I wrote this book because I know too many people who are giving up! One discouraged friend said, "I can't do this Mormon thing. I've tried, and the expectations are just way too high." I know returned missionaries who spent their entire missions teaching about the Atonement, but now they have made some mistakes and feel like the Atonement won't work for them. I know people who have gone to the temple to be sealed and then never returned. I know others who are feeling burned out in their callings. Too many Latter-day Saints feel like they will never measure up. I wanted to write something that will provide hope and motivation next time we or those we love are tempted to toss in the towel. I wanted to write something that would remind people why we do what we do and that it's worth it--not because of all we are earning, but because of all we are learning. Instead of just going through the motions, I wanted people to read this book and once again feel the emotions of discipleship. That's what they are missing. Whether the challenge is getting more out of the temple endowment or dealing with callings or juggling the many aspects of our lives and feeling like we are dropping too many balls, I wanted to provide a shot in the arm.
I started writing The Continuous Atonement? when I was serving as the bishop of a young single adult ward. I realized that there was an aspect of the Atonement they didn't get. They knew about how the Atonement could cleanse and console us, but they didn't grasp how it can transform us and how Christ offers us His enabling power however long that transformation process takes--even continuously. This book picks up that same theme and answers the question, "How?" "How do I apply the Atonement and feel it's transforming power on a continuous basis?" True conversion is not a onetime event, but a process that takes time. Most people accept that in theory, but we still beat ourselves up when we fall short. My message is "Be patient. You are doing better than you realize. Hang in there!" We are not paying our way into heaven. We're practicing for it!
"I can't do this Mormon thing," a friend told Brad Wilcox. "I've tried, and the expectations are just way too high." And she's not alone in her thinking. Many people, as they feel themselves falling short of perfection, are tempted to quit trying.
But are there only two options? Think of it this way: When a person is learning to play the piano, are the only two options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? Similarly, in mortality, are the only two choices being perfect or giving up?
"No," writes Brad Wilcox. "Growth and development take time. Learning takes practice. Discipleship is a journey, and true conversion is a continuous process."
In this hope-filled book, Brad shares his keen understanding and testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ as it relates to our own conversion. Conversion occurs, he says, "when we stop trying to earn heaven and start trying to learn it. . . As we take each little step to show faith, repent, make and live covenants, seek the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, we are not paying our way into heaven. We are practicing for it."