Sunday, June 28, 2009

a post from the past brought forward

Due to an incident in life the past 2 days I felt it needed to be re posted. There have been a few changes, we may rewrite and send out, I a unsure. So here ya go.

this is long but we are asking that you read it and carefully think about it, it is written prayerfully and with LOTS of love. I am sorry if i send it to you more than once, was confusing figuring out who gets it and who don't!
Hello everyone I am writing one letter and sending it to many so I do not have to keep repeating myself! We are doing ok, considering all of what's up in life right now. Life is crazy, I do not have a ton of time for letters or phone calls, so it is easier to do one letter that covers it all and send it out to everyone! Hope no one minds and well if you come live in my shoes for 1 week and you will understand! I am so busy with everything it's hard to keep up with it all. I am sending this to many, some of you already know parts of it, but not all, and since I cant remember who knows what and who does not, life is a blur everyone gets it!

Me and the kids do a lot of talking, praying, and reading. We all have come to many decisions together as a family. This letter is a combination of all of our thoughts, feelings, and plans.I have thought about repentance, forgiveness and the Atonement through this whole process. I have realized how important it is to forgive others when they hurt us. If we carry around the hurt, anger, resentment and anything else we feel it just stays and makes us feel worse. Its ok to feel it all, its normal, and its ok to feel a wide range of emotions, but we cant cling to the negative, to the anger and hate, we should instead cling to our Heavenly Father and the atonement. We should work to be survivors and not victims. Not for the other person involved but for ourselves! When we can't find it in ourselves to forgive that's when we need to get on our knees and pray. Tell Heavenly Father what we want, that we want to forgive but we are not feeling it, and ask him to fill in the rest. He will fill it in; he can fill in our hearts with a Christ like love, unconditional love, and love like his! He can help fill in the peace that comes when we forgive, he can help heal us of our hurts, physical and emotional! He can comfort us. These things he will do! Sometimes when we forgive a person they are no longer a part of our life, they do not need to be. They are not repentant, and will not change. Other times when we forgive a person they remain part of our life, but that should only happen if they are truly sorry, repent and can be healed, or stop doing whatever wrong they have done! The Lord is the one who can tell us what's best in that situation. And we may not always understand his reason but we should always do as he tells us, He will not lead us in the wrong direction!I have thought about the eternal perspective of things, we are sealed as a family in the Temple! Larry has made decisions that affect his part in that, but the children and I are still sealed, as long as we live up to our part! I plan on that! Larry can still save his part if he truly repents and can make it back. He says that's what he plans on. I- we our family pray everyday that he does. May seem weird to some, but remember we are to pray for our enemies! I have found that by praying for those that hurt us its easier to forgive, and he needs the prayers.Larry has admitted guilt, he is more than ready to suffer the consequences of his actions, he is in therapy, and trying to get help. I believe he is truly sorry for what he has done. Even if we are never live together on earth as husband and wife I want him to make it through this healed and whole, and back to the Temple so maybe our sealing can be saved and we can still be an eternal family, and so he can be a part of the kids lives at the least.. He can't do it alone. He has to have friendship, love, fellowship, support from others, forgiveness, compassion, and honesty. It is not up to us to judge, that is NOT our place here. Our place is to pray for him, forgive and love!
"Through the infinite Atonement, God has provided a means whereby we
can both overcome our sins and become completely clean again. This is made
possible by the eternal law of mercy. Mercy satisfies the claims of justice
through our repentance and the power of the Atonement. Without the power of
the Atonement and our complete repentance, we are subject to the law of
Earl C. Tingey, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, May 2006, 72

Larry had one of the worst childhoods I have ever heard. It does not make it ok, it does not excuse what he has done. He knew right from wrong, but it played a part. The pain and suffering he went through as a child, the pain he never dealt with, never faced, always ignored, and turned him a victim into an abuser. He may not be the victim in this case but he was in the past, in ways that only a few are aware of. He needs to heal himself, from the abuse and suffering he endured as a child, and then heal from the things he has now done. He can only do that through Heavenly Father, through love and compassion from family and friends, through counseling, and honestly.
Yes anger is to be expected from many who knew him, we all feel it, but we should not let it consume us! Trust, well that's a hard one. One we each have to build and work on with him ourselves. I am unsure where I sit with that, it's a hard one. But forgiveness does not mean we trust right now, trust has to be earned, he can earn it only by proving we can trust him. He knows this; he hopes to build trust again.

