Making Covenants and Virginity Pledges for Someone Who Has Been Sexually Abused

I was reading the newly revised “For the Strength of Youth” at the lds youth website. It reminded me of an article I read a few years ago at Mormontimes.com about Virginity Pledges. Both articles stirred up some difficult memories for me which took me back to my childhood, because I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it first started, but it lasted for most of my childhood. I have memories of things happening before I entered first grade and I lost my virginity about the time I was baptized at the age of eight.

Many things about my life of abuse are hard to explain with mere words. Inwardly, I spent years in a fog, simply struggling to survive. All my life I felt so much shame and guilt. I was unclean and impure. I was different than every person I knew. My heart’s desire was to be clean, pure and normal. Outwardly, no one would have suspected the emotional trauma I was going through. I hid my pain well by pretending to the world that I was a happy and normal Mormon girl.

At the age of twelve, I entered Mutual. My teacher was a very nice woman and made an effort to connect with the girls in her class. But one class stands out in my memory as very traumatic. Her Lesson focused on Chastity and how important it was for us to be morally clean. She told us that our most treasured possession was our virginity. She asked us to make a covenant to remain a virgin until we got married. She said that we should never do anything that compromised our most precious possession. For my ears, this was devastating. It was too late for me. I was already impure and had lost my virginity years before.

Then, she told us something that I will never forget. She said that our virginity was so precious that if someone tried to take it away from us by force, we should kill ourselves to protect it. She testified that our virginity was more important to us than our life. Hearing these words cut through my heart like a knife. The abuse continued for a few more years and every time, in addition to the shame, I now felt guilt for not having the courage to take my life. My pain was devastating and my heart’s desire was to be free from shame and guilt.

About fifteen years later this was still my heart’s desire. I had come no closer to finding any relief from my pain. There was nothing more important to me than gaining forgiveness. My desire was to be clean and pure like everyone else I knew. It was then that I turned to a book written by my Prophet Spencer W. Kimball called “The Miracle of Forgiveness“. Here, I just knew I would find the answer to my pain. Instead, I found more guilt and a reinforcement of what my Mutual teacher had told me. I read:

“Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My pain was so intense I would have committed suicide had I not had two little daughters who needed me. And, it was these two little girls that helped me to realize the abuse hadn’t been my fault. As their mother I could see that these little girls had no interest in sex. I started reading about sexually abused children and I learned that children are victims, not willing participants. I myself had survived each ordeal by pretending I was asleep and trying to pretend it wasn’t happening to me.

Surprisingly, realizing it wasn’t my fault did not release me from my feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe it was because of my Prophets words that it would have been better that I had died in defending my virtue. I still felt morally unclean and impure. I was a defective and broken woman who did not know how to become whole and clean. A few years later I left the Mormon Church and about a year after that gave up on what I thought was Christianity in general. I pretended that my feelings of guilt and shame were gone, but they weren’t. I tried convincing myself that the God who created our world didn’t care about me or my pain. But I was wrong! And oh how thankful I am that I was wrong.

Jesus came and rescued me even though I had given up on Him. God sent a Christian into my life who told me that the God who created our world actually loved me! He didn’t care that I was broken and guilt ridden. This loving God led me to the truth and gave me the desire of my heart! He told me that through Jesus I was clean and pure! At thirty six years of age I learned that in God’s eyes, I was as pure and clean as a virgin! All because of Jesus! In fact, John the Beloved testified to me that everyone whose hope is in Jesus is as pure as Jesus himself! (1 John 3:3)

I have had lots of difficult things happen to me in my life but nothing has affected me more deeply than the sexual abuse. Today, even at fifty-three years of age I still struggle with emotional aftereffects from it. But, I praise the Lord that through Jesus’ blood I have been cleansed! My most treasured possession is the forgiveness of all my sins. I live my life devoted to my Savior who freely won it for me. And, I learned that my life is more precious to Him than my “virtue”.

Now, my heart’s desire is to share what I have been given with you. If you were sexually abused and have had to sit through a Mutual class like I did, my heart goes out to you. If you don’t know how to become whole, trust in the fact that your Savior has made you clean and pure with His blood.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-12)

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Gaining Forgiveness: Do You Believe Christ’s Apostles, or LDS prophets?

