How Mormons view the Atonement

IN THE GARDEN

OR ON THE CROSS?

I love what God did for us at the cross. You may not but let’s talk about it. A cyclist needed directions 
when I was a child, and although I meant well, I sent him the wrong way. What if ones spiritual 
direction is wrong? 

To have the right view of the atonement is essential, considering that a misguided faith is rendered 
useless, meaning “your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).

 

WHERE DID THE ATONEMENT TAKE PLACE?

Christ struggled in the garden and He died on the cross. LDS President Ezra Taft Benson was very 
clear to say, Jesus’ struggle in the garden “was the greatest single act of love in recorded history...
It was in Gethsemane that Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world, in Gethsemane that His pain 
was equivalent to the cumulative burden of all men, in Gethsemane that He descended below all 
things so that all could repent and come to Him...That holy, unselfish act of voluntarily taking on 
Himself the sins of all other men is called the Atonement” (Church News, June 1, 1991, p.14). The 
questions arise. Why is Gethsemane only given twice in the Bible and never in any way describing 
the atonement
? (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32). Was Jesus’ fellowship with the Father lost bearing 
our sin in the garden, or on the cross where He was made “to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that 
we might be made the righteousness of God in him”? (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

Atoning for sin did Jesus bare it at the garden where He prayed or the cross where He died?

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him...
reconciled to God by the death of his Son...by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 
5:8-11).

 

WHERE DID CHRIST SUFFER FOR SIN?

The Ensign reads, “In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered for the sins of all mankind, thus 
opening the way for all of us to repent and free ourselves from the bondage of sin" (April, 1981, 
p.19).

 

While sin is linked to Jesus’ death, did He die in the garden or on a cross?

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, 
being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

 

DO CHRISTIANS OVEREMPHASIZE THE CROSS?

Marion Romney of the LDS First Presidency clarified, "Jesus then went into the Garden of Gethsemane. 
There he suffered most.
He suffered greatly on the cross, of course, but other men had died by 
crucifixion; in fact, a man hung on either side of him as he died on the cross. But no man, nor set of 
men, nor all men put together, ever suffered what the Redeemer suffered in the garden. He went 
there to pray and suffer." (Conference Report, Oct. 1953, p.35).

 

According to God which emphasis is true?

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14). The 
sole theme of our witness is, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, 
and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

 

HOW ARE WE FORGIVEN?

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "Forgiveness is available because Christ the Lord sweat great 
drops of blood in Gethsemane
as he bore the incalculable weight of the sins of all who ever had or 
ever would repent...In a garden called Gethsemane, outside Jerusalem's walls, in agony beyond 
compare, he took upon himself the sins of all men on condition of repentance" (The Promised Messiah, 
pp. 337 & 552).

 

According to God is forgiveness through the garden or His cross?

“And you, being dead in your sins...having forgiven you...nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). 
By Jesus, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7).

 

IS FORGIVENESS FROM SWEATING OR SHEDDING BLOOD?

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "Forgiveness is available because Christ the Lord sweat great 
drops of blood in Gethsemane...” (The Promised Messiah, p. 337).

 

According to God did Jesus perspire or die for sin?

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). And “without shedding 
of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). Of the four gospels only two mention Gethsemane, one 
speaking of sweating as it were great drops of blood, never in the redemptive sense. Is sin cleansed 
because Jesus perspired or because our substitute died?

 

HOW DOES CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION COMPARE TO ANY OTHER?

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie was highly esteemed by the LDS. He wrote, “And as he came out of the 
Garden
, delivering himself voluntarily into the hands of wicked men, the victory had been won. There 
remained yet the shame and the pain of his attest, his trials, and his cross. But all these were 
overshadowed by the agonies and sufferings in Gethsemane
. It was on the cross that he 'suffered 
death in the flesh,' even as many have suffered agonizing deaths, but it was in Gethsemane that ‘he 
suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him’" (The Mortal Messiah, pp. 
127-128).

 

According to God’s Word, what is unique about the cross of Christ?

Jesus saves every trusting soul. How? By “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish 
and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). We cannot miss the sufficiency of Christ’s death as our perfect 
substitute for sin. Lambs died on an altar. Jesus was born to bleed and die as our sacrifice. The 
significance is infinite! God purchased His church “with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

 

ACCORDING TO THE LDS, TEMPLES PROVIDE WHAT THE CROSS COULD NOT.

Are these rituals necessary to reach exaltation or to be with God in heaven? Christians often display 
the cross
but the LDS prefer temple pictures in their homes.

 

According to God’s Word, the temple veil was rent.

This opens our way into the holiness of God, being through the blood of the cross not a temple 
(Matthew 27:51). “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of 
Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). Christians are the temples of God now, not a building (1 Corinthians 
3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). And God has a temple in Heaven (Revelation 11:19; 14:17). 
Israel had one temple at a time, never over a hundred, never baptizing anyone for the dead. But 
the living, infinite God does not dwell in any manmade temple (Acts 7:48; 17:24). In
grateful thanks, 
“Lord, You tore the veil in two, that we might come close to You!”