I wanted to let you know how I am feeling and how the children are feeling about the whole situation. I can't even start to cover it all, there are so many emotions, so many depths to the emotions, it changes daily, and we cover them all some days! I have prayed a lot about what to do. Heavenly Father has told me to wait not to get divorced yet, to not walk away yet. So I am not. I don't know what I am waiting for, Heavenly Father will tell me. He has told me that depending on Larry our family can remain a family, it all sits on Larry's shoulders and what he does. So I am waiting. The kids and I have talked about it, all of them know and agree, even Maranda. They do have angry moments, and they are learning to work through them. I have talked to Larry since court; I do believe he is truly sorry for what he has done. He does not hide anything, he is honest and understands all I feel, he deals with it when I have told him how mad and hurt and angry we all are. He does not totally comprehend the depth of this, I do not think any of us do yet, but with time, therapy, prayer we will. So who knows? The judge said we could get family counseling either while he is in prison or after he is out, he seemed to believe this is one of few cases that the family could work through the abuse. And the in home therapist we have has told me how to get family, one on one and individual therapy with him while he is prison. I think no matter what happens therapy with him is a must for the kids to work through all this. So we will see. I am not saying that we are staying married, that I am taking him back, I am not saying I am getting a divorce either, I am waiting till Heavenly Father tells me what to do. I will do as he says. I am working through my feelings; I have talked to and been honest with Larry with it all. I am moving forward with the intentions of saving my relationship with my best friend, and at the least maybe we will be friends instead of a couple, I do not know yet. If The Lord says stay married and save my marriage that will be what I do, since he can make anything happen, he is the one who will and can judge, forgive and heal all involved. I have been told now is the time to show how strongly I believe in forgiveness, repentance, the Atonement and healing ability of Heavenly Father. I know most people will not understand this, some have bad reactions, even LDS who believe in the Gospel, but I have to follow my promptings of the Lord, he has not lead me wrong and I know he wont. I have already followed any promptings that by earthly perspective seemed odd, but in the eternal plan, by Gods view he knew what to do and things worked better than I thought they would! So that's what I will keep doing, following what he says. Also Larry could use letters, I am just letting everyone we know that he could use letters, and if you are willing to write him it is ok, and it won't upset any of us. Including Maranda, she wants others to write him. He will be moved from the jail soon but I don't know when or where to. SO until then all letters to him go to the jail. If you decide to write let me know and I will let you know when he is moved, if not I understand. It's hard to write to someone that has done what he has. But he is also a child of Heavenly Father, and he is loved by him no matter what he has done, and we need to remember that and show compassion for ALL who sin, no matter what the sin is, and forgiveness for all. Larry is a good person, he has a good heart. He loves to read articles from Church magazines, hymns, scriptures and other inspirational stuff that can be printed out and sent. He made bad choices, acted on something he never should have. I do not understand all of it, but I do know he was my best friend, he is a good person, I still love him, and I can't just walk away and I hope that maybe others who have been part of his life wont just walk away either, that they may pray and find compassion for him, and write to him at the least. Maranda also wishes this to happen. We all pray daily for him to be ok, healed and happy again, for our family to be healed, whole and ok again.
Here is his address
Larry Huffman 88820
PO Box 1568
Hutchinson Ks

Here is M's letter that was read at sentencing. She wrote this herself.
Dear Judge Smith, Prosecuting Attorney John Sutherland, and whomever else this letter concerns.
I will start off with this
To my dad
You are still my dad and I still love you. I don't know if you can be a part of my life, now or ever. That is something I will have to decide for myself in the future.
Dad me and you were always close. When I was little and scared or anything you are who I wanted. The therapists I saw told you and mom the bond I had with my mom was transferred to you. We were closer than I was to my mom. That's what makes this so hard, we were always so close, you are my daddy, the one I want when I am hurt or scared, and you did this. I need to understand what happened, what's wrong with you and if it can be fixed. I don't hate you, I can't, and I love you to much. I am loosing so much by all this, and I don't want to loose you, I want to work through this and be close again. But I don't know if that's possible. I am trying to work on forgiving you.

