Robert Daines Experience

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BYU Devotional

A number of years ago, when I first came to this campus, I was called to be a bishop of a student ward.  One day a young man walked into my office--a young man I had never seen or met before.  He was obviously distraught.  He paced back and forth in front of my desk, finally stopped, then looked at me and asked, "Are you Bishop Daines?"

I said, "Yes, I am."

He then said, "I want you to excommunicate me."

I said, "Well, we'd better talk."

So he closed the door, and for the next two hours I heard the story of the most disturbed, distorted life I had ever heard of before or since.  For the first and only time in my life, I felt as I visited with this young man that if I had ever met somebody who was a lost soul, this was one of them.  One of his transgressions was that of homosexuality.  He was a student at the university, and at the time the recommended procedure was to visit with either Elder Mark E. Petersen or Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve.  We were assigned to visit with Elder Kimball. What a profoundly instructive experience that was for me.

As we talked with Elder Kimball, he heard the same story I had heard.  His response, however, was different.  He looked at that young man and asked him three questions.

Calling him by name, he first asked, "Would you like to be forgiven of all of your sins and transgressions?"

The young man said yes.

The second question was, "Would you like all of the blessings the Lord has in store for you?"

The young man said yes, he would.

The third question was, "Would you like to be married in the temple for time and all eternity and have a family and raise them up unto the Lord?"

The young man broke down and said, "I would."

Then Elder Kimball gave this simple but profound advice.  He said, "Then let me tell you how to do it.  You get up in the morning, you fall to your knees, and you ask God for strength to live clean for one day.  Then when you go to bed at night, you fall to your knees and express gratitude for the strength to have been clean for that one day.  You get up on the second day and you do the same thing.  You fall to your knees and you ask for strength.  You go to bed at night and you express gratitude.  And two days will become a week, and a week will become a month, and a month will become six months, and six months will become a year.  However long it takes, you can be forgiven."

The interesting sequel is that for the next three months Elder Kimball called this young bishop in Provo to ask how his friend was doing.  He cared enough that he made those phone calls.

It is my testimony to you that God delights in forgiving us.  We are told that He descended below all things.  I believe that to mean that He has felt all of the concerns and burdens you and I have felt and more.  There is not one of us here who can fall further than Christ can reach. 

Experience shared by Robert H. Daines at a BYU Devotional June 20, 2000 (link to entire talk)