Ogden tells devotional listeners to prepare now for life after death

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By Rachel Mecham

Students, faculty and participants in BYU’s youth summer camps packed into the Harris Fine Arts Center for Tuesday’s devotional address on repentance given by a professor of ancient literature.

All eyes turned toward the pulpit as Kelly Ogden proclaimed, “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” The audience immediately roared with laughter. But the audience understood his message was also a very serious one, and one of warning.

In his talk, Ogden described a young man his daughter was acquainted with in college. One day in a boating accident he tragically lost his life. Ogden skillfully turned the misfortune into a lesson for his audience, saying, “I don’t think he knew he was going to die that day,” warning listeners to prepare now for their lives after death. He cautioned that maintaining a “sin now, repent later” attitude was not only dangerous, but detrimental to an individual.

Ogden gave a short model of this kind of attitude by asking the observers how they would feel if they procrastinated their repentance to just before desiring a temple marriage. The absolute silence in the room was answer enough. Ogden then explained that repentance is “the most important gospel principle.” He counseled that as such, it should be implemented daily without procrastination.

As he went on, Ogden explained that repentance is not only an eraser that can clear mistakes from lives but that it can also be a tool for forgiveness from Heavenly Father and oneself. He told the audience that with repentance the sinner can forget the pain but remembers the sin because the Lord leaves the memory “as a warning system.” Heavenly Father forgets the sin, but the sinner remembers it so that it will serve as a warning never to travel that same path again.

Ogden’s address was well received. For example, one audience member, Trece Mannewitz, said that she “loved the spirit you could feel.” Ogden’s warning left many pondering the miracle of repentance.

Rachel Mecham is a high school student participant in the BYU Summers Scholars journalism program sponsored by the Department of Communications.

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