Repentance is defined as kind and merciful

Elder Richard G. Hinckley of the Seventy invited his priesthood session listeners to dedicate a small notebook to the theme, "What my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means to me."

"Soon, you will have a growing booklet that will fill you with gratitude and appreciation for your membership in the Lord's Church," he predicted. "It may even provide a resource for talks you may be asked to give in the future."

He said his own list is already long, but added that he had selected a single item from it to discuss in his talk for the Saturday evening session: the principle of repentance.

"It is not a harsh principle, as I thought when I was a boy," he observed. "It is kind and merciful. The Hebrew root of the word means, simply, 'to turn' or return to God."

Elder Hinckley recounted an experience he had while serving as a mission president recently. He met with an investigator in an interview prior to her baptism. She expressed her heartfelt desire for forgiveness for serious mistakes she had made during years prior to her meeting missionaries from the Church.

"I taught her from the scriptures and bore my testimony of the principle of repentance and of the Atonement," Elder Hinckley recounted.

"The next day my wife and I attended her baptism and that of her little girl. The room was filled with friends from her ward, ready and anxious to stand by her as a new member of the Church. As we left that service I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for the magnificent principle of repentance, and for the Atonement that makes it possible; for the miracle of conversion, and for this great Church and its members, and for our missionaries."