conversionPeter was still able to do much good, even before his wholehearted conversion. We should never forget that conversion cements within us what we already feel.


This article was originally written as the Day 1 entry for week 25 of the 2023 Come, Follow Me lessons. The scriptures and title used for this lesson are Luke 22:31-34, 54-62; John 18:17-27 – Conversion is an ongoing process.

A look at Peter’s trial of faith

Peter, like most humans, is a complicated man. He is fervent in his devotion to the Lord, but his flesh is weak, like the rest of us. As a result, his desires for good are sometimes outstripped by his ability to live up to those desires. Hence we read about his profession to Jesus on the night of the Savior’s arrest that Peter will go with him to prison and even death, and within seconds he is told by the Savior that Peter will deny Jesus three times before the next cock crows.

That comment about his denial may have been hurtful to Peter, but he was determined to prove Jesus wrong, so he followed him (at a safe distance) to see what would happen to him. Peter had already tried that night to defend Jesus by cutting off the captor’s ear. That act of devotion got him gently reprimanded. Despite his reprimand, Peter continued to follow him to make sure he knew what befell his master.

We don’t know what kind of conversation was taking place among the servants of the house, but we all know how gossip happens. Those who are not directly affected by or involved in an issue are often those with the strongest opinions. It is almost as if it is a matter of social status or personal self worth. They want to be right among their peers. This is the crowd Peter was in as he followed Jesus. They recognized Peter as one of Jesus’ followers. What a gold mine for them to have a compatriot of the accused in their midst.

Over the course of the next few hours three people recognized Peter, as well they should have. He was the chief apostle, and was always with Jesus. Who knows what kind of conversation, accusations, or even threats were levied against Jesus and his followers by the servants and friends of the household of Jesus’s chief enemies. Small wonder Peter felt intimidated and possibly small in such company.

It is important here to remember that Peter had only had a witness of his master’s divinity, not the converting experience that can only come with the gift of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost that brings the strength of conversion was not yet his to rely upon. It is no wonder then that even with three years of time spent ministering with Jesus, Peter became afraid when directly accused, and possibly threatened, by these people. He did what many of us have probably done at one point or another when faced with direct confrontation about the gospel, he turned into a coward and denied his connection with the man he loved most in the world.

Honestly now, if you could hear the conversation from the other room, the jeering, the shouting, the slapping of the Savior as they mocked him, as you sat among the servants of the household, how threatened would you feel for your own safety if it was discovered that you were a close ally of the accused within? Peter knew that there was no justice being administered in this situation. Everything these men did went against the law of Moses they all taught and upheld publicly. This was mob rule, and Peter was being thrown into the middle of it by the mob’s servants.

Wept bitterly

When I allow myself to read the account of Peter’s denial of Christ, and do it slowly so that I can feel what is going on, I always choke up when I read that Peter looked into the eyes of his master and remembered that he had told Peter that he would deny him three times before the cock crew. That he could even make eye contact with Jesus at this point tells me that what was going on in the tribunal was pretty public, because Peter held no privileged position that would get him admitted. He was just another person off the street, yet he was able to witness what they were doing to Jesus.

It is that moment of eye contact. When Peter looked into his beloved master’s eyes, he probably realized they were filled with a look of sorrow. Peter was immediately filled with guilt and shame for what he had done to the man who had loved him and saved him so often and so well. My own soul cowers when I think of the times I have betrayed my Lord by my own cowardice or timidity. How often have I caused him to weep for my own personal betrayals? I feel for Peter. His spirit was indeed willing, but his flesh was weak, just like my own. Yet Christ loved him still, as he loves me still.

Before Jesus was betrayed he said these words to Peter (Luke 22:31-32):

31 ¶ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art convertedstrengthen thy brethren.

The King James Version of the Bible makes these verses all about Peter. Joseph Smith made these verses all about the Lord’s earthly church. See the difference in the color change with the JST version inserted into the first of the two verses.

31 ¶ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat.

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art convertedstrengthen thy brethren.

Peter was to be the Prophet, the President of Christ’s church. If Satan was to get his hooks into Peter the whole church would suffer for it, not just Peter. Jesus was praying to the Father for the welfare of the man God had chosen to be the first Prophet of the Meridian Church. I don’t think Peter had any idea what lay ahead of him when Jesus said those words to him. It would only be after they all received the gift of the Holy Ghost that hindsight would help him interpret the meaning of the Lord’s message.


We see in the New Testament that Peter had some struggles along his path to conversion to Christ’s gospel. We also see that being in the presence of Jesus for three years wasn’t enough for Peter to be fully converted. Peter needed to have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then live by the Spirit to eventually become as converted as he needed to be to hold up to the persecutions and martyrdom he would face down the road. Just like Peter, our lives are complicated. We are complicated. It will also take us time to become fully converted.

Our own conversion rarely ever happens all at once. We do read accounts of those whose lives changed in a moment’s time, but this is rare and unusual. The majority of us take years to become fully converted. We must face trial after trial and learn to be valiant in the face of those trials. Some we will pass with flying colors, while others we might fail miserably. All God wants from us is to get up when we have fallen down and try again.

Rarely will we face a direct denial of all we hold dear to us. Our downfall may consist of smaller denials that come in the form of refusing to stand up for someone who is being badmouthed by others. For example, if someone is criticizing the Relief Society President or the Elders Quorum President, do we stand by in quiet agreement or do we kindly speak in their behalf? What if it is someone who has issue with a policy of the Church? Do we do what may be politically incorrect in order to defend the Prophet and Apostles or do we let their attack go unchallenged, because it is popular in the world today?

We don’t have to publicly deny Christ in order for Satan to win. We just need to let Satan go unchallenged because his position is popular. Conversion changes us, but we must seek it, work for it, and pray for the strength we need to receive it from the Spirit. Conversion to God’s ways and will is never accidental. It only comes when deliberately sought after on our part. The strength of our conversion is seen in our commitment to and our defense of the truth.

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Peter’s Conversion – Our Conversion