We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (The Articles of Faith.)
Repentance and Forgiveness are two sides of the same coin.
You will never find and experience a Christ-like life through a hatred of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its Leadership. The Gospel of Jesus Christ just doesn’t work that way. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to edify and uplift everyone who chooses to be involved in it, including its associated Church and Leadership. It’s about building the Body of Christ. It’s all about building a Zion Community. In every Gospel dispensation, salvation and exaltation are a Community Affair. You are not going to be building Zion by actively and deliberately tearing it down. You are not going to be building Zion by apostatizing from the LDS Church, speaking evil of the Lord’s Anointed, refusing to attend Church, refusing to do your church callings, breaking your Temple Covenants, violating the Ten Commandments, refusing to attend the LDS Temples, and refusing to sustain your LDS leaders both local and general. You just can’t build Zion by spending all your waking hours fighting against it.
This is where repentance comes in. Repentance requires a great deal of humility. Repentance requires laying down your fight against the Church of Jesus Christ and instead taking upon you the yoke of Christ. Instead of spending all of your time walking into the darkness and digging yourself a big deep pit and crawling into it, repentance requires you to crawl out of the pit and then slowly walk back into the Light. If you don’t like the direction that you are going, then turn around and go the other way. That’s what repentance is, turning around and facing God, or turning to God. With repentance, you turn away from Satan and the darkness, and instead choose to walk towards the Light of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s a conscious decision, a choice. You literally choose to stop fighting against the commandments of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, your baptismal and temple covenants, and the LDS Apostles and choose to embrace them instead. That is what repentance is all about. Repentance is learning how to experience and live a Christ-like life, learning how to be as humble and meek and obedient and loving as Christ himself is.
In all things, Jesus Christ chose to subjugate or submit his will to the will of His Father, the man who is Jesus Christ’s church leader. We are asked to do the same, to deliberately follow the righteous counsel of our church leaders. Whenever our leaders speak while being moved upon by the Holy Ghost, that is the Voice of God speaking to us, and we are counseled to follow the Voice of God whenever it speaks to us, just as Jesus Christ humbly did throughout the whole of his existence, from the beginning of eternity to the end of eternity. Repentance, humility, choosing to follow God and His commandments is meant to be Eternal. It’s Eternal Life. In contrast, our pursuit of Satan and his ways is meant to be temporary and meant to be forsaken or abandoned. If repentance is done right, in a constructive and productive manner, then it will be done the same way that Jesus Christ did it, by choosing to follow the will of the Father in all things, by following our Leaders whenever they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost to speak the Words of God.
You cannot experience and live a Christ-like life while choosing to follow Satan. You cannot experience the Light of Christ while digging a pit and crawling into the darkness to live. You cannot experience a Christ-like life while actively fighting against the Church of Jesus Christ and its Leadership. You cannot experience a Christ-like life through self-deception. The more sober and sound-of-mind you become, the more Christ-like you will become. Jesus Christ brings us sanity, joy, and sobriety. Satan brings us insanity, depression, and addiction. Satan enslaves us, and Christ sets us free.
Repentance is all about choosing your course in life, including your course for the rest of eternity. You can choose to walk into the dark, or you can choose to walk into the Light. Repentance means having a choice. There are two ways to repent. You can choose to walk into the darkness and dig yourself a great big pit and crawl into it. Or, you can choose to walk into the Light all the way back into God’s presence to nevermore go out. You can choose spiritual death, or you can choose Eternal Life. The choice is yours. Repentance means having a choice and making a decision. Whether we choose well or choose poorly, we have repented or made a choice; and, we will get to live for the rest of eternity with the consequences of our choices.