Special Witness: The Sacrament and Repentance


Dallin H. Oaks

The Sacrament and Repentance

Did you know that Elder Dallin H. Oaks likes to fish and camp? He also loves Heavenly Father and wants us all to return to Him. Elder Oaks has taught us how to do this with the help of the Holy Ghost, the sacrament, and repentance:

To have the [constant] companionship of the Holy Ghost is the most precious possession we can have in mortality. The gift of the Holy Ghost was conferred upon us by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood after our baptism. But to realize the blessings of that gift, we must keep ourselves free from sin. When we commit sin, we become unclean and the Spirit of the Lord [leaves] us. The Spirit of the Lord does not dwell in “unholy temples” (see Mosiah 2:36–37; Alma 34:35–36; Hel. 4:24), and no unclean thing can dwell in His presence (see Eph. 5:5; 1 Ne. 10:21; Alma 7:21; Moses 6:57).

A few weeks ago I used a chain saw to cut down a tree in my backyard. It was a dirty job, and when I was done I was splattered with a filthy mixture of sawdust and oil. In that condition I did not want anyone to see me. I just wanted to be cleansed in water so I would again feel comfortable in the presence of other people.

Not one of you … has lived without sin since [your] baptism. Without some [means of] further cleansing after our baptism, each of us is lost to things spiritual. We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and at the final judgment we would be bound to be “cast off forever” (1 Ne. 10:21). How grateful we are that the Lord has provided a [means] for each baptized member of His Church to be … cleansed from the soil of sin. The sacrament is [a necessary] part of that process.

We are commanded to repent of our sins and to come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament in [keeping our part of] its covenants. When we renew our baptismal covenants in this way, the Lord renews the cleansing effect of our baptism. In this way we are made clean and can always have His Spirit to be with us. (Ensign, November 1998, page 38.)

[illustration] Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett