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inquiringmind

Gethsemene?

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Why do Mormons see the atonement as taking place at Gethsemene?

We don't actually we see the Atonement beginning in Gethsemane, continued on the Cross at Golgotha, and completed when the Lord rose again on the Third Day,

These three events are what constitute the Atonement and they are equally vital to our salvation.

In Gethsemane, the Lord took the pains and afflictions of the world upon himself, he literally felt every pain, sickness, and injury (physical, emotional, and spiritual) that ever person who lived, lives, and will live on this Earth has ever felt. This agony was so great that even he being a perfect and exalted being bleed from every pore. The reason why Christ need to go through this is so he can perfectly understand what we have suffered, since he also suffered everything we do he is able to come to our aid and provide us succor.

Only Christ was capable of bearing this burden, because only an immortal being could survive this agonizing even anyone other man would of died if he tried to do what Christ did.

Carrying the burden of our pain and afflictions, he was falsely accused, tried three times, condemned to death by crucifiction even though he was found innocent each time he was tried.

On the cross he took upon himself every sin ever committed and paid the full price for them, his suffering was the worst at this period of time because even Heavenly Father had to forsake him while he did this. Christ suffered alone, forsaken even by the Father on the cross. When he has taken upon himself all of our sins, he willingly gave up his life as the perfect and eternal sacrifice, he willingly laid down his immoral life to pay for all of our transgressions.

The Atonement was completed on the Third Day when he resurrected from the dead, and because the first fruit of the resurrection, because he rose on the Third day and lives till this day we know that all of use will be resurrected one day. Christ provided the way for all of us to overcome the physical death and regain our bodies in a perfected and immortal state like his and Heavenly Fathers.

Through his sacrifice on the Cross we can also overcome the spiritual death or separation from God, that our sins bring upon us. By accepting him as our Savior in faith, obeying his commandments, and enduring to the end, we can be reunited with our Father in heaven one day!

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Why do Mormons see the atonement as taking place at Gethsemene?

As others have said, it was a two- (or three-) phased ordinance. Only one of them was in Gethsemane.

Largely (but far from exclusively) based on this scripture:

13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name; 14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them; 15 Therefore I command you to repent

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I think we can see the Atonement beginning from the moment our Savior accepted the will of our Father and agreed to become our Saviour, before this world ever was. I can't imagine he ever put it out of His mind from that "time" forward.

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LeSellers / LDS Guy,

I don't recall ever seeing things that divide up the role(s) of the suffering in the garden and on the cross. I'd be interested in seeing where that comes from. Just to ensure no one misunderstands, I also agree that there was suffering both in the garden and on the cross, I just haven't previously heard that they were for two different aspects. I always just thought that the garden was an initial step (with assistance) and the cross was the final step of suffering (in spiritual isolation, "Why hast thou forsaken me?")

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I think we can see the Atonement beginning from the moment our Savior accepted the will of our Father and agreed to become our Saviour, before this world ever was. I can't imagine he ever put it out of His mind from that "time" forward.

Not to quibble, I just wonder what you believe--do you think he knew about the atonement during his young childhood? I currently believe (it seems what I believe changes a lot the more I learn...) that Jesus was subject to the veil just like everyone else and only learned things a little at a time. I suppose from this belief, that there was probably some point in his mortal life when he went from not knowing that he would need to atone to knowing that he would. What do you think?

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I agree with Magyar that the Atonement is infinite forward and backwards in time, and throughout space. However, we do believe an episode of infinite suffering took place in Gethsemane, and is perhaps the central moment to the atonement that gives mechanistic energy to the rest of our Father's plan of happiness.

One thing I think about is that there is nothing special, in terms of pain and common practice, to be crucified. Many people were crucified, Peter was crucified upside down. Mankind has devised other lovely tortures and deaths that exceed the horror of crucifixion. Yet Peter was not our Savior . . . and Jesus was not our Savior based on an episode of crucifixion. The only point would be that he was immortal, so had to give his life to know what it was like for us (and for other reasons), but again, many people know what crucifixion is like, and EVERYONE knows or will know what death is like.

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Not to quibble, I just wonder what you believe--do you think he knew about the atonement during his young childhood? I currently believe (it seems what I believe changes a lot the more I learn...) that Jesus was subject to the veil just like everyone else and only learned things a little at a time. I suppose from this belief, that there was probably some point in his mortal life when he went from not knowing that he would need to atone to knowing that he would. What do you think?