There is nothing that divides Mormonism from Christianity more clearly than looking at how one gains the forgiveness of sins. While both faiths believe that Jesus paid for the sins of the world, the difference is seen when we look at how each person obtains forgiveness for their sins.

Mormonism teaches that Christ’s Atonement merely gives people the opportunity to repent of their sins. All who have faith in Jesus receive forgiveness for each sin after they do all the necessary works required in the LDS Process of Repentance.

Christianity claims that Christ’s shed blood obtained the forgiveness for every sin ever committed. All who have faith in Jesus receive the forgiveness that Christ won for them over 2,000 years ago.

The fruit (words) of LDS Prophets:

The prophet Joseph Smith revealed in LDS scripture that forgiveness is granted to all who keep the commandments:

“For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;” (D&C 1:31-32)

LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball testified that forgiveness depends upon your works, not Christ’s:

“It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pages 324-325.)

The fruit (words) of Christ’s Apostles:

John the Beloved revealed that Christ’s blood has washed our sins away:

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5)

The Apostle Peter testified that all who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness:

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

I pray that you will turn away from false prophets and place your trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus. The moment you do, you will receive the forgiveness that can never be obtained through your works.

The “God of all Comfort” Has Sent Me to Comfort You!

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since posting here to my blog. I’ve been struggling with some pretty difficult health issues—so much so that I haven’t been able to sit at my desk for more than an hour or so. For the past few years I have been living in constant pain all over my body. This pain has gotten progressively worse, and through an EMG study it was discovered that I have both a muscle and a nerve disease. I am scheduled to have a muscle biopsy in a few weeks which should help determine exactly what is wrong.

I sure never thought that I would have a life that was so full of pain—both emotional and physical. I don’t think there has ever really been a time in my life that was “ordinary”. In fact, if Hollywood made a movie out of my life it would have numerous dramas to focus on: my first husband was emotionally abusive and cheated on me for many years; my oldest daughter was a 2 ½ lb preemie and my second daughter died from SIDS. I truly don’t know if her death was more difficult to go through as a mother than when my daughter Jen was addicted to methamphetamine’s. At one point, I didn’t even know where she was for over a year and filed a missing persons report. In 1999 I was diagnosed with late stage kidney cancer and was told I had less than two years to live. In 2003 I developed a brain tumor and have undergone two major surgeries as well as radiation therapy. Because of that radiation, I suffer from chronic sinus infections, both fungal and bacterial.

These “highlights” don’t even begin to address the emotional trauma associated with growing up in a prominent LDS family and being sexually abused for most of my childhood. I grew up with President Kimball as my prophet—the author of The Miracle of Forgiveness, where he wrote the words that haunted me for most of my life: “It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My own sinfulness overwhelmed me and intensified my feelings of guilt of shame. Trying to obtain forgiveness for those sins through the LDS Process of Repentance consumed my life as I lived every day in complete and utter failure. You see, unlike many Mormons, I actually believed the words of my prophet when he declared in The Miracle of Forgiveness:

Trying is Not Sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin… It is normal for children to try. They fall and get up numerous times before they can be certain of their footing. But adults, who have gone through these learning periods, must determine what they will do, then proceed to do it. To “try” is weak. To “do the best I can” is not strong…Those who feel that they can sin and be forgiven and then return to sin and be forgiven again and again must straighten out their thinking. Each previously forgiven sin is added to the new one and the whole gets to be a heavy load.… It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.

Of all the pain I have gone through in life, nothing has compared to the sure knowledge that I could not do the works which President Kimball told me were necessary to obtain my forgiveness. And in a way, I am thankful. This pain led me to find the true Savior of the world—the Savior whose work had already won the forgiveness for every sin I have or ever will commit. In fact, the sins of the entire world were covered by the life-shed blood of our Savior, when He died on the Cross and “taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Apostle Peter testified that forgiveness is obtained through faith, not works: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Did you notice Peter’s words: “all the prophets” bear witness that we receive forgiveness through belief? Peter’s words prove that LDS prophets are not prophets of God.

