The Savior Describes His Atoning Sacrifice

Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 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—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“We get into the habit of thinking, I suppose, that [Jesus’s] great suffering was when He was nailed to the cross by His hands and His feet and was left there to suffer until He died. As excruciating as that pain was, that was not the greatest suffering that He had to undergo, for in some way which I cannot understand, but which I accept on faith, and which you must accept on faith, He carried on His back the burden of the sins of the whole world. It is hard enough for me to carry my own sins. How is it with you? And yet He had to carry the sins of the whole world, as our Savior and the Redeemer of a fallen world, and so great was His suffering before He ever went to the cross, we are informed, that blood oozed from the pores of His body [see Mosiah 3:7; Luke 22:44], and He prayed to His Father that the cup might pass if it were possible, but not being possible He was willing to drink [see Matt. 26:39, 42].

“And here is what He has said to the Church:

“‘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—nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men’ (D&C 19:16–19).

“Now, when He said that if we do not repent we will have to suffer even as He did, He had no reference to being nailed to a cross, but it was the torment of mind, of spirit, that He had reference to, before He ever got to the cross, and if men will not repent, they will have to suffer even as He suffered.

“Now . . . , briefly, He did all this for us, the Son of God, and He did it, as I have read to you, because His Father commanded Him and because His Father so loved the world that He wanted to save the world from its sins [see John 3:16].”

(In Conference Report, Oct. 1947, 147–48.)

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