By Becky Squire
This week in the Come Follow Me study, we learn about Alma the younger and the story of his conversion. Although he had already been "redeemed of the Lord" and "born of the Spirit" (Mosiah 27:24), true conversion is an on-going process.
As we study and strive to understand doctrine, church history, and principles of the gospel, we can experience a true and lasting conversion and a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ. Here are some steps to remember.
Jumping ahead in the Book of Mormon, Alma teaches the Zoramites (and us) about faith. Faith grows as a person wants to believe and listens to the word of God. The word is then planted in the person’s heart, and like a seed it starts to grow. But faith is where it starts. Faith can look different at various times in our lives and from one person to the next. Perhaps it's knowledge or belief. It could be hope. Or maybe at this point, it's simply a desire. Whatever your faith looks like, plant the seed and nourish it every day.
Study Correct Resources
It can be so easy to turn to Google with any question we may have. And social media is full of influencers who are "experts" in every topic under the sun. So ask yourselves this: Are you more familiar with Google than the gospel? Are you more attune to the Internet than to inspiration? And are you more involved with Facebook than with faith?
It's important to remember where truth comes from. When I have a church or gospel question, I like to stick to the following resources.
- The scriptures
- The teachings of modern prophets and apostles
- Personal revelation
“And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).
Don’t rely on the Internet to answer questions of eternal significance. After all, James said, "ask of God," not "ask of Google!”
In his very first general conference talk as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, President Nelson said, "Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work."
As I've listened and studied more of President Nelson's words the last couple years, I've noticed that he talks about "exact obedience" a lot. A good philosophy is to stop putting question marks behind the prophet's statements, as many do. He is the literal mouthpiece of the Lord. Some of the things he asks to "obey exactly" and that will ultimately lead to true conversion are:
- Sincere daily prayer
- Faithful fasting
- Regular study and pondering of the scriptures and the words of the living prophets
- Making the Sabbath day a delight
- Partaking of the sacrament with humility
- Always remembering the Savior
- Worshiping in the temple as often as possible
- Reaching out to the needy, poor, and lonely
Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles.
Change of Heart
Alma asks the people of Zarahemla several questions that each of us should ask ourselves. These questions can help us reflect on our own testimonies and help us to understand what it means to experience a change of heart.
- Have ye spiritually been born of God? (Alma 5:14)
- Have ye received his image in your countenances?
- Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
- Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? (Alma 5:15)
- Do you look forward with an eye of faith?
At some point it has to go from being highlighted in your scriptures to being written in your heart.
True conversion is not an easy process. Ezra Taft Benson said, “It is not on the pinnacle of success and ease where men and women grow most. It is often down in the valley of heartache and disappointment and reverses where men and women grow into strong characters.”
When we see, hear, and understand these eternal truths, and then practice them, that is true conversion.
Becky Squire is a writer and speaker. She has been published in several media outlets including the Ensign, LDS Living, and the Today Show. She's also the founding editor of Latter-Day Woman Magazine. Follow Becky Squire on Instagram