If someone who didn’t know the LDS Process of Repentance were to read this weeks Gospel Doctrine Lesson, they could be deceived into thinking that the LDS church is a Christian church:
“Samuel said that if the people would repent, they would receive a remission of their sins through the merits of Christ. Merits are qualities or actions that entitle a person to claim rewards. Why is it only through the Savior’s merits that we can be forgiven of our sins? President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Even the most just and upright man cannot save himself solely on his own merits.” (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 35: Repent and Return unto the Lord, p 157)
Reading the words of the LDS prophet Helaman shows that our eternal life is conditioned upon our repentance. But a person would have to know (outside of this reading), that according to Mormonism; many works are required of you before you have truly repented. Mormon prophets have changed God’s definition of repentance. (For your benefit, I have recorded the words of LDS prophets on my page “The LDS Process of Repentance” and provided a link at the bottom of this Post.)
According to God’s Word and found in the Bible, we also learn that eternal life is conditioned upon repentance. But God doesn’t define repentance like LDS prophets do. The Greek word for repentance literally means “a change of mind”. That’s why repentance is usually tied with conversion–coming to faith in Christ. Repentance means abandoning trust in yourself and placing all your trust in what Jesus has already accomplished for you–in your place. Unfortunately, it was many painful years before God revealed this truth to me.
I guess I never really thought I would have a life 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 cheated on me for 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. I didn’t even know where she was for over a year.
In 1999 I was diagnosed with late stage kidney cancer and given a prognosis of less than two years to live. In 2003 it was a brain tumor with resulting surgeries and radiation. Two years ago it was discovered that I have a Mitochondrial disease which has left me bedridden and in constant pain.
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. (Not by my father) 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 and 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:
“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.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness)
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 claimed were necessary to obtain forgiveness. And in a way, I am thankful. This pain led me to give up on myself and find the true Savior of the world. This Savior’s work has 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 revealed that forgiveness is obtained through our faith—not our 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 show that LDS prophets are not prophets of God.
Today, I rejoice, because even though I live in daily physical pain because of my health issues, the God of all comfort has blessed me with the peace that passeth all understanding. That peace comes through the sure knowledge that Christ has “washed us from our sins in his own blood”. (Revelation 1:5)
The desire of my heart is to share the joy 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:
“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)
“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, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”