Repentance Process and Steps

Repentance cleanses like washing your handsA frequent question I receive from young readers is regarding the repentance process. In many of these cases, the young people have developed their testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and they desire to serve a mission. Upon reflection of their past actions, though, they realize they have committed serious sins that need to be cleared up, so they can be worth to go. In many cases, they are wondering if they will ever be able to go on a mission. In either case, they are seeking encouragement to begin the repentance process.

Some serious sins can prevent you from ever serving a mission. Your bishop is the one who determines that. But whether or not you have committed serious transgressions, like violating the law of chastity, we all make mistakes and need to utilize the repentance process. The ability to repent and become cleansed of our transgressions is a wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father. The Atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and death on the cross, make repentance possible. We all need to repent in order to be worthy to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

Additionally, missionaries are called to teach faith, repentance, and baptism, so you future missionaries will need to be familiar with these steps in order to teach them effectively. Here is what is required for full and complete repentance, as taught in the scriptures and by living prophets:

Steps of Repentance

  1. Faith to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You must have faith that through prayer you will receive your Heavenly Father‘s help to repent and that through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you can have a change of heart and mind, be cleansed, and be forgiven. “Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you” (Alma 34:17).
  2. Sorrow for committing the sin (godly sorrow). Sorrow for sin comes from acknowledging that you have sinned and feeling godly sorrow for having committed the sin. Godly sorrow means that you feel such remorse for having sinned that it causes your heart to break with sadness for what you have done. You realize that you caused the Savior to suffer and bleed at every pore, and you are heartbroken for that. Godly sorrow gives you a sincere desire to change and a willingness to submit to every requirement for forgiveness. It is different from the natural consequences of sin or fear of getting caught. Alma counseled his son Corianton: “Let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance” (Alma 42:29).
  3. Confession. Confession is telling Heavenly Father through sincere prayer all that you have done wrong and expressing sorrow and a desire to repent and receive His forgiveness. You must confess to those you have injured or wronged. Serious sins, such as breaking the law of chastity, need to be confessed to your bishop or branch president. The Lord has promised, “I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts” (D&C 61:2).
  4. Abandonment of sin (forsaking the sin). You must abandon the sin by turning away from it, never doing it again, and regretting that you ever did it. Forsaking the sin is to cease sinning, to resolve never to commit it again, and to stay away from the situations where you may be tempted to repeat the sin. 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).
  5. Restitution (seeking to restore the damage as far as possible). You must seek to restore as far as possible all that has been damaged by your sins. For example, a thief should give back what he has stolen. A liar should make the truth known. As we do these things, God will not mention our sins to us when we are judged (see Ezekiel 33:15-16).
  6. Righteous living (living a life of obedience). It is not enough simply to stop sinning—you must have a change of heart which brings a desire to fill your life with righteousness and engage in activities which bring spiritual power. You must strive throughout your life to obey all gospel teachings, not just the commandment you broke. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that “he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven” (D&C 1:32).
63 replies
  1. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    I have a question. Let’s say you broke the law of chasity for about a year, then you decided to go on a mission and started a repentance process, but after 6 months you started comittimg the same sins again for about 7 months. Then you don’t tell your bishop about it cause you still want to go on a mission but now you have stopped comittimg the sin. What happens is this situation?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Andrea, you really need to go speak with your bishop as soon as possible. You don’t want to enter the MTC and begin your mission with this sin hanging over your head. It is best to go tell him everything now. It is likely that your mission will be delayed, but with complete, sincere repentance, you will probably still be able to come on a mission. A person simply cannot properly serve the Lord when they have a serious, unresolved sin in their life. The spirit of the Lord will not be able to be with that person in full measure like he will once they are clean and pure. Good luck. Have faith. And may God bless and be with you.

      Reply
  2. Non
    Non says:

    When repenting to the Bishop, if I am 18 years old do I need to tell my parents the sin if it is more serious such as the Law of Chastity or can I keep it between the Bishop and I?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      That is a question you will want to take to the Lord. If in prayer, you feel like you should tell your parents, then you better follow those spiritual promptings.
      Your bishop will also be able to give you good advice on this subject. Many bishops I know encourage young people to tell their parents what is happening.
      Good luck and may God bless you.

