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The Savior and Sexual Victimization

by Anonymous

Miracle of Forgivness
This heartfelt post was sent to me by a close friend. I believe there are many who have similar experiences and hope that this can be an open discussion about the difficulties of doctrines surrounding sin and forgiveness. – Jessawhy.
I’m a book collector, or at least I aspire to be one. I love leather-bound books. I have a copy of President Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness that is beautiful, with green leather and gold plating. My mother gave it to me for Christmas in 1998, when this edition was hot off the press. It came with a letter attached from Presidents Hinckley, Monson, and Faust (at the time the most senior prophets) endorsing the book and its contents: “We are pleased to present you this classic edition… President Kimball’s enlightening teachings on the Atonement of Jesus Christ are a precious treasure for all who would follow the Savior. Sincerely your bretheren, The First Presidency, Christmas 1998.” This book sits in my living room, on display, because of its beautiful look, but I have some trouble reconciling myself to many of the messages.
Let me back up. I am a victim of sexual abuse. I have been victimized on a spectrum both as a child (before “the age of accountability”), as a teenager, and even to a small degree as an adult. It’s a pattern I’m working with professionals on identifying, recognizing early on, and dealing with in a resourceful, adult way. Because of this, I am sensitive to how the LDS Church speaks to and about victims of sex crimes. As I’ve struggled to deal with the consequences of the sexual conditioning I’ve been exposed to, I have at times sought the advice of my LDS bishops, and more than one (I think the actual number is five in total) has recommended reading The Miracle of Forgiveness as part of the healing process. This leads me to have some big issues with how this book treats the issue of victimization.
Upon looking up “rape” or “incest” in the index, I was directed to page 196, within a chapter called “Restitution.” President Kimball caps up the consequences of these sex crimes:
“Also far-reaching is the effect of the loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending’s one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle” (emphasis added).
I have agonized over this message for 10 years. What does he mean about whether or not a victim has “cooperated and contributed” to the incident, or how coming out of such situations some victims may be “in a more favorable position” than others? Note that the chapter is on making restitution for one’s sins. He seems to imply that there is no way to restore what was lost, even when there is no condemnation. And the part about dying to defend one’s virtue makes me very sad–that thought never occurred to me when I was being victimized, and instead I tended to freeze up and dissociate as a way to get through the experiences.
Here’s what has bothered me most. In my New Testament religion class as an undergraduate at BYU, my professor talked about the physical suffering Jesus went through before his crucifixion. He talked about how the Roman guards sorely abused Jesus when he was in prison, and that the authors of the gospels were trying to tell their readers that this was very, very serious abuse, possibly even prison rape. Of course, there’s no exact way of telling if Jesus was indeed raped, but it is a possibility. Prison rape is not a new invention, even though the Human Rights Watch records at least 140,000 inmates are raped each year in the U.S. (Joanne Mariner, 2001).
As a sexually abused person, I would take comfort that Jesus would not have put himself “above” being sexually abused. He would join us in personal experience and suffering. In Doctrine and Covenants 122: 7-8, He says “…and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good. The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” This makes me think that there was no form of suffering Jesus was unwilling to experience on our behalf. I don’t think that Jesus would have stopped this from happening to him, even though he was perfectly able to stop it. Instead, I believe, he would have submitted to it because he is the Savior of all of us, not just those who have managed to get by without someone doing the unthinkable to them.
Of course, if Jesus was violated in this way, that presents President Kimball’s message about “virtue,” even when “stolen,” never being able to be restored as a doctrinal problem. By his logic, if Jesus was violated, he cannot have virtue. If he had no virtue, then he cannot save us (how can one be perfect without perfect virtue?). That would make the Atonement null and void. Personally, I can’t believe this is true, even in the realm of hypotheticals. That leads me to conclude that there is something wrong in what we’ve been taught about the purity and virtue of sex crime victims, and there is something very wrong in this book that is currently being read by sexual crime victims all over the Church.
I realize that there are probably more recent revelations and General Conference talks about this issue. However, these aren’t what I’ve been counselled to read. These aren’t what are sitting on my living room shelf. These aren’t what have been reprinted and republished with a genuine endorsement from the First Presidency. This is why I am left thinking something has gone wrong in our teaching about this issue. This is very bold of me, but before someone asks me what I want to come out of this, I’ll tell you: I want The Miracle of Forgiveness edited. As long as it’s being used as the stand-by healing book recommended by LDS bishops, it needs to have this part changed, edited, or deleted. I don’t want anyone else in my situation feeling virtue-less as I have been. They edited Mormon Doctrine for less than this. They can change this one, too.


Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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28 Responses

  1. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Your milage may vary, of course, but what I take from that passage is a discussion of how the victim then feels about herself. I don’t feel that he means “you should have died rather than let this happen to you” but rather “dare to fight and struggle. It will be dangerous and scary but its a worthwhile risk.” There are many things in my life that scare me to do, that I don’t know I’ll succeed at but I know that by not trying I will definitely fail. Similarly, his talk of “a more favorable position” may be an out-growth of that. If a person fought the attack but failed to escape, at least they know they tried. Whereas someone who didn’t fight may always wonder if they might have been able to prevent it. Failure after trying may still be failure but it’s a different failure than failure from lack of trying.

    • Ruth Tekell says:

      In such a situation many people, maybe most, are no more capable of fighting than a person who is physically, completely paralyzed. It is a type of hysterical hypnosis that in fact does render the victim completely paralyzed. You can see this happen to some animals when they are startled or afraid for their lives. It’s primal, and very real. The victim here describes her response as freezing up and having a dissociative experience. This is the only way she could run away, if not physically, then mentally. And isn’t that what is most important, our intent?

      I think it is an outrage that someone who has never been victimized in this way would think they could know what it was like for the victim. It makes me sad that in 2000 years, give or take, since the new testament, many women don’t find it just a bit too convenient that men and only men are still dictating what women do with their bodies. All forms of christian religions do nothing but erode equal rights for women, and as long as the churches are dominated and ruled by men, this will be the case. For Mormons it should be even more suspect given that the church, at least in some places, permits men to have multiple wives, but wives cannot have more than one husband. It’s difficult to believe that a thinking woman would not find this rule suspect at best.

  2. Sarah says:

    Amen! As an activist in the field of violence against women, I cannot agree more that this book needs to be edited and that the statement “It is better to die in defending’s one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle” be removed entirely! Millions of women are raped, and whether or not they fought back, they are not at fault and have not sinned. If not fighting back means you save yourself from being killed, why die for someone else’s evil sin? The survivor is not the one with a blemish and the survivor still has her (or his) virtue intact. Whether or not you know the abuser/rapist, whether or not it is your husband, boyfriend, or a stranger, if the sex was not consensual, it is NEVER your fault and the blame should never be internalized. Having comments such as “better to die than lose your virtue” out there in religious books is simply dangerous and cause for victims of sexual crimes to feel even worse. The survivors need love, healing, therapy, acceptance, and a sense that they do NOT need to carry around guilt and shame. I am actually surprised there hasn’t already been an edit to this book. It’s time!

  3. Sarah says:

    As a sidenote, sometimes fighting back stops a frapist, other times it makes him more angry and violent and the women ends up being brutally tortured or killed. I don’t think we need to remember that even if a woman did not attempt to fight back, she does not EVER need to feel it was somehow her fault or wonder what she could have done. It was a crime, and if you survived, all you should worry about it finding help and healing. “Did you fight back” shouldn’t even be a question they are asked. It doesn’t matter…it was a crime and you are not at fault.

  4. Sarah says:

    I meant “I think we should remember”, not “I don’t think.” This comment box hides part of the text, so you can’t see errors in your message. Torture for an editor!

  5. Anna Nymous says:

    The church is making progress. Just a few years ago, quotes from David O McKay, about it is better to die, and this quote from Miracle of Forgiveness were repeated in teh lessons given to new converts in the gospel essentials classes.

    But for me, as a child sexual abuse victim, it is too little too late. I was told to read the Miracle of Forgiveness also as a way to get over what happened. But it is ALL about repenting from sin and what did that have to do with me. Oh, here is the part that has to do with me, suggesting that I have lost my virture before I had any concept of what sexual intercourse was. So, I need to “repent” but there isnt’ any repentance because sexual purity cannot be gotten back. So, I am dirty and damaged forever and there is nothing I can do about it.

