The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball – Book Notes

In these notes, when I express my opinion or insight, I do so by the * symbol.

*I first read this book about 2008 and it has made a lasting impact on me by what it made me feel and what it motivated me to do.

Remember to clarify points of doctrine on any subject, go to the official Church website, or, or the newsroom link from which has an alphabetical index of LDS doctrine.

Also see and “Priesthood Handbook of The Church”

No Unclean Thing Can Enter Ch2:

-A scriptural list of sins p25

These Things Doth the Lord Hate Ch4:

-“Young married couples who postpone parenthood until their degrees are attained might be shocked if their expressed preference were labeled idolatry. Their rationalization gives them degrees at the expense of children. Is it a justifiable exchange? Whom do they love and worship – themselves or God? Other couples, recognizing that life is not intended primarily for comforts, ease, and luxuries, complete their educations while they move forward with full lives, having their children and giving Church and community service.” p41

-Concerning not using tobacco, “true followers of the Master will greatly desire to please him by living this and all his commandments.” p56

The Sin Next To Murder Ch5:

-The sin next to murder is adultery; premarital marriage. Any “crime of sexual impurity”. p62

-President David O McKay said about the dangers of youth and virtue, “Your virtue is worth more than your life. Please young folk, preserve your virtue even if you lose your lives. Do not tamper with sin… do not permit yourselves to be led into temptation. Conduct yourselves seemingly and with due regard, particularly you young boys, to the sanctity of womanhood. Do not pollute it.” p63

-Concerning God’s law of physical intimacy, and people breaking that commandment of no sexual relations before marriage, “Many rationalize that this attraction of two unmarried people is love, and they seek thereby to justify their intimate relations. This is one of the most false of all of Satan’s lies. It is lust, not love, which brings men and women to formication and adultery. No person would injure one he truly loves, and sexual sin can only result in injury.” p65

-“Our young people should know that their partners in sin will not love or respect them if they have freedom in folding their bodies. Such a practice destroys respect, not only for he other person but for self.” p66

-speaking of Joseph in Egypt, “He refused to yield to her pleadings. Her clothing, or lack of it, her perfumes, her sexy advances, her pleadings – all these bombarded a clean young man willing to suffer any penalty in order to keep his virtue.”

-The harlots house is “the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (Prov. 7:10, 13, 16-19, 21-23, 26-27). p72

Crime against Nature Ch6:

-“Most youth come into contact early with masturbation. Many would-be authorities declare that it is natural and acceptable, and frequently young men I interview cite these advocates to justify their practice of it. To this we must respond that the world’s norms in many areas – drinking, smoking, and sex experience generally, to mention only a few – depart increasingly from God’s law. The Church has a different, higher norm.” p77

-Masturbation leads to homosexuality. p78

–Homosexuality “is curable and forgivable… to those who say that this practice or any other evil is incurable, I respond ‘How can you say the door cannot be opened until your knuckles are bloody, till your head is bruised, till your muscles are sore? It can be done.’ ” p82

-Overcoming sin “involves mastering self. Plato had a word to say on this: “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” p82-3.

-The “approach of helpfulness, not condemnation; of understanding, not accusations; of sympathy, not threats – this has brought many men to their knees in surrender and gratitude and helped them back to normality.” p84.

-“Our approach is a positive one, dwelling upon the glories of the gospel land all its blessings, the happiness of proper family life, the joy in individual cleanliness. Its success is reflected in the numerous lives blessed with complete recovery.” p84

-“The difference between the reprobate and the worthy person is generally that one yielded and the other resisted.” p86

-“when one has once put his feet on the path to recovery and mastery there must be no turning back… Yet Satan will not readily let go. Rather, he will probably send a host of new temptations to weaken the resolve of the repentant one.” p86.

-“the repenting one must avoid every person, place, thing or situation which could bring reminders of the sordid past. He must avoid pornography in any form – any stories or pictures or records which stimulate the passions. He should part company with “… the prince of this world” (the devil – John 14:30) and all such associates. He should make new friends, establish new locations and begin a totally new life.” p87

-“Many yielding to this practice are basically good people who have become trapped in sin.” p88

Sins of Omission Ch7:

-“Remember, the Lord loves the homosexual person as he does all of his other children. When that person repents and corrects his life, the Lord will smile and receive him.” p89

-Speaking of sins of omission, “Waste is unjustified, and especially the wast of time- limited as that commodity is in our days of probation. One must live, not only exist; he must do, not merely be; he must grow, not just vegetate.” p92

-“To be passive is deadening; to stop doing is to die. Here then is a close parallel with physical life. If one fails to eat and drink, his body becomes emaciated and dies. Likewise if he fails to nourish his spirit and mind, his spirit shrivels and his mind darkens.” p93

-Quoting Arnold Bennett: “The real tragedy is the tragedy of the man who never in his life braces himself for his one supreme effort, who never stretches to his full capacity, never stands up to his full stature.” p94

-“Not to honor these pledges (made at baptism and the sacrament), to refuse to serve or to accept responsibility and do less than one’s best at it, is a sin of omission.” p95

-“Failure to act after one has made covenant to do so, the shirking of responsibility in the kingdom, brings inevitable condemnation.” p95.

