Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Repentance: the Hope-filled Path by Elder Scott

Since we have a wooded backyard with tons of fun paths to follow, I like to use that resource whenever I can for our family lessons and activities.  When I read Elder Scott's talk "Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ" looking for something tangible to help my children remember his teachings, this line caught my eye, "...repentance is not punishment.  It is the hope-filled path to a more glorious future."

To facilitate this lesson, I created two paths marked by signs.  The signs of one path indicated the choice to cover up a mistake.  The signs on the other path represented the steps we take when we choose to repent of a mistake that we have made.

We started the lesson by imagining a scenario where we have made a misstep.  Standing in between both paths, we realized that we had a decision to make...whether to own up to what we have done and repent or to follow the other path of denial.

We ventured down the "non-repentant" path first.  The signs marking this path included:

Lie about it.
Deny it.
Cover up your mistake.
Blame others.
Give logical reasons why you acted that way.
Explain why what you did "isn't really that bad."
Feel angry.
Feel guilty.
Feel sad.
Feel alone.
Pretend you don't care.
Hide the way your are really feeling from family and friends.
Do things to try to forget.
Feel even worse.
Deny what you once knew was true.

Attached to each path marker was a photo representing what was written (to help non-readers and) to more fully express the kinds of feelings that we experience when we travel on a non-repentant path.

Non-repentant Path

And of course, our path lead us right back to the beginning.  Our path looked pretty welcoming at first.  It was well-marked, even had pavers to walk on, but soon lead us through bushes and uncomfortable briars (even a dead end) and eventually we ended up where we better off.  Even worse off, because we ended by "denying what we once knew was true."

Repentant Path
So, we started over and chose a different path.  We chose the path of repentance.  The signs marking this path were as follows:

Realize we've done wrong.
Feel sorry for our sin.
Confess our sin.
Change our behavior.
Ask for forgiveness.
Make restitution, if possible.
Forgive others and ourselves.
Feel peace.
Feel happiness.
Feel God's love.
Earn a testimony of truth.
Accept any short or long-term consequences of our poor choices. (Specifically mentioned in Elder Scott's talk)
Know that breaking a covenant with the Lord is never ok. (from Elder Scott's talk)
Fortify yourself by following the Prophet's advice so you don't fall into old ways. (from Elder Scott's talk)
Seek strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (from Elder Scott's talk)

The path to repentance looked rockier at first.  The pictures of Godly sorry (real photos of my kids mostly!) didn't look that alluring, and the path meant, at first anyway, we'd have to traverse some ice.  But soon, the blessings of repentance became more promising and appealing.  Instead of walking aimlessly in the woods, our path took us to a higher elevation, onto the porch, and then into our warm home, where we feel safe and happy and loved, and where a bowl of left-over Valentine's Day Candy was waiting for us! (Sorry, that's all I had to end our trail with...perhaps "fruits of the spirit" would have been better!)

I am so thankful for the imagery that Elder Scott used and that our yard helped bring his teachings to life.  (You could recreate at a similar wooded area or in your own home using obstacles of another kind.)  I hope that we can refer to this experience often as we remember that repentance is not a punishment, but a hope-filled path to a more glorious future.

Here are our General Conference Review Lessons for the October 2013 Conference so far:

Angels to Watch over Us - President Eyring

Come, Join With Us - President Uchtdorf

The Key to Spiritual Protection - President Packer

The Articles of Faith - Elder Perry

Like a Broken Vessel - Elder Holland

Trust in the Lord - Elder Ballard

No Other Gods - Elder Oaks

Beware of Bondage - Elder Cook

Decisions for Eternity  - Elder Nelson

Repentance: The Hope-filled Path - Elder Scott

The Moral Force of Women - Elder Christofferson

Each Day is a Day of Decision - Elder Nelson

Windows, Priesthood & Tithing - Elder Bednar & Elder Andersen

"Oh, How We Need General Conference!" - Elder Hales


  1. Okay that is the best activity ever! Love it!

  2. love the imagery and hands on application of this message!!! You are just so inspired!! I will have to use this for our FHE next week! Thank you for always inspiring those who read your blog!!

  3. clever idea...the steps to healing!

  4. You are an inspired woman of God. Thank you for these many ideas and the work you put into them.