Episode #2: The Atonement (Tween Talk 2)
Welcome to Tween Talk Episode 2 for Latter-day Saints! This week’s episode is about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
You can check out all of the episodes here. Make sure you don’t miss last week’s episode!
Tween Talk Episode #2
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Here is this week’s adult coloring page for you to work on while you listen to Tween Talk 2.
Resources for Tween Talk Episode 2
Here are the different resources discussed in Tween Talk 2.
Elder Holland “Sactify Yourselves”
Tween Talk Episode 2 Transcript
Do you hear people talk about using the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but you’re not sure what it means or how it works?
Hello, guys! Welcome back to Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints.
Last time, we talked about living with Heavenly Father. The whole point of Him creating this earth for us is because we couldn’t grow or progress any further than we had.
We created the flowcharts for our lives – the blueprints, or the maps – but we quickly saw that we wouldn’t always make the right choice or follow the right path.
Now, the whole point of this earth is prove that we are trustworthy for God’s power, right? That we will use it wisely.
But here’s the problem – how do we do that in a way that’s fair?
Think about school for a minute. Everyone gets graded the same way, right? When you take a test, it goes from 0% to 100%. A question is either right or wrong. That’s the only way it can be fair for everyone.
Now, justice works the same way. Justice says that we are all graded the same way, and we can only pass the class if we get 100% on the test the first time we take it. After all, getting a question wrong means we didn’t understand the class and we aren’t ready to move on.
Wouldn’t that be hard?
That’s how justice works. The laws of heaven say that we must be perfect to reside with God.
If you want to learn more about justice, I highly recommend reading 2 Nephi chapter 9. That’s where I’m going to be getting a lot of the concepts for today’s podcast.
The guide to the scriptures says, “Justice is an eternal law that demands a penalty each time a law of God is broken.”
It’s like saying each time you get a question wrong on a test, you get a point taken off.
The problem is, justice also says that you have to score 100% on the test in order to get into the Celestial Kingdom, or the kingdom where Heavenly Father lives.
It sounds impossible.
And it is. It is simply impossible for all of us to score 100% on the test of life the first time.
All of us except for Jesus, that is.
You see, Jesus had progressed and developed so far, He attained Godhood status way before the world began. And His perfection is what makes it possible for us to return to God.
Let’s do an example that you might understand. Say you’re a little kid again, and you’re throwing a ball around the backyard. Your mom has told you a million times to be careful, but you’re a little kid, right? You throw the ball a little harder than you should, close to the house, and you hear a loud crash.
The ball has gone through the neighbor’s window and into his living room.
The neighbor comes out, and while he is kind, he also insists you will have to pay for a new window. The window, he tells you, will cost $1,000 to replace.
Justice has to served. A price needs to be paid. A window is broken, and the person who broke it is the person who has to replace it. The owner shouldn’t have to buy his own new window, right?
But you’re a six-year-old kid. Is there any way you will be able to come up with $1,000 to pay for a new window?
Of course not.
So what happens? Do we send a six year old to prison because he broke the window and is unable to pay to replace it?
That’s what justice would demand.
So your mom comes out, and she tells the man that she will pay the $1,000. Justice is satisfied.
But does this mean that you get to get off scott-free? Certainly not!
Your mom knows that you’re only six years old. She isn’t going to expect you to pay $1,000 to replace the window.
But she is going to have you do extra chores around the house in return for her payment.
Here’s another example.
You want to learn how to play the piano. Piano lessons cost money, and your parents hire someone to teach you.
Do your parents ask you to pay them back for the lessons?
No. All they ask in return is for you to diligently practice the piano each day so that their payment for the lessons is worth it.
That is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We all sin. Every single one of us. A simple mistake, even when we didn’t know, is a sin. You don’t read your scriptures every day, that’s a sin, because it’s a commandment to read the scriptures daily. You getting grumpy and shouting at your mom is a sin. Any time you are anything less than perfect, it is a violation of the laws of God.
Don’t you see how impossible it is?
There is a price that needs to be paid. The penalty for violating the laws of God is removal from God’s presence.
But Jesus was perfect. He didn’t break that window. He already knows how to play the piano.
Justice has absolutely no claim on Jesus.
And because of His perfection, He was the only one who could pay the penalty for someone else.
So He did that.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus knelt down in prayer.
And the punishment came.
Think of the billions and trillions of people that ever lived. Each one of them making thousands upon thousands of wrong choices, heading of track, choosing the wrong arrow that leads them off the path back to God.
Let’s read what Jesus says about that, in D&C 19:15-18.
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Think about that for a moment. 2,000 years ago, the Savior knelt down and thought of YOU. You, as an individual. Not just “here’s a ton of punishment for everyone.”
If your mom had a million children who each broke a window, she would go to each person’s house, one by one, and make that payment.
