"We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
There are two parts of this that I want to talk about in more detail. First is the Atonement. We've heard it explained a certain way that we like a lot, so we're going to retell this analogous story.
There was a young man who got himself into massive debt, sure he'd be able to pay it off when the time came. Despite all his friends' warnings, he was careless and easily distracted, and of course, when it came time to repay his loan, he didn't have the money, and so his debtor was going to send him to jail. But then his friend comes along and pays back the whole debt, so now the young man can repay his friend, with much easier terms, and not go to jail.
The young man in the story represents all of us. None of us are perfect, and we all have weaknesses and make mistakes, so we all have an enormous debt to the universe, kind of like karma. But when Jesus Christ made the Atonement, He paid off the debt for each and every one of us, and as long as we're willing to accept His terms for the loan, we can pay Him back, instead having to answer for every one of our mistakes.
This is especially comforting to us when things happen like Mimsy's death. There were so many things we thought of that might have prevented her death if we had just been a little more attentive: Would she have lived if we hadn't gone to Comic Con? Or if we'd at least taken her to the vet before we went? etc. But because of the Atonement (and faith that death is not the end of existence), we know that everything is going to be okay.
The second thing I wanted to talk about was the part that says "all mankind may be saved." When I was thinking about posting this Article of Faith, it wasn't hard for me to imagine people scoffing, "You don't believe all mankind can be saved. You think gays are going to be damned to hell." I don't know if anyone reading this post will actually think that, but you know how insecure people can get. But the thing is all means all.
First of all, we don't really believe in hell, per se. We believe that after the final judgment, everyone will be sent to one of three kingdoms of glory--whichever one they feel most comfortable in. (There's also outer darkness, which you could say is hell, but that's for people who completely reject the Atonement, and you can't make it there accidentally. Athena says she thinks there's a Joseph Smith quote about how the real hell is knowing you could have done better.)
Second of all, the terms of the Atonement are obedience--actions. So wanting to do something you shouldn't and actually doing it are two different things. For example, most people don't get fired for wanting to punch their boss in the face; that doesn't happen until they actually do punch their boss.
Now, I know there are those scriptures in the New Testament that talk about looking on a woman to lust after her is the same as committing adultery, but we think that's more about entertaining those thoughts than about them crossing your mind. Does that make sense? For example, if you get in an argument with your boss and think, "Man, I wanna kill him (or her, if your boss is female)!"--well, that's not good, but none of us is perfect, and that thought is going to cross our minds. But if you let that thought stick with you, fantasize about it, etc., then you're getting dangerously close to the line between thought and action. Or something. The same applies for all temptation.
And of course, because of the Atonement, everyone (by which I mean everyone) can repent of their mistakes, so it's never too late to accept the terms of the Atonement.
Today I'm thankful for finishing work early, having a song recording of "Sanzo & The Trio" playing "Sakura Sakura" on Wii Music, fun with Wii Miis, having time to read manga today, and having plenty of time to play Theatrhythm.