Oct 2, 2014

Latter Day Saint: Helpful Consequences, Repentance and the Process of Becoming Worthy

Are Consequences and Repentance Required for Worthiness?

 LDS Mormon Quotes

Repentance from pornography required for worthiness

Why Are Consequences Helpful? 

If Alma the younger never felt the pains of hell, and was racked with the eternal torment in remembrance of all his sins, do you think he would have had such a great change of heart? Would he have understood all that he had done wrong? I myself never would have gotten sober without going through the pains of hell.

Many times bishops, leaders and loved ones unknowingly enable an addicts addiction which can cause them to believe their trangression wasnt serious ---ie. "I can look at pornography and still go to the temple and take sacrament? Oh, what I did must not be that bad". Leaders and loved ones may think they are helping by encouraging the addict to continue going to the temple or taking the sacrament despite a recent relapse, slip, or discovery of ones sexual sins, but instead they may be unknowingly hurting them. Remember consequences are for our benefit. They are good and can help bring about lasting change.

What Can Church Leaders Do to Help?

"The bishop represents the Lord in extending forgiveness for the Church. At times he must administer bitter medicine. Alma told Corianton, “Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment” (Alma 42:16). I would not want to live in a world where there was no repentance, and if punishment is a condition of that, I will willingly accept that. There is the idea abroad that one can send a postcard of prayer and receive in return full forgiveness and be ready at once for a mission or for marriage in the temple. Not so. There are payments to be made. If a bishop offers comfort only and, in misguided kindness, seeks to relieve you of the painful but healing process in connection with repentance, he will not serve you well."

President Stephen L Richards has said: “What good to the Church, what real benefit to erring members, can come from ignoring this obligation, and as we sometimes say, winking at and ‘white-washing’ the offenders? Can the judges thus help in setting people on the way to repentance and forgiveness?”

Many who have violated the laws of the Lord feel unjustly dealt with if they are called before proper Church courts and appropriate action is taken in reference to their transgressions. Many priesthood leaders, whose responsibility it is to watch over the Church and take action in cases of serious transgression, are remiss in convening courts and taking action that one might be put in a position where he can be forgiven. What might be thought to be a kindness in not taking proper action may really be the most unkind thing that could have been done.

President Lee has said: “Never must we allow supposed mercy to the unrepentant sinner to rob the justice by which the true repentance from sinful practices is predicated”  
The Prophet Joseph said: “There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof.”
President Kimball has said: “There are many people who seem to rely solely on the Lord’s mercy rather than on accomplishing their own repentance. … The Lord may temper justice with mercy, but he will never supplant it. Mercy can never replace justice. God is merciful, but he is also just.”

An eternal aspect of justice has been decreed by divine law, that “… God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

How may the judge know when repentance is adequate? The individual might become impatient as he demonstrates his repentance. But it has been said that “sufficient time [should] elapse to permit a period of probation for the one seeking forgiveness. This probation serves a double purpose: First, … it enables the offender to determine for himself whether he has been able to so master himself as to trust himself in the face of ever-recurring temptation; and secondly, to enable the judges to make a more reliable appraisement of the genuineness of repentance and worthiness for restored confidence.”

“Many times a bishop will write, “I feel he has suffered enough!” But suffering is not repentance. Suffering comes from lack of complete repentance. A stake president will write, “I feel he has been punished enough!” But punishment is not repentance. Punishment follows disobedience and precedes repentance. A husband will write, “My wife has confessed everything!” But confession is not repentance. Confession is an admission of guilt that occurs as repentance begins. A wife will write, “My husband is filled with remorse!” But remorse is not repentance. Remorse and sorrow continue because a person has not yet fully repented. Suffering, punishment, confession, remorse, and sorrow may sometimes accompany repentance, but they are not repentance.“

"..Enforcing consequences becomes our best next course of action. President Russell M. Nelson taught that “real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior”

We have a responsibility to set and clearly communicate boundaries, make rules, and hold family members accountable for their choices. This is not done to control others but rather to minimize their negative impact and to help our families stay safe and well. Setting boundaries also helps us to remember our worth as children of God and know that we are worthy of love and kindness in our lives. Many spouses and family members find that when they communicate openly about their feelings and experiences and then set firm boundaries and consequences, their loved ones understand more fully the damaging effects of their choices and actions. Experiencing consequences can provide our loved ones with the very motivation they need to find healing and recovery. Setting limits can also help invite the Spirit into our homes and into the lives of our family members because it will help us be open, honest, humble, and assertive and it allows our loved ones to better exercise their own agency.

