Forgiveness Brings Peace and Joy

“Heber J. Grant was a junior member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He participated in a Church court in which a fellow member of the Quorum of the Twelve was excommunicated. In the ensuing years, this man came several times before the court to ask for rebaptism. His request was denied each time, but eventually every member of the Quorum of Twelve consented to rebaptism except Elder Grant. Elder Grant felt that because of the magnitude of the sin [adultery] and this man’s former position in the Church, he should never be forgiven. At this time Elder Grant was brought to truly understand Doctrine and Covenants 64:10. Following is Elder Grant’s own description of how this came about: “I was reading the Doctrine and Covenants through for the third or fourth time systematically, and I had my bookmark in it, but as I picked it up, instead of opening where the bookmark was, it opened to D&C 64:10: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” I closed the book and said: “If the devil applies for baptism, and claims that he has repented, I will baptize him.’

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“After lunch I returned to the office of President Taylor and said, ‘President Taylor, I have had a change of heart. One hour ago I said, never while I live did I expect to ever consent that Brother So and So should be baptized, but I have come to tell you he can be baptized, so far as I am concerned.’ President Taylor had a habit, when he was particularly pleased, of sitting up and laughing and shaking his whole body, and he laughed and said, ‘My boy, the change is very sudden, very sudden. I want to ask you a question. How did you feel when you left here an hour ago? Did you feel like you wanted to hit that man squarely between the eyes and knock him down?’

“I said, ‘That is just the way I felt.’ He said, ‘How do you feel now?’ ‘Well, to tell you the truth, President Taylor, I hope the Lord will forgive the sinner.’ He said, ‘You feel happy, don’t you, in comparison? You had the spirit of anger, you had the spirit of bitterness in your heart toward that man, because of his sin and because of the disgrace he had brought upon the Church. And now you have the spirit of forgiveness and you really feel happy, don’t you?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do . . . now I feel happy’”

President Taylor explained to Elder Grant: “Forgiveness is in advance of justice, where there is repentance, and that to have in your heart the spirit of forgiveness and to eliminate from your hearts the spirit of hatred and bitterness, brings peace and joy; that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings joy, peace and happiness to every soul that lives it and follows its teachings.”   (Heber J. Grant, in Conference Report, October 1920, 2–11)

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