Many times I have wondered why my life has not been an easy one. But through it all, I know and trust that God has a purpose for everything. I also know that because my Lord and Savior has given me my hearts desire and cleansed me of my sins, I love Him more than life itself. I place my trust fully in the promise of God: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I also love these words from the Apostle Paul, who helps explain why I have dedicated my life to witnessing the truth in love to Mormons: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

I might live in daily physical pain because of my health issues, but the God of all comfort has blessed me with the peace that passeth all understanding. The desire of my heart is to share what I have found with you. God has shed His light in my heart and given me a passion to reach others who have gone through similar pains and trials. Yesterday my husband got me set up with his old laptop computer on a little table that slides over my bed. God willing, I pray that I will have the strength to share my faith with you more often than I have been able.

Your Savior Has Already Taken Away All Your Sins! Lay Aside Your Heavy Burden of Guilt!

One weekend I went hiking with my husband and some friends in the Ruby Mountains. My husband carried our back pack with the water jug and when he was thirsty I would unzip the pack and get it out for him. After we had drank our fill I would put the jug back into his pack and zip it up. But, what he didn’t know is that whenever I put the jug back, I also put in a fist-sized rock. All of our friends knew what I was doing and it was a great joke. He didn’t notice his pack was getting heavier because the rocks were being added one at a time. Towards the end of the hike his pack had become quite a burden. He thought it was because he was just getting tired, but when he opened it up and saw all the rocks he realized what I had done.

An article I read in the Ensign reminded me of this hike. The focus of the article was the process of Repentance. It gave an idea for Family Home Evening using rocks and a backpack: “Collect a sack and several large rocks. Read the story of President Marion G. Romney and the repentant young man. Have each family member write a common sin on a rock and then place it in the sack. Take turns carrying the sack and compare the physical weight to the burden of sin. Then remove each stone while you read the paragraph following “There was the answer.”

The paragraph mentioned tells you how to know if you can remove the burden of each sin you’ve committed. The answer is because you’ve done everything required through the process of repentance. This is how to know if your repentance has been accepted by the Lord. It claims “The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our day: “Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God” (D&C 82:7).”

But the Lord your God did not say this! Instead, He testified: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” The Holy Ghost inspired these words: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” John the Beloved claimed that Jesus:

“loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”. The reason Jesus came to this earth to rescue us is because we are filled with sin. The vast majority of sins cannot be abandoned. Most sins like unjustified anger, greed, gossiping, envy, lust, lying, etc. are committed over and over again throughout a person’s life time. Oh, there are a few specific commands that one can abandon. Man-made commands like the Word of Wisdom are easy to follow and create a false impression of righteousness; training a person to look at the few sins they don’t commit rather than seeing the great number they do commit. You might even be able to pay a full ten-percent tithe your entire life. But, if you don’t do it cheerfully, you are sinning. The most difficult command is to love God more than anything or anyone. We all break this command over and over again—every time we commit any sin.

Using the analogy that each sin is like a stone, every person who has ever lived would have so many stones piled on them they could not stand. They would literally be buried under a mountain. You could not “carry” this burden because it would be far too heavy to bear. Only a person who chooses not to acknowledge the extent to which they break God’s commands would ever claim that the “soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return”! Only someone who does not know how often they sin could ever believe it possible to abandon most of the sin they commit. In their ignorance and their arrogance they believe their pack is almost empty when in reality it is so great Heavenly Father had to send His Son to remove it!

Looking back at the exercise for Home Evening, imagine taking several rocks and writing a sin on each rock. Start with the sin of being “Unforgiving”. In your life, how many times have you struggled to forgive someone? How about being “Covetous”? How many times have you coveted another persons looks, their home, their spouse, their car? How often are you “Contentious” or “Quarrelsome”? How are you doing at forsaking the sins of “Envy”, “Lying” or “Impatience”? Did you know that “Worrying” or being “Fearful” are sins?

How many times are you:
Bitter”, “Judgmental”, “Angry”, Discourteous” or “Unkind”? How often do you “Gossip” about others or “Slander” someone? Have you abandoned “Cursing” or the sin of “Lusting” after anyone you aren’t married to? I haven’t even mentioned the Sins of omission: Not seeking God’s kingdom first, Not blessing those who persecute you, Not feeding the hungry, Not clothing the stranger, Not visiting those in prison, Not praying continually, Not thanking God for everything, Not being content with what you have, Not trusting God to take care of you and Not giving God the glory for everything you do.

