Posted by: 2thdocbob | 18 August 2019

Being Truly Converted

I spoke this morning in the Rancho San Bernardino Ward, hence the testimony in Spanish at the end. I am always grateful for those who step up to translate for me. 

Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. It is always a blessing to worship with you and to feel of your love and strength. I am here by assignment from President Garvin, and I bring you his love and greetings.

As we have studied Come, Follow Me in our homes this year, we have had the opportunity to walk with the Savior and to know him better. I hope that we have also gained a desire to become more like him. That is truly why we are here on earth in this mortal life; it is why we meet here to worship Jesus Christ and to renew our covenants.

Through our studies, we have also become acquainted with Christ’s disciples, especially his chief apostle, Peter.

In an important moment, Jesus asked his disciples “Whom say ye that I am?”

Peter responded with conviction: “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15–17).

From this conversation, we learn that a testimony is personal knowledge of spiritual truth obtained by revelation. Think of that! We have the right to receive personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. A testimony is a gift from God, and it is available to all of His children.

The Book of Mormon tells us that we can receive revelation if we ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, and faith in Christ. (see Moroni 10:3-5).

In our studies, we joined the Savior with his disciples at the Last Supper, where he said to Peter:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to … sift you as wheat:

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31–32).

What did Jesus mean when he said this? Peter had walked and talked with him. He had witnessed many miracles and heard his teachings. Wasn’t that enough?

No. Even Peter needed to be taught about the converting and sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost. Remember that they had not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost and had no experience with it.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, and the plan of salvation, go beyond just having a testimony. To truly follow Christ requires a permanent change in our natures, made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Elder Bednar taught us that: “True conversion brings a change in one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God (see Acts 3:193 Nephi 9:20) and includes a conscious commitment to become a disciple of Christ”. (CR, Oct 2012)

True conversion enlarges our testimonies, just as a growing tree sinks its roots deep into the soil for nourishment and stability (see Alma 32). Conversion comes through revelation from God, which leads us to continue to repent, and to be obedient and diligent in living the gospel. Alma spoke of the “mighty change of heart,” and of being “spiritually born of God” (see Alma 5:12-14).

If we will honor the ordinances and covenants of salvation and exaltation (see D&C 20:25), “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20), and endure in faith to the end (see D&C 14:7), we will become new creatures in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), and we will be prepared to live with our Father in Heaven, enjoying the wonderful blessings he promises us.

Amaleki testified: “I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him” (Omni 1:26).

King Benjamin’s people responded to his teaching by exclaiming, “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). Accepting his words, gaining a testimony of their truthfulness, and exercising faith in Christ produced a mighty change of heart and a firm determination to improve and become better.

Samuel the Lamanite spoke of the converted Lamanites who were “striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth” (Helaman 15:5–6). Do you recognize what they were doing? They were ministering!

Having a testimony is important. But testimony is the starting point in our journey to eternal life; it is not the destination.

Elder Bednar taught that: “Testimony alone is not and will not be enough to protect us in the latter-day storm of darkness and evil in which we are living. Testimony is important and necessary but not sufficient to provide the spiritual strength and protection we need” (CR, Oct 2012).

Doesn’t this make you think of what President Nelson said in Conference last year? “But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost” (CR, Apr 2018).

Samuel the Lamanite identified five basic elements in becoming converted unto the Lord:

(1) believing in the teachings and prophecies of the holy prophets as they are recorded in the scriptures,
(2) exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
(3) repenting,
(4) experiencing a mighty change of heart, and (5) becoming “firm and steadfast in the faith” (see Helaman 15:7–8).

This is the pattern that leads to conversion.

Once we experience this mighty change of heart, we will feel a strong desire to minister to our brothers and sisters who are not enjoying the blessings of the gospel right now. We will desire with all our hearts to help them return to full fellowship in the Church.

Continuing conversion must come from a willing heart. We must feel the desire to be true followers of Jesus Christ and to walk in His footsteps. We are free to choose to follow Jesus or to be left behind.

Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion.

We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel.

Yo testifico que ésta es la iglesia verdadera de Jesúcristo. Yo sé que Russell M. Nelson es nuestro profeta viviente hoy. Él habla con dios.

Yo testifico que Díos vive. Él nos ama. Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y redentor.

De eso les testifico, en el nombre sagrado de Jesucristo, amen.


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