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Scripture Motivation: “A Mighty Change of Heart”

NOTE TO THE READER: The following article is adapted from the 1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Manual: Lay Hold Upon the Word of God – Study Guide #1, 1988. Updated with new information and instruction from leaders and ministers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We must sincerely pray and study the scriptures to experience “a mighty change” in our hearts.

And they all cried with one voice, saying: 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 ~

The greatest of all miracles wrought upon men is perhaps the mighty change of heart that takes place when a person is spiritually born again. Through the power of scripture reading – we are renewed, transformed, and equipped to do that which is good and acceptable before our Heavenly Father (See Romans 12:1-2).

A Mighty Change of Heart is what we must Experience in order to Return to God

President Ezra Taft Benson shared this:

‘No man,’ said President David O. McKay, ‘can sincerely resolve to apply in his daily life the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth without sensing a change in his own nature. The phrase “born again” has a deeper significance than many people attach to it. This changed feeling may be indescribable, but it is real’ (in Conference Report, April 1962, p. 7).

Our Lord told Nicodemus that ‘except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). Of these words President Kimball said, ‘This is the simple total answer to the weightiest question of all questions. …. To gain eternal life there must be a rebirth, a transformation’ (in Conference Report, April 1958, p. 14). ….

The ‘change of heart’ and ‘born again’ process are best described in the keystone of our religion, the Book of Mormon.

“Those who had been born of God after hearing King Benjamins address had a mighty change in their hearts. They had ‘no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.’ (Mosiah 5:2, 7).

The fourth chapter of Alma describes a period in Nephite history when ‘the church began to fail in its progress’ (Alma 4:10). Alma met this challenge by resigning his seat as chief judge in government ‘and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood’ responsibility which was his (Alma 4:20).

President Benson further shared:

He [Alma] bore ‘down in pure testimony’ against the people (Alma 4:19), and in the fifth chapter of Alma he asks over forty crucial questions.

Speaking frankly to the members of the Church, he declared, ‘I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?’ (Alma 5:26). …

He continued, ‘if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?’ (Alma 5:26).

President Benson concludes his thoughts:

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature

Born of God: Ensign, November 1985, pp. 5-6

Have you personally experienced a mighty change of heart from reading, understanding, likening, and applying the scriptures to your life? If not, what is preventing you from experiencing this mighty change of heart? If you have, is this something constant or have you stopped experiencing a mighty change of heart from active scripture study?

We have only one mortal existence. And yet the scriptures teach us that we ought to experience two different births. The Gospel of John describes both of these births (John 3:3-5). Very few people know as much about their second birth as they do their first.

Every Person is Invited to Experience the Change of Heart

The concept of spiritual rebirth is understood when we look to how the Lord compares our spiritual awakening to our physical birth. Mosiah 27:25-26 shares this:

And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters: And they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

Our spiritual awakening – or rebirth, being born again – means we are born of God through the power and gift of the Holy Spirit. This changes us from a carnal and fallen nature to that of righteousness. This is how we understand the Apostle Paul when he teaches that Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto us:

And therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the Dead; Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 4:22-25

In Alma 36:23-24 we read:

But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God. Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Both passages teach that we are born again through our faith in Jesus Christ and our realization for the need to repent and seek forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.

In the Doctrine and Covenants we find another aspect of what it means to have experienced this spiritual awakening and rebirth:

By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened, and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 76:12

The power of faith in the Lord’s word does help bring about a mighty change in our hearts. Whole congregations of people (from Enoch, King Benjamin’s people, the Nephites who witnessed the Savior’s visit and many individuals) have experienced this mighty change of heart. What is preventing you from experiencing this miracle? As you take up your journey through the Old Testament for the Come Follow Me 2022 study – what ways are you able to experience a mighty change of heart? Are you willing to have your heart softened (Ezekiel 11:19, 1 Nephi 2:16, Mosiah 3:19, and TG: Man, New, Spiritually Reborn) by Heavenly Father?

When he preached his powerful sermon to the people of Zarahemla, Alma the Younger spoke with one vital objective: to reinvigorate the faith of a people whose belief was fading. Now, generations after Alma’s exhortation, followers of Christ can be likewise galvanized by looking to Alma’s words to motivate personal introspection. Is my conversion complete? Have I accepted the invitation to repent? Have I been spiritually born of God?
In Alma 5, readers are prompted to respond to fifty life-changing rhetorical questions from this single inspiring chapter of scripture. With topics ranging from repentance to conversion to personal revelation, look to Alma’s greatest speech to remember all that you have known and felt, and embrace your potential to become the person God wants you to become.
While many misconceptions abound in the Christian community about whether Mormons are Christian, one misconception persists within the Latter-day Saint community: the doctrine of being born again. Do we believe in being born again? If we do, do we believe in that doctrine as do many Christian sects? In Have You Been Born Again? author Brent L. Top explores the LDS understanding of being born again—the answers may surprise you.
The natural man hinders us from drawing closer to Christ and makes us susceptible to becoming slaves of the adversary. Through the teachings of Book of Mormon prophets, we can better understand how to overcome the natural man by being born again through the Atonement and then continually progressing spiritually through our faith and our actions.

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