It is truly impossible to abandon many of these sins for even more than one day! But take heart! Jesus came to rescue you! Your filthiness was made clean—it was washed and cleansed with Christ’s blood. Once, your sins were as scarlet, but now they are as white as snow. You are without blame or blemish—no spot can be found. Your sins were taken and cast into the depths of the sea. All your sins, past present and future have been covered and blotted out—removed from you.

Please, do not reject what your Savior has already done for you. He loves you and longs for you to place your trust (faith) in Him. Don’t carry the burden of your sins any longer. Instead, leave them at the foot of the Cross and turn to Jesus in love and thanksgiving for all He has done for you.

Click here for additional LDS and Bible references

Does Forgiveness Depend Upon Your Own Works, Or Christ’s?

Have you ever wondered why many Christians claim the LDS Church is not a Christian church? The most important distinction between Mormonism and Christianity can be seen by looking at the doctrines concerning how to gain forgiveness for a sin. In Mormonism, gaining forgiveness for sins depends upon the works of each individual person. In Christianity, gaining forgiveness for sins depends solely upon the works of Christ.

Tomorrow, every LDS Church around the world will be teaching the foundational LDS doctrine of how and why one gains the forgiveness of sins. The Gospel Principles Lesson on Repentance exposes why the Mormon Church is not Christian, and how its teachings are opposed to Christianity. Chapter 19 claims:

“Repentance is the way provided for us to become free from our sins and receive forgiveness for them… To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments of the Lord (see D&C 1:32). We are not fully repentant if we do not pay tithes or keep the Sabbath day holy or obey the Word of Wisdom… First, one repents. Having gained that ground he then must live the commandments of the Lord to retain his vantage point. This is necessary to secure complete forgiveness.

This false teaching is near and dear to my heart because I spent so many years believing it. I was tormented by my sins, sincerely trying to do all the required works necessary to gain forgiveness. I spent many hours studying the words of my prophet Spencer W. Kimball in The Miracle of Forgiveness. One paragraph overwhelmed my heart, like an angry storm cloud:

“Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works – many works – and an all-out, total surrender, with a great humility and ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” (pages 324-325)

I believed these words because no one had ever told me the truth—that all my sins were already forgiven through Christ’s shed blood. The foundational message of Christianity is that forgiveness depends upon Christ’s works, not our own. John the Baptist testified of this mission of Christ:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

When Christ offered His life as the final sacrifice for sin, His blood covered the sins of the entire world. John the Beloved testified that Christ’s finished work has already washed us from our sins:

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5)

This free gift is given to every person who ever lived. Those who don’t believe that Jesus has already won their forgiveness, reject His most precious gift. The Apostle Peter testified that those who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness:

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

What about repentance? The Greek word for repentance literally means “a change of mind”. Now that I understand this, it resonates in my heart as I see how it differs in Mormonism. Whenever I do something that is against God’s will, I feel regret, sorrow and guilt. But then I turn in thankfulness to my Savior for paying the price for that sin – for taking my guilt upon Himself. When a person truly believes that Christ paid the price for her sins, she does not rely on her own efforts to gain forgiveness for a sin. In actuality, repentance is abandoning trust in yourself and placing all your trust in what Jesus has already accomplished in your place.

When I was LDS, I lived every day trying to gain forgiveness through the LDS Process of Repentance. Now, my most precious gift is the complete forgiveness of all my sins! I live every day in a continual state of repentance—trying not to sin. But also in continual awareness that it is Christ’s work that has made me guilt free! In joy, I respond to my Savior in thankfulness!

Anyone who does not place their faith for forgiveness solely in Christ’s work, rejects this most precious gift. The gift of forgiveness cannot be earned by your works—it is received solely through faith in Christ:

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:3-8)

I am praying that you will believe it, receive it, then respond to it in thanksgiving!!
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I’m often told that I misunderstand the correct LDS definition of Repentance. I have created a Page on this blog with many quotes from LDS leaders defining the Process of Repentance. Click here to read this Page:

Link to LDS Lesson:

Forgiving Others is Un-fair! Thank Goodness God isn’t Fair

For many years I struggled with God’s command to forgive others. I sincerely desired to forgive certain people in my life, but I just couldn’t do it. I would have days when I thought I had conquered my unforgiving feelings, but then something would happen and I was right back where I started.

