Joseph Smith Lesson 5: Repentance

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From the Life of Joseph Smith

–In the story of Martin Harris and the lost manuscript, where did Joseph go wrong? What did he need to repent of? How do you make sense of the fact that God eventually gave him permission to give Martin Harris the 116 pages?

–How does this story influence your perception of Joseph Smith? What character traits do you see him exhibiting? Are you able to relate to him?

–Why do you think God didn’t let him translate again for a while?

By repenting of our sins, we draw toward God and become more like Him.

–The command to become more like God might feel overwhelming, or even discouraging. How can we think about it in a way that is motivating, that makes us want to do better?

–Joseph Smith tells us, “Let not any man publish his own righteousness, for others can see that for him; sooner let him confess his sins, and then he will be forgiven, and he will bring forth more fruit.” Does this mean we should tell the people around us what we’re doing wrong? What’s the difference between confessing your sins and putting yourself down?

It is the will of God that we forsake our sins and put away evil from among us.

–What are the dangers of procrastinating repentance? If God will always take us back, why is it important not to wait?

–Joseph says that “Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God.” How do you understand this statement? Is repentance something you should do on a daily basis?
Our Heavenly Father is willing to forgive those who repent and return to Him with full purpose of heart.

–What might motivate us to return to God? What should we do if we feel conflicted, and not sure that we have “full purpose of heart”?

–Joseph emphasizes that God is willing to forgive. Yet when we’re mired in sin, it can be tempting to avoid God. How do we overcome this tendency?

A Few General Questions About Repentance

–What is involved in repentance? Do you see it more as event or a process?

–Why, even after having experienced God’s redeeming love (see Alma 5:26), do we keep falling back into sin?

–Once you’ve repented of something, how do you let it go?

–How do you distinguish between godly sorrow and unhealthy guilt?

–What does repentance actually look like in your concrete life?


Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    our mission prez wife spoke of her prodigal son coming back…greet them with love of savior, don’t be the prodigal son’s older brother or the church lady from SNL either
    people need to repent, you don’t need to do your superiority dance when they do

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