Friday, April 9, 2021

President Dallin H. Oaks on the gifts of the Atonement of Jesus Christ

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"The Book of Mormon teaches that as part of His Atonement, Jesus Christ 'suffer[ed] pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people' (Alma 7:11).

"Why did our Savior suffer these mortal challenges 'of every kind'? Alma explained, 'And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor [which means to give relief or aid to] his people according to their infirmities' (Alma 7:12).

"Our Savior feels and knows our temptations, our struggles, our heartaches, and our sufferings, for He willingly experienced them all as part of His Atonement. Other scriptures affirm this. The New Testament declares, 'In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted' (Hebrews 2:18). Isaiah teaches, 'Fear thou not; for I am with thee: … I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee' (Isaiah 41:10). All who suffer any kind of mortal infirmities should remember that our Savior experienced that kind of pain also, and that through His Atonement, He offers each of us the strength to bear it."

- Dallin H. Oaks, "What Has Our Savior Done for Us?", General Conference April 2021, Priesthood Session

In his message to the Priesthood Session of the April 2021 conference, Elder Oaks told of being asked by a woman, "What has Jesus Christ done for me?" His response included four elements:
  • The Resurrection and the promise and hope it offers
  • Forgiveness from sins offered to all
  • The plan of salvation
  • The ability to strengthen and support us through his personal experience
That fourth point is perhaps the most critical and least understood. The passage from Alma 7 quoted by President Oaks should be engraven on our hearts. He can help and support us through all of our challenges!

Learning to draw on that power is one of the most important things we can do to bless our lives. The counsel from President Oaks on learning to appreciate and receive those blessings is a great start. We can bear, endure, and ultimately conquer any trial of mortality when we have His help!
(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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