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Friday, March 4, 2022

My Conscience Brings Repentance


For some time now, I have been thinking about my conscience, repentance, God, and myself. Below are some of the questions and thoughts that I have received, though not polished, without much order, and just words that have come to me. At first this was for me … Now I am sharing with my family and whoever wants to participate.

What if repentance is a needed and an important practice for all people, me included?

Does repentance include total submission to God?

What if “to repent” means to fully reconcile my ideas, desires, and actions to my sincere current understanding of what is best?

Could what is best be defined as righteousness?

Could deviation from what is best be called sin?

What if sin (for me) is simply the act of knowingly doing less than my current understanding of what is best?

What if righteousness is the act of actually doing what I currently understand is the best?

What if my allegiance to God is measured by my outward alignment with what I currently believe is right?

On the other hand, what if my loyalty to God is measured by my outward alignment with traditions, rites, rituals, ceremonies, peers, leaders, organized religions, authorities, policies, rules, government, society, mandates, or men who neither know nor follow Jesus Christ? If so, what would my consequences be?

Is a disciple of Jesus Christ known by his vernacular and social status or is a disciple of Christ one who acts, desires, and thinks like Jesus?

Is there a difference? Why or why not?

What if righteousness is the opposite of sin?

What if repentance is the process by which anyone, even I can become righteous?

Does repentance mean making the changes necessary to bring my thoughts, desires, and actions into complete alignment with my sincere, present understanding of what God would do in my place?

When someone is already living in a state where they constantly think, desire, and do what they sincerely understand to be best, is there any sin?

Therefore, is there any need for repentance in this case?

What if sinlessness could be my state of being reconciled to what I presently understand to be best?

Does sinlessness require me to do things that are beyond my capacity? Or does it simply mean that I do not excuse myself when I am capable of not sinning but choose to sin anyway?

Can I ever justifiably use the argument of “no one is perfect” to cover my willful choice to do less than my actual best?

What if the rewards of righteousness are only available to those who are actually righteous and without sin?

What are the rewards to the righteous, who consistently keep His commandments given to them?

What is the meaning of, “And no man receives a fullness unless he keeps his commandments. He that keeps his commandments receives truth and light until he is glorified in truth and knows all things.” (T&C 93:9)

Is that a reward worth seeking? Am I willing to pay the price required?

Would it be wise for me to always obey all of the commandments from God that I currently know?

I have God's promise in scripture that I can obey any commandment that I receive from Him because He shall prepare a way to accomplish it. It doesn't appear to me that I can ever justifiably say to God, “This one is too hard. I can't do it.”

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying, Behold, I have dreamed a dream in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem. For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of thy forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass. Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban and seek the records and bring them down hither into the wilderness. And now behold, thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold, I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord. Therefore go, my son, and thou shalt be favored of the Lord because thou hast not murmured. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father, I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceeding glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 1:10)

“...Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness. And if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ. And if, by the grace of God, ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again if ye, by the grace of God, are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. “ (Moroni 10:6)

Could being “perfect in Christ” refer to the concept of complete reconciliation to my present understanding of God in thought and action?

What is the meaning of my conscience is informed by my knowledge?

“Therefore, to him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.” (Ep Jacob 1:18)

In my view, what qualifies as sin? In your view, what qualifies as sin?

Is sin different for various people? In other words, could an act committed by one individual be considered a sin, and the very same act committed by another be not a sin?

At any given point in the future, is it possible to know more than I do presently?

Would it be possible to gain an improved and developed understanding of good and evil, based on new or different knowledge than I had before?

Should I expect that my perception of who Jesus was and is will change over time as I learn more about Him and who He really is, His character, and His attributes?

Could this change my conscience along the way?

Could my value of things also change?

What about my considerations of what is good and what is evil? Could that change as well?

If these things are not changing within me, at least in some fashion, would it be reasonable to conclude that either I am not learning more about God and myself or I already know it all?

As I learn more and different commandments from God, does my conscience become altered? Does it expand to broader applications or progress to better accuracy?

When I acquire new instructions from God or learn things that change my previous understanding of His commandments, does my conscience become more accurate and comprehends a greater increment of reality?

Should it surprise me if I were to receive a commandment from God today, of which I was not aware yesterday?

