27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
The context for these verses is a period of unexpected growth and prosperity for the church. After several years of dissensions and contention among the Nephites, Helaman (the chief judge) and other government leaders were able to establish peace in the land in the forty-ninth year of the reign of the judges. In that same year, thousands of people joined the church. The success of the church was so great that “even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure” (Helaman 3:25).
Mormon interrupts the narrative at this point to teach us an important principle: Heavenly Father loves all of His children and welcomes them all into His kingdom if they are willing to come. Perhaps the church leaders would have been less astonished by the rapid growth of the church if they had understood this principle. As Jeffrey R. Holland taught in General Conference last Sunday:
There is room [in the church] for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, for the married, for large families, and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions. In short, there is a place for everyone who loves God and honors His commandments as the inviolable measuring rod for personal behavior…. “Come as you are,” a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, “Don’t plan to stay as you are” (“Songs Sung and Unsung,” General Conference, April 2017).
Today, as I interact with different people, I will remember that we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven. I will remember that He wants to welcome all of His children into His church, and that He wants to help all of us become like Him. I will remember that the gate of heaven is open to everyone, and I will strive to do my part to welcome people of diverse backgrounds into the church.