I feel the need to confess to my bishop sexual sins I’ve committed but I don’t know how much detail I need to go into. I want to make it clear about things that I did do and things that I didn’t do but I am scared if I don’t confess everything in detail then I am withholding the truth from my bishop and won’t be able truly complete the repentance process and be worthy to enter the temple and partake of the sacrament. How much detail is too much detail when describing what I did to the bishop?
Hi Jane Doe,
Thank you for your question. I sincerely commend you on your desire to meet with your Bishop and work down the path of repentance.
Regarding your Bishop, I would encourage you to remember these sentiments by Elder C. Scott Grow of the Seventy:
I promise you he (your Bishop) will not condemn you. As a servant of the Lord, he will be kind and understanding as he listens to you. He will then help you through the repentance process. He is the Lord’s messenger of mercy to help you become clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
As your Bishop helps you through the repentance process, he along with the Spirit, will help set the tone for the amount of detail needed or not needed in your meeting(s). I would suggest as you meet with him to simply let him know about your willingness to share any specifics regarding your mistakes. Let him know you want to make sure you have fully confessed so that you can move forward to put this completely behind you. Remember he is there to help guide you through this process. Once you have shared the basic idea of what has transpired in your past, as prompted he may ask you follow up questions. In some instances the general idea of the sin is all that is needed and he may not feel impressed to inquire any further into the specific details. By asking you details, many times your Bishop is trying to help you recognize the path that lead you to sin in the first place and help you set up safeguards against sin in the future.
Remember repentance is a wonderful blessing to us all. Full repentance liberates us from our sins and brings joy to our souls. In the Book of Mormon, Alma shares his feelings after repenting in Alma 36:20-21:
“And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yet my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
“Yea … there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, … on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.”
Again, I admire your willingness and need to make sure you have completely repented and have not hidden or held back any past mistakes. I would encourage to move forward on your desire to meet with your Bishop sooner rather than later and begin to write a new chapter in your life.
Take care Jane Doe,