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Dear Gramps,

Is being forgiven from sin the same as being worthy?  If so, then everyone stepping out of the baptismal font should be worthy of everything.  If not, then how can you be unworthy of some blessing and still be sin free?  Help me understand.





Hi Robert,

Forgiveness implies spotlessness and lack of blame before God. For example, little children are blameless. Being forgiven puts you in the same class with little children. In casual conversation, we often use the term “worthy” as a synonym for this idea of spiritual cleanness, but “worthy” actually means much more.

In addition to blamelessness, being worthy also means that you have developed the necessary characteristics to allow you to do something. For example, a ten-year-old might repent, be forgiven, and therefore be blameless, but we wouldn’t call him on a mission or ask him to be the bishop of a ward. He may be spotless, but he is not capable of assuming such responsibility. We generally would not refer to a ten-year-old as “unworthy” of such a calling, but we immediately recognize the problem.  The same for an adult newly baptized. They are sinless coming out of the waters of baptism but not yet eligible (due to policy) for temple attendance other than baptisms for the dead.

As another example, consider Eve, who was created as a “help meet” for Adam. The word “meet” means “fitting” or “worthy;” thus, Eve was made to be a help (or aide) who was fitting or worthy to be with Adam. Another might have been created as a companion for Adam; for example, a child, or another man. But such a being would not have been fitted for Adam, and thus not a worthy companion. Adam required the companionship of an adult woman; only such a person was a worthy companion for Adam.





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