Gethsemane. Traditionally, according to LDS leaders, this the place where the heart of the atonement took place. Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explained, “Where and under what circumstances was the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God made? Was it on the Cross of Calvary or in the Garden of Gethsemane? It is to the Cross of Christ that most Christians look when centering their attention upon the infinite and eternal atonement. And certainly the sacrifice of our Lord was completed when he was lifted up by men; also, that part of his life and suffering is more dramatic and, perhaps, more soul stirring. But in reality the pain and suffering, the triumph and grandeur, of the atonement took place primarily in Gethsemane” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 1:774). During a General Conference, Apostle M. Russell Ballard said, “Thankfully, Jesus Christ courageously fulfilled this sacrifice in ancient Jerusalem. There in the quiet isolation of the Garden of Gethsemane, He knelt among the gnarled olive trees, and in some incredible way that none of us can fully comprehend, the Savior took upon Himself the sins of the world” (“The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2004, p. 85). Joseph C. Winther wrote, “As terrible as Christ’s suffering on the cross was, perhaps it was not as great as His suffering in Gethsemane. When he sweat drops of blood as He bore the weight of all the sins of mankind, the great agony of the Atonement took place” (“Because of His Love,” Ensign, April 2002, p. 19).
For more information on Gethsemane, see:
- “Calvary or Gethsemane: The Atonement According to Mormonism”
- For a review on an LDS book on Gethsemane, click here
- For a four-part audio series by Bill McKeever, click here
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