-“Declining to serve when called may constitute a sin of omission as well as one of commission.” p95

-“The home teacher who is assigned the responsibility of teaching families must not fail to teach or to fulfill his assignment. The penalty is more severe than he thinks. He will be held accountable for difficult situations which arise in an assigned family and which with diligence he could have controlled.” p96

-neglecting to pay our tithing is “a transgression, not an inconsequential oversight.” it is “required of his followers.” p96

-“The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected. To fail to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side.” p97

-speaking of a married man, “He should strive to be the perfect husband and the perfect father, and positively do all things to make his family relationships as the Lord would have them be. Similar requirements are made of the wife.” p97

-“To refuse to bear or refrain from the bearing of children is an error of omission.” p97

-“The great parental responsibility is not met unless fathers and mothers do all in their power to train their children to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord, giving proper example and positive verbal teaching.” p97

-“Any selfishness on the part of parents which would deprive the childen of this training would be a sin of omission and answerable to the Great Judge when the time of judgement comes.” p98

-“To sit passively by enjoying all the benefits of the gospel and the Church and not share them with others of God’s children constitutes a serious sin of omission.” p98

-“failing to fast is a sin.” p98

-“it is not enough not to curse and blaspheme the name of Deity and think of him irreverently, ut man must call upon his name frequently in personal, family and public prayers in reverence and adoration. We should speak often of him and his program. We should read of him and his works.” p98

-“It is not sufficient that we do not kill or commit murder, but we should protect others from such crimes.” -98

-“Not only is suicide a crime, but one is obligated to protect and save and prolong his own life.” p99

-“Not only shall we not take life, but it is obligatory upon us to give life, both by bearing children into mortality and be leading people toward eternal life by teachings, proselyting and influencing them strongly toward that end.” p99

-“If is not good enough merely to refrain from injuring parents; we must honor them.” p99

“Nor is it sufficient to refrain from adultery. One must be positive and keep hands clean and heart pure and thoughts above reproach” p99.

-“Not only shall we not steal, but we shall protect others’ possessions.” p99

-“Not only should we not lust for something belonging to another, but we should gladly share our possessions.” p99

-“Many and varied are the excuses for sins of omission, and they are all irrelevant.” p99

-“One (sin of omission) is the unwillingness to get involved.” p99

-Speaking of the parable of the Good Samaritan, they who passed the wounded man by, “Had he died, some of the responsibility would have been theirs. His extra suffering due to their passing him by and leaving him without succor would also be laid to their charge.” p100

-“the Church member who has the attitude of leaving it to others will have much to answer for. There are many who say: “My wife does the Church work!” Others say: “I’m just not the religious kind,” as though it does not take effort for most people to serve and do their duty. But God has endowed us with talents and time, with latent abilities and with opportunities to use and develop them is his service. He therefore expects much of us, his privileged children. The parable of the talents is a brilliant summary of the many scriptural passages outlining the promises for the diligent and penalties for the slothful. From this we see that those who refuse to use their talents in God’s cause can expect their potential to be removed and given to someone more worthy. Like the unproductive gif tree their barren lives will be cursed. To them on judgment day will come the equivalent of these devastating words from Matthew 25:26-29, 30. p100.

As a Man Thinketh Ch8:

-“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” p104

-“Not only does a person become what he thinks, but often he comes to look like it. If he worships the God of War, hard lines tend to develop on his countenance. If he worships the God of Lust, dissipation will mark his features. If he worships the God of Peace and Truth, serenity will crown his visage.” p104

-“How could a person possibly become what he is not thinking?” p104

-“In speaking of carving out a character President David O McKay has said: ‘Your tools are your ideals. the thought in your mind at this moment is contributing, however infinitesimally, almost imperceptibly to the shaping of your soul, even to the lineaments of your countenance… even passing and idle thoughts leave their impression. Trees that can withstand the hurricane, sometimes yield to destroying pests that can scarcely be seen except with the aid of a microscope. Likewise, the greatest foes of the individual are not always the glaring evils of humanity but subtle influences of thought and of continual association with companions.” (*I see that no matter what gets us down, gets us down, no matter its size, so beware.) p105

