This is Part 5 in a series of articles on repentance. They are based on my experiences. I am writing with the hope that others who are seeking the Lord will find something meaningful to aid them in their journey towards obtaining a remission of their sins.
I was now fully engaged in breaking away from the moorings of the worldly life I had been living. I was excited about embracing my new life as a follower of Christ. I enjoyed attending church and learning about the gospel and church history. However, it soon became apparent to me that my knowledge and understanding of the gospel was that of a somewhat disinterested fourteen year old. That was about the time I and left church activity, thinking I was a second class spirit from the pre-mortal world. I felt this way because I wasn’t born into the covenant. I’d learned at church that Heavenly Father sent His best Spirits to homes where they would be born into the covenant. My dad wasn’t a member, and mother never attended church. Disbelief in the church wasn’t why I left; it was because of disbelief in myself. I’ve learned since then that well meaning people can teach unintended doctrine, which can be destructive to “faith”.
My desire to increase my understanding of the gospel was helped when I went with a few members to a book store. It was very small, having less than 25 or 30 books. I bought all I could afford and was determined to read each and every book as quickly as possible. I found a novel way to do this. I volunteered for duty no else wanted. I would take the night shift on every holiday. This way the work was slow, allowing me time to study and I could also avoid all the holiday parties.
I’ve heard it said that the Lord speaks to His followers through the scriptures. I agree with this idea because that’s what I experienced. As I read the scripture I found treasures of knowledge and felt the Spirit of the Lord teaching me. I learned to trust the Lord as I came to know Him from my scripture study. I learned that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that He is no respecter of persons. This was important to me because I felt inferior to other church members. I also learned that anyone who repented could be forgiven, it didn’t matter who you were—if you repented then you were acceptable to God. All that He requires is sincerity. The Book of Mormon uses the phrase, “full purpose of heart”. In the eyes of the Lord this quality of the heart is more important than anything else we can bring before the Lord when we seek a blessing at His hand. I don’t doubt that the Lord sends choice Spirits to choice families. However, this isn’t always true. Take Abraham for example, the family he was born into had major problems (Abraham 1:5-7), yet he is one of the great and noble spirits from the pre-mortal world (Abraham 3:22-23).
As I read the scriptures, I learned about the “dealings of the Lord” and my confidence in the Lord grew. When I read in the scriptures, “he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven…” I believed what I read.