Elder Theodore M. Burton of the First Quorum of the Seventy said in a conference address that he often wished that those who had committed sins would have believed in the first place the words of the prophet Alma to his wayward son, Corinaton.
Speaking in the October 1985 general conference, Elder Burton quoted Alma's words:"`And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon these points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin. Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.'" (Alma 41:9-10.)
Elder Burton said he was serving on a special committee. He said the committee assists the First Presidency "in bringing back into full Christian fellowship those individuals who have strayed from the fold and who now have reached a point in their lives where they feel a need to regain their full priesthood and temple blessings."
The committee assignment, explained Elder Burton, is to organize each case with information in concise form so the First Presidency can make a final disposition, "based on justice and mercy."
Elder Burton said: "I have been asked the question, `Isn't it depressing to have to review the sins and transgressions of people involved in such difficulties?' It would be if I were looking for sins and transgressions. But I am working with people who are repenting. These are sons and daughters of God who have made mistakes - some of them very serious.
"But they are not sinners. They were sinners in the past but have learned through bitter experience the heartbreak that results from disobedience to God's laws. Now they are no longer sinners. They are God's repentant children who want to come back to Him and are striving to do so. They have made their mistakes and have paid for them. Now they seek understanding, love and acceptance.
"I have had people tell or write me how much they have learned as they have overcome their sins and thus have brought new happiness to themselves and their families. But how much better had it been if husbands and wives had learned to be kind and considerate, loving and thoughtful, virtuous and true, and had avoided that heartbreak right from the beginning? Many people have done so and have been happy. Others have had to learn to do the right things the hard way before they found happiness."