      Reply
  3. dillon
    dillon says:

    As a recent convert in April, I was planning on waiting my year then leaving for my mission the next April… Having recently breaking the law of chastity, would I still be able to go in April??

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      This is something you will need to discuss with your bishop. You will likely have to wait a year from the time you broke the law of chastity. Have courage and don’t get down on yourself. Heavenly Father loves you and has provided His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice so that we can repent, change, and become clean again. Good luck and God bless you and I hope to see you on a mission a year from now.

      Reply
  4. Diaz
    Diaz says:

    I broke the law of chastity but i want to serve a mission. Im a female and just recently turned 18. After repenting and waiting the year can I serve when I turn 19?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      It’s impossible for me to say whether or not you’ll be able to serve. This is something you will have to discuss with your bishop. But I believe most young people who make mistakes with the law of chastity are able to repent and then go on a mission. Law of chastity violations are very serious, and in some cases these sins can prevent people from serving a full time mission. I suggest being completely open and honest with your bishop. He will love and support and help you. Have courage and don’t get down on yourself. Heavenly Father loves you and has provided His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice so that we can repent, change, and become clean again. Good luck and God bless you.

      Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Andrew, If your sins are not too serious and do not require confession, then it is possible to repent and go on your mission without ever telling the specifics to your bishop or parents. But if your sins were serious, such as sexual transgression, you will need to talk to your bishop about those before sending in your mission application. Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  5. Logan
    Logan says:

    I’ve had some recent problems with serious sins and I’ve talked to my bishop and stake president and they said I have to wait three months. I know this is how it needs to be, but it’s hard when so many people are asking me about my papers. What should I say to them?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Garrett, I’m sorry but you’re going to need to go talk to your bishop about this again. D&C 82:7 says “Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.” I pray that the Lord will strengthen you to follow through with the repentance process and become clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  6. Cami
    Cami says:

    Hi. I break the Law of Chastity but is starting my Process of Repentance. I just want to ask regarding the Confessing of things to my Bishop, Do I tell Him in Details, or degrees on what kind of actions are done, Or just simply tell him that I break it? I wouldn’t say that my sin is any lesser than anybody else thats why I ask, But because I just want to receive the kind of help with regards to what I did. I am hoping to serve soon but I am willing to face the consequence of my actions because I know I wouldn’t be able to teach something that I am not found spotless on. I just want to ask in what way I need to confess, especially because I don’t find it comfortable to talk to a man about this stuff. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Cami, I know it is embarrassing to talk to your bishop about this, but trust me when I say that it is the right thing to do. You can start by telling him the generalities of what happened, and he will ask for additional details as he considers them relevant. Confessing these things to your bishop is part of the process the Lord has given us to be forgiven of our sins and become clean. We are all indebted to our Savior for His Atonement which makes repentance possible. May God bless and be with you.

      Reply
  7. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Hi so when I was 12 I was sucked into the addiction of pornography for 5 months, I knew it was bad but I didn’t understand how bad. When I started learning how and it was in young women’s I started freaking out and repenting. It’s been 3 years and I want to go on a mission in 4 years. Am I still eligible to go? If so do I need to talk to the bishop of I’ve prayed about it?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      If your repentance is sincere and complete, there is no reason why this would make you ineligible to go on a mission. Whether or not you talk to your bishop about this is something between you and the Lord. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to talk to the bishop about it, then you definitely should. The last thing you would want is nagging feelings about whether or not your repentance is complete. Your bishop will understand your situation and he will treat you with love and kindness. You need not fear discussing the situation with him. God bless you, and good luck with all your mission preparation.

      Reply
  8. Sol
    Sol says:

    Hi, I have been a member of the church for 6 years but before that I broke the Law of Chastity.
    Do I still need to confess to the bishop even though it has been 7 years and my mistakes were before I was baptised?
    I want to serve a mission but don’t want to go and have my sins always on my mind.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      If it is on your mind and bothering you, then I would recommend talking to your bishop about it. It is not my place to say that you must confess it to your bishop, it just sounds like it would put your mind at ease. It is most likely that the Lord has forgiven you and those sins were resolved when you got baptized. But as you indicated, you don’t want to go through your mission wondering and having the issue in the back of your mind. You need not fear discussing it with your bishop. He will support and love you and help you. Good luck and God bless you.

