope is possible rather than giving a dissertation on the Atonement. I think that the points you bring up have merit, and should be given an explanation, but the answers are there. Don’t shut-off because one sentence does not bring down and explain all things. The grace that comes as a result of the atonement is all that he is talking about that sentence, his discourses about why, where, how, and when are made in other places.
Thank you so much for sharing this list!