Is there a limit on repenting? If I have to ask forgiveness for the same thing over and over, will I reach a limit at some point?
There are two things to remember here: (1) God’s mercy is indeed infinite, and (2) true repentance means forsaking your sins.
On the one hand, because of the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ, repentance is available to everyone, even those who have made the same mistakes many times. As the prophet Alma said, “Behold, [the Lord God] sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you” (Alma 5:33).
On the other hand, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 73).
So what is the key to repentance? As the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43). And as Alma taught, “Whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved” (Alma 32:13; emphasis added).
In other words, you must confess and forsake your sins and try to be faithful until the end of your life. If you are having trouble overcoming a particular sin, don’t give up on yourself in the mistaken belief that there’s a limit to sincere repentance. Seek help from your parents and your bishop or branch president. Their love, support, and counsel can help you as you strive to remove sin from your life and draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Can nonmembers take the sacrament?
As you know, the bread and water of the sacrament are meant for Church members so we can renew our baptismal covenants. However, we should not do anything during sacrament meeting to prevent nonmembers from partaking of the sacrament.
It’s good to invite nonmember friends and family to church, and we want them to feel welcome and comfortable in our meetings. It would be helpful to prepare them for sacrament meeting by explaining the purpose of the sacrament and what will happen during the meeting. If they ask whether they should take the sacrament, simply tell them that they may choose to do so but that it is intended for Church members, who are renewing their baptismal covenants.
As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church” (“Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 17). We should help nonmembers understand this important ordinance, ensuring that they also feel comfortable at our meetings.
Do animals have spirits? What happens to them after they die?
Yes, animals have spirits (see D&C 77:2–3). Of course, there is a major difference between animals’ spirits and our spirits—we are begotten sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, and they are not.
And according to the Prophet Joseph Smith, there are at least some animals in heaven. He said:
“John saw curious looking beasts in heaven; … actually there, giving glory to God. … (See Rev. 5:13.) …
“I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them” (in History of the Church, 5:343).
So, although we don’t have a complete understanding of what happens to animals after they die, we believe that they will enjoy some kind of salvation and immortality.