Understand and Apply the Atonement
Welcome, brothers and sisters. It’s good to see your happy, smiling faces. I have been asked to share with you some remarks, and following my remarks we will see a video entitled that I believe is called, “Why.” Here’s your invitation for during that video: watch and try to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “Why am I here? Why does heaven have me at this school at this time?” It has very little to do with what it costs or because you couldn’t get somewhere else or because your parents told you you had to come here, I promise. Those just may be ancillary reasons that got you here.
Why are you here? What would heaven have you get out of this experience? I believe that impressions will come to your mind. Following that video, we’ll be pleased to hear from our president, President Richards.
Okay, I have a story, and then I’ll give you my talk. Here’s my story: I’m on my mission, and Elder Robert K. Dellenbach comes to the mission. We’re finishing the mission tour and we’re at the very end of the very last session of the mission tour. My mission president leans over to me, and he says, “Elder Juchau, Elder Dellenbach wants you to play a medley of the hymns of the Restoration. These are the five that he wants. Go to it.”
I said, “President, when? We’re done. When am I supposed to do that?”
He said, “Right now.”
In a similar manner, President Richards, right before the opening prayer, said, “Adrian, I want you to use the fourth verse for your talk.” Here it is:
As children of Zion,
Good tidings for us.
The tokens already appear.
Fear not, and be just,
For the kingdom is ours.
The hour of redemption is near (Hymns, no. 7).
As I read these words and the words of the whole hymn, here are some thoughts that come to my mind. We’re in August 2008, and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy was recently assigned as the commissioner of the Church Educational System. One of his very first assignments was to come to LDS Business College and to speak to faculty and staff. And he said, “You guys, one of the things you need to think about is, how do you help people whose desires have not yet caught up to their potential?” This question has sunk deeply into my heart.
Two months later, I received part of the answer to that question, and part of the answer I find here in this song. President Eyring came to the school that October, and he said there were two major things that he wanted us to teach you. One of those things was teach them that through the Atonement of Christ, their desires might be changed, their hearts might be changed, their lives might be changed.
Through the Redeemer of Israel, you and I can have our desires changed. Our lives can be better and improved. So a year later after that, I’m teaching a class. I often would turn the time over to the students and ask them, “Is there anything else you want to learn or talk about?” This time, a student raises his band, and the student said, “We’d really like a lesson about the infinite nature of the Atonement.”
I’m confident that I looked at him like a deer in the headlights. I couldn’t do it. That was a daunting task. But he was a new student that semester, and I studied and I studied. And a year and a half later it was his last semester, and he was in another class that I was teaching. I knew that the hour of redemption wasn’t near. The hour of reconciliation . . . I don’t know.
I feel to share some things with you today about the Atonement. After that year and a half of study, I realized how little I knew and how much you and I need to know about the Atonement. So if you’d take your paper out, my lips have nothing to share with you of great import, but I am optimistic that as you connect yourself with heaven today, heaven will teach you something that will be beneficial to you that has something to do with the words of this hymn and something to do with the Atonement.
I’ve got to tell you, when I was studying the Atonement, I learned something I never thought I would learn. I had this impression come to my mind: the Atonement is the great surfactant. Do you know what a surfactant is? Because I sure didn’t. That was one of those great moments of heaven teaching me, for sure. So I looked up surfactants and learned about surfactants. Do any of you know what the most common surfactant is? [Audience response] A natural surfactant is in the lungs, good. And I heard down here, dish soap. The Atonement is the great surfactant, and soap is a surfactant.
There actually are lots and lots of different things that you and I use every day that are surfactants. Here are just a few: she’s exactly right—in our lungs there is a surfactant that allows us to breathe easier. Soap is a surfactant. Glue contains a surfactant. Fabric softener contains a surfactant. How do you call—Neosporin? The ointment, when you have a wound? That contains surfactants. There are more. Fire extinguishers have surfactants in them.
The Atonement is the great surfactant. May I suggest to you that the Atonement is infinite, not just because it’s for all people and not just because there is no sin too deep or too wide that cannot be covered by the Atonement. The Atonement is infinite because it covers everything. Watch this—not only does soap cleanse you, which we know that the Atonement does. This application is what we typically think of when we think of the Atonement, but I want you to think of these other applications of the Atonement.
If I’ve got water and I’ve got oil, and I put them together in a glass, what happens? I hear whisperings. They separate. They don’t mix. Oil and water don’t mix. Do you ever feel that way? Me and math, we just don’t mix. Me and that roommate, we don’t mix. You take some surfactant, and you put it in your solution, and you give it a good shake—and what happens? Surfactant changes the structure, and they’re able to mix. They’re able to become more at one.
William Tyndale, who played an instrumental role in translating the Bible into English, invented this word “At-one-ment,” or at one with, because he couldn’t find another word that well described the purpose of this Atonement. But surfactants are also able to do make at one with. Soap is able to do that.
You want to be able to become more at one with someone—your eternal companion or your friends? The Atonement is the glue that can seal you together. You have something in your life that is broken or in need of repair? The Atonement is the glue that you can use to glue things back together. You want the things that you are trying to learn at LDS Business College to be stickier? The Atonement provides the glue to help with that stickiness. You are having a hard time in life, and you want things to be a little softer? The Atonement has a softening influence. You want to breathe a little easier in a tough time? The Atonement is the surfactant that allows you to breathe easier. WD-40—do you know what this is? It’s a lubricant. WD-40 is another surfactant. You want things to go smoother in your life? The Atonement will help things go smoother.
Brothers and sisters, the Atonement is not something just for your neighbor. It’s not something that works for everybody else. The Atonement is for you, and the Atonement is for me. And if any of those things that I just mentioned quickly don’t describe you today, I assure you they will begin to describe you come midterms, and for sure by finals. And if you want to get through those experiences a little better, you want the Atonement.
