BYU (Brigham Young University) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church.” BYU students take nearly a semester of spiritually uplifting, stimulating religion classes.
In this series (see below), students enrolled in scripture study classes have shared their thoughts, insights, and reflections on the Book of Mormon in the form of letters to someone they know. We invite you to take a look at their epiphanies and discoveries as they delve into the scriptures.
In publishing these, we fulfill their desire to speak to all of us of the relevance, power and beauty of the Book of Mormon, a second witness of Jesus Christ and complement to the Bible. The Book of Mormon includes the religious history of a group of Israelites who settled in ancient America. (The names they use are those of prophets who taught the Book of Mormon peoples to look forward to the coming of Christ—Nephi, Lehi, Alma, Helaman, and other unfamiliar names. We hope those names will become more familiar to you as you read their inspiring words and feel the relevance and divinity of their messages through these letters.)
Let us know if you’d like to receive your own digital copy of the Book of Mormon, and/or if these messages encourage and assist you spiritually as well.
Lessons From the Book of Mormon: Make Fortifications
In Alma 43-56, the people of God, the Nephites, are provoked to war against the wicked Lamanites. Though they did not desire to spill the blood of their former brethren, the Nephites fought for “their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church” (Alma 43:45). They were willing to go to war in defense of their freedoms, families, and religion, similar to how 18th century revolutionaries fought in America for their liberty.
Appointed to lead the armies of the Nephites was Captain Moroni, “and he was only twenty and five years old when he was appointed chief captain” (Alma 43:17). Though he was very young, Moroni led his people with courage and utmost righteousness. He fought for the cause of freedom from bondage and from tyrannical usurpation of unjust leaders. Times were not always easy for the Nephites, but they always pressed on in their faith in Jesus Christ and followed His commandments regardless of the tumult that surrounded them. In Moroni’s military strategy, a method for increasing our defenses against wickedness and temptation can be found. Initially, Moroni strengthened the individuals of his army with armor, thick clothing, and shields. The Lamanites soon caught on to this and armored themselves as well. Then, the Nephites built great fortifications for their cities to protect the people collectively in the city. Moroni and his people then build new cities altogether, on top of fortifying their other ones and armoring their individuals.
Finally, they fortify the very line that separates them from the Lamanites. In a symbolic sense, we can apply these fortifications to our own lives. In order to be protected from sin and temptation, we must first strengthen our own inner faith and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, we can help build up those around us, until we are strengthening everyone we come in contact with. Satan only has power over the external influences of our lives; he cannot affect our internal strength unless we give him the power to do so. Therefore, if we have internal strength in our faith and turn to the Lord, external problems will not be able to influence us.