25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
After being called to repentance by an angel of God, Alma the Younger was paralyzed for two or three days. We know what he experienced during this period because he described it to his son Helaman years later:
- He became painfully aware of the impact of his sins.
- He was “racked with eternal torment” and wished that he could simply cease to exist.
- After three days of suffering, he remembered his father’s teachings about the saving power of Jesus Christ.
- He pleaded with Jesus to have mercy on him.
- Immediately, he was healed, and his “soul was filled with joy.” (See Alma 36:12-21.)
When he regained his mobility, he told the people gathered around him that he had been “redeemed of the Lord” and “born of the Spirit” (Mosiah 27:24). Then, he made a universal statement of doctrine: Everyone must be born again. Everyone. We must all be changed from our current “fallen state…to a state of righteousness” in order to “inherit the kingdom of God.”
After quoting the passage above and referring to several other scriptural passages, Elder David A. Bednar said:
Please note that the conversion described in these verses is mighty, not minor—a spiritual rebirth and fundamental change of what we feel and desire, what we think and do, and what we are. Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we choose to follow the Master, we choose to be changed—to be spiritually reborn (“Ye Must Be Born Again,” General Conference, April 2007).
Today, I will remember that Jesus Christ can make a “fundamental and permanent change in [my] very nature.” I will remember that I must be born again, changed from my current state to a state of righteousness. I will repent of my sins, as Alma did. I will allow God to change me, so that I can one day return to His presence and inherit His kingdom.