My hearts desire was to gain forgiveness of my own sins. I knew that securing my forgiveness depended upon me freely forgiving others. After all, it was only fair that Heavenly Father withhold my forgiveness when I had not given it to others. There were many times that this knowledge drove me to despair. The burning question I lived with year after year was “how? How do I forgive others?”

Looking back, I realize that the reason it was so hard for me to forgive others was because I followed the example of my father. He was a very unforgiving man, especially towards his children. Whenever we did anything against his will, he gave us many requirements to follow before he would grant his forgiveness. He believed that working hard in all areas of our lives proved we were truly repentant of the wrong we had committed.

He also kept a record of our mistakes and whenever we repeated the same thing twice, he flung the previous sin back in our faces. Then, we had to start all over, until we truly overcame that sin. Only then could we prove that our repentance was sincere.

I’m not referring to my earthly father, but rather to my Heavenly Father; at least the one I grew up with in the LDS church. This god truly is an unforgiving god! You can read about him on my blog page “The LDS Process of Repentance.” Here, you will find pages of quotes by LDS prophets and apostles, defining the unforgiving god of Mormonism and its savior.

The “Christ” taught in Mormonism requires you to freely forgive everyone, even though he doesn’t hold himself to the same standard: “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D & C 64:9-10).

In my late twenties I lost faith in the unforgiving god of Mormonism, but my life became no better. I was so miserable I would have committed suicide had I not had my children who needed me. Amazingly, at the age of 36 a miracle happened. The Holy Ghost brought me to faith in the “living” Christ and God adopted me into His eternal family. Through faith, I became God’s dear child and immediately received forgiveness of all my sins.

I was so thankful to be God’s true child that I began pouring over all the love letters He had written for me (found in the Bible). Here, I learned much about my loving, merciful and forgiving Father in Heaven. This God’s love was so great that He sent His Son Jesus to take the punishment that I deserved for my sins. It was at Christ’s Atonement where all my sins had been forgiven—through the shedding of His life’s blood.

From the Apostle Peter I learned that LDS prophets are false. Forgiveness is not gained through obedience–Christ has already gained forgiveness for us over 2000 years ago! It is through faith in Him that we receive the forgiveness He has already won for us: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

I was especially thrilled when I learned from God’s Word the key to forgiving others. It was the knowledge that all my sins had already been forgiven that unlocked my unforgiving heart. I realized I could afford to forgive others because I had already been so richly blessed with forgiveness.

All I had to do was follow the example of my Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ. After all, the unmerciful servant was expected to forgive those indebted to him only after his entire debt had first been canceled (Matthew 18). It became easy to forgive others when I remembered that every one of my sins had already been forgiven.

Now, whenever I feel someone has treated me unfairly, I turn to scripture as a reminder of my forgiving Father in Heaven’s example: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

And, the example of my Savior: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13)

Is there someone you can’t seem to forgive, especially since they don’t deserve it? The key is to see that all your sins have already been forgiven—even though you don’t deserve it! After all, forgiveness is an inherently “unfair” concept. Thank goodness the true Heavenly Father isn’t fair! Instead of punishing those who deserved it, He punished His Son Jesus instead.

His Son’s blood has covered your every sin—believe it and receive it! Once you do, you truly will be blessed: “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:7-8 )

Click here to read about the unforgiving nature of the LDS god and savior, as testified by LDS prophets:

(This Post was first written January 29th, 2010, titled: Do You Find it Difficult to Forgive Others?. I have re-posted it for this months Preparing For Exaltation Lesson 34: Forgiving Others; and next months Gospel Principles Chapter 19: Repentance. Page 111 claims:

“We Must Forgive Others. A vital part of repentance is to forgive those who have sinned against us. The Lord will not forgive us unless our hearts are fully cleansed of all hate, bitterness, and bad feelings against other people”)

Link to Gospel Principles Lesson:

God Doesn’t Lie–You Have Been Forgiven!!!

I was born and raised in a prominent Mormon family. All my life I have felt broken—not normal. I was sexually abused for most of my childhood and this abuse has left me with many emotional scars. Until my mid-twenties my life was one of confusion and fog. I knew I was not a willing participant in the abuse and yet, I felt so much guilt and shame for what had happened to me. When I turned twenty I got involved with the wrong crowd and started drinking. I committed sexual sins with someone I was dating, got pregnant and then married. My own sinfulness verified to me that I truly was filthy and unworthy.

