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  • Mark Trudeau

The Joy of Daily Repentance

Today I'm posting a talk I gave in church in October of this year on the joy of daily reptenance.


16 October 2022


Good morning, Brothers and Sisters,

My comments today are based on President Russel M. Nelson’s talk given during the April 2022 General Conference of the Church. His talk is titled “The Power of Spiritual Momentum” and President Nelson states the following:

“Momentum is a powerful concept. We all have experienced it in one form or another—for example, in a vehicle that picks up speed or with a disagreement that suddenly turns into an argument.” “We have seen examples of both positive and negative momentum. We know followers of Jesus Christ who become converted and grew in their faith. But we also know of once-committed believers who fell away. Momentum can swing in either way.”

President Nelson then goes on to lay out a framework or key areas of focus where we can attain and maintain our own individual and personal levels of spiritual momentum. These he gives as follows:

1. Get on the covenant path and stay there.

2. Discover the joy of daily repentance.

3. Learn about God and How He works.

4. Seek and expect miracles.

5. End conflict in your personal life.

Today I would like to focus on just one of the five principles President Nelson identifies: The joy of daily repentance.

Regarding daily repentance, President Nelson stresses its importance by quoting Alma; “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord.,” and follows this by noting how daily repentance is the key to all personal progress, in effect, keeping us on the covenant path, allowing our spiritual momentum to build and develop. President Nelson also teaches that daily repentance is not anything we should fear but should actually embrace as a way of putting off the natural man. He also promises that as we repent, we invite kindness from the Lord, the type of kindness that results in personal joy and satisfaction.


So, this particular talk has had a profound influence on me, and I have engaged in seeking to better understand each of the principles identified. The following are my notes that I have compiled as I have studied and pondered the principle of daily repentance:

Ø First, daily repentance always begins with the acknowledgement of error and sin. It requires that we look inward to see where we fell short and to understand why we did so. No behavior, good or bad, just happens. There is always a spark of thought or combination of circumstances that drive our responses in this mortal life. I don’t believe it’s enough to say, “I’m sorry.” We must also examine what happened and why, so we learn what led to our actions. Learning our behaviors is the beginning of learning ourselves and is a way in which we can pick through the various beliefs we collect over a lifetime- those that are solid and good and those that perhaps hold us back or lead us into making wrong choices, and then discard those that do not serve us well. In doing so we expose the truth in our character, our motivations, and our personal prejudices. And knowing the truth is what actually sets us free to change and to mature!

Ø Second, daily repentance must be rooted in a never-ending desire to be better each day. President Gordon B. Hinckley, when Prophet of the Lord’s church declared in General Conference in April 1995, “…far more of us need to awake and arouse our faculties to an awareness of the great everlasting truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us can do a little better than we have been doing. We can be a little more kind. We can be a little more merciful. We can be a little more forgiving. We can put behind us our weaknesses of the past and go forth with new energy and increased resolution to improve the world about us, in our homes, in our places of employment, in our social activities.” I believe the desire to be better is born in each of us and is as natural as growing older each year, but like all worthy virtues, the desire to be better must be nurtured, focused upon and practiced daily. How do men and women of exceptional talent and skills acquire such? They practice continuously, ever seeking to perfect their ability in one small way or another!

Ø Third, daily repentance is founded on the belief that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and has application for “me!” Recently, in a Stake Conference back in Las Vegas, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland made the point that “The Lord loves broken things!” He went on to say that His whole work is focused on taking that which is broken and making it new and fully functioning again. This is the result of the Atonement, and our Savior has the power, the ability, and the desire to make each of us perfectly clean, and He has the inclination to do so right now! Perhaps the most beautiful and transcendent element of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is its simplicity of effect, for we can individually receive the healing balm that flows from the Savior’s love and sacrifice immediately. We have only to look to Him as the children of Israel looked to the Brazen Serpent, to live, and to live more fully and without blemish.

