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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

After being a member of the church for 16 years I had a relationship and was blessed with a daughter. I have not been to church since her birth (4years ago). I miss the church with every day that passes and would really like for my daughter to be brought up within the church, but my question is how will the church look on us as a single parent family that has never married ? Are we still welcome?

Hayley

 

Answer

 

Dear Hayley,

You are not the only person who has made a mistake or who has committed a sin. When you go back to church you will not find a single person there who has not make mistakes or committed sins. Among the sins of people is the grievous sin of self righteousness. I’m sure that you would be more than pleased when you, with your daughter, start back to church if no one there would be in any way judgmental, and you were accepted without regard to your past actions. It would seem only fair, then, that you not be judgmental toward those self righteous members who may not accept you back into fellowship because of what you have done. Hopefully, when you go back there will be no such people in your congregation, but there may well be. So it would not hurt to be prepared for some rejection on the part of those who are in need of repentance and forgiveness themselves.

However, there are two things to be concerned about in your situation. One is unwarranted judgement by the Pharisee members who judge by the letter of the law when they have no right to judge in the first place. The other is judgement by him whose right it is to judge, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his infinite love for all of our Father’s children, he voluntarily submitted himself to an infinite suffering to pay to the demands of justice the full price of all the sins committed by all the children of God. Because of that sacrifice the Father will forgive the sins of all those who fully repent of the sinful things that they have done. So if you feel repentant for what you have done–that is, if your character has changed so that you would never do such a thing again–then you already have been forgiven by the Lord, who has made this statement—

Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

 

By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins–behold, he will confess them and forsake them. (D&C 58:42-43).

That scripture pertains to you. Repentance means to confess–which you are already doing, and to forsake, which means that your character has changed to the point that what you have confessed is something that you would abhor. Thus you may hold up your head and feel as worthy as anyone else in the congregation.

Also, there is an account in the scriptures of how the Savior treated an adulteress, whom we must assume, although in this scriptural passage it was not actually stated, was in a repentant state. This scripture applies specifically to those who take judgment of such situations into their own hands.

And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

 

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

 

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

 

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

 

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

 

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

 

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

 

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

 

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

 

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:2-11).

So I believe that when you go back to church you will certainly be accepted by all the kind and good people there. I believe that you will be welcomed back with open arms, and your little girl will of course be accepted and will gain the associations and fellowship that will help her to be a true and faithful follower of the Savior.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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