How, then, do we access the power of the Atonement more in our lives? You already know the answer, but let me help you. Let’s pretend that this book is a bar of soap for a second. How does that bar of soap work? Does it work by looking at it? Does it work by talking about soap? Does it work by learning more about soap? It’s helpful to learn about it, I suppose.
By the way, do you and I even know how soap works? Do we even know how WD-40 works? No, it doesn’t matter. We just know that it works, and we know how to use it to make it work. I have no idea how the Atonement works. I have no idea, but I testify to you that it works, and I know something of how to make it work. If I want that soap to work for me, I don’t just ask the soap to work for me. I take that soap, and I cover myself with it. I cover myself with it. The word atonement , which in Hebrew is catar, is translated to mean “to cover”. The Atonement covers us all. The Atonement covers all things. And if you want the Atonement to work, you’d better get covered by it.
Brothers and sisters, we do not believe in a gospel of spring cleaning—we believe in a gospel of immersion. And if you want that Atonement to work with you, then you get yourself immersed in it. Get yourself immersed in all things that bring the Spirit, and stay as far away from everything that’s going to interfere with that Spirit. If you make a mistake, the Atonement is available. You’d better access that Atonement. Even families can access the Atonement. Cover yourself in that Atonement.
Here’s an invitation that we’d like to share with you today. I don’t know if we’ve ever done something like this—for sure we haven’t in the 7 ½ years I’ve been at the College. Are you ready for the invitation? You’ve already had some invitations. I haven’t been clear about them, and I hope you’ve heard some and I hope you’ve written some down. But here’s one that you’re going to hear from me now. We’d like to invite you to participate in a campus-wide experience with the Atonement this semester. Here are a couple of data points for you to consider:
We just had Christmas. The Church just had a campaign, “He is the Gift,” right? What if, for this semester, we took a season and we called it, “Receive the Gift”? What if Christmas isn’t the end of a new year, but the beginning of a new way of living? You see, Christmas is only Christmas because of Easter, which is still to come. And this year, Easter happens to fall on conference weekend. I want you to know that we’re working on getting a special devotional speaker that you aren’t going to want to miss. If we’re able to get him this semester, he’ll talk about the Atonement with our campus community. We’re going to be planning some other activities around the theme of the Atonement this semester.
We invite you to consider how you personally can come to better understand and apply the Atonement in your life each day. We’ll give you examples; we’ll give you reminders as time goes on. Here are just a few: perhaps as we are studying the New Testament as a Church this year, you might want to read along in the New Testament. Perhaps you want to read the four Gospels before Easter and reflect on the life of the Savior and what that means for you. We’ll provide some study questions to help you along the way. Perhaps you want to read any of the great books or articles on the Atonement that are out there. The Church has just released a new book that has a daily thought on the Atonement: I’ve been reading it, and it’s a great little primer.
Anyway, this is our invitation: to better understand and apply the Atonement in your life each day. Each day. This soap thing—you and I don’t just take a bath when we fall in mud piles. I hope that you and I take a bath every day. You and I need that Atonement in our lives every day.
Now why are we doing something like this? Why would we invite our campus community to have this kind of experience? Why at LDS Business College will we talk about the Atonement? It’s true that you can come here and get some skills, and you should. But it’s also true that if you come here and you don’t have a deeper understanding and haven’t fully applied the atoning blood of the Savior in your life, that you and I have missed something terribly, terribly important.
As you and I apply that Atonement more fully in our lives every day, you and I will become more at one with each other and with God. The spirit of Zion will permeate our midst in ways that perhaps heretofore it has not. Through the spirit of the Atonement, that at-one-ment, we will become more at one in mind, and at one in heart, and dwell in greater righteousness with each other and with God. And I don’t know about you, but I long for the spirit of Zion in my life.
Even more than that, as important as deepening our discipleship is, and building community in our midst and Zion in our midst is, may I suggest is this thought from President Eyring, November 1992 He talked about this idea—if you want to learn to learn the Lord’s way, and if you want to more fully realize your divine nature and destiny, then you and I must live so that the Atonement can work in our lives. That’s the invitation—live so the Atonement can work in our lives. It’s good to talk about it; it’s good to read about it. But you and I have got to apply it—cover ourselves in it, immerse ourselves in the Spirit and all things Jesus Christ, every day.
He is the Gift. Let us this semester more fully receive that gift in our lives. I testify to you of the great blessings that will come to you personally as you strive to better understand and apply the Atonement in your life. You’ll see those blessings in school, with your roommates, with your learning, with your teachers—those blessings will extend far beyond. I testify to you that He lives, and that He loves you, and that His atoning blood is for you and for me, each and every day. That you may come to know that more fully for yourselves I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer of Israel, amen.
President J. Lawrence Richards: The mission of the College is very clear. It is to teach in a distinctive way, rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost has the power to take the learning from the mind and put it in the heart. And that’s where learning really takes place. So when students learn that way, we are creating a generation of young adults who know how to teach and know how to learn in the Lord’s way.
The influence of the College is being felt across the world. We have students from sixty foreign countries. What happens when students come here, or when we export our training—with that goes the Spirit. No matter where they are, they learn the Lord’s way. They learn by study, and they learn by faith.
Students come here because they are looking for an educational experience that is deeply rooted in the gospel. Faculty members will come and teach here because they want to teach in an environment where they can teach with the Spirit. When you combine those two together, we can take Elder Eyring at his words when he said that if we as faculty and staff will work our hearts out, and if our students will do just the same, that they will learn at rates that will just amaze the world. We have seen that happen. I know that that happens. It’s why we exist.