comes by faith, repentance, baptism, and reception of the Holy Ghost.
One who has the companionship of the Holy Ghost is in harmony with God.
He is, therefore, spiritual. Spirituality is sustained by so living as
to keep that companionship." ("Maintaining
Spirituality," Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 15)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
"As faithful members of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a distinctive way
of looking at life. We view our experiences in terms of eternity. As we
draw farther from worldliness, we feel closer to our Father in Heaven
and more able to be guided by his Spirit. We call this quality of life
spirituality." ("Spirituality," Ensign, Nov. 1985, pp.
spirituality, then, is the quality of utilizing and maintaining the
Gift of the Holy Ghost!
Spiritual Rebirth - The Process of
What is Spiritual Rebirth?
Sometimes spiritual rebirth is associated
with the event of receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
64 And it
came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam
cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord,
and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and
was brought forth out of the water.
And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon
him, and thus he was
born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
[The word quicken is defined in the Noah Webster's
1828 An American Dictionary of the English Language as "To
Harold B. Lee
Moses 6:65] Now there is a definition of what it means to be born
again. It means to be quickened in the inner man. That's another way of
saying it. (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.54)
Sometimes spiritual rebirth is associated
with a process that leads to a complete change of heart.
And now because of the covenant which ye
have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his
daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for
ye say that your hearts
are changed through faith on
his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and
Harold B. Lee
Mosiah 5:7] There's another explanation: when our hearts are changed
through faith on his name, we are born again. (Stand Ye In
Holy Places, p.55)
Elder David A. Bednar
instructed to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny
[ourselves] of all ungodliness" (Moroni 10:32), to become "new
creature[s]" in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), to put off "the
natural man" (Mosiah 3:19), and to experience "a mighty change in us,
or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to
do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2). Please note that the conversion
described in these verses is mighty, not minor—a spiritual rebirth and
fundamental change of what we feel and desire, what we think and do,
and what we are. Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ
entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made
possible through our reliance upon "the merits, and mercy, and grace of
the Holy Messiah" (2 Nephi 2:8). As we choose to follow the Master, we
choose to be changed—to be spiritually reborn. ("Ye Must Be
Born Again," Ensign, May
2007, p. 19)
Spiritual rebirth is spiritual life!
There is a
natural birth, and there is a spiritual birth. The natural birth is to
die as pertaining to premortal life, to leave the heavenly realms where
all spirits dwell in the Divine Presence, and to begin a new life, a
mortal life, a life here on earth. The natural birth creates a natural
man, and the natural man is an enemy to God. In his fallen state he is
carnal, sensual, and devilish by nature. Appetites and passions govern
his life and he is alive -- acutely so -- to all that is evil and
wicked in the world.
spiritual birth comes after the natural birth. It is to die as
pertaining to worldliness and carnality and to become a new creature by
the power of the Spirit. It is to begin a new life, a life in which we
bridle our passions and control our appetites, a life of righteousness,
a spiritual life.
Whereas we were in a deep abyss of darkness, now we are alive in Christ
and bask in the shining rays of his everlasting light. Such is the new
birth the second birth, the birth into the household of Christ. (A
New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.282; emphasis added)
Rebirth Comes Through Ordinances
born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances. (Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.162)
is born again by actually receiving and experiencing the light and
power inherent in the gift of the Holy Ghost. ("The Light of
Christ," Ensign, May 1977, p. 44.)
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and
of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Master's admonition to Nicodemus, who came confessing Jesus as a
teacher come of God, and undoubtedly seeking to know, like so many
others who are true seekers after truth, just what he must do to be
saved. He was told that he must be born again if he would see the
kingdom of God. This statement, the Master clarified, when he
explained, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5.)
new birth, then, was to be accomplished through the medium of baptism
by immersion and by the laying on of hands for the conferring of the
Holy Ghost, as the disciples,
thereafter as they went out among the people, administered these sacred
ordinances. (Conference Report, April 1961, p.32;
Spiritual Rebirth Is Most
Often Gradual Process
- Sometimes men are born again miraculously and suddenly,
as was Alma. They become alive to the things of the Spirit and
completely reverse the whole course of their life almost in an instant.