My struggles to earn forgiveness included many years of prayers and working through the steps of repentance. I felt so burdened down with guilt and shame. I couldn’t understand how I had committed these sins when everyone else I knew seemed worthy. I became consumed with guilt and I desperately needed forgiveness. The strongest desire of my heart was to be washed clean of my filthiness.

I once fasted for almost a week as I fervently poured over the pages of “The Miracle of Forgiveness“. Even though I read and re-read this book often, it only seemed to make things worse. I was especially plagued by these words from my prophet, President Kimball:

“Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works – many works – and an all-out, total surrender, with a great humility and a ‘broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” (p 325)

Finally, burdened with years of shame and guilt, I turned to my Bishop for help. Although I had confessed my sins to a previous bishop, I again confessed and then asked if I could be re-baptized. The sexual abuse had begun years before I was baptized, and it continued for many years afterward. I felt that if I could just be baptized again, I would have my sins washed away and I would finally be clean!

All my life my father had been a leader in the Church (he did not abuse me). He had taught me that Bishops have been given a special gift from God and could read a person’s heart. A week after confessing my sins, my Bishop told me that Heavenly Father had revealed to him that I was not really sincere in my search for forgiveness, and that I could not be re-baptized. I was shocked and could not believe what he said.

I went home and after a few hours, I realized: “I Could Not Believe What he said”! I knew in my heart that I was sincere. Being forgiven was the most important thing in my life! I realized that my bishop was a fake–he couldn’t really read my heart! I realized that everything I had been taught all my life was false. My LDS world came crashing down around me like a house of cards.

All my life I had been living something that was a lie. I could no longer live that lie because I had seen the truth, I had been set free! I asked to be excommunicated. I was so bitter and angry towards the Mormon Church that I moved three thousand miles to get away from Mormons and family.

It took years before I learned the biblical truth of forgiveness. Even though I had thought I was shown the truth and set free, my life sure didn’t feel that way. I still lived in anguish under the burden of guilt and shame. I was no closer to forgiveness than when I was LDS. Today I realize that even though I was set free from the false teachings of Mormonism, I was still a slave to my sins. I was still ignorant of God’s truth. I didn’t know that my sins had already been forgiven.

Nine years later God sent into my life a six-year-old Christian neighbor who led me to His Word by persistently inviting me to her church. The father of that girl took me to hear a born-again biker give a talk about forgiveness. The Speaker asked those in the audience a question. He said: “Do you feel forgiven? ” In my heart of hearts, I knew I had not been forgiven. I didn’t feel I had done enough to pay for my life of sinfulness. This man interrupted my thoughts and said “You have been forgiven! It doesn’t matter whether you feel forgiven or not. God has promised you in the Bible that you are forgiven, and God doesn’t lie!!!

I had never heard that message before. I so wanted to believe him, but I doubted his words. I went home and turned to my old LDS KJV Bible and did my first ever, real Bible study. I discovered that this man had told me the truth. In the Bible I read and read about God’s true Miracle of Forgiveness. And it comes through faith in Christ’s blood! When I read the ultimate truth about forgiveness in God’s Word, I trusted in what Jesus did for me—on my behalf. I now was free!

This was Christ’s priceless gift to me. His miraculous power came over me and the burdens of shame and guilt that I had carried with me all my life were gone in an instant! This God was the only true God. I learned about Him in the Bible and He was in my heart, never to leave me and always to comfort me. I didn’t do anything to earn His forgiveness or His love, it was a complete gift; one that I didn’t deserve!

That was years ago and my life has completely changed. I now have the priceless treasure that I spent my whole life searching for—I have been washed clean through Christ’s blood! And, with this gift came the peace of God that transcends all understanding. God’s love and peace have melted my anger towards my abusers and the Mormon Church. I am so grateful to Jesus for His gift that I have given my life to Him.

Out of love for God I follow His commands, but I know that the power to do anything good, all my works, comes from Jesus flowing through me. My purpose in life is to praise and glorify my Savior! My favorite way to do that is by sharing His message of complete forgiveness with you!

