I was reading in 4 Nephi today in the Book of Mormon.
“And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.
2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
4 And it came to pass that the thirty and seventh year passed away also, and there still continued to be peace in the land.”
There were several things that struck me as I read this:
- The people took the necessary steps to become converted, repentance, baptism-ACTION.
- They were ALL converted UNTO THE LORD.
- Conversion brought peace in the land.
Remember this all happened in the years following Christ’s visit to the America’s. They walked with Him and talked with Him. They were blessed by Him and healed by Him. They were taught. They acted upon those teachings and put them in place in their lives. They felt the Spirit and they were converted.
I want that complete peace that they experienced, the peace in the land and community, the peace in the family and at home.
What needs to happen to have true conversion
What will it take for us to be converted to Jesus Christ and beyond that, what does it mean to truly be converted to Him? Does it mean attending all our church meetings? Doing our calling to the best of our ability? Accepting callings and releases we are not prepared for? Striving to raise a righteous family?
As I considered what each member of our family needs to become converted to the Savior, it was all these things but more. There is a difference in loving the gospel, doing what we are asked to do, believing the doctrine AND knowing Jesus Christ because we have a relationship with Him, we have studied and searched His doctrine and we desire to do these things BECAUSE we know him, respect Him and love Him and WE DO THEM. That, in my mind is conversion.
To convert means-to change in form, character or function. When I read the scriptures and I see those who truly converted, there was a change, a change in character and sometimes even in function.
I think of Paul’s conversion, the conversions of Alma the elder and Alma the younger, the conversion of the Lamanites during the time of Samuel the Lamanite, Amalecki, King Benjamin’s people, the conversion of Joseph Smith. Each of these conversions was followed by difficult circumstances and in many cases, preluded by a complete change of heart.
In 4 Nephi, these people had a sure knowledge of the Savior Jesus Christ. They knew He lived but most people before He came, did not have that sure knowledge and still believed, watching for the signs.
My personal conversion
Where am I personally at on the conversion pendulum? I feel like I have a strong and close relationship with my Savior, I can’t say that I have physically seen him, or felt the nail prints on his hands and in his feet but with as much knowledge as I can have at this time, I will still say, I know He lives. I have felt him. I have felt his love for me and for my family. I have felt the impact of his great atoning sacrifice.
I have studied His life, His works. I believe the miracles he performed when He was on the earth and the miracles that he performs through the power of the priesthood today. I have read His words and try to live the teachings and counsel He has given through the scriptures, prophets and personal revelation.
A call to action
As I try to weed my way through conversion and testimony, I think about the word action. I think we tend to ACT on the principles of the gospel we are converted to. We love those principles in our lives. When we are converted to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, we read it consistently because we get to the point where we need that to be a consistent part of our lives. When we are converted to the principle of tithing, we pay a full tithe because we have seen, over and over the blessings received as we pay our tithing. When we are converted to Jesus Christ, we have made many efforts to come to know him and develop a relationship with Him by “doing” or as Elder Oaks explains, by “becoming.”
Family is the learning place
Elder Oaks states, “As we [work toward our personal conversion], we should remember that our family relationships, even more than our church callings- are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur. The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband or father or a good wife or mother. Being a successful church leader is not enough. Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it.”
I believe that through our family experiences we best become converted. In learning to love and trust those who may have hurt us deeply, in learning to teach as Christ would teach, in learning to love as He would love and then consistently doing it-that is when conversion becomes real.
5 Basic elements of conversion
Elder Bednar teaches that Samuel The Lamanite identified 5 basic elements in becoming converted to the Lord:
- Believing in the teachings and prophecies of the holy prophets as they are recorded in the scriptures.
- Exersising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Experiencing a mighty change of heart.
- Becoming “firm and steadfast in the faith.” (Heleman 15:7-8)
In Alma 23 we read, “As many of the Lamanites as (FAITH) believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.
For they became a righteous people; (ACTION) they did lay down their weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God anymore…
Now these were they who were converted to the Lord.”