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President Nelson Repentance Quotes

President Nelson has emphasized the need for daily repentance, the role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and attaining joy through repentance.

Many Russell M. Nelson quotes focus on repentance. Since being called as an apostle, Russell M. Nelson has discussed the need for daily repentance, the role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and attaining joy through repentance. This post compiles President Nelson quotes about repentance from across his ministry.


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President Nelson Quotes on Repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Because of Jesus Christ

Because of Jesus Christ, we can repent and be forgiven of our sins. Because of Him, each of us will be resurrected. 

“The Answer Is Always Jesus Christ,” April 2023 general conference

Atonement of Jesus Christ

It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.

There is no amorphous entity called “the Atonement” upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus Christ is the source. Sacred terms such as Atonement and Resurrection describe what the Savior did, according to the Father’s plan, so that we may live with hope in this life and gain eternal life in the world to come. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice—the central act of all human history—is best understood and appreciated when we expressly and clearly connect it to Him.

“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Conference Report April 2017

The Meaning of Atonement

Let us now ponder the deep meaning of the word atonement. In the English language, the components are at-one-ment, suggesting that a person is at one with another. Other languages employ words that connote either expiation or reconciliation. Expiation means “to atone for.” Reconciliation comes from Latin roots re, meaning “again”; con, meaning “with”; and sella, meaning “seat.” Reconciliation, therefore, literally means “to sit again with.”

Rich meaning is found in study of the word atonement in the Semitic languages of Old Testament times. In Hebrew, the basic word for atonement is kaphar, a verb that means “to cover” or “to forgive.” Closely related is the Aramaic and Arabic word kafat, meaning “a close embrace”—no doubt related to the Egyptian ritual embrace. References to that embrace are evident in the Book of Mormon. One states that “the Lord hath redeemed my soul … ; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” [2 Nephi 1:15]. Another proffers the glorious hope of our being “clasped in the arms of Jesus” [Mormon 5:11].

I weep for joy when I contemplate the significance of it all. To be redeemed is to be atoned—received in the close embrace of God with an expression not only of His forgiveness, but of our oneness of heart and mind. What a privilege! And what a comfort to those of us with loved ones who have already passed from our family circle through the gateway we call death!

“The Atonement,” Conference Report, October 1996

On Conditions of Repentance

The Lord declared that “this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). He who had created the earth came into mortality to fulfill the will of His Father and all prophecies of His atonement. And His atonement redeems every soul from penalties of personal transgression, on the condition of repentance.

“Constancy amid Change, Conference Report, October 1993

President Nelson Quotes on Repentance and the Doctrine of Christ

The Doctrine of Christ

As [members] focus on the message, goals and objectives of the Lord, their understanding of the doctrine of Christ — faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, which includes participating in eternal covenants — will help them comprehend the entire plan of salvation.

“Epistles of the Lord,” Seminar for New Mission Presidents on June 25, 2015

Virtuous Cycle

How, then, do we overcome the world? King Benjamin taught us how. He said that “the natural man is an enemy to God” and remains so forever “unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” Each time you seek for and follow the promptings of the Spirit, each time you do anything good—things that “the natural man” would not do—you are overcoming the world.

Overcoming the world is not an event that happens in a day or two. It happens over a lifetime as we repeatedly embrace the doctrine of Christ. We cultivate faith in Jesus Christ by repenting daily and keeping covenants that endow us with power. We stay on the covenant path and are blessed with spiritual strength, personal revelation, increasing faith, and the ministering of angels. Living the doctrine of Christ can produce the most powerful virtuous cycle, creating spiritual momentum in our lives. 

“Overcome the World and Find Rest,” October 2022 general conference

Redeemed from our Sins

Even the Savior cannot save us in our sins. He will redeem us from our sins, but only upon condition of our repentance. We are responsible for our own spiritual survival or death. (See Rom. 8:13–14Hel. 14:18D&C 29:41–45.)

