Relief Society Lesson Plan: “The Atonement of Jesus Christ” by Tad R. Callister

Photo by Sheba_also, used under license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Link to the talk: The Atonement of Jesus Christ, April 2019

Introduce lesson with a brief bio of Elder Callister:

  • Currently serving as President of the Sunday School General Presidency
  • Served a mission in the eastern US, Bishop, Stake P, Mission P, Area Seventy, then President of the Seventy.
  • He has given 7 General Conference talks
  • He was a lawyer before becoming a General Authority

Introduce the talk

President Callister explains that in order for Jesus Christ to perform an infinite atonement he had to overcome 4 obstacles.

Question: Ask class if they can think of these obstacles

Have word strips or write on board

  • Physical Death
  • Spiritual Death (sin)
  • Our Afflictions and Infirmities
  • Our Weaknesses and Imperfections

There is a story about a man jumping from an airplane and being saved by a parachute. Save this for the conclusion

Callister goes into detail about these 4 obstacles.  Contemplate your class and what you know of them, to determine how much time to spend on each of the 4 areas.  What will be of most benefit to them?

  1. Death:  Jesus Christ overcame death thru the resurrection.  This is given to all of us.
  2. Spiritual death because of Sin.
    • Jesus Christ overcame sin for those who repent. Pres Callister raises some excellent points in this section.
    • Some people have trouble forgiving themselves. They see other people as forgiven, but not themselves. Ask Why?  Why is hard to forgive yourself?
    • How do I know if I have been forgiven of my sins? Elder Erying: “If you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost today, you may take it as evidence that the Atonement is working in your life.”
    • Does Eyring’s answer work for you?  Why or why not?
    • Is it possible to remember our sins and still be free of guilt? This is an excellent question. Callister gives the example of Alma who remembered his sin years later (as did Paul) but the pain was gone.  He was not harrowed up with guilt. He was able to use it as an example of change, of becoming a new person.
      Ask for examples from modern life.
      Simple example of remembering what it was like to have your wisdom teeth removed, but you no longer feel the pain along with the memory. (yes this is not an example of sin, but might a conversation)
      Try to get a conversation going here about the difference between a memory of sin and guilt of a sin. We can be forgiven! That is the message to drive home!
      Also stress that everyone’s experiences are different.
  3. Afflictions and Infirmities
    • The Lord knows how to succor his people because he is experiencing life with us.  He has experienced problems in his own life and he is always with us.
      This is not in the talk, but you could bring up the concept of the Light of Christ and how this essence keeps us continually connected to God so God is able to know where we are and what we are experiencing, like a spiritual internet.
    • Jesus Christ helps us in three ways
      • Removes the affliction
      • Strengthens us to endure the situation
      • Gives us an eternal perspective to understand the temporary nature of our situation
    • Ask for examples. In the talk is the example of Joseph Smith in jail. Be prepared with some examples to get it going.
      What does ‘strength’ look like related to enduring a situation?
      How can we strengthen others?
      (allow them to lean on us?)
  4. Weaknesses and Imperfections
    • President Callister discusses Grace here.  This is not a commonly discussed topic so it might be good to define or explain what Grace means. Grace is a GIFT from Jesus Christ. It is received in 2 ways:
      • Via the ordinances (i.e. Gift of the Holy Ghost)
      • Via Gifts of the Spirit, available to EVERYONE regardless of denomination/membership
    • What are some Gifts of the Spirit?
    • How do the gifts help us with our weaknesses?
      1. Goal is to become more like the Savior and Heavenly Father
      2. Be sure everyone knows that Grace is Freely Given to all


Paraphrase the story of the man jumping from the airplane.
Relate Gravity to Justice and Mortality (the 4 obstacles)
Relate the Parachute to Jesus Christ’s Atonement
Relate ‘pulling the ripcord’ as our connection to the Savior and our action in accessing his Atonement. You might say, “He’s got your back” as if you have a parachute on your back.
You could have a picture of a person parachuting as a closing picture.

Bear your testimony of your love for the Savior.

Allemande Left

Allemande Left lives in the eastern US with her guitar-strumming husband.

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