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Question

 

Gramps,

Tell me, if a person went into a bishop’s court and did not tell all of the sin (left major parts out) would they know ? I’m confused because a person I know went to a bishop’s court for adultery yet was only disfellowshiped. Could it be they left out key parts of what they did and with how many? They were married in the temple but the spouse was not in the room when the court was being held. I don’t understand how one can not be excommunicated for adultery when done many times to the same person.

Julie

 

Answer

 

Julie,

Many members of the Church have some false ideas about what happens in a bishop’s court.  To me, the simplest scriptural outline of this process is found in Mosiah 26:29:

Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.

That is the core of what every Bishop’s Court is about.  Now in cases where the sin to be confessed is also a crime according to the laws of the land, then the laws of the land must be followed as well.  That makes about the only real difference between what God commanded Alma in the Book of Mormon and what we do today.

Please note… Nowhere does the Lord command that the Church seek to punish the sinner or seek to balance the scales of justice between the sinner and those whom were hurt by the sin in a church court. Those are two actions that the Lord reserves for himself.  Unfortunately many members do not understand this point. Instead they want the Church to punish the sinner.  They want the Church to balance the scales of justice.  For those hurt by the sin, this desire is understandable.  It shows that they are also in need of repentance, namely that of being unwilling to forgive as commanded by the Lord.  That is something that can take awhile.

Now that I have answered the question I felt needed to be answered, I will now address the question you asked.

People have agency.  They have the right to choose to confess or not.  Someone can go before a Church court and only partially confess.  This does not make a lot of sense to me to go through the process but not let the process work because they held back.  They only bring further condemnation down on their head, but it is possible.

What happens in that case depends on the Lord.  The Lord will know.  In many cases the Lord might let it go in the Church Court while working on them through the spirit and guilt in with the hope of eventually saving the soul of that person. Or He might not, it is His call.

Our role as outsiders to an individual’s Bishop’s court is to let the Lord handle it through His representatives as He sees fit.  And instead focus on the things He has commanded us to do.

 

Gramps

 

 

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