Your Honor
I would like the option of conversing through letters and/or a therapist if he and you are willing to allow this. I would at least like to know if we can write one letter to each other, to say all we feel, and have an apology, explanation and whatever else. This could go through his attorney and my mom or whoever else you think appropriate.
I would like the option of therapy with him so we can try to rebuild our relationship and/or at least help me understand and heal. I think I need this to help Benefit me and my healing process, I would like to know why and an apology at the least, but only if he is truly sorry. As far as my siblings go, I think that should be left up to them and my mother, whether it's through letter, phone, or visit. They all ask why they can't write letters to him.
If possible I would like to be kept informed about the going on's of his life and his mental, physical, and other health matters. I think that he needs lots of therapy and
Will for quite some time.
I do believe that what he has done to me is extremely wrong; I also know it is a type of illness and he should have sought help instead of following the urges he had.
I believe he should have to deal with the consequences of his actions. I personally don't think he should be in prison for the rest of his life I do believe he needs to go to prison but for how long I don't know that is up to the judge. I am angry at times, hurt and sad, I feel many emotions and they change all through out the day. It has affected not just my life but those around me as well. My Mother is now a single parent, raising, and supporting seven kids by herself, the youngest only a year. My siblings no longer have a dad around, yes we have people who are willing to fill in and help but it's not the same. My youngest brother Sebastian will periodically wake up at night wanting dad and crying for him. During the day, He will say things like "where's my daddy?" "My daddy can't live here anymore" and "why wont mommy let me call my daddy?" All he knows is that he can't live here and that he lives in Fort Scott. My mom talks to him and tells him dad cant live here anymore, he lives in Fort Scott. And he can't call you right now because he does not have a phone.
We are all in therapy from this, individual and family to help deal with all the emotions we are dealing with. It has affected our daily lives, holidays, and birthdays.
I have always had trust issues due to other circumstances in life, but they are worse now because of this. We are working through all this, therapists help, medications, and we talk a lot at home.
For those of you that have read my journal entries it dawned on me that it might seem like everything in there was connected to the abuse. And think you all need to know that it's not all due to the abuse. Some of this was happening before the abuse, like the cutting and pills, suicidal thoughts, and depression; I have always struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression. We are not sure exactly why but I always have. I am now in counseling and on medication to help with all this and my family is helping to keep me from cutting.
I am now in counseling and on medication to help with all this. I am staying with the counseling and medication. I've always had problems with my emotional stuff, I just pretended well enough not to that my parents didn't know it was still happening. I have promised to be truthful with my therapists, my mom and I have a suicide contract with an adult, and I will call her if at anytime I feel like hurting myself. I plan on keeping my word, my contract and always being honest about the feelings I have so I won't hurt myself anymore. The urge is still there but I am getting help for it. The urge is still there but I am getting help for it through counseling, medication and my family is helping.
One of my goals in life includes healing from this abuse, and moving forward. I think I am doing pretty good job of that so far. I want to heal and not live to be a victim but a survivor, I want to have a happy healthy family right now and when I am an adult and have my own family, and I hope that me and my whole family can heal from this.
The following is a talk I want to share; it is long but very worth the time to read it. Read it prayerfully, thoughtfully, and take what you can and apply it to your lives. I am applying it to mine as best as I can! This letter truly comes fro my heart, I share it with you all out of love, love for you, love for my family, Love for my children, love for my husband Larry, Love of the Gospel.
A Chance to Start Over:
Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings

By Elder M. Russell Ballard
of the Quorum of the Twelve M. Russell Ballard, "A Chance to Start Over: Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings," Ensign, Sep 1990, 12
The longer I live, the more profoundly grateful I am that the Lord has given us a plan to help us grow and progress. As part of this plan, He has given guidance on how we can overcome serious error and sin. His desire is that all his children return to him, that all partake of the precious fruit of eternal life. (See Ezek. 18:21–23.)
Both the Lord and his church stand ready with open arms to welcome back all who stray. The First Presidency has extended this special invitation:
"We are aware of some who are inactive, of others who have become critical and are prone to find fault, and of those who have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated because of serious transgressions.
"To all such we reach out in love. We are anxious to forgive. …
"We encourage Church members to forgive those who may have wronged them. To those who have ceased activity and to those who have become critical, we say, 'Come back. Come back and feast at the table of the Lord, and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints.' "(Church News, 22 Dec. 1985, p. 3.)
When members need to have certain blessings withheld, the Lord's object is to teach as well as to discipline. So probation, disfellowshipment, and excommunication, when they become necessary, are ideally accompanied by eventual reinstatement and restoration of blessings.
I remember as a child occasionally coming unkempt to the dinner table. My mother wisely sent me to clean up and then return. My parents would have been pained if I had taken offense and had run off—and I would have been foolish to do so. In the same way, the servants of the Lord occasionally find that they must, in loving concern, send some of Heavenly Father's children out the door so they can return clean once again. The Lord does not want us to "miss supper." In fact, he has a great feast prepared for those who return clean and pure through the door. He is greatly saddened when anyone decides they prefer to be unclean and miss the meal, or when they find an excuse to take offense, or when they run away. He is pleased to extend the chance to start over.
I've known a few rebellious people who disregard the commandments and are influenced by the evil one or by other rebellious people to transgress God's laws. I've seen their distress and pain. I've also seen their joy when, humbled and fully repentant, they have returned to the Church and have had all their blessings restored.
"I Would Love a Blessing"

