I am often edified by a good analogy. It sometimes simplifies things difficult to understand, sheds further clarity to an issue, and encourages application of the lesson in our lives. So for a moment let’s consider the following analogy together. We will start with a question:


What if you could never wash your hands again? Hmmm. Doesn’t sound too drastic…or does it?



Think for a moment you have just completed painting the house. Even if you are very careful, likely remnants of paint will appear on your fingers, palms, and hands despite your best efforts. Then you spend some time working on the farm; cleaning pens, picking berries, digging ditches and the effort leaves more marks on your hands and filth on your fingers and caught under your fingernails.


Next you begin repairing a vehicle engine. and the oil grease and grime penetrate even deeper. Let your imagination run. You can think of other things that make your hands filthy, germ-ridden, and dirty. Whether it’s your employment, a sticky situation like changing a tire or some distasteful task you must complete. By the end of the day you are ready to relax, have some supper, and relax. You want to hold you baby or grandbaby, make your bed with clean white sheets, or put on a clean white shirt or blouse for the evening.


Perhaps you are a doctor and intend to complete an operation as a surgeon, a dentist or an eye doctor. You need clean hands to eat, go the temple, or share your life with your family. Without it, there is shame and embarrassment and perhaps danger in places like the school lunch room during food preparation activities, or medical procedures and operations, as a result of the contamination of filthy hands.



OK—back to real life. We had a grand baby join our family recently. We spent months celebrating this incredible little miracle with the parents and family. Anticipation of this event was high and excitement overflowed into tears of happiness. However, it wasn’t without difficulty. This little guy was in intensive care for a week, and although excited for the delivery, siblings were unable to see him during this period.


However, as grandparents we were allowed to watch and caress this little miracle if we washed our hands thoroughly with a special little scouring brush for 15 minutes in hot, soapy water. That is a long time, if you have never had that experience. It’s a long time even if you have. It seemed like I was washing my skin off and it had only been five minutes. By the time I had washed for ten minutes, I was sure my hands had never been this clean, and I still had five more minutes to go.



At last, the bell timer sounded, and we were able to spend a few minutes with our grand baby. This experience had even more significance when I considered this analogy of never being able to wash our hands. Just as we were forbidden to enter the intensive care facility until we had completed that task, we would be unable to enter God’s presence without “clean hands”.  The opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is just like washing our spiritual hands. 


Mormon men

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Additionally, without the Atonement, we would not have the opportunity to be with our grandchildren, children or spouses. Yet because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can have all these things for eternity and much more because of His grace and love for us all.


His love for us is graven on the palms of His hands. 1 Nephi 21:16


About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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