Key to commitment is conversion

During his years as a General Authority and in other leadership positions, Elder W. Mack Lawrence of the Seventy related during the April 1996 general conference that he had noted what stake presidents said was their biggest challenge: "To have the saints committed and converted so they will be faithful in keeping their covenants and fulfilling their callings."

"I have given that challenge a lot of prayerful consideration. Certainly Latter-day Saints do not lack opportunities to hear the word of God, but, unfortunately, they are often dilatory in the follow-through and the application in living the word.

"What is it that gives us a testimony and a desire to serve the Lord 'with all [our] heart, might, mind and strength' (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2) and to 'be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord?' (1 Nephi 4:34.)

"As I have pondered this and prayed abut it, I have concluded that the problem lies in the lack of conversion and commitment: conversion to Christ, His gospel and His Church; and, subsequently, commitment to the covenants and individual callings one may have received to serve and strengthen others. In this regard, it is of interest to consider Christ's words to Peter: 'When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.' (Luke 22:32.) Thus, commitment seems to be an outgrowth or fruit of conversion.

"In order to receive a fulness of promised blessings in our lives and to be fully effective in our callings, we must become converted. Would any of us truly do any less than our very best in keeping a covenant or commandment, fulfilling an assignment or in following Christ if we were truly converted in our hearts?

"A truly converted follower of Christ — one who merits the designation of disciple or saint — could not be casual or complacent in his or her approach to service in the Church nor in keeping covenants and commandments. Such a one would surely follow the Lord's admonition to 'learn his [or her] duty, and to act in . . . all diligence.' " (Doctrine and Covenants 107:99.)

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