 

ACCORDING TO THE LDS, WHY IS IT WRONG FOR ANY CHRISTIANS TO DISPLAY THE CROSS?

The cross is “inharmonious with the quiet spirit of worship and reverence" (Mormon Doctrine, Apostle 
Bruce R. McConkie, p.172). However, to remind the LDS of the temple covenants, Masonic symbols are 
sewn into the underwear. Is the display of a Moroni statue superior to the cross?

 

According to God’s Word, who opposes the cross? What is their destiny?

The Apostle Paul was heavily grieved to say, “and now tell you even weeping, that they are the 
enemies of the cross
of Christ: Whose end is destruction” (Philippians 3:18-19). The cross is under 
attack and yet is the heart of the gospel, proving the immensity of the love of God. “Herein is love, 
not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 
John 4:10). The cross reminds us of the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. As the 
symbol for the Christian faith, the cross is superior to the crucifix, since the Savior is not perpetually 
dying. He arose and we have the empty cross and an empty tomb! Jesus Christ conquered sin, death, 
and hell upon the cross
for every soul who will trust completely in Him.

 

ACCORDING TO THE LDS, WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE CROSS?

Christ atoned only for Adam’s sin; for personal sin “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” 
(2 Nephi 25:23). If “saved” means resurrection, why is this qualified? There will be “a resurrection of the 
dead, both of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15). The unjust are resurrected to the Great White Throne 
and lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). How is judgment a salvation? Scripture says, “For whosoever shall 
call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13), being limited to those who respond to 
the Lord. This is not, “To receive this great gift, we must do more than repent of our sins and be baptized 
and confirmed by appropriate priesthood authority. Men must receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and all 
Church members must make and keep sacred covenants in the temple, including eternal marriage” (True 
to the Faith, LDS, p. 153).

 

According to Scripture, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”

(1 John 1:7). No temple works are included. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of 
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

ACCORDING TO THE LDS, WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

“The central doctrine of the gospel is the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘The 
first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; 
third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy 
Ghost’ (Articles of Faith 1:4). In it’s fullness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, 
ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom” (True to the Faith, 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 76).

 

According to the God’s Word, what is the gospel as defined?

“I declare unto you the gospel...By which also ye are saved...how that Christ died for our sins according to 
the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” 
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Manmade gospels do not agree. Do any commandments or temple works gain 
God’s power? No. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” 
(Romans 1:16). The opposite of saved is to be lost. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the 
glorious gospel of Christ
, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Precious 
people, blind! Lost souls! Are we to preach the garden or the cross? “But we preach Christ crucified” (1 
Corinthians 1:23). Is it foolish to “preach the gospel...For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish  
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). Did Christ 
redeem us in the garden? "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: 
for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Galatians 3:13).

 

HOW CAN WE COME TO GOD?

God sent His Son to pay for our sins. To think God’s Son is not good enough offends God. God responds 
then that you are not good enough to enter heaven. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far 
off are made nigh by the blood of Christ...by the cross” (Ephesians 2:13-16).

 

IS PEACE WITH GOD WON THROUGH GETHSEMANE, LDS TEMPLES AND OBEDIENCE TO COMMANDMENTS?

Christ “made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 
1:20).

 

IS THE LDS FAITH CREDIBLE?

Any nice person can teach error, but to usurp God’s way to install another: “There is a way which seemeth 
right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Why trust in a way that 
God abhors? The obituary columns fill with people destined for outer darkness, believing in a false 
atonement over God’s.

 

DECEIVERS OR DECEIVED?

What about sympathy for religious people? The deceivers differ from the deceived. Weep with compassion for 
all of those being betrayed (Philippians 3:18-19). To have no concern for millions facing a Christless eternity, 
how can you be right with God?

 

CONSIDER THE VALUE OF THE CROSS TO BRING YOU INTO GOD’S FOREVER FAMILY.

The love of Jesus Christ for you is real! "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his 
friends" (John 15:13). Jesus suffered in our place so we can enjoy eternal life. Won’t you trust in Him alone  
to be your Savior, even now! Avoid outer darkness.

 

EXCLUSIVE OFFER.

Dear one, eternal life is exclusively offered through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from 
the dead. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but 
by me" (John 14:6). What about through a special church? “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there 
is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

 

WHY NOT TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST?

The preface of the Book of Mormon correctly says Jesus Christ is
the ETERNAL GOD. Through Him is forgiveness  
and the certainty of eternal life. You might want to express your heart in this way, "Dear God, I do not wish 
to perish. I now trust Your Son to save me from eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. Jesus, You bore my sin 
upon the cross and I believe that You died for me and arose in power. I believe in the sacrifice of Your death 
as You became my substitution. Thank you for eternal life!”

 

From Chuck Brocka, missionary-pastor, a ministry of: <universitybaptistsaltlake.org>

You can hear Chuck’s daily broadcast called “Salt in the Valley,” four-minute devotionals on AM 820 radio at 
12:25 PM, Monday - Friday. Phone: 801-484-0851

Emailed copies are available by contacting: <ubsaltlake@gmail.com>

 

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