December 2013

“Repentance,” Ensign, Dec. 2013, 13

Teaching For the Strength of Youth


The Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ makes repentance possible, and every one of us must repent.

Sometimes we become afraid when the serious nature of a sin requires confession to a bishop or branch president, explains Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy in an article on pages 28–29 of this month’s New Era. However, “those who have traveled the repentance road will tell you that not only is the journey possible but that when you have been there and look back, this is what you are going to see:

“You can do this. And when you do, everything will be better. …

“As soon as you start, you will feel relief. …

“Your bishop will help you through this. You will love him and never forget him.”

Suggestions for Teaching Youth

Read with your teens the section about repentance in For the Strength of Youth. Discuss the blessings we can receive through the Atonement and how repentance makes these possible.

You could also share your testimony of repentance and the Atonement and what they mean in your life. You may also want to ask your teens to share their testimony of repentance with you. And as appropriate, you could invite teenage children to help younger brothers and sisters with the activity described below.

Suggestions for Teaching Children

To demonstrate what it means to stay on the path the Lord has commanded us to follow, consider using a toy car (or an airplane, boat, or wagon) in an object lesson. Use a map and ask the child to move the car from one point on the map to another. Ask, “What is necessary if the vehicle starts to stray off course?”

When it is clear that if a vehicle strays, it must be brought back to the right course, ask how this is like repentance. Explain that sometimes as we travel through life, we have to change our direction to make sure we are headed the right way. Sometimes we can do this on our own. But sometimes we need help. Ask the children to tell about times when they have helped themselves, times when others have helped them, and ways in which Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can help them. As you teach this topic, keep in mind that children under the age of eight are not accountable and do not need to repent, but it is valuable for them to learn about the principle of repentance.

Discuss their answers with them and talk about how repentance is a gift from Heavenly Father and from Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to return to Them again.