How can we convert a person's soul?
How to bring peace and healing to your soul
We hold many committee meetings here at Church headquarters, and earlier this year Elder Neal A. Maxwell listened attentively to a presentation about building leadership in the Church in specific areas. Towards the end of the session, Elder Maxwell asked, “Is there anything else we can do to help the bishops bring peace and healing to members?” I wanted to learn more about his cause, so Elder Maxwell explained in his to me not long before his death Private office the teachings on how to achieve peace and healing. He encouraged me to share his thoughts with members of the Church.
Elder Maxwell was and remains a wonderful example of selfless love. His concern for others filled him through and through, especially when it concerned people with physical or emotional pain. When you left your office, you couldn't help but commit yourself to being like Christ. He set a standard for all of us. He loved the Savior. Indeed, he was a true apostle and disciple. We miss him.
He imparted wonderful insights that one can only achieve perfect peace and healing when one is completely converted at heart. He said that many years earlier he had learned about the steps to complete conversion from President Marion G. Romney. He quoted from a 1963 general conference address in which President Romney echoed the Savior's words to Peter: “But I have prayed for you to keep your faith alive. And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren ”(Luke 22:32). President Romney said:“ It almost seems like being of the Church and being converted are not necessarily synonymous. Being converted, as we use the term here, and having a testimony are also not necessarily the same thing. A testimony is obtained when the Holy Ghost testifies to the sincere seeker of the truth. A moving testimony invigorates the faith, that is, it evokes repentance and obedience to the commandments. Conversion, on the other hand, is the fruit or reward of repentance and obedience ”(in Conference Report Oct. 1963, 24).
Conversion does not usually come suddenly, even though the scriptures give us dramatic accounts. It takes place gradually until the person concerned has become a new person at heart. In the scriptures this is referred to as "being born again." It is a change in both the way we think and feel (see Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 23–23).
In the Book of Mormon, we read of Enos, whose soul hungered to learn more of his father's teachings on eternal life. After praying incessantly for a day and night, he heard a voice that said to him, “Enos, you are forgiven for your sins and you will be blessed.” Enos writes: “I, Enos, knew God can't lie; therefore my guilt was swept away ”(Enos 1: 5,6.)
We have the account in which the prophet Alma the Younger tells his son Helaman how he was converted. He speaks of the dramatic realization of his past sins and mistakes and admits that he rebelled against God. He then recalls that his father, Alma, foretold the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus would come to atone for the sins of the world. I quote: “As now mine sense caught this thought, I called in mine Heart from: O Jesus, you Son of God, be merciful to me, who am in the bile of bitterness and surrounded all around by the everlasting chains of death. "Alma experienced eternal torment and guilt, but also recognized that through the Atonement a Way out had been created. Alma continues, “And now, behold, when I thought this, I could no longer think of my torments; yes, I was no longer tortured by the memory of my sins. And oh what joy and what wonderful light I saw; yes, my soul was filled with joy as great as my torment! ”(See Alma 36: 12-20; italics added.)
Alma found that his soul had been healed by knowing that Jesus would come and take away all his sins. When his soul was healed, he found inner peace. Alma was so overwhelmed by the consequences of his conversion that he repeated for Helaman what he had felt: “Yes, I tell you, my son, nothing could be as extraordinary and bitter as my torments. Yes and further I tell you, my sonOn the other hand, nothing can be so extraordinary and so sweet as my joy was "(Alma 36:21, emphasis added). He taught his son how to obtain lasting peace and joy, just as the father of Enos did Has. Here we see fathers teaching their children about the Atonement and eternal life. All fathers of our time can follow this example.
There are some interesting points about Alma's conversion:
Like Enos, he clearly saw his past sins, with which he had offended God, and regretted them.
Like Enos, he remembered what his father had said - the promise that Jesus Christ would atone for sins.
Like Enos, he interceded for his soul.
Like Enos, he experienced the miracle of the Atonement to the extent that he could neither remember nor feel guilty about the agony his sins had caused. The healing of his soul was a complete, purifying experience, both for the mind and the heart. Joy took the place of bitterness. He was born again into a new man, out of the spirit. Like Enos, he immediately focused on serving the Lord and those around him.
