dprh

Sacrament talk - Atonement and Repentance

Recommended Posts

I just received a text from a bishopric member asking if I can speak in two weeks on the topic of the Atonement and Repentance.  He also mentioned the other person speaking.  She's someone I know has also been re-baptized.  (in case anyone isn't familiar with my past I was excommunicated in 2019, and baptized again in 2020).  Speaking in sacrament has never been a very scary thing for me in the past.  I'd get a little nervous, but no real issues.  But thinking about this topic now, I'm near a panic attack thinking about being vulnerable enough to share anything from the last 3 years with the entire ward.  I know I don't have to, that I can go at it from an analytical, doctrinal view, but I get the feeling that I'm supposed to, or need to, take a personal approach.  It's really got my spinning.  I haven't even responded to him yet. Any advice, thoughts, references, examples I could share, etc. would be greatly appreciated. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, dprh said:

I just received a text from a bishopric member asking if I can speak in two weeks on the topic of the Atonement and Repentance.  He also mentioned the other person speaking.  She's someone I know has also been re-baptized.  (in case anyone isn't familiar with my past I was excommunicated in 2019, and baptized again in 2020).  Speaking in sacrament has never been a very scary thing for me in the past.  I'd get a little nervous, but no real issues.  But thinking about this topic now, I'm near a panic attack thinking about being vulnerable enough to share anything from the last 3 years with the entire ward.  I know I don't have to, that I can go at it from an analytical, doctrinal view, but I get the feeling that I'm supposed to, or need to, take a personal approach.  It's really got my spinning.  I haven't even responded to him yet. Any advice, thoughts, references, examples I could share, etc. would be greatly appreciated. 

If you make personal references - I believe that such should be uplifting, encouraging and centered in Christ (not so much personal beyond what is necessary for helping others).

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a general rule confession of sin over the pulpit is frowned upon and isn't generally necessary to get the point across. I've heard people simply say "I was in a dark place in my life" or "I was at the lowest point in my life" or something similar to set the stage and then moved into the real message of how the atonement changed that. Repentance is really a message of joy and peace and like @Traveler said that should be the tone of the overall message. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, laronius said:

As a general rule confession of sin over the pulpit is frowned upon and isn't generally necessary to get the point across. I've heard people simply say "I was in a dark place in my life" or "I was at the lowest point in my life" or something similar to set the stage and then moved into the real message of how the atonement changed that. Repentance is really a message of joy and peace and like @Traveler said that should be the tone of the overall message. 

That's a good point.  I am not contemplating going into any detail of my sins.  I'm worried more about saying or referencing excommunication or rebaptism. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess that any talk is a balance between what you have been asked to do, your interests, knowledge and experience, what the congregation wants or needs to hear, and what you find in the various source materials you examine during your preparations. It may be that the whoever assigned you the talk thought that your approach and preparations, and not necessarily your content and delivery could be informed to some extent by your recent experiences. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, dprh said:

That's a good point.  I am not contemplating going into any detail of my sins.  I'm worried more about saying or referencing excommunication or rebaptism. 

I personally don't even think that is relevant to the topic. We each have our own way of sinning and the consequences of those sins vary. But repentance is essentially the same for all of us and that is where you will connect with the audience. Even the smallest sin will keep a person out heaven and to that extent we are all on the same level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're supposed to do what the spirit directs.   If you were given the topic, and that's it, I wouldn't worry myself with what I think the Bishop wants.   I'd ponder and pray, then speak what needs to be spoken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, dprh said:

That's a good point.  I am not contemplating going into any detail of my sins.  I'm worried more about saying or referencing excommunication or rebaptism. 

Although it’s been referenced in the handbooks and in General Conference talks I find that many Saints don’t know a lot about disciplinary councils. As a teenager I knew what was in the scriptures, and for a standards night the wife of one of the high councilors shared with us about her husband’s change of demeanor when he sits in such a council; but it was decades later before I asked a high councilor directly about his experience and he shared with me that the first meeting is not supposed to be the last. That part of the intent is to have a plan in place for the member to come back into full fellowship. It was a tremendous witness to me of how such discipline can be done with the sort of love shown by the father of the prodigal son: the son may be reluctant to come home and face him in his shame and humiliation but the father embraces him before he has a chance to apologize. 
 

if you have had similar experiences, you don’t need to discuss your days as a swineherder but you can certainly testify to the incompleteness of a single meeting and the love of God shown by His servants. And you can share how that love is expressed in your own life as you’ve embraced the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, dprh said:

That's a good point.  I am not contemplating going into any detail of my sins.  I'm worried more about saying or referencing excommunication or rebaptism. 

Maybe just pick up from your point of rebaptism -- how you apply the Atonement of Christ and the principle of repentance today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm feeling much better this morning about it.  I talked with my wife and my sponsor about it.  I also have a meeting already scheduled with the bishop this week, so I'll get his input as well.  Thank you all for letting me vent a little :) .  I'm still open for more suggestions, also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I struggled through all sorts of panic and fear around giving talks in my '20's.  The first time I was asked to speak in sacrament, I ran my talk past my wife.  She said "this isn't a good place to beat yourself up like that."   I rewrote the whole thing and it went much better. 

I was thinking if I didn't say all that stuff, I wasn't being honest in my talk.   The key learning was: "It's a talk, not an opportunity to clear the air and repent.  You're here to bless them, not you."

So tell 'em what you think they would be blessed to hear.   If that means sharing a personal anecdote or two, then fine.  But it's not required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/14/2021 at 2:02 PM, dprh said:

I just received a text from a bishopric member asking if I can speak in two weeks on the topic of the Atonement and Repentance.  He also mentioned the other person speaking.  She's someone I know has also been re-baptized.  (in case anyone isn't familiar with my past I was excommunicated in 2019, and baptized again in 2020).  Speaking in sacrament has never been a very scary thing for me in the past.  I'd get a little nervous, but no real issues.  But thinking about this topic now, I'm near a panic attack thinking about being vulnerable enough to share anything from the last 3 years with the entire ward.  I know I don't have to, that I can go at it from an analytical, doctrinal view, but I get the feeling that I'm supposed to, or need to, take a personal approach.  It's really got my spinning.  I haven't even responded to him yet. Any advice, thoughts, references, examples I could share, etc. would be greatly appreciated. 

This is my take. The bishop (nor any leader) doesn't dictate how personal or general a talk should be. The leader only dictates the topic, and seeks to ensure correct doctrine is given over the pulpit.

Follow the Spirit dear brother! Allow the Lord to inspire you with what you feel is necessary, and what you feel is not necessary (or to personal). This is one thing I have come to know through the Spirit and talks. If you sense any confusion (as God isn't an author of confusion) cut it out of the talk.

When speaking if something comes to your heart and mind that is too personal. Cast it out. If it is important the Lord will bring it back to your remembrance again, and if you don't feel any confusion (maybe some anxiety but no confusion) share it. My personal rule of thumb: 1) Cast out first impression if personal. 2) Cast out second impression if too personal. 3) Pray in my and heart, "Father a personal experience has come to my impression twice. I'm not yet confident it is from you. If it is, bring it back to my remembrance, and I will share it with confidence." 4) Impression comes I share it with confidence.

I have been surprised at how many times I have had this happen and the thought never enters my heart and mind again, and when I am about to sit in my seat the impression returns. I sometimes think, "Oh I forgot that!" And then I remember my silent prayer, and it becomes a thank you to the Lord.

I'm sure you will do well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now