Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance. Start the process now, said Elder Spencer V. Jones.
"If the Spirit is pricking your heart to correct something in your life, know this — your soul is precious. Heavenly Father wants you to be part of His eternal family."
Speaking Sunday afternoon, Elder Jones of the Seventy recalled an experience he had while growing up in Virden, N.M. One night he and his cousins and friends set out to play a harmless prank on a neighbor. Although his conscience told him the prank was wrong, he went along. After performing the mischievous act, the boys ran away, only to stumble onto the path of a skunk.
"Very few odors are as nauseating as skunk spray and we smelled terrible," Elder Jones recalled.
Elder Jones said his mother burned his cloths and tried every home remedy to cleanse the boys of the smell, which was so bad they were forced to sleep and eat outside. Aftershave could not hide the smell, and the girls in the town knew it.
"Now, I must admit that being sprayed by a skunk is not a common consequence of sin," said Elder Jones. "Most consequences are not as immediate nor dramatic. But sooner or later, for all sin, a consequence will be paid."
At the time, consequences of sin may appear to be very subtle to the sinner, Elder Jones continued. "We may even convince ourselves, as we did before approaching the girls — that no one will be able to detect our sins and that they are well concealed. But always to our Heavenly Father and often to spiritually sensitive leaders, parents, and friends our sins are glaringly apparent."
Everyone has the light of Christ, or a conscience, said Elder Jones.
"It constantly prompts us to choose good. Good choices yield good consequences. On the other hand, delaying repentance and continuing to commit sin is like continuing to kick the skunk. The stench will become stronger with each sin, alienating us further and further from God and those we love. . . .
"If I had responded to my conscience when if first whispered that the prank was wrong, I would have avoided the whole stinking ordeal."
Concluding, Elder Jones said the Savior has indicated how to know "if a man repenteth of his sins — behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:43). Then, he added, "comes the miraculous promise, 'though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.' " (Isaiah 1:18.)
"Remove the stench of sin with the remedy of repentance," Elder Jones said. "Then, through the Atonement, the Savior can wash you clean."