Something happened the other day that prompted me to ask myself a very serious question: Am I truly converted? I spent the day pondering the state of my heart. We all have good days and bad days, but when all is said and done, what matters is whether we walk the walk or simply talk the talk. So, where is my heart—really?
“Conversion is a process, not an event. Conversion comes as a result of righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Topics, “Conversion.”)
After reading that basic definition of conversion, I decided I was on the right track. I have faith in Christ, I’ve spent a lifetime repenting, I’ve been baptized, and I’ve received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I’m trying to endure to the end in faith. So, I dug deeper.
“Your happiness now and forever is conditioned on your degree of conversion and the transformation that it brings to your life.
… [T]rue conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and responding to it. You will receive from the Holy Ghost a confirming witness of things you accept on faith by willingly doing them. You will be led to repent of errors resulting from wrong things done or right things not done. As a consequence, your capacity to consistently obey will be strengthened. This cycle of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience will lead you to greater conversion with its attendant blessings. True conversion will strengthen your capacity to do what you know you should do, when you should do it, regardless of the circumstances.
… True conversion yields the fruit of enduring happiness that can be enjoyed even when the world is in turmoil and most are anything but happy (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Full Conversion Brings Happiness,” Apr. 2002 General Conference).
I’ve noted before in previous articles that I often feel like I’m playing “spiritual catch up” after my 20 years of inactivity in the church. I no longer feel guilt for those years, and consider them my “young and dumb years.” I know that those years helped me to grow in other ways. I’m trying harder now because of those inactive years. Still, I can never seem to catch up to where I think I should be spiritually. Spiritual conversion is important to me for that very reason.
I gain hope from the fact that conversion is a process. No matter how many times I fail, there is hope for tomorrow. Actually, each failure brings me closer to my ultimate goal because I learn from the experience. The fact that I’m still hopeful is a sign that I have not given up, and am really trying to endure to the end.
After thinking about this for a couple of days, I came to realize that none of us is completely converted until we leave this earth. It is a continual process as long as we are mortal beings. It is a matter of trial and error, failure, partial success, and continuing to try. The more we are converted, the more we want to be converted.
It’s not so much that I make bad choices these days. I’ve had many years of learning to make better choices than I did in my youth. It is a matter of understanding Heavenly Father’s will and being willing to be immediately obedient—even when it is hard. Sometimes it’s hard to see things from an eternal perspective. I want to be of one heart and mind with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but sometimes I don’t understand enough to make that happen. I need to keep trying, and the more I try the easier it gets, and the more hope I have for ultimate success.
Being on the same wave length as my Heavenly Father will take practice and faith. I’m a very self-reliant person—which is a good thing—but I also need to rely on my Heavenly Father to show me the way. That’s my problem. I’ve struggled with that for a very long time, but I’m working on it. I’m pretty sure that once I can conquer my own need to “do it myself,” that I’ll find myself more in tune with God.
So, am I truly converted? In a word, no—but I’m working on it in faith, and I will get there. I will spend the rest of my life trying to follow Elder Scott’s cycle of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.