Mormon writes about a time in which “the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites.” He tells us that the reason they received this great blessing was “because of their easiness and willingness to believe his words” (Helaman 6:36). In contrast, “the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the Nephites, because of the wickedness and the hardness of their hearts” (Helaman 6:35).
What did he mean by the phrase “easiness and willingness to believe?” How did that quality enable the Lamanites to receive the Spirit of the Lord, how did they develop that quality, and how can we develop it?
In the prior chapter, we read about the conversion of some of these Lamanites. Three hundred of them had gone to a prison with the intent to kill two prophets of God: Nephi and Lehi. When they arrived, the prisoners were surrounded by a pillar of fire, they heard a voice from heaven, the prison shook “as if it were about to tumble to the earth,” and they were surrounded by a thick cloud of darkness which terrified and immobilized them. Only when they began to pray did the cloud of darkness disperse, and then they found themselves surrounded by the same pillars of fire which surrounded Nephi and Lehi.
And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire,Helaman 5:45
The turning point in the story was when they began to “cry unto the voice” which they had heard (Helaman 5:41). Until that point, they were stuck—terrified, unable to move, unsure what to do.
Is it any wonder that, after an experience like that, they were quicker to turn their hearts to God, to pray, and to believe in Him? Their “easiness” and “willingness” may have been a natural result of a dramatic experience which taught them how to overcome despair and fear.
Elder Michael T. Ringwood ondered this phrase for many weeks. He concluded that that turning our hearts to God becomes easier when we are consistently engaged in religious activities, including prayer, scripture study, church attendance and temple worship:
The daily living of the gospel brings a softness of heart needed to have an easiness and willingness to believe the word of God….
I witness that this easiness and willingness to believe will come from doing those seemingly insignificant things taught to us repeatedly since our youth. Obedience will bring soft hearts and an easiness to believe in the word of God. I bear witness that an easiness to believe will bring an outpouring of the Spirit.“An Easiness and Willingness to Believe,” General Conference, October 2009
Today, I will strive to follow the Lamanites’ example of easily and willingly believing the word of God. I will remember that consistent worship will help me to achieve that state of mind and heart.