Some time ago I was asked by the First Presidency to stop and visit a man on my way to a stake conference. This man had been excommunicated, had fully repented, and had been found worthy to be baptized. But baptism did not restore his priesthood and temple blessings. That was my assignment, acting on behalf of the Lord at the direction of the President of the Church.
I found the man lying in a hospital suffering from a disease that left him unable to move or speak. On seeing him, I realized that it would be impossible to conduct the customary interview. Instead, I felt impressed that I should interview his wife, who was there with him. We found a vacant room in the hospital, and I had a wonderful visit with this stalwart woman, the mother of eight. She had stood by her husband, remaining true and faithful through all his struggle and difficulty. Now she, like her husband, greatly desired that he have his blessings restored.
As we walked back into the husband's room, I asked his wife to help me communicate with him. During the two years that his body had deteriorated from disease, he had developed a way to communicate with his eyes. I leaned over his bed and said, "I am Elder Ballard. I have been sent here by the President of the Church. I am authorized to restore your blessings. Would you like that?" I quickly saw I wouldn't need the help of his wife. Tears filled his eyes and ran down his cheeks in affirmative response.
I placed my hands on his head and, using terminology associated with this ordinance, restored to him the Melchizedek Priesthood.
He sobbed—perhaps the first sounds he had made in some time. I restored his office in the priesthood. Then I restored to him, by the power of the priesthood, the holy endowment that he had received when he went through the temple for the first time. Last, I restored what was perhaps most valuable to him—his sealing's to his wife and children.
As the blessing concluded we were all filled with emotion. I looked at his wife and had the impression that I was to bless her also. I said, "Sister, would you like us to give you a blessing?"
She said, "Oh, I would love a blessing, Brother Ballard. I have not had a blessing in a long time."
I asked her to sit down; then the regional representative, the stake president, and I placed our hands on her head. But when I tried to bless her, the words would not come. We took our hands off her head and I said, "Brethren, let's move her chair closer to the bed." We pushed her chair over where I could lift her husband's hand and place it on her head, since he was unable to lift it himself. As we proceeded again with the blessing, the words flowed. Blessings were given, conviction and comfort came.
I have since thought what a marvelous lesson that experience teaches us. This man had sinned, and a loving Heavenly Father had required that he repent so he could be worthy to be once again numbered among the Saints. He had subsequently done our Heavenly Father's will; he had turned his life around; he had repented. Now, back in the Church and continuing to progress, he was worthy to have his greatest blessings restored. And he was able to use his restored priesthood immediately, participating in giving his wife a special priesthood blessing.
Informal Church Discipline

When a bishop learns of a transgression, usually through the confession of the member involved, he first counsels with the member. When the sin is not grievous, the bishop may decide, through inspiration, that no disciplinary action is needed. He may continue to give counsel and caution, helping the member resist temptation and avoid further transgression.
Another option the bishop has is to place the member on informal probation, temporarily restricting his privileges as a Church member—such as the right to partake of the sacrament, hold a Church position, or enter the temple. The bishop may ask the member to surrender his temple recommend temporarily. In addition, he may require the member to make specific positive changes in attitude or behavior. No official record is made or kept of informal probation. The bishop maintains close contact with the member and may terminate the probation period when he is prompted to do so.
In these cases, informal Church discipline may negate the need for formal disciplinary action. Since repentance and reformation are the primary objectives of any Church disciplinary action, the bishop may feel that the person has done or is doing everything necessary to repent and that a disciplinary council would serve no useful purpose.
Formal Church Discipline

On the other hand, the spirit of inspiration may move the Church leader to convene a disciplinary council, particularly if the member holds a prominent position in the Church.
In the scriptures, the Lord has given direction concerning Church disciplinary councils. (See D&C 102.) The word council brings to mind a helpful proceeding—one of love and concern, with the salvation and blessing of the transgressor being the foremost consideration.
Members sometimes ask why Church disciplinary councils are held. The purpose is threefold: to save the soul of the transgressor, to protect the innocent, and to safeguard the Church's purity, integrity, and good name.
The First Presidency has instructed that disciplinary councils must be held in cases of murder, incest, or apostasy. A disciplinary council must also be held when a prominent Church leader commits a serious transgression, when the transgressor is a predator who may be a threat to other persons, when the person shows a pattern of repeated serious transgressions, when a serious transgression is widely known, and when the transgressor is guilty of serious deceptive practices and false representations or other terms of fraud or dishonesty in business transactions.
Disciplinary councils may also be convened to consider a member's standing in the Church following serious transgression such as abortion, transsexual operation, attempted murder, rape, forcible sexual abuse, intentionally inflicting serious physical injuries on others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, child abuse (sexual or physical), spouse abuse, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, theft, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, or false swearing.
Disciplinary councils are not called to try civil or criminal cases. The decision of a civil court may help determine whether a Church disciplinary council should be convened. However, a civil court's decision does not dictate the decision of a disciplinary council.
Disciplinary councils are not held for such things as failure to pay tithing, to obey the Word of Wisdom, to attend church, or to receive home teachers. They are not held because of business failure or nonpayment of debts. They are not designed to settle disputes among members. Nor are they held for members who demand that their names be removed from Church records or who have joined another church; that is now an administrative action.
The How of Disciplinary Councils

