Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Alma 19

(March 31, 2015)
                I always understood the doctrine that miracles did not convert, but I never really believed it.  After all, I had seen my share of miracles in life and it left me with no doubts as to the truth of the Gospel.  I couldn’t see how anyone could engage with the miracles of God and not be likewise convinced.

                My perspective on this changed, of course, when I went through a dark period of my life where I found my testimony damaged severely.  I had been through the same miracles in my past.  What’s more, even as I went through this time period I was experiencing new and powerful miracles on an ongoing basis.  And yet my testimony remained weak and fragile.

                Thankfully, the was a temporary thing in my life…the Lord held on to me enough that I was able to work through these issues and get to the other side with a testimony and conversion far stronger than I had before my difficulties.  But it just showed to me that it wasn’t the miracles that I had experienced that converted me.  It wasn’t even the miracles that I was experiencing that were converting me.  Conversion, for me, was both a gift from God and an exercise of moral agency by choosing to believe.

                I thought of this as I read through the story of Abish in this chapter.  Abish, having been converted (along with her family) as a result of a miracle (her father’s vision), thought as I did that exposure to a miracle would be all that would be needed for those around her to likewise be converted.

                But, of course, she gathered up the people and they instantly turned to conflict.  They weren’t even converted when Ammon was miraculously preserved.  Only a portion of them were ultimately converted, and that portion was converted through Lamoni’s preaching and not the miracles that they had seen.

                As counterintuitive as it may seem, it really is true that miracles do not convert.

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