The Atonement of Jesus Christ

Doctrine and Covenants 29:1, 42–43, 46–50

1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins; . . .
42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.
43 And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe; . . .
46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;
47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;
48 For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.
49 And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?
50 And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written. And now I declare no more unto you at this time. Amen.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“. . . [T]he Lord declares that through His mercy He has offered atonement for sin. As Paul said, through that atonement we were bought with a price and therefore we belong to Jesus Christ who purchased us with His blood [see 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23]. Man was under the bondage of sin and unable to free himself, and Jesus Christ came into the world, offering Himself a ransom to pay the price of transgression through the shedding of His blood that all men might be freed from death and have remission of their sins, on condition of their repentance. Previously the Lord had made it known that His blood would not free the unrepentant sinner, who should suffer for his transgressions even as He, Christ, suffered [see D&C 19:15–19]. Frequently in these revelations our Lord refers to Himself as ‘your Redeemer,’ and speaks of His suffering for the remission of sin in behalf of all who will repent and obey Him. . . .

“When Adam transgressed in the Garden of Eden he died the spiritual death, as well as changing his nature and bringing upon himself mortality. Spiritual death is banishment from the presence of God, and Adam was shut out from the presence of the Lord. Angels were sent to him, however, to teach him the plan of salvation. The earth probation was prolonged that he might repent and accept the plan offered to him. Through his repentance, baptism, and confirmation, he was brought back again into the presence of God through the Holy Ghost. This same spiritual death comes upon all unrepentant and unbaptized men, and the only way they can be brought from spiritual death to spiritual life is through obedience to the gospel. . . .

“Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all little children are redeemed, for they cannot sin, and the power is not given to Satan to tempt them. The question naturally may arise as to the meaning of the words of the Lord [in D&C 29:46] that ‘little children are redeemed . . . through [the] Only Begotten.’ This does not mean that redemption was made for them before, or at, the foundation of the world, but at that time when the plan of salvation was received provision was made for the redemption of little children and also for those who are without the law, and this was consummated in the Atonement made by Jesus Christ. In a vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed ‘that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven’ [History of the Church, 2:381; D&C 137:10]. Repentance is for those who have understanding. The Lord says, ‘And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?’ [D&C 29:49]. The obvious answer is, no one, for all are commanded to repent.”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:140–41, 144.)