    I was also getting this message from bishops. That I was somehow damaged and nothing could be done. I was told flat out that I was accountable when I was too young to even understand what was happening because I was over the age of eight. I was just obeying my father, but I was damned to hell for that.

    Meanwhile, my father’s bishops were doing everything to beg him to be rebaptised.

    My bishops told me that I “owed it to my father” to tell him he was forgiven and how much I loved him and how I wanted him to come back to the church. I OWED this to him. But no one ever told him what he owed me. It could not be restored, so he was just off the hook as far as restitution went. Can’t be done so don’t try, let alone hold him accountable to do what he can to help me fix my life. The ONLY time the church cared about me was when I stopped seeing my family at all because he was there. THEN he complained about how “unforgiving” I was and that got the family into counseling at least. But as soon as I saw him just one time, his therapy was completed! All that mattered to the church was that we pretended to be a happy Mormon family. I could be suicidal and nobody gave a shit, but let me refuse to pretend everything is just hunky dory and the church steps in to tell me how bad I am being.

    Bitter, you bet. Offended, with good cause. Still believing?? I don’t know. I feel like either God hates me, or the church is so full of shit as to be harmful to anyone who believes and has survived sexual abuse.

    AAnd all the people who jump in to tell me that they were not treated that way, well, that just proves that God hates me and rather than the church being dead wrong in so much of it’s approach to sexual abuse. If I am one of a very few that has had bad experiences with this, and I have had them over and over and over, then it must be personal and I am one of just a small handful that God doesn’t care about.

    In the process of being rebapitsed, my father talked with a GA. I know for sure that he was still believing things, lies he told himself to rationalize what he was doing. Things like I was a fully willing participant in the sexual relationship. Things like he never touched my younger sister. Things like I understood what sexual intercourse was. Even things like my AGE when he started having sex with me. Those were never challenced in his therapy, because his therapist, his several bishops, the GA who interviewed him for rebaptism never talked to me about what really happened. He lied to himself and then he told that same lie to others and the lie was never challenged. So he “repented” without even understanding the truth about what he did.

    No one ever came to me to see if he was confessing to all that he did. He wasn’t. No one ever asked me if he had done the things I asked him to do for restitution. He hadn’t. No one ever seemed to realize that I had been harmed by his actions and that maybe I deserved some help in healing. He deserved help in repenting, but I didn’t deserve help in healing.

    I am over the sexual abuse, but I am NOT over the additional damage inflicted by the church on top of the sexual abuse.

  6. KVB says:

    I think that there are many instances where leaders make extreme comments. It is sad that these can cause so much trouble for members. President Kimball is obviously highly respected and his book has a lot of good in it. I guess, my response to this comment from his book is that while it is often recommended by leaders, it is not cannonized scripture and even under the influence of the Holy Ghost, leaders may make rash comments (though that may not be much comfort). It is also unfortunate that this idea is perpetuated by other memebers. This issue reminds much of the wider issue of “damaged goods.”

  7. backandthen says:

    During the time I was meeting with my bishop before I was excommunicated I was lend this book also. I read a few pages and closed it forever. I am glad to know I am not the only one feeling this way about the same things.

  8. Bree says:

    Your interpretation of Christ descending below them all is a beautiful one and indicates your profound understanding of the Savior’s Atonement. Thank you for sharing.

    The perpetuation of hurtful pseudo-doctrines like this and heartbreaking stories like Anna Nymous’ are glaring reminders of the problems associated with the absence of women in church processes, policy, decision making and judgement roles.

  9. Ana says:

    I am speaking as someone without direct personal experience – and the more I learn, the more I realize how very lucky that makes me – so please forgive me if I am way off. But I just wonder, do you all think there is something stolen from victims of sexual abuse that cannot be regained? Not virtue, perhaps, but innocence? Maybe it’s just a wrong word, and a wrong word that has led to terrible mistakes.

  10. I am so sorry you have had to feel like you have no “virtue.” What a terrible thought. I have never been able to get through the Miracle of Forgiveness. However, I don’t think the answer is to edit it. I think it would be much more helpful for bishops to direct victims to other resources that already exist that are more correct and healthy.

