Knowing the hearts of men, and their intents, and their abilities to
repent and regenerate themselves, the Lord waits to forgive until the
repentance has matured. The transgressor must have a "broken heart and a
contrite spirit" and be willing to humble himself and do all that is
required. The confession of his major sins to a proper Church authority
is one of those requirements made by the Lord. These sins include
adultery, fornication, other sexual transgressions, and other sins of
comparable seriousness. This procedure of confession assures proper
controls and protection for the Church and its people and sets the feet
of the transgressor on the path of true repentance.
Many offenders in their shame and pride have satisfied their
consciences, temporarily at least, with a few silent prayers to the Lord
and rationalized that this was sufficient confession of their sins. "But
I have confessed my sin to my Heavenly Father," they will insist, "and
that is all that is necessary." This is not true where a major sin is
involved (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.179).