The past two weeks have been awesome. And brutal. Let me talk about brutal first.
So Mexico is like, really hot and stuff. Which sucks. We're always dying and sweating. I'm used to being drenched now. It's kinda comfortable. Except the smell and the crustiness. The bad part is that last week, we lost electricity TWICE!!!! Which means our air conditioner (yeah, this is a rich area, we DO have one of those) wasn't working and so we passed the night sweating to death. It was easily the most miserable night I've ever had. In my life. Which just makes it hilarious for me now that it's over. Then, two days later, we lost power AGAIN! But this time it wasn't at night so we only half died. Then, this week, we dont have water!!!!!! So we can't wash all the nastyness off. It's like football practice x5. It's wayyy sweatier down here.
All that aside, I would like to share something this week. This week I've learned a lot about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is many times called the gospel of repentance, even though it's faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We, as human beings, are "carnal and sensual", fallen, thanks to the fall of Adam and Eve. In that state we cannot return to Heavenly Father, because we are unworthy to be in His presence. In order to redeem us from our fallen state, so that our carnal minds may become spiritual, He "sent His only begotten son, so that whosoever believeth in Him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." So if we believe in Christ, we will have everlasting life. But only if we have true belief, which means that we also understand that one day there will be a day of judgement. If we truly believe, then we will understand that we must prepare ourselves for this day of judgement. We must turn our hearts from carnal to spiritual, become like God, and not like the natural man. This change from carnal to spiritual is called conversion, and is brought about only through repentance. The atonement (the sacrifice and death of Christ) does not redeem us IN our sins, but rather, FROM them. This is what missionaries teach.
Repentance is the process through which we change. This leads to the ordinances, or covenants, that we make with God when we are fully repentant. Like baptism, which cleanses us from our sins when we repent. If it weren't for repentance, we would never be able to change, and thus never be able to have eternal life, because we could not bear to be in the presence of God.
Without repentance our faith would be in vain, and therefore not real faith. Without true repentance, the ordinances of baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament would be void, dead works, "having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof", and peace, or the feeling that God gives us as a confirmation that at judgement day we will be saved, would be denied us forever.
That being said, we are all human and we all make mistakes. If we are with sin, we cannot enter into God's presence, nor have peace. So I invite you all to repent. The results are so rewarding! The peace you will feel can be lasting. To repent, first recognize that you did something wrong. You must confess to God through prayer, and then to whoever you have wronged or hurt, and then (if it is a serious sin) to a church leader ordained of God to be a judge in Israel. This is often the hardest step in repentance, but be humble! Don't fear what man can do. Fear the judgement day and your God. It will be hard, but with the help of the Lord and prayer and a plan, all is possible. If you have wronged someone, stop doing it, then analyze the situation and see what you can do to fix it. Then, show your heartfeltness to the Lord by keeping His commandments and giving service to others. Trust in the Savior that you can be forgiven. You will know that it has happened when you cease to feel guilt and feel at peace with yourself. Sometimes it is a long process. Don't worry! It has an end!
The best of all the scriptures that I have found about true repentance is in Alma 36. There you can identify all of the steps.
I leave you my testimony of repentance. I am human, and have made many mistakes. But I know they have been washed clean through the blood of Christ. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be as crimson, they shall be white like wool." I know peace is possible in this life and that it is through true repentance that we reach it. I know that the Savior Jesus Christ died for each one of you, and that it doesn't matter what you may have done, you can be made clean through the merciful process of repentance.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.