Sacrament Talk

Today I was able to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. I actually wasn't too nervous until the youth speaker started closing his talk. All of a sudden my hands started shaking really bad and while I gave the talk I was constantly moving my foot. All in all, I feel it went well. I just wanted to share the talk with people who weren't able to be there. I was asked to use a talk by Elder Russell M. Nelson for a guide... there is a link on his name to his talk. Super good, much better than mine. Anyhow, here is my talk.
A common learning tool the Lord uses in teaching his people commandments is repetition. When we see a phrase or word repeated over and over in the scriptures and the prophets have proclaimed it countless times, we know it is time to listen.

The word repent and all other forms of the word are found 72 times in the King James Bible, 68 times in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, 360 times in the Book of Mormon, and it is found in 47 of the 138 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. In
3 Nephi 11:32 Christ is addressing the people in America and teaches them to repent. As members, we have been commanded to repent and to turn our hearts and our minds to our Heavenly Father.

To help understand what it means to truly repent, Elder Russell M. Nelson explains the origin of the word from the Bible times. He says, “When Jesus said, ‘repent,’ His disciples recorded that command in the Greek language with the verb metanoeo… In this word, the prefix meta means ‘change.’ The suffix relates to four important Greek terms: nous, meaning ‘the mind’, gnosis, meaning ‘knowledge’, pneuma, meaning ‘spirit’ and pnoe, meaning ‘breath’. Thus, when Jesus said ‘repent,’ He asked us to change- to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit- even our breath.” This is such a broader meaning than what we understand with the basic translation in English. We truly have to abandon our sin and anything that is associated with the sin or sins. We must wipe away the dirt and start fresh and clean.

The Church has outlined basic steps for repentance. I only want to touch on these briefly. The steps to repentance are: Recognize the sin; Feel sorrow for our sins (by our own account, not just for being found out); if needed, Confession; Abandonment of sins; Make restitution; and finally, Be forgiven by the Lord. It is important to remember these steps of repentance, but it is also important to remember that we cannot be fully forgiven unless we involve our Savior Jesus Christ in the process. Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Formulas have been crafted to help remember some of the essential actions required for full repentance. While these can be helpful, generally they ignore the most fundamental aspect of repentance- that it is centered in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, that it has efficacy because He willingly paid the full price through His redeeming sacrifice, motivated by a perfect love of His Father and of each of us.” The Atonement is such an amazing gift to the children of our Heavenly Father! Without the Atonement, we would be lost in our sin with no way out. In
Helaman 5:9, Helaman speaks of the atonement. The process of repentance can be made so much less painful if we just welcome Christ into our hearts and develop a relationship with him. He Atoned for our sins- He wants to be in our lives. He will hold our hand and guide us. He will comfort us, I know this. I have felt His love and support for me during the trials of my life. I promise that if we take advantage of the Atonement and with a sincere heart, repent of our sins Christ will lift us up and help us to be forgiven.

When we open our hearts to Christ, we are welcoming the conversion process. President Marion G. Romney stated, “Converted means to turn from one belief or course of action to another. Conversion is a spiritual and moral change. Converted implies not merely mental acceptance of Jesus and his teachings but also a motivating faith in him and his gospel. A faith which works a transformation, an actual change in one’s understanding of life’s meaning and in his allegiance to God in interest, in thought, and in conduct. In one who is really wholly converted, desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died. And substituted therefore is a love of God, with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his commandments.” Almost everyone here today has been converted to the gospel, whether they are the first members of the church in their family or if they have pioneer heritage. In
Alma 5:14, Alma poses these questions... As members, we should all be searching constantly to be converted to the gospel and to have this ‘change of heart’, to have a special relationship with Jesus Christ. How do we find conversion? Elder D. Todd Christofferson stated, “As a first step, you must lay aside any feeling of pride that is so common in the world today.” Opening our hearts to the Spirit is the first step to the change of conversion. Other steps are the simple, daily acts that lead us closer to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. By praying, reading our scriptures, serving others, bearing our testimonies, following the commandments, and anything else that might make a difference for you. When you are willing and open to the Spirit, Heavenly Father will know the way to help you find your own personal conversion. It is essential to remember conversion does not occur just once- as we learn and grow WITH the gospel, we will be continually experiencing conversion. To think that we have experienced it once and we will be set for life is to rob yourself of blessings and give in to the natural man. Elder Russell M. Nelson states, “Repentance is the Lord’s regimen for spiritual growth. King Benjamin explained that ‘the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.’ Brothers and sisters, that means conversion! Repentance is conversion! A repentant soul is a converted soul, and a converted soul is a repentant soul.” As we lead our lives and continually practice repentance, we will continue our conversion and vice versa. What a wonderful cycle!

