D&C 19:15-20 states that we must suffer if we do not repent. My question is why must we all be forced to suffer exquisitely if we do not repent? Christ suffered for our sins so that we don’t have to. I am grateful for this. But if we choose not to repent why must we be forced to suffer? By saying you can either (1) repent, or (2) I’m going to make you suffer then you really don’t have a choice in the matter. You must repent or suffer. That’s not fair. There is no other option you can take. Thoughts?
You fundamentally misunderstand what God is telling us in D&C 19:15-20.
15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.
When he tells us that we must suffer if we do not repent is like saying, “If you walk off the edge of a cliff you must fall” or “If you do not climb up the ladder you must remain in the pit”, or “if you do not turn on the light you must sit in darkness”
In none of these cases are you being acted on by someone else because of what you did or did not do. It is simply the consequences of what we chose to do or not do. Being like God is being on the path of peace and happiness, any deviation leads to suffering. This is a simple consequence. Our Heavenly Father knows this. He also knows we will fall short and sin. This is why he sent Jesus Christ. This is why Christ suffered for our sins. This would be like God warning us away from the edge of the cliff, or providing a ladder, or telling us about the light switch.
Sadly too many people walk off of the cliff, sit in the pit, or dwell in darkness… and then blame God for their suffering. They ignore the simple fact their own choices are what is making them suffer. You will sin, so you will suffer, this is a natural consequence. Calling it not fair is the tantrum of a child, it simply is. In his mercy God has provided a way out it requires us to choose to use it, to choose repentance, but the choice is ours.