Lesson 16 of the Gospel Doctrine Class on the Book of Mormon covers Mosiah 4-6. These chapters contain King Benjamin’s speech and the people’s reaction to it. One thing they said was that the Spirit had worked a mighty change in their hearts with the result that “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually”. (Mosiah 5:2)
My dictionary defines disposition as “a prevailing tendency, mood, or inclination”. Therefore this says they didn’t even have an inclination to do evil; rather they were inclined to do good continually. I think we would all agree that sin is evil. Jesus also talked about how sin begins in our heart and thoughts. James talks about how our desires give birth to sin. Therefore if someone claims to have no more disposition to do evil but only good continually, isn’t it reasonable to say that they are claiming that they are no longer sinning?
I, for one, can’t make the claim that I have no more disposition to do evil but only good continually. I’m far from being inclined to only do good. Before I even realize I’m doing it, I think something bad about the person who doesn’t go when the light turns green because they are chatting on their cell phone. When someone cuts in line, my jaw immediately clenches as I bit my tongue trying not to say what I’m thinking. Honestly, there is no way that I could claim for even one hour that I had no disposition for evil.
Therefore I was interested in seeing how the teacher’s guide would handle this verse. In this regard, it asks a couple of interesting questions. First it asks: “how might our lives and relationships be affected if we ‘had no more disposition to do evil’? I could maybe see that being a hypothetical question. But reading on it’s apparent that it’s not hypothetical. Because then it asks, “Once we have experienced a ‘might change in our hearts (Mosiah 5:2), what challenges do we face in maintaining this change? How can we meet these challenges?” There it talks about actually experiencing that mighty change. This is pictured as an attainable goal! I can only assume by that that there are members of the LDS Church who right now claim that they have no more disposition to do evil but to good continually.
Until the day I die I will sin. Until the day I die I will have dispositions to do evil. That doesn’t make me happy. But that is a fact of life. It’s a fact that no matter how hard I try not to, I will still sin. But it’s also a fact that I am not worried in the slightest that, because of this, I won’t live forever with heavenly Father. I’m not worried about that because Jesus’ blood cleanses me completely. I’m not worried about that because I am saved fully, completely, entirely based on what Jesus has done for us. Because of Jesus, even though I am still in a sinful state, before God I have the status of a saint. And that is all that counts!