1 Big Reason Why God Gets Angry

You're Out Umpire

I am not a huge fan of the idea that God is sitting up in heaven with thunderbolts in hand ready to strike down the first person to break the commandments. I don’t believe in the “angry-umpire god” who is just waiting to scream in our face “YOU’RE OUT!!!” when we do not live up to every commandment with perfection. I believe in a God who weeps who is loving and caring and sensitive and emotionally intelligent. However, I do believe that there is one thing that the scriptures tell us makes the Lord angry or sincerely frustrated. I believe that He experiences anger (or sincere frustration) when we do not understand what He has given us through the inestimable gift of the atonement.

Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.” 1

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As returned missionaries, we should seek to understand, more than any other thing, what God has granted us, because of His Son. We preach and teach the atonement with its far reaching effects our whole mission. Think of all the problems that people were going through on your mission. Add your investigators stories (and others you taught) to this list:

  • A father with heavy addiction  to alcohol
  • A daughter with addiction to meth
  • A best friend who commits suicide
  • An star athlete who suddenly becomes paralyzed from an accident
  • A husband and son both addicted to pornography and a wife who doesn’t know what to do
  • A couple with 5 kids gets a divorce after 15 years of marriage
  • A teenager who is physically abused by his father
  • An faithful single mother of 3 kids who contracts cancer and is given 90 days to live.
  • A girl who has worked all her life to provide for her siblings after her parents abandoned them at age 10 and loses her job after she starts paying tithing
  • After a year of being sober from drug addiction, a mother relapses and permanently loses her kids
  • A loving husband who tells his wife (a pilot) it is safe to fly home, not knowing that a dangerous storm would take her life (and all the passengers flying with her in their small plane).

I’m sure you could add a score of similar stories from hundreds of individuals and families you taught or met on your mission. As missionaries you get to “grow up” really fast because of the constant exposure to situations like this every day of your mission. All of these people had struggles beyond your ability to help. But you still promised all of them REAL hope through the atonement of Jesus Christ. You probably memorized the phrase from the second lesson: “All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”  2

This does NOT change for your life now. I promise that you will go through similarly heart-wrenching experiences that have seemingly no solution. AND you have every bit as much claim on the power that comes from the Atonement as every family and individual to which you promised hope. I promise you now that He will be with you through it all. But in order to have the type of faith you will need to get through your own personal Abrahamic test, you will need to know that the atonement works for YOU as much as it does for your investigators.

If you haven’t already, I recommend a serious study of the doctrine of the Atonement. Jacob says it well: “Why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him..?” 3 I think we should be speaking and learning even more of the atonement of Jesus Christ after the mission than we were during. It is why we are here on earth and it is what makes life in a fallen world livable. It is what makes an abundant life possible. It is what gives us hope. 4

Elder Bruce R. McConkie re-echoed the need for greater understanding of the atonement:

“The atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths. Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life. But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived. May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement.” 5

As you are trying to figure out which major to choose, what career to pursue, or pathway to follow, you will be blessed and enriched by a continuous and concentrated study of the atonement. Consider Elder Richard G. Scott’s apostolic promise:

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“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.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…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.” 6

Whether you are a student or not, you can receive these blessings promised by Elder Scott. So where do you start? The scriptures and the words of modern prophets and apostles. Maybe begin with a focus on the four Gospel entries on the atonement, and then move to the Book of Mormon prophets. This entire Book from cover to cover is a testament of the atonement of Christ. Nowhere is it more clear. Then go to the Temple. Remember that “the story of Christ’s life is the story of GIVING the atonement. The story of Adam and Eve is a story of RECEIVING the atonement.” 7 We need to understand both and the temple is a great place to do this.


Our Heavenly Father is not an angry God, but I believe He does feel divine frustration when we don’t understand the mercies offered to us because of the atonement. Do everything in your power to activate the atonement in your life. It will make your world a better place.


Additional books that have helped me to deepen my knowledge and testimony of the atonement:

  1. Alma 33:16
  2. Preach My Gospel, p. 52
  3. Jacob 4:12
  4. Moroni 7:41
  5. Bruce R. McConkie – The Purifying Power of Gethsemane, CR Apr 1985
  6. Richard G. Scott, BYU Devotional March 18, 2008
  7. Bruce C. Hafen, Keynote address given at BYU Women’s Conference. May 1, 2014

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