Be Converted and Be Healed – 2 Nephi 16:9-10

9 And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes—lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed.
(2 Nephi 16:9-10)

Today, I’m pondering the relationship between conversion and healing. First, some background on the passage above:

  • Among the thirteen consecutive chapters quoted from the book of Isaiah by Nephi is an account of Isaiah’s vision in which he was called to be a prophet.
  • Isaiah’s story is in three parts:
    1. He sees God in His glory (2 Nephi 16:1-4, Isaiah 6:1-4).
    2. He expresses his feeling of unworthiness to be there, and his sins are forgiven (2 Nephi 16:5-7, Isaiah 6:5-7).
    3. He volunteers for an assignment and then learns how difficult and unpleasant it will be (2 Nephi 16:8-13, Isaiah 6:8-13).

The passage above is from the third part of the vision, the explanation of his calling. On the surface, it seems like a strange assignment for a prophet: it sounds like he’s being asked to prevent people from being converted and healed. However, the language in verse 9, coupled with the Savior’s paraphrase of verse 10 in Matthew 13:15 makes clear that it is the listeners who would choose to harden their hearts, close their eyes, and refuse to listen. Isaiah’s goal is to help the people be converted so they can be healed, but they have to choose whether or not to accept the invitation.

Many years later, after the destruction which accompanied the death of Jesus Christ, the survivors heard the voice of the Savior making a tender invitation: “will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?” (3 Nephi 9:13). The message is clear: the Savior is eager to heal us, but He can only do that if we choose to be converted.

President Russell M. Nelson has taught about the relationship between conversion and healing:

Conversion means “to turn with.” Conversion is a turning from the ways of the world to, and staying with, the ways of the Lord. Conversion includes repentance and obedience. Conversion brings a mighty change of heart. Thus, a true convert is “born again,”walking with a newness of life.
As true converts, we are motivated to do what the Lord wants us to do and to be who He wants us to be. The remission of sins, which brings divine forgiveness, heals the spirit (“Jesus Christ–the Master Healer,” General Conference, October 2005).

Today, I will turn toward the Savior by repenting of my sins and striving to act in accordance with His example and teachings. I will remember that, by turning to Him and walking with Him, I open the door for Him to heal me.

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