by Cindy Patience
A Change of Heart
As they left for church, Ellie and her brother, Nathan, quarreled about who would ride up front with their mom. Sitting up front somehow made them feel important and special. But Mother told them to both sit in the back seat and to think about how they were behaving toward one another. They still were feeling angry and hurt all through the morning worship, and later they sat as far away from each other as they could during Sunday School.
Their class was studying the Book of Mormon. Their teacher told them about Ammon and his brothers who had taught the gospel to the Lamanites. Thousands of them changed their hearts and remained strong—firm in their faith in Jesus Christ. Because God forgave them, they did not want to commit sin again. They would rather die than kill another, so they chose to bury their weapons of war for peace. Not wanting to be like the Lamanites, they changed their name to the Anti-Nephi- Lehis.
The Lamanites started to attack them with swords because they had chosen to follow Christ. But the Anti-Nephi-Lehis did not fight back because they had buried their swords. Thousands were killed, but because the Anti-Nephi-Lehis had stood for what was right, the Lamanites repented and laid down their swords for peace, and many were converted. They had a “change of heart.” They no longer wanted to do evil but to do good, as others had before them. (Read Mosiah 3:3.)
After the story, the teacher talked to the children about the importance of having a change of heart when rebellious and angry thoughts become stronger than the love and forgiveness that Jesus taught us to have. She gave them each a paper sword on which to list the things that they knew they must get rid of to be as God wanted them to be. Then they were to bury their swords in a large pot of sand that the teacher had brought to the class. Afterwards, she gave them each a heart to write on about how they could change.
Ellie and Nathan thought about each other; they were ashamed and looked down at their feet. They didn’t want to be like the unrepentant Lamanites. They knew that it would not be an easy thing to keep from hurting each other again, but they also knew that they really loved each other. It was painful, but they wrote down their bad feelings on their swords and thoughtfully went to bury them in the sand pot.
On the way home, the car was peaceful. They both felt glad to sit together in the back seat and share the good things they had written on the hearts which they had made. What they had written made them feel so much happier than the bad things listed on the swords. But the swords were gone and buried. They both felt so relieved to have new and changed hearts!