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Forgiveness And Adultery


Yep

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Ok, first off, yippee, my first topic!!!

I have a rather complex question. I have searched, pondered and prayed repeatedly and have yet to feel that I understand this topic yet. I am coming here to find peoples views, further reference and just plain counsel. I will probably be a little less that complete in what I state here, but here is the problem and the rationale behind my struggle.

I am divorced. I am divorced due to my ex-wife having an affair with my high school best friend and my being unable to live with the fact of the affair. I tried to work through the emotions and remain married but as is commonly the case adulterers tend to repeat their offense. Also, neither of them have any remorse and both have told me, before the divorce, that they have no feelings of regret.

I am now remarried and will be going through the temple with my wife soon.

I am trying to forgive my ex-wife and her mister who is now her husband.

Now for the question or perhaps questions...

What does it mean to forgive them?

It is difficult to forgive them for what this has put my children through.

If they return to the Church and wish to be sealed, believing that God will do right by her and I, will our children be "sealed" in a manner of speaking to them? If so, I am struggling with sharing my children with her and her husband. Is this me not forgiving? If the Church were to ask my view if they were to wish to be sealed, and I struggled and wanted to say "no", would I have not forgiven sufficiently?

I struggle when her husband "steps on my toes" as a father. Does this reflect that I have not forgiven them?

Do I need to be ok with all of this to be truly forgiving of them? What does it mean to forgive them?

If you are not LDS, your religious views as to this subject are also appreciated. However, I'm not really interested in comments concerning whether you agree with the concept of eternal marriage or not and hope that this topic does not degenerate into a debate about such.

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What does it mean to forgive them?

It is difficult to forgive them for what this has put my children through.

If they return to the Church and wish to be sealed, believing that God will do right by her and I, will our children be "sealed" in a manner of speaking to them? If so, I am struggling with sharing my children with her and her husband. Is this me not forgiving? If the Church were to ask my view if they were to wish to be sealed, and I struggled and wanted to say "no", would I have not forgiven sufficiently?

I struggle when her husband "steps on my toes" as a father. Does this reflect that I have not forgiven them?

Do I need to be ok with all of this to be truly forgiving of them? What does it mean to forgive them?

Given what you have shared, to me, forgiving them means that nothing they do will bother you any more than if they had done it without you ever having been married to your unfaithful ex. In other words, whatever they do, the fact that she is your unfaithful ex has little or nothing to do with your personal reaction. It obviously impaccts responses and decisions involving chidlren, but you would be free of negative reactions about the betrayal, or at least be able to manage them well.

Questions of sealing status should probably go through your priesthood leaders. My understanding is that, all things being in order, children are sealed to the mother and to whomever she is sealed. But then again, as long as the child is BIC or sealed, I understand he can associate in the eternities with whomever he wishes.

It is normal for broken families to have trouble adjusting to any kind of sharing arrangements with subsequent new families anyway. Stepping on toes is going to happen. People should be as patient with themselves as with the new people in their lives, and not expect to be unaffected, as things aren’t going to go smoothly overnight. This is not necessarily as sign of unforgiveness, and shouldn’t prevent anyone from moving onward and upward in their new life.

Not consenting to a remarriage is not necessarily caused by a lack of forgiveness, but it could be a sign of not wanting to let go, and should this be the case, it could hold you back in enjoying your new life.

Given that, some people can live with the ambiguity of residual lack of forgiveness until they are fully converted, healed and perfected in Christ, which may take awhile. But a new life has to start somewhere.

Edited by CV75
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What does it mean to forgive them?

I believe that forgiveness is a process, and not an event. Also, remember what Alma the Younger says in the Book of Mormon. It doesn't say he ever forgot his sins, but it does say that he let go of the pain that was associated with them.

It is difficult to forgive them for what this has put my children through.

That's completely understandable. As hard as it is, though, be careful how you process this in front of them. No, there's no excuse for what their mother has done, but she is still their mother. You need to do whatever you need to do (individual counseling with a therapist and/or with a bishop, self-help, et cetera) to ensure that the way you process your own pain doesn't also give your children a great excuse to hold grudges. Much, much easier said than done, I know.

If they return to the Church and wish to be sealed, believing that God will do right by her and I, will our children be "sealed" in a manner of speaking to them? If so, I am struggling with sharing my children with her and her husband.

