Each needs to feel the Savior's arms of mercy through the forgiveness of sins, said Elder Neil L. Andersen, sustained as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve during last April's conference.

"Repentance not only changes us, but blesses our families and those we love. With our righteous repentance, in the timetable of the Lord, the lengthened out arms of the Savior will not only encircle us, but will extend into the lives of our children and posterity. Repentance always means that there is greater happiness ahead," Elder Andersen said during the Saturday afternoon session.

Elder Andersen recounted the kindness he felt six months ago when President Thomas S. Monson extended the call to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve. "As he wrapped his long arms around me, and pulled me close, I felt like a little boy being held in the protective arms of a loving father.

"In the months since that experience, I have thought of the Lord's invitation to come unto Him, and to spiritually be wrapped in His arms."

Each, to some extent, has felt those spiritual arms, said Elder Andersen. "We have felt His forgiveness, His love and comfort."

Yet, with sin, "we turn away from God. When we repent we turn back toward God."

He said the invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement, but rather a loving appeal to turn around, and to return toward God; a beckoning "to be more than we are, to reach up to a higher way of life, to change, and to feel the happiness of keeping the commandments. … Repentance is a blessing to all of us."

Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, he continued, "removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing it with joy and peace of conscience."

For most, repenting is quiet and quite private, daily seeking the Lord's help to make needed changes.

"Repentance is more a journey than a one-time event," he said. "It is not easy. To change is difficult. It requires running into the wind, swimming upstream."

He defined repentance as a turning away from things such as dishonesty, pride, anger and impure thoughts, and turning toward other things such as kindness, unselfishness, patience and spirituality.

"Humbly petition the Lord," he counseled when deciding where repentance should be focused. "The answers come. We feel the changes we need to make. … We then are allowed to choose — We can repent or we can pull the shades down over our open window into heaven?"

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Sometimes in repentance, "we find ourselves repeatedly struggling with the same difficulties. … Don't be discouraged. If you are striving and working to repent, you are in the process of repenting.

"As we improve, we see our life more clearly, and feel the Holy Ghost working more strongly within us."

By confessing of sin, restoring what can be restored to the offended, forsaking of sin by keeping the commandments, "we are in the process of receiving forgiveness. With time, we will feel the anguish of our sorrow subside, taking away the guilt from our hearts and bringing peace of conscience," he said.

Watch video of this talk and other conference talks at ksl.com

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