Each young woman will understand and seek for a change of heart.
Suggested Lesson Development
A Change of Heart Is Necessary in Becoming like God
To introduce the lesson, ask the young women the following questions:
Have you known converts to the Church who were baptized and became strong and valiant members? Have you known converts who were baptized and sometime later became inactive?
Have you known people who have been members all their lives who are not valiant in living the commandments and serving the Lord?
Explain that all of these people have been baptized and are members of the Church.
What is the difference between the people who serve the Lord with dedication and love, and those who become inactive or indifferent to the Church? Allow the young women to discuss.
Explain that the scriptures have a name for an important thing that makes a difference between valiant and indifferent members of the Church. This quality is called a change of heart.
Explain that the heart has become the symbol of some of our most important thoughts and emotions. Ask the young women to name some of these. Their list will probably include love, tenderness, dedication, trust, and courage.
When the scriptures talk about a change of heart, what type of change do you think they are talking about? Let the young women discuss.
Make sure they understand that a change of heart is a change in a person’s entire life—her thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions, everything that the heart represents. She gives her love, dedication, intelligence, and talents to the Lord and wants only to serve the Lord.
This change is what the Lord was speaking of when he commanded, “See that ye serve [the Lord] with all your heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2).
Have a young woman read Mosiah 3:19.
What does this scripture tell us about having a change of heart? Let the young women discuss.
Explain that this scripture describes the change that can happen to a person. A natural man is a person who is more concerned with worldly things than with God. If we do the things described in this verse, such as having faith in the Atonement and being meek and humble, we can become saints.
Why do you think a person’s heart must be changed in order to become like God?
Point out that unless a person’s entire life is dedicated to the Lord, she will not have the faith, love, and courage to qualify for the celestial kingdom. A change of heart is a necessary step in becoming like God.
The Scriptures Teach Us How Our Hearts Can Be Changed
Explain that the book of Mosiah records the speech that King Benjamin gave to his people when he knew that he would soon die. He taught his people about the Atonement and about their need to repent. This speech was so powerful that all of the people who heard it experienced a change of heart. By studying the things that he told them and the reactions of the people, we can learn what we must do if we are to have a change of heart ourselves.
Have a young woman read Mosiah 4:1–2.
What was the great desire of these people after they heard King Benjamin’s words? (They wanted to repent and be forgiven through the atonement of Christ.)
Have a young woman read what King Benjamin said when he saw that the people were repentant, found in Mosiah 4:6–7.
What did King Benjamin tell the people they should do in order to receive salvation? (Come to a knowledge of God and the Atonement, trust in the Lord, be diligent in keeping the commandments, and continue faithful until the end of their lives.)
King Benjamin asked the people if they believed his words and if they would trust in the Lord and be faithful all their lives. Have a young woman read the people’s answer in Mosiah 5:2, 5. Point out that now the greatest desire these people had was to make a covenant to serve God throughout their lives.
Review with the young women the steps these people went through to have their hearts and lives changed:
They learned about Christ and his commandments from King Benjamin.
They had faith in Christ, believed in the power of his atonement, and wanted to repent of their sins.
They were forgiven through the mercy of the Lord, and they felt peace and joy.
They made a covenant that they would keep the commandments and do good for the rest of their lives.
Point out that these are the same steps we can go through to change our hearts and lives so that we are living in harmony with the Lord.
A Change of Heart Can Happen Quickly or Gradually
Teacher presentation and discussion
Explain that the people of King Benjamin had their hearts and lives changed quickly, but for many people, the process happens more gradually. They go through the same steps that the people of King Benjamin did, but they do so throughout their lives.
Have you learned about Christ’s atonement and commandments? Where have you learned these things?
Have any of you ever repented of a sin and felt that you were forgiven by the Lord? Ask the young women if they would like to share the feelings they had when they felt they were forgiven.
Have you ever wanted to do something that you knew was wrong but did not do it because you wanted to obey the Lord? Again ask the young women to share any experiences they have had. You may want to tell an experience that you have had.
Explain that if the young women have done these things, they have begun to know what it means to have a change of heart. Point out that they should work to have more faith in the Atonement and to obey the commandments more completely. Then gradually they, like the people of King Benjamin, will find that they are losing their desire to do evil. Their whole desire will be to obey the Lord and serve their fellowmen.
After the story is told, have a young woman read Alma 36:18–21. Point out that Alma discovered for himself that repentance and dedication to the Lord can bring great joy.
Bear your testimony that repentance and obedience to the commandments bring the greatest possible joy in this life.
Explain that in the scriptures, a change of heart is sometimes called being born again. President David O. McKay described an experience he had that helped him understand how important it is to have your heart and life changed:
“I … fell asleep, and beheld in vision something infinitely sublime. In the distance I beheld a beautiful white city. Though far away, yet I seemed to realize that trees with luscious fruit, shrubbery with gorgeously-tinted leaves, and flowers in perfect bloom abounded everywhere. The clear sky above seemed to reflect these beautiful shades of color. I then saw a great concourse of people approaching the city. Each one wore a white flowing robe, and a white headdress. Instantly my attention seemed centered upon their Leader, and though I could see only the profile of his features and his body, I recognized him at once as my Savior! The tint and radiance of his countenance were glorious to behold! There was a peace about him which seemed sublime—it was divine!
“The city, I understood, was his. It was the City Eternal; and the people following him were to abide there in peace and eternal happiness.
“But who were they?
“As if the Savior read my thoughts, he answered by pointing to a semicircle that then appeared above them, and on which were written in gold the words:
“‘These Are They Who Have Overcome The World—Who Have Truly Been Born Again!’”
(Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965], p. 102).
Suggest that the young women read Mosiah chapters 2 through 5 so that they can better understand what it means to have a change of heart.