So, I just want to write to everyone about a talk that was given yesterday in our YSA ward. I probably don't remember it all and exactly how it goes but, I pray that I will be able to remember so the Spirit can testify to each of you of the power of the Atonement.
Bro. So-and-so got up from the High Council over the YSA stake and committed everyone to do 2 things. The First: "Turn off your cell phones and iPads like in a movie theater so there are no distractions." The Second: to open their hearts and pay attention to the Holy Ghost. Then he gave a promise. "I promise you that you will leave here a different person than when you walked in. The title "Savior" will have a greater meaning to each of you than it has before."
He then spoke of his calling that he had in the past of a Singles ward bishop. He had it for 4 years. Everyone that ever walked into his office asked about the giant rubber band ball that sat on his desk. He invited them to sit down and began to explain the rubber band ball. He said talked about how the ball is entirely made up of rubber bands. That it started with one small one and as he continued to build the rubber bands had to get bigger. He would tell them that they were sitting down there because they had built their own ball they they now wanted to get rid of. They would always look at him like, "okay... explain the ball thing to me," so he would. The rubber bands represented mistakes or things that caused feelings of guilt or shame. It started with one incident and would continue to build. When you throw a rubber band ball at the ground, trying to hide it underneath the table, it always bounces back up. As the ball gets bigger it gets harder to hide and when one of those "rubber bands" gets brought up, they all come out of hiding. "So! let us work on getting rid of your rubber band ball."
He would then give a sheet of paper and a pen to the person he was meeting with. He would tell them to make a list of everything they felt guilty for or had any problems with. He would then go over the 5 steps of repentance; 1) Acknowledge you have done something wrong. 2) Be sorry for what you have done. Godly sorrow, not worldly sorrow. 3) Confess what you have done and Correct it. Make Restitution. 4) Drop it. Forgive yourself or forgive those that wronged you. 5) Endure to the end. (We teach those as the ABC's of repentance). He would then ask them to go and do those five things and would reschedule. They would come back and he would hand them a red pen and tell them to write those 5 steps over their list of things. That represented to Blood of Christ washing away their pains and sorrows, their guilts and shames and their own mistakes and wrongdoings. He would get papers turned into him where you could no longer see any trace of their original list. The papers would be completely covered in "Christ's atoning blood" and would be wet from tears.
He then tells the story of a specific girl that walked into his office dressed in gothic clothes, hair dyed jet-black earing thick black sunglasses. He explained the rubber ball to her without her asking and went through the same steps. She never said a word and walked out of the office. He felt a little awkward and discomforted by it but things went on. He saw the same girl 5 weeks later and the same things happened. Not a word from her mouth and she left. 3 weeks after the second visit she comes in early and throws a spiral notebook on his desk and says, "We have an appointment at 5. I suggest you start now." She walked out of the room and came back at 5. She had a list of 125 things on her list. The former bishop went over her list with her and she told him that there was one boy she could not forgive. That she would never forgive because of the things he had done to her. She told the bishop (now our high councilman) that she was leaving for 3 weeks up to Utah for Christmas. He told her to write a letter to this boy telling him everything he has done wrong and everything she hated about him. Then to write, in the same letter, everything she had learned from him. Lastly, to teach him about the Atonement. She walked out of his office saying, "I dont think I can do that but I will try."
3 weeks later a girl with blonde hair, brightly colored clothes bounces into his office and exclaims her excitement towards the bishop and tells him that she has scheduled a meeting with him and with see him soon. The bishop was puzzled as to who this girl was! He then remembered the girl from before and realized this was the same girl.
They met later that day and she told him her story. She told him that she had decided to write the letter. How she thought he needed to go to places and how much she hated him and how much he had ruined her life. She then wrote about how she learned all of the "what not to do's" about life from him. Then she started to teach him about the Atonement. An overwhelming sense of joy filled her mind. The Holy Ghost impressed upon her that she truly had been forgiven of everything, that The Savior had taken her burden and lifted it from her back. She could feel nothing but an immense sense of love for this young man. She then began to advise him to meet with his bishop and to do the same things she had done so as to better his life. She finished the letter and decided not to send it after all. One hour later she gets a phone call from this young man. He told her how he had met with his bishop and was calling to ask for forgiveness.
The Spirit filled the Bishop's office and testified to them both that they could pronounce her clean before the Lord at that time. She had completed her list and applied the Atonement to herself. She had gotten rid of her Rubber Band ball.
I love every one of you. I know the Savior lives and that He died for all of us. He is able to help us overcome even our greatest struggles. I love Him. I know Our Heavenly Father loves us. I miss you all and can't wait to see you on Christmas.
~Elder Daniel Peterson