The gospel teaches us a pattern of our Father providing commandments and then allowing consequences for disobedience. For example, the scriptures teach us that if we disobey the commandments, we cannot have the Spirit as our constant companion (see Mosiah 2:36). In our lives, setting limits on our loved ones’ bad behavior reminds us that we are worth being loved and respected. Our loved ones need to understand that our boundaries are about our obligation to keep the second great commandment of loving ourselves as well as our neighbors"

"When our loved ones make poor choices that result in severe consequences, it is natural to want to protect them from those consequences. We may try to repair the damage ourselves and make restitution in their behalf. In some instances our help can be very beneficial and even lifesaving; however, we must be careful not to support them in their poor choices or enable them to commit sin. If we fall into a trap of consistently rescuing them, we may hinder their recovery and delay them from turning to the Lord for help.
It is important to remember that “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1:31). Experiencing the negative consequences of their actions can help our loved ones determine to change (see Luke 15:17). The prophet Alma counseled his son, “I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good” (Alma 39:7). We are all accountable for our own words, deeds, and thoughts (see Mosiah 4:30); we cannot remove our loved ones’ accountability for their actions. Only by repentance and obedience to the commandments can our loved ones be healed, receive forgiveness for their mistakes, and stand uprightly before the Lord."

What is the Process of Repentance?

“President Joseph F. Smith identified some of these steps this way: “True repentance is not only sorrow for sins, and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices … a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good … to make restitution, so far as … possible, for all the wrongs we have done. … This is true repentance, and the exercise of the will and all the powers of [the] body and mind is demanded, to complete this glorious work of repentance.”

To the vital steps of recognition, sorrow, abandonment, confession, and restitution where possible, it is also essential to add the requirement to diligently keep all of the commandments of God. 7 For the Lord has declared: “I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”
Richard G Scott 

“When we speak of the continual need of repentance, let it not be understood that we refer to a cycle of sinning and repenting and sinning again. That is not complete repentance. We must see the right and follow it, recognize the wrong and forsake it with a ‘Godly sorrow’ if we would obtain the blessings of complete repentance"                                  

“Repentance must involve an all-out, total surrender to the program of the Lord. That transgressor is not fully repentant who neglects his tithing, misses his meetings, breaks the Sabbath, fails in his family prayers, does not sustain the authorities of the Church, breaks the Word of Wisdom, does not love the Lord nor his fellowmen. A reforming adulterer who drinks or curses is not repentant. The repenting burglar who has sex play is not ready for forgiveness. God cannot forgive unless the transgressor shows a true repentance which spreads to all areas of his life” (Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 203).

The adversary tempts those with a pornography addiction to try to hide, or cover, their sins—thus thwarting the repentance process and avoiding the true source of healing. In so doing they add the sin of dishonesty to the sin of pornography, “and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell”
Richard G Scott / Rory Reid

“Repentance seems to fall into five steps:

1. Sorrow for sin. To be sorry for our sin we must know something of its serious implications. When fully convicted, we condition our minds to follow such processes as will rid us of the effects of the sin. We are sorry. We are willing to make amends, pay penalties, to suffer even to excommunication if necessary.

2. Abandonment of sin. It is best when one discontinues his error because of his realization of the gravity of his sin and when he is willing to comply with the laws of God. The thief may abandon his evil in prison, but true repentance would have him forsake it before his arrest and return his booty without enforcement. The sex offender who voluntarily ceases his unholy practices is headed toward forgiveness.

