Ep. 22 – The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me: Pure Doctrine for All Ages

This beautiful picture book teaches about Jesus Christ’s Atonement in a powerful and simple way. Listen to be reminded of these vital truths!

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Outline

  • The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me is a Latter-day Saint picture book by Sierra Wilson published in 2018
  • A great addition to any Latter-day Saint home
    • Great for reading in church, for an FHE lesson, or as a baptismal gift
    • Not just for kids—it teaches pure doctrine in a simple way that would benefit any reader of any age
  • The look and feel of the book
    • High-quality materials with crisp, vibrant illustrations
  • Jesus Christ is the source of the Atonement
    • The book does a wonderful job of keeping the Atonement connected to Jesus Christ
    • “Jesus gave His life for you and for me / So we can repent and be happy and free. / And because Jesus died for us and now lives again, / We’ll live again too, with our family and friends.”
    • President Nelson taught, “It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as … ‘applying the Atonement’ or ‘being strengthened by the Atonement’ … treating the EVENT as if IT had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance.”
  • Jesus Christ can comfort you
    • “When we feel scared, or lonely, or sad, / Jesus can help us feel peaceful and glad. / And what if I’m hurting down deep in my heart? / Jesus understands you and knows where to start.”
    • Similar to Alma 7:11-12—”He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind … and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy … that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
  • Jesus Christ can help you become better
    • “With Jesus’s help, we can all do good deeds. / We can cheer up a friend or help someone in need. / Jesus knows how to help you become the best you. / He wants to guide you all your life through.”
    • Elder Bednar explained, “The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better.”
  • The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important doctrine
    • “All other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to [the Atonement of Jesus Christ].” -Joseph Smith
  • Takeaway
    • Study the Atonement of Jesus Christ by reading the verses found in the Topical Guide under the entry “Jesus Christ, Atonement through”

Transcript

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for you—that’s the message of this beautiful little picture book that I’m going to talk about today. It may seem like it’s just for kids, but the pure doctrine that’s taught so simply in this book is a great reminder for all of us of how Jesus Christ can bless our lives.

I’m Liz Kazandzhy, and you’re listening to the cozy little podcast “Latter-day Saint Book Nook,” where we talk about books from a gospel perspective. Whether fiction or nonfiction, religious or not, great books are like wells of wisdom just waiting to be drawn from, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. So if you love books, and you love the gospel of Jesus Christ, you’re in the right place. Come and learn from the best books to help you live your best life!

Hey there! Today’s episode will probably be a bit shorter than usual, because the book I’m reviewing is a Latter-day Saint picture book. It’s called The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me, and it was written by Sierra Wilson, illustrated by Corey Egbert, and published by Cedar Fort, which is the same company that published my religious nonfiction book, The Holy Ghost from A to Z.

[1:23]

A great addition to any Latter-day Saint home

So I got this book at kind of a neat time because my oldest daughter recently turned 6, and she is starting to read like crazy. And one Sunday, we were getting ready to go to church, and for us that’s about a half hour drive because we go to the Russian-speaking branch in Salt Lake. And my daughter, Katya, thought she’d make the drive a bit less boring by bringing a book. I let her just grab whatever, which happened to be a book of dog-themed comics, and as she was reading in the car, my husband Vlad was like, “Maybe we should get her some Church books for her to read on Sunday,” you know, instead of just canine comics.

Anyway, I ended up getting some more spiritual books, and The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me was one of them. And I mention that because this book, in my opinion, would be a great addition to any Latter-day Saint home with young children in it. It’s great for reading at church, or for reading together on Sunday or really any day of the week. It also makes for a great Family Home Evening lesson—basically just reading and discussing it together—and I did that with my family too. And another thing I just thought of is that this would be a very thoughtful gift for a child who just got baptized—I think that’d be neat and that they’d enjoy it.

[2:40]

The look and feel of the book

So, before I get into the content of this book, let me first tell you about the aesthetics of it—you know, how it looks and feels and smells (okay, just kidding about that last one). But you know, these things are important when it comes to books, especially children’s books.

So let me just say that this book passes with flying colors. The material itself feels really nice—it’s got this embossed cover and these super smooth, kind of thick pages that feel good to hold and turn. And the illustrations are also very well done—they’re crisp and vibrant and really help to complement the text.

Alright, so for the rest of this episode, I wanted to pull a few stanzas from this book and go into more depth about them.

[3:22]

Jesus Christ is the source of the Atonement

So first, there are several pages about Jesus Christ’s ministry—how He came to earth, died and was resurrected. For example, it says:

Jesus gave His life for you and for me
So we can repent and be happy and free.
And because Jesus died for us and now lives again,
We’ll live again too, with our family and friends.

