Repentance brings joy
Alma 36:12-31 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. . . . Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
3 Nephi 4: 33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.
How to remain strong and avoid temptation
Ephesians 6: 11-18 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Blessings come with worthiness
3 Ne. 18: 28-29 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.
Doctrine & Covenants 109: 20-21 And that no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into thy house to pollute it; And when thy people transgress, any of them, they may speedily repent and return unto thee, and find favor in thy sight, and be restored to the blessings which thou hast ordained to be poured out upon those who shall reverence thee in thy house.
How to choose good instead of evil
Alma 5:40 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
Moroni 7:12-19 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and eightieth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to adjudge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the alight by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the alight of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
Repenting is difficult but worthwhile
2 Nephi 9:14, 39-40 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness. 39 O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally minded is death, and to be spiritually minded is life eternal. 40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
Purity Precedes Power
M. Russell Ballard
Ensign, Nov 1990, 35
A related misconception is that repentance is easy. President Kimball said that ´one has not begun to repent until he has suffered intensely for his sins. … If a person hasn’t suffered, he hasn’t repented.‘ (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, pp. 88, 99.) You need only talk to a person who has truly repented of serious sin to understand that the momentary pleasure of an immoral act is simply not worth the pain that always follows.
President Spencer W. Kimball explained: ΄If one is sorry only because someone found out about his sin, his repentance is not complete. Godly sorrow causes one to want to repent, even though he has not been caught by others, and makes him determined to do right no matter what happens. This kind of sorrow brings righteousness and will work toward forgiveness‘ (Repentance Brings Forgiveness [pamphlet, 1984], 8).
Singing the Song of Redeeming Love
Ensign, Mar 1993, 57
Real repentance, born of ΄godly sorrow‘ for sin and nurtured by renewed determination to do right, infuses sinners with the courage and commitment needed to repent. As with the people of King Benjamin, they are touched by ΄the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.‘ (Mosiah 5:2)
With that sweet, humble spirit, they are willing to confess their sins and to accept any consequences of their actions. And they are willing—even anxious—to make full restitution to any who have suffered because of their sin.
But more than anything else, sincere repentance requires change—changed thoughts, changed actions, changed relationships with God and man, changed patterns of behavior, changed attitudes, changed loyalties, changed priorities, changed motivations, changed lives. Alma referred to all of this changing simply as a ΄mighty change in your hearts‘ (Alma 5:14) which prompts all true believers to ΄sing the song of redeeming love‘ (Alma 5:26).
Of course, this change of heart isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Nor is it intended only for those who are guilty of major violations of God’s law. It can come every day of our lives as we prayerfully consider our commitment to the Lord and the sacred covenants we have made with him. In doing so, sometimes we’ll feel the need to repent and improve. Other times we’ll feel the confident peace of purity, which in this life only comes through repentance. Those are the times when we will feel most inclined to ΄sing the song of redeeming love.‘
M. Russell Ballard
Ensign, May 1993, 6
΄Some people knowingly break God’s commandments. They plan to repent before they go on a mission or receive the sacred covenants and ordinances of the temple. Repentance for such behavior is difficult and painful and may take a long time. It is better to not commit the sin. Certain sins are of such gravity that they can put your membership in the Church and your eternal life at risk. Sexual sins are among those of such seriousness.
Repentance Means Change
President Ezra Taft Benson
General Conference, April 1986
My beloved brothers and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change. But we can do it.
One More Strain of Praise
Neil A. Maxwell
In order to become ΄even as Jesus is,‘ we should strive to develop what Paul called ΄the mind of Christ,‘ which is perfectly pure (1 Corinthians 2:16). Though Jesus suffered ΄temptations of every kind,‘ He ΄gave no heed unto them‘ (D&C 20:22; Mosiah 3:7; Alma 7:11-12). Therefore, to become ΄even as [He is]‘ requires that ΄virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly‘ (D&C 121:45). The demanding word, unceasingly, is clearly related to Jesus’ regularly and dismissively giving temptation ΄no heed.‘ These two conditions constitute the great ΄How to’s‘ so essential to cleanliness of mind and purity of soul. They signify ΄a mighty change of heart‘ (see Alma 5:12). They can bring us to a point where we lose the desire for sin and have no more disposition to do evil (Mosiah 5:2).
Grossness in conduct is preceded by grossness of mind. Ironic though it is, ultimately those so warped by pleasing the carnal mind and by wrongfully celebrating their capacity to feel soon lose their capacity to feel, finally becoming ΄past feeling‘ (1Nephi 17:45; Moroni 9:20).
Avoidance of those things that distance us from Jesus and that disqualify us from having His Spirit include the improper use of videos, music, Internet, and printed filth–all these are ΄off limits‘ for us. Pornography can not only lead to child and spouse abuse, but it steadily sucks out one’s spiritual bone marrow. The adversary gets some individuals to rationalize concerning their privacy, agency, and individuality by lessening their sense of accountability for their wrongful indulging. Then there is the multiplier as to consequences, for sin hurts at least one soul and almost always more. Especially when the toll from the sins of omission is tallied. If only such withheld time and talent had not been ΄omitted‘ but otherwise used! (See Matthew 23:23)
Why Do I Keep Doing That?
If we can look at ourselves with more compassion, considering the factors that cause our vulnerabilities, rather than see our sins as permanent character flaws or inherent personality weaknesses, we can give ourselves the hope needed to change. We can look for ways to address the underlying unmet needs rather than merely condemning the undesirable behavior we’ve used as a substitute. Identifying our unmet needs comes through introspection.
A Chance to Start Over: Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings
M. Russell Ballard
Ensign, Sep 1990, 12
Informal Church Discipline -When a bishop learns of a transgression, usually through the confession of the member involved, he first counsels with the member. When the sin is not grievous, the bishop may decide, through inspiration, that no disciplinary action is needed. He may continue to give counsel and caution, helping the member resist temptation and avoid further transgression.
Another option the bishop has is to place the member on informal probation, temporarily restricting his privileges as a Church member—such as the right to partake of the sacrament, hold a Church position, or enter the temple. The bishop may ask the member to surrender his temple recommend temporarily. In addition, he may require the member to make specific positive changes in attitude or behavior. No official record is made or kept of informal probation. The bishop maintains close contact with the member and may terminate the probation period when he is prompted to do so.
In these cases, informal Church discipline may negate the need for formal disciplinary action. Since repentance and reformation are the primary objectives of any Church disciplinary action, the bishop may feel that the person has done or is doing everything necessary to repent and that a disciplinary council would serve no useful purpose.