    I have had issues with this idea- “the loss of virtue” through sex or sexual abuse. I think it’s terrible to equate virginity with moral uprightness (and to equate the loss of a woman’s virginity to penile penetration, for that matter).

    Virtue goes much deeper than your sex organs. Virtue is your love and goodness to other people. And no one can “take” that from you.

    I hope you can find some positive and encouraging help for your journey to peace.

  11. FoxyJ says:

    I have a number of friends who are members of the church with homosexual attractions and they are often told to read this book as well. It unfortunately has some strong statements by President Kimball that even contradict counsel given by later church leaders. I really wish that someone would either edit it or at least stop promoting it as quasi-scripture. There are better resources out there for those healing from sexual abuse or dealing with challenges like same-sex attraction or addictions. I think the book has some good in it, but it is primarily oriented towards those that sin instead of victims of sin. Those who have been abused by others have not sinned. Also, I totally agree with those who have mentioned that physical virginity is not the same as “virtue”. That’s just ridiculous

  12. Paradox says:

    As I consider my own past, my attitude about my sexual transgression matched what President Kimball described in his book. Even today, although I’ve repented, been through the waters of baptism, and attempted to move on from my past, I still feel like I can’t regain what I gave away so stupidly, and what was taken from me.

    My bishop doesn’t know the details about my past, because I’m still sorting through them. If he recommended a book that said such a thing to me, I don’t imagine I’d get very upset at it because it captures the gravity of what happened to me in order to do it justice. However, I do understand why such rhetoric would bother someone. We all have our sensitivities, and I know I’ve wanted to snap at my leaders for lesser things.

    The way I see it, the local leadership within the Church has never been infallible. There were bishops and stake presidents that supported Nazi Germany. Looking at that, it’s easy to see that Heavenly Father doesn’t always intervene in the opinions of man, included those within the Church. Looking back at Spencer W. Kimball’s statements, they very well be his opinion and nothing else; certainly not a reflection on how much Heavenly Father and the Savior care about us.

    I would advise you to stick to personal prayer and scripture reading in regards to dealing with your feelings. I’ve been doing that to bear my own crosses, and as recently as last night I’ve found peace from this particular burden in doing so; 3 Nephi 22 quotes Isaiah 54 to make one of the most beautiful passages I’ve ever read. Every reassurance I’ve needed to hear from Heavenly Father, every measure of compassion I’ve wanted from my Savior is espoused in those verses. I’d keep that in my heart before some pedantic bantering from Kimball any day;)

  13. hawkgrrrl says:

    I agree that MoF should be edited. There are many good passages, but others that are simply not correct. Aside from the inanity of suggesting MoF for anyone who has not committed a chastity-related sin (e.g. victims of abuse), there is the passage that implies that wet dreams are sinful. As a mother of a teen son, I would not want to give him the message that a biological function means he has committed a sin.

    Well-meaning church leaders make mistakes. This is one example of one that has been compounded by not editing the errors in MoF and/or not having other LDS-written alternatives.

  14. Rosamund says:

    This post and Anna Nymous’ comment made me sob. I am so, so sorry that your personal suffering has been compounded by ignorant counsel! I agree that Miracle of Forgiveness should be changed — but I would go beyond editing it. I would either get rid of the book or insist on a rewrite that purges all of the (many) offending, doctrinally-spurious passages. I too recall being in Young Women’s and being taught that it was “better to die than lose your chastity” — as though the act of penile penetration (whether wanted or unwanted) was more important than human life, and as though all was irrevocably lost afterward. And, unfortunately, regardless of what SW Kimball may have intended, his words are interpreted in very dangerous ways.

    Even more than getting rid of (or editing) the book, I think that the experiences discussed here indicate that the LDS church needs to work much harder on educating bishops/branch presidents about the limits of their counseling authority. Victims of abuse are not violators of the law of chastity. Period. They are people who have been grievously sinned against, and instead of giving them confusing information about sin and forgiveness, they need to be given professional counseling about personal healing and how to move on in a healthy way. As most Bishops are not trained therapists, their attempts to offer counsel to victims of abuse overstep appropriate boundaries, with heart-breaking ramifications.

