King Benjamin wanted to know if his people believed in the doctrine he was teaching about the Savior. They answered, “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.” They had experienced the life-altering change of heart we learn about in the Book of Mormon. (Mosiah 5:2)
The Lamanite people called the Anti-Nephi-Lehies were taught the gospel and redeemed, then made a covenant to bury their weapons of war deep into the earth. They did not cast them in a shallow grave so that they could pick them out again but buried them deeply, making the weapons difficult to retrieve. (Alma 24:19-20)
I have often wondered how I could maintain that change of heart that comes with bursts of the presence of the Spirit. It is important to recognize that a spiritual experience does not always constitute a mighty change of heart. I have been lifted by the spirit and touched with peace and an outpouring of love yet without that mighty change in heart. I must seek and obtain that one thing first and foremost. A mighty change comes to those who are working and actively seeking the Lord and His will.
We must recognize that we would have been destined for darkness and misery if not for the eternal sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. We must seek Him for His redemptive power, recognizing that no other way exists for us to be redeemed and if we understand just a portion of the depth of His sacrifice, we will be filled with joy, love, and hope. That is where the change of heart makes its appearance. The Book of Mormon uses the word “remember” 89 times. In our standard works, the word is used 278 times. What is it we are to remember?
Alma 29:10 says, “And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.”
We maintain that change by constantly nourishing our hearts with the love of our Savior and studying the need for and sacrifice of our Redeemer. As we seek the Savior’s nearness, it will be easier to “cast away” those things which no longer belong in our lives.
Elder Dale G. Renlund related a practice of the newly baptized people of the Congo earlier in the century. He said, “Before their conversion, they worshipped inanimate objects, believing that the items possessed supernatural powers. After conversion, many made a pilgrimage to one of the countless waterfalls along the Congo River, such as the Nzongo Falls. These converts threw their previously idolized objects into the waterfalls as a symbol to God and others that they had discarded their old traditions and accepted Jesus Christ. They intentionally did not throw their objects into calm, shallow waters; they threw them into the churning waters of a massive waterfall, where the items became unrecoverable. These actions were a token of a new but unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ.” 1
When we distance ourselves from His love, we start to feel despair settle in which robs us of the hope of eternal life and we then forget about His mercy. We must do everything in our power to limit the influence of things that would remove us from Heavenly Father’s reach. There is a host of things in this world that would distract and deliver us up to the adversary but if we turn on our backs on them for good, we will create a permanent change of heart that will carry us through the great and glorious events to come.
1 “Unwavering Commitment to Jesus Christ,” Elder Dale G. Renlund, General Conference October 2019, Saturday morning session