      Reply
  9. Brett
    Brett says:

    Hey,
    so around 4 years ago I broke the law of chastity. Im now at the point where i want to serve a mission. i never repented of that sin. I kind of pushed it away from my mind. will my mission get delayed if i tell my bishop or am i inligible to go because i never said anything?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Brett, I can give you my thoughts, but they would be just that, my own opinion based on what I have seen and heard. You will, of course, need to talk to your bishop to determine if he, as the Lord’s representative, feels you are worthy and able to serve a mission.

      From what you have said, I would guess that a mission is still a possibility. If your law of chastity violation was a one time thing four years ago and your sorrow is sincere, then the repentance process may go relatively quickly. If you have had continued violations of chastity over these years, then the repentance process will be longer and you may not be able to go on a mission.

      I’m glad you have the desire to serve. Whether or not you can serve a mission, keep yourself worthy before the Lord and he will bless you now and forever. Good luck, and God bless you.

      Reply
  10. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    After breaking the law of chastity, and having to wait a year, is it a year till your availability or a year till you can turn your papers in at all??

    Reply
  11. Scott
    Scott says:

    Hi Jimmy,

    I’ve been a hard working members of the church my entire life. I’m 18 and have received my mission call. A week prior to reporting to the MTC, I was flushed with temptation to masturbate. After stumbling upon pornographic material online, I unfortunately touched myself while viewing the material.

    The whole time I was sinning, I did not feel good. Afterwards, I was confused and disgusted in myself. It has been such a negative experience, and I know I will never do something so awful again.

    I will confess these sins, but unfortunately my leaders are out of town.

    When I go to the MTC and confess, will they send me back home? I know personally it’s a nonhabitual problem, and my remorse for this sin is so extreme that I have stopped eating.

    The hardest thing I’ve done in my life is to prepare to serve a mission. I also am not able to push my mission dates back any further because of obligations with schools and scholarships. Delaying my mission will cause severe problems with everything.

    I’d love your advice on the matter, and your opinion on what is going to happen to me. I love the church and will accept the outcome no matter what, but I can’t think of anything more painful than being denied this mission.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Scott, The day before you leave to go to the MTC, you will be given a final interview by your stake president and set apart as a full-time missionary. In that meeting, be sure to tell your stake president what has happened. I doubt he will delay your mission, but it is possible, and only your stake president can say for sure what will happen. Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  12. Korban
    Korban says:

    Jimmy, I’ve been struggling with whether to go on a mission for some time now, I turned 25 in May and have struggled with pornography. I’ve talked to the bishop and confessed, but I’m worried I won’t be able to go on a mission because I’ve had unclean thoughts since then and I know you must submit your mission papers five months ahead of your availability date, which for me will be in January. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to go. I really want to go, I’ve also been afraid of accepting the oath and covenant of the priesthood, because if someone breaks the oath and covenant there is absolutely no forgiveness in this life, or in the next. I just don’t think I can be perfect enough to have the Melchizedek Preisthood. I worry about making mistakes. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if I’ll ever be able to go on a mission. Why is the cut off age for men 26?

    Reply
      • Jimmy
        Jimmy says:

        Korban, I applaud you for your desire to serve a mission. But whether you end up going on a mission or not, the most important thing is to get yourself worthy before the Lord. And it sounds like you have already talked to your bishop about the pornography problem, so that is good. Continue to talk with him on a regular basis. Tell him of your desire to serve a mission and see what he says. I just might be doable. And also remember that reaching perfection is a process that takes a long time, throughout this life and beyond. All sins can be forgiven, except for the extremely rare sin against the Holy Ghost, and for that we owe our gratitude to our Savior Jesus Christ. Be humble, be prayerful, strengthen your relationship with God, and I know he will heal and bless you.

