Peace had come to the people of Zarahemla, along with a great flowering of spirituality. Thousands joined the Church as the Lord’s work progressed at an astonishing pace (see Hel. 3:20–34). One reason for this wonderful era was the purity of the hearts of the members of the Church.
The book of Helaman outlines the process that the people of Zarahemla followed to experience this purifying. It states that they “were baptized unto repentance” (Hel. 3:24) and believed “on the name of Jesus Christ” (Hel. 3:28), laying hold upon “the word of God” (Hel. 3:29–30). Humility was vital, as were fasting and prayer (Hel. 3:35).
These are among the things we too must do to purify our lives. Of course, the most important aspect of the process is the atonement of Jesus Christ. No effort on our part would bring us the purity we seek if Jesus had not atoned for our sins. But if we truly repent and strive to keep our covenants, the Savior’s atonement washes us clean and enables the Holy Ghost to purify our hearts (see 3 Ne. 27:19–20).
Jesus Christ also serves as our exemplar. President Howard W. Hunter said: “We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then act more courageously upon the answer … We should make every effort to become like Christ, the one perfect and sinless example this world has seen” (Ensign, November 1994, page 87).
Jesus reminded us that love of God is the first and great commandment and that love of others is “like unto it” (Matt. 22:37–40). Paul pointed out that love must be given “out of a pure heart” (1 Tim. 1:5). The poor widow who cast her two mites into the treasury had this quality (see Mark 12:42–44).
“She knew the Savior, the Good Shepherd. She knew she was a shepherd, too, and she fed her sheep with the pure gospel of Christ.”
The only way to purify our hearts is to receive the ordinances of the gospel and follow the Master in word, deed, and thought. Some may become discouraged when they fail to receive that blessing immediately. But as long as we approach the Savior with “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (2 Ne. 2:7), we can be assured that his atonement has the power to cleanse our lives and purify our hearts.
• How can we use the power of the Atonement to purify our hearts?
• What things could deter us from increasing purity in our lives?