The Savior Saves Us from Our Worst Selves
Along with saving us from death and sin, Jesus offers us victory over our worst selves. Not only can our sins be forgiven, but we can be born again (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ can become the father of our spiritual rebirths (see Mosiah 5:7). “Have ye spiritually been born of God?” asked Alma. “Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” (Alma 5:14). The opportunity to answer yes to these questions is a gift of grace—something we cannot do on our own. . . .
During World War II, Elder David B. Haight was flying in a plane over the Pacific when suddenly the engine began spewing flames and smoke. In the terror of that moment, Elder Haight poured out his heart to God. He promised that if he got out of the war alive he would rededicate his life to service in the Church. Elder Haight said, “I pondered that night that I hadn’t given it my all. I didn’t have my priorities in proper order. That night my whole life passed in review before me. I reappraised my life and recommitted myself to the Lord (Lucile C. Tate, David B. Haight: The Life Story of a Disciple).
That sincere prayer was a turning point. However, Elder Haight was not born again the instant he made his commitment but throughout all the subsequent years that he kept it. This event was only part of strengthening a covenant relationship with the Lord that continued throughout Elder Haight’s lifetime. . . . I figured that since God could still use Elder Haight despite his less-than-perfect past, maybe He could also use me. Just as God sanctified Elder Haight, maybe He was willing to polish and refine me as well. My encounter with that Apostle so impressed me that years later I named my youngest son David after him. The chance to be born again and become our best selves is one of many ways we are saved by grace.
The Savior Rescues Us from Ignorance
In Doctrine and Covenants 131:6 we read, “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” Impossible means impossible—something we can’t do by ourselves. Along with saving us from death, sin, and our worst selves, Christ’s grace also gives us victory over ignorance (see 2 Nephi 4:23). He does not leave us in darkness. He said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
When young Joseph Smith felt confused, there came into his life a pillar of light. When we are unsure, we can also seek a pillar of light—a clear picture of God, our relationship to Him, and the knowledge that what we are doing is in accordance with His will and plan for us. This knowledge can save us as it saved Joseph. . . .
Cult leaders like to keep their followers in ignorance. They encourage people to simply believe them and follow blindly. By contrast, Joseph Smith said, “God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint . . . as fast as he is able to bear them” (Joseph Smith, in The Joseph Smith Papers, History). Joseph did not want others to just believe his testimony; he encouraged them to find out the truth for themselves. He did not want others to just feel God’s grace secondhand; he wanted them to receive it firsthand.