Brother Stephen W. Owen: ‘Repentance Is Always Positive’

Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Far from being miserable and depressing, repentance, as part of God’s plan of happiness, is uplifting and ennobling, Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, said in the Saturday afternoon session on Sept. 30.

“It’s sin that brings unhappiness,” he said. “Repentance is our escape route.”

He declared, “My message to all – especially to the youth – is that repentance is always positive.”

He explained that repentance is not just self-improvement efforts but is inspired by faith in Christ and His power to forgive sins.

“True repentance inspires us to make our obedience a commitment — a covenant, beginning with baptism and renewed each week at the Lord’s supper, the sacrament.”

Recounting the parable of the prodigal son, Brother Owen said, “We are all prodigals. We all have to ‘come to ourselves’ — usually more than once — and choose the path that leads back home. It’s a choice we make daily, throughout our lives.”

Repentance is for everyone, Brother Owen declared. “It is for those who are just beginning to believe, those who have believed all along and those who need to begin again to believe.”

He told of recently visiting a missionary training center and realizing the missionaries there seemed so bright, happy and enthusiastic because they had experienced “faith unto repentance.”

“I don’t think that means they all had serious sins in their past, but I do think they knew how to repent,” he explained. “They had learned that repentance is positive, and they were ready and eager to share this joyful message with the world.”

To those who are preparing for full-time missions and those just returning, Brother Owen said, “It is not enough just to gain a testimony; you have to maintain and strengthen it. As every missionary knows, if you stop pedaling a bicycle, it will fall, and if you stop feeding your testimony, it will weaken. The same principle applies to repentance — it is a lifelong pursuit, not a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Sometimes the journey will seem long, he acknowledged. “But it can be a joyous journey if we pursue it with faith in Jesus Christ and hope in His Atonement.”

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