Heavenly Father has promised that all your sins are forgiven—and He doesn’t lie!! This is truth–it doesn’t depend upon how you feel! Please, don’t reject what Christ has done for you.

Your Heavy Burden of Sin Has Been Removed!

One weekend I went hiking with my husband and some friends in the Ruby Mountains. My husband carried our back pack with the water jug and when he was thirsty I would unzip the pack and get it out for him. After we had drank our fill I would put the jug back into his pack and zip it up. But, what he didn’t know is that whenever I put the jug back, I also put in a fist-sized rock. All of our friends knew what I was doing and it was a great joke. He didn’t notice his pack was getting heavier because the rocks were being added one at a time. Towards the end of the hike his pack had become quite a burden. He thought it was because he was just getting tired, but when he opened it up and saw all the rocks he realized what I had done.

An article in the Ensign last fall reminded me of this hike. The focus of the article was the process of Repentance. It gave an idea for Family Home Evening using rocks and a backpack: “Collect a sack and several large rocks. Read the story of President Marion G. Romney and the repentant young man. Have each family member write a common sin on a rock and then place it in the sack. Take turns carrying the sack and compare the physical weight to the burden of sin. Then remove each stone while you read the paragraph following “There was the answer.”

The paragraph mentioned tells you how to know if you can remove the burden of each sin you’ve committed. The answer is because you’ve done everything required through the process of repentance. This is how to know if your repentance has been accepted by the Lord. It claims “The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our day: “Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God” (D&C 82:7).”

But the Lord your God did not say this! Instead, He testified: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” The Holy Ghost inspired these words: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” John the Beloved claimed that Jesus: “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”.

The reason Jesus came to this earth to rescue us is because we are filled with sin. The vast majority of sins cannot be abandoned. Most sins like unjustified anger, greed, gossiping, envy, lust, lying, etc. are committed over and over again throughout a person’s life time. Oh, there are a few specific commands that one can abandon. Man-made commands like the Word of Wisdom are easy to follow and create a false impression of righteousness.

This trains a person to look at the few sins they don’t commit rather than seeing the great number they do commit. You might even be able to pay a full ten-percent tithe your entire life. But, if you don’t do it cheerfully, you are sinning. The most difficult command is to love God more than anything or anyone. We all break this command over and over again—every time we commit every single sin.

Using the analogy that each sin is like a stone, every person who has ever lived would have so many stones piled on them they could not stand. They would literally be buried under a mountain. You could not “carry” this burden because it would be far too heavy to bear. Only a person who chooses not to acknowledge the extent to which they break God’s commands would ever claim that the “soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return”!

Only someone who does not know how often they sin could ever believe it possible to abandon most of the sin they commit. In their ignorance and their arrogance they believe their pack is almost empty when in reality it is so great Heavenly Father had to send His Son to remove it!

Looking back at the exercise for Home Evening, imagine taking several rocks and writing a sin on each rock. Start with the sin of being “Unforgiving”. In your life, how many times have you struggled to forgive someone? How about being “Covetous”? How many times have you coveted another persons looks, their home, their spouse, their car? How often are you “Contentious” or “Quarrelsome”? How are you doing at forsaking the sins of “Envy”, “Lying” or “Impatience”? Did you know that “Worrying” or being “Fearful” are sins? How many times are you “Bitter”, “Judgmental”, “Angry”, “Discourteous” or “Unkind”? How often do you “Gossip” about others or “Slander” someone? Have you abandoned “Cursing” or the sin of “Lusting” after anyone you aren’t married to?

I haven’t even mentioned the Sins of omission: Not seeking God’s kingdom first, Not blessing those who persecute you, Not feeding the hungry, Not clothing the stranger, Not visiting those in prison, Not praying continually, Not thanking God for everything, Not being content with what you have, Not trusting God to take care of you and Not giving God the glory for everything you do.

It is truly impossible to abandon many of these sins for even more than one day! But take heart! Jesus came to rescue you! Your filthiness was made clean—it was washed and cleansed with Christ’s blood. Once, your sins were as scarlet, but now they are as white as snow. You are without blame or blemish—no spot can be found. Your sins were taken and cast into the depths of the sea. All your sins, past present and future have been covered and blotted out—removed from you.

