I was asked some time ago while a missionary in Georgia how forgiveness for sexual sin works. I was asked “if a person who lost their virginity would have it back when they repent?” Here is an attempt at an answer to that question:
I told you that being baptized (and repenting after baptism if the sexual transgression continues), does clean a person from the effects of sin, entirely.
… “The Miracle of Forgiveness” by Spencer W Kimball. I highly recommend that book… read [also] The Book of Mormon [to learn] that Jesus Christ has the power to save ….
I now want to give you a few more thoughts on the doctrine of purity through Christ:
-It’s not so much about your track record as it is about what track you are on. Of course as we will see later in this message, one must build the Kingdom of God.
-It’s not so much about who you were as who you are.
-For all intents and purposes, yes, the virginity comes back with repentance.
-The past is not erased, a person still had sex, but the consequences of it are gone. Some say repentance is like pulling nails out of a board but the holes from the nails remain in the board; the prophets have said that analogy is false doctrine. The correct doctrine is that when you repent the nails aren’t pulled out of the board, but a new board is given you. In other words, you are healed entirely.
-The scriptures speak about virgins being blessed. A person who used to be sexually active outside of marriage who then repents, is one of the virgins refered to in the scriptures. In scriptural language, a person who lost their virginity and repents is become a virgin again.
-Repentance isn’t about going back to innocence, it’s about moving forward to power. The repented person has both innocence, and power. The child has only innocence, no power. A person does not need to sin to have power, but the sinner who repents does gain power. Interestingly, another word for “virtue” is “power”. The woman who touched the robe of Jesus heard him say “virtue has gone out of me.” In other words, power had gone out of him and into her, healing her.
-A persons past sins do not make them a second class citizen in the kingdom of God. Paul and Alma the younger are good examples of this.
-You might wonder, “how could a person who has done serious sins become a pure perfect god, like Jesus or Heavenly Father? (or Heavenly Mother)?” The answer is that it doesn’t matter if you did sins, it matters that you became pure and powerful. Being a God is about being pure and powerful, not about how many times you stubbed your toe on the path to perfection. Just stay on the path, and get back on when you slip off. Then fight like hell to get to heaven.
Joseph Smith said of himself, that he was a rough stone rolling down a hill, getting the rough edges chipped off here and there. The smooth stone is what a God is in the analogy. When you are a smooth stone, you can tell your children “I am perfect. I am always perfect.” Our job in the plan of salvation is to repent and serve God. If we do that job, we become like God in every way. Jesus never sinned, but he was more intelligent than us. We don’t have to “never sin” to become a God. We just have to do the best we can with the amount of intelligence we have. In other words, to get salvation (and exaltation), the person must “do the best he / she can”. “Doing the best you can” means different things for different people. For Jesus, that man of supreme intelligence, “doing his best” meant never sinning. For us, “doing the best we can” means sinning as little as possible, and “always remembering [Christ]”, like the sacrament prayer says, and being willing to “take upon [us] the name of Christ”, like the sacrament prayer says. Notice it says “be willing” to do that; at this time, our name is not “Christ”, but in a future time, we will be recognized as “Christ[s]”, because we will have advanced to his stature. Jesus’ best is different from our best, but Jesus did his best so he is saved and exalted, now we must do our best so we can also be saved and exalted! Joseph Smith said we should “make our calling and election sure”, this means, don’t stop after temple, keep fighting for holiness until you are like God himself, and until a voice from the heavens promises you eternal life. Side note: calling and election made sure also deals with more temple ordinances like “the washing of the feet” in the temple, but you don’t need to worry about that, just do your best. I will attach a document of LDS quotes which I have compiled about the calling and election made sure at the end of this letter in case this subject interests you for further study (see ref 7). The point I’m trying to make with this “calling and election made sure” stuff is that when we say “do our best”, it’s a serious thing, not easily obtained. Of course it involves repentance throughout life. I also want to caution you against the mindset of thinking exaltation (becoming like God) is out of reach, because doing our best is too hard. No, if it’s too hard, then it’s beyond “your best”, and it’s not required for you. But recall President Eyrings words, “I can’t be a perfect servant every hour, but I can try to give more effort than I thought I could.” (see ref. 1 at end of this email.) Now recall these comforting words of Elder Bruce R. McConkie: he taught that if a person is in good standings with the church, and active in the church, along with the other active saints, for all intents and purposes, their calling and election is made sure. If they die while on that path of righteous activity in the church, they will be exalted (become Gods). For more on the topic of exaltation, I refer you to an article I wrote with this very question in mind, of how a person with a past of heavy sins could become a pure God, see reference 3 for that link. For another related article on exaltation I compiled which is very beautiful also, see reference 8. Lastly, to show that a person must serve God, I state this citation of Joseph Smith: “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.308) Now as you may know, getting the fullness of the priesthood applies to women as well. However Joseph isn’t saying here that we can’t ever make a mistake, he is saying that we must be obedient. Interestingly, repentance is one of the laws which we are instructed to obey. Further, we read this quote with a better understanding that becoming a God is not to be taken lightly. Apparently, becoming a God is so difficult that it requires practice and work even beyond death, that we can’t attain it in this life (Joseph Smith taught this), yet some who dwelt on this earth like Abraham have already become Gods (“Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.” D&C 132:29; “…they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.” D&C 132:37).
-I would not be surprised to hear of Gods in the universe (there is more than one God, Heavenly Father has a Father, etc., see reference 5, and recall the scripture that says “there are lords many and gods many, but to us there is 1 lord and 1 god” 1 Corinthians 8:5), I would not be surprised if there are Gods in the universe whom had a past of serious sins. However! And this is important: They must know what it’s like to be righteous. Salvation isn’t an easy or cheep experience. One cannot become exalted without sacrificing their all on the altar of righteousness. A God must have the credentials of knowing the pain of righteousness. He may obtain those credentials later rather than sooner, but have them he must. Salvation is about what Jesus did for you, but exaltation is about what you do for others. We cannot procrastinate the day of our repentance, and repentance includes both stopping bad things, and starting good things. A fence sitter who claims to like Jesus will never become a God.
-Preach the gospel with your might all your days, and you’ll be saved. … This doesn’t mean that a person needs to go on a mission to get forgiveness, or that it’s a long process; it does mean that preaching the gospel helps the petitioning candidate to qualify for the blessing of forgiveness. It proves to God that the candidate is serious about their new commitment to take up their cross and follow the Master, come hell or high water.
I hope you enjoy the lectures on “The Eternal Family” which I shared with you in the facebook link I sent, it mixes LDS quotes with scientific research proving the doctrines of the church regarding family. The teacher is Jason Carroll, I would also suggest his book “Sexual wholeness in marriage: LDS Perspectives” in which he addresses church rumors vs church doctrine when it comes to sexual interactions within marriage, and it’s quite a liberating joyful message. He also goes into the deeper meanings of sex, and why sex is so sacred in the context of Gods plan for us as revealed to us by Joseph Smith. An assigned reading for this class was “Successful marriages” which is a book based on the family proclamation, see reference 6 for a link to that and it’s sequel. In reference 9 I will re-paste the link to the powerpoint presentations to the eternal family class I took from Dr. Carroll.