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What does it mean to repent?

Jesus Christ suffered the penalty for our sins so that we can repent. Repentance is a change of heart and mind that brings us closer to God. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and a sincere desire to obey His commandments.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What inspires you to repent?

Isaiah 1:18 (Through repentance, we can be cleansed from our sins)

Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8 (We all have sinned)

Alma 19:33 (Repentance brings a change of heart)

Alma 36:6–24 (Alma repents and receives forgiveness through the grace of the Savior)

Alma 39:8 (We cannot hide our sins from God)

D&C 58:42–43 (To repent, we must confess and forsake our sins)

Repentance,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 28–29

Dale G. Renlund, “Our Good Shepherd,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 29–32

Dale G. Renlund, “Repentance: A Joyful Choice,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 121–24

Linda S. Reeves, “The Great Plan of Redemption,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 88–90

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 101–4

Videos: “Not a One-Time Thing,” “Within Bounds”

Let the young men lead

A member of the quorum presidency (or an assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum) conducts the quorum meeting. He leads the young men in counseling together about quorum business, teaches them their priesthood duties (from the scriptures and the Duty to God book), encourages them to share their experiences fulfilling their duty to God, and invites an adviser or other quorum member to teach a gospel lesson. He could prepare by filling out a quorum meeting agenda during a presidency meeting.

Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas, or think of your own, to review the doctrine from last week’s lesson and introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Ask the young men to draw pictures that remind them of something they learned last week, and discuss together what they draw.
  • Have a young man hold his arms straight out and hold a heavy object in each hand while quorum members discuss how sin can be like a heavy burden. During the discussion, place more heavy objects on the young man’s hands. Remove the objects, and invite the young men to share what they learn about sin and repentance from this object lesson.

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the quorum members understand what it means to repent. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your quorum:

  • Invite a quorum member to come to class prepared to share a story from one of the talks suggested in this outline. You could also show a video of the speaker telling the story. What do the stories teach us about repentance? Write statements about repentance from the talks on slips of paper. Invite the young men to select a statement and share what they learn—first with a partner and then with the class. Give them time to reflect on changes they feel impressed to make because of what they have learned.
  • Invite a quorum member to teach a portion of this lesson. He could do this as part of his Duty to God plan to learn and teach about repentance (see “Understand Doctrine,” page 18, 42, or 66).
  • Ask one of the young men to hide an object while the other quorum members are watching. Ask another quorum member to try to find the object. What does this example teach about trying to hide sins from God? (see Alma 39:8). What scripture stories can the young men share that teach us that we cannot hide our sins from God? (see, for example, Jonah 1–2; 2 Samuel 11–12; Acts 5:1–11). They could also review one of the stories in Sister Linda S. Reeves’s talk “The Great Plan of Redemption.” Invite the young men to discuss the following questions in small groups: What are some of the ways people try to hide their sins? What would you say to help someone understand that we cannot hide our sins?
  • Invite a young man to hold up a picture of Alma and the sons of Mosiah (see Gospel Art Book, 77) and summarize the story of their repentance (see Alma 36:6–24). Ask the young men to individually read Alma 36:13, 17–20, 23–24, identify principles of repentance in these verses, and then share in small groups what they learned. Invite the young men to think of and write down something they can do to apply the principles of repentance in their own lives.
  • Invite each young man to study part of “Repentance” in For the Strength of Youth or selected portions of one of the talks suggested in this outline. Have the young men mark and share anything that stands out to them. Invite them to anonymously write down any questions they have about repentance. Invite the bishop to answer these questions and share how repentance is tied to priesthood power.
  • Show the video “Within Bounds.” Invite half of the quorum members to look for things they learn from this video about what it means to repent, and invite the other half to look for the role of the bishop in helping us repent. Ask them to share what they learn. What would they say to friends who may be afraid to talk to the bishop about mistakes they have made?

Ask the young men to share what they learned today. Do they understand what it means to repent? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Invite to act

The young man who is conducting concludes the meeting. He could: 

  • Share his feelings or ask quorum members to share their feelings about the Savior and what it means to repent.
  • Invite the young men to examine their lives and determine what they need to change.