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Monday, March 25, 2013

Piggyback Off of September 26th's Post "Full Repentance - Part 2" - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

I initially was going to put this into an anonymous comment on the "Full Repentance - Part 2" post because my situation is rather similar to this girl's situation, and to be quite honest, I didn't want you to know it was me, and that this was about the same guy I have written you about multiple times.

Frankly, I was embarrassed and ashamed. Once I recognized that, it gave me the kick in the pants to cowboy up and actually e-mail it. A certain young man and I had done some mildly passionate kissing here and there throughout the nearly two year relationship (which I was too young to be having). It was MUCH shorter, and MUCH less crazy than Little Sister's story, but there was one time was....well, very much like Little Sister described (but with not quite the hand straying, and not the dry humping).

It was the day before I moved away, and we knew we wouldn't see each other again for at least five years (or so we thought, but that's a different story). The kicker is that....I never saw a bishop about it.

I figured that it was getting close to the must-see-bishop line, but that through fasting, and intense scripture study and prayer, and not repeating it (which wasn't going to be hard, since we wouldn't be anywhere in the vicinity of each other) would be enough.

After reading this girl's letter/e-mail, I'm not so sure anymore. I have to give some background though, to clarify my confusion. He and I are both rock-solid in the Gospel, and with impeccable self-control. If we ever started feeling tempted to take things further, we stopped immediately, and we even chose specific pointwell in advance of any kind of sex that we said we'd never ever even consider going, and we never went. Looking back, of course, I do wish we'd set the bar a little higher.

Still, what we did...wasn't a result of lust. Crazy as it sounds for a couple of kids, we loved each other even back then, and still do. Heightened emotions/passion that occurred was from our sadness that we weren't going to see each other for years.

Neither of us felt any guilt or temptation during or after. It didn't...feel wrong. In fact, for that time, while we distracted ourselves from the pain of the impending separation, we both felt incredibly happy. Not "turned on", not "satisfied", just happy.

We didn't really make any decision to do it, it just happened.

The thought didn't even occur to us that it might be wrong, not before, during, or in the weeks that followed. I still don't fully understand it. I'm not trying to justifying in any way, I'm just trying to figure out how/why it happened, and what I need to do about it.

Since our separation, I've spent a lot of time trying to spiritually improve myself, and on more than one occasion, my mind jumped back to that day, and whenever it did, I never felt quite comfortable with it. So I set to work on fixing it, and I've mostly repented now.

I never really felt the godly sorrow though.

Like, I regret it, for sure, but I'm worried that's not enough.

While I absolutely wish we hadn't have gone AS far, I can understand that there would be a little more passion than the usual goodnight kiss when I THOUGHT my 16-year-old heart was breaking.

However, the mildly passionate kissing I mentioned at the very beginning of this is the level that day (which should have been quite brief) should have been at, if anything. I feel like the whole relationship overall just should have been physically backpedaled several degrees.

During a few of our Skypes or phone calls, I mentioned these thoughts to him. He wasn't quite as concerned, but when getting ready to go on his mission, he did talk to his bishop or stake president (I don't recall which) about it, "just in case".

Does my lack of gut-wrenching full-on regret mean I haven't fully repented yet?

Do I need to talk to my branch president? He doesn't even know the guy, and as one of only a very few members for thousands of miles, they (the leaders, my parents, and the youth) always put me on a pedestal as the shining example.

I want to be spotlessly clean. I want to be the best person I can possibly be when El MIssionario returns.

I'm trying to get into BYU next fall.

I want to get married in the temple sometime in the next several years. I want to be righteous. If this is something I still need to take care of to do those things, please tell me. Advice on the how would be helpful too.

Thank you for always listening,

- Trying

Dear Trying,

 It's not my place to declare whether or not you've repented. But what I can tell you is this: if you're still having feelings of guilt, then go talk to your Branch President.

Now, understand please, that "feelings of guilt" are different than "feelings of regret". We all have regrets. Well . . . at least we'll admit them after a certain age . . . Regret is wishing you hadn't done something,, and it can (and I believe should) linger beyond repentance. It's part of what reminds us not to do that again. Guilt is the knowing, or believing, that things are still not right with God.

Does that make sense?

Is it possible to have sinned and not feel guilt? Sure.

When we don't understand why what we did was wrong. Now it is possible that you're there; clearly you don't think you did anything wrong.

And perhaps the Lord and your Branch President will agree . . . But consider this: just because two people are in love, that doesn't entitle them to do stuff with and to each other that the Lord says to save until later. 

Let your conscience be your guide.

 - Bro Jo

PS:  Also know that guys and girls don't always feel the same in these situations.  Even if he TOLD YOU that he didn't feel turned on or tempted, that's likely not the case.

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