Is it possible to go through the repentance process without confession?
Confession is indeed a part of true repentance. Why is that so? You see, when we repent of something, we really get it out of our system. The scriptures use the term “forsake.” The dictionary definition of forsake is to renounce or turn away from entirely. If, for instance, we repent of a given sin, that action, thought or form of speech is eliminated from our character. It actually becomes abhorrent to us. So repentance is not an easy process. It requires a veritable change of character.
One of the first things that we must do in getting rid of some undesirable trait is to reveal it to someone that can do something about it. That often requires both courage and humility. Sometimes the sin may be so serious as to require action on the part of the organization of which one is a member in order to protect the reputation of the organization.
If we have sinned against the Lord, it is important to confess or reveal what we have done to an officer who represents the Lord to us. That person, say, the person’s bishop in the Mormon Church, for instance, is in a position, not only to protect the Church against the unsavory act or attitude in question, but to provide counsel and help to the individual in the process of repenting.
If we do not confess, the troubling act or attitude remains a part of us and is a continuing source of shame and remorse. The word of the Lord clearly announces the requirements and the process of repentance in the Mormon scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43,
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins–behold, he will confess them and forsake them.
The two key actions that are required by the Lord are to confess the sin to the injured party and/or to the Lord’s representative, and to forsake the sin. Having done that, the Lord remembers the sin no more. That simply means that since the sin is no longer a part of our psyche, our character, it is not considered in the Lord’s judgment of us. You see, the Lord judges us the way we are, not the way we were. Since the way we were that we have repented from is no longer a part of our character, it is of no consequence and thus is not considered further by the Lord, and we are forgiven. It other words, we are considered as though we had never done, thought or said such a thing, and we have become clean in that respect before the Lord. This is the context of the Lord’s counseling invitation in Isaiah 1:18,
Come now, and let us reason ogether, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.