Certainly, He had the veil over Him during at least part of His mortality, that He might descend below all things. Good point.

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LeSellers / LDS Guy,

I don't recall ever seeing things that divide up the role(s) of the suffering in the garden and on the cross. I'd be interested in seeing where that comes from. Just to ensure no one misunderstands, I also agree that there was suffering both in the garden and on the cross, I just haven't previously heard that they were for two different aspects. I always just thought that the garden was an initial step (with assistance) and the cross was the final step of suffering (in spiritual isolation, "Why hast thou forsaken me?")

It is a teaching that seems unique to the LDS faith, it is based in our D&C mostly in the verses LeSellers presented.

I like it personally cause it shows that even the atonement is a progression he progressed from Gethsemane (pain and afflictions or temporal problems), to Golgotha (our sins or our spiritual problems) and completed with the Resurrection (the victory over the temporal and spiritual problems)

We see the life of the savior as the ultimate example for us to follow, and this models our lives, first we are born and inherit the temporal problems we suffer pain and other afflictions. As we progress and gain more understanding we start addressing our spiritual problems such as sin and how to become a better person, ect.

As we address these issues and find the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ we too can gain victory over all of these problems both spiritual and temporal though his examples.

We believe that the Gospel is far more than just random records of history, we believe that every historical event recorded also has spiritual meaning interwoven into it the atonement is no less different. The physical act of the atonement is important to learn as a Christian, but seeing how even Christ had to first grapple with physical problems, then while bearing that take upon him the spiritual problems of sin and that he could conquer all that give me hope that I can do the same though faith and Jesus Christ and obedience to his commandments.

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LeSellers

My invitation stands for one and all. Please, call me Lehi, as my mother-in-law dies and as (with great thanks, former) Presidents Clinton and Carter did.

I don't recall ever seeing things that divide up the role(s) of the suffering in the garden and on the cross.

I didn't divide them, I only suggested it is sometimes useful to do so.

If one does, some of the finer details emerge, such as "the last shall be first" in regards to which comes first, spiritual and physical, and which will ultimately come last.

They are, as I said, inextricably intertwined.

I'd be interested in seeing where that comes from. Just to ensure no one misunderstands, I also agree that there was suffering both in the garden and on the cross, I just haven't previously heard that they were for two different aspects. I always just thought that the garden was an initial step (with assistance) and the cross was the final step of suffering (in spiritual isolation, "Why hast thou forsaken me?")

Christ suffered for two different things thorough the Atonement:

First, the Fall of Adam by which death entered the world. His suffering was to pay that price so there would be no "original sin" for which we'd all pay ever lastingly: As in Adam, all die, even so in Christ, shall all be made alive." This was a very physical thing; it happened last (primarily, but not exclusively, on the cross).

Secondly, He paid for each of our sins. This is a spiritual thing, for the most part. While suffering is, by its nature a physical thing, the suffering of Christ in Gethsemane was also highly spiritual.

As you note, His words, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" were a powerful sign that the Atonement ended on a "spiritual note". But the Calvary experience was one of death even more than torture, since He, acting as the High Priest (as was His right), ended it with the words: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit", while others, tortured no less than He, managed to live, sometimes for days before expiring.

Once more, the two venues for the Atonement each saw both spiritual and physical payment(s) being made, and there is no way to separate them from each other. But, for purposes of understanding what the Atonement covered, and how it applies to us, it is sometimes useful to look at them as two events.

At least, that has been my experience.

Lehi

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I agree with Magyar that the Atonement is infinite forward and backwards in time, and throughout space. However, we do believe an episode of infinite suffering took place in Gethsemane, and is perhaps the central moment to the atonement that gives mechanistic energy to the rest of our Father's plan of happiness.

One thing I think about is that there is nothing special, in terms of pain and common practice, to be crucified. Many people were crucified, Peter was crucified upside down. Mankind has devised other lovely tortures and deaths that exceed the horror of crucifixion. Yet Peter was not our Savior . . . and Jesus was not our Savior based on an episode of crucifixion. The only point would be that he was immortal, so had to give his life to know what it was like for us (and for other reasons), but again, many people know what crucifixion is like, and EVERYONE knows or will know what death is like.

Being infinite forward and backwards, we used the Atonement in the pre-earth life and more likely will use in in the next life.

