Exit Plan B

Might we correctly say that Heavenly Father does not want us to have to repent?

What if we thought of this as Plan of Happiness, Plan A?

  • Have faith in Christ (always remember Him; always keep His commandments)
  • Receive the constant companionship of the Spirit

In short, Plan A. Obedience.

What if we thought of this as Plan of Happiness, Plan B?

  • Have faith in Christ
  • Repent
  • Be baptized / take the sacrament
  • Receive the constant companionship of the Spirit

Could we reformulate Plan of Happiness Plan B and state it thus?

  • Have Faith in Christ
  • Repent; receive a forgiveness of our sins
  • Return to Plan A

What is the point, you might ask. That is what is understood. We screw up. We need the atonement. Without it, we would be hopelessly lost.

Yes, but…. I know that in my life there has been an insidious undercurrent, a different message that undercuts the importance of absolute obedience and creates an attitude if not a cultural acceptance of revolving door, repeat repentance. This is probably hyperbole, but it is almost as though we think we can amplify our love for the Savior and the atonement by more fully exercising it. If you are an engineer, compare to a positive feedback loop: unstable.

Intellectually, we know that this isn’t true repentance. Nevertheless, our culture seems to undermine the truth of it all with messages like:

  • We came to this life to learn. We make mistakes. That’s natural. That’s how we learn. We screw up; we take the sacrament; we move on.

“I can’t be cut off the Church; I repent too damn fast!” (purportedly from J. Golden Kimball)

  • We can’t be perfect in this life. We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. We need to love ourselves and cut ourselves a little slack. This is not infrequently tied with this quote from Joseph Smith:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.348, highlights mine)

As if Joseph Smith intended this to mean that “we can procrastinate the day of our repentance.” And, by the way, why do we conflate the idea of repentance with learning, as if the primary way to learn is by sinning and repenting? Is that how we think the Savior learned? Didn’t think so. You might say that no one actually claims that. Well, in fact, that was exactly what was claimed by a local church leader recently. We understand and believe that this is sub-optimal, but do we therefore assiduously adhere to the commandments, to learn and keep (keep in the Hebrew sense of the word, as in to guard and protect) them?

Messages matter. Being eternally stuck in Plan B is not the plan of salvation. If I don’t change my attitude, that is exactly what is going to happen, or worse.

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