Sunday, August 4, 2013

Grasping Atonement


We got a step closer toward B—'s baptism on our Sabbath walk this evening. B— isn't the kind of kid  at which you can just spout random information and expect him to retain much. It takes careful discussion at his level, stories, analogy, and gentle interconnection, and then he begins to remember. This is the child that required a full year of speech therapy to retain the names of six basic colors. Teaching him the gospel is no less involved a process and one that demands flexibility and problem solving within the context of teaching discussions.

Tonight I asked him why a person would want to be baptized a member of Jesus Christ's Church.

He thought very hard. "Because they love Jesus?"

"Yes, exactly," I told him. "And what has Jesus done for you that would make you love him?"

"He loves us. I know there's something more he's done, but I just can't remember."

"B— can you return to live with Heavenly Father without Jesus Christ?"

"No. But I'm not sure why."

"Think of that tree we saw at the Temple in Salt Lake."

"The olive tree?"

"Very good. The olive tree. What did Jesus do next to the olive tree? Not the one in Salt Lake, an olive tree in Jerusalem."

"Prayer?"

"A prayer. Who did he pray for?"

"Heavenly Father?"

"He prayed for all of us, every person who has ever lived, and every person who will live. And he prayed for us because he loved us. What else happened under that tree?"

"Jesus felt things."

"Right! He felt our sads and our bads."

"Didn't he also feel our hurts?"

"He felt everything we feel, so that he could comfort us and so we could rely on him when we have no one else. Do you know what that deep feeling he did was called?"

B— strains to recall. "Is it repent?"

"When he did this feeling of our hurts and our bads and sads it made it so we could repent. And it was called A-tone..."

"Atonement!"

Small steps toward larger concepts. Tonight I perceived that my autistic son is gaining understanding. He asked if we could walk to the temple again tomorrow. I think follow up is a great idea.

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