The king believes the words of Aaron, and immediately "the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees." (vs. 17) Prostrated upon the ground, crying mightily unto the Lord, the king then offers this beautifully simple prayer:
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. (vs. 18)The end of verse 18 then explains that the king "was struck as if he were dead." This passing of state from consciousness to unconsciousness is reported at least three times in the Book of Mormon as part of miraculous conversion processes. It happened previously with this man's own son, King Lamoni, (see Alma 18:42-43) and then to his entire household (See Alma 19:13-16). It also happened to Alma the Younger (See Mosiah 27:19-20 and Alma 36:10-11). Alma the Younger's final account is the most vivid in explaining the purpose of this type of conversion event.
In reviewing Alma's account, I was also brought to consider vs. 24 for Alma 36. This seems to be something of a mission statement for Alma and I love the focus that this gives on his priorities after his conversion. It reads:
Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.Saul/Paul is one other example from the New Testament of a similar conversion experience. Perhaps what we see in common with all these men is the need for a quick turn around to protect and advance the work of the Lord. Their conversions were not for their benefit alone. Rather, we have in all four cases men who were in key positions of influence who needed a more powerful heavenly manifestation to adjust their course in an abbreviated time span.
This understanding is phenomenal! Typically, the conversion process of becoming a true Christian disciple is a process of years. (Take Peter, for example.) Elongated conversion processes are the norm. So understanding that the Lord has conversion tools in place to facilitate His work, when needed, makes a great deal of sense to me this morning.