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Citations on Repentance

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or

Standard Works

“Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that
your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have
they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye
should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance
and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by
fire and by the Holy Ghost” (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31:17).

“And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses,
therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate
the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life,
which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve
our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness
wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye
are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return
to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth
possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same
spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance
even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit
of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the
Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and
the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the
wicked” (The Book of Mormon, Alma 34:30-35).

“Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a
punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should
be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal
also as the life of the soul. Now, how could a man repent except
he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could
there be a law save there was a punishment?” (The Book of Mormon,
Alma 42:16-17).

“And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent,
yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God”
(The Book of Mormon, Alma 42:4).

“Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be
saved” (The Book of Mormon, Mormon 7:3).

“Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of
the Lord shall be forgiven; And he that repents not, from him
shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit
shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Doctrine
and Covenants 1:32-33).

“And surely every man must repent, or suffer, for I God, am endless”
(Doctrine and Covenants 19:3-4).

“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven,
and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know
if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and
forsake them” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43).

Joseph Smith

“Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily
transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in
the sight of God” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 3:379. See
also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 148).

4th President Wilford Woodruff

“And what is repentance? The forsaking of sin. The man who repents,
if he be a swearer, swears no more; or a thief, steal no more;
he turns away from all former sins and commits them no more. It
is not repentance to say, I repent today, and then steal tomorrow;
that is the repentance of the world, which is displeasing in the
sight of God” (Wilford Woodruff, Teachings of the Presidents of the
Church: Wilford Woodruff, pp. 71-72).

6th President Joseph F. Smith

“True repentance only is acceptable to God, nothing short of it
will answer the purpose. Then what is true repentance? 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 and deeds, a thorough
reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from
vice to virtue, from darkness to light” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine,
1971 ed., p. 100. Also cited by Robert L. Millet, The Power of
the Word: Saving Doctrines from the Book of Mormon, p. 158).

“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 and
deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to
good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. Not only so, but
to make restitution, so far as it is possible, for all the wrongs we
have done, to pay our debts, and restore to God and man their
rights—that which is due to them from us. This is true repentance,
and the exercise of the will and all the powers of body and mind
is demanded, to complete this glorious work of repentance; then
God will accept it” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, pp. 100-
101. See also Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual: Religion 231 and
232, p. 40).

“Who can say in his heart, in the presence of God and man, ‘I
have truly repented of all my sins.’ … I have many weaknesses and
imperfections. I have as many weaknesses as many of you, and I do
not know but what I have more than a great many of you…. I have
not been able yet to live up to and honor this second principle of
the gospel of Jesus Christ; and I would like to see the man who has.
I would like to see the human preacher who has done it. But I am
trying, I want you to understand, my brethren and sisters, I am still
trying” (Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph
F. Smith, 1998, pp. 61-62. Ellipses in original).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“There can be no salvation without repentance. A man cannot
enter into the kingdom of God in his sins. It would be a very inconsistent
thing for a man to come into the presence of the Father
and to dwell in God’s presence in his sins. …I think there are a
great many people upon the earth, many of them perhaps in the
Church—at least some in the Church—who have an idea they can
go through this life doing as they please, violating the commandments
of the Lord and yet eventually they are going to come into
his presence. They think they are going to repent, perhaps in the
spirit world. They ought to read these words of Moroni: ‘Do ye
suppose that ye shall dwell with him [Christ] under a consciousness
of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell
with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness
of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws? Behold, I say unto
you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God,
under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell
with the damned souls in hell. For behold, when ye shall be brought
to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and
the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable
fire upon you. Do you think that a man whose life has been filled with
corruption, who has been rebellious against God, who has not had the
spirit of repentance, would be happy or comfortable should he be permitted
to come into the presence of God?’” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of
Salvation 2:195-196. Ellipsis, brackets, and italics in original).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“In one sentence, repentance means turning from that which we
have done wrong in the sight of the Lord and never repeating
that mistake again. Then we can have the miracle of forgiveness.”
(Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and
Writings of Harold B. Lee, 1974, p. 321).

“Deathbed repentance is better than none. I have never placed
great stock in deathbed repentance, but I have often said it is better
than no repentance at all” (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of
Harold B. Lee, p. 114).

