Help. Hope. Healing.

Repentance/12 Steps Comparison

By Rex Goode


When Paul H. first founded this site, he wrote a few articles to get things started. The following was a comparison he made between the steps of repentance as taught in the Church to the 12 steps.

As I was reviewing a 12-step addiction book, I began thinking about why 12-step programs work. As I re-read, I thought about the revealed truths of repentance in the Gospel, and wondered if there was some correlation. I then created the table below, showing the two methods side-by-side. I was astonished, since they are basically identical. Give or take the wording and the number of steps, God has already given us a plan to recover from sin. This is a beautiful thought to me, and I realized the wisdom of God in providing a way. The path to recovery is difficult, as the Lord places responsibility and accountability squarely on our shoulders. Click here to see my chart on how the Lord’s 7 Steps of Repentence map to the 12 Steps of “Anonymous” groups.

SO….What to do. Unfortunately, because of the secretive world and shameful thoughts, many do not willingly enter a recovery process voluntarily. Usually, we have been caught by a spouse, co-worker, or the law, and are kind of forced to admit our error and enter recovery that way. Sad, but mostly true.

Here are some things that you can do as a church member to begin the process.

  1. Prayer – This is always a first step. Find a place and time that you can be uninterrupted and spend as much time as you need to on your knees, asking for the Holy Ghost to give you strength, courage and inspiration. Pray for strength to be humble and accept His will, whatever that may be.
  2. Think about or write about where you are right now, and why you are there. Do you really view what you have been doing as truly being wrong, or more upset that you have been caught? We will always rationalize our activitites, and so you need to determine that you are truly ready for a change in your life.
  3. Secrecy is a big part of our compulsions, so getting it out in the open and talking with someone else is a big step. I would recommend that if you have the means, find a psychologist or psychiatrist that deals specifically in this area. It may be useful to locate one that is LDS or is christian, as they will most likely be supportive of your religious conviction and position. Begin visiting them immediately so that they can begin to help you. Take time daily to reflect on where you are and what is going on in your life. Posting here at the feedback journal, being open and honest with yourself and others can really help.
  4. When you are humble and prepared, visit with your Bishop to discuss what is going on in your life, and ask his advice. Most Bishops will be sorrowed by your revelation, but their desire will be to help you get over this period in your life as painlessly and lovingly as possible. Depending on the nature of the problem, he will recommend a course of action.
  5. Follow the steps of repentance as listed below, the counsel of your church leader(s), and the advice of your psychologist (as long as it agrees with revealed principles). You may wish to attend a 12-step group, where you can find understanding, support and brotherly love. If you are committed to truly overcome, given time, you can come back into full fellowship of the church, gain control over your life, and begin to finally find inner-peace.
  6. As you progress and get stronger, do not neglect daily prayer, scripture reading, church attendance. Always be mindful of the things that go into your mind, as even a few moments of allowing this evil back into your life can put you back.

The 7 Steps to Repentence and how they map to the 12 Steps of “Anonymous” recovery

The Lord’s Plan for Repentance 12-Step Program for Sexual Addiction
1. We recognize that we have sinned. We know that we have gone contrary to the Lord’s will by participating in improper sexual activities. 1. We admitted that we were powerless over lust — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We feel justly sorrow for our transgressions. We wish to abandon them. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We must forsake our sins. We need to ask the Lord’s help in not returning to our past ways. 3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. We must confess our wrongs. We must admit our wrongs to ourselves, to God, to those whom we have wronged, and to an appropriate church leader. We ask him for forgiveness. “By this ye may know if a man hath repented. Behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58: ) 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
5. We must make restitution for our sins. We must be willing to do whatever we can to make amends to those whom we have hurt.
6. We must forgive others who have wronged us. This includes those who may have abused us or introduced us to evil practices.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
7. We must make a 100% committed effort to keep God’s commandments, realizing that as we do all we can, the cleansing blood of Jesus can pardon us. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayerand meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to sexaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Paul H.

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One Response to “Repentance/12 Steps Comparison”

  1. julie said:

    My friend has always told me that the 12 steps were just the repentance process broken down even more. I’m glad that I am learning the 12 steps because I don’t think I fully understood how the repentance process worked. This helps.

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