Elder David A. Bednar: 'Converted Unto the Lord'
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Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve focused his message Sunday afternoon upon the relationship between receiving a testimony of Christ and becoming converted to His gospel.
A testimony is personal knowledge of spiritual truth obtained by revelation, he said. It is a gift from God and available to all of His children. Any honest seeker of truth can obtain a testimony by exercising the necessary "particle of faith" in Jesus Christ. It brings increased personal accountability and is a source of purpose, assurance and joy.
"Seeking for and obtaining a testimony of spiritual truth requires asking, seeking and knocking with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in the Savior," he said. "Fundamental components of a testimony are knowing that Heavenly Father lives and loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that the fullness of the gospel has been restored to the earth in these latter days."
Elder Bednar said the essence of the gospel of Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in one's 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 and includes a conscious commitment to become a disciple of Christ."
Conversion, he added, is an enlarging, a deepening, and a broadening of the undergirding base of testimony. It is the result of revelation from God, accompanied by individual repentance, obedience and diligence. Any honest seeker of truth can become converted by experiencing the mighty change of heart and being spiritually born of God.
"Conversion is an offering of self, of love and of loyalty we give to God in gratitude for the gift of testimony."
Knowing by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ is important and necessary. "But earnestly coming unto Him and giving our whole souls as an offering requires much more than merely knowing. Conversion requires all of our heart, all of our might and all of our mind and strength."
The key characteristics associated with conversion are experiencing a mighty change of heart, having a disposition to do good continually, going forward in the path of duty, walking circumspectly before God, keeping the commandments and serving with unwearied diligence.
"To most of us conversion is an ongoing process and not a one-time event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience," said Elder Bednar. "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."
Elder Bednar promised that when one comes to a knowledge of truth and is converted unto the Lord, he or she will remain firm, steadfast and never fall away. "Eagerly we will set aside our weapons of rebellion. We will be blessed with bright light from our lamps of testimony and an ample supply of the oil of conversion. And as each of us becomes more fully converted, we will strengthen our families and our associates."