But, if you believe the words of prophets who claim you must abandon these sins to gain forgiveness, then this falsehood becomes truth for you. When you die, you will still be in your sins because you rejected your Savior who covered your sins with His blood. On Judgment Day, your sins will return to you; evidence that you didn’t trust in the Savior who removed your sins with His blood. Then, you will be cast into Outer Darkness to spend eternity with Satan.

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Virginity Pledges for someone who has been sexually abused

I read an article last Saturday at Mormontimes.com about Virginity Pledges. It stirred up some difficult memories for me which took me back to my childhood. I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it first started, but it lasted for most of my childhood. I have memories of things happening before I entered first grade and I lost my virginity about the time I was baptized at the age of eight. Many things about my life of abuse are hard to explain with mere words. Inwardly, I spent years in a fog, simply struggling to survive. All my life I felt so much shame and guilt. I was unclean and impure. I was different than every person I knew. My heart’s desire was to be clean, pure and normal. Outwardly, no one would have suspected the emotional trauma I was going through. I hid my pain well by pretending to the world that I was a happy and normal Mormon girl.

At the age of twelve, I entered Mutual. My teacher was a very nice woman and made an effort to connect with the girls in her class. But one class stands out in my memory as very traumatic. Her Lesson focused on Chastity and how important it was for us to be morally clean. She told us that our most treasured possession was our virginity. She asked us to make a Pledge of Virginity and said that we should never do anything that compromised our most precious possession. For my ears, this was devastating. It was too late for me. I was already impure and had lost my virginity years before. Then, she told us something that I will never forget. She said that our virginity was so precious that if someone tried to take it away from us by force, we should kill ourselves to protect it. She said our virginity was more important to us than our life. These words cut through my heart like a knife. The abuse continued for a few more years and every time, in addition to the shame, I now felt guilt for not having the courage to take my life. My pain was devastating and my heart’s desire was to be free from guilt and shame.

About fifteen years later this was still my heart’s desire. I had come no closer to finding any relief from my pain. There was nothing more important to me than gaining forgiveness. My desire was to be clean and pure like everyone else I knew. It was then that I turned to a book written by my Prophet Spencer Kimball called “The Miracle of Forgiveness“. Here, I just knew I would find the answer to my pain. Instead, I found more guilt and a reinforcement of what my Mutual teacher had told me. I read: “Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My pain was so intense I would have committed suicide had I not had two little daughters who needed me. And, it was these two little girls that helped me to realize the abuse hadn’t been my fault. As their mother I could see that these little girls had no interest in sex. I started reading about sexually abused children and I learned that children are victims, not willing participants. I myself had survived each ordeal by trying to pretend it wasn’t happening to me. Surprisingly, realizing it wasn’t my fault did not release me from my feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe it was because of my Prophets words that it would have been better that I had died in defending my virtue. I still felt morally unclean and impure. I was a defective and broken woman who did not know how to become whole and clean.

A few years later I left the Mormon Church and about a year after that gave up on what I thought was Christianity in general. I pretended that my feelings of guilt and shame were gone, but they weren’t. I tried convincing myself that the God who created our world didn’t care about me or my pain. But I was wrong! And, I am so thankful that I was wrong. Jesus came and rescued me even though I had given up on Him. God sent a Christian into my life who told me that the God who created our world actually loved me! He didn’t care that I was broken and guilt ridden. This loving God led me to the truth and gave me the desire of my heart! He told me that through Jesus I was clean and pure! At thirty six years of age I learned that in God’s eyes, I was as pure and clean as a virgin! All because of Jesus! In fact, John the Beloved testified to me that everyone whose hope is in Jesus is as pure as Jesus himself! (1 John 3:3)

I have had lots of difficult things happen to me in my life but nothing has affected me more deeply than the sexual abuse. Today, even at fifty years of age I still struggle with emotional aftereffects from it. But, I praise the Lord that through Jesus’ blood I have been cleansed! My most treasured possession is the forgiveness of all my sins. I live my life devoted to my Savior who freely won it for me. And, I learned that my life is more precious to Him than my “virtue”. Now, my heart’s desire is to share what I have been given with you. If you were sexually abused and have had to sit through a Mutual class like I did, my heart goes out to you. If you don’t know how to become whole, trust in the fact that you’re Savior has made you clean and pure with His blood. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.