24943_000_011I had my recommend, but something kept bothering me. Had I really been forgiven of the things I had done so long ago? Would my bishop think badly of me?
After attending a fireside given by our stake patriarch, I was excited to receive my patriarchal blessing.
I found out that to receive my patriarchal blessing, I needed to have an interview with my bishop. I called the executive secretary, and he set the appointment for after Mutual the next week.
The church was nearly empty when I walked down the hall to the bishop’s office. I knocked on the door, and he let me in. We did the “How is school?” conversation; then he asked what he could do for me. He seemed pleased that I wanted to get a patriarchal blessing.
We talked about what a patriarchal blessing is, what it means to receive one, and if I thought I was ready. Then he asked about my personal worthiness. Did I obey the Word of Wisdom, attend my Church meetings, and have a testimony of the gospel? It felt good to honestly and wholeheartedly answer yes to his questions, even though I felt I was far from perfect.
Then the bishop asked a final question, “Is there anything in your past that should have been cleared up with your priesthood leaders but hasn’t been?”
I said no, got my recommend, and left—ready to make my appointment with the patriarch. As I walked down the dark hall, that last question started to weigh on my mind. Was there anything in my past?
A couple of visits I had made to a friend’s house when I was very young came to mind. I had been uncomfortable with some games we played there. I had never done anything similar again. Still, I had wondered several times whether or not those small innocent infractions were something I needed to talk to the bishop about. Since I hadn’t really done anything seriously wrong, I figured I would forget about it. Apparently, I had not forgotten.
If I was going to get only one patriarchal blessing in my life, I didn’t want a cloud hanging over it. So I turned around and headed back to the bishop’s office with my heart in my throat. I didn’t want to be laughed at or have my concerns brushed aside. I forced myself to knock on the bishop’s door again.
I could tell he was surprised to see me. I spilled out the story, much too quickly and without a lot of clarity. He didn’t laugh or brush aside my concerns. Instead, he listened carefully, asked a few questions about then and now, and asked about the repentance I had done privately with the Lord. Then he said, “I think you can go ahead and get your blessing and not worry about this anymore.”
I felt clean and joyful as I walked out of his office the second time. I felt like I could float as I bounced down the hallway. I knew I was clean. I had been cleared by my priesthood leader of an uneasy feeling I had carried for several years.
I carried that feeling of cleanliness with me to the patriarch’s home the evening I received my blessing. As he said his first words, “The Lord is pleased that you chose to keep His commandments as a way of showing your love for Him,” I began to cry. I truly felt the Lord was speaking to me and that my life, as imperfect as it was, was pleasing to Him.
I have learned I can always go to my priesthood leaders if I ever have a question about my worthiness. I have learned how much they want to help. They don’t think badly of me when I am less than perfect, and they don’t think it’s a waste of time to discuss any problem, major or minor. They are almost as happy as we are when we get that wonderful feeling of joy that comes from being forgiven.