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Not to quibble, I just wonder what you believe--do you think he knew about the atonement during his young childhood? I currently believe (it seems what I believe changes a lot the more I learn...) that Jesus was subject to the veil just like everyone else and only learned things a little at a time. I suppose from this belief, that there was probably some point in his mortal life when he went from not knowing that he would need to atone to knowing that he would. What do you think?

Yes. we know that Christ also had to go through a period of mortality with the veil covering his premortal memories, if he didn't experience such a period he would of been unable to prove his worth to Heavenly Father as a spirit child of God.

We find evidence for this in the 91st Section of the Doctrine and Covenants "And I, John, saw that [Christ] received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;"

Christ like us had the veil over him for part of his life on the Earth, we do not know exactly when he overcame this and received his fullness. I think it happened on the Mount of Transfiguration, I think that this is the point where Christ went from mortality into immortality that before this event he was mortal and covered by the veil and that after this even he was immortal and had access to his premortal knowledge in it's entirety.

This is all theory though, but I think it is what fits the scriptures the best in my opinion.

What we do know from the D&C is that Christ like us had the veil over him for part of his existence on the Earth, the he progressed from grace to grace until he received a fullness just like we do.

It is a great comfort to know that my savior too faced the same mortality I did, that he is able to help me overcome my trial and challenges because he faced his one mortality from his birth till his transfiguration.

http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/93.12-13?lang=eng#11

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Why do Mormons see the atonement as taking place at Gethsemene?

As responses to your question have shown, much verbiage is expended trying to EXPLAIN the greatest metaphysical fact of our existence. This cannot be done. Yet "we" constantly try anyway.

Simply: the "atonement" is a concept vis-a-vis "God's" love. That love is incomprehensible as infinity. Yet we have that love illustrated in a manifestation of anthropomorphic proportions, i.e. so that we anthropomorphs can identify with it. Jesus Christ is "God" experiencing ANYTHING required to prove that love to each of us. There is nothing technical, or "two part - three part" about any of it.

To my mind, "the Jesus story" is meaningful only in the illustration of "God's" love for me. I don't accept (anymore) that there is some "worthiness" component about it; or that the "atonement" means that "God" is compelled to go through agony so that I can become a "god". I find the whole concept of "fall, redemption and exaltation" repugnant in the extreme, and I deny any part in it. I would rather be annihilated than allow anyone to take a single flagellum stroke in my behalf because I acquiesced to it....

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Being infinite forward and backwards, we used the Atonement in the pre-earth life and more likely will use in in the next life.

Makes sense to me :P. Or, at least I can think of no immediate problem to this concept.

As responses to your question have shown, much verbiage is expended trying to EXPLAIN the greatest metaphysical fact of our existence. This cannot be done. Yet "we" constantly try anyway.

Simply: the "atonement" is a concept vis-a-vis "God's" love. That love is incomprehensible as infinity. Yet we have that love illustrated in a manifestation of anthropomorphic proportions, i.e. so that we anthropomorphs can identify with it. Jesus Christ is "God" experiencing ANYTHING required to prove that love to each of us. There is nothing technical, or "two part - three part" about any of it.

To my mind, "the Jesus story" is meaningful only in the illustration of "God's" love for me. I don't accept (anymore) that there is some "worthiness" component about it; or that the "atonement" means that "God" is compelled to go through agony so that I can become a "god". I find the whole concept of "fall, redemption and exaltation" repugnant in the extreme, and I deny any part in it. I would rather be annihilated than allow anyone to take a single flagellum stroke in my behalf because I acquiesced to it....

Most of us have actually been here where you are in our thought processes/seeking for knowledge about the purpose of life and Jesus' atonement. I recall that I was about 20 years old when it was made known to me and/or I realized that, as you say, the "the Jesus story" has no power AS a story, except for emotional content for those who need or want such an experience. And by the way, there is NO love without agony, for any being.

The atonement is science. It is mechanics. It has to do with the harnessing of energy, both negative and positive, and having the authority and power to direct both where they should best go in the universe. In my mind, Jesus actually experienced suffering energy from all humans which with his body and spirit he transformed into grace energy (you can use whatever words you like, I'm just using mine, and I think you can tell what I mean) . . . which then radiates back out to us. In other words, Jesus is a filter or a function machine, drawing in the 'bad' and transforming and sending it out 'good'. This is a mechanical process and is just as real as gravity.

I wrote the following about ten years ago, and maybe it will be useful to you as you continue to reflect upon this wonderful matter.