12th President Spencer W. Kimball

“Because men are prone to postpone action and ignore directions,
the Lord has repeatedly given strict injunctions and issued
solemn warnings. Again and again in different phraseology and
throughout the centuries the Lord has reminded man so that he
could never have excuse. And the burden of the prophetic warning
has been that the time to act is now, in this mortal life. One
cannot with impunity delay his compliance with God’s commandments”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 9-10).

“Our loving Heavenly Father has given us the blessed principle
of repentance as the gateway to forgiveness. All sins but those excepted
by the Lord—-basically, the sin against the Holy Ghost, and
murder—-will be forgiven to those who totally, consistently, and
continuously repent in a genuine and comprehensive transformation
of life” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 14).

“This earth life is the time to repent. We cannot afford to take
any chances of dying an enemy to God” (Spencer W. Kimball, The
Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 15).

“And let us not suppose that in calling people to repentance the
prophets are concerned only with the more grievous sins such as
murder, adultery, stealing, and so on, nor only with those persons
who have not accepted the gospel ordinances. All transgressions
must be cleansed, all weaknesses must be overcome, before a person
can attain perfection and godhood” (Spencer W. Kimball, The
Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 16).

“There is no royal road to repentance, no privileged path to forgiveness.
Every man must follow the same course whether he be
rich or poor, educated or untrained, tall or short, prince or pauper,
king or commoner. ‘For there is no respect of persons with
God.’ (Rom. 2:11.) There is only one way. It is a long road spiked
with thorns and briars and pitfalls and problems” (Spencer W.
Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 149. See also Gospel Principles,
2009, p. 109).

“There is one crucial test of repentance. This is abandonment of
the sin” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 163. See
also Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual: Religion 231 and 232,
p. 40. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball,
p. 39).

“Desire Is Not Sufficient. In other words, it is not real repentance
until one has abandoned the error of his way and started on a new
path. Someone has said that there is only one way to quit a bad
habit and that is to stop. The saving power does not extend to him
who merely wants to change his life. True repentance prods one
to action” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 163).

“Trying Is Not Sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one
merely tries to abandon sin” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of
Forgiveness, p. 164).

“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” (Spencer
W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 203. See also Doctrines of the
Gospel Student Manual: Religion 231 and 232, p. 41. See also Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, p. 43).

“Christ became perfect through overcoming. Only as we overcome
shall we become perfect and move toward godhood. As I
have indicated previously, the time to do this is now, in mortality”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 210).

“That armor is incomplete without steadfast effort to live God’s
commandments. Without such effort repentance too is incomplete.
And incomplete repentance never brought complete forgiveness”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 212).

“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 he weeks, it could he
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”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 324-325).

“Little reward can be expected for a tiny effort to repent, for the
Lord has said that it must be a total repentance ‘with all his heart’
and the error must be forsaken fully and wholly, mentally as well as
physically” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 333).

“This passage [Alma 13:11-12] indicates an attitude which is basic
to the sanctification we should all be seeking, and thus to the repentance
which merits forgiveness. It is that the former transgressor
must have reached a ‘point of no return’ to sin wherein there
is not merely a renunciation but also a deep abhorrence of the
sin where the sin becomes most distasteful to him and where the
desire or urge to sin is cleared out of his life” (Spencer W. Kimball,
The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 354-355. Brackets mine. See also the
Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 78).

“Without repentance there can be no forgiveness, and without forgiveness
all the blessings of eternity hang in jeopardy” (Spencer
W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 83).

“Repentance is inseparable from time. No one can repent on the
cross, nor in prison, nor in custody. One must have the opportunity
of committing wrong in order to be really repentant. The
man in handcuffs, the prisoner in the penitentiary, the man as he
drowns, or as he dies-such a man certainly cannot repent totally.
He can wish to do it, he may intend to change his life, he may determine
that he will, but that is only the beginning. That is why we
should not wait for the life beyond but should abandon evil habits
and weaknesses while in the flesh on the earth…. Clearly it is difficult
to repent in the spirit world of sins involving physical habits
and actions. There one has spirit and mind but not the physical
power to overcome a physical habit” (Spencer W. Kimball, The
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 83. Ellipsis in original).

“There can be no forgiveness without real and total repentance,
and there can be no repentance without punishment. This is as
eternal as is the soul” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Reports,
April 1975, p. 116).

“Remember this, that forgiveness can never come without repentance”
(Spencer W. Kimball, “The Gospel of Repentance,” Ensign,
Oct 1982, p. 4).

