“Forgive them”

In To the Rescue, a President Monson biography by Heidi Swinton, the following story is recalled. One day, President Kimball (currently President of the Twelve), after publishing Miracle of Forgiveness, walked into Elder Monson’s office and said:

“’I don’t know if I should have printed that book or not. I have people coming in to confess mistakes they made long years ago. Could you help me talk to some of them?’ Elder Monson agreed to help, to which President Kimball responded ‘I’ll send several people in to see you.’ When Elder Monson asked ‘What would you like me to tell them?’President Kimball answered simply, ‘Forgive them, brother, forgive them.’” (p. 374)

My wife, who has read Miracle of Forgiveness, once quipped that after reading it, you feel like it’s a miracle if you’ll ever be forgiven. When I began reading it, I was told by a concerned friend that the best thing to do is to read the last chapter about how to be forgiven before the rest of the chapters (which sometimes feels like a very detailed compendium of all the different ways you could sin). I’ve heard from many how Miracle of Forgiveness discouraged them greatly, and that it’s considered by many a classic of Mormon literature only  dismays them.

However, it’s reassuring to know that even the author may have regretted the harsh stance he took on sin, not from backpedaling, but from compassion. His instructions to President Monson should be instructions to all members of the Church (and especially to leaders).

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4 Comments

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4 responses to ““Forgive them”

  1. shematwater

    I personally found it rather encouraging.

    • Ted

      Me too! Glad to hear it!

      Edit: Wait, did you mean you found Miracle of Forgiveness encouraging or the anecdote? Because I have also known people who found the book encouraging, and I didn’t feel it was super problematic, but mostly because when people use hyperbole when describing sin, I’ve trained myself to take it down a notch unconsciously.

      • shematwater

        I meant the Book.

        Yes, it does have a lot about sin, but this is what I personally think. If one is focused on the sin they will not receive the true spirit of this book. There is a lot about sin, but the point is that even with all this there is still hope.
        People need to see that part, which I think many fail to see.

  2. Cory

    I felt absolutely horrible after reading it. However, after pondering more about this and other books of forgiveness, I appreciate that it was written. Forgiveness is probably the most wonderful doctrine in the church, if not in all of Christianity. I can understand why he would want to point out the egregiousness of sin, while at the same time highlighting the need to forgive and to receive forgiveness. Although, I wouldn’t recommend the book to the faint of heart! haha.

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