My baptism day was like a dream. I was so happy and eager to begin life as a perfect person. However, I argued with my siblings just hours after being baptized. I remember feeling discouraged that it had not taken very long for me to mess up after being baptized and confirmed, but I also remember that when I repented, I felt completely whole again. I learned from a young age that the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings needed relief from sin.
As I continued to grow in my gospel understanding, I learned that the Atonement was not just something to use whenever I sinned. The Atonement could be part of my life in times of trial, joy, heartache, and success. When I struggled to feel accepted by my peers, I prayed to Heavenly Father and I was comforted to know that the Savior had struggled with these same feelings. When I did well on something, my joy was magnified when I thought of the Savior’s rejoicing.
Abby McKeon, Utah, USA
For many years I felt alone and abandoned. I struggled with unrighteous desires that led me to sin, which eventually placed me in a cycle of guilt and shame. Thankfully, a loving bishop taught me about the role of the Savior’s Atonement to cover weakness, pain, and sorrow as well as sin. My bishop rejoiced when I progressed and comforted me when I slipped.
I learned that having a conceptual knowledge of the Savior was not enough—I needed to pray to Heavenly Father and actively repent through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I did, I grew more obedient to God’s commandments and closer to the Savior.
While I still struggle with temptation, I have learned that I can rely fully on my Savior and His Atonement. While I stand on the rock of my Redeemer, my weakness can be strength. With Paul I can say: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me … : for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).
Jacob H. Taylor, Idaho, USA
During high school my heart wasn’t really in the gospel. In the mission field I slowly learned what a mission was really about and wanted the power and progress it could bring in my life if I were truly worthy. Finally, the guilt and sorrow from past transgressions bore me down, and I wanted freedom—to be clean and to be a better tool in the Lord’s hand. After some discussion with my mission president, I went home to take time to repent.
Returning home was among the hardest times of my life. I began reading the scriptures differently, actually understanding and applying them. While I was doing everything “right,” I still felt a great burden of guilt. Then I started to focus my studies on Christ and His Atonement, how He could be my Savior and how His infinite Atonement could redeem my soul. One night while meditating upon all I had learned from those prayerful studies, I felt the Spirit touch my heart, heal my soul, and comfort me. I felt secure and loved, and my guilt left.
When I first got home, I thought a change of heart was all I needed for the repentance process. Now I know that I needed time to repent—change comes line upon line, a little at a time. It requires prolonged effort to change our hearts, desires, and habits to be more like Christ. We can’t make 180-degree changes instantaneously, but because of the Atonement, they can happen completely.
Name withheld, Georgia, USA
There was a point in my life when I was so emotionally hurt that it affected every other aspect of my life. I couldn’t focus on classes or homework, my relationship with my roommates was strained, and I was constantly on the verge of tears. More than anything, I was having a hard time forgiving the person who had caused me hurt in the first place—and even madder that I was having a hard time forgiving.
Finally, I decided I was done being sad and angry. I no longer wanted to carry that burden. I pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me forgive. Before I knew it, the pain was bearable. It wasn’t gone, but I could bear it. Through this experience I learned that the Savior’s Atonement does not just allow us to repent; it also helps us heal. When I approached Heavenly Father with my burdens, in humility and with a sincere heart, He helped me carry the hurt, pain, and heartache I held.
Dani Lauricella, California, USA
When my parents got divorced, I felt that all my hope of having an eternal family had ended. It was a very hard moment in my life. However, even though it wasn’t easy for me to recognize, that trial brought unforeseen blessings to my family. For one, my mom got baptized!
I also was able to get to know my Savior better. To get over my sadness, I chose to visit an aunt in Peru, where I met a new friend who strengthened me greatly. That friend and I often studied the scriptures together and during one special occasion while we were discussing gospel topics, I felt the love of my Savior for me very strongly. The feeling was like the voice of my Savior telling me, “I have always been with you; you just couldn’t tell.”
Now I know that our Savior wants to help us and that He is always with us. Sometimes we allow our sadness to be higher than our faith and we think that He has forgotten us, but in reality, His Atonement can always help us.
Liliane Soares Moreira, Bahia, Brazil
I used to believe
That there was a hole
In Christ’s Atonement—
That He could save everyone—
But I was wrong.
There is not one hole,
Two holes in
Where they nailed Him
To a cross
At the behest of those
He would die
Two holes in
Where they ensured
The weight of His body
Would not cause
To rip through
Before His penance
Two holes in
Where He stood
As a witness to all
Of God’s unyielding love
Of His children,
And one hole in
Where they pierced Him
To prove His work
Seven perfect holes
In earth’s only
The perfect Atonement
To patch the holes in our lives.
His holes make us
I was wrong.
There is a
In Christ’s Atonement
Kasey Hammer, Utah, USA
When I was 23, my grandmother passed away. Though she had lived a beautiful life, she was still relatively young, and her death came sooner than expected. I knew that many had lost much more than I had and that my grandma was at peace, but I still felt pain knowing I would never see her again in this life.
Through this sadness, however, I felt Heavenly Father and the Savior reaching out to me. Kind visiting teachers and friends brought sweet notes and treats, and a dear neighbor stopped by my family’s house with a book she said she felt inspired to purchase for us. The book contained quotes from apostles and prophets on the plan of salvation and the reality of life after death.
As I read the words of the prophets out loud with my sister that evening, I felt the sweetest peace settle on my heart. I knew that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of us could be made clean and able to dwell with Him in the next life. I knew that “he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead” and that all things—and people—would be restored to their proper place (Alma 40:3; see also Alma 41:2). I knew that because of the Atonement, all the members of my family, including those who have passed on, can be together forever, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Amanda Seeley, Utah, USA