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What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

The Atonement is the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to help us overcome sin, adversity, and death. Jesus’s atoning sacrifice took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. He paid the price for our sins, took upon Himself death, and was resurrected. The Atonement is the supreme expression of the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and talks will help the young women feel the significance of the Atonement and understand the sacrifice the Savior made for them?

Matthew 26–27; D&C 19:16–19 (In Gethsemane and on the cross, Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and took upon Himself our pains)

Matthew 28:1–10 (Jesus Christ overcame death through His Resurrection)

2 Nephi 9:6–16 (Jesus Christ overcame sin and death through His Atonement)

Alma 7:11–13 (Jesus Christ took upon Himself our pains, sicknesses, infirmities, and sins)

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the ApostlesEnsign, Apr. 2000, 2–3 (see also True to the Faith, 87–89; Personal Progress, 102)

Thomas S. Monson, “He Is Risen!Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 87–90

Linda K. Burton, “Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 111–15

Atonement of Jesus Christ,” True to the Faith (2004), 14–21

Videos: Bible videos portraying the Atonement

Video: “An Apostle’s Easter Thoughts on Christ”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Invite the young women to imagine that a friend of another faith came to church and heard someone mention the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How would they respond if their friend asked, “What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?”
  • Show a picture depicting one of the events of the Atonement (such as the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His Crucifixion, or His Resurrection), and ask the young women to share what they know about the event. What questions do they have?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the young women learn about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best in your class:

  • Ask the young women to match an event that happened during the last few hours of the Savior’s life with scripture references in Matthew 26–28 (for depictions of these events, go to biblevideos.lds.org or the Gospel Art Book). What do the young women learn about the Savior and His Atonement from these events? Invite a few class members to share their feelings about the Savior.
  • Invite the young women to read about the Atonement from the scriptures listed in this outline or President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “He Is Risen!” (or show one of the videos in this outline). Ask them to write a brief definition of the Atonement and their feelings about what the Savior did for them through His Atonement. Invite a few young women to share what they wrote.
  • Invite each young woman to read one of the principles of the Atonement in Linda K. Burton’s talk “Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?” Ask her to find someone in the class who read about the same principle, and invite them to discuss what they learned and share an example from their own lives or the lives of people they know that illustrates the principle. Ask someone from each pair to share with the rest of the class what they discussed. 
  • Ask the young women what they learn about the Savior and the Atonement from His final words on the cross (see Luke 23:34, 39–43, 46; John 19:26–30) or from His account of His suffering (see D&C 19:16–19).
  • Invite the young women to read 2 Nephi 9:6–26 and look for verses that teach them about the need for the Atonement. Give time for several young women to share the verses they selected and what they teach. Encourage them to write a letter to someone who does not believe in God and use these verses to explain why the Atonement is important and why we need a Savior. Ask them to share their letters with each other.
  • Ask the young women to list on the board some trials, challenges, or sicknesses that people face. Invite them to read Alma 7:11–13 and the last three paragraphs of “Atonement of Jesus Christ” in True to the Faith (page 20). What do the young women learn about the Atonement from these resources? How do we access the power of the Atonement to help us during times of trial (see Mosiah 24:12–14)? Ask the young women to consider ways they can share what they have learned about the Atonement to help with the trials they listed on the board.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the Atonement better? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Record in their journals what they know and how they feel about the Atonement. During the week, they could think about how the Atonement blesses their lives and write their thoughts in their journals.
  • Share what they learned with a family member or friend.