-Quoting James Allen: “A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance, but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by stress of mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power. Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself. No such conditions can exist as descending into vice and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclinations, or ascending into virtue and its pure happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations, and man, therefore, as the lord and master of his thoughts is the maker of himself, the shaper and author of environment… let a man radically alter his thoughts and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be dept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit and habit solidifies into circumstance.” p105

-“Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right.” p105

-Allen is quoted “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it.” p106

-“The statement ‘As a man thinketh so is he’ could equally well be rendered ‘As a man thinketh so does he‘” p106.

-“Not only acts but attitudes rest on the thoughts we feed our minds.” p106

-Quotes an unknown author, “Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or evil – the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simply the constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be…. Life is a state of constant radiation and absorption; to exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiation. Man cannot escape for one moment from this addition of his character, this constant weakening or strengthening of others. He cannot evade the responsibility by saying it is an unconscious influence. He can select the qualities that he will permit to be radiated. He can select the calmness, trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility – make them vitally active in his character – and by these qualities he will constantly affect the world.” p107

-“Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” -Matt. 12:36-37 p. 107

-Speaking of the judgment bar of God, “At that day we may be sure that we shall receive fair judgement. The judges will have the facts as they ay be played back from our own records, and our voices and the pictures of our acts and the recordings of our thoughts will testify against and for us.” p109

-Speaking of John 4:18, “The Lord knew of her adultery as he knew her whole life.” p111

-“To retaliate and fight back is human, but to accept indignities as did the Lord is divine.” p113

-“The thought that stirred the look that provoked the lust was evil in its beginning.” p113

-“To want, to desire, to crave – that is to lust.” p113

-“When the thought is born which starts a chain reaction, a sin has already been committed.” p113-114

-“If the thought is sown, then develops into lust, it is almost certain to bring eventually the full harvest of the act of the heinous sin, adultery. Note that the term lust has other connotations in addition to the sexual one.” p114

-“the time to protect against the calamity is when the thought begins to shape itself. Destroy the seed and the plant will never grow.” p114

-“Man alone, of all creatures of eat, can change his thought pattern and become the architect of his destiny.” p114

-Quoting an unknown author, “A famous artist said he would never allow himself to look at an inferior drawing or painting, to do anything low or demoralizing, lest familiarizing with it should taint his own ideal and thus be communicated to his brush.” President Kimball says “observe the same principle, lest the tainting of his ideal be communicated to his eternal should. Accordingly, let our thoughts rest upon sacred things.” p115

-“President McKay likes to quote the following: ‘Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap an eternal destiny.’” p115

Point of No Return Ch 9:

-“But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.” Doctrine and Covenants 84:41. p117.

-“Without repentance there can be no forgiveness, and without forgiveness all the blessings of eternity hand in jeopardy.” p118

-“As the transgressor moves deeper and deeper in his sin, and the error is entrenched more deeply and the will to change is weakened, it becomes increasingly near-hopeless, and he skids down and down until either he does not want to climb back or he has lost the power to do so.” p117

-“the spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples” Helaman 4:24-25. p118

-When one has received the Holy Ghost he has a companion who will constantly warn and teach and inspire him. See Moroni 10:5.” p118

-“On the sad character of Cain [who “loved Satan more than God”], an interesting story comes to us from Lycurgus A. Wilson’s book on the life of David W. Patten. From the book I quote an extract from a letter by Abraham O. Smoot giving his recollection of David Patten’s account of meeting “a very remarkable person who had represented himself as being Cain.”;

“AsI was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me…. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight….” p128 (see this page for further reference)

-“Another scriptural character responsible for murder- and this in conjunction with adultery- was the great King David. For his dreadful crime, all his life afterward he sought forgiveness. Some of the Psalms portray the anguish of his soul, yet David is still paying for his sin. He did not receive the resurrection at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter declared that his body was still in the tomb. (See Acts 2:29-34)” p128

-“But even David, though guilty of adultery and murder of Uriah, obtained the promise that his should not be left in hell, which means, as I understand it, that even he shall escape the second death.” (Joseph F. Smith in “Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p 434) p128

-“The prophet Joseph Smith underlined the seriousness of the sin of murder for David as for all men, and the fact that there is no forgiveness for it.

“A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder or Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.

“Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.” p128

-Concerning war, the First Presidency said in April 6, 1942, ““The whole world is in the midst of a war that seems the worst of all time. This Church is a worldwide Church. Its devoted members are in both camps. They are the innocent war instrumentalities of their warring sovereignties. On each side they believe they are fighting for home, and country, and freedom. On each side, our brethren pray to the same God, in the same name, for victory. Both sides cannot be wholly right; perhaps neither is without wrong…. [God] will not hold the innocent instrumentalities of the war, our brethren in arms, responsible for the conflict.” p129

A Time of Reckoning Ch20:

-“The one who delights in all of the worldly luxuries of today, at the expense of spirituality, is living but for the moment. His day is now. He will be barred from the rewards of the higher life he rejected.” p307 (*I see people call rich living ‘the high life’ but truly it is not! The high life comes from living the gospel of Christ!)

-Even though the father forgave the prodigal son, what he wasted was gone, never to be had again. But the other son received all that his father had. p307

-The Prodigal son is forgiven, and is received back into the employ of his father, and has the love of the father. But it’s the other son who gets all his father hath, which is to say, eternal life. (*I see the one is blessed to be around those people and to have his needs met, but the other has much more and a fullness of blessing and establishment forever; he attains the same status as his father. But the prodigal son, he has squandered his part. What he has lost cannot be reinstated, nor can he take from his other brother. I see we need to repent while we have the chance and qualify for eternal life now, or else we will die in sin, and only be able to inherit the status of forgiven, loved, servant in the next life.)

-Speaking of the prodigal “He “despised his birthright”, and dissipated “all” of his inheritance, leaving nothing to develop and accumulate toward eternal heirship again. He had sold it for a mess of pottage as did Esau, another prodigal.” p310

-“Men and women who live in mortality and who have heard the gospel here have had their day, their seventy years to put their lives in harmony, to perform the ordinances, to repent and to perfect their lives.” p314

-“relative to the inhabitants of the terrestrial world (D&C 76:73-74) were they ever to receive the celestial kingdom? They had had their opportunity; they had wasted the days of their probation; they had ignored the testimonies of the servants of God; they had followed the world and lived a worldly life.” p314.

-“Again, undoubtedly many of those people in that spirit prison, like their brothers of this generation, must have been good people in the sense of not being criminal. They must have been “honorable men of the earth.” Perhaps many of them were honest, good neighbors, good citizens, and committed no heinous crime, but were not valiant. Are not the scriptures very clear that they have lost their opportunity for exaltation? Is it not clear that it was everlastingly too late for them when they had drowned, that they had wasted their days?” p315

-“The ‘unvaliant’ Latter-day Saint will find himself there [in the terrestrial kingdom].” p315

-“And modern prophets are warning frequently and constantly that people are being destroyed by their own acts.” p316

-“It seems, for instance, that we would rather tax ourselves into slavery than pay our tithing; rather build shelters and missiles and bombs than drop to our knees with our families in solemn prayer, night and morning, to our God who would give us protection.” p317

-“He has said, ‘I will fight your battles.’ But his commitment is on condition of our faithfulness. ” p319

-“He promised to the children of Israel: …rain in due season. The land yield her increase and trees their fruit. Granaries and barns will bulge in seed-time and harvest. Ye shall eat your bread in abundance. Ye shall dwell i your land safely and none shall make you afraid. Neither shall the sword go through your land. And five of you shall chase an hundred and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight…. ” p319

-Conversely, should we not expect the same punishments if we fail to serve him? To ancient Israel these were listed… rationing and scarcity of food, and sore hunger… desolate highways… pestilence uncontrollable. Your dead bodies will be piled upon the materialistic things you sought so hard to accumulate and save…”and the sound of a shaken leaf” shall chase you into flight, and you will flee when none peruse.”… your cities will be shambles; your churches in ruins. Your enemies will be astonished at the barrenness, sterility, desolation of the land they had been told was so choice, so beautiful, so fruitful. Then shall the land enjoy her Sabbaths under compulsion… Your people will be scattered among the nations as slaves and bondsmen. You will pay tribute and bondage, and fetters shall bind you.” p320-321

-“There is only one cure for the earth’s sick condition. That infallible cure is simply righteousness, obedience, godliness, honor, integrity. Nothing else will suffice.

-“To the unrighteous nation there comes a day of reckoning. To each individual… At that point the books will be finally balanced, all accounts due will have to be paid, all debts satisfied. Fortunately we have time to pay off our debts before that awesome day of judgement arrives. By repenting now, in this life, and living a life of righteousness thereafter, we can appear before God clean and holy.


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