        Reply
  13. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    I feel like a correction needs to be made. Godly sorrow does NOT come from feeling guilt that you caused Christ to suffer additional pain. Where as worldly sorrow comes from the fear of worldly punishment or consequence that we may find unpleasant, Godly sorrow moves us to repentance when we realize that God is offended by sin, that we have made a mistake, and that we need to repent if we want to live with Him again. The mindset of “How many blood drops was I responsible for?” completely undermines the purpose of the atonement. Christ paid for our sins willingly. He had his agency throughout the entire process of the atonement, but chose to go through with it because he loved his Father in Heaven. We should repent for the same reason. The mindset of “How many drops of blood were for me?” is incorrect and focuses more on the COST of the atonement than the actual GIFT that was freely given. “[repentance] is motivated by love for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments.” Not by guilt that comes from the feeling of causing additional pain to the savior.

    Reply
    • Cameron
      Cameron says:

      I focus on this line alone, “You realize that you caused the Savior to suffer and bleed at every pore, and you are heartbroken for that.”

      Reply
  14. Sarah Park
    Sarah Park says:

    I am 18 years old and have broke the law of chastity. I got baptized when I was 15 and first had relations when I was already a member. Throughout the years I have had sexual relationship with 2 people and I feel terrible. I finally have come to my senses and I want to repent and never do this again. Will my process be long or will I be excommunicated? Do I have to tell my Bishop every detail?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      I am glad you have the desire to repent. You’re Heavenly Father loves you and has provided the way for you to change and improve through the Atonement of His Son Jesus Christ. The process of repentance may seem long at times, but I think you will look back at it as time well spent.

      You should go talk to your bishop right away. It is unlikely that you will be excommunicated, but what you have done is serious and all the steps of repentance that you will need to take will be determined by the Lord through the bishop he has called to preside over your ward.

      Your bishop will need to know all that happened, but I wouldn’t classify his questions as an effort to know every single detail. He will ask enough questions to understand the situation and how serious it was and what will need to be done to fully repent. Please look to your bishop as a friend who is there to help you, which he really is.

      Good luck and God bless you.

      Reply
  15. Charlotte
    Charlotte says:

    I am 18 years old and have been a member of the church since I was 8. But whem I was young I made a mistake and got involved in pornography at a young age, I think I was maybe 11 or 12. It was by complete accident and it felt wrong at the time, but still I couldn’t stop myself. Eventually I was able to stop involving myself with it, and I prayed and asked for forgiveness, but I still was taking the sacrament and was too embarrassed and afraid to tell anyone because I didn’t want them to be disappointed. Later though I was involved with a guy, non member, who I went a little too far with. We didn’t have sex but close, and after I ended things for that reason, my mindset changed and for some reason I thought it was ok to break the law of chastity. I’ve since realized how terrible of a decision it has been and I regret everything. But that doesn’t change the fact that it happened. I understand that if I am to talk to my bishop and begin the repentance process that it would be a year until I could serve a mission or possible that I might be ineligible to serve at all. I’ve wanted to serve since I was little, but I’ve procrastinated the day of my repentance so that is something I’ll have to accept. My question though is this, how long is it after you begin the repentance process until you can take the sacrament again? I haven’t talked with my bishop yet, but I’ve stopped taking the sacrament. Just wondering how long it is before I can take it again.

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Charlotte, The sacrament is a sacred ordinance and it should be partaken of worthily. In my opinion, if I were you, I would wait until talking to the bishop before taking the sacrament again. In talking to him, the two of you, together with the Lord, will be able to figure out the seriousness of your sins and how long the repentance process will take. You should be able to take the sacrament again soon, but as you indicated it could be as much as a year before you can go on a mission. It may be less time than that, though. Regardless of the time frame, please always strive to move forward, keeping your covenants, and following the path of our Savior Jesus Christ. “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

      Reply
  16. Matt
    Matt says:

    I’m 18 and its currently January, I hope to put my mission papers in April. I have watched porn for over 2 years but just stopped on my own 3 months ago and haven’t even thought about it since. I just got a girlfriend 3 months ago and I love her a lot and she’s gunna wait for me when I get of my mish. But me and her have broke the law of chasity 3 times. I’m scared to tell my bishop because of what everyone is gunna think when I don’t take the sacrament anymore and there is only two priest in my ward and when I can’t bless then that means there’s only one and everyone will think so thing is goin on what do I do?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Matt, I commend you for your desire to serve a mission. I pray that you can continue to prepare and that you’ll make an excellent missionary some day. But before you turn to full-time missionary work, your efforts are probably better directed at putting your life on the right path. First let the words of God sink deep into your heart and let them be reflected in all your actions. “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.” D&C 11:21

      The recent law of chastity violations you describe are a very serious situation, one not to be taken lightly. As hard as it will be, you need to talk to your bishop right away about this situation. He will love you and support you through the repentance process. The repentance process may seem long and difficult, but with the help of the Lord and your family and friends, I know that you can do it.

