The following article is a simplified explanation of the Atonement. The suffering that Jesus Christ experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross opened the way for the human race to eventually overcome all evil, pain, and anguish and to become as God is. It is all about Love.

When the word “Atonement” is divided up, it reads “At-one-ment.” This process of At-one-ment is a journey that all of us need to make in order to be ONE with Christ. As little children we are “alive in Christ,” but somewhere along the way, all of us make choices that lead us to a darkened spiritual world.

ME separate from GOD/THE SPIRIT

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When we are separate from the Lord, and His Spirit, we do not comprehend spiritual things. We have no light to “discern” the direction or consequences of our choices.  “A light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” (D & C 45:7.)

When we can come to a point in our lives where we feel a need for God and we become deeply willing to change – we connect!

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As we begin to bask in His light, we feel His love and transformative power working in us, as much as we will allow. It may be a very small connection initially, but can feel huge to someone who is used to living in darkened realms.

A non-member friend shared with me an unusual experience where she connected with the Lord for the first time in her life. She had been working for years for the National Enquirer, which as you know, is a magazine that deals in gossip and sensational stories that may or may not be true. She was living in depression because of what she read and wrote, and working around godless people made it worse.

One night, she was so low in her hopelessness, she said to herself, “I’m just going to lie in my bed and I’m not going to get up again unless I find that there is something better.” While she was lying there, she noticed herself out of her body, and for the first time, felt peace. Shortly after that, she went back into her body, but she received the answer that she needed. There WAS more! She knew that she had connected with something. That was the beginning of her spiritual journey.

Once we “connect,” and feel God’s love even for a moment, it changes us. We go from unbeliever to believer. We begin to KNOW spiritual things for ourselves! At this level, we generally connect and disconnect on a regular basis, because we can’t hold too much light for sustained periods of time.

To some who have catapulted up from great depths, it becomes a “born again” experience. The scriptures have several powerful stories of people who experienced this process in dramatic ways. Lamoni, Alma the Younger, and Saul to name a few. (All of us will also experience this mighty event at least once along our At-one-ment process.)

When we are connected, miracles begin to occur. Miracles come to us after our upward propelling faith has been exerted and we become cleansed (repentance). As we begin to merge with the Lord, and FOCUS ON THE PART OF OUR “CIRCLE” THAT IS BATHED IN LIGHT, we soar with the Spirit and feel great clarity and joy. This is GRACE! This is how we can claim, “I can do all things through Christ!” (Phil. 4:13)

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If we choose to disconnect ourselves, (by focusing on the dark part of our circle), we descend into darkness, anger, pride, frustration, depression etc, which keeps us far from the Lord and His love. It takes a constant effort to stay connected. It’s always a choice on our part. We can lose light quickly as we focus on other things, and not even realize it

As we become more and more aligned, through deep humility, repentance, gratitude and positive thought, we continue to change. We begin to get glimpses of who we really are. As we are able to bear more and more of Christ’s light and Presence, the more beautiful our lives will feel, and the more people we will influence.

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When we work at this process until we are completely merged with the Lord in His circle of light, we are fully applying the Atonement at that moment in our lives. This picture paradigm helps us to visualize being aligned with God, so that we will be ONE with Him and all his characteristics. Our focus is no longer, “I want to be righteous and obedient so that God will help me do what I want,” but “I want to be righteous and obedient so that I can help God do what He wants!” 

There is NO OTHER WAY!

The Lord suffered the Atonement so that we could transcend our natural selves and become the Celestial beings He knows we can be. We know we’re not perfect, but he allows us to unite with His perfection and feel His perfect will for us.   When we continually and purposefully align with Him, He becomes a bigger and bigger part of OUR spiritual makeup. We become able to tolerate the higher levels of the spirit for longer and longer intervals. We begin to see as He sees and know as He knows. The second that we begin to judge, criticize, fear, worry, or feel any conflict for any reason, however, we are out of that circle and have to let go of the love, and lose the peace.

Becoming completely aligned is what it takes to become as God is. There is NO OTHER WAY! This process is how Christ became like the Father.

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Christ learned to bear more and more of the presence of His Father until He was completely ONE with Him, and was able to MAINTAIN that alignment. I love what Christ says in 3rd Nephi, “And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one.” (3 Nephi 28:10) When you are in this circle, you are living the life of fullness and joy that you were born to live.  How much of this light can you hold? How long can you hold it?

Bruce R. McConkie made an astounding statement that shows what our spiritual possibilities and privileges are when we learn to “At-One” with the Lord.

“After the true saints receive and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost; after they know how to attune themselves to the voice of the Spirit; after they mature spiritually so that they see visions, work miracles, and entertain angels,…and prove themselves worthy of every trust…it becomes their right and privilege to see the Lord and commune with him face to face. Revelations, visions, angelic visitations, the rending of the heavens, and appearances among men of the Lord himself—all these things are for all of the faithful. They are not reserved for apostles and prophets only. God is no respecter of persons. They are not reserved for one age only, or for a select lineage or people. We are all our Father’s children. All men are welcome…” (Promised Messiah: First Coming of Christ{Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995}, 575-76)

THE BOTTOM LINE OF THE ATONEMENT IS LOVE. Christ is willing to give us everything that He has! How much are we willing to receive? The more of His light and love we pursue, the more we can expand into His presence. The “ball” is in our court. We can choose how fast and how deep we go. The At-one-ment is powered by Christ, but up to us to receive! How much can we hold?

Comments welcome – annehpratt@hotmail.com