That is what the Savior did.
Jesus knelt down, and thought of me, Tiffany Thomas. Then he suffered the punishment of every single sin that I will every make. Then he thought of my husband, Phillip Thomas, and then suffered for every single sin he will ever make. Then he thought of my mom, and suffered for each her sins.
One person at a time. Starting with Adam, then Eve, then Cain, then Abel, then Seth.
All the way down through the ages. Abraham, then his wife Sarah. Isaac, then his wife Rebekah. Jacob, then each of his wives, then each of his sons and daughters.
So in those hours spent in the Garden of Eden, the Savior thought about YOU. He thought your name, and then he walked through your blueprint. He suffered the punishment for every single time you took the wrong arrow.
The punishment was so agonizing, so painful, that he literally had blood start to come out of his skin like sweat does.
Now, you may be asking, how did He know which wrong choices I would make? I do have agency, right?
You’re right. I don’t know exactly how time works in heaven. I don’t know how God knows the past, present, and future all at once. I do know that the scriptures tell us multiple times that the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
And I do know that it worked.
He paid the punishment of our sins.
Isn’t that incredible?
And what’s even more incredible, He doesn’t ask us to pay Him back.
Instead, He asks us to follow His gospel.
You parents don’t want you to pay them back for piano lessons, they want you to practice.
Your mom doesn’t want you to pay $1,000 for the window, but she wants you to be grateful and help with chores and her responsibilities.
That’s what the gospel is.
Jesus is saying, “I paid that punishment so that you don’t have to. Instead, can you follow My commandments? Can you repent when you mess up? Can you listen to the prophets when they give you counsel and direction? Can you be baptized and endure to the end? Can you love your fellow man?”
Then on Judgment Day, He is going to ask you how you did.
When the end of the world comes, and it’s time to go to the Celestial Kingdom, you’ll report to Him on how you did.
He won’t ask if you were perfect. He already knows you weren’t.
But He will ask if you tried. He will ask if you got back on track when you got off. If you messed up and ended up way far down your flow chart, did you turn things around and start choosing arrows that would take you back on course?
And if you chose a wrong arrow again, did you make the next arrow be the repentance arrow?
Now, all of this would be incredible enough on its own.
The pure unselfishness of Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty of our sins.
But He did even more than that.
Let’s read Alma 7:11-13.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
Did you hear that?
Alma is saying that Jesus wanted to be merciful.
He wants to succor us.
Do you know what that word means? (I’ll give you a hint, it does NOT mean to sucker-punch.)
It means to support, to help, and to give relief.
So Jesus not only wanted to pay the price for our sins, but he wanted to UNDERSTAND us. So that on Judgment Day, He can be kinder and more merciful because He knew just how hard it was for us.
So when He was thinking about you on that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, He suffered for more than your sins.
He suffered for every time you have physical pain or illness. He suffered for every time you have sorrow or heartache or grief.
So after He paid the price for my sins, every single one of them, He then felt what it feels like to be me. He felt the pain for each time I stub my toe. That doesn’t mean He felt a sore toe, it means that He felt MY sore, stubbed toe. EACH time I stub it. (And that’s a lot of sore, stubbed toes.)
And why did He do that? Because He wanted to know how it felt so that when I accidentally say a bad word because I hurt my toe, He can be compassionate because He can say, “Oh, ouch, I remember how that I felt” and He is more inclined to forgive me.
So when my best friend stabs me in the back, He felt that anger and pain and hurt.
When I gave birth to each of my three children, He felt that. The pain of each of my three c-sections, not just one c-section.
He felt the pain for EVERY time MY Crohn’s flares. Then He went out and felt the pain of my friend Victoria each time HER Crohn’s flares.
Do you see just how AMAZING the Atonement is?
Why it’s called the INFINITE Atonement?
We can’t even begin to measure the pain and sorrow and agony that He experienced.
And He did it for every single person.
Even the people He knew would fail.
And in return, He asks us to prove ourselves trustworthy. To follow the commandments we are given, to come to know the scriptures and the words of the prophets and apostles.
So how can you use the Atonement?
What does that mean, when people say to rely on the Lord?
Those are excellent questions that we’re going to explore in in this podcast series. That’s why I wanted to talk about the Atonement first.
But the biggest thing I want you know right now is that the Atonement is a real thing that occurred.
It isn’t some vague idea of “the Atonement lets me repent.”
Yes, that is true. Without the Atonement, you wouldn’t be allowed to repent.
You would be lost away from God for eternity.
Now, did you know there is a second part of the Atonement?
The Atonement isn’t just what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus’s suffering.
Here on earth, there are two types of death: spiritual and physical.
We just spent a lot of time talking about spiritual death. “Spiritual death” is another way of saying sin.