************************************************

"The Charity of Christ"

The etymology of the word charity leads to the concept of "costliness". This was a wonderful discovery to me, because it put me in mind of the redemptive payment that Jesus Christ gave for his Father's children. This is also like the familiar scripture in Doctrine & Covenants, section 18, verse 10: "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." It is interesting that this passage in the D&C goes right on to speak of the mechanics of the Atonement. Verse 11-13 "For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dea, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!" God calls his children his treasure, particularly those who have made and kept covenants that place themselves within the boundaries of redemptive power. (See Exodus 19:5, Proverbs 15:6, Isaiah 33:6, Matthew 6:20, Matthew 12:35, Matthew 13:44, 2 Corinthians 4:7, D&C 6:3.)

The definition of charity, as I understand it, then cannot be thought of (only) as love, at least as used in the popular vernacular. Usually when we use the word love we mean a warm emotional feeling. This is importan, even critical, but I think it still falls short to capture what charity is and what it does and why it is the way we are saved. Moroni 10:21 When we speak of love as love as being the service that we do--acts of love--we come a lot closer to what Christ provides for us in his charity to us. Charity is a force, and tangible.

I once read in a book a description of how the sun works. First, I want to say that in science class we learn that there are four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. We are familiar with the first three, as they are all about us here on the earth. We sometimes speak of stars as great big balls of gas, but that is not really accurate. They are not gas, because to say something is a solid or a liquid or a gas is to automatically describe a certain set of rules, such as how fast the atoms move and how close or far apart they are from each other. The stars in their burnings are in a plasmatic state.

Our sun is what is called a hydrogen star. Hydrogen is considered the first element (see the periodic table) and the entire universe is made of almost all hydrogen, with all the rest of the elements (a hundred or more) taking up a small percentage all together. Our sun is a furnace burning hydrogen. Most stars are hydrogen stars, but a few are burning other fuels. There are helium stars (second element in the periodic table), through to oxygen stars (eighth element), all the way up to iron stars. After iron, different processes in a star life or cycle start taking over (not furnace/fuel burnings). Usually the lifetime of a star consists of beginning by burning hydrogen until there is none left, then it starts burning helium, then continuing through all the elements until it is an iron star (there are overlaps in these stages). Hydrogen stage takes the longes; the stages of the rest of the elements take decreasing time.

In any case . . . the star-sun sacrifices or converts tons of matter per second in the "burning" process. The sun sacrifices its matter: the elements no lonter exist, at least as they once were known. The sun no longer possesses that matter. The sun sacrifices its matter in a conversion. The matter is coverted, obviously enough, into light and heat (and etc). And of course on earth we receive the benefit of light and heat. (In fact, anything that burns, like a piece of wood, sacrifices its matter to become/convert into heat and light.) I read this explanation in a book, and this book itself used the words 'sacrifice' and 'conversion' and this book was not a religious or Christian book. And yet here I was face to face with two words that represent two of the greatest principles of the gospel that I knew: Sacrifice and Conversion. I thought to myself--is this a misuse of words? Do we use words from physical life to describe spiritual living because we don't have any other words and we want to make a parable? Or do we use the same words because the events they define are the same?

As you may guess, for myself I come to the latter conclusion. We are taught to lose our life. We know that the Savior gave his life--not just on the cross, but his entire mortal years. Just the other day I was thinking that in a worldly sense, Jesus had a relatively boring life. It's not that he was poor, because I don't think he was destitute and I get the idea that he was at least fairly well off. He had a house and a large family (brothers and sisters) and a profession and he went to school. But for a Man of his physical, intellectual, spiritual, etc, stature, I think it could be boring to walk around a country giving talks on hillsdies, especially knowing it was going to get you nails in the center of your palms. On the other hand, if he hadn't been a teacher, he would probably continue as a carpenter, do the 9 to 5 gig most of us do. I wonder if there were things Jesus wanted to invent, songs or books he wanted to write, kings he wanted to impress.

But of course none of this is so. Jesus didn't have this attitude at all. He lived just the right kind of life and although he got weary of some things, like the hypocrisy he observers, he loved us, his children and he had joy walking and striving with us and showing us the way. He gave us his life. Then he made a Sacrifice. With that Sacrifice, all mankind were the benefit of a conversion from the Fall.

