My question is this one…please answer with honesty for I need this answer more greatly now than ever before. I became a member at age 13 against my will but still believed in the church . After time I developed a true testimony of my own. But I married a non-member who seemed interested in the church then. We had three wonderful girls and I was very active in church …going to the temple every month…my life on earth was wonderful. Until my prayers never seemed to come true…that my husband become a member and that we should be sealed for eternity. My husband was very happy having me and his children active in the church…it gave him a security that nothing could go wrong. But it did go wrong…I left my husband. My love for him died after waiting for so long. I felt like I was being used. My only prayer had not been answered and it was a ‘just asking.’ Now my life has gone bad in every sense. My question was this…Is there any hope of forgiveness for me?
There is no point in going over the past to reconstruct what should have been, or what might have been. Although the past cannot be changed, our relationship with past events certainly can. To your question, “Is there any hope for forgiveness?” the answer is a resounding “Yes, there is!!”
You say that your life has gone bad in every sense. Using some biblical terminology, could you say that your sins were as scarlet or crimson? This is what Isaiah had to say about that:
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)
That tells us that although a person’s sins may be extreme, yet forgiveness is possible. But the question is, what must we do to be forgiven? Again, the simple answer comes from the scriptures-
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)
So, first confession. The person to whom to confess is the common judge in Israel-that is, your bishop. He will not only hear your confession, but will be your counselor and guide in helping you comply with the second requirement for forgiveness-forsaking the sin.
There is a little more to forsaking sin than mere abstinence. How we feel in our heart dictates how we act in our lives. People could avoid committing sin for all sorts of reasons-lack of opportunity, fear of exposure, redirection of interest, etc.-and still not forsake the sin. To forsake sin means that we develop a different character in ourselves; we change ourselves in such a way that what was once a desirable thing and perhaps a way of life comes to be distasteful and abhorrent to us. We become a different type of person. Those changes are not easy to make; they take time, will power, devotion and dedication to nobler causes, a deep sense of humility and dependence on the Lord, and an understanding of and appreciation for the great atoning sacrifice of the Savior, through which act the Father may extend His mercy to us in forgiving our sins without violating the principles of divine justice.
But as we work within ourselves a new heart, if you will, or a different set of values and standards, such that those things of which we are repenting of are no longer a part of our lives, then the Savior has promised, I, the Lord, remember them no more, and we are clean, every whit.