The bishopric, in consultation with the stake president, has the responsibility and authority to hold disciplinary councils for all ward members. However, if excommunication of a Melchizedek Priesthood holder is thought to be a possibility, the matter is transferred to the stake presidency, who, with the assistance of the high council, may convene a stake disciplinary council.
An appeal of a decision of a ward disciplinary council goes to the stake presidency and high council. Any further appeals go to the First Presidency.
Missions and districts have jurisdiction similar to that of stakes and wards, with mission presidents having jurisdiction over the missionaries and branch members in districts over whom they preside.
A disciplinary council begins with an opening prayer, followed by a statement of the reason for the council being convened. The member is asked to tell in simple and general terms about the transgression and to explain his or her feelings and what steps of repentance he or she has taken. The member may respond to clarifying questions from the leaders. Then he or she is excused, and the leaders counsel together, pray, and reach a decision.
The council takes into consideration many factors, such as whether temple or marriage covenants have been violated; whether a position of trust or authority has been abused; the repetition, seriousness, and magnitude of the transgression; the age, maturity, and experience of the transgressor; the interests of innocent victims and innocent family members; the time between transgression and confession; whether or not confession was voluntary; and evidence of repentance.
Those who sit on the council are to keep everything strictly confidential and to handle the matter in a spirit of love. Their objective is not retribution; rather, it is to help the member make the changes necessary to stand clean before God once more.
Possible Actions of Disciplinary Councils

Decisions of the council are to be made with inspiration. A council can reach one of four decisions: (1) no action, (2) formal probation, (3) disfellowshipment, or (4) excommunication.
Even if a transgression has been committed, the council may decide to take no action at that time. (The member would be encouraged to receive further counsel from his or her bishop.)
Formal probation is a temporary state of discipline, imposed as a means to help the member fully repent. The presiding officer of the council specifies the conditions under which the probation can be terminated. During the probation, the bishop or stake president keeps in close contact to help the individual progress.
The third decision the council may take is to disfellowship the member. Disfellowshipment is usually temporary, though not necessarily brief. Disfellowshipped persons retain membership in the Church. They are encouraged to attend public Church meetings, but are not entitled to offer public prayers or to give talks. They may not hold a Church position, take the sacrament, vote in the sustaining of Church officers, hold a temple recommend, or exercise the priesthood. They may, however, pay tithes and offerings and continue to wear temple garments if endowed.
Excommunication is the most severe judgment a Church disciplinary council can take. Excommunicated persons are no longer members of the Church. Therefore, they are denied the privileges of Church membership, including the wearing of temple garments and the payment of tithes and offerings. They may attend public Church meetings, but, like disfellowshipped persons, their participation in such meetings is limited. Excommunicated persons are encouraged to repent and so live as to qualify for eventual baptism.
Great consideration is given regarding the confidentiality of the decisions of a Church disciplinary council. No announcement is ever made when a member is placed on formal probation. Decisions to disfellowship or excommunicate are generally not announced publicly unless the transgression is widely known.

Church disciplinary action is not intended to be the end of the process—rather; it is designed to be the beginning of an opportunity to return to full fellowship and to the full blessings of the Church. Priesthood leaders try hard to be sensitive to the disciplined person's needs for understanding, encouragement, counsel, and assistance. They work to see that he or she has regular visits with his or her bishop; that the person has mature, caring home teachers or other specially assigned individuals; and that his or her family receive the attention, counsel, and fellowship they need during this difficult time.
The desired result is that the person will make whatever changes are necessary to return fully and completely to be able to receive the marvelous blessings of the Church. When the person has progressed to that point, his or her current bishop or stake president has the authority to convene a new disciplinary council to consider what action needs to be taken—even if the person is now living in a new ward or stake or if a new bishopric or stake presidency is now serving.
After the rebaptism of a person who has not been endowed in the temple, his or her membership record shows the original baptism date, with no reference to the excommunication. A man who previously held the priesthood but was not endowed should generally be ordained to his former priesthood office. Again, his membership record will show his original ordination date, with no reference to excommunication.
A person who was endowed in the temple before being excommunicated may regain priesthood and/or temple blessings only through the ordinance of restoration of blessings. This is a special ordinance performed by a General Authority as directed by the First Presidency. Afterwards, a new membership record is created, showing the original dates of baptism, endowment, sealing, and (if applicable) priesthood ordinations—with no reference to excommunication.
Our Father in Heaven is pleased to restore former blessings to his sons and daughters when they have demonstrated sincere and complete repentance.
"It Was Difficult but Necessary"

