The following question is posed by an anonymous BCC reader:
You’re the bishop. A 45 year-old member of the church presents himself in your office. He has only recently become active in the church. He stopped attending shortly after he was ordained a priest nearly 30 years ago. He is married with a wife and 3 kids, ages 8, 10, and 12. The wife is not a member, but she is interested in the church, and on her prompting, the family is starting to attend.
You ask him if he is willing to accept a calling in the ward. He is. You ask him if he is interested in preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. He is. (He recently sat through all of the missionary discussions with his family, as they are preparing for baptism.) You ask him if there is anything in his life that is not in conformity with the commandments of God. He says, “There is, in my past. I had a sexual relationship with a co-worker when I was married to my wife. It was brief, lasting only a few weeks. It was seven years ago. I quit because I knew it was wrong, I love my wife, and didn’t want to lose my family. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever done such a thing, and I’m ashamed of it. After I came to the realization that I didn’t want my marriage to end, I put a lot more effort into strengthening our relationship, which is quite good now. But my wife doesn’t know my secret, and it would destroy her. Based on things she’s said to me about her own parents’ ruined marriage, I think it’s quite likely that she’d divorce me. If I am to repent of this sin and seek the Lord’s forgiveness, do I need to confess this to my wife?”
What do you answer?