As stated earlier, thanks to the Atonement we are able to be washed clean. Isaiah declared in
Isaiah 1:18. Any member who repents of their sin or sins with a sincere heart and turns away from the transgression is forgiven. What about the more serious transgressors? I say to you, YES they are forgiven if repented in the proper manner. It is easy to feel lowly in the Church after a serious transgression, but not necessary. Elder Richard G. Scott said, “If you have repented from serious transgression and mistakenly believe that you will always be a second-class citizen in the kingdom of God, learn that is not true. The Savior said, ‘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.’ Find encouragement in the lives of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah. They were tragically wicked. Yet their full repentance and service qualified them to be considered as noble as righteous Captain Moroni. To you who have sincerely repented yet continue to feel the burden of guilt, realize that to continue to suffer for sins when there has been proper repentance and forgiveness of the Lord is prompted by the master of deceit. Lucifer will encourage you to continue to relive the details of past mistakes, knowing that such thoughts can hamper your progress. Thus he attempts to tie strings to the mind and body so that he can manipulate you like a puppet to discourage personal achievement.” When a member has been forgiven of a major transgression, then they are forgiven. They have brought Christ back into their lives. They have repented- back to the Greek definition of the word, they have changed their mind, knowledge, spirit, and breath. There is no reason to keep suffering. As fellow members, we should accept those who have strayed and made their way back with open arms.

In closing, I would like to address those who need to repent. Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Have you wandered from the path of joy and now find yourself where you do not want to be, with feelings you do not want to have? Is there a yearning to return to the peace and joy of a worthy life? I invite you with all the love of my heart to repent and come back. Decide to do it now. That journey is not as difficult as it seems. You can cast out guilt, overcome depression, receive the blessing of peace of mind, and find enduring joy. Pray for help and guidance, and you will be led to find it. Go to where you know the light of truth shines- to a worthy friend, a loving bishop or stake president, an understanding parent. Please come back. We love you. We need you. Follow the path to peace and joy through complete repentance. The Savior will help you obtain forgiveness as you sincerely follow all of the steps to repentance. He is the Redeemer. He loves you. He wants you to have peace and joy in your life.”
There is hope. You can always come back. Though it may be painful in the beginning, the rewards are ETERNAL. The process isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Elder Russell M. Nelson stated, “Hope is linked to repentance. You can change. You can ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.’” I urge you to come and repent and convert yourselves to the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This temporal life does not last; we do not have the time to twiddle our thumbs on issues concerning our salvation. In Alma 34:32-33 ...
Then I bore my testimony which was a lot of blubbering because I almost always cry when I bear my testimony. But for the readers, I do want to say I have a true testimony of the Atonement and of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and He wants us all to be happy and He wants us to return to him in the next life. Repentance is a powerful tool as well as conversion. I have used them often in my life and will continue to use them for I know that they work miracles.

1 comment:

  1. nice talk. bummer i missed it. neil and i spoke a few weeks ago and i always get nervous too. but it was a proud moment - i didn't cry once and that was a first for me. i don't know how i did it especially when the topic was family history. but i did. good idea to post your talk on your blog!