The trauma of being disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the Church will likely never be fully understood by those who have never experienced it. One man said, "The shock I felt was terrible." But he knew it was the Lord's will. "I could feel the spirit of concerned brethren in the room as I was told the decision of the council," he said. "I felt only love and compassion."
Still, the pain was hard to bear. "Left to cope with the anguish and grief inside me, I cried, I prayed, I lay awake at night afraid that I would lose my wife and children forever. Although I continued to counsel with my bishop, I felt alone, with rebellion in my heart many times and feelings of guilt because of this rebellion. …
"As I look back now, working through each personal challenge was terribly difficult but necessary, and the whole process was a great blessing to me. … Repentance is something that each individual must find for himself or herself, in process of time."
Friends and family are vitally important for an individual who is struggling to return to the gospel path. Those around such a person must refrain from judging. They must do all they can to show love. The Lord has commanded, "Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." ( D&C 64:9–10.)
A woman who had been a Relief Society president tells of the love and support she received during a painful period of disfellowshipment. "When the brethren of the council listened to me, I could feel love as I had never felt it before. They all wept with me."
Although she initially felt as if her heart would "break into a million pieces," the next day a comforting spirit returned, and she realized that she would not be abandoned.
One of the most difficult things for her was going to church the next Sunday, even though it was much easier than she had thought. The bishop made a point of shaking her hand. With words and without, priesthood leaders who had participated on the council expressed their concern and love. No one else knew. "There was no sign of disrespect," she says.
As the weeks and months passed, she found that her pain and suffering were actually aiding the cleansing and healing process. In fact, her pain and suffering served a necessary purpose in the process of healing. And the pain that her family experienced was relieved somewhat through the kind and thoughtful attention extended to them by others.
With agony she acknowledges, "Every member of the Church must realize that he or she is capable of sinning. How I have paid for fooling myself about what I was doing!"
We must constantly guard our thoughts. Serious sin almost always begins with unworthy thoughts. Some years ago at the direction of the First Presidency, I interviewed a man for the restoration of his priesthood and temple blessings. This brother had been excommunicated while serving in an important calling in his ward. While we visited, I asked him, "How did this all happen?"
In very sober terms he said, "It all began when I picked up a pornographic magazine and read it. From this subtle beginning, I was led to more and more erotic things—including R- and X-rated films and videotapes—until I committed adultery with a prostitute."
He continued, "As I look back, I can hardly believe I did those awful things. But I did them, and it all started by reading a pornographic magazine. Brother Ballard, tell the Saints to be careful what they read and what they see on television, movies, and videos."
A sister who was disciplined after years of faithful service and devotion to the Church said: "I had no idea I was capable of committing such a serious transgression. I had assumed that if I knew something was wrong, I would never do it. Little did I understand the sometimes strange dynamics of human behavior, or what I was capable of."
Never forget that. Satan is real, and he has the power to "grasp" mortals "with his everlasting chains … and [lead] them away carefully down to hell." (2 Ne. 28:19, 21.)
Struggles and Blessings