Things don't happen until they do. While this is also easier said than done, worrying about something before it happens is a tremendous waste of energy that is better spent helping you and your children heal and adapt. Trust Heavenly Father enough to realize that He loves you enough that whatever happens on the other side, no one's going to end up feeling like s/he got a raw deal.

Is this me not forgiving? If the Church were to ask my view if they were to wish to be sealed, and I struggled and wanted to say "no", would I have not forgiven sufficiently?

No, that's natural. Realizing that overcoming "the natural man" is a process and not an event, you can put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ. There's a title of a book I like (though I've never read the book itself) called, "Pain is Inevitable, Misery is Optional." Pain is endemic to mortality. (As the great philosopher, John Mellencamp once sang, "Hurts so good!" Sorry for the irrelevant/irreverent diversion; had to throw that in there ... ;)) God uses pain to teach us, but Satan is the one who wants us to be miserable "like unto himself."

I struggle when her husband "steps on my toes" as a father. Does this reflect that I have not forgiven them?

No. It's a valid concern. I wish I could give you advice for how to deal with it, but step-issues are outside my personal experience. I'm sure there are other inhabitants of the Board who can give you good advice.

Do I need to be ok with all of this to be truly forgiving of them? What does it mean to forgive them?

No. As surprising as it is and as difficult as it sounds, however, you can still come to love the sinner while still hating the sin.

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I think that before you can forgive you will need to pardon their actions. First a pardoning, then a forgiving. I don't know if we need to forgive every hurt that has been done to us by people. But we can pardon them for their actions. Pardoning can also give us a healing feeling too.

By pardoning someone, we also tell ourselves that we can pardon imperfections in behavior.

Edited by why me
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If you are not LDS, your religious views as to this subject are also appreciated. However, I'm not really interested in comments concerning whether you agree with the concept of eternal marriage or not and hope that this topic does not degenerate into a debate about such.

This topic may be moved to the social hall where debate is discouraged but conversation is encouraged. But lets hope that it stays in this section of the forum. Much will depend on the posters not taking this topic off from the original intent.

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Not consenting to a remarriage is not necessarily caused by a lack of forgiveness, but it could be a sign of not wanting to let go, and should this be the case, it could hold you back in enjoying your new life.

I do not believe it is a case of not letting go. My current question as to this particular aspect is whether doing so is a de facto statement of my being ok with my children being a part another family. If I were to give such permission would I also be giving up, or perhaps sharing is a better term, my rights to a point? And is such really in my children's best interest? Is such really how I should feel concerning my children? Should I really feel ok with this, and is that feeling of being ok with it a necessity for full forgiveness. Sometimes wording/defining these feelings correctly is a difficulty in determining if the feelings reflect my state of forgiveness or not.

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What does it mean to forgive them?

From what I understand it essentially means to let things go. Some choose to say forgive and forget but I think that is unwise counsel. Forgive yes, forget no. Know you know who you are dealing with and knowledge is power. The forget part I would rather say is just not bringing it up over and over.

It is difficult to forgive them for what this has put my children through.

If they return to the Church and wish to be sealed, believing that God will do right by her and I, will our children be "sealed" in a manner of speaking to them? If so, I am struggling with sharing my children with her and her husband. Is this me not forgiving?

I don't think this falls under the banner of forgiveness. I am not sure how one gets "over it". I am not sure really what to say here. I am not sure it is quite so cut and dry. In fact I am not so sure they could all get sealed with out your approval.

If the Church were to ask my view if they were to wish to be sealed, and I struggled and wanted to say "no", would I have not forgiven sufficiently?

I am not sure this is a matter of forgiveness.
I struggle when her husband "steps on my toes" as a father. Does this reflect that I have not forgiven them?
Again, this is not a matter of forgiveness. The guy sounds like an ***. And unfortunately this is just what happens sometimes when there is a divorce and you are stuck in a really bad situation. I would have suggested that you stay married to your wife because you would have had more power with the your family. But that ship is sail so you would need to make the most of the situation.

Do I need to be ok with all of this to be truly forgiving of them? What does it mean to forgive them?

No you don't need to be ok with it. That is not what forgiveness means. On the flip side the best thing to do is realize what exactly is going on here. When we know what is going on then we can better deal with it. I am quite sure you have a great deal better understanding of what is going on here than me. So I cannot offer much help.

