"For as long as I've been aware of the fact that I would need my own relationship with my Heavenly Father, as opposed to clinging to that of my parents, I've been hung up on the Atonement—that intangible thing that I can't entirely wrap my head around. What is it? How do I apply it? What can it do for me?"A few years ago, I made friends with a girl in my singles ward who came straight from jail. She was a recovering drug addict who was on the first leg of her journey back into activity in the church after a long time away. We were fast friends who made the same jokes and had the same marathon endurance for a Saturday of shopping and patio dining.
"One year, a dozen visits to the adult parole and probation office, and 100 hours of community service later, she was invited to attend a 12-step meeting on a Sunday night, and like so many other things, I was right by her side. There had been quite a few 'firsts' that came as a part of our friendship, but attending addiction recovery meetings was probably the most monumental.
"We all had an opportunity to speak and as I listened to the other addicts, family, and friends speak around the circle, I was convinced I didn't have anything valuable to add. But when it was my turn and I bore testimony of the healing and redemptive power of the Atonement—the very thing I had worked so hard to understand and apply in my life—it occurred to me then that 'to some it is given to know... and to some it is given to believe on their words' (D&C 46).
My best friend's life had been the very example of the Atonement I had been seeking. I watched her grow and struggle and reconcile, and worked right along side her at times, before I realized that I had been witnessing the blessings that only the Atonement could provide to heal her sins and bring peace to her soul."