“If one neglects his tithing, misses his meetings, breaks the Sabbath,
or fails in his prayers and other responsibilities, he is not
completely repentant. The Lord knows, as do we, the degree of
full and sufficient compliance we make with these fundamental
aspects of the law of repentance, which is really God’s law of progress
and fulfillment” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Gospel of Repentance,”
Ensign, Oct 1982, p. 5).

“The Lord teaches that he cannot forgive people in their sins; he
can only save them from their abandoned sins. The Lord clearly
says, ‘My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.’ (D&C
29:17.) Hear in this instance means to accept and abide his teachings”
(Spencer W. Kimball, “The Gospel of Repentance,” Ensign,
Oct 1982, p. 5. Italics in original).

“The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance
does not permit making the same mistake again…The Lord said:
‘Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth
shall the former sins return.’ (D&C 82:7)” (Spencer W. Kimball,
Repentance Brings Forgiveness, an unnumbered tract).

“Repentance is for every soul who has not yet reached perfection”
(Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W.
Kimball, 2006, p. 37).

“In his preface to modern revelation, the Lord outlined what is
one of the most difficult requirements in true repentance. For
some it is the hardest part of repentance, because it puts one on
guard for the remainder of his life. The Lord says: ‘… 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. Italics added.) This scripture is most
precise. 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” (Spencer
W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball,
2006, p. 43. Ellipsis and italics in original).

First Presidency

“If we have received a forgiveness of our sins, it is by repenting of
them, for we know that there is no remission of sins without repentance”
(George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of
President George Q. Cannon 1:156).

“When I say repent, I mean a complete forsaking of sin, and turning
from it truly and sincerely; in no other way can mankind escape
the judgments and calamities threatened, and of which they
are warned” (George Q. Cannon, July 14, 1872, Journal of Discourses

“We are charged with the responsibility of doing as we have heretofore
agreed. Repentance becomes our second chance to accomplish
the purpose of our creation. As we repent, we are forgiven”
(Henry D. Moyle, Conference Reports, April 1955, pp. 71-72).

“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”
(Hugh B. Brown, Eternal Quest, comp. Charles Manley
Brown [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956], pp. 99, 102)” (Cited in
Young Women Manual 1, Lesson 22: Repentance (2002), p. 99).


“The Church affirms the possibility of eternal advancement within
the several kingdoms provided in the hereafter and teaches that
repentance is possible even beyond the grave. It utters solemn
warning, however, against procrastination and wilful neglect here,
holding that this life is strictly a probationary period given unto
men for repentance and valiant service, and that to neglect is to
lose the ability to repent. Neglect of opportunity here shall surely
be a handicap to eternal progress; but the sinner may advance in
eternity if he will but repent and try” (James E. Talmage, “The
Leaven of the Gospel,” Improvement Era, May 1930. p. 479).

“This life is the time to repent. That is why I presume it will take a
thousand years after the first resurrection until the last group will
be prepared to come forth. It will take them a thousand years to
do what it would have taken, but three score years and ten to accomplish
in this life…Then, every man and woman who is putting
off until the next life the task of correcting and overcoming the
weakness of the flesh are sentencing themselves to years of bondage,
for no man or woman will come forth in the resurrection until
they have completed their work, until they have overcome, until
they have done as much as they can do” (Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons
and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, p. 241. Ellipsis mine).

“A man may receive the priesthood and all its privileges and blessings,
but until he learns to overcome the flesh, his temper, his
tongue, his disposition to indulge in the things God has forbidden,
he cannot come into the celestial kingdom of God — he
must overcome either in this life or in the life to come. But this
life is the time in which men are to repent. Do not let any of us
imagine that we can go down to the grave not having overcome
the corruptions of the flesh and then lose in the grave all our sins
and evil tendencies. They will be with us. They will be with the spirit
when separated from the body” (Marvin J. Ballard, Sermons and
Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, p. 240-241. See also Spencer
W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 168).

“To rectify such erring, it is important everyone practice the principle
of repentance-that profound principle of progression and
the one which when fully achieved, guarantees God’s forgiveness”
(Delbert L. Stapley, Conference Reports, April 1964, p. 134).

“All must repent to be free. All must obey to gain gospel blessings.
All must keep the commandments to merit mercy” (Bruce R. McConkie,
The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, p. 242).

