The Book of Mormon 2020 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families lesson for June 1-7 takes us on a journey with Alma. He inquires of the people of Zarahemla: “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 5:14). These are important questions for all of us to ponder in our hearts.
Beware of Contentions, Strife, and Pride
We learn the reason for Alma’s missionary journeys was: “there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God” (Alma 4:9). Alma knew that the members of the church needed to repent. Consequently, he gave up his position as chief judge and travelled throughout the churches. The only way for them to have a true reformation was for them to have a “mighty change” of their hearts.
This call for changing our hearts applies to us today. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we need to avoid contention in our homes and at church. We should not be jealous of the possessions or accomplishments of others or ever try to belittle and maltreat them. Most importantly, we must avoid pride.
President Ezra Taft Benson has explained why this is one of the greatest dangers we face in maintaining our faith: “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us” (“Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989). Pride stops or limits our eternal progression.
Take Time to Ask: “How Am I Doing?”
Unlike the people in Zarahemla, the Spirit prompted Alma to know that the people of Gideon were living “in the paths of righteousness” (Alma 7:19). Because of this difference, Alma taught them this way: “I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works” (Alma 7:23-24). This counsel helps us who are members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ understand key qualities that we need to have and actions that we need to do in order to be spiritually born of God.
President M. Russell Ballard sheds light on how to keep these questions forefront in our minds: “I have found that to stay focused … I need to regularly take time to ask myself, ‘How am I doing?’ It’s kind of like having a personal, private interview with yourself. … Review your life’s goals and your plans, and make sure they align with our Heavenly Father’s great plan for our happiness. If you need to repent and change, then consider doing so now. Take the time to prayerfully think about what adjustments are needed to help keep your ‘eye single to the glory of God’ (Doctrine and Covenants 4:5). We must keep the doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of our goals and plans. Without Him, no eternal goal is possible, and our plans to achieve our eternal goals will surely fail’” (“Return and Receive,” Ensign, May 2017).
Be Ever Watchful
We all know of people who appeared to have a mighty change of heart but over time became complacent in their devotion to God. By not being attentive and watchful, they are placing their eternal exaltation in jeopardy. Elder Dale G. Renlund teaches: “To endure to the end, we need to be eager to please God and worship Him with fervor and passion. This means that we maintain faith in Jesus Christ by praying, studying the scriptures, partaking of the sacrament each week, and having the Holy Ghost as our constant companion. We need to actively help and serve others and share the gospel with them. We need to be perfectly upright and honest in all things, never compromising our covenants with God or our commitments to men, regardless of circumstances. In our homes we need to talk of, rejoice in, and preach of Christ so that our children—and we ourselves—will desire to apply the Atonement in our lives. We must identify temptations that easily beset us and put them out of reach—way out of reach. Finally, we need to frequently biopsy our mightily changed hearts and reverse any signs of early rejection” (“Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change,” Ensign, Nov. 2009).
In our family we know that in our premortal existence we agreed to our earthly experiences. Our goal is to endure our earthly trials with faith and be exalted as a family. As stated in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”: “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.” This promise helps our family to stay focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ—the only true doctrine. We strive to be ready to testify that we “have experienced a change of heart” and are now and forever willing “to sing the song of redeeming love” (Alma 5:26).