The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 2

The Atonement

The Missionaries Will Teach...

Before God organized the earth, he chose Jesus Christ to be our savior and redeemer.  The sacrifice that Jesus made empowers us to overcome the effects of the fall: sin and death.  Since the beginning of the world, all of the prophets have taught about Jesus Christ as the redeemer of mankind.

We are all going to die someday.  But just as our current life is only temporary, our death will only be temporary, too.  Death is the separation of the body and spirit.  When Jesus died on the cross, his spirit was separated from his body.  Three days later, his body and spirit were reunited, never to be separated again. This permanent reunification of the body and spirit is known as the resurrection.  After a body is resurrected, it is perfect and no longer subject to sickness, pain, aging, and death.  After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to many people, showing them his perfect, resurrected body.  Because of Jesus' resurrection, we are all promised to be resurrected, regardless of whether we've done good or evil in this life.  Once we are resurrected, we will return to God's presence to be judged.  However, in order to live in his presence, we also need to be cleansed from our sins.

God sent his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to overcome sin in addition to physical death.  We are not responsible for the fall of Adam and Eve, but we are responsible for our own sins.  God cannot tolerate any degree of sin, and no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of heaven.  Because of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ can we be cleansed of our sins and return to live with heavenly father. This is possible through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism into the Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter-day Saints, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, as he is uniquely capable of doing that.  He was chosen to do this in pre-earth life.  He was the literal son of God in the flesh.  Throughout his life he was sinless and completely obedient to God.  Satan tempted him, but Jesus never gave in to the temptation.  When God asked his son Jesus Christ to pay the price of the world's sins, Jesus agreed to do so.  The price of sin that Jesus paid included his torture in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, and his death.  His suffering was so incomprehensibly excruciating that he literally bled from every pour.  Submitting to be tortured in this way is an expression of Jesus' love for God and for us. Overcoming sin by being tortured for the world's sins, and overcoming death by being resurrected is called the atonement.

Jesus promised to forgive us of our sins on the condition that we have faith in Him, repent, are baptized by immersion into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying-on of hands, and strive to keep his commandments and endure in faithfulness for the rest of our lives.  By continual repenting, we are forgiven from our sins and freed from the guilt and shame, and through the grace of Jesus Christ, are forgiven and become worthy to return and live in the presence of  God.

As we have faith in Jesus Christ and rely upon his atonement, he will help us endure pain, suffering, sickness, and the trials of life.  He will make it possible to experience peace and happiness in life.  The atonement will eventually make right everything that is unfair in life.

In paying the penalty for our sins, Jesus did not take away our personal responsibility.  We have to demonstrate that we accept him and will obey his commandments.  Only through the gift of the atonement can we return and live with God.     

Some Additional Thoughts...

Earning God's Forgiveness.  Some thoughts on the price for sin.

What is Required?  A poem by Micah.

Back Up Next

If you have a question or would like to discuss these topics, I suggest that you go to a Mormon-related bulletin board (here are some recommendations). If you'd like to contact me with comments or feedback, you may send an email to