“Don’t Forget to Do,” New Era, Feb. 2013, 28–30
Have you ever gone through your checklist of do nots?
Don’t drink alcohol.
Don’t listen to bad music.
Many people in the world seem to believe that as long as they don’t do the “bad things,” then they will receive automatic admission into heaven. When you review the Ten Commandments, this may seem like a reasonable idea: “Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. …”1 Most of these commandments tell you what you should not do.
Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has given additional guidance:
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.”2
Although it’s important to know and follow what not to do, the Lord explains in those verses that we also show how committed we are to following His example by the good things we choose to do (for instance, serving others, showing kindness, and sharing the gospel). When we use our agency to do good, we not only help others but also deepen our own conversion.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has explained, “Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. … But we are not alone.”3
The word “converted” is often used when someone has decided to become a member of the Church, but real conversion also means much more. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has linked true conversion to when “you make the gospel of Jesus Christ not just an influence in your life but the controlling influence and, indeed, the very core of what you are.”4 This is not just a change of behavior—it is a change of your very nature.5 Brigham Young counseled, “Wherever you see an opportunity to do good, do it, for that is the way to increase and grow in the knowledge of the truth.”6
And you do good because of your love for Heavenly Father and the Savior. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has said God’s love “directs and encourages us to become more pure and holy. It inspires us to walk in righteousness—not out of fear or obligation but out of an earnest desire to become even more like Him because we love Him.”7
So, do you show your true conversion by the way you live? If you’re not sure, consider these situations:
You don’t gossip, but do you compliment others?
Do you find ways to make someone’s day brighter?
As you sit in sacrament meeting, do you find yourself thinking about your homework, or are you “anxiously engaged” in strengthening your testimony?
Most important, do you strive to make your actions reflect those of the Savior?
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “Your happiness now and forever is conditioned on your degree of conversion and the transformation that it brings to your life.”8
Gospel living is not just about everything we don’t do. It’s even more focused on the good things we choose to do because we love God and His children and we want to be like Him.