Becoming converted to the Gospel
I am using as a reference a conference talk by Elder Bednar –October conference 2012
Often times we speak of a testimony of Jesus Christ and infer that a conversion automatically takes place when one has received a testimony.
So what is a testimony and why is it different than conversion?
A testimony is personal knowledge of spiritual truth obtained by revelation. A testimony is a gift from God and is available to all of His children.
Alma 5:45-46, and Moroni 10:4-5
45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
As we can see from this scripture a testimony can come through the Holy Ghost to a person as they ask, seek, and knock with a sincere heart and real intent in faith. The receipt of a testimony requires effort on our part and doesn’t just happen.
Conversion – the change of one form or state into another
What then does it mean to be converted?
31 ¶And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
But wait a minute – Simon knew Jesus was the Christ and had a very strong testimony of this fact … yet he wasn’t yet converted?
Elder Bednar says this about this experience.
“Interestingly, this mighty Apostle had talked and walked with the Master, had witnessed many miracles, and had a strong testimony of the Savior’s divinity. Yet even Peter needed additional instruction from Jesus about the converting and sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost and his obligation to serve faithfully.
The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through the Savior’s Atonement. True conversion brings a change in one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God.”
Knowledge that Jesus is the Christ is not sufficient
James 2:19 Faith without works is dead
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Truly faith, testimony, and belief is dead without a change of heart and works that demonstrate that change.
True conversion is a change of us from one type of creature to another.
Elder Bednar further taught:
“For many of us, conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. Conversion unto the Lord requires both persistence and patience.
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. Some members of the Church with testimonies have wavered and fallen away. Their spiritual knowledge and commitment did not measure up to the challenges they faced.”
Comparison to the 10 virgins
He compared the story of the 10 virgins where the lamps were their testimony – the holders of their conversion. This conversion is their change and cannot be shared or given to another.
Diamonds – formation of
Many people erroneously believe that Diamonds form from coal J. If so they would be terrible diamonds full of impurities.
How then are diamonds formed? – through a process of millions of years being under intense pressure and heat at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and 45-60 kilo bars mercury. This process requires millions and millions of years at these temperatures and pressures to form the proper pure and strong structure of a diamond.
|Black – opaque||Clear, brilliant, transparent|
|Soft||Hardest known substance|
Why then do I bring this up at all?
2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
Our conversion can be considered like the conversion of graphite to Diamond. We are born into this furnace of affliction. We must gain a testimony and be changed through a conversion process where our very natures and essence of our being are changed. We become a new creature a Jewel unto the lord.
|Before conversion||Converted Creature|
|Natural man – enemy to god – don’t know god Opaque||Obtained Holy Ghost, and great knowledge
Clear, Brilliant, full of light
|Pliable and likely to follow every wind of doctrine
|Firm and immovable in obeying God
Hard and Firm in testimony of Christ