Should We Teach Christ’s Atonement or Christ’s Ascension?

Today during Gospel Essentials, we had a great conversation about the Atonement/Resurrection of Christ, and how that impacts our lives. Naturally, this included a discussion about the first and second death, how we would all be resurrected, and the dual benefits of Christ atonement: freeing us from the chains of justice, and freeing us from the griefs, sorrows, and pains of mortality.

While pondering these things, a question was placed in my heart/head: is that all? Naturally, the first reaction was to think, isn’t that enough? Sure, but are those the only benefits resulting from Christ’s ascension?

I am embarrassed to say that it took me an hour to noodle through to the answer. Clearly the question implied that there was something more. Eventually the scriptures came to mind relating to the promises Christ made to the disciples just prior to his death: He would prepare a place; He would send “another comforter” to abide with them forever; He would do “whatsoever [is] asked in [His] name”; and [they] would do “greater works” than He had done (up to that point?). All this, because He ascended to the Father.

Let’s say this a bit differently. By following in His path, as they (we?) become like Him, they will do those things He had done and would yet do. Right?

This goes so far beyond the idea of being forgiven of our sins. Can we assume that all those who inherit the Celestial Kingdom will be washed in His blood? But, given D&C 131 and the implication that there will be those in the Celestial realms that will not progress further, these additional gifts that are available because of Christ’s ascension may not be available to all who are there. We rightfully teach about the incredible gifts that come from Christ’s atonement and resurrection. Are we “denying the power of God” by not teaching the rest of the story? Will we be held responsible for this omission and impeding the potential of others?

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