But for most members of the Church the spiritual rebirth is a process
that goes on gradually. (The Promised Messiah, p.351)
- Except in miraculous and unusual circumstances, as with
Alma (Mosiah 27), spiritual rebirth is a process. It does not occur
instantaneously. It comes to pass by degrees. Repentant persons become
alive to one spiritual reality after another, until they are wholly
alive in Christ and are qualified to dwell in his presence forever.
Similarly, conversion is a process and sanctification is a process.
They increase in the hearts of the obedient in process of time as they
more fully keep the commandments and seek the Lord. Spiritual
rebirth begins and ends with belief in Christ. When repentant souls
turn to Christ and seek a new life with him, the processes of rebirth
commence. When their belief in the Lord increases until they are able
to do the works that he does, "and greater works than these" (John
14:12), their rebirth is perfect, and they are prepared for salvation
with him. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:402)
Are the Signs of Spiritual Rebirth?
need to be born again, and have new hearts put in us. There is too much
of the old leaven about us. We are not born again as we should be. Do
you not believe that we ought to be born again? Do you not believe that
we should become new creatures in Christ Jesus, under the influence of
the Gospel? All will say, yes, who understand the Gospel. You must be
born again. You must have new desires, new hearts, so to speak, in you.
But what do we see? We see men following the ways of the world just as
much as though they made no pretensions to being Latter-day Saints.
Hundreds of people who are called Latter-day Saints you could not
distinguish from the world. They have the same desires, the same
feelings, the same aspirations, the same passions as the rest of the
world. Is this how God wants us to be? No; He wants us to have new
hearts, new desires. He wants us to be a changed people when we embrace
His Gospel, and to be animated by entirely new motives, and have a
faith that will lay hold of the promises of God. (Conference
Report, October 1899, p.50)
- While conversion may be
accomplished in stages, one is not really converted in the full sense
of the term unless and until he is at heart a new person. Born again is
the scriptural term. In
one who is wholly converted, desire for things inimical to the gospel
of Jesus Christ has actually died, and substituted therefore is a love
of God with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his
commandments. (Look to God and Live, p. 109)
- The experience of each
individual who is really born again is similar to this experience of
Alma and the sons of Mosiah, although it may not be so dramatic. The
effect upon each person's life is likewise similar. No person whose
soul is illuminated by the burning Spirit of God can in this world of
sin and dense darkness remain passive. He is driven by an irresistible
urge to fit himself to be an active agent of God in furthering
righteousness and in freeing the lives and minds of men from the
bondage of sin. (Conference Report, October 1941, p.89)
- Converted means to
turn from one belief or course of action to another. Conversion is a
spiritual and moral change. Converted implies not merely mental
acceptance of Jesus and his teachings but also a motivating faith in
him and his gospel. A faith which works a transformation, an actual
change in one's understanding of life's meaning and in his allegiance
to God in interest, in thought, and in conduct. In one who is really
wholly converted, desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus
Christ has actually died. And substituted therefore is a love of God,
with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his commandments. [Area Conference Report (Munich)1977:8]
How can we
measure our progress? The scriptures suggest various ways. I will
mention only two.
Benjamin's great sermon, many of his hearers cried out that the Spirit
of the Lord "has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that
we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually"
(Mosiah 5:2). If we are losing our desire to do evil, we are
progressing toward our heavenly goal.
Apostle Paul said that persons who have received the Spirit of God
"have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). I understand this to mean that
persons who are proceeding toward the needed conversion are beginning
to see things as our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, see
them. They are hearing His voice instead of the voice of the world, and
they are doing things in His way instead of by the ways of the world. ("The
Challenge to Become," Ensign, Nov. 2000, pp. 32-34)