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Question

Dear Gramps,
I committed a terrible sin against people I love a couple of years ago. I was so stupid. As a consequence they went away and I have no way of contacting them. I have confessed my sin to my bishop and have forsaken it with my whole heart and soul. I will never do such a thing again under any circumstances. However, I have no way of contacting those whom I offended to reconcile and apologize with all my heart. They are gone. But I am in hell. I can find no peace because I can’t make things right with them. I have such a deep craving to reconcile and ask for their forgiveness. What do I do? It tears my heart out knowing one of their last memories of me was in connection with this terrible mistake I made. I can’t move on with my life. I’m in bondage. I don’t know what to do. Do you have any advice for me?
Tormented

Answer

Dear Tormented,
I don’t know what you mean by “they went away and I have no way of contacting them.” Do they have friends or acquaintances who might know where they went? If nothing else a computer search is very easy to carry out. Go to www.switchboard.intellius.com and type in the name, and for a location type in a State. To narrow the search, type in a city. If the name is a little unusual, it will help, but that would be a start.
The next thing is to appeal to your Father in Heaven for His help. He wants you to feel good about yourself more than you do. And even if you never find those who you feel that you have injured, the Lord has prepared a way out of your difficulty. In the first place, you must know that if you have repented from what you have done–and it certainly appears that you have by what you have written above–you have already been forgiven by the Lord. The Savior said—

Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more (D&C 58:42).

Now your friends have an opportunity to do the same thing, and in this regard, the Lord has said—

Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin (D&C 64:9).

Now, if it’s true that they have gone and you cannot contact them, you have done all that you can to make amends. Therefore, you have done your part. Heal yourself and get on with your life. The adversary would have you limit your feelings of self worth and righteousness merely to chain you down so that you would feel unworthy since you haven’t been able to complete all the formal steps in repentance. But the Lord is not such a tack master as to let formalism overcome reality. You might put the unpleasant circumstance in the back of your mind with a resolution to ask forgiveness of the those whom you feel that you have hurt should you ever see them again. That should really take care of the matter.
 

Gramps

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