You may have seen my article about why God gets angry. In short, His divine frustration comes when we don’t take advantage of the power that is given to us because of the atonement. Well, here are 6 ways that you can activate that power today.
1. Remember Where You’re Headed
This is the most important one. None of the others will work until this one is in the bag.
You were born for glory. You are here to become like God. Not many religions believe this. This is a pretty unique doctrine. I believe that most of what we will ultimately be judged by already happened before we were born. Not predestination junk, but the stuff you read in your patriarchal blessings. That was real. It happened, and you already walked and talked with God and fought for His purposes. You are literal spirit offspring of God, the Father. And we believe in this church that we can actually become gods ourselves. We believe that. Remember? This is the whole point of life.
This life is pretty good at giving us reasons for needing redemption, but the atonement isn’t just for cleaning mud off from our earthly “dirty dash” mud run. It not only helps us to transform from sinner to clean and from clean to saint, but from saint to god. I love these words from Joseph Smith:
“The nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, (he) arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment.” 1
Everyone falls into one of these categories, and the atonement helps in EVERY position. If you are a sinner or a saint, the atonement will push you upward to where you are headed. Remember where you’re headed. Then you’ll know you need the atonement, and you’ll actually want to activate its power in your life.
2. Feast Upon The Word of God
Feasting upon the word of God will activate the power of the atonement in a way that not many other things will. There is actual power as we take in the words and put them deep within our hearts. How is it that Alma was a wicked priest of Noah who committed whoredoms and spent his strength with harlots 2 and then not long after, he was baptizing whole congregations in the waters of Mormon? 3 How is it that Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah were “the vilest of sinners” 4 and yet were able to make such a mighty change that they converted an entire nation of Lamanites, and later in life Alma was even translated? 5 It is because the word of God, planted deep within our souls, activates the power of the atonement.
“Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us…” 6
I believe that the word was literally IN them – a literal part of their physical and spiritual makeup. It was quite literally, like Jeremiah said “in their inward parts” written in their hearts. 7
The word written in our hearts and in our “inward parts” activates power unto transformation: the power of the atonement.
3. Listen to the Words of Modern Prophets
There is power that comes from listening to the words of those prophets and apostles who are special witnesses of the atonement of Jesus Christ. They know Him. Many have seen Him personally. They understand the atonement probably better than any other because they have had first-hand personal experience with the one who atoned. Study their words. They cannot say all they know, but the Spirit will tell you more as you listen to them. Study them too, but there is something powerful unlocked when we actually listen to their voices. There is power in it that will trickle into your life as you consistently listen to their preaching.
“The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just–yeah, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them–therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” 8
There is a reason why the preaching of the word had a powerful effect on the minds of the people. It is like the difference between reading and listening to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland and reading it. Both are powerful experiences, but they are called to testify of Christ, specifically about His atonement. Listening to their voices will unlock its power in your life.
Best place to listen to the voices of modern prophets:
- Speeches.byu.edu (this is an AMAZING resource)
- lds.org (General Conference)
- Mormon Channel (get the free app too)
- The Church’s General Conference YouTube Channel (LDS General Conference) has scores of recorded testimonies of the prophets and apostles.
Come listen to a prophets voice and hear the word of God. It will change you as you listen. As they testify of Jesus Christ and His atonement, there can be a fulfillment of Mosiah 15:10-12. You can literally become His seed as you hear the voices of the prophets and you will be seen by the Savior. A very literal activation.
4. Go to The Temple
Some have wondered why the temple film 9 is all about the creation and about Adam and Eve if it is supposed to be teaching us about the atonement. Remember that “the story of Christ’s life is the story of GIVING the atonement. The story of Adam and Eve is the story of RECEIVING the atonement.” 10 Studying the giving of the atonement is important and it is also important to have a great understanding of the receiving of the atonement. As we understand how the atonement was received by our father Adam and mother Eve, we will be more capable of receiving it for ourselves. This will activate its power in your life.
5. Study Supplemental Books
Here are a few that have really helped me enrich and deepen my understanding of the atonement:
- The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister
- The Broken Heart by Bruce C. Hafen
- The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox
- Gethsemane by Andrew Skinner
- The God Who Weeps by Terryl Givens
As you read these books, your knowledge of the atonement will be expanded. As your knowledge of the atonement expands, you will be given a new lens through which you see the whole world. As you see the world through the lens of the atonement, you will start to see everything and every person differently, including yourself. Over time, you will become a changed person because of your improved view of yourself. You will be literally transformed into a new creature in Christ.
6. Receive the Holy Ghost
The Lord Himself invited us to activate the atonement through the reception of the Holy Ghost. As we do any of the above, we are using our agency to choose God. And when we do this, the Holy Ghost comes. When we were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the person doing so confirms us and then tells us: “receive the Holy Ghost.” It is command, not an endowment. We are the ones who have to act to receive the Holy Ghost. And though we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, the gift is only activated as we do the things that will bring the presence of the Holy Ghost. We get to choose to receive the Holy Ghost every day of our life, or not. And when we DO choose to receive the Holy Ghost, we activate the power of the atonement. I love what Henry B. Eyring said about this activation power:
“Receiving the Holy Ghost is the therapy which effects forgiveness and heals the sin-sick soul. Now that is a fact you can act on with confidence. You can invite the Holy Ghost’s companionship in your life. And you can know when he is there, and when he withdraws. And when he is your companion, you can have confidence that the Atonement is working in your life.” 11
All these things will activate the power of the atonement in your life. We all need it, whether we are putting off the natural man, becoming a saint,12 or like Moroni said, at “the end…when all the saints shall dwell with God.” 13 You fit in one of those. The atonement is powerful. I need that power. You need that power. Activate the power of the atonement in your life.
- TPJS, p. 51 ↩
- Mosiah 12:29 ↩
- Mosiah 18 ↩
- Mosiah 28:4 ↩
- See Alma 26 and Alma 45:18-19 ↩
- Alma26:13 – italics added ↩
- See Jeremiah 31:33-34 ↩
- Alma 31:5 – italics added ↩
- Yes, I can say that because Bruce C. Hafen said it in his public address at BYU Women’s Conference ↩
- Bruce C. Hafen, Keynote address given at BYU Women’s Conference. May 1, 2014 ↩
- To Draw Closer To God, pp. 49-50 ↩
- Mosiah 3:19 ↩
- Moroni 8:26 ↩