Alma said, “Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble” (Alma 32:16).

The discontinuance must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit repetition. The Lord revealed this to the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning repentance: “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43).

3. Confession of sin. The confession of sin is an important element in repentance. Many offenders have seemed to feel that a few prayers to the Lord were sufficient. They have thus justified themselves in hiding their sins.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

It is unthinkable that God absolves serious sins upon a few requests. He is likely to wait until there has been long, sustained repentance as evidenced by a willingness to comply with all his other requirements. Next, the offender should seek the forgiveness of the Church through his bishop. No priest or elder is authorized to thus act for the Church. The Lord has a consistent, orderly plan. Every soul in stakes is given a bishop who, by the very order of his calling and his ordination, is a “judge in Israel.” The bishop is our best earthly friend. He will hear the problems, judge the seriousness, then determine the degree of repentance and decide if it warrants an eventual forgiveness. He does this as the earthly representative of God—the master physician, the master psychologist, the master psychiatrist. If repentance is sufficient he may waive penalties, which is tantamount to forgiveness. The bishop claims no authority to absolve sins, but he does share the burden, waive penalties, relieve tension and strain; and he may assure a continuance of activity. He will keep the whole matter most confidential.

4. Restitution for sin. When one is humble in sorrow, has unconditionally abandoned the evil, and confessed to those assigned by the Lord, he should next restore insofar as possible that which was damaged. If he burglarized, he should return to the rightful owner that which was stolen. Perhaps one reason murder is unforgivable is that having taken a life, the murderer cannot restore it. Restitution in full is not possible. Also, having robbed one of virtue, it is impossible to give it back.

However, the truly repentant soul will usually find things which can be done to restore to some extent. The true spirit of repentance demands this. Ezekiel taught, “If the wicked … give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live” (Ezek. 33:15).
Moses taught, “If a man shall steal an ox or a sheep, … he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Ex. 22:1).
A pleading sinner must also forgive all people of all offenses committed against himself. The Lord is under no obligation to forgive us unless our hearts are fully purged of all hate, bitterness, and accusations against all others.

5. Do the will of the father.

"Restitution has always been a part of the gospel plan. We read in the law of Moses that when one has sinned against another, “he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto.” (Lev. 6:5.)

 ....need to understand that restitution is just one part of repentance, that repentance really involves changing our hearts and our lives and accepting the atonement of Christ. "

“To earn forgiveness, one must make restitution. That means you give back what you have taken or ease the pain of those you have injured.

But sometimes you cannot give back what you have taken because you don’t have it to give. If you have caused others to suffer unbearably—defiled someone’s virtue, for example—it is not within your power to give it back.

There are times you cannot mend that which you have broken. Perhaps the offense was long ago, or the injured refused your penance. Perhaps the damage was so severe that you cannot fix it no matter how desperately you want to.

Your repentance cannot be accepted unless there is a restitution. If you cannot undo what you have done, you are trapped. It is easy to understand how helpless and hopeless you then feel and why you might want to give up, just as Alma did.

If you partially confess, mentioning only lesser mistakes, you will not be able to resolve a more serious, undisclosed transgression. “
Boyd K Packer

Repentance from pornography required for worthiness

Articles That May Help:

What We All Wish Church Leaders Knew About Wives of Pornography Addicts: http://makemyburdenlight.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-we-wish-all-church-leaders-knew.html?m=1

Can Someone View Pornography and Still Attend the Temple Worthily? LDS Church quotes

Is Confessing Sins To a Wife Required For Repentance?:LDS Church quotes

LDS Quotes on Masturbation

Addiction Recovery - What It is, and what it isn't (list of behaviors):

Commanded To Forgive: Must We Forgive Those Who Harm Us And Is Forgiveness The Same As Trust? LDS. org Church Quotes  

LDS Church definition of Emotional, Sexual, & Physical Abuse : Quotes & Definitions http://makemyburdenlight.blogspot.com/2015/03/lds-churchs-view-on-emotional-sexual.html?m=1