I love the simplicity and beauty of that, and how focused it is on Jesus Christ. And as I was reading this book, it reminded me of a talk from President Nelson called “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” where he said this:

It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.

There is no amorphous entity called “the Atonement” upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus Christ is the source. Sacred terms such as Atonement and Resurrection describe what the Savior did, according to the Father’s plan, so that we may live with hope in this life and gain eternal life in the world to come. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice—the central act of all human history—is best understood and appreciated when we expressly and clearly connect it to Him.

I remember hearing that and being kind of taken by surprise, because I had very often referred to the Atonement without mentioning Christ, but I found that to be so insightful and powerful that I changed my ways after that. And it’s interesting that that talk was given in 2017, just a year before President Nelson gave his well-known talk about using the correct, full name of the Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because the principle behind both of those talks is really the same. It’s about keeping Christ with us—with His Church and with His Atonement.

So back to the book, I love that it follows President Nelson’s counsel of showing Jesus Christ as the source of the Atonement—instead of discussing the Atonement as something separate from the Savior.

[6:17]

Jesus Christ can comfort you

Another thing I liked about the book is that it teaches how to access the Atonement, through prayer, with this simple stanza:

To use His Atonement, you just need to pray.
Ask Jesus to help you each night and each day.

And by the way, that page’s illustration shows two people in two different buildings, both praying—a child and an adult—which is a great reminder that even kids can draw on the incredible power of Christ’s Atonement.

So after that, it goes into several ways that Jesus Christ can help you. And, true to doctrine, that goes way beyond just the process of repentance. Because yes, Christ can cleanse us from sin, but His Atonement encompasses a lot more than that. Like it says in the book:

When we feel scared, or lonely, or sad,
Jesus can help us feel peaceful and glad.
And what if I’m hurting down deep in my heart?
Jesus understands you and knows where to start.

And that goes right back to Alma 7, which says, “He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind … and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy … that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (v.11-12). Those verses probably make little sense to a 5-year-old, but that 5-year-old would certainly understand the page that says, “But what if I’m having a really hard day? Jesus will love you and show you the way.”

And you know what? The more I talk about this book, the more I realize that it’s not just for kids. Because just like going to Primary or singing Primary songs can remind you of what’s truly important and teach you pure doctrine in a simple way, reading this book will do the same thing.

[8:10]

Jesus Christ can help you become better

So, like I mentioned, repentance is a huge part of the Atonement, and the book covers that. It also talks about the comfort Christ can bring you, which I just quoted a couple stanzas about. And finally, it talks about how the Atonement of Christ can just help us be better in general. It says:

With Jesus’s help, we can all do good deeds.
We can cheer up a friend or help someone in need.
Jesus knows how to help you become the best you.
He wants to guide you all your life through.

And when I read this, I remembered a quote from Elder Bednar that I used in my own book when I talked about how the Spirit inspires us to do good. And this is what he said:

The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. Repenting of our sins and seeking forgiveness are spiritually necessary, and we must always do so. But remission of sin is not the only or even the ultimate purpose of the gospel. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” [Mosiah 5:2], as did King Benjamin’s people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted.

So just remember that when you think about Christ’s Atonement—how it’s not just for being cleansed from sin but also about becoming better in general.

[9:43]

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important doctrine

Well, I just wanted to end by emphasizing the importance of this topic. The gospel doctrine manual puts it this way:

No doctrine in the gospel is more important than the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If the gospel were compared to a wheel, the Atonement would be the hub and all other doctrines would be the spokes emanating from the hub. As the Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”

And with that in mind, I would invite you to study more about it. And that’s my takeaway invitation for this episode—I invite you to study the Atonement of Jesus Christ, specifically by reading the verses in the Topical Guide entry called “Jesus Christ, Atonement through.” That’ll give you a few dozen verses that you can immerse yourself in to be reminded of this vital doctrine.

As for this book, The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me, you can get it in several places—Amazon of course, also CedarFort.com, and I believe Deseret Book carries it as well. And I hope this episode was a good reminder of how blessed we are that Jesus Christ did what He did—that He died for our sins, felt all that we feel, and can now help us go from bad to good and from good to better.

That’s it for today. Thanks for tuning in!

Thanks for listening to Latter-day Saint Book Nook, hosted by Liz Kazandzhy! If you enjoyed this episode and you’d like to support the podcast, please share it with others, post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. You can also visit ldsbooknook.com to stay up to date with me and the podcast. Thanks again, and I’ll talk to you next time!


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