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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Full Repentance - Part 1

[Dear Readers,

Over the next few Wednesdays I'll be running this series about "Full Repentance".  It's not our place to judge others, but how do we know when we've really made things right with the Lord?  When should you go talk to your Bishop about Spiritual things, and how much are you supposed to say?

Part 2 will run Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

Part 3 will run Wednesday, October 3, 2012.

- Bro Jo]

Hey Bro Jo,

Me again. Just different question, unrelated. So I looked up this topic on your page, and thank you for those previous posts, but I still have a few questions.

So, I've been to see my bishop on a few different occasions throughout my life. And I have moved a lot, so they've been to different bishops too. The sin that I was confessing was very similar every time(the adversary has discovered my weakness), but the things they told me, the things they had me do, and the process they had me take were all pretty different.

The most recent time I went in, was actually quite a surprise to me because in My mind it was serious enough that it needed to be confessed, but all he did was give me some counsel on how to be more careful with boys in the future and then he thanked me for coming in, and other than that he didn't instruct me to do anything Else in order to be fully forgiven like I had expected because of past experience with confessing a similar situation I was in to the bishop.

Now, this confuses me because I actually made the Exact same mistake this time as the last where he just thanked me for coming to him again. But now it's a different bishop Again, and so I would have no idea what This one would say to me or have me do. And if it Were the same bishop, I probably wouldn't think I needed to go to him again. But, I don't know. I have always thought that if I felt like I needed to talk to my bishop for something at one point and then the same problem occurs again then I probably still should again. But my bishop acted like it was unnecessary for the repentance process.

And I do know that all bishops are different and so are everybody's situations and everything, which may effect what they say. But I guess I'm just confused as to whether I need to go in again this time or not. If I do go, and he reacts differently than my last bishop, then it Could affect my whole future plans immediately. I'm confused and nervous. Any opinions that you have on the matter would be appreciated, thanks.

P.S. Sorry if you couldn't follow that very well. I am very scatter brained. I hope it made Enough sense to get my thoughts across effectively still though.

Also, now I know you're probably thinking (just based off of one of your thoughts as to why someone would break off a relationship leading to marriage out of the blue), "Ok so This is probably reasoning behind not being ready to marry the last guy". (there was nothing going on, simply just don't want to be with him for eternity is all) But this has actually happened After that guy. (And the incident before that guy has been fully taken care of. Other than the fact that I obviously need to Fully forsake it and not let myself slip once every couple years like the track record shows.)

- Name Withheld

Dear Little Sister,

So . . . um . . . yeah . . . that was a bit cryptic.

With so many blanks, loose ends, vagaries and variables, it's a little tough to answer, but let's give it a shot.

Q. Why can a person go to two different Bishops and get two different answers regarding repentance? And why when the same sin has been committed as a previously committed would the second Bishop be "more lenient" than the first?

A. There could be several factors.

1. You didn't mention if, in your interview with your new Bishop, you failed to fully confess your past similar transgressions. By omitting or downplaying the repetition your new Bishop won't understand the gravity of the situation. In that regard, you've been dishonest, and not properly confessed your sin.
2. Depending on what it was you've done, your age may be a factor. Not that we're allowed to mess up more when we're older, but it may be less of a big deal now. For example, if my 14 year old makes out with someone I freak out, but if my 22 year old makes out with someone I kind of figure that's supposed to happen.
3. The situation may not be as similar as you think. (I'll let you figure that one out.)
4. The sin may not be as horrific or "need to talk to the Bishop level" as either you think or you've communicated.

Ultimately what I'm saying is that, for whatever reason, in this situation at this time with the information you gave this Bishop, he's told you what he feels you need to know.

Like any situation, if you didn't understand why or what he was telling you, you should have asked for clarification.

Communication is the key in so many things.

Of course, if you were more concerned about your Bishop pronouncing your forgiveness than true repentance, one could understand why you bolted out of there.

But I would caution you that repeated sin is not repented sin, regardless of the seriousness of the transgression.

There's something in the last couple sentences that you wrote that concerns me and makes me think you haven't been totally forthcoming with the man, that you haven't fully and truthfully confessed, and that you're more worried about the "punishment" than making things right with God. (Go back and read what you wrote; I'll bet you see what I see.) If you were as cryptic with the Bishop as you're being with me, I'll bet he has no idea of the things he needs to know.

But at this point only you know for sure.

Well . . . you and God.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

J-Dawg Fluffy said...

S I know the whole of this story will likely change during the next few weeks, but this reminds me of my own story.

I dealt with a porn addiction on/off for a long time. While these things aren't an issue now, I remember I had a somewhat similar experience. I had just gotten started attending a new ward, and the bishop called me into his office so we could get to know each other. Over time we would meet and talk about my progress. (He was the 4th person I had gone to about this, and I had been completely honest about everything.) One day, he asked me if I take the sacrament regularly. When I told him that I didn't, he told me I needed to. I was shocked, as this was opposite what others had told me. He said that the healing powers of the sacrament were exactly what I needed in my life. It turned out to be very beneficial advice.