|The Tide Pen, savior of every|
white shirt to go on a mission.
Fortunately, you have one of these awesome Tide pens. So, you whip it out of your backpack, and use it on your shirt. It takes a little bit of work, but once you've done sufficient Tide Pen scribbling, suddenly, the stain is gone! All that's left is a very faint and nearly invisible outline of where you got "sauced". So, you take it home, throw your shirt in the washer and dryer while you're doing laundry and, voila! No evidence of your clumsiness whatsoever. If you didn't have a Tide pen in your moment of need, that stain would never come out! Of course, the cleansing process wouldn't be complete without the washer and dryer, either.
Now, with a little bit of imagination, an analogy can be drawn here. Every time we sin, or do something contrary to the will of God (as we all do, we're human after all), we get proverbial spaghetti sauce all over our spirits! We know from the scriptures that "... no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven" (Alma 11:37), so we're in a bit of a predicament. All of us have made ourselves unclean through sin, and therefore can't inherit heaven unless we are somehow made clean again. But how?
Well, in the same way that every prepared missionary has a Tide pen equipped to cleanse his or her shirt, we too, as sons and daughters of God, have been equipped with a way to cleanse our spirits from sin. This is repentance. Repentance is fueled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ paid the price to God for all of our sins, if we will repent our sins will be forgiven. It will take some work, and it may be hard, but you can be clean. Of course, the process doesn't end right there either. Just like how you have to put a soiled shirt through the washer and dryer even after using a Tide pen, there are things we must do to complete our repentance process.
The first thing to do is be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. This, along with receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by someone who holds the same authority, completely cleanses us of sin. Of course, we're human, so we are going to sin again. For this reason, Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament. As you go to church each week and partake of the Sacrament, your repentance process is completed (assuming, of course, that you have repented prior to taking the Sacrament), and your sins are made clean. Much like the Tide pen/washing machine relationship, repentance is not complete without baptism or the sacrament, and baptism or the sacrament alone can't cleanse us unless we're truly repentant. The two must go hand in hand.
I know that through Jesus Christ, we can all repent and change to be what He wants us to be. We can be cleansed and therefore qualify for the kingdom of heaven. I don't think anyone can put it better than Isaiah when he says:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
Now, go out there and use your spiritual laundering skills! Repent and be baptized and partake of the Sacrament. All of your feelings of guilt and shame will leave you, and you will be happier than ever before. I promise you that.