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Question

 

Gramps,

Hello.  I have broken the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I’ve been doing better and reading my scriptures and praying for forgiveness but I know I have to talk to my branch president to repent. I’ve been wanting to repent to the branch president but it’s my dad and I don’t think I can find the courage to tell him what I’ve done. Could I repent to anyone else besides my dad who is the branch president?  Like the district president? Or one of his counselor?

Anon

 

Answer

 

Dear Anon,

I’m sorry to tell you this, but no. Your Bishop/Branch President, be it friend, relative, neighbor, what-have-you, is the only one authorized to this end. Even if you went to the Stake or District President, the first thing they would do is send you back to your Bishop/Branch President. And it would be inappropriate to confess these sorts of things to a counselor, etc. (Who would inform the Bishop/Branch President anyway).

I’m afraid the only way to get around this would be to move into another ward. But even then, Bishops/Branch Presidents consult with previous Bishops/Branch Presidents oft-times in these matters. So..

My recommendation is to embrace the fact that it is your father. A father has special rights over his family that even a Bishop/Branch President does not, and he could help you and advise you. Beyond that, the Bishop/Branch President has the keys for these things and the right to inspiration about how to handle them and how to direct you moving forward. This is a good thing, not a bad one.

All told, the process of repentance is an inspired one, and if you follow it correctly, it will be for your good. Rip the band aid off. Go speak to him as soon as you can. It will be hard and it will be painful. But it will be oh so worth it!

Remember, part of the repentance is humility. Without proper humility your repentance would be incomplete anyhow. Think of this as an opportunity to truly humble yourself, and it will be a blessing to you.

I might also point out, just for clarity’s sake, that a person does not “repent to” his Bishop or other Priesthood leaders. We repent with God, and only with God, through the power of the Atonement of Christ. We might need to apologize for and repay those who suffered from our bad actions, but repentance as a principle is between the individual and God. The Bishop’s role is to facilitate repentance by guiding the person back to God, and to stand as a judge in Israel to decide if and how the individual’s membership in the kingdom is to be affected. Speaking to an ecclesiastical leader is a requirement for the repentance process when serious sins occur, but the repentance itself is not to the leader.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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