  15. NotABlogger says:

    I don’t quite understand how anyone here thinks the church could edit the Miracle of Forgiveness. It is not an LDS book. Meaning, it was written by a Private party, and the rights etc. have no connection to the Church.

    It would be the same as insisting that the church edit the Work and the Glory books.

    The fact that many Church leaders still reference it is perhaps unfortunate in some cases, but the book itself is no part of LDS cannon. Just like any book by any other LDS author.

  16. strivingforsunshine says:

    I agree, bag the book. It does a poor job of expounding the actual miracle of forgiveness. We need books that are correct and empowering. In no way would I let my children read it.

  17. Angie says:

    I completely understand the poster and Anna Nymous, because I’ve been there too. Miracle of Forgiveness IMO is one of the most damaging books out there if you are a victim and trying to sort through some type of healing process. I have only recently been able to come to the conclusion that God doesn’t hate me because I am damaged, dirty and unworthy, but the cost of coming to that conclusion was whatever testimony or conviction I may have had regarding the Church. I still ask my husband if it bothers him that I was not a virgin on our wedding night, or if he just ‘settled’, and really wanted something better – although it’s not very often anymore – He of course says I am being ridiculous. There are a lot of things in the church I just don’t believe in and because I can’t reconcile myself to picking and choosing the things that make me feel good, and ignoring the things that don’t, I am not really active anymore. Besides, who knows when some well-meaning person is going to bring these types of things up in a Sunday School lesson, and trigger a flood of memories all over again.

    On my mission I finally told my Stake President about the abuse, he asked me if I liked it, and if I did anything to resist. I told him no to both of those questions. He pretty much hung up the phone and told me there was nothing he could do about it because the sin was on my shoulders for not reporting it sooner and not resisting the original abuse. My mother told me that she believed I seduced my step-father, so she didn’t have any sympathy for the situation – and once again, I was the dirty little wh*re. I got another phone call from the SP about a month later telling me he had spoken with my step-dad regarding the situation, and that the abuse was not his fault because he had been abused and couldn’t control his actions. I was told to forgive my step-dad, and that I needed to have more empathy for him because he had gone through so much abuse as a child. That is what Jesus would do, and as a personal representative of Jesus Christ in the mission field, I was told I didn’t have a choice other than to accept the blame and forgive my step-father. Whatever. His advice obviously didn’t help the situation.

    Although there have been some good conference talks lately regarding abuse, somehow it seems that in the end the onus is always put back on the victim. We’re supposed to be the ones that ‘forgive’ the abuser, because if we don’t then we won’t move forward. For me, forgiveness has meant just that – it doesn’t mean forgetting or putting myself or my children in danger. My family can’t come to terms with that, and I am still the ‘sinner’ because I won’t go to family functions where he is present – I am not being Christlike or charitable enough – I’m the one preventing the atonement from working in my life because I won’t do the things that represent forgiveness in their minds. I can honestly say that I have forgiven him, and I really do hope that he can find some joy in his life, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a part of his life. Have I forgiven priesthood leaders and others who gave me crappy advice? No – that one has been a lot harder for me because they’re the ones that are supposed to do what Jesus would do, and if that is what they are doing, then I’m not so sure that I want to get to know God or Jesus. I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to re-define how I see God, and that has helped, but I have to keep things like Miracle of Forgiveness away, or I just end up undoing all of the positive progress I feel I have made.

  18. Caroline says:

    Some of you may find it interesting to know that Kimball regretted the book by the end of his life. He was sorry he wasn’t kinder and gentler in it.

    If I remember correctly, this is found in the biography his son recently wrote. Look in the attached CDrom.

  19. Church leaders are in positions that can do much good, and even more harm. President Kimball did a lot of good, and some really pernicious harm. (By the way, only the first and last paragraphs of my post are serious.) The next several paragraphs are said with 100% sarcasm, so please don’t be offended:

    I’m really disappointed by how disrespectful many of you have been to President Kimball and his book, The Miracle of Forgiveness. Kimball was a man of prophetic insight.

    Kimball was a close relative of mine. I know of at least one instance when Henry Eyring (the scientist) walked in on President Kimball making out with Camilla (while they were courting). Henry went about his business, saying “I’ll be as silent as the tomb.” Based on this, we know that making out is OK (without “soul kissing”). But what about those gray areas?