Ø Forth, because of the unique qualities of the Lord’s atonement, we must come to recognize that we are uniquely bound to Him. Ours is not a distant or casual relationship, but a binding one where His power becomes our power, His mercy becomes our mercy, His love becomes our love and, most importantly, our Sins become His opportunity to use that power, grant that mercy and wrap us in His love! Because of His enabling power, we are no longer captive to circumstances, erroneous beliefs, or the despair and hopelessness that can emerge from sin, but actually receive the ability and strength to change, grow, blossom, and become new creatures entirely! This relationship is like no other, for it sustains and empowers us like no other. We literally take upon us His yoke working in tandem with Him, drawing on His powerful abilities to become more than we could ever be on our own!

Ø Fifth, when we seek the joyful experience of repentance, we accept that in reality, we are better than we believe ourselves to be. We see Heavenly Father and the Savior not as condemning and angry, but encouraging, long suffering and patient. They become welcoming to us, much like the father with his prodigal son, wrapped in the joys of reunion and re-birth! This is always best realized, actually felt, through the Holy Ghost or the Spirit of God, who manifests truth and is a continual witness of Jesus Christ, His atonement and His willingness to be before us, and behind, on our right and on our left, above us, and certainly as One who carries us!

Ø Sixth, as we sincerely repent, we grow in the belief that we are highly valued and loved unconditionally. There is new meaning in the adage that God loves the Sinner, but not the Sin. But the truth is much deeper than this, and this old adage might be re-stated as “God loves the Sinner, not the Sin, and gladly accepts all the weight of our sins because He loves us so deeply and thoroughly.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16). Again, I testify of the Spirit of God, who, when we kneel in humble prayer and repentance, cannot hold back the witness that we are loved and wanted!


Brothers and Sisters, repentance is not punishment, it’s liberating freedom and one of many ways we show our devotion to our God, our Father, and our Savior, Jesus Christ.


I closed this talk by reciting a poem entitled "The Race" by D.H. (dee) Groberg, which can be found at https://latterdaysaintmissionprep.com/mission-life/poem-the-race/


Now some more questions to answer from the book of questions my children gave me:


Question 26: Who is your hero of fiction?

Answer: Charlie Bucket from the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by British author Ronald Dahl. Charlie is the stories leading protagonist whose grit and determination knows no limits, and who's apparent mistake, because of his great virtue and humility, ultimate opens the door to his greatest victory. Everything about this story is immensely valuable for us all today, winding our way through the difficult circumstances and challenges of life; plus, it includes sweets which no one can possibly argue over! Charlie is all about finding in oneself, the nobility that is often hidden. In days where everything, everywhere seems to be rooted in individualism and personal identity, we could all do with more personal nobility, which values and characteristics are discovered in the ultimate identity- that of being a child of God!


Question 166: Have you ever touched a snake, or would you?

Answer: Yes, when I was much younger, and my fear of snakes and spiders was unrefined. It was, I think, just a garden variety in lower Michigan, not big and certainly more afraid of me than I of it. I once came upon a Rattler Snake while hiking the Grand Cayon. It was on a ledge about eye level with me, approximately 3 feet away when I walked past. It started to rattle its tail, I looked and kept right on walking. I've also seen some monster snakes, stuffed and alive, in different museums and Zoos, my favorite being the Natural History Museum in Chicago and the Detroit Zoo. I have no interests in snakes and would not care to touch, feed, pet or own one. That's for individuals braver than myself!


Question 345: Besides a pickle, what is your favorite thing that's pickled?

Answer: Beets! And grandma Dalling makes the best!


Question 520: How modern are you?

Answer: Not much and I'm growing less modern every day! Modernity is, I believe, highly overrated, and not always a good thing. As one who loves history, I believe there is tremendous value in tradition, orders/ heritage, ordinances, chivalry, and customs. Invention and innovation are not wrong and is to be embraced, but I view modernity as something that happens when the best of who we are becomes lost to the idea of becoming the best of who we should be. Take social media for example- there's very little sociality involved in social media. What is promoted as sharing is actually sharing at a distance and seems to include a strong dose of self-promotion or selfish motivations- the very opposite of social intercourse or sociability. Then there's modern men's wear where every pair of pants and every suit coat looks to be about two sizes too small, and the pants about 3 inches too too short. The look is not flattering and also restricts movement and comfortable breathing! There's the push to electrify everything, including transportation and how we cook, which ignores the great environmental costs associated with mining for rare-earth minerals and the carbon produced in refining those minerals to produce batteries. Renewable energy creation has proven ineffective in providing sustained levels of uninterrupted electrical power to the grid and individual users. Plus, you can't possibly get a decent scrambled egg or sear on a good piece of meat using induction heat! Invention and innovation are not unwelcomed, but society of late seems to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and what good is that?