I know, my response will be some what different. I listen to Dr. Laura a lot and I think she makes some very good points. I would suggest some of her books. I have family that is in the middle of divorce and a friend that was thinking of it. Was going to type more but I am not sure how much help it would be.

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This topic may be moved to the social hall where debate is discouraged but conversation is encouraged. But lets hope that it stays in this section of the forum. Much will depend on the posters not taking this topic off from the original intent.

I am slightly concerned about that. I would prefer the more formal response to a response more informal.

Since I am interested in the more formal response, here are some things that have caused me some thought:

The Miracle of Forgiveness and the D&C state that a woman who has been sealed in the temple and commits adultery will be destroyed.

A few articles from the Ensign compare the forgiveness of the adulteress to Israel and Judah being divorced and forgiven by Christ.

Edited by Yep
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I do not believe it is a case of not letting go. My current question as to this particular aspect is whether doing so is a de facto statement of my being ok with my children being a part another family. If I were to give such permission would I also be giving up, or perhaps sharing is a better term, my rights to a point? And is such really in my children's best interest? Is such really how I should feel concerning my children? Should I really feel ok with this, and is that feeling of being ok with it a necessity for full forgiveness. Sometimes wording/defining these feelings correctly is a difficulty in determining if the feelings reflect my state of forgiveness or not.

Since your children will now be apart of another family, there is not much you can do but pardon your wife and her future husband. By pardoning your wife, you will also be able to speak well of her to your children. You may not feel okay with it all until you are ready to do so. It does take time. But by pardoning, you will start the process of being okay with this new situation in your life.

Edited by why me
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The Miracle of Forgiveness and the D&C state that a woman who has been sealed in the temple and commits adultery will be destroyed.

I may not focus on the Miracle of Forgiveness but focus on what is best for you. And to be bitter is not best for you. Your wife committed a sin and she will have to ask heavenly father for forgiveness. And he is a forgiving father. My motto is: it is hard to forgive but easy to pardon. I often pardon a human beings imperfections.

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Have you asked a bishop to see the handbook so you can see for yourself what the guidelines for sealings are? My memory says that if the marriage is with the adulterous partner, they have to meet certain requirements for a certain amount of years (five?) I don't know the age of your children, but they may be old enough by then---if it ever happens which doesn't sound soon if they aren't remorseful---for you to discuss it with them to see what they feel is right.

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A divorce, including a sealing cancellation does not break the sealing of child to parent. They are still sealed to you and to your ex-wife, and always will be. They are not sealed to your ex-wife's new husband, even if he and your ex-wife become sealed.

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I am slightly concerned about that. I would prefer the more formal response to a response more informal.

Since I am interested in the more formal response, here are some things that have caused me some thought:

The Miracle of Forgiveness and the D&C state that a woman who has been sealed in the temple and commits adultery will be destroyed.

A few articles from the Ensign compare the forgiveness of the adulteress to Israel and Judah being divorced and forgiven by Christ.

It used to be that a marriage between adulterous partners could never be sealed in the temple, at least while living, IIRC. However, in line with the idea that the atonement can purify a sinful heart, this policy has now changed but it is still difficult....as it should be.
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Calmoriah. The wait period before such a sealing is 5 years before an application for sealing may be submitted by the local leaders. I suspect that permission for such sealings is not routinely granted, even after the five year minimum waiting period to make the application.

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A divorce, including a sealing cancellation does not break the sealing of child to parent. They are still sealed to you and to your ex-wife, and always will be. They are not sealed to your ex-wife's new husband, even if he and your ex-wife become sealed.

Good to know.
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Have you asked a bishop to see the handbook so you can see for yourself what the guidelines for sealings are? My memory says that if the marriage is with the adulterous partner, they have to meet certain requirements for a certain amount of years (five?) I don't know the age of your children, but they may be old enough by then---if it ever happens which doesn't sound soon if they aren't remorseful---for you to discuss it with them to see what they feel is right.

I have looked into it a little, but I'm not really enthusiastic in the process. I also went to a bishop a year or so after the divorce and asked him if it would be best to pursue a temple divorce. He told me that in the case of adultery no temple divorce was needed, that the sealing to her was done away with.

