BYU (Brigham Young University) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church.” As part of their undergraduate coursework, BYU students take multiple semesters 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.
Book of Mormon: Christ in the Americas
Today in Book of Mormon we learned about Christ coming down and visiting the Americas after His Resurrection. One particular thing we talked about is how before He came down, a voice spoke out of heaven. This is described in 3 Nephi 11:3-5.
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
The people did not understand at first, probably because they were not yet ready to hear it. They looked to each other first. Symbolically, this shows that their hearts were not completely in tune with the Spirit yet. Their first instinct was still to look to man before God. However, once they had felt the power of the voice in their hearts, then they understood and looked to heaven. They allowed the Holy Ghost to change their understanding, and only then could they understand the voice.
Today, we don’t have such symbolic or life-changing examples. We have little trials and little decisions that show God where we put our trust. One of the indicators I thought of when considering how to show God that I look to Him for my support is by what makes me happy. There are so many wonderful worldly things out there. Some of them are bad, but most aren’t. However, if we put those things first, then we are showing God that those are the things that we trust more. The greatest happiness that can be obtained in this world comes only through Christ and His incredible gift of the Atonement. That should always be first in our lives as the thing that causes the most happiness.
I know that I am certainly not the most perfect at this, because it is difficult for us human beings to always be focused on the eternal. The temporal seems to be always so close and personal that the heavens begin to seem far away and indifferent. Do not allow that; close the gap between you and Heavenly Father. Things go out of style, or are forgotten as new and better things are made. Nothing in this life ever seems to bring long-term happiness or satisfaction. Nothing of this world ever does. The only thing you can place your trust and happiness in with complete certainty cannot be found on this earth. It is okay to want your temporal things, but be sure that the place you put your happiness is on the rock of our Redeemer. Don’t look to man for your salvation, look to Christ. Only He can cause you true happiness.