The miracle of the gospel is that we all can repent. Church government calls for Church disciplinary councils. But the Lord's system also calls for restoration following repentance. Disfellowshipment or excommunication is not the end of the story, unless the member so chooses. Rather, after excommunication, followed by full repentance, come additional steps, each one bringing great blessings: baptism, restoration of priesthood and temple blessings, further growth and participation in the kingdom, enduring in righteousness to the end.
President Ezra Taft Benson has spoken about the kind of repentance that truly brings forgiveness:
"I would not have anyone believe that there is no hope if there are some who have made such a grievous mistake, because repentance and forgiveness are also a part of the gospel. Thank God for that! But it must be real repentance. Such repentance is a deep, heartfelt sorrow for sin that produces a reformation of life. It is not just a confession of guilt. Sometimes we regard all too lightly the principle of repentance, thinking that it only means confession, that it only means feeling sorry for ourselves. But it is more than that. It is a deep, burning, and heartfelt sorrow for sin that will drive us to our knees in humility and tears—a deep, heartfelt sorrow for sin that produces a reformation of life. That is the right test: a reformation of life. Only then may the God of heaven in his mercy and his goodness see fit to forgive us. He—not the priesthood on the earth—is the judge. Priesthood holders can only carry out certain requirements. They can require certain things set forth in the revelations, but forgiveness comes from above." (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 196.)
Elder Marion G. Romney bore beautiful testimony of the principle of repentance. He said, "I am grateful for my Redeemer, grateful that he paid the debt and brought about the means of repentance so that by repenting of my transgressions I can bring my soul within the reach of his atoning blood and thereby be cleansed of sin. … I love the doctrine of repentance.
"During the past few months I have seen the need of it—oh, how I have seen the need of it. I have seen missionaries, Saints, and nonmembers of the Church in far-off lands sorrowing with a Godly sorrow for sin. I have heard them say, Oh, Brother Romney, do you think there is any hope for me, any chance for me to get on even the bottom rung of the gospel ladder?' "
I believe that is a question many ask who have undergone a Church disciplinary council. And President Romney, knowing the truth and power of the gospel, had a ready answer:
"And so I comforted and encouraged those who confided in me, and I encouraged all sorrowing, repentant men to be comforted—comforted by the experience of Alma and by Paul's assurance that '… godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. …' (2 Cor. 7:10.) For today, as well as in days of old, there is hope, there is peace, there is rest in Christ for all whose Godly sorrow brings them to that repentance which worketh salvation. Forgiveness is as wide as repentance. Every person will be forgiven for all the transgressions of which he truly repents. If he repents of all his sins, he shall stand spotless before God because of the atonement of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ." (In Conference Report, Oct. 1955, pp. 123–24.)
Elder Romney's message is comforting to all who truly repent and return to the arms of a loving and merciful Savior. It is a lie propounded by the adversary that our sins can run too deep, that any one of us has sunk below the reach of the Savior and his atonement. The scriptures give us only one exception: those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost, "having crucified [the Savior] unto themselves and put him to an open shame" after having known the Lord's power and partaken of it. (See D&C 76:31–37.) If we do not fall into this category (and those who do are few), we can, with the help of the Lord, come back onto the path and become clean and pure again, worthy to receive our Father's greatest blessings.
Once a repentant member qualifies for these blessings, none will be withheld, including the blessings of the priesthood and the temple. President Spencer W. Kimball expressed this glorious principle in a beautiful way, and I add my testimony to his:
"When soiled clothes have been through the laundry and washed, starched and pressed, they are no longer filthy. When the smallpox victim has been healed and cleansed, he is no longer contaminated. … When one is washed and purged and cleansed, he is no longer an adulterer. …
"The effect of the cleansing is beautiful. These troubled souls have found peace. These soiled robes have been cleansed to spotlessness. These people formerly defiled, having been cleansed through their repentance—their washing, their purging, their whitening—are made worthy for constant temple service and to be found before the throne of God associating with divine royalty." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, pp. 352–53.)
To members and leaders of the Church who know of a brother or a sister who has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated: Love him or her without judging. Be sensitive and thoughtful without prying. Be warm and caring without being condescending. Be forgiving and forgetful. The Lord has said, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." ( D&C 58:42.) Can we be justified in doing any less?
To you who have come back into full fellowship in the Church: Welcome home! Now, as Nephi said, "Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Ne. 31:20.) Believe that promise.
To you who have not yet returned, who may still be struggling with the hurt and haven't yet felt the healing: please allow yourself to feel the love that the Lord, his presiding authorities, and your friends in the Church feel for you. We are aware of your pain, and we pray for your healing and your return.
As the First Presidency has said, "We are confident that many have longed to return, but have felt awkward about doing so. We assure you that you will find open arms to receive you and willing hands to assist you. …
"We know there are many who carry heavy burdens of guilt and bitterness. To such we say, 'Set them aside and give heed to the words of the Savior: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
" '"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
" '"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." ( Matt. 11:28–30.)'
"We plead with you. We pray for you. We invite and welcome you with love and appreciation." Church News, 22 Dec. 1985.