My question is more dealing with what forgiveness is than it is with advice directly to me. This is a situation that I think is often not having to be dealt with and I think the answer to the question in the instance would help me, and probably others, with understanding forgiveness on the whole. What are the bounds that must be reached for true forgiveness to have occurred? and are there points where forgiveness may seem to be limited but are not really a part of forgiveness or the process thereof?

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Ok, first off, yippee, my first topic!!!

I have a rather complex question. I have searched, pondered and prayed repeatedly and have yet to feel that I understand this topic yet. I am coming here to find peoples views, further reference and just plain counsel. I will probably be a little less that complete in what I state here, but here is the problem and the rationale behind my struggle.

I am divorced. I am divorced due to my ex-wife having an affair with my high school best friend and my being unable to live with the fact of the affair. I tried to work through the emotions and remain married but as is commonly the case adulterers tend to repeat their offense. Also, neither of them have any remorse and both have told me, before the divorce, that they have no feelings of regret.

I am now remarried and will be going through the temple with my wife soon.

I am trying to forgive my ex-wife and her mister who is now her husband.

Now for the question or perhaps questions...

What does it mean to forgive them?

It is difficult to forgive them for what this has put my children through.

If they return to the Church and wish to be sealed, believing that God will do right by her and I, will our children be "sealed" in a manner of speaking to them? If so, I am struggling with sharing my children with her and her husband. Is this me not forgiving? If the Church were to ask my view if they were to wish to be sealed, and I struggled and wanted to say "no", would I have not forgiven sufficiently?

I struggle when her husband "steps on my toes" as a father. Does this reflect that I have not forgiven them?

Do I need to be ok with all of this to be truly forgiving of them? What does it mean to forgive them?

If you are not LDS, your religious views as to this subject are also appreciated. However, I'm not really interested in comments concerning whether you agree with the concept of eternal marriage or not and hope that this topic does not degenerate into a debate about such.

Forgiveness isn't a set of specific reactions, its love and peace.

But I don't think getting angry at some new slight means you haven't forgiven the old. In fact, human nature is such that even if you have forgiven them the old, renewed offenses are likely to harrow up your old anger at the old offenses.

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Yep, I can tell you from experience that forgiving is difficult in these situations, not for yourself but for the on-going hurt to your children. I could handle what my ex did to me but I couldn't handle the effect on my children. My children are finally grown and I don't have to think about him or deal with him any more but I'm still not sure if I've completely forgiven him. I don't think forgiving means excusing. It does mean letting go and I probably have done that but not until after they were adults and none of us had to deal with him anymore.

As to what happens in the eternal perspective I long ago ceased worrying about that as I know all these things will be worked out as they should.

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I'm a former bishop who has counseled people like you.

Your children are sealed to you and there's nothing really that will contradict that.

Any children she has with him are also sealed to you unless she obtains a cancellation of sealing before the child is born. It is not likely this will be easy to obtain given the circumstances, or that she will be sealed soon to her new husband.

Under the circumstances, you should expect to take exception to your children's relationship with the new husband, but there's nothing to be done about that.

In terms of forgiveness, simply mouth the fact that you forgive her to your God in prayer, and to your ex-wife, and let the Spirit handle the rest and not worry about it.

Edited by Bob Crockett
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Forgiveness isn't a set of specific reactions, its love and peace.

But I don't think getting angry at some new slight means you haven't forgiven the old. In fact, human nature is such that even if you have forgiven them the old, renewed offenses are likely to harrow up your old anger at the old offenses.

This brought a side thought to me that I am not applying to my situation described above, but a general question.

Do you believe that this is similar to the concept that repentance includes a ceasing of the offending behavior? Forgiving repeatedly is required, but is there an additional sin when your actions cause another to have difficulty with forgiving? Do we need to be more careful with our repeating of offenses?

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This brought a side thought to me that I am not applying to my situation described above, but a general question.

Do you believe that this is similar to the concept that repentance includes a ceasing of the offending behavior? Forgiving repeatedly is required, but is there an additional sin when your actions cause another to have difficulty with forgiving? Do we need to be more careful with our repeating of offenses?

A good thought. Yes, part of the ill when we sin against someone is that we are doing damage to their soul by putting them in a position of hurt and anger. But if we sin twice, that damage can be more than twofold. I wonder if this is part of what the Savior was getting at in his parable of the house swept clean to which seven devils returned.

Edited by mrmandias
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There are two people I have not managed to forgive yet for the harm they did others I love. I know this because my stomach still knots up and I feel sick and cold if the situation suddenly flashes in my mind.

