(January 16, 2015)
The reality is that each of us needs to choose to allow the Lord to soften our hearts. As I have progressed this past year, I have come to realize that though I may want to progress, there is nothing that I can do to become the person that I want to be on my own. No amount of discipline or practice or willpower or effort will bring about even the smallest amount of positive change in my life. The only way that any positive change comes about (and positive change has and continues to come about) is through turning myself over to the Lord and being willing to have Him soften my heart.
It is in that context that I looked at the language that nothing save the threat of destruction could soften their hearts. There seems to be a continuum between wanting to give your will over to the Lord one the one side and wanting to keep your will consequences be damned on the other side. Laman and Lemuel were near the far edge at this point (though not as far as the people of Mormon were, when they would curse God and die). But the more we are willing to move towards turning our lives over to the Lord, the more He empowers us to actually sacrifice our wills to Him. Over time, with persistent effort, I can see how this would eventually allow our wills to be swallowed up in His.