Seventy Teaches the Difference between Being Convinced and Being Converted
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News associate editor
- People who are convinced of the gospel rely on intellect and logic.
- People who are converted desire changes in their lives and are sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
“Conversion has everything to do with the power of the Spirit.” —Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy
Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, a General Authority Seventy, once spoke to a young missionary who was enjoying remarkable success in his duties.
The missionary came from a humble background. He was not unusually learned or articulate. And yet he found people to baptize wherever he was assigned.
Elder Schwitzer asked the elder what was the key to such success.
“The elder told me, ‘I love [the people]. … I introduce them to the Spirit, and then I keep introducing them to the Spirit because I love the Spirit.’”
That young man was not merely “serving a mission”—he had become a “missionary” by understanding the role of the Spirit in conversion, taught Elder Schwitzer on January 9 at the 2018 seminar for new MTC presidents and visitors’ center directors.
Elder Schwitzer told his audience that they each have a sacred duty to help the missionaries realize a “vision” of what’s possible in their respective mission assignments.
Christ, Peter, and conversion
At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ spoke of conversion with Peter:
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).
Those words from the Lord must have confused Peter, said Elder Schwitzer. The Apostle had served diligently alongside the Savior during His mortal ministry. He had witnessed miracles and seen many wonderful things.
But the Lord knew Peter’s conversion was not complete. A short time later, Peter would thrice deny knowing the Lord. His weakness caused him great agony and shame. But Peter’s despair also allowed the Lord to change his heart and steady his testimony. Through the Lord, a repentant Peter would come to experience true conversion.
The second chapter of Acts reveals a new Peter—a disciple fully converted to the Lord as he stood before a great and hostile multitude and testified of “that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (see Acts 2:14–18, 36).
“This was a changed man,” said Elder Schwitzer. “This was a man who could testify. This was a convert.”
Convinced vs. converted
He added there are distinct differences between being convinced and being converted.
People who are convinced of the gospel rely on intellect and logic. Trials can weaken their conviction, and personal growth may be limited. And people who are merely convinced may be fearful of sharing their beliefs with others.
But people who are converted desire changes in their lives. The Holy Spirit cleanses them from the inside. They have no fear to share their faith with others. And sanctification occurs as they see and feel personal growth. They endure to the end.
Conversion offers a pathway to happiness, said Elder Schwitzer. “Conversion has everything to do with the power of the Spirit,” he said.