“Doors of Death,” Conference Report April 1992

Requirements for Eternal Life

The Savior’s gift of immortality comes to all who have ever lived. But His gift of eternal life requires repentance and obedience to specific ordinances and covenants. Essential ordinances of the gospel symbolize the Atonement. Baptism by immersion is symbolic of the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Redeemer. Partaking of the sacrament renews baptismal covenants and also renews our memory of the Savior’s broken flesh and of the blood He shed for us. Ordinances of the temple symbolize our reconciliation with the Lord and seal families together forever. Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life—the greatest gift of God to man—the “object and end of our existence” [D&C 107:23].

“The Atonement,” Conference Report, October 1996

Qualifications for Justice and Mercy

Faith, repentance, and obedience will qualify you for sublime gifts of justice and mercy, which are bestowed upon those worthy of the blessings of the Atonement. (See Alma 34:16–17.) 

“Choices,”  Conference Report, October 1990

Everything Good Begins with Faith

Everything good in life—every potential blessing of eternal significance—begins with faith. Allowing God to prevail in our lives begins with faith that He is willing to guide us. True repentance begins with faith that Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse, heal, and strengthen us.

“Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” April 2021 General Conference

Faith Requires Repentance

Many may profess a measure of faith in God, but without sincere repentance, faith cannot be fully operative. This concept was made known to the Nephites:

“Many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, … and are led to believe the holy scriptures, … which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them.” (Hel. 15:7.)

“Choices,” Conference Report, October 1990

Repentance is Progress

We are here on earth to be tested, to see if we will choose to follow Jesus Christ, to repent regularly, to learn, and to progress. Our spirits long to progress. And we do that best by staying firmly on the covenant path. 

“Moving Forward,” Conference Report, October 2020

Repentance and Joy

A Force for Change

As we repent and live in accordance with the commandments of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ becomes a force for permanent change in our lives. We become more pure in heart and true disciples of the Master. Personal prayer, contributions of tithes and offerings, honoring the Sabbath day, and partaking of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper are all regular practices that protect us from the bondage of sin and bring us true freedom and joy.

“Combatting Spiritual Drift—Our Global Pandemic,” September 1993

A Gospel of Repentance

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance. Because of the Savior’s Atonement, His gospel provides an invitation to keep changing, growing, and becoming more pure. It is a gospel of hope, of healing, and of progress. Thus, the gospel is a message of joy! Our spirits rejoice with every small step forward we take. 

“Welcome Message,” April 2021 General Conference

Daily Repentance Leads to Peace and Joy

Our ultimate quest in life is to prepare to meet our Maker. We do this by striving daily to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. And we do that as we repent daily and receive His cleansing, healing, and strengthening power. Then we can feel enduring peace and joy, even during turbulent times. This is exactly why the Lord has implored us to stand in holy places and “be not moved.” 

“Opening Message,” Conference Report, April 2020
A President Nelson quote about repentance that says, "Our ultimate quest in life is to prepare to meet our Maker. We do this by striving daily to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ."
A Russell M. Nelson quote about preparing to meet God emphasizes our need to repent and strive daily to become more like our Savior.

President Nelson Quotes on Repentance and Change

Joy of Redemption

When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!  

“We Can Do Better and Be Better,” Conference Report, April 2019

Repentance Defined

The doctrine of repentance is much broader than a dictionary’s definition. When Jesus said “repent,” His disciples recorded that command in the Greek language with the verb metanoeo. This powerful word has great significance. In this word, the prefix meta means “change.” The suffix relates to four important Greek terms: nous, meaning “the mind”; gnosis, meaning “knowledge”; pneuma, meaning “spirit”; and pnoe, meaning “breath.” 

Thus, when Jesus said “repent,” He asked us to change—to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit—even our breath. A prophet explained that such a change in one’s breath is to breathe with grateful acknowledgment of Him who grants each breath. King Benjamin said, “If ye should serve him who has created you … and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath … from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants” (Mosiah 2:21).

“Repentance and Conversion,” Conference Report, April 2007

Repentance and Conversion

Repentance is conversion! A repentant soul is a converted soul, and a converted soul is a repentant soul.

“Repentance and Conversion,” Conference Report, April 2007

Repentance is Liberating

Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us.

