Understanding Personal Conversion to Jesus Christ

Elder Millet Forum
Elder Robert L. Millet

On April 12, the Southern Virginia University community gathered to hear Elder Robert L. Millet, a senior missionary instructor at the Southern Virginia Institute of Religion and professor emeritus of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, speak on recognizing personal conversion to Jesus Christ.

“How can we tell when we’re making progress in conversion—in terms of moving toward having an absolutely unshakable faith so that nothing thrown in our path can trip us up?” Millet asked. “It begins when we see commandments, laws, and rules not as a roadblock to our happiness, but as guidelines and loving signs to finding happiness here and eternal life.”

Highlighting the signs of true conversion to Jesus Christ, Millet taught that a converted person views church attendance as an opportunity to deepen their worship by sharing their testimony with others and participating in gospel discussions.

Elder Millet Forum

“We all can contribute in church classes,” Millet said. “That may be in the form of asking questions, or it may come in the form of answering questions. It may not come in the form of speaking, but in the form of praying for the teacher, praying for the group, praying for all of us that this will be a special spiritual experience.”

Sharing a conversation he had with a friend who consistently set aside time for scripture study, Millet highlighted the importance of daily spiritual experiences in maintaining faith and overcoming doubt. 

“He knew his scriptures in and out,” Millet said. “I remember sitting and asking him, ‘You know the scriptures so well. What do you do, spend a couple hours a day studying?’ He said, ‘I don’t have a couple of hours a day. I spend 15 minutes each morning sitting in my chair, reading scripture, but I never miss.’

“Every time we come to the scriptures, we come as a different person,” Millet continued. “We’ve had a whole new set of experiences, we’ve had some disappointments, we’ve had some great moments. We have new eyes to see scriptures. Scripture reading becomes a sacred time for us.” 

Millet emphasized that a defining characteristic of Christ is His love and compassion, and he taught that personal conversion to Christ leads to an increased desire to treat others with mercy, love, and patience.

“These are Christ-like characteristics, and they’re all associated with how we deal with other people,” Millet said. “We’ll know how well we’re doing spiritually in terms of moving to greater conversion when we find ourselves loving people more, finding fault less, and taking offense less.”

Millet has served as dean of Religious Education, chair of the department of Ancient Scripture, and director of the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University. He has also published over 70 books on gospel-related topics and is considered one of the foremost scholars on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.

Elder Millet Forum
Southern Virginia University Camerata Orchestra and the visiting American Fork High School Camerata Orchestra and Concert Orchestra accompany the campus community singing “Love One Another”

The event featured a musical number, “On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss,” performed by the Symphonic Band and visiting Westlake High School Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band. At the end of Millet’s remarks, the campus community joined in singing “Love One Another” accompanied by the Camerata Orchestra and the visiting American Fork High School Camerata Orchestra and Concert Orchestra.