The doctrine of the Atonement is the single most important doctrine of the gospel.
Jesus suffered for the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus’ suffering in Gethsemane was heightened by a withdrawal of his Father’s Spirit.
Jesus suffered in Gethsemane because of his love for all mankind.
If we repent of our sins, we will not have to suffer as Jesus did.
New Testament Reading Assignment
Chapter 25, “Not My Will, but Thine, Be Done”
Alma 34:8-16. Why was the Atonement necessary?
2 Nephi 9:5-9. What would have become of us without the Atonement?
Mosiah 3:7, 8. Could man have suffered as much as Jesus did?
2 Nephi 9:21. For whom did Jesus suffer?
D&C 88:33. How should we accept this gift that Jesus offers us?
Teachings, p. 121. How important is the doctrine of the Atonement?
Jesus the Christ, pp. 20-28. Why does man need a redeemer?
A of F, p. 78. Why was Jesus able to suffer for our sins?
DS, 1:124, 130-31. What ransom did Christ pay for us?
Discourses, pp. 26-28. What did Jesus do for our salvation?
Jesus the Christ, pp. 610-14. How important to our salvation is Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane?’
Gos. Doc, p. 98. What can man do to receive forgiveness?
M of F, p. 339. What must we do to have Christ’s atonement cleanse our sins?
John Taylor, The Mediation and the Atonement, pp. 142-47. How was the Atonement an infinite sacrifice?
Hugh B. Brown in CR, Apr. 1962, pp. 106-10. The importance of faith in the Atonement.
Marion G. Romney in CR, Oct. 1969, pp. 57-58. What did Jesus do for us in Gethsemane?
Some Suggestions for Presentation
Discussion and Chalkboard Illustration
The teacher may wish to have one of the following quotes, or another of his choosing, on the chalkboard as the students come into the classroom.
“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.” (Teachings, p. 121.)
“Nothing in the entire plan of salvation compares in any way in importance with that most transcendent of all events, the atoning sacrifice of our Lord.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 60.)
The students could be asked to respond to the above quotes. Why are all doctrines appendages to the Atonement? Why is the Atonement transcendent?
Some teachers have indicated that their students have learned a great lesson when they themselves have searched the scriptures. The doctrine of the Atonement provides an excellent opportunity for students to do this. The teacher may have his own personal approach to this activity, but the following is an example of what might be done:
Indicate to the students that the class period will be devoted to learning what the scriptures have to say about the Atonement. Their assignment is to locate in the four standard works scriptures that teach about the Atonement. They will have from ten to twenty minutes to do this. As they locate a scripture (using the concordance and cross-references), they are to note what this scripture specifically teaches about the Atonement.
When the time is up, the students could then share with the class what they learned. Scriptures could be grouped on the chalkboard according to what they teach about the Atonement. For example, why it was necessary, how we can benefit from the Atonement, and so forth.
Note: If the teacher does not feel the above approach fits the needs of his students, he could assign the scripture analysis as an out-of-class assignment and spend the class period discussing what the students discovered about the Atonement.
The teacher may wish to show the slides that deal with the Garden of Gethsemane from the slide set The Week of the Atoning Sacrifice. As they watch the slides they could be asked to meditate on the principles they have learned about the Atonement.
The Course Manual
The teacher could refer to the story of Martin Harris, course manual p. 174, to illustrate in the “smallest degree” what Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. Why did he do this for each of us? (See 1 Nephi 19:8.)