Question 593: How much money would make you happy?

Answer: To answer this, we need to define how I view money. Money to me, has been and will remain, a tool to be used for the accomplishment of something good. Money is not status, success or wealth. I've never really made a great deal of money in any single year of my life, not that I couldn't have done better, but when there's competing interests, the focus on doing what I needed to do to generate income, did not always win. With a large family to support, having money was always, and is still, a chief concern and focus, but I'm not like Commadore Vanderbilt who only focused his life on acquiring wealth and nothing else. As I write this, the recent Powerball lottery jackpot is in the neighborhood of 1.7 billion dollars. Would winning that make me happy? NO, but it would give more options and abilities in life to do things that in turn would bring some happiness. How much do I need to be happy? Enough to be able to pay my bills, give some away and have a little left over to save for a rainy day and to be able, at some point, to do what I want, and not what I have to. Believe it or not, a receive a great deal of happiness and satisfaction when I go grocery shopping with Pam on a Saturday afternoon and am able to buy all the food and toilet paper we need and want for the upcoming week, and not worry that there's enough in the bank to cover the transaction. Not everyone can do that. That I can, and for a large family, gives a me much happiness indeed!


Question 765: Are you a gossip?

Answer: NO- but I do know a couple of people who, would you believe it, are always...


Question 1053: Do you believe in miracles, have you had one?

Answer: YES! I experienced many miracles, not the least of which was the birth of five beautiful children! Miracles, in the traditional sense, have been a reoccurring part of my life and are very dear experiences to me. Here's one that happened a long time ago. I was living alone in my house in Pontiac, Michigan. I was deeply depressed and really struggling with some very difficult circumstances at the time. I was very, very low. I knelt and prayed for help- anything to move me out of the place I was in, to a better place emotionally. I rose from my knees to a knock at my door, where two Missionary friends of the Church stood. "We had a feeling that we should stop by and see how you're doing," said one and in they walked. I don't recall how long they stayed or what we talked about, only that they were exactly what I needed at that time. Elder Ryan Dye still recalls the time, as he says, "I prayed them over." I believe miracles are commonplace, but we often don't see them for what they are or that they unfold (happen) in sometimes rather mundane and insignificant ways, and by everyday family, friends and even strangers. The really big miracles, like parting the Red Sea, those happen too, but I believe are more for whole groups of people and not just the individual. It's a smaller, personal miracles that matter the most and testify to our souls that we really are loved and supported by a wonderful God!


Question 1459: Do you believe in the term "Mother knows Best"?

Answer: YES! In part because I know my mother loves me and I cherish her!


Question 1648: Have you ever tried archery?

Answer: Yes, at Camp de Sales in the Michigan Irish Hills while at summer camp when I was +/- 10 years old. Loved it. I also had the chance several times to use a compound bow that my cousins in northern Michigan had. Our cabin is in Grayling, Michigan, which used to be the home of Bear Archery, and everyone in town in those days, had a bow and used it for recreation or hunting. I don't recall, if, when shooting targets, I ever got very close to the center, but like most things like archery, it's a skill that develops over time with practice and is uniquely personal. Looking back, I wish I had taken advantage of more of these types of experiences in life; found a hobby or sport that I really loved and run with it.


Question 2288: Do you apologize when you're wrong?

Answer: Yes, I believe I do, I hope I do. But I also try very hard to not be harsh, or to hurt another person, or say things that would be offensive. I make mistakes all the time, so I'm certainly not above being wrong. Saying I'm sorry and seeking forgiveness and making amends is a part of the nobility I referred to earlier.


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