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Gramps,

I used to not believe in the church but still stayed in it. Recently I gained an even stronger testimony of the church.  I repented of all my sins and I can feel the Holy Spirit.  Is the fact that I privately denied the doctrine mean I have to see my bishop or that it’s a sin?

Kayden

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Answer

 

Kayden,

Here is the Church’s counsel to the youth regarding confessing sins to their bishops,

“I know that you have tried to be obedient, but maybe you have made some mistakes—even some serious mistakes. Most of the mistakes people make can be resolved through personal prayer and sincere repentance. Some mistakes, especially those regarding immorality, require confession to the bishop before you can receive the Lord’s forgiveness.”

They also provide the following counsel,

“You may be thinking, “That all sounds good, but how can I know if what I have done is serious enough that I need to talk to the bishop?” The short answer: “Your conscience will tell you.” When you feel the sting of conscience, act immediately (see Alma 34:31–34).”

When we are in our youth, even as adults, this seems to be good counsel. If you are unsure, speak with your bishop, so you don’t bring any unnecessary turmoil to your heart and mind for something you could have prayed to receive forgiveness between you and the Lord.

Some sins put your membership in God’s kingdom at risk. and therefore must be confessed to your bishop. These include sins such as adultery and fornication, incest, sexual abuse, major (felonious or misdemeanor) criminal activity such as robbery and embezzlement, familial abuse, and other such serious actions that harm others. What you are describing does not sound like it rises anywhere near that level; rather, it was a private crisis of faith, not one of the “must confess” sins. Nevertheless, your bishop is there to help you; talking with him about this might just put your mind at ease and help you forgive yourself and get past it.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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