Posts Tagged ‘immoral’

Christ’s Atonement Works For The Repentant Sinner (Me)

February 18, 2015

Nearly a decade ago I was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for conduct unbecoming a Priesthood holder and member of the Church. Specifically, I broke the trust of my wife, my children, my family and friends. I hurt my wife, my children, and others, and I will for forever regret the pain I’ve caused them. Each of them know I’ve tried to make it better, as much as you can make restitution for something so terrible. (Note: There was NO excuse for what I did. I take full responsibility for it.)
I stayed “out” of the Church for several years (although I kept attending), because I had insecurities and other issues I needed to work through. HOWEVER, I NEVER DOUBTED THE TRUTHFULNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST OR THAT THE CHURCH WAS HIS RESTORED CHURCH. I knew, someday, that I would return to full membership in the Church. People would ask me “Why”, to which I would respond: “It is true. I’ve never doubted the truthfulness of the Church. I’ve only doubted my ability to live it.”
During the time I was away from the Church, I dated a number of women, but did things which were not in keeping with the Lord’s teachings as revealed through His living prophets.
About 2 years ago, I had straightened out my life to the point that I felt like I could petition to return to the Church. I also felt like I had worked things out so that I felt confident that I could live the Principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Working with the appropriate local authorities (my Bishop and Stake President), I started down the path of returning to the Church, applying the principles of repentance and obtaining forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Since that time, I’ve had a few occasions where women who knew me “before” have told me (and others) of what I did, and that they should avoid me because of who I was. This happened just the other day, again. When this person, who I’ve never met, told me that her friend (who evidently knew me) told her what I was like, and what I’d done, (and thus, she didn’t want to get to know me, as though I was still that way), I felt like I had to write to set the record straight.
This is the content of that email (with some edits to maintain privacy and to improve the flow/make sense) :

Thank you for at least letting me know your logic (of why you won’t contact me any more). It’s always better to write and remove all doubt than to just go silent. Normally I would accept your email, tell you “Thank you”, and move on. However, I feel there are a couple of points I need to make.

1) Who I was when your friend knew me is NOT who I am now. That is the point of repentance and applying the Savior’s Atonement to our sinful lives, isn’t it?
2) I have taken the appropriate steps I needed to, to get my life back in order, and to repent of the many sins I’d committed during the past decade or so.
a) I got divorced
b) Through working with my Bishop and Stake President, and through hours and hours on my knees, I’ve sought forgiveness.
c) Because, several years ago, I’d STOPPED my inappropriate behavior, early last year, through revelation from my Stake President and the Stake High Council (who I had to meet with as part of the process to be reinstated in the Church), I was judged worthy and ready to be re-baptized for the remission of sins and for membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
d) Last Memorial Day weekend, under the hands of my father (a High Priest in the LDS Church), in the waters of Lake Winneconne (where he lives), I was re-baptized.
e) Immediately afterwards, under the hands of my brother (also a High Priest in the LDS Church) and other Priesthood holders, I was confirmed a member of the Church AND given the gift of the Holy Ghost.
f) Since that time, I have been working with my Bishop and Stake President, (he being an authorized representative of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles) (and, thus, the Lord), to be ready and worthy to get my Priesthood and Temple blessings restored (it takes at least a year after a person is re-baptized).
g) My goal is to be deemed worthy, when the Payson Temple is dedicated in June, to be there, and to be able to attend as a member in good standing. In order to do so, the restoration of my Priesthood and my Temple blessings will have to be approved by the First Presidency of the Church, acting as inspired representatives of the Savior.

I tell you these things not to boast or brag, but to let you (and your friend) know that I have repented, that the man I was several years ago has been “put away”, and that through the Grace and Goodness and Atonement of Jesus Christ, I have been changed and been made a new man. That’s how repentance and the Atonement is supposed to work, isn’t it? It worked for Paul the Apostle. It worked for Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah (in The Book of Mormon). We all have hope that it will work for us.
I wanted to contact people I’ve hurt and lied to, and apologize, as part of my repentance process, to make some sort of restitution. Some have accepted my apology. Some have requested that I not contact them, so I haven’t.
I have not only sought spiritual help and turned my life around that way, but I also (as some suggested) sought counseling. I’ve worked on, and continue to work on, fixing the things which messed up my life, which caused me to be insecure, which caused me to do the wrong things I did.
I hope that those I’ve hurt can some day find it in their hearts to not only forgive me, but — most importantly — also recognize that people can (and do) change, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of that Atonement, the statement “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is NOT true.
Again, I only tell you this so you can understand where I am, and the steps I’ve taken. There is a chance that we may meet some day, perhaps even in the Temple. In order for the Spirit of the Lord to be unrestrained there, I feel like you need to know that I will be there worthily, and approved by revelation from the Lord through His anointed servants. I have taken, and continue to take, honest steps to put my life in harmony with what Heavenly Father wants me to do.
I am not perfect, but I know that, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can change. I have changed. And I will continue to change, to follow His will, to be the best person I can be.
Best regards: Dave

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