“No soul is justified in postponing his efforts to repent because of
this assurance of longsuffering and mercy. We know not fully on
what terms repentance will be obtainable in the hereafter; but to
suppose that the soul who has wilfully rejected the opportunity of
repentance in this life will find it easy to repent there is contrary
to reason. To procrastinate the day of repentance is to deliberately
place ourselves in the power of the adversary. Thus Amulek taught
and admonished the multitude of old: ‘For behold, this life is the
time for men to prepare to meet God; * * * therefore, I beseech
of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance
until the end; * * * Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful
crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye
cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies
at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have
power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye
have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death,
behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he
doth seal you his’” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 105.
* * * in original).

“The gospel teaches us that relief from torment and guilt can
be earned through repentance. Save for those few who defect
to perdition after having known a fulness, there is no habit, no
addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted
from the promise of complete forgiveness…even that grace of
God promised in the scriptures comes only ‘after all you can do’”
(Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 1995, p. 19. Ellipsis mine).

“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. The thought that
rescued Alma, when he acted upon it, is this: Restoring what you
cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that
which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the
atonement of Christ. When your desire is firm and you are willing
to pay the ‘uttermost farthing,’ the law of restitution is suspended.
Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts”
(Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1995, pp. 19-20).

“In The Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball gives a superb
guide to forgiveness through repentance. It has helped many find
their way back” (Richard G. Scott, “Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), May 1995, p. 76).

“The fruit of true repentance is forgiveness, which opens the door
to receive all of the covenants and ordinances provided on this
earth and to enjoy the resulting blessings. When a repentant soul
is baptized, all former sins are forgiven and need not be remembered”
(Richard G. Scott, “Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 1995, p. 77).

“When needed, full repentance will require action on your part.
If you are not familiar with the classic steps to repentance, such as
confession and abandonment of sin, restitution, obedience, and
seeking forgiveness, talk to a bishop or study a source such as President
Spencer W. Kimball’s masterly work The Miracle of Forgiveness”
(Richard G. Scott, “Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2004, p. 16).

“Because God is just, each person who does not repent will not
receive the gift of eternal life. Each person will be rewarded according
to his or her faith, repentance, thoughts, desires, and
works” (Robert D. Hales, “The Plan of Salvation: A sacred treasure
of knowledge to guide us,” Ensign October 2015, p. 28).


“We all make mistakes. If our repentance is sincere, we have the
right to approach him for forgiveness, but remember we are not
entitled to any quota of mistakes. It is always better that we don’t
make them. And surely we shouldn’t go on stupidly or stubbornly
repeating the same old mistakes over and over again. We ought
to have learned our lessons. It isn’t enough to be just as good today
as we were yesterday. We should be better. The Lord doesn’t
deal in theories. When he says perfection is possible, we’d better
be improving. But one of the most devilish doctrines that anyone
could advocate would be to say that because someone had made a
mistake, it wouldn’t matter if he made one more, or many more.
The best time to repent is now, before the next time” (Richard L.
Evans, Conference Reports, October 1969, p. 68).

“Many of you would be familiar with President Spencer Kimball’s
wonderful work on the miracle of forgiveness. I witness to you that
God is a loving Father who will forgive and help us find peace and
self-respect as we repent and show our sincerity by the lives we
live. And there is nothing he asks of us that we cannot do; there
is no requirement we cannot keep-if we are willing, if we want to.
Repentance is a miracle, if it is sincere” (Richard L. Evans, Conference
Reports, April 1970, p. 16).

“Oh yes, it is possible to repent in the spirit world, although we
are given to understand that it is much more difficult to repent
there because we will not have our physical bodies to help us. Also
an integral part of repentance is that we must make restitution.
This means that if you have stolen five dollars, you have to return
five dollars to the person whom you have robbed. This may be
very difficult to do in the spirit world. You can also understand
then why murder and adultery or fornication are such grievous
sins; how can you make restitution? Virtue once gone cannot be
replaced. Neither can a life be restored. It may be very difficult to
gain forgiveness for these kinds of sins. President Brigham Young
said it is a hundred times easier to repent here on the earth than
it is in the spirit world. By the same token, if we go there in the
right condition, it is a hundred times easier to learn in the spirit
world than it is here in this life. So we should do what we can do
best where we are. Now is the best time to repent; then will be the
best time to learn” (Hartman Rector, Jr., Conference Reports, October
1970, p. 74).

