I’m quoting/sharing the writing of John Gustav-Wrathall.

Yesterday we had a great conversation in priesthood meeting on the subject of repentance. Brother Purcell taught the lesson, and he seemed a little bit worried about the fact that this was his first time teaching any lesson ever. (I love that the church puts us in those situations!)

He performed admirably by bringing some important questions to the table for us to discuss.

He read a quotation from President Russell M. Nelson to the effect that repentance was something he engaged in daily.

There was some interest in the idea of the prophet and president of the church having to engage in daily repentance. There was some speculation about the nature of sins that the prophet might need to repent of. There was a suggestion that they must be very small sins, things that most of us mere mortals commit every day without even realizing it.

Without suggesting that President Nelson is guilty of any such, I actually think prophets are capable of quite terrible sins. It’s actually a very scriptural notion that the greater the light and knowledge the greater the capacity for sin. But whether sins are great or small I think is not the point.

We tend to think of repentance as a specific act of atonement for a specific failure. And while specific acts of atonement are frequently necessary in our lives for specific blunders that we eventually recognize and come to regret, I have come to realize over the years that repentance is also a posture, a mode of approaching life, a way of being.

I think daily repentance is the recognition that we are dependent on God and that our perspective is limited, and we need to open our hearts every day to recognize what course corrections are needed.

I wonder if that is what President Nelson meant. I wonder if daily repentance means recognizing that life as a disciple of Jesus Christ requires humility, the daily ability to seek out and recognize wrongs in our lives and to seek to correct them, whether we find specific ones or not on any given day.

At this last general conference President Nelson challenged the members to seek reconciliation with anyone to whom we are not reconciled. What a beautiful challenge! What a possibility for greater peace in our individual lives and on our planet if we were all to take that seriously. What an opportunity for repentance!

Yesterday at home we read the first two chapters of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.

These and following chapters are among my favorite.

King Benjamin is one of my favorite people in the Book of Mormon and his sermon is one of the greatest sermons ever preached.

And one of the great moments in that sermon is when he says to his people “I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind.”

I am grateful to have a prophet who is capable of this Benjamin-like recognition that he requires daily repentance just like the rest of us.

We are all in this together.

What do you think?

  • Does President Nelson sin?
  • Should a daily inventory and daily repentance be a part of how we live?