When I was a deacon I was conversing with a friend in the hallway when I accidentally uttered “hell” in a non-scriptural context; this was not a common word for me to use and it felt heavy coming out--sure enough a young woman I admired was walking by at the same moment and gasped at my foul mouth. I was devastated and that same night I prayed earnestly for forgiveness and felt the warm embrace the Atonement immediately.
In the context of my adult life I understand that accidentally uttering a mild swear word will not be the worst of my sins but it is in that context that I want to discuss the love of Jesus Christ in our lives.
During the Sunday Morning session of General Conference, President Utchdorf told about the Dresden Firebombing of World War II in which a sprawling ancient city was reduced to rubble in the matter of days and compared it to our own spiritual well being. How many times have we felt our spirit be utterly destroyed by the depths of sin?
I came to BYU in 2004, I had little hope or wish of church activity. Over the next five or six years I attended only enough to maintain my endorsement. I confess at this point I no longer felt any personal connection to the Gospel and I only continued to attend out of a social obligation but generally ignored the standards it involved. It took my heart being broken by a young woman to make me evaluate my life and start to turn it around though I confess it was originally just a design to win the lady back.
President Utchdorf taught: “It matters not how completely ruined our lives may seem. It matters not how scarlet our sins, how deep our bitterness, how lonely, abandoned, or broken our hearts may be. Even those who are without hope, who live in despair, who have betrayed trust, surrendered their integrity, or turned away from God can be rebuilt. Save those rare sons of perdition, there is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored.”
How wonderful and true that statement truly is. Despite my selfish reasons for returning to church activity I still felt the arms of Christ welcome me back because that is how much he loves us. As Elder Gong said “Remember, He knows all the things we don’t want anyone else to know about us—and loves us still.”