      As for your concerns about what others will think of your, I will remind you that the Lord told Joseph Smith on multiple occasions, “fear not what man can do” (D&C 122:9, see also Moroni 8:16 and D&C 3:7). God loves you. He sent His Son to die for us and show us the way back to His presence. Good luck and may God bless and be with you always.

      Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Yes, that is generally true. Usually, any waiting period imposed by your bishop or stake president will be from the time the last sin was committed. But there are a lot of factors involved, so the precise length of time is something that your bishop will decide.

      Reply
  17. Autumn Smart
    Autumn Smart says:

    What if I broke the law of chastity 5 years ago and I have a change of heart and I stopped doing that? Do I still have to tell my bishop?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Autumn, 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) If you stopped 5 years ago, then it sounds like you have done the forsaking part of the process. Now, to make the repentance complete, you need to also confess. For serious sins, such as sexual intercourse outside of marriage or other serious violations of the law of chastity, I strongly encourage you to confess both to the Lord and to his representative in the Church, your bishop. He will keep your confession confidential and lovingly help you with anything you need to be clean and worthy before the Lord. Good luck, and God bless.

      Reply
  18. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    I’m 18 years old and I’m graduating this May. The past four years have been spiraling out of control. First it started with porn then when I started dating I did everything I shouldn’t have. For the longest time I’ve been lost. And for a while I hated the church and wanted to break free from it and my parents rules. A few months ago my mom was talking to me about surving my mission and whether or not I want to go, that it was my decision. She also said that she would still love me just the same if I didn’t go. So I took that and said to myself I’m not. But scence then everything has been pointing me to go. Up until about January I was still doing the same things I thought knew was wrong. What changed that and why I’m looking for a way to change was my girlfriend and had a pregnancy scare. And while it was happening I’ve never prayed so hard in my life. It was also the first time I prayed in four years on my and for myself. Everything has changed since then the out look on my life and what I’ve been doing. For the longest time I thought the life style I was living was making me happy. And for a time before I really feel away I thought I would never be able to repent fully. I know that a mission is something that would be amazing for my life and my future. But I’m still not sure if I can go on a mission. I just need some advice on what to do and get my life back on track. I’ve already talked to my girlfriend and told her we cant do those things anymore. Just please help me. And I’m sorry if I shared to much for this page. I just don’t know what to do anymore and I need advice. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Stephen, I applaud your righteous desires to repent and serve a mission. Like you said, a full-time mission will be an amazing event in your life, and bless you throughout your future.

      The first thing you’ve got to do is to halt the inappropriate behavior. The Savior said to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, “Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.” (3 Nephi 12:27-30 )

      While these sins are very serious, full repentance is possible. Our Savior Jesus Christ gave his life that we might repent and be cleansed of our mistakes. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”(Isaiah 1:18) Study the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and come to understand the power of the Atonement and how to apply it to your life. Then you will be eternally blessed, whether or not you serve a mission.

      Only your bishop can determine if you’ll be able to serve a mission. So please call him and make an appointment to see him right away. He will love and support you and help you through this difficult period in your life. Also, consider talking to your mom about this situation. It sounds like she is a great support. She loves you and will be able to help you in ways you may not now comprehend. Good luck, and may God bless and be with you.

      Reply
      • Stephen
        Stephen says:

        Thank you I’ve been looking for someone to talk to for a long time. I’ve just been to scare to, I’ll do what you suggest. Thank you again.

