[At least once a month, and sometimes more often, President George D. Durrant of the Kentucky Tennessee Mission from 1972 to 1975 would write a message to all of the missionaries. He called such messages 'Newsletters'. This is one of them.]
It's hard to single out one principle that is more important than others. But it seems to me that we (you and me and all of us) need desperately to be able to repent. There's probably no one quite so excited as the person who has repented and knows he's on the right track. I say to you, my fellow companions, there's a lot of forgiveness behind our being here, all of us. And now that we have received a remission of our sins through our repentance and baptism, oh, how important it is to remain clean and pure!
The Doctrine and Covenants (82:7) states, "But unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God." In the twentieth section, verse 5, Joseph Smith records, "...it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins." This indicates that when Joseph Smith prayed in the grove of trees, one of the things he received was forgiveness of his sins.
I believe there has to be a grove of trees in all our lives, a time when we go before the Lord and lay it all out before him—what we've done and what we intend to do. Often, after having explained it to him, he gives us the impression that we should talk to our priesthood leader. When this is done in the proper manner, when we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, it's possible for us to receive a remission of our sins.
May the Lord bless us all that we might be able to teach repentance. We've all had some experience with it. The very purpose for our being here is to help each individual repent of his sins. There's no repentance without finally being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. And there's no place that this can be done except in the Lord's one true church. We are the Lord's agents. This is his church. I bear my humble testimony of that.