The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeo. The prefix meta- means “change.” The suffix -noeo is related to Greek words that mean “mind,” “knowledge,” “spirit,” and “breath.”

Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,” He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.

Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  

“We Can Do Better and Be Better,” Conference Report, April 2019

President Nelson Quotes About Repentance and Addiction

Addiction Reduces Time for Repentance

If you yield to anything that can addict, and thus defy the Word of Wisdom, your spirit surrenders to the body. The flesh then enslaves the spirit. This is contrary to the purpose of your mortal existence. And in the process of such addiction, your life span is likely to be shortened, thereby reducing the time available for repentance by which your spirit might attain self-mastery over your body. 

“Self-Mastery,” Conference Report, October 1985

Easier to Repent of Addiction with a Body

Addiction to any substance enslaves not only the physical body but the spirit as well. Therefore, repentance is best achieved while one still has a body to help attain spiritual supremacy. 

“Addiction or Freedom,” Conference Report, October 1988

Repent in this Life

Full repentance from addiction is best accomplished in this life, while we still have a mortal body to help us.

“We Are Children of God,” Conference Report, October 1998

President Nelson Quotes on Repenting Sooner Rather Than Later

Importance of Repentance

How important is repentance? Alma taught that we should “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord.” Repentance is required of every accountable person who desires eternal glory. There are no exceptions. In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord chastised early Church leaders for not teaching the gospel to their children. Repenting is the key to progress. Pure faith keeps us moving forward on the covenant path.

Please do not fear or delay repenting. Satan delights in your misery. Cut it short. Cast his influence out of your life! Start today to experience the joy of putting off the natural man. The Savior loves us always but especially when we repent. He promised that though “the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed … my kindness shall not depart from thee.”

If you feel you have strayed off the covenant path too far or too long and have no way to return, that simply is not true. Please contact your bishop or branch president. He is the Lord’s agent and will help you experience the joy and relief of repenting.

“The Power of Spiritual Momentum,” April 2022 general conference
A President Nelson quote that says, "Please do not fear repenting. Satan delights in your misery. Cut it short. Cast his influence out of your life!"
A Russell M. Nelson repentance quote about not delaying repentance.

Yes, we should learn from the past, and yes, we should prepare for the future. But only now can we do. Now is the time we can learn. Now is the time we can repent. Now is the time we can bless others and “lift up the hands which hang down.”

“Now Is the Time,” April 2022 general conference

President Nelson Quotes on Repentance and Temple Work

Repentance is Part of Temple Work

‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam’? Yes! And you too! He also wants us as bonding blacksmiths—creating celestial welding links—to curb the curse of family fragmentation. The earth was created and temples provided so that families can be together forever. Many, if not most, of us could repent and be converted to more temple and family history work for our ancestors. Thus, our repentance is necessary and essential for their repentance.

“Repentance and Conversion,” Conference Report, April 2007

Repentance After Death

Each living person can repent. But what about those who have died? They also have opportunities to repent. Scripture declares that “the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance … among those who are … under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.

“The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,

“And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, [they] shall receive a reward according to their works” (D&C 138:57-59). 

“Repentance and Conversion,” Conference Report, April 2007

Repent of Prejudice

We join with many throughout this nation and around the world who are deeply saddened at recent evidences of racism and a blatant disregard for human life. We abhor the reality that some would deny others respect and the most basic of freedoms because of the color of his or her skin. 

We are also saddened when these assaults on human dignity lead to escalating violence and unrest. 

The Creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children. Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent!

During the Savior’s earthly mission, He constantly ministered to those who were excluded, marginalized, judged, overlooked, abused, and discounted. As His followers, can we do anything less? The answer is no! We believe in freedom, kindness, and fairness for all of God’s children!

Let us be clear. We are brothers and sisters, each of us the child of a loving Father in Heaven. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him—“black and white, bond and free, male and female,” (2 Nephi 26:33). It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.

Post on Facebook, June 1, 2020

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By Chad Nielsen

Biotech professional. Armchair historian. Latter-day Saint.

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