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Dear Gramps,

I was wondering what you would do if you had committed a sin against your family and wanted complete forgiveness but if you were to tell them, it would rip your family apart. Literally. Thanks!

Ariel Reese, Age 15

Dear Ariel,

If you want complete forgiveness of any sin, confession must be a part of the repentance process. The Savior said,

By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins– Behold, he will confess them and forsake them. D&C 58:43.

Now, if you confess your sins to your family and have not repented of them, I imagine it would tear them apart. But if your family loves you (and I assume they do or you would not be so worried about their reaction to your confession) you might be surprised at their response. They may be shocked, angered and dismayed because of the sin, but, believe me, they will admire and respect you for your courage to confront what you have done and change your life so that it is no longer a part of your character.

Besides that, we are all responsible for our own actions. You have an obligation to confess to your family. Their obligation is to forgive you. If they can’t feel in their hearts to do that, that is not in your province. We must be willing to risk hurting the feelings of others in order to do right, rather than cowardly concealing a fault for fear of injuring another’s feelings.

Gramps

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