Am I Forgiven?

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This is an excerpt from I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring by, Robert I. Eaton and Henry J, Eyring.

I learned a long time ago that it is hard to know how you are doing in being born again and why it is not easy. Once, as a bishop of a ward, I worked with a young man not much older than many of you. He’d made great mistakes and had been moved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to make long and painful repentance. We were down to the weeks before he was to be married in the temple. I had long before forgiven him in the name of the Church and had given him his temple recommend. Yet he remembered that I had said, “The Lord will forgive you in his own time and in his own way.” But now he was deeply concerned. He came to my office and he said: “You told me that the Lord would someday let me know that I was forgiven. But I am going to the temple to marry a wonderful girl. I want to be the best I can be for her. I need to know that I am forgiven. And I need to know now. Tell me how to find out.” I said I would try.

He gave me a deadline. My memory is that it was within less than two weeks. Fortunately, I already had a trip scheduled. During that period of time I went to Salt Lake City, and there I found myself seeing Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, at a social function. It was crowded, and yet he somehow found me. He walked up to me in that crowd and said, “Hal, I understand that you are now a bishop. Do you have anything you would like to ask me?”

I said that I did, but I didn’t think that was the place to talk about it. He thought it was. It was an outdoor party. My memory is that we went behind a shrub and there had our interview. Without breaking confidences, as I have not with you, I outlined the concerns and the question of this young man in my ward. Then I asked Elder Kimball, “How can he get that revelation? How can he know whether his sins are remitted?”

I thought Elder Kimball would talk to me about fasting or prayer or listening for the still small voice. But he surprised me. Instead he said, “Tell me something about the young man.

I said, “What would you like to know?”

And then he began a series of the most simple questions. Some of the ones I remember were:

“Does he come to his priesthood meetings?”I said, after a moment of thought, “Yes.”

“Does he come early?”

“Yes.”

“Does he sit down front?”

I thought for a moment and then realized, to my amazement, that he did.

“Does he home teach?”

“Yes.”

“Does he go early in the month?”

“Yes, he does.”

“Does he go more than once?”

“Yes.”

I can’t remember the other questions. But they were all like that—little things, simple acts of obedience, of submission. And for each question I was surprised that my answer was always yes. Yes, he wasn’t just at all his meetings: he was early; he was smiling; he was there not only with his whole heart, but with the broken heart of a little child, as he was every time the Lord asked anything of him. And after I had said yes to each of his questions, Elder Kimball looked at me, paused, and then very quietly said, “There is your revelation.” . . .

When I went back to the young man and told him what I then knew, he accepted it. . . . He went forward with his marriage. I’ve seen him since. To me he still looks as he did on the front bench before a priesthood meeting.

(Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013], 148–150).

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