        Reply
  19. Susan
    Susan says:

    About 3 years ago my boyfriend and I began to do some things that broke the law of chastity. We never had sex, but we did do some other things against the law of chastity. That went on for about 2 years, on and off. I would feel so guilty for it, and I would tell him I didn’t want to anymore, but he guilted me and pressured me and basically forced me into it, and I let him because I was so naive. We broke up, and I started dating another guy. Him and I started doing sexual things too, but we also haven’t had sexual intercourse. I feel so guilty for it, so I told him we aren’t doing that anymore, and we haven’t for about a month now. I plan on going to my bishop to confess about it, but I’m just wondering the time frame and everything. I want to go on a mission in January, and I don’t want this is delay my mission. I have repented on my own for the things I have done with both boys, but I don’t feel like I’ve been forgiven, and I know that’s because I still need to talk to my bishop. So will this delay my mission at all? Will I have to stop taking the sacrament for this?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Susan, It sounds like you know what you need to do. I think it is a major step of faith to go talk to your bishop and confess your actions, not knowing if it will delay your mission or not. Only your bishop will be able to tell you the answer to this and many of your questions. Please know that the worth of your soul is great in the sight of God (D&C 18:10). He loves you and wants you to return to live with him.

      I’m glad you want to be a missionary. That is a good and righteous desire. Preparation for a mission is essential. Remember what the Lord told Hyrum Smith, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.” (D&C 11:21)

      As you talk to your bishop, and complete all the steps of the repentance process, you will be preparing yourself for a mission, temple marriage, and eternal life with Heavenly Father. Good luck and God bless you.

      Reply
  20. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I’m a junior in college and last weekend things went too far with my boyfriend. We didn’t have sex, but we definitely broke the law of chastity. I know I’ve had a change of heart. I’m talking with my bishop tomorrow. And I ended things with the guy because I don’t want to end up messing up again. I’ve never had the desire to serve a mission, but yesterday the idea came to me. Obviously I would think about it and pray about it a lot more before making that decision. But I was wondering is that even still a possibility for me? If it is something where I would need to wait a year, I would rather not ask or tell anyone I had the idea and I would stop considering it in the mean time. Just curious.

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Michelle, I hope the conversation with your bishop went well. I’m proud of you for having the courage to go talk to him. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deut 31:6

      That’s wonderful that you have a desire to serve a mission. I hope you mentioned this to your bishop. Only he would know for sure if a mission is still a possibility for you, but I image it would be. Of course it is better not to be involved in sin, but the Lord provides a way for us to repent and improve our lives through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  21. Josiah
    Josiah says:

    Hi,
    I recently returned home from my mission…..I and my companion went to watch Soccer in a viewing centre on a P-day.
    We went to the Apartment about 10PM,but we got reported that we came back by 11PM,I accpet my transgression that I shouldn’t have gone and watch a soccer match at all.
    We went to the Mission Office together and we were placed on a repentace process,we spent about 7days reading the Book of Mormon and having interviews with the Mission President,he said that he has forgiven us since we have the desire to change,but the 8th day,we receive our flight ticket to go home…..Infact I have been in a shocked state ever since.
    I had spoken with my Bishop and Stake President,they seem to be confuse as I am…
    Do I have any chance of returning to the field?
    The reason I was told we got sent home was “we refused to repent”.
    How can I go about this?
    I have never act in misconduct on the field before.
    What steps do i need to take?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Josiah, I’m sorry about what happened. It does seem like a confusing situation. I’m sure your bishop and stake president will be able to call your mission president or the missionary department at church headquarters to figure out what is going on. Follow their counsel and hopefully, you will be able to return to the mission field soon. Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  22. Lupexis
    Lupexis says:

    i have been breaking the law of chastity for sometime and i have come to realized that it is a grievance sin. i want to repent but i am afraid that i will fall into the same sin again. my partner in crime wants to marry me in two years from now. what should i do? should i repent or wait when our wedding is about some months?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Lupexis, It’s always best to repent right away, as the prophet Alma said, “Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.” (Alma 34:33) I advise you to go talk to your bishop as soon as possible. This will help you in ways you may not now realize. I know it will be hard, but I promise that confessing to your bishop without delay is the best thing to do. “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9) Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  23. Camie
    Camie says:

    If you broke the law of chastity before, and talked to your bishop. And did it again, but moved wards because of a move with homes. Can you go back to the bishop from the old ward who understands what has been going on? Or do you have to talk to your new bishop? Basically, does it matter which bishop it is. I want to serve a mission, but know this sin from a couple months ago is holding me back.

