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One of the main concerns many people have from other faiths is that for certain sins within the Mormon church the members need to confess to their Bishop.  LDS bishops are considered “judges of Israel” and therefore the concept is they sit in judgement in place of the Lord.  This practice isn’t uncommon as I know the Catholic church also has confession. 

 I’m unfamiliar with the history of confession and if someone knows, that would be great to add to the comments.  I did however go through the scriptures and see what I could find scripturally in support of or against confession to a person rather than the lord. 

Conflicting scriptures:

Morm. 8: 20 man shall not . . . judge: for judgment is mine.
D&C 20: 13 by them (the scriptures) shall the world be judged.
John 12: 47 I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world.
Mosiah 29: 12 better that a man should be judged of God than of man.

Scriptures of People judging in place of Lord:

Ex. 18: 13 Moses sat to judge the people.
Obad. 1: 21 saviours shall . . . judge the mount of Esau.
1 Cor. 6: 2 saints shall judge the world.
1 Cor. 6: 3 know ye not that we shall judge angels.
1 Ne. 12: 9 twelve apostles . . . shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel.
D&C 29: 12 to judge the whole house of Israel.
D&C 58: 17 appointed to be a judge in Israel.
Morm. 3: 18 twelve tribes of Israel, who shall be judged . . . by the twelve whom Jesus chose.
Morm. 3: 19 this people . . . judged by the twelve whom Jesus chose in this land.

Lord is judge:

Isa. 33: 22 Lord is our judge.
John 5: 22 Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.

Final Judgement:

D&C 29: 12 to judge (Christ’s apostles) the whole house of Israel.
D&C 88: 99 (1 Pet. 4: 6; D&C 138: 34) be judged according to men in the flesh.
D&C 137: 9 Lord, will judge all men according to their works.
2 Ne. 28: 23 stand before the throne of God, and be judged.
1 Ne. 15: 33 stand before God, to be judged.
Alma 11: 41 rise from the dead and . . . be judged.
Alma 41: 3 men should be judged according to their works.

I would love to hear peoples’ thoughts on why or why not is it necessary to confess sins to clergy?

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My 4th great-grandfather, Edward Partridge was a wealthy business owner when missionaries, including Parley P Pratt introduced him to the gospel.  Upon his conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, Edward forsook all he had including his business and his family disowned him.  However, Edward was steadfast stating: “I have torn my affections from this world’s goods, from the vanities and toys of time and sense, and been willing to love and serve God, with all my heart and be led by his holy Spirit.” As a result, “my mind has been as it were continually expanding—receiving the things of God, until glories indescribable present themselves before me.” (Messenger and Advocate, 1 (Jan. 1835), p. 61)

Two months after joining the church Edward became the first bishop.  He spent much time traveling throughout the United States to various branches of the church and administering to the poor.  He ultimately gave his life in service to his fellow man as he became ill but felt “he could not spend time to be sick.” (Woman’s Exponent, beginning 13 (1 Dec. 1884), pp. 102–3)

Since that time the LDS church has grown to become a leading and respected church in the humanitarian community.  The bishop of the church now assists the needs of millions of people both of the LDS faith and those not of the faith. 

Below are some articles that include statistics of the Church in their humanitarian efforts throughout the world:

Official Church Website

Humanitarian Update

Church News

I am personally grateful to have the example of Edward Partridge, who sacrificed all he had for the gospel.  I am also grateful to be a part of a church that reaches out and blesses the lives of so many of God’s children. 

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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