Putting people above problems

Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.

Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Joy in the Journey,” October General Conference, 2008

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Developing a plan to better understand the Atonement

Richard G. Scott I’ve appreciated the way Elder Richard G. Scott has encouraged us to learn about the Atonement of Christ. Here is a powerful invitation he recently left BYU students (italics added):

I energetically encourage you to establish a personal plan to better understand and appreciate the incomparable, eternal, infinite consequences of the perfect fulfillment by Jesus Christ of His divinely appointed calling as our Savior and Redeemer. Profound personal pondering of the scriptures accompanied by searching, heartfelt prayer will fortify your understanding of and appreciation for the Atonement. Your understanding can be strengthened through related classes as well as by discussions with faculty and students. Your understanding could be enhanced by a pause in your university studies to fulfill a call as a devoted full-time missionary. Whatever path you follow, please establish for yourself a must-be accomplished goal to acquire a better understanding of the Atonement while you are a student at Brigham Young University.

This may seem to be a significantly added burden that you cannot realize because of the press of all else you are required to do while enrolled here. However, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ—and I do not use those words lightly—I testify that your understanding of the Atonement and the insight it provides for your life will greatly enhance your productive use of all of the knowledge, experience, and skills you acquire at this university.

(Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Establish a Secure Foundation for Life,” BYU Devotional, March 18, 2008)

Elder Scott gave a similar invitation in his October 2006 conference address (italics added):

I believe that no matter how diligently you try, you cannot with your human mind fully comprehend the eternal significance of the Atonement nor fully understand how it was accomplished. We can only appreciate in the smallest measure what it cost the Savior in pain, anguish, and suffering or how difficult it was for our Father in Heaven to see His Son experience the incomparable challenge of His Atonement. Even so, you should conscientiously study the Atonement to understand it as well as you can. You can learn what is needful to live His commandments, to enjoy peace and happiness in mortal life.

Elder Maxwell shared this thought about teaching the Atonement:

When we share the gospel as members or full-time missionaries, our friends and investigators need to feel our convictions and testimonies about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Yes, we are teaching a deep concept, but we should also be sharing a deep conviction about that powerful doctrine.

The most important thing we can do in preparing individuals to receive the full blessings of the Atonement is to understand it and to believe in it ourselves. By understanding and believing in the Atonement personally, you and I can teach and testify of the Atonement with greater gratitude, greater love, and greater power.

Neal A. Maxwell, “Testifying of the Great and Glorious Atonement,” Ensign, Oct 2001, 10

The power of our belief in the Atonement

Many who think that life is unfair do not see things within the larger vision of what the Savior did for us through the Atonement and the Resurrection. Each of us has at times agony, heartbreak, and despair when we must, like Job, reach deep down inside to the bedrock of our own faith. The depth of our belief in the Resurrection and the Atonement of the Savior will, I believe, determine the measure of courage and purpose with which we meet life’s challenges.

James E. Faust, “Woman, Why Weepest Thou?” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 52

"Did He ask easy things of His disciples then?"

President Henry B. Eyring said this in last October’s Priesthood Conference:

“You can get assurance in your service. You can forget yourself and begin to pray for and love those you are to serve. And you can choose what to do and measure success by the degree to which it changes the hearts of the people you serve.

“But it is never going to be easy for you or for those you serve. There will always be pain in service and in the repentance necessary to bring the power of the Atonement to change hearts. That is in the nature of what you are called to do. Think of the Savior, whose service you are in. At what point in His mortal life can you see an instance when it was easy for Him? Did He ask easy things of His disciples then? Then why should it ever be easy in His service or for His disciples?”

Ensign, November 2007, p. 57, emphasis added.

Postscript:
President Eyring, in a 1997 BYU Devotional, made a similar remark:

“You are the future of the Church. God knows that. And so he now asks more of you than he has asked of those who were here before you, because the kingdom will need more.”

See: http://stephenjones.us/2008/04/01/the-plan-of-salvation-eyring/