“I think if we’re going to be spiritual, or pure in heart, or if we’re
going to have humility, we need to repent. Repentance ought to
be a part of our lives every single day. Major things ought to be
taken care of, of course, but also other minor things. Repentance
ought to be just part of us and part of our being” (Vaughn J. Featherstone,
“No other Talent Exceeds Spirituality,” Achieving Individual
Spirituality – Sunday School Course 17, 1984, p. 19).

“Some of us make repentance too easy, and others make it too
hard. Those who make it too easy don’t see any big sins in their
lives, or they believe that breezy apologies alone are enough.
These people should read President Spencer W. Kimball’s The Miracle
of Forgiveness, which reviews many sins of both commission and
omission. And while forgiveness is a miracle, it is not won without
penitent and strenuous effort” (Bruce C. Hafen, “Beauty for Ashes:
The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Liahona, April 1997, p. 41).

“Another prerequisite or condition to repentance is to know that
no unclean thing can dwell with God (see 1 Ne. 10:21; 1 Ne. 15:34;
Alma 7:21; Alma 40:26; and Hel. 8:25). You can hide sins from
your bishop, you can hide them from your parents and friends,
but if you continue and die with unresolved sins, you are unclean
and no unclean thing can dwell with God. There are no exceptions”
(Jay E. Jensen, “The Message: Do You Know How to Repent?”
New Era, November 1999, p. 7).

“Simply feeling remorseful is not repentance. True repentance
leads to a new and righteous pattern of life” (John B. Dickson,
“After the Manner of Happiness,” Ensign, February 2008, p. 17).

Church Manuals

“8. He removes our sins if we keep his commandments” (Uniform
System for Teaching Investigators, 1961, p. 55).

“10. We repent by no longer sinning” (Uniform System for Teaching
Investigators, 1961, p. 55).

“What must we do to become ‘a saint’? (Repent so that the atonement
of Christ will apply to us; become as a child of God)” (Achieving
Individual Spirituality – Sunday School Course 17, 1984, p. 11).

“Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh,
atoned for the sins of all who repent” (Brigham Young, Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, p. 31).

“Explain that the last step in repentance is striving to keep all the
commandments of God (see D&C 1:32). Repentance is a process
that we will have to use throughout our lives, but as we become
more perfect in keeping the commandments, we will do less for
which we need to repent” (Preparing For Exaltation Teacher’s Manual,
1998, p. 65).

“How can repentance help us progress? (When we repent, we
abandon our sins, which keep us from improving and progressing.)”
(Preparing for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual, 1998, p. 124).

Doctrine and Covenants 82:7. We are commanded to forsake sin.
If we sin again after repenting, our former sins return. (5–10 minutes)
Bring several rocks to class that are all labeled with the same
sin (for example, breaking the Word of Wisdom). Tell students a
story about an imaginary person who commits this sin. Invent details
to embellish your story. Each time the imaginary person commits
the sin, pick up a rock, until you are holding several of them.
Set all the rocks you are holding aside and ask: • What might setting
the rocks aside represent? (Repentance.) • What happens to
our sins when we repent? (The Lord forgives them.) Read Doctrine
and Covenants 82:7 and look for what happens when we sin
again. Ask: • How many rocks would a person need to pick up if he
sins after repenting? (All that you were previously holding plus a
new one.) • Why do you think our former sins return? • What does
that teach you about the importance of forsaking sin? • How can
knowing this doctrine help you avoid sin?” (Doctrine and Covenants
and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, 2001, p. 134.
Bold in original).

“D&C 58:42–43. The Lord Promises Complete Forgiveness to
Those Who Truly Repent. The Lord forgives those who truly repent
of their sins. This blessing comes through the Atonement of
Christ, who ‘suffered … for all, that they might not suffer if they
would repent’ (D&C 19:16). The Lord promises that He will no
more remember the sins of those who repent (see Ezekiel 18:21–
22). Repentance, however, requires that we forsake and turn completely
from our sins and confess them” (Doctrine and Covenants
Student Manual Religion 324 and 325, 2001, p. 120. Bold and ellipsis
in original).

“Forsaketh (v.1) – Repents of, gives up and never does again” (Doctrine
and Covenants and Church History Seminary Student Guide, 2001,
p. 106. Referring to D&C 93).

“Our Father in heaven does not sin, and He does not allow people
who sin to live with Him. To live with Him, we must repent of our
sins. To repent means to feel sorry for our sins and stop doing
them” (Gospel Fundamentals, 2002, p. 67).

