123 The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness

123 The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness - The Brilliant...

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The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness President Boyd K. Packer Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,”  Ensign,  Nov. 1995, 18 In April of 1847, Brigham Young led the first company of pioneers out of Winter Quarters. At that same time, sixteen hundred miles to the west the pathetic survivors of the Donner Party straggled down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley. They had spent the ferocious winter trapped in the snowdrifts below the summit. That any survived the days and weeks and months of starvation and indescribable suffering is almost beyond belief. Among them was fifteen-year-old John Breen. On the night of April 24 he walked into Johnson’s Ranch. Years later John wrote: “It was long after dark when we got to Johnson’s Ranch, so the first time I saw it was early in the morning. The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over. I could scarcely believe that I was alive. “The scene that I saw that morning seems to be photographed on my mind. Most of the incidents are gone from memory, but I can always see the camp near Johnson’s Ranch.” 1 At first I was very puzzled by his statement that “most of the incidents are gone from memory.” How could long months of incredible suffering and sorrow ever be gone from his mind? How could that brutal dark winter be replaced with one brilliant morning? On further reflection I decided it was not puzzling at all. I have seen something similar happen to people I have known. I have seen some who have spent a long winter of guilt and spiritual starvation emerge into the morning of forgiveness. When morning came, they learned this: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” 2
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“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” 3 “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 4 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” 5 When the prophet Alma was young, he spent such a time “racked,” as he said, “with eternal torment, [his] soul … harrowed up to the greatest degree.” 6 He even thought, “Oh, … that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body.” 7 But his mind caught hold of a thought. When he nurtured the thought and acted upon it, the morning of forgiveness came, and he said: “I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. “And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as
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123 The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness - The Brilliant...

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