Repentance in this life prepares us for the next life. Repentance changes more than just behavior. It changes our very being, what we are at the very core: our desires, our attitudes, our love and devotion. Procrastinating repentance here makes spiritual progression there far more difficult. Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, in a classic address entitled “The Three Degrees of Glory,” given in 1922, said: “This life is the time in which men are to repent. Do not let any of us imagine that we can go down to the grave not having overcome the corruptions of the flesh and then lose in the grave all our sins and evil tendencies. They will be with us. They will be with the spirit when separated from the body.
“It is my judgment that any man or woman can do more to conform to the laws of God in one year in this life than they could do in ten years when they are dead. . . . It is much easier to overcome sin and serve the Lord when both the flesh and spirit are combined as one. . . . We will find when we are dead every desire, every feeling will be greatly intensified. . . . [Therefore], every man and woman who is putting off until the next life the task of correcting and overcoming the weaknesses of the flesh are sentencing themselves to years of bondage, for no man or woman will come forth in the resurrection until they have completed their work, until they have [repented] and overcome [evil], until they have done as much as they can do. . . . Those who are [repenting and obeying] in this life are shortening [that period of time], for every one of us will have [a period of time] in that spirit state to complete and finish our salvation.”7
No wonder we are counseled not to procrastinate our repentance—procrastinating repentance is prolonging suffering and delaying the joy, peace, blessings, and glory that await us in the world to come. Just as disobedience, sin, and an unwillingness to repent in this life will slow spiritual progress in the next world, faithfulness, repentance, and obedience here will expedite and expand our progress there.
7. Melvin J. Ballard, quoted in Crowther, Life Everlasting, 21–22.