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According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, repentance plays a major role in every member’s salvation. LDS scripture declares:
"Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven; And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:32-33).
The big question is, if the LDS Church is true, repentance should be something that can actually be achieved. Have you met the requirements of repentance as defined by the LDS Church?
True or False? According to the Doctrine and Covenants, people who repent of their sins forsake their sin.
True or False? True repentance involves keeping the commandments.
True or False? In order to live with Heavenly Father you must stop sinning.
True or False? True repentance means never repeating that sin again.
True or False? A crucial test of repentance is abandonment of the sin.
True or False? If you hope to achieve exaltation in the next life, you must overcome your sin in this life.
True or False? Repenting of only some sins never results in complete forgiveness.
According to the Doctrine and Covenants, people who repent of their sins forsake their sin.
TRUE: According to Doctrine and Covenants 58:42,43: "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins--behold, he will confess them and forsake them."
True repentance involves keeping the commandments.
TRUE: The LDS Church manual Gospel Principles states, "To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments of the Lord" (1992 ed., p.125).
In order to live with Heavenly Father you must stop sinning.
TRUE: Page 67 of the LDS Church manual Gospel Fundamentals insists, "Our Father in heaven does not sin, and He does not allow people who sin to live with Him. To live with Him, we must repent of our sins. To repent means to feel sorry for our sins and stop doing them."
True repentance means never repeating that sin again.
TRUE: In an unnumbered tract published by the LDS Church titled Repentance Brings Forgiveness, it states, "The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again" (1984).
A crucial test of repentance is abandonment of the sin.
TRUE: Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th President of the LDS Church, declared, "There is one crucial test of repentance. This is abandonment of the sin" (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.163. Also cited in Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual: Religion 231 and 232, p.40).
If you hope to achieve exaltation in the next life, you must overcome your sin in this life.
TRUE: 12th President Spencer W. Kimball said, "Christ became perfect through overcoming. Only as we overcome shall we become perfect and move toward godhood. As I have indicated previously, the time to do this is now, in mortality" (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.210).
Repenting of only some sins never results in complete forgiveness.
TRUE: Page 212 of The Miracle of Forgiveness reads, "…incomplete repentance never brought complete forgiveness" (12th President Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.212).
So how did you do?
Perhaps your knowledge of the LDS faith enabled you to get each question correct; however, how are you doing when it comes to the requirements set forth in the quotations above?
For instance, If D&C 58:43 demands that you must forsake your sin, the next question is, have you? If not, can you honestly say that you have completely repented according to the LDS standard? Can you say before God that you have never repeated a past mistake?
If complete repentance involves keeping the commandments, how many commandments must you keep? And how often must you keep them? All of them all of the time? Or some of them some of the time? Do you keep all of the commandments all of the time? President Kimball insisted that the only way you can have the assurance that you are forgiven is if you are "living all the commandments" (Miracle of Forgiveness, p.208). Are you doing that?
Have you passed what President Kimball called the "crucial test of repentance"? Have you abandoned all of your sin? If not, could it be correctly concluded that your repentance is incomplete and forgiveness has eluded you?
Do you repent every day? On page 127 of the LDS Church manual Gospel Principles (1992 ed.), it states, "The prophets have declared that ‘this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God’ (Alma 34:32). We should repent now, every day…By repenting every day and having the Lord forgive our sins, we will experience the daily process of becoming perfect."
While on the surface this may seems like sound advice, it actually contradicts page 148 of the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Here, Joseph Smith said, "Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God."
If you find yourself repenting every day, doesn’t this prove that you have not "completely repented" as explained by both Mormon scripture and Mormon leaders? Why should people who have forsaken all of their sin and keep all of the commandments need to repent at all? The fact is, if D&C 58:43 is true, people who repent every day only prove that they have not completely repented and are not qualified for exaltation.
President Kimball elaborated on Alma 34:32 when he wrote, "the time to act is now, in this mortal life. One cannot with impunity delay his compliance with God's commandments" (Miracle, p.10). Do you see a day "in this mortal life" when you will no longer need to repent because you are in complete compliance with all of God’s commandments?
Perhaps you are trying your best. That is commendable, but the problem is President Kimball also said "Trying is not sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin" (Miracle, p.164).
If you carefully examine your life with the impossible requirements set forth by the LDS Church, you should readily see a giant disparity. Why would you want to hold on to a system that only guarantees failure? However, there is Good News. You can experience the "peace that passes all understanding" by knowing all of your sins are forgiven! If you would like to have the assurance of forgiveness that has been enjoyed by millions of Christians for centuries, we would like to talk with you. If you live in the Utah area, we would love to meet with you and buy you lunch. Take us up on our offer. [email protected]