“If we only admit to ourselves that we have sinned, and if we only
say that we feel sorry, we have not truly repented. To repent truly,
we must also stop doing the wrong things. Sometimes it is not easy
to stop, but Jesus came to earth to give us the help we need. Our
Father in Heaven wants us to let Jesus help us because that is the
only way we can become perfected and return to live with God”
(Gospel Fundamentals, 2002, p. 68).

“Help the young men to see that major transgressions such as
murder, adultery, or theft are not the only sins that require us to
repent. We also need to repent of small things we do every day.
Such things as dishonest actions, losing our tempers, showing disrespect
to our parents, gossiping, or failing to follow through on
an assignment all weaken our characters and keep us from enjoying
the companionship of the Holy Ghost and becoming like our
Heavenly Father” (Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, 2002, pp. 82-83).

“Put up the wordstrip, ‘Abandon our sins.’ Ask the young men
what it means to abandon our sins. Help the young men understand
that a truly repentant person will not repeat his sin” (Aaronic
Priesthood Manual 1, 2002, p. 83).

“President Kimball taught extensively the principle of repentance.
His teachings have positively influenced many. Elder Boyd K.
Packer recognized this great influence and wrote the following:
‘President Kimball himself is an experienced surgeon of sorts. Not
a doctor of medicine, but a doctor of spiritual well-being. Many a
moral cancer has been excised, many a blemish of character has
been removed, many a spiritual illness of one kind or another has
been cured through his efforts. Some on the verge of spiritual
oblivion have been rescued by him. He has written a book—literally
years in preparation—The Miracle of Forgiveness. Many have
been protected by the counsel he has written. Countless others
have been inspired to set their lives in order and have experienced
that miracle’ (Ensign, Mar. 1974, 5)” (Presidents of the Church Student
Manual Religion 345, 2003, p. 209).

“Repentance is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings.
It is a change of mind and heart that gives you a fresh view about
God, about yourself, and about the world. It includes turning away
from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love
for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments…The
Lord has declared that ‘no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom
of heaven’ (Alma 11:37). Your sins make you unclean—unworthy
to return and dwell in the presence of your Heavenly Father. They
also bring anguish to your soul in this life” (True to the Faith: A Gospel
Reference, 2004, p. 132. Ellipsis mine).

“Serious transgressions, such as violations of the law of chastity,
may jeopardize your membership in the Church. Therefore, you
need to confess these sins to both the Lord and His representatives
in the Church. This is done under the care of your bishop
or branch president and possibly your stake or mission president,
who serve as watchmen and judges in the Church. While only the
Lord can forgive sins, these priesthood leaders play a critical role
in the process of repentance. They will keep your confession confidential
and help you throughout the process of repentance. Be
completely honest with them. If you partially confess, mentioning
only lesser mistakes, you will not be able to resolve a more serious,
undisclosed transgression. The sooner you begin this process, the
sooner you will find the peace and joy that come with the miracle
of forgiveness” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004, p. 134).

“Abandonment of Sin. Although confession is an essential element
of repentance, it is not enough. The Lord has said, ‘By this
ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess
them and forsake them’ (D&C 58:43). Maintain an unyielding,
permanent resolve that you will never repeat the transgression.
When you keep this commitment, you will never experience
the pain of that sin again” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004,
pp. 134-135).

“What do we have to do to show we have truly repented? (Confess
our sins and forsake them)” (Preparing for Exaltation, p. 68).

“Our sincere sorrow should lead us to forsake (stop) our sins. If we
have stolen something, we will steal no more. If we have lied, we
will lie no more. If we have committed adultery, we will stop. The
Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, ‘By this ye may know
if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and
forsake them’ (D&C 58:43)” (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 110. Parentheses
in original).

“We must confess all our sins to the Lord. In addition, we must
confess serious sins—such as adultery, fornication, homosexual
relations, spouse or child abuse, and the sale or use of illegal
drugs—which might affect our standing in the Church, to the
proper priesthood authority. If we have sinned against another
person, we should confess to the person we have injured” (Gospel
Principles, 2009, p. 111).

“To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments
of the Lord (see D&C 1:32)” (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 111).
“As we repent, the Atonement of Jesus Christ becomes fully effective
in our lives, and the Lord forgives our sins. We become free
from the bondage of our sins, and we find joy” (Gospel Principles,
2009, p. 112).