In the gospel we make promises to sacrifice. We talk about sacrificing our sins. We talk about sacrificing ourselves for others. I am a mother. If I do what is right as a mother, then I don't have a life any more. My children have my life as a gift. That means they get my minutes, my money, my arms, my voice, my legs, anything that is mine, it theirs before myself, and perhaps never myself if there is nothing else left after I give it to them. When we make the sacrifices that the scriptures teach then we are converted. We become a new creature and we radiate tangible, material benefit to others. We know that our physical state will also change and convert by degrees until we reside as a celestial burning.

This brings me back around to charity--the charity that Christ gives to us and commands that we give to others. Charity is the payment we make for others. In one sense, there is only one Savior and as mortals we can do nothing like the Son of God did for us. In another sense, unless we give over our entire life to providing salvation for others, just as Jesus did, then we lack joy. We don't pay for others so that we can own them (although the scriptures talk about this in terms of us belonging to Jesus), but rather to free them. The payment of charity is the payment of our life--the charity that another human being is a costly treasure, and so that the other human being can be alive due to our sacrifice/payment/charity. Alive physically, spiritually, eternally. We don't try to keep ourselves alive, we try to keep the other person alive--our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, strangers and even enemies.

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@Maidservant: I always enjoy hearing the metaphysical pondering of others. The real thing is rare enough. Thanks for sharing.

Pain (agony) is simply the opposite of pleasure. I do not attach metaphysical importance to it in order to know what love is like.

"The Fall" is problematic to me anymore. It signifies a "God" that is helpless in the face of immutable LAW to accomplish salvation any other way than the methodology proposed by Christianity.

There is a bigger concept that I think I see. Two overarching truths/facts are involved here: One, there is not just one way to become joyful; but rather, the ways are as infinite and varied as we are different from each other: Two, "God" is infinite and incomprehensible to finite beings such as we; which means that "God" is not limited to anything we believe "God" has said in scripture.

We can and do focus on "the word" as written and as spoken by those we believe are speaking for "God". But in all cases these things are mere starting points. What is written and said is not even mutually exclusive to the rest of what is spoken and written; contradiction is only apparent; inconsistency is also only apparent. Infinity encompasses ALL possibilities we can imagine, and an infinity of other possibilities we will never imagine.

I've said this anytime the subject seems to make it timely: "It is impossible to imagine anything impossible." That has to open the ultimate conundrum. Because the first thing you or anyone else can do is come up with an "impossible" statement: such as the philosophical favorite, "Is it possible for God to create a rock too big for God to lift?" Either answer seems contradictory, ergo (so the "godless" delight in asserting) God does not exist. But the truth of the matter is always "yes" and "no": BOTH are correct! My favorite "impossible" question is: "Can God annihilate itself?" Of course not! anyone would instantly respond. But I have just imagined "God" choosing annihilation. I cannot imagine anything that "God" cannot imagine. Therefore "God" just thought it again, because I thought it and typed it. And the scripture says that God does not think a thing except that he acts upon it. So I have just annihilated "God".

Yet Existence continues. So BOTH annihilation and immortality, together, are the truth. "God" chooses all things. But order rather than chaos is what our experience says holds sway in this world. Do we have faith in that order? Do we believe that "God" establishes order for a purpose? Our imaginations are a terrible thing! We are godlike in our thinking. We frighten ourselves with the possibilities of what we might do, what we might become. So we invent endless exegeses to combat our fears. We resort to "God", the ultimate higher power and authority in order to refuse to take up our full God-given agency. Our free will is too much. We want it taken back by "God" who gave it.

Yet eventually we want our free will back again. Yet it was never taken from us in the first place. We come to realize that there is no one, nothing, ever, to share our reality with BUT "God". We come to accept how truly alone with our own thoughts and imaginings we are. The only possible sharing of our thoughts, imaginings and feelings is with "God". There can be no Other.

Having accepted this as the most fundamental truth about my Existence, it then becomes obvious, imperative even, that I seek after "God" in all that I think, do and am. Nothing else about existence is interesting except this quest to not be alone.

And because I seem to be following a mandate of my Creator, it seems apparent to me now that "God" wants me back. And why should "God" create any being to merely lose that being? What would be the purpose of creating to only lose what has been created? That is why my charity cannot accept damnation of a single soul. My charity canNOT be greater than "God's". So, no damnation, no salvation, no plan thereof as Christianity proposes it. And if no salvation and no damnation, then no loss of "God". But instead, I am destiny-bound to be a soul-mate to "God" and SHE soul-mate to me. (YMMV....)

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