This afternoon John and I were invited to speak to a group of about 50 young men from Sanpete and Sevier Counties and from Richfield Utah. They’ve been at what’s called a “Camp Helaman” high in the Manti National Forrest.
These are bright and good young men, 16 to 18 years old. They are preparing for some very important things in their lives, like school and missions. It felt like we were at a Zone Conference with eager learners.
We were asked to spend an hour with them, discussing the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His incredible gifts to us. John talked about the Resurrection and the gift of Eternal Life, which becomes very real when you lose a family member or loved one. I spoke about the gift of Repentance or Redemption (my notes are below), and John concluded by talking about the Power we receive from Jesus Christ as we keep His commandments and live as He’s asked us to live.
There is such a sweet powerful spirit surrounding discussions like these. Were were grateful for the invitation to travel south and up into this beautiful spot high in the mountains to be with these fine young men.This camp is held in what used to be like a weather station–the Great Basin Research Station built in 1912-1916. The historic site marker says it is acknowledged to be the birthplace of scientific range development, where research was conducted for 60 years which impacted the U. S. Government’s management of federally owned lands. Rangers lived at this station until the 1970s.
In 1989 Snow College in Ephriam converted these buildings into educational facilities where camps and events are held. What a beautiful historic spot! This is the museum:
Thoughts on Repentance
On 11 January 2017, Elder Bednar posted on Facebook:
While the Lord desires that we strive consistently to become better, He also knows we will make mistakes. Thankfully, a loving Savior has provided a way for us to heal from spiritual wounds and illness by turning to and coming unto Him.
As we begin this new year, let us remember and focus our lives upon new beginnings, or as Elder Neal A. Maxwell described it, “turning away from evil and turning to God.” I can think of few gospel principles that are as positive and encouraging as repentance and the process of turning unto God. As we learn about and focus our faith in the Redeemer, then we naturally turn toward and come unto Him.
I testify of the reality and of the power of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice and of the blessings of hope and peace for our souls made available to us because of His great offering.
Elder Bednar’s post has caused me to reflect often on my orientation to repentance.
Our leaders often counsel us to repent Daily.
“Really??” I thought. Repent EVERY DAY??? Am I that sinful??
I was raised on a fruit farm in central CA. My Dad is a strict and stubborn German farmer. Growing up I never heard the words:
I made a mistake
I was wrong
Repentance was for Sinners.
I believed that if I was obedient I would never have to repent.
Repentance was a sign of weakness.
I grew up avoiding repentance at all costs by trying really hard not to sin.
Once in a missionary Zone Conference, we talked about Repentance and Pres Lewis asked the missionaries to share synonyms for Repentance. Here are some they listed:
Following Jesus Christ
A Purification Process
Change of Heart
An Action to show Faith
Don’t do things that Hurt or Harm
Continuing Course of Correction
Turning Your Will to God
Choosing to Act
Relying on Jesus Christ
Movement Towards Good
“Come unto Me” = 1000+ times in the scriptures
In farm vocabulary, repentance is like
Clearing a furrow
Culling the bad
These words have changed how I feel about Repentance. They’ve helped me to see that repenting is a gift we are given that helps us to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
Every week we take the Sacrament to retain a remission of our sins and to always have His Spirit to be with us. This is part of how we repent. Repentance is also removing things that keep the Spirit from being with us. What are those things for you??
THIS is repentance. It is not something to fear or avoid.
It is a gift to embrace.
Jesus Christ invites all to Repent, and to come closer to God and to Him. Repentance is simply to Change, or to become Better. It is His gift to us!