    President Kimball lectured a group of missionaries, including my dad, about bathroom behavior during the mission. He reminded missionaries that they shouldn’t look in the mirror while they are changing to take a shower, because this could tempt them to masturbate. I don’t know about you guys, but I think he hit the nail on the head with this remark. Bathroom mirrors nearly destroyed me.

    No mirrors in the bathroom, folks.

    And then there’s this little gem:

    “How like the mistletoe is immorality. The killer plant starts with a sticky sweet berry. Little indiscretions are the berries — indiscretions like sex thoughts, sex discussions, passionate kissing, [internet] pornography. The leaves and little twigs are masturbation and necking and such, growing with every exercise. The full-grown plant is petting and sex looseness. It confounds, frustrates, and destroys like the parasite if it is not cut out and destroyed, for, in time it robs the tree, bleeds its life, and leaves it barren and dry; and, strangely
    nough, the parasite dies with its host.”
    – Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference Address, April 1, 1967.

    My point is that members of the Church should maintain a healthy skepticism about EVERYTHING Church leaders say and teach. We are only one generation away from an LDS Apostle who wrote horrendous racist things to George Romney (the Delbert Stapley letter). Other Church leaders, including President Kimball, wrote horrible, damaging teachings. Extreme devotion to the LDS Church can subject a person to both good and bad things. Partial or lukewarm devotion allows a person to experience the good, find opportunities to enrich the lives of others, and avoid the bad.

  20. Kaimi says:

    That portion of the book is absolutely evil and wrong. It tells many victims that they are at fault. It reflects the philosophies and prejudices of the day, and is nothing that I will teach my children as true. (The same applies to the atrocious “better dead in a box” language from Mormon Doctrine.)

    Church leaders have gotten better, over time. A decade ago, Elder Scott still talked about some abuse being the victim’s fault. In his recent talk, I didn’t hear that reasoning.

    Still, the church has a long, long way to go in this area.

  21. Caroline says:

    now I get it! thanks for clarifying 🙂

  22. KVB says:

    It has always been my opinion, and maybe is spurred by my strong feelings about sexual abuse, that local leaders try to deal far too much with this issue in house. I’ve never been abused, but the hurts caused by such behavior are long lasting and overlap generations. I feel deep sorrow for those who have been victimized by selfishness of the perpetrator.

    My question then is, how many of these abuses that should be, are actually prosecuted by the law, and how many fall by the wayside, and are brushed over by the church discipline process.

    Certainly there are things that the church diciple process is appropriate for, but for serious abuse, (meaning pretty well any) should be dealt with in the proper forum, the courts.

  23. G says:

    ya, I was working with an LDS therapist who told me that several of her patients became suicidal after reading MOF (a book they were encouraged to read by chruch leaders).

    I am very glad to hear that Kimball regretted some of his words in it… I only wish that THAT was what members heard in sunday school lessons.
    Our ward still gets the original message.

  24. Ziff says:

    Anonymous poster, I am so sorry to hear about your horrible experiences. I agree with everyone who recommends ditching The Miracle of Forgiveness. It sounds like it’s recommended as a catch-all for all kinds of situations that it doesn’t apply to. As you rightly pointed out (as did FoxyJ, I think) how dumb is it for you to be given a book that tells you how you can seek forgiveness when you weren’t the one committing sin?

    Caroline, I’m very encouraged to hear that President Kimball later regretted the book. It’s way too harsh, even when directed at its intended audience (i.e., those who need to repent). When directed at those who have been wronged and are then blamed for being wronged–it’s abominable.

  25. Kiri Close says:

    ditch the book.

  26. anon. says:

    I completely disagree with the “virtue cannot be regained” concept.

    I willingly gave mine away. In fact, I was eager. When I did repent through the “proper channels,” I was also told to read MoF. I remember being shocked by the majority of the message and content. At age 15 it was a chore to read and I remember nothing of what was taught about the Atonement, only the damning claims about my self. This book did nothing to help me repent and seek forgiveness.

    When I did receive forgiveness from God (it was a very moving and spiritual moment, I’m sure it was a process up to that point, but it culminated in those moments), I felt sure of my virtue and worth. I was intact, I was pure, and I was important to and loved by God.

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