Because of denominational inferences, latter-day saints don’t refer to themselves as “born again Christians,” but the Book of Mormon teaches us that this mighty change must take place in order for us to enter into the kingdom of God, thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God (v. 26). For a complete discussion of this doctrine, see commentary for Mosiah 5:2.
There are a few characteristics which are important in this passage. One is that being born again describes a transformation from carnal to spiritual. This occurs by the power of the Spirit, and the individual is redeemed, becoming a son or daughter of Christ. This is how Christ is the father, by virtue of his redeeming sacrifice. We become the children of Him who was once our elder brother.
Often the scriptures speak of this mighty change happening over a relatively short time period of a day or two. Benjamin’s people, Alma, Enos, and king Lamoni are examples. However, the vast majority of members make this mighty change over a longer time period—sometimes over months or years. Bruce R. McConkie said, “(For most of us) this process is usually slow. The unusually quick ones make their way into scripture.” (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1976). The process, whether it takes a day, a year, or a decade, is characterized by a spiritual transformation—’changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters. And thus they become new creatures’ (Mosiah 27:25-26). Joseph Smith said, “the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost.” (Teachings, p. 150).
Marion G. Romney
“The experience of each individual who is really born again is similar to this experience of Alma and the sons of Mosiah, although it may not be so dramatic. The effect upon each person’s life is likewise similar. No person whose soul is illuminated by the burning Spirit of God can in this world of sin and dense darkness remain passive. He is driven by an irresistible urge to fit himself to be an active agent of God in furthering righteousness and in freeing the lives and minds of men from the bondage of sin.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1941, p. 89)
Mark E. Petersen
“That birth of the spirit means something more than most of us normally realize. Through proper teaching, a conviction is born in our soul. Faith develops. Through it we see how important it is to become like Christ. We see ourselves as we are in contrast to a Christlike soul. A desire for a change-over is born within us. The change-over begins. We call it repentance. Through our faith and as part of our conversion or change from one state to another, we begin to see sin in its true light. ... We strive with all our souls to become like the Savior. (Address to seminary and institute of religion personnel, BYU, July 11, 1956.)” (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.117)
Ezra Taft Benson
“Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, [and Alma], there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life.” (Ensign, Oct. 1989, p. 5 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 240)
Neal A. Maxwell
“The very process of being born again spiritually is not a one-time occurrence. Hence, Paul said that he died ‘daily’ (I Cor. 15:31). Such is the process of putting off the old self as one becomes a woman or a man of God. Quick change artists are rare. I have not seen many put off the old and put on the new very rapidly.” (BYU Fireside, 12/2/84 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 240)