Also from the last conference this talk touched my heart so strongly and confirmed my feelings on this matter. It was a confirmation to me that I am not totally off! I wanted to include it for everyone to read. I cried and am so greatfull to this talk, I know I needed it, it felt like he was talking to me!
The Healing Power of Forgiveness
President James E. Faust
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being.
My dear brothers and sisters and friends, I come before you humbly and prayerfully. I wish to speak on the healing power of forgiveness.
In the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, a devout group of Christian people live a simple life without automobiles, electricity, or modern machinery. They work hard and live quiet, peaceful lives separate from the world. Most of their food comes from their own farms. The women sew and knit and weave their clothing, which is modest and plain. They are known as the Amish people.
A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family in their Nickel Mines community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman. Last October he suddenly lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories. He stormed into the Amish school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the 10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five. Then he took his own life.
This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish but no anger. There was hurt but no hate. Their forgiveness was immediate. Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman's suffering family. As the milkman's family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and said, "We will forgive you." Amish leaders visited the milkman's wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman's funeral were Amish. In turn, the Amish invited the milkman's family to attend the funeral services of the girls who had been killed. A remarkable peace settled on the Amish as their faith sustained them during this crisis.
One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath of this tragedy when he said, "We were all speaking the same language, and not just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a language of service. And, yes, a language of forgiveness." It was an amazing outpouring of their complete faith in the Lord's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: "Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
The family of the milkman who killed the five girls released the following statement to the public:
"To our Amish friends, neighbors, and local community:
"Our family wants each of you to know that we are overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that you've extended to us. Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. The prayers, flowers, cards, and gifts you've given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you.
"Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened. We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbors whom we have loved and continue to love. We know that there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives."
How could the whole Amish group manifest such an expression of forgiveness? It was because of their faith in God and trust in His word, which is part of their inner beings. They see themselves as disciples of Christ and want to follow His example.
Hearing of this tragedy, many people sent money to the Amish to pay for the health care of the five surviving girls and for the burial expenses of the five who were killed. As a further demonstration of their discipleship, the Amish decided to share some of the money with the widow of the milkman and her three children because they too were victims of this terrible tragedy.
Forgiveness is not always instantaneous as it was with the Amish. When innocent children have been molested or killed, most of us do not think first about forgiveness. Our natural response is anger. We may even feel justified in wanting to "get even" with anyone who inflicts injury on us or our family.
Dr. Sidney Simon, a recognized authority on values realization, has provided an excellent definition of forgiveness as it applies to human relationships:
"Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves."
Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurts does not bring happiness.
Some hold grudges for a lifetime, unaware that courageously forgiving those who have wronged us is wholesome and therapeutic.
Forgiveness comes more readily when, like the Amish, we have faith in God and trust in His word. Such faith "enables people to withstand the worst of humanity. It also enables people to look beyond themselves. More importantly, it enables them to forgive."
All of us suffer some injuries from experiences that seem to have no rhyme or reason. We cannot understand or explain them. We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord. But because it happens, it must be endured. President Howard W. Hunter said that "God knows what we do not know and sees what we do not see."
President Brigham Young offered this profound insight that at least some of our suffering has a purpose when he said: "Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presence of the Lord. . . . Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation."
If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Some recent studies show that people who are taught to forgive become "less angry, more hopeful, less depressed, less anxious and less stressed," which leads to greater physical well-being. Another of these studies concludes "that forgiveness . . . is a liberating gift [that] people can give to themselves."
In our day the Lord has admonished us, "Ye ought to forgive one another," and then makes it requisite when He says, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
A sister who had been through a painful divorce received some sound advice from her bishop: "Keep a place in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in." For the Amish, it was already there because "forgiveness is a 'heartfelt' component of [their] religion." Their example of forgiveness is a sublime expression of Christian love.
Here in Salt Lake City in 1985, Bishop Steven Christensen, through no fault of his own, was cruelly and senselessly killed by a bomb intended to take his life. He was the son of Mac and Joan Christensen, the husband of Terri, and the father of four children. With his parents' consent, I share what they learned from this experience. After this terrible deed, the news media followed members of the Christensen family around relentlessly. On one occasion this media intrusion offended one of the family members to the point that Steven's father, Mac, had to restrain him. Mac then thought, "This thing will destroy my family if we don't forgive. Venom and hatred will never end if we do not get it out of our system." Healing and peace came as the family cleansed their hearts from anger and were able to forgive the man who took their son's life.
We recently had two other tragedies here in Utah which demonstrate faith and the healing power of forgiveness. Gary Ceran, whose wife and two children were killed on Christmas Eve when their vehicle was hit by a truck, immediately expressed his forgiveness and concern for the alleged drunk driver. Last February, when a car crashed into Bishop Christopher Williams's vehicle, he had a decision to make, and it was to "unconditionally forgive" the driver who had caused the accident so that the healing process could take place unhampered.
What can we all learn from such experiences as these? We need to recognize and acknowledge angry feelings. It will take humility to do this, but if we will get on our knees and ask Heavenly Father for a feeling of forgiveness, He will help us. The Lord requires us "to forgive all men" for our own good because "hatred retards spiritual growth."Only as we rid ourselves of hatred and bitterness can the Lord put comfort into our hearts, just as He did for the Amish community, the Christensens, the Cerans, and the Williams family.
Of course, society needs to be protected from hardened criminals, because mercy cannot rob justice. Bishop Williams addressed this concept so well when he said, "Forgiveness is a source of power. But it does not relieve us of consequences." When tragedy strikes, we should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive "those who trespass against us," even those who have committed serious crimes, the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort.
Let us remember that we need to forgive to be forgiven. In the words of one of my favorite hymns, "Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be e'en forgiven now by me." With all my heart and soul, I believe in the healing power that can come to us as we follow the counsel of the Savior "to forgive all men."In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Me and my family ask you all to pray, to pray for insight ,to think and consider what Heavenly Father would do and would want you to do. We ask you to follow the guidance and counsel he can give you, if you pray and ask it of him. we ask you to follow the promptings you get from our Father the Lord, concerning Larry and whether or not you should give him support through his problems while he gets help to heal and we ask that you can all find it in your hearts to forgive him for what he did if you feel like you need to forgive him. If you feel the Lord is prompting you to help Larry as well as us through his and our healing process then we encourage you to please do so and with a happy heart. If you feel that the Lord is prompting you to wait awhile and help him later on when he may need it there may be a reason for this that may not be obvious to us at this point and we ask you to wait till the time when you pray and you feel the Lord is prompting you to help him. We will always have a way for you to get a hold if him if that is the case. We ask that either way it goes you will not stop praying for him and us and that we will always be in your prayers and heart. I know that no matter what you will always be in our prayers and hearts, for everything you have done for us is a debt so large that we can do nothing but pray for your safety and keep you in our hearts. Many of you have helped more than you know, given strength, love, friendship and helped hold me together when the kids were gone, during court dates, and many other days. I love you and I am grateful for all the love and service you have given.
In the Name of Jesus Christ
Always and forever
peek a choo
little loo
Sir N
Baby E
In the origianl our full names were signed but this being public I am changing that but that is all