Will the Lord do for us what He did for Enos and Alma?
C. S. Lewis put it this: “God pays unlimited attention to everyone. He doesn't have to take care of us all together. You are so alone with him as if you were the only being he ever created. When Christ died, He died for you personally, just as if you were the only man [or woman] in the world ”(Mere Christianity, 1943, p. 131).
Are there accounts in the scriptures of such conversion taking place among the Saints? There are a few examples. The account of the saints in the time of King Benjamin illustrates this. We read how the Saints responded to what their king and prophet had said about the commandments and the Atonement of Jesus Christ:
"And they all shouted with one voice, namely: Yes, we believe all the wordsthat you spoke to us; and we also know that they are certain and true by the Spirit of the Lord Almighty who has made a mighty change in us, or in our heartsso that we no longer have a tendency to do evil, but rather to do good all the time. ...
And we are willing to covenant with our God, to do his will, and to obey his commandments in all that he commands us, all the rest of our days."(Mosiah 5: 2.5; emphasis added.)
You will probably notice that these words are very similar to the commitments made in the baptismal covenant (see D&C 20:37).
The blessings and promises of conversion are received through covenants made at baptism, confirmation, and all temple and priesthood ordinances. Then, as one continually repents and obediently and faithfully keep the covenants made, one will see the fruits of conversion grow and flourish. As conversion matures and is assisted by the action of the Holy Spirit, the soul finds peace and healing.
Someone once asked President Romney how you can tell when you are converted. President Romney replied: “One can be sure of this when the soul is healed by the power of the Holy Ghost. When this happens, you will feel it, because then you will feel the same as the people of Benjamin when they were forgiven of their sins. The report says, 'The Spirit of the Lord [came] upon them and they were filled with joy and forgiveness for their sins and had peace of conscience' (Mosiah 4: 3) ”(See Conference Report, Oct. 1963 , Page 25.)
Peter describes what happens in the case of complete conversion: We “share in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1: 4; see also verses 1-3,5-9).
Through such complete conversion, we can personally truly experience the nature and greatness of God and feel. In this way we become not only servants of the Lord but also his friends. The Lord made clear to the Early Restoration Saints the nature of his relationship with them: "And I continue to tell you, my friends, for henceforth I will call you friends ..." (D&C 84:77).
At last fall general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared his thoughts on the greatness and nature of God in his address (see “The Greatness of God,” Liahona, November 2003, pages 70-73). He talked about how important it is for eternity to know God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. He quoted the following well-known verse from the Lord's farewell prayer: "This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent" (John 17: 3).
He also cited the lesser-known statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: "The first principle of the gospel is to know definitely the nature of God ... I want you all to know and be familiar with him."History of the Church, 6: 305; see also Liahona, November 2003, page 70.)
One knows God and becomes his friend by being converted. Enos has been converted. King Benjamin's subjects have been converted. Alma was converted. Conversion is open to anyone who repents and keeps the commandments. It's an intimate and very personal experience. It's about relationships. This includes awakening the Spirit of Christ who dwells in all people (see D&C 84: 45–46; 88:11). This includes awakening in us a feeling for the Holy Spirit, who leads us to a testimony of the truth. This includes receiving the Holy Ghost after we have made the baptismal covenant. The gift of the Holy Ghost guides and comforts us as disciples and brings us closer to the Savior. Again, the Savior is our intercessor with the Father, and through our faithfulness He will bring us to the Father to become His co-heirs (see John 14: 6; Romans 8:17; D&C 45: 3-5).
The holy prophets have left us with a wealth of instruction and thought. Verily they are messengers of God who lead his children to salvation and eternal life.
Your testimony is used to strengthen our faith. Please pay attention to their words and their testimony. This will help you get to where you can find peace and healing for the soul.
I have a testimony that the Spirit of the Lord exists and speaks clearly. I testify that you can know the Father and the Son and that they love you. I feel their love through the power of the Spirit. I testify to these truths in the holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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