When I feel up to it, I pray that the Lord will release me from the anger. It is something so emotional and deep that no amount of self-instruction has penetrated. I trust that some day I will be healed, but I think that it really is something that I must turn to the Lord for because I have no clue what else I can try to get past it. I don't know how I would be able to deal with it if I was constantly having to confront the experience, but I suspect the Lord would be kind and help me resolve it as he has helped me resolve more immediate hurts.

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Ok, first off, yippee, my first topic!!!

I have a rather complex question. I have searched, pondered and prayed repeatedly and have yet to feel that I understand this topic yet. I am coming here to find peoples views, further reference and just plain counsel. I will probably be a little less that complete in what I state here, but here is the problem and the rationale behind my struggle.

I am divorced. I am divorced due to my ex-wife having an affair with my high school best friend and my being unable to live with the fact of the affair. I tried to work through the emotions and remain married but as is commonly the case adulterers tend to repeat their offense. Also, neither of them have any remorse and both have told me, before the divorce, that they have no feelings of regret.

I am now remarried and will be going through the temple with my wife soon.

I am trying to forgive my ex-wife and her mister who is now her husband.

Now for the question or perhaps questions...

What does it mean to forgive them?

It is difficult to forgive them for what this has put my children through.

If they return to the Church and wish to be sealed, believing that God will do right by her and I, will our children be "sealed" in a manner of speaking to them? If so, I am struggling with sharing my children with her and her husband. Is this me not forgiving? If the Church were to ask my view if they were to wish to be sealed, and I struggled and wanted to say "no", would I have not forgiven sufficiently?

I struggle when her husband "steps on my toes" as a father. Does this reflect that I have not forgiven them?

Do I need to be ok with all of this to be truly forgiving of them? What does it mean to forgive them?

If you are not LDS, your religious views as to this subject are also appreciated. However, I'm not really interested in comments concerning whether you agree with the concept of eternal marriage or not and hope that this topic does not degenerate into a debate about such.

The children will be with the one who remained faithful.
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Repentance is so much easier than forgiveness. Although being forgiven for sins does open up my heart to having an easier time being more forgiven.

The result of true repentance I find to be a change of heart that causes a great amount of growth in myself. Perhaps forgiving others is the same. Perhaps when I finally figure out what it really means to be forgiving in this situation I will find myself with a greater change of heart and a growth within myself. Both result in a greater inner peace.

Edited by Yep
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There are two people I have not managed to forgive yet for the harm they did others I love. I know this because my stomach still knots up and I feel sick and cold if the situation suddenly flashes in my mind.

When I feel up to it, I pray that the Lord will release me from the anger. It is something so emotional and deep that no amount of self-instruction has penetrated. I trust that some day I will be healed, but I think that it really is something that I must turn to the Lord for because I have no clue what else I can try to get past it. I don't know how I would be able to deal with it if I was constantly having to confront the experience, but I suspect the Lord would be kind and help me resolve it as he has helped me resolve more immediate hurts.

Until the day that all the pain is gone...I offer this.

Forgive

Forgive,

The scripture seemed to read,

As once again I’d look.

Forgive,

The scripture clearly said,

Annoyed I closed the book.

“Forgive“,

The Spirit softly spoke,

Startled I did fear.

Forgive,

The Spirit louder spoke,

I pretended not to hear.

“Forgive“,

The Saviour said to me,

I quickly questioned , Why?

“Forgive“,

The Saviour said again,

“For this I came to die.”

Then bitterly I cried out

How canst thou know my pain?

The wounds that I have suffered

My tears that fell like rain.

The quietly he spoke my name

And said, “I understand”.

Reached out that he may lift me

With wounds in both his hands.

Ashamed I said, How can I?

He reminded me again,

“For he who will not forgive,

In him lies the greater sin.”

Forgive,

The scripture seemed to read,

As once again I’d look.

Forgive,

The scripture clearly read,

I then embraced the book.

“Forgive“,

The Spirit softly spoke,

Now I did not fear.

“Forgive“,

The Spirit said again,

Once deaf, I now can hear.

“Forgive“,

The Saviour said to me,

“To you this gift I give.”

“Forgive,”

The Savior said again,

“Do this and ye shall live.”

William E. Lee

Copyright 1996

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