Okay, to start with I want to point out that the start of this blog post is a bit of a joke, but unless you are LDS you won't get it without it being pointed out. Okay, the first two sentences are a joke!
Within every Church Ward across the world, there are a couple of people that Church members actively avoid. These men are normally the ones who hand out assignments to talk during Sacrament and if the start of almost EVERY Sacrament talk is anything to go by nobody likes giving a talk in Sacrament. Although I did volunteer to give a talk Easter Sunday. I guess I'm the one person who doesn't mind giving a talk in Sacrament.
A few weeks back, Top Ender's exit from the pew we were sat in, was blocked by the member of our ward who is the member who hands out the talks that the Bishopric have decided upon. I knew what was coming, Top Ender was about to be assigned her first talk in Sacrament. After the initial joking of Top Ender being the last Speaker (who generally has a twenty minute talk), Top Ender accepted her assignment to give a talk on Easter Sunday, as the first Speaker. Her talk title was "How can repentance help me with my everyday life".
And in true Top Ender style, she put off doing the prep work for her talk. And I mean really put it off. Like, she wrote her talk the day before she was giving it, putting it off.
However her talk, when she finally wrote it, was brilliant and a fantastic first talk in Sacrament. I've typed it out below, because I thought that you all might want to read it too because, well you've witnessed almost all her life and this was a big thing for her!
When I was asked to do this talk, I was really aware that it would be my first talk at Church in Sacrament. Like my Mum I’m actually a little bit nervous talking in public, honestly compared to singing or performing in public, this is really Hard!
I think what is even worse is that my Dad and Brother have come to hear me talk today, so I apologise if I don’t look up but I’m worried they might make me lose my place! The talk I was assigned was how can repentance help me with my everyday life. I read through For the Strength of Youth and I watched two videos “not a one time thing” and “a change of heart”. Also thanks to the Chromecasts in our house my Mum kept playing different talks on Repentance whenever I walked into various rooms. She even put a talk on in the Bathroom whilst I was taking a Shower!
In all the talks that I’ve listened to and the videos that I’ve watched the one thing that stood out to me was that Heavenly Father and Jesus both love us!
I know that we all know this, that we sing songs about this and that we can read this in the Scriptures, but it was like it was suddenly made clear to me. We have the process of repentance because Heavenly Father loves us. Jesus Christ took upon him my sins, our sins because he loves us.
Yesterday at our most recent ward’s Baptism we were reminded that when we are baptised our wrongs are washed away, we are made clean and pure and we have to try really hard to keep the covenant we have made with Heavenly Father.
Those who are baptised enter into a covenant with God to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ to keep His commandments and to serve Him. Church members renew this covenant each time they partake of the sacrament.
We were also reminded that we sometimes make mistakes. I know I do. I might argue with my brother, or laugh at a comment someone made about someone that was unkind. I might even… well I don’t need to tell you. We all make mistakes.
And this is where repentance comes in. We repent when we do things wrong.
I have always thought of repentance like saying sorry. Not just to the person we have wronged, but also to Heavenly Father. We are his children and he knows that sometimes we are going to trip and fall over sin but he knows that if we get back up and keep going and if we repent that we are learning the lessons he wants us to learn.
When we don't repent we feel all horrible and "un clean" inside. For me it’s like if I haven’t washed my hair for a couple of days, you know that itch that you get? That’s when I know that I haven’t repented properly. And yes Mum and Dad, I also know that I get that feeling if I don’t wash my hair properly too.
The promise that Heavenly Father makes to us when we are Baptised is that he will forgive us if we truly repent. The great thing about this promise is that Heavenly Father never breaks his promises even if sometimes we do.
Sometimes Satan likes to wave the memory of a passed sin that you did repent of back at you, this makes me personally feel like i haven't repented properly it also makes me upset because I did a wrong thing, I broke the promise I made to Heavenly Father when I was baptised and even though I felt terrible for it and repented fully, the memory is still there.
It’s at times like this that I know I have to rely on the love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for me. I have to remember that they gave me the gift of repentance so that I can be forgiven.
I don’t know about you, but remembering this everyday helps me to get through bad days. Although I don’t have that many bad days, I am after all only 12!
Saying that, in the not too distant past, I did something really bad at School.
Another Student and I had a bit of a fight and I was the one to blame. I was punished at School and of course they called home to tell my Mum. I was a bit upset, okay I was really upset and the Teacher let me speak to my Mum. She was a little bit short with me and I could tell she was holding in her anger, but she told me it would be okay. That I should listen to the Teacher and that I should ask if I could take a moment to pray before being put into Isolation.
When I got in that evening I was expecting my Mum to tell me off. Instead, as soon as I walked in the front door she hugged me. As she held me close, she told me she loved me. She told me that it was okay that Heavenly Father loved me and that this was a sin that Jesus Christ had taken upon himself just for me.
We stood just inside the front door and I sobbed knowing that it was going to be hard, but that I could repent. I tried to really repent.
I said prayers, I studied my Scriptures and I took my punishment at School with a contrite heart. I also tried to improve myself.
Eventually I felt lighter. Eventually I knew that Heavenly Father had forgiven me. Even the other student forgave me and apologised for the part they had had in our fight.
I found a verse in Doctrine and Covenants that really helped me understand the process I had gone through.
“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).
When we repent we can receive blessings in our life, we receive the blessing of feeling forgiven by feeling the burden of our guilt being taken from us. We hear or feel the Holy Ghost letting us know that we have been forgiven and we are able to discern the Holy Ghost more and receive more of the Holy Ghosts influence in our lives.
Top Ender then bore her testimony, it was sweet and heartfelt and there were a few of us (me for one, an honorary Auntie and a couple of other friends) who were just about able to hold in the tears from listening to this wonderful talk.