Each time you sin, your spirit dies a little. It becomes separated from God. (Think Voldemort’s soul after he split it into Horcruxes.)
But there’s also physical death.
Just as our spirits weren’t perfect, we weren’t given perfect bodies.
Our bodies are subject to this mortal, imperfect world, just like our spirits inside them are.
Eventually, our bodies are going to wear out. The neurons stop firing in our brains. The heart begins to slow down. Illness and decay all eventually catch up to us.
And we die.
Our spirits separate from our bodies and go to the Spirit World. We’ll talk more about the Spirit World next time.
But the point is, that separation was permanent. Once our bodies wore out, we couldn’t get them back again.
There was no way to put our spirits back in.
Has anyone ever told you that you look like one of your parents? Or maybe you’ve seen siblings that look a lot alike?
When I was a kid, my next two sisters and I used to always get mistaken for triplets.
It would make me so mad! I’m the oldest, and how dare my younger sisters be thought to be the same age as me!
Not that I’m traumatized by that, right?
So you’ve probably learn some science and biologics in school, right? The DNA in our body are the building blocks that make it. DNA, or our genes, tell our body what color our hair should be, how tall we’re going to grow, our gender, the color of our eyes and skin, etc.
We get half our DNA from our mom and the other half from our dad.
We know Jesus’s mother was Mary. But who was His father?
God. Heavenly Father.
He is the father of our spirits, AND He’s the physical father of Jesus Christ.
And as we talked about in the last podcast, Heavenly Father used to be a person like us, but He is now an exalted Being. “As man is, God once was.”
So Heavenly Father has a perfect, resurrected body. This unique DNA was passed on to Jesus, and it gave Him power over His body in a way that we can’t.
It was how He fasted for 40 days in the wilderness without dying. It’s also how He was able to walk on the water and perform miracles. His Priesthood title is that of God, and He shares both mortal and divine DNA.
If Jesus were fully divine DNA, then He wouldn’t be able to die.
If He were fully mortal, then He wouldn’t be able to have control over His body with regards to death.
His unique combination of DNA allowed Him to choose to die, then choose to live again.
He was the only person who would be able to be resurrected.
And because He was resurrected, He “broke the bands of death” as the scriptures say. He overcame death and its power.
Because He could reunite His spirit with a perfect body, ALL of us will have that same opportunity. Our spirits will reunite with perfected, resurrected bodies.
Thus, Christ overcame both spiritual death when He paid the penalty for our sins, and He overcame physical death when He took His body back again after He chose to die on the cross.
Isn’t the Atonement incredible?
Because we talk about it so much at church and refer it to in the scriptures, it has almost become common.
We say things like, “Because of Jesus, we can be resurrected again.” Or, “Because of Jesus, I can repent from my sins.”
But now you UNDERSTAND it.
Isn’t that the most incredible thing ever?
So what does this mean for you?
When you fully understand the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made for YOU as an individual, it begins to shape how you view the world.
You want to make the right choices because you are grateful for Him.
Just like the child practicing the piano as a way to show gratitude for the lessons, you practice being perfect.
A child doesn’t sit and play the song the first time. Nor does he throw a fit and refuse to play again the first time he plays a wrong note.
Well, unless you’re my middle child.
My oldest son is only five years old, and he’s in a difficult stage right now. Whenever he doesn’t do something right the first time, he collapses into sobs, declares it’s to hard, and he’ll never be able to do it right.
Trying to draw a picture of a tree?
If the line isn’t perfectly straight, he gives up and throws the pencil down.
Doesn’t sound out the word perfectly the first time when he’s reading? Slams the book closed and dissolves into tears, saying he’ll never be able to do it.
What would happen if I let him give up?
He’ll never be able to draw a tree or learn to read.
As his mom, I want him to keep trying, to keep practicing, to keep working on it until he gets it right. Even if he draws 100 trees terribly before he finally starts to get something that kind of looks like a trunk instead of just scribbles.
Heavenly Father and Jesus are the same way with us.
Even if we mess up 100 times and we are so far away from the path, it’s going to take 100 arrows to get back on track, They want us to do it.
Don’t be like a 5 year old.
Don’t quit because it seems too hard or that you’ve messed up too many times.
I promise you, you have NEVER messed up so badly that Jesus gives up on you.
He’s already paid the penalty for your sins. So why would He want you to throw that away?
The apostle Elder Holland said, “The Savior wept and bled and died for you. He has given everything for your happiness and salvation. He certainly is not going to withhold help from you now!”
I promise you that’s true.
And next time, we’re going to learn more about what happens after this life. How once we’ve done all He asks us to do, what happens next? What will life after death really be like?
I look forward to talking with you about it next time. Until then, I’m Tiffany Thomas, and this is Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints.
See y’all then.