If, today, I become aware of something new, receive additional light and knowledge from God, or obtain truth that I did not know yesterday AND LIVE EXACTLY THE SAME both days, would it be possible to have NOT SINNED yesterday and to have SINNED today due to the fact that my perspective, light, and current understanding of what is best increased?

What rings true to my conscience?

Is my conscience a guidance system that will show me the way towards God, as far as I presently understand him, as often as I am willing to “look” at it?

Is it through my conscience that God shows me what he would do in my place, given my degree of understanding of His character, attributes and person?

Is my path to becoming like God comprised of consistent emulation of how I presently understand Him to be, coupled to a successively more accurate understanding of how He is?

What limits the growth of my conscience, my relationship with God, and my greater understanding of Him? Could it be the degree of my willingness to obey what I already have and my diligence and effort to obtain more?

What is the price to have a clear conscience with peace of mind, contentment, and freedom from guilt?

Is it possible for me to have a clear conscience all the time, at least by repenting and moving forward from here? It is possible for me to be completely and permanently free from guilt and becoming “a just man made perfect”?

Imagine the peace of having a clear conscience.

What happens to my conscience if I choose to disobey and defile it?

What happens to my conscience as I obey and honor it?

Does my conscience incrementally grow? Does every choice I make in accordance with my conscience naturally make the next right choice more plain and unmistakable?

As I do what I know now, does it seem reasonable that I will know more in the future than I know now?

Is it sensible and wise for me to continually obey all the commandments of God given to me, never violating my own conscience day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and enduring consistently and faithfully until my last breathe?

What are the pros and cons for me when I choose to obey? When I choose disobedience, what are the consequences I experience?

Is this life before death the time for repentance, being true to my conscience, heeding all the commandments of God given to me, reconciling myself with God, and preparing myself to meet Him?

“And now, my brethren, I would that after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, come forth and bring fruit unto repentance. Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer. For behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation. And therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Yea, behold, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end. For after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say when ye are brought to that awful crisis that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this, for the same spirit you hearken to obey while living in the flesh shall, upon your death, have the same power to influence you to hearken unto that spirit in the next life. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance, even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the Devil and he doth seal you his. Therefore, the spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you and hath no place in you, and the Devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. And this I know because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell. Yea, and he has also said that the righteous should sit down in his kingdom to go no more out, but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.” (Alma 16:37)

If I have not reconciled my life to the commandments that God has provided to me and have violated my conscience, will I be reconciled to God when I die and remain in my sins?

“… But O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit which was spoken of by my father, Mosiah. For behold, there is a woe pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinketh damnation to his own soul, for he receiveth for his wages an Everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge...” (Mosiah 1:10)

After a sufficient period of time of sincere knocking, consistent seeking, faithful asking, determined obedience, becoming more like Christ, and having been found true and faithful, would it be natural to have the veil parted, receive Him and His ministry, and be made clean?

Would it be sensible to fully expect myself being made perfect through Christ? Becoming a just man made perfect? At least have perfect intent in this life? A perfect heart? Becoming perfect before God?

“That which is of God is light, and he that receives light and continues in God receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (T&C 36:4)

Does God’s sacrifice make it possible for bad people to become good people? For sinners to become saints? For mortals to become more like God?

Is my acceptance or rejection of the sacrifice of Christ and his offering to me regulated by my choices? What choices?

Does it matter if I am true to my conscience or not? How about yeilding to the enticings of the holy spirit? Does being meek, humble, patient, full of love, or submissive to God actually matter?

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be for ever and ever but if he yields to the enticings of the holy spirit, and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 1:16)

What if God’s sacrifice doesn’t make me free to sin without consequence, but rather it is meant to make me free from sin?

Is just “trying” not to sin, good enough for me? Is it good enough for God? Is that true repentance?

Does God require my obedience even unto death? How about my willingness to submit to everything that He finds necessary to inflict upon me?

Am I expected to obey Him at all inconvenience, pain, and suffering? Even when it is out of my comfort zone, causes trouble and difficulty, and requires a sacrifice and offering? I suppose He knows much better about suffering, sacrifice and inconvenience than do I, and certainly understands the necessity of it all to a much larger and magnified order.

    “Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. For from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life, and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.” (Lectures on Faith 6:7)

Would it be helpful for me to have a good attitude about this whole situation of mine?

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