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: Darkest Night, Brightest Day
Today, I’m writing to those who are barely hanging on.
There is a saying that goes something along the lines of: “The darkest night always comes before the brightest day.” This holds the most true for the Nephite people in 3 Nephi 8-10, unfortunately. We are talking about a people who were once the most righteous people in the land. Then in these chapters and the ones preceding it, we see a dramatic change. They have become more and more prideful, focusing on their riches and their treasures instead of on God. The prophets strive their hardest to call them to repentance, but their words of wisdom fall on deaf ears. Then it finally happens. The prophecies that have been foretold for hundreds of years about the events preceding the Lord’s coming finally are fulfilled, and tragically many people are not prepared. We read that tempests strike, fires rage, whirlwinds blow and the entire earth quakes until