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Gramps,

I’ve been excommunicated for awhile, maybe longer. I’d like to know how the system works for people that want to come back into the church again. My EX (convert) left the church, never wants to come back. I still want to be sealed to my kids and of course to be re-baptized. Am I, am I still sealed to my kids, and to my EX or not? I’m concerned about this and wonder about this a lot. I do know this will be a hard process for me. Is my patriarchal blessing “dead” and is my temple name “no good” too? Can I get home teachers to come to my house? How do I get support from members that have hurt me so bad (they still do)? How do I go to church for my own salvation and ignore the people mocking me at church. It is incredibly hard for me to move on “all by my self” WHOA!. I pray for help. The bishop isn’t supportive too which shocks me. Is there any help beyond asking/talking to the bishop? Anything I can do to win this “war”?

I know there are scriptures stating that prophets which have been mocked/threatened/killed worse than me and still stand stronger than me. How can I be like those men? I know that prophets of God are not WEAK. How can I stand strong like them in faith? Do not mention my name, email, state. Thank you

Secretive

Dear Secretive,

It’s interesting how we sometimes attach some hard and fast validity to the promised blessings of the Lord in spite of our own behavior. All the blessings in the temple, as well as all other blessings from the Lord, are conditional. They depend upon our faithfulness. The Lord promises us eternal blessings IF we keep the commandments. When we violate his commandments, and our sacred promises to keep them, they are no longer valid. Would you expect to receive indemnification on an insurance policy if you refused to pay the premiums? Although God is merciful, he is also just. Mercy works within the law of justice, not in opposition to it.

Now, concerning your coming back into the Church- This is not always an easy thing to do, but I think that the first prerequisite would be to have a forgiving spirit toward others, as you would like the Lord to forgive you. He has said,

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again (Matthew 7:1-2), and

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men (D&C 64:10).

The next thing to do in returning to the Church is to obey all the principles of the gospel. There is not one that you cannot obey as a non-member. The Church may not accept tithing contributions from you, but you can still pay your tithing. In doing so, you might open a bank account and faithfully deposit in it 10% of your gross income. When you are rebaptized, then the Church could accept your tithing. Don’t forget to include the interest that has been accrued, because that also belongs to the Lord.

It is important that you attend Church regularly. You will not be called upon to participate, nor should you partake of the sacrament. But during the sacrament time you may pray and reflect on the great atoning sacrifice of the Savior, as though you were a member, and perhaps with even more meaning as you realizing the He will take upon himself all your sins as you repent of them.

It is not normal that home teachers be assigned to visit you, as you are not a member. However, in an ideal Ward, the members would extend to you the hand of fellowship and do all they could to help you in your path to recovery. However, not all Wards are ideal, and you may have offended some of the members who may be struggling to forgive you. But it is well to remember that other people also have their problems and their limitations-all the more reason why we should suspend judgment. But because of the imperfections with which we all afflicted, Henry Drummond wrote,

“How many people are kept out of the kingdom of God by the unlovely characters of those that profess to be within!”

Be sure that you don’t let that happen to you. If we have a forgiving heart, we must not expect immediate recognition and acceptance of our forgiveness, nor should its rejection affect our forgiving attitude. Someone said that

“forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.”

It would be appropriate to seek an interview with your bishop and tell him of your plans and activities-that you want to come back into the Church when he feels that the time is right; then leave the matter in his hands. The Lord knows all your doings and the very thoughts of your heart. He will not leave you alone.

To help you stay close to the Lord it is important that you seek to have his Spirit with you always. Although you have been deprived of the gift of the Holy Ghost, you have not been denied the Spirit of Jesus Christ, nor his guidance. One essential element in inviting the Spirit into your life is to read and ponder the scriptures. You might make a plan, for instance, to get up an hour earlier every day, and spend that hour reading and studying the Book of Mormon. There is a particular and unique power in that book to bring people to Jesus Christ. It would be a great blessing in your life.

If you do these things you will “win the war.” But you cannot win the war without fighting the battle, and overcoming the foe of all righteousness.

Gramps

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