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Camie, If you have moved, you will need to talk to your new bishop. The bishop of the ward where you are currently living has the keys of the priesthood to preside over you and he has been given the gift of discernment from God (see D&C 46:27). Your new bishop will most likely call your old bishop to learn and understand your history. Please have faith and trust in your new bishop. He has been called of God and will love and help and support you. Remember what the scriptures say about bishops–they are “apt to teach” (1 Tim 3:2) and “able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince” (Titus 1:7). Good luck with your mission prep and we’ll pray for you to resolve these issues quickly and completely so you can be in the full-time missionary force soon. God bless.

      Reply
      • Livvi
        Livvi says:

        This might be a long story hehehe

        When I was around 10 years old, I had this girl best friend and we always play everyday outside our homes. Then one day, she invited me to go to their house and play with their computer. To make the story short, she invited me to watch videos, let’s just say “videos that are not pleasing to God”. At first, I wasn’t really tempted, but then later on I was tempted to watch it. (But watching these videos don’t happen each and everyday, as far as I remember we only watched it for like less than 4 days not consecutive) From that day on, I started to think unwanted thoughts in my mind and have this feeling of arousal in my body, a way so l can put myself to sleep but I never tried to masturbate. But then, I’ve repented about it. I stopped watching those kind of videos and started to control myself. Through the years, I strive myself to repent. Though there were times that I had unwanted thoughts again or had watched movies with romance, I did still really control myself and repent until the time came that I’ve seen myself change and started to make things better with God. Now I’m 18 years old, but still, those things I made in the past kept on bothering me, like every time I pray and ask for forgiveness, that sins I’ve made before are flashing back through my mind and I just can’t help myself but to cry and say things like “I’m so unclean, unholy, I’m not a virtuous woman etc.”. I always ask myself “Am I forgiven? Am I still virtuous in the sight of God?”. Because of that, I’ve searched lds articles about the ways to be truly repentant or how do we know if we are forgiven because I had this burning desire to be forgiven and endure righteousness in my life. The only problem is, I always remember this past problem or mistake I’ve made. I’ve read a phrase in an article and said “confess to your bishop”, but I’ve also read saying that “God will not judge us by the things we did in the past, but will judge us for what we’ve become”. At this era of my life, I’ve also seen how I become closer to God– I received the y.w. medallion, had church and institute callings, attend baptism for the dead and the like, which is kind of related to the second quoted phrase I wrote. But, I’m still bothered by the mistake before even though I’ve repented about it. I planned to talk to my bishop but I guess the things I did happened so long ago already and they had meeting last Sunday so I wasn’t able to approach him (or I’m just not that ready too hehehe) So, I just discussed this burden I had with one my close friends and I’m happy that it did lighten my heart and she completely understands me 🙂 But I always think that my repentance is not enough. So my questions are: Is this a serious sin? Do I still really need to confess to my bishop about it or would it be okay if I’ll keep this between me and the Lord and continue myself in righteousness? Do you think I’m still virtuous? Hoping for your positive response, thank you 🙂

        Reply
        • Jimmy
          Jimmy says:

          Livvi, I’m sorry about those things that happened when you were younger. It sounds like you have taken many of the right steps to repent and be clean. Ultimately, your spiritual cleanliness and worthiness is between you and the Lord. I wish I could offer more help than that. But there is someone who can help more, and that is your bishop. If you are unsure of your standing before God, then I recommend you go talk to your bishop. He has been called and set apart by priesthood authority “to be a judge in Israel” (D&C 107: 72) and as such, he is granted the gift to “discern” (D&C 46:27) things such as the worthiness of the church members in his congregation. Good luck and God bless.

          Reply
  24. Sara
    Sara says:

    I broke the law of chastity about 2 years ago. I have pushed aside the repentance process and forgot about my sins along the way . I was wondering about how long the repentance process would be for that? & if I wanted to serve my mission in November, would that be too soon?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Sara, I congratulate you on your desire to serve the Lord. This will bless you throughout your life and will help you become clean and worthy before God. The Lord said to early Church missionaries, “And in this place let them lift up their voice and declare my word with loud voices, without wrath or doubting, lifting up holy hands upon them. For I am able to make you holy, and your sins are forgiven you.” D&C 60:7 (see my post Missionary Work Cleanses Sin)

      The length of the repentance process will vary from person to person depending on a lot of circumstances. Your bishop will be able to help you know what must be done to repent and become clean and when it will be complete. Please be open and honest with him and I’m sure he will help you get ready and leave on a mission as soon as possible. Good luck and God bless.

