So Take the Photographs and Still Frames in Your Mind…

David - February 2, 2009

I wonder if it’s bad to look back at your rowdy days with fondness and pride. I wish it weren’t so.

From ages 13 to 17, I did a lot of improper and even bad things, some I may never share with my daughter. I recently reconnected with one of my then-buddies’ little sisters, which suddenly brought back memories I hadn’t thought about for years, and it surprised me how nostalgic I became. For all the pains that accompany that time of life, I actually had a lot of fun. I’ve never chronicled those exploits with more than a couple of bite-sized references, and was tempted to submit an entry on my own blog, recounting in detail some of the more colorful tales to illustrate how far I’d come since I converted. I was dissuaded by a friend, however, who warned that some things should just stay in the past, or at least not be plastered online.

It started me thinking, though. Are we supposed to eschew all happy thoughts regarding delinquencies and transgressions– does true conversion require that benchmark? If this is the case, perhaps I’m not truly converted. I know that, although I’ve repented of my past misdeeds and have never been tempted to repeat them, I’m not ashamed of them (maybe a little embarrassed by a couple). I mean, it’s been 32 years. How sackcloth-and-ashes does one have to get?


  1. Good question, yet if we are to come before the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, I wonder if those memories might not be so funny, especially if we are asked to LOOK and see how they effected others adversely.

    Comment by Marg — February 2, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  2. Yes, but Marg, if I joined the Church after those acts took place and hadn’t repeated them again since, will I really have to look at those wacky outtakes?

    Comment by David T. — February 2, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

  3. I was dissuaded by a friend, however, who warned that some things should just stay in the past, or at least not be plastered online.

    I disagree with your friend. I say spill the beans.


    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 2, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  4. It has nothing to do with conversion, but a different process, called sanctification. It’s a road I’m just beginning, but my understanding is that, as we sanctify ourselves, we come to regret more and are willing to let go of more, in order to surrender more fully to the Savior. I think that process happens naturally, need not be rushed, and cannot be forced. We eventually just come to regard our past the same way He does. Usually, we ultimately find our pasts are nothing to celebrate, but I’ve never been a fan of sack-cloth and ashes either–too showy. I think it’s a private thing.

    Comment by MCQ — February 2, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  5. I like MCQ’s idea of sanctification, but I also had some other thoughts:

    What if what we did put us in a place to know/feel what we know/feel now? This life is meant to give us experience and teach us stuff, right? And we know we’re going to sin. The goal is to NOT sin, but being mortal, it’s still gonna happen. What we do with those sins, of course, is the key. We give them away. And then give them away again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
    Looking back on wayward times and days with “happiness” is not necessarily a bad thing. I see the things I did as a teenager, and in a way? I’m glad it happened the way it did. First of all, it could have been 10 times worse (boy-howdy!), and second of all, the things I learned from making those mistakes are invaluable.
    So, how does one view the bad stuff that –eventually –created the good stuff? I’m not proud of what I did, but in a way…no regrets? In a way, anyway…

    It’s all a mish-mash of gray-ness, and I, for one, am not sure how to go about it. Thus the liking of MCQ’s answer.

    Comment by cheryl — February 2, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  6. Jack (#3) – I’m gun-shy now, after running it past my buddy. Perhaps I should start another blog for an audience outside the scope of my immediate circle; call it “Darkly Dreaming Dave” or something.

    MCQ – That makes sense, although I wonder if the sanctification process might not require proactive efforts to help the natural process along. Sometimes I feel at odds with myself because, while I want to be closer to God I also don’t want to completely forsake the experiences that made me who I am– the more colorful part as well as the noble– if that makes sense.

    Comment by David T. — February 2, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

  7. Cheryl – Exactly. It sounds like you and I had the same thoughts. Scary.

    Comment by David T. — February 2, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

  8. I also don’t want to completely forsake the experiences that made me who I am– the more colorful part as well as the noble– if that makes sense.

    …and that’s why sanctification is a process. At some point we become willing to give up anything and everything. Luckily, everything is not required.

    Comment by MCQ — February 3, 2009 @ 12:44 am

  9. Rather feeling shame or embarrasment, or joy about our past, I believe we should just accept for what it is – our past. Regardless of how we feel about our former life – if , indeed, we had a ‘former life’ – we should accept it is part of us, it is what makes us who we are today. Despite giving up some unsavory behavior myself, I still sometimes think about those days past. It often happens while listening to music, since much of my collestion comes from those past times, and I am reminded of rebellious feelings I had then (and that I sometimes like to remember now.) But mostly those remembrances are reminders to me of how I finally discovered the meaning of joy when I accepted and embraced the truth about the gospel and started to change my life to conform to gospel teachings.

    Of course it is a long process to adequately change but if I’m heading in the right direction then I’m OK with whatever experiences got me here.

    Comment by lamonte — February 3, 2009 @ 8:17 am

  10. What about being glad you learned the things you did and/or becoming the colorful person you became, but wishing you did so through less sinful/transgression means? At least for those things that have affected others in a negative way. The stuff that only affects me I can look back and smile and laugh at the silly person I often am:)

    Comment by Bret — February 3, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  11. I vote for keeping your wild side quiet online and in the presence of your children. Otherwise your formor misdeeds might come back to bite you in the butt, with an “it’s okay I can do — cause Dad did —- and look how great he turned out”.

    Comment by JA Benson — February 3, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

  12. David T. ~ “call it “Darkly Dreaming Dave” or something.”

    Ah, another Dexter fan I take it?

    Regarding the overall subject, as an evangelical I certainly don’t feel bad about most teenage transgressions. They’re forgiven. I especially don’t feel bad about the ones that make me laugh. There’s some things you can get away with as a teenager that you can’t do as an adult. I miss that.

    I do feel some remorse over transgressions that had an effect on other people. I may be forgiven, but I worry about whether the other person is and how I may have changed him or her for the worst.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 3, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

  13. Jack,

    Ah, another Dexter fan I take it?

    Guilty. I was into the books before the series came out and think casting Michael C. Hall was inspired.

    Comment by David T. — February 3, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  14. Dexter has long been my dark delight. I could do without some of the rated R content, but the dialogue and the writing, it’s all so delicious. Besides, how often do TV shows center around a lawful evil character like that?

    Oh, and ZOMG, Julie Benz signed my Season 1 Box set! SQUEE!

    The fact that Michael C. Hall married Jennifer Carpenter recently when they play a brother and sister on TV kind of weirds me out. Their scenes together will never quite be the same.

    Okay, I’m done derailing your topic. Proceed.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 3, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  15. One last derailment from the subject, and with all apologies to the readership, this has to be said:

    Dexter bobble-heads!!!

    Comment by David T. — February 7, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  16. One last derailment from the subject, and with all apologies to the readership, this has to be said

    Not like anyone else here is blogging… *pokes the 9M staff*

    Dexter bobble-heads!!!

    Oh dear. I don’t know if I’m that much of a fan.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 7, 2009 @ 11:13 am

  17. David, I think Spencer Kimball answered your qeustion in his book “Miracle of Forgiveness.”

    Comment by Bookslinger — February 20, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

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