Q&A: Questions and Answers

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Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Q&A: Questions and Answers

I know kids who break the commandments because they say they can repent later. They seem to have fun, and I don’t see them suffering for it. Meanwhile, I work hard to live Church standards, but I don’t see that I’m any better off. What am I doing wrong?

New Era

  • Our actions have eternal consequences.

  • True happiness can only be found by living the gospel.

  • Those who break commandments and say they will repent later have been lured into one of Satan’s traps.

  • “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

  • Not all effects of sin are immediate or visible to others.

  • When someone sins with the idea of repenting later, it trivializes the Savior’s sacrifice.

If you are striving to live the commandments, you are doing what is right.

The gospel is designed to bring true happiness. If you are living the commandments and feel you are missing out on all the fun, you may not be enjoying righteousness as the Lord intended. And you may not recognize the harm deliberate sinners are inflicting on themselves and others.

Those who break commandments and say they will repent later have been lured into one of Satan’s traps. It may seem like they are having a good time, but as Alma told his son Corianton, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Satan would have you believe that happiness comes only as you surrender to his enticements, but one only needs to look at the shattered lives of those who violate God’s laws to know why Satan is called the Father of Lies” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, 30).

Elder Richard G. Scott explained why sinning now with the idea of repenting later is so dangerous. “The thought of intentionally committing serious sin now and repenting later is perilously wrong. … Many start that journey of intentional transgression and never make it back. Premeditated sin has greater penalties and is harder to overcome” (New Era, Oct. 1995, 8).

Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and died so that we could be forgiven. When someone sins with the idea of repenting later, it trivializes the Savior’s sacrifice.

Often, sin involves more than one person. Although you may have intentions of repenting, you cannot be assured that those you bring down with you will make it back. And although you may plan to repent, sin desensitizes you to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Once desensitized, you may lose the desire to repent.

Not all effects of sin are immediate or visible to others. Faith is required to understand that our actions have eternal consequences. President James E. Faust said, “The more faithfully we keep the commandments of God, the happier we will generally be” (Ensign, Oct. 2000, 2).

Although your friends may seem happy, you must have faith that living the standards of the Church will bring true happiness. As President Faust said, “Pleasure is often confused with happiness but is by no means synonymous with it” (Ensign, Oct. 2000, 2).

It’s hard to be happy keeping the commandments if part of you wishes you could be doing what your friends are doing. So avoid unwholesome conversations, situations, movies—anything that dwells on sin or makes it look fun or glamorous. When tempting thoughts come, don’t let them linger. Pray for a change of heart. Seek the companionship of the Spirit in prayer, fasting, and scripture study. Through the Spirit, our Heavenly Father whispers His loving approval. And that is where true and lasting happiness comes from.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Some youth foolishly rationalize that it is ‘no big deal’ to sin now because they can always repent later. … The idea of sinning a little is self-deception. Sin is sin! Sin weakens you spiritually, and it always places the sinner at eternal risk” (New Era, Feb. 1994, 6). —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve


If you are trying your best, you are doing nothing wrong. You are doing what the Lord has asked all of us to do. Remember, the consequences of our choices and actions do not always come immediately, and sometimes not even in this life. Just as you cannot always see the bad consequences that will come to those youth due to their wrong choices, you often cannot see the blessings that come in consequence of your good and righteous choices.

Emily Speakman, 16 Fillmore, Utah

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because other people don’t follow the commandments doesn’t mean it’s right. Do what you believe is right and keep on following the commandments.

Robin Hake, 12 Jourdanton, Texas

Keeping the commandments and living Church standards may be hard work, but the benefits are well worth it. Plus, you’ll come to know true joy, not Satan’s imitation.

Elder Trenton Hamson, 20 Tennessee Nashville Mission

If wickedness did bring happiness, there would be no need for our Savior and His marvelous plan.

Heidi Linford, 16 Ontario, Oregon

I don’t think people who are breaking the commandments are happy, and it’s not important what other people are doing anyway. If I don’t do what I’m supposed to do, I won’t have the opportunity to return to live with Heavenly Father.

Dennis Valgren, 13 Copenhagen, Denmark

[photo] Photography by Lana Leishman. Posed by models