      Reply
  25. Lora
    Lora says:

    Hello, i am 20 years old.. 2 years ago i entered a relationship with a nonmember until now we are together, we first broke the law of chastity when we’re on our 5th month and kept doing it… and just a week ago i felt very regretful about everything, i am really disgust and disappointed in myself. i really want to repent.. i already confessed this with our Heavenly Father.. i am ashamed and very embarrassed to talk about this to our bishop, i don’t have the strength to confess. But if i do, am i also going to tell this to my parents? I want to be cleansed again. I want to be married in the temple someday, is it still possible?

    Reply
    • Jimmy
      Jimmy says:

      Lora, I understand how embarrassing it can be to talk to your bishop about these things, but I hope “in the strength of the Lord” (Alma 46:20) you will find courage to do so. You may have already confessed to Heavenly Father and He may have already forgiven you, yet I still think that with the serious nature of these transgressions, you should talk it over with your bishop. He assure you that he will be loving and supportive and will help you in many ways that you do not now realize. What you tell the bishop he will definitely keep confidential, though he may encourage you to talk to your parents about the situation if he thinks they should know and could help.

      I can also promise you that being clean and worthy to married in the temple is within your grasp thanks to the healing power of our Savior Jesus Christ. Remember what the Jesus said in John 15: 3-4, that as we abide in the Savior, we are clean through his word. And also the words of Isaiah, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Then you can like Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to whom the Lord said in D&C 110: 5 “Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.” Good luck and may God bless and be with you.

      Reply
  26. D
    D says:

    I have had a sex addiction prior to being baptized and fooled around with someone who introduced it to me very early. When I was 8, I didn’t tell my bishop and was baptized unworthily. I was was frozen with fear as the time came to be interviewed prior to my baptism and didn’t say anything. When I was 12 or 13, I left the Church after my dad stopped going after he stumbled on some information about Joseph Smith and Church history. I have heard some really surprising things about the Church and the Prophet Joseph and left when my dad did. I am 30 now and 2 years ago, I gained a sure testimony of the Book of Mormon and that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and I doubt not that he was. I am left with many unanswered questions and that is okay with me. I am willing to put those on the shelf for now because of my testimony. Since my re-conversion (if you will it that), I have been forsaking and repenting of many sins. I am obviously too old now to serve a mission anyways and this is not my question. I am having an extremely difficult time overcoming this addiction that is in violation of the law of chastity. I have been talking to my bishop and have told him everything. I literally have been marking each day on my calendar that I have gone in sobriety and I am desperately trying to overcome this one addiction. I have already quit smoking after 13 years, drinking coffee, watching any entertainment media and video games, and a few other things. The one thing I haven’t been able to kick is sexual purity. Its as if Satan is really working on me hard to keep my spiritually imprisoned so that I can not hold my head up in confidence when speaking to the Lord. I am going through online schooling through the Pathway program set up by the Church and this creates a problem for me because I am tempted to look at porn and violate the law of chastity. I really don’t have anyone to talk to anymore about this problem because the only person I trusted not to run their mouth about it was my bishop and he just got called to another position as 1st counselor in the stake presidency. I’m lost and don’t know who to turn to. I have asked repeatedly for help from the Lord and He does help me, but I not enough it feels like. I have prayed for the desire to follow Him to be greater than the desire to sin, but to no avail. I feel like He is trying to teach me something and I cannot figure out what that is. I have prayed, fasted, read scriptures and continue doing so. I hope that I am not too far so as not to be able to serve a mission in the future, as I have surpassed the age limit to serve. I have not received a calling in the Church yet after being there for 2 years now and I am wondering if I will be able to because of my addiction. Is there mercy for me? Am I allowed to be a missionary in my older age, to serve in the Church, or to even reach the highest degree of Celestial glory? Or is it too late for me?

    Reply

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