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Applying the scriptures: only Godly sorrow and contrite spirit bring repentance

      Mormon was heartened at first by the mourning and sorrow of his people after suffering defeat at the hands of the Lamanites (See Mormon 2:12), because he thought they had been humbled and "would again become a righteous people."

      "But behold this my joy was vain," he lamented, "for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin."And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God and wish to die." (Mormon 2:13-14.)

      At the 1991 Sperry Symposium at BYU, Brent L. Top of the religion facility commented: "Godly sorrow - the broken heart and contrite spirit - is much more than remorse or regret over having sinned. Mormon observed anguish in his own people and described it as the sorrowing of the damned' (see Mormon 2:12-14). It was a sorrow born of sins and circumstances but which did not producefaith unto repentance.' Many may be remorseful for past actions and regret the consequences that have befallen them but do nothing to change, to come unto Christ and partake of his mercy and to comply with the requirements of the gospel. A broken heart and contrite spirit' is an attitude that always leads to a commitment to change. Alma spoke of this kind of motivational sorrow for sin when he declared to Corianton,Let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance (Alma 42:29.)

      "The sorrow that is acceptable in the sight of God, is that which leads to true repentace, or reformation of conduct,' wrote Elder Orson Pratt.This kind of sorrow will lead us to obey every commandment of God; it will make us humble and childlike in our dispositions; it will impart unto us meekness and lowliness of mind; it will cause us to watch, with great carefulness, every word, thought and deed; it will call up our past dealings with mankind, and we will feel most anxious to make restitution to all whom we may have, in any way injured....These and many other good things are the results of a godly sorrow for sin. This is repentance not in word, but in deed: this is the sorrow with which the heavens are pleased.'"