8 Ways to Help Internalize the Atonement

Thinking about the Atonement


Here are a few ideas I have found helpful as I have sought to “internalize” and “feel,” not just “figure,” the Atonement.

• Mark and ponder on the Atonement scriptural passages in the Book of Mormon. This can be a powerful and profound experience. This idea was first presented to me by a stake president, giving guidance to understand the Atonement more fully. This same pattern could also be followed using the other standard works of the Church: the Old and New Testaments, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants.

This is an excerpt from Table Salt and Testimony by Darren Schmidt.

Take time at the temple to ponder on the Atonement. While at the temple, consistently take time to contemplate the Savior and His Atonement. Ponder your relationship with Him and His relationship with Heavenly Father. Elder Richard G. Scott stated that, if done, “this simple act will lead to greater understanding
of the supernal nature of the temple ordinances.”(4)

Pray fervently and frequently for help to understand the Atonement and its teachings. Honest and sincere prayers coupled with a desire to know and faith in Christ is a great formula to come to an understanding of gospel principles, especially those principles related to the Atonement (see James 1:1–5; Enos
1:1–8, 11–15).

Study the sacrament prayers. Along with a study of the sacrament prayers, you might also study the accounts of the Last Supper as recorded in the New Testament. As you study these verses, take time to reflect and ponder on each word or phrase and its meaning to you personally (see D&C 20:77, 79; Moroni
4–5; Luke 22:14–20; Matthew 26:20, 26–30; and Mark 14:22–26).

Set aside some time for additional pondering and meditation. This can be done indoors in a quiet room or outdoors in nature. On one occasion, President Spencer W. Kimball was taken camping to recover from a series of heart attacks. At one point on the trip, he couldn’t be found, and a search party was sent out to discover his whereabouts. Searchers found him several miles away beneath a large pine tree with his Bible open to the last chapter of the Gospel of John. In response to their  worried looks, he stated, “Six years ago today I was called to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I just wanted to spend the day with Him whose witness I am.”(5)

Look for examples of Christ in the scriptures. While you reflect on principles you discover in your daily scripture study and how you might apply them in your own life, consider the examples of how Christ applied the principles in His life. Doing this on your own will both strengthen your testimony of Him and prepare you for the discussions about Christ you will have with your family.

Testify of Christ on occasion. Elder Boyd K. Packer stated, “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it.”(6) This can be done during fast and testimony meetings or at home with your family. Keep in mind that sharing your testimony in one place shouldn’t compensate for not sharing it in the other. Elder Neal A. Maxwell made it a practice in his home to hold a family testimony meeting twice a year. He also bore his testimony to his children one on one, wanting his children to know that what he felt and said in private was the same as what they might hear him say over the pulpit.(7) We are promised a cleansing of the spirit when a pure testimony is borne with the Spirit (see D&C 62:3). The Spirit will bear witness of the testimony we share as we do so in a spirit of meekness (see D&C 100:5–8).

Access the Savior’s gift of repentance daily. Studying about the priceless gift of the Atonement is essential, but using its cleansing, comforting, and enabling power is just as important. We are told by Alma that procrastination to repent will allow
the devil “power over” us (Alma 34:35). Alma also reminded us that we should “acknowledge [our] unworthiness before God at all times” (Alma 38:14). Repentance requires a confessing and forsaking of our sins (see D&C 58:42–43), as well as a change of heart (see Alma 36:6–24), so the Savior’s loving mercy can
be our companion and the demands of justice can be properly appeased (see Alma 42:15–30). If we will continue to repent and seek to worthily partake of the sacrament each week, then we are promised continued progress toward becoming like Christ (see D&C 20:77–79 and 3 Nephi 18:28–29).

Nephi’s powerful words in the Book of Mormon suggest that as a father, husband, and prophet, he had paid the price to come to know the Savior and made every effort to point his family toward Christ. He stated, And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)

This is an excerpt from Table Salt and Testimony by Darren Schmidt.

Elder Russell M. Nelson once said, As we go through life, even through very rough waters, a father’s instinctive impulse to cling tightly to his wife or to his children may
not be the best way to accomplish his objective. Instead, if he will lovingly cling to the Savior and the iron rod of the gospel, his family will want to cling to him and to the Savior.

This lesson is surely not limited to fathers. Regardless of gender, marital status, or age, individuals can choose to link themselves directly to the Savior, hold fast to the rod of His truth, and lead by the light of that truth. By so doing, they become examples of righteousness to whom others will want to cling.(8)

It is my hope that each of us can see the great significance of linking ourselves to the Savior and help our families do the same. I conclude with my own personal witness that I know, by the power of the Spirit, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that His way is the only way to truly find peace and happiness in this life, and ultimately eternal life with our Father in Heaven. I’m grateful for the moments I have walked in His shadow and been a recipient of His marvelous light and inexpressible love, knowing at those times that He has been near indeed. How patient He has been with me as I have sought to do His will, often falling short before being forgiven, cleansed, and trusted once more. I give honor and glory to His name and continue to pledge myself to His service. I know His way is the
only way. I hope I might one day prove myself worthy of His sacrifice and be among the “just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood” (D&C 76:69).

This is an excerpt from Table Salt and Testimony by Darren Schmidt.

4. Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Ensign, May 2009.
5. Quoted in Boyd K. Packer, “President Spencer W. Kimball: No
Ordinary Man,” Ensign, March 1974, 4.
6. Boyd K. Packer, “The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, January 1983.
7. See Bruce C. Hafen and Neal A. Maxwell, A Disciple’s Life (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 232.
8. Russell M. Nelson, “ ‘Set in Order Thy House,’ ” Ensign, November 2001, 69.