“The prophets have declared that ‘this life is the time for men to
prepare to meet God’ (Alma 34:32). We should repent now, every
day. When we get up in the morning, we should examine ourselves
to see whether the Spirit of God is with us. At night before we go
to sleep, we should review our acts and words of the day and ask
the Lord to help us recognize the things for which we need to repent.
By repenting every day and having the Lord forgive our sins,
we will experience the daily process of becoming perfect. As with
Alma, our happiness and joy can be sweet and exquisite” (Gospel
Principles, 2009, p. 113).

“For many people, confession is the most difficult part of repentance.
We must confess not only to the Lord but also to the person
we have offended, such as a husband or wife, and to the proper
priesthood authority” (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 231).

Other Sources

“Finally, for repentance to be complete, one must abandon the
sinful behavior. A change of heart begins the process; a visible outward
change of direction, reflected in new patterns of behavior,
must complete it (Mosiah 5:2). Failure to alter outward actions
means that the sinner has not repented, and the weight of the
former sin returns” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 3:1217).

“The Lord has repeatedly promised that all who repent completely
shall find forgiveness of their sins, which in turn brings great
joy” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 3:1217).

“Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of
works and faithfulness-only after he has come to deny himself of
all ungodliness and every worldly lust-that the grace of God, that
spiritual increment of power, is efficacious. In the language of Moroni:
‘Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny
yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all
ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength,
then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect
in Christ’” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet,
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:295).

“Those who return to their sins are as a dog turned to its vomit or
as the sow that was washed returning to wallow in the mire (see 2
Peter 2:22). One cannot return to sin and profess to have repented
of it (D&C 82:7). To repent is to abandon sin, not just to sin
less frequently. Through the waters of baptism and the sanctifying
power of the Holy Ghost we can receive a remission of sins. We
retain that remission of sins by faithful observance of covenants
we have made with God and through Christlike service to those in
need.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal
Commentary on the Book of Mormon 2:162).

“I will never forget hearing one of our Church leaders report to a
congregation counsel he gave to a brother who had lived in deep
sin for a long period of time, to the effect that he should be very
careful to take no chances or risks of an accident because his body
was so important in the overcoming of his sins and in making a full
and complete repentance. He presented the idea that it would be
infinitely more difficult to repent of sins of the body, in the spirit
world, without a body” (Stephen R. Covey, Spiritual Roots of Human
Relations, p. 35).

“Remorse in the spirit world for our sins might be avoided by repentance
of them so that we remember them no more. Repentance
is more difficult the longer it is delayed and may be especially
difficult in the spirit world. Hence God urges His children to
repent while in mortality. This is easily understood when we realize
that habits acquired in the body can hardly be overcome when
out of the body. A simple example from life will illustrate. A boy
has acquired the had habit of taking too many steps, called ‘progressing,’
with the ball while on the basketball court. In a crucial
contest this habit costs his team the game. In his dressing room
the boy is full of gloom; nor can the gloom be easily thrust aside,
for he cannot return to the basketball floor and play the game
over and so rectify himself in the eyes of his teammates. Nor can
he overcome his fault off the floor. All he can do is practice and
wait for another game, perhaps in a later season, in the hope of
so playing the game as to win the approval of coach and players”
(William E. Berrett, The Restored Church, 1956, p. 566).

“If you have made serious mistakes that could disqualify you from
your noble birthright, be willing to take your tears of sorrow to
your bishop. He is your friend in the repentance process and is
set apart to act as a judge here on earth in the place of the Savior,
who is the Eternal Judge” (Julie B. Beck, “You Have a Noble Birthright,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2006, p. 108).

“Now for a word or two on the subject of repentance. Our English
word repent comes from the Greek word metanoeo, which means
‘to change your mind’ or to think differently.’ In other words, to
‘repent’ does not mean that one completely stops sinning. Were
such the true definition, no human being would be able to repent,
as none of us have the ability to completely stop sinning.
Rather, to ‘repent’ means to begin to ‘think differently’ about sin”
(Alonzo L. Gaskill, Odds Are, You’re Going to be Exalted, p. 53.).

“True repentance requires that we turn to God, change our sinful
ways, confess our sins, renew our pledge or covenant with the
Lord, repay our debt, serve others, and never return to our iniquity”
(BYU Professor Andrew Skinner, Gethsemane, p. 131).

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