The last two Sundays, elders’ quorum has been about Joseph Smith and Martin Harris losing the 116 pages.
Their horror and God’s forgiveness was moving. But I noticed that not all the effects of their sin were undone. Martin Harris did not scribe anymore. The 116 pages remained lost, only partially compensated by the small plates.
Over the very long run, sub species aeternitas as it were, I believe that God does wholly compensate for our sins. So why not do it immediately? Or why just compensate for them and not undo them entirely?
Some may say that God *cannot* undo the sin and perhaps they are right. Perhaps what is written in the book of time cannot be unwritten. But I think we can see profounder reasons why God *will not.*
We need to really see the consequences of our sin so that we can really appreciate and be transformed by God’s forgiveness and atonement. We need to see the marks in his hands so we can appreciate that he forgives us for driving the nail. And we need our experience and we need the consequences of our experience, not because of what they teach us, but because they are our own. We need the dignity of being moral agents. We need to be whole, even our sins part of our narrative. Christ preferred to share the pains and consequences of our sins with us, rather than undo them, and all for the love of us. He holds out to us something better than a censored and a prettified life. In his hands are second chances.