Sharing Time:

The Atonement

By Laurel Rohlfing

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    For I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world (D&C 49:5).

    When Paul H. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy was eleven years old, baseball was an important part of his life. Paul’s parents permitted his team to use their large backyard to play baseball. The yard was completely fenced in, with a pathway beyond the rear fence. On the other side of the pathway was a large church with a beautiful stained glass window that faced the fence at the back of the yard.

    One hot summer evening an exciting baseball game was in progress in the Dunn backyard. It was Paul’s turn to bat, and he hit the ball so hard that it went over the back fence, over the pathway, and then, to everyone’s dismay, through the large stained glass window in the church. It seemed to young Paul that the broken glass fell for hours. The players ran away in every direction.

    When Paul got up the courage to return home, he discovered that his father had two visitors. They were both ministers from the neighboring church. To Paul’s surprise, they seemed to know from which house the baseball had come. Paul admitted to the ministers that he had hit the ball that had broken the window and told them that he was very sorry.

    Paul’s father put his arm around his son’s shoulder, patted him on the head, and said, “This is a good boy.” He, too, apologized for the accident and asked how much it would cost to replace the stained glass window. They told him that it would be about $500.

    It was then that his father taught young Paul a great lesson. He asked the ministers if they understood the principle of Christ’s atonement. They seemed a little puzzled. His father said, “In our Church, we believe that ‘through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel’” (A of F 1:3). He explained that the atonement allows each of us to be forgiven of our sins if we repent. Jesus paid for all our sins when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. As the only perfect person who ever lived on earth, he was the only one who could do this for us. We could not do it for ourselves. Without His sacrifice, we could never be forgiven of our sins and would not be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus again.

    Paul’s father pointed out that although Paul had broken a window, he would never have the money to pay for it himself. Then he said, “As Paul’s father and because I love him, I will pay the price that he cannot.”

    This experience helped Paul understand what Jesus did for us when He atoned for our sins. At this Easter time we can be thankful that Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His Son so that we can be forgiven when we do something wrong.

    Instructions and Sharing Time Ideas

    1. Color the flannel board figures, mount them on heavy paper, then cut them out. Use tape, or glue small squares of sandpaper to backs of figures so that they will stay on flannel board. Or make figures into puppets by attaching flat sticks to the back.

      flannel board figures

      Illustrated by Lori Anderson

    2. Using flannel board figures or puppets, let children choose partners and tell stories to each other or to their families during family home evening.

    3. Tell Paul Dunn’s story to the children, then let them dramatize it. Use simple costumes.

    4. Sing songs about sacrament, such as “Our Savior’s Love” (Sing with Me, C-2) and “As I Eat the Broken Bread” (Sing with Me, C-1).

    5. Write each word of the third article of faith on a separate piece of paper, mix the pieces up, and give each piece to a different child. Have the children put the words into correct order.