John the Baptist preached repentance unto the people, who were "baptized in the river of Jordan confessing their sins." (Mark 1:5.)
In his October 1980 general conference address, President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency said: "The requirement to confess is not so universally understood. As a matter of fact, there is considerable confusion in the world about the confessing of sins, and a lot of false doctrine. . . . "We are to confess all our sins to the Lord. For transgressions which are wholly personal, affecting none but ourselves and the Lord, confession to ourselves and Him would seem to be sufficient.
"As a matter of fact, no good can come from confessing to anyone else. . . .
"For misconduct which affects another, confession should also be made to the offended one and his forgiveness sought.
"Finally, where one's transgressions are of such a nature as would, unrepented of, put one in jeopardy his right to membership or fellowship in the Church of Christ, full and effective confession requires confession by the repentant sinner to his bishop or other proper presiding Church officer. . . .
"[Then] one may with full confidence seek the Lord's forgiveness and go forth in newness of life, relying upon the merits of Christ."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: April and October 1980 general conference reports.