Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The most basic principles of the gospel are sometimes those least understood. And one of these is repentance. President and Sister Wood were taught in a recent missionary president’s training to help the young missionaries “enthrone repentance” as they talk to investigators. Many people do not clearly understand the principle. So Sister Woods message at Zone Conference on June 5th was the true meaning of repentance. In doing this she used Elder Theodore M. Murton’s Ensign article of August, 1988, “The Meaning of Repentance” as the basis of her talk which I’ve summarized below:
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the word used to refer to the concept of repentance is shube. “As I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from [shube] his way and live. (Ezek. 33:8-11) The Lord pleads with everyone to shube, or turn back to him and leave unhappiness, sorrow, regret, and despair behind.
The concept of shube (repentance) is also found in the New Testament which was originally written in Greek. The Greek writers used the Greek word metaneoeo when referring to repentance. The metaneoeo can mean air, the mind, thought, thinking or spirit depending on use. Metaneoeo means a change of mind, thought or thinking so powerful that it changes one’s very way of life. The Greek word metaneoeo is an excellent synonym for the Hebrew word shube. Both mean turning from evil to God and righteousness. But the Greek word metaneoeo was then translated into the Latin word poenitere. The Latin root poen is words and is the same root found in our English word punish, penance, penitent, and repentance. The beautiful meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words was changed in Latin to a meaning that involved hurting, punishing, whipping, cutting or even torture. It’s no small wonder then that people have come to fear and dread the word repentance, which they understand to mean repeated or unending punishment.
The meaning of repentance is not punishment, but rather change so that God can help them escape eternal punishment (regret and the emotional blocks that hinder us) and enter into his rest with joy and rejoicing. If we have this understanding, our anxiety and fears will be released. Repentance will become a welcome an treasured word (which supports health and healing.)
We can learn more about the meaning of repentance from the thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel, “if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statues of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.” (Ezek. 33:15)
At the age of 16 I received my patriarchal blessing. It stated that someday I would “cry repentance unto those who know not God nor the purpose for which they had come to earth.” This statement has always bothered me because I’m not a hell, fire and brimstone kind of girl. I do not enjoy telling people that they will burn in hell if they don’t repent, change their ways and join the church. I love my new understanding of repentance. It squares with my training in Energy Medicine. As a biofeedback therapist, I assist people in releasing the emotional blocks that creates disease in their body. I love this concept of repentance which builds, supports and releases rather than blames and shames. This is the most exciting thing I’ve learned since arriving in South Africa.
Leadership Training Photos
Senior couples are often invited to join the young elders in Zone Conference and or at their Leadership training. We provide the lunches and snack for them and often sit in on the training. Sister Wood enjoys taking group pictures like the one below. We were blessed to join them for leadership training on Friday, June 15th. AP’s Elder Doxey and Elder McDonald (shown addressing the meeting) described an experience they had on a recent flight to Transkei. They had prayed for an opportunity to teach the father of a big family who could become a “kingdom builder.” They were surprised to be seated next to one of the grandsons of Nelson Mandela who was on the same flight. They were able to bear testimony and tell him a little about our church. They gave him their contact information and a pass along card. He invited them to visit him when they were in Cape Town or when he was at his village in the Umtata District.