I had a friend who when he was 9 and 10 touched a girl (only above the waist) when she was asleep. This only happened about 3-4 times. Now that he is 16 he has felt awful about it everyday and has no intention or feelings of doing it again. He really wants to repent but has still not talked to a bishop because of the fear of letting it turn to legal actions or excommunication. He is very respectful to women but he had a slip in his youth and he really is a good guy. Can he be forgiven? Is it too late?
Of course, your friend can be forgiven. It is not too late. He should talk to his Bishop, and be released of this burden that he has carried for so long. I cannot say definitively, but I doubt that there will be excommunication. I don’t know what the legal process would be, but following through with that is part of the repentance process. The most likely outcome of talking to the Bishop will be peace. That is the wonderful effect of repentance, and it is a gift that the Lord wants to share with all of us. He has told us this through the scriptures. One of my favorites being:
Isaiah 1:18 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.
Notice that the Lord says white as snow. White is a symbol of purity. The Lord is reminding us here that through repentance we can be clean and pure again.
Our leaders have often reassured us of the Lord’s love and outstretched arms:
“However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland 8 Myths About Repentance
Talking to the Bishop can be intimidating, but our Leaders have reassured us about that as well.
“I promise you he will not condemn you. As a servant of the Lord, he will be kind and understanding as he listens to you. He will then help you through the repentance process. He is the Lord’s messenger of mercy to help you become clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”—Elder C. Scott Grow 8 Myths About Repentance
Your friend should talk to his Bishop, and be relieved of this burden. He will be glad that he did.