Some time ago, a speaker in Sacrament Meeting talked about the theology behind the temple ordinances. It was a very good talk, and he started by sharing the story of his 3rd-great uncle - a captain in the Confederate army who was known for the brutality of his attack methods. This ancestor was captured and executed, essentially as a war criminal because of the way he acted in his command.
speaker then talked about two of his great-grandmothers and what
wonderful women they were - that he wished he could have known them
personally but how he appreciated the stories he was told by the
people who knew them.
His point in sharing the stories was to
say that the Mormon concept of the Atonement and the accompanying temple
work we do makes it possible for him to believe that his war criminal
ancestor has a chance to be redeemed and saved just like his saintly
That is a powerful point - and, as someone who is between the two extremes in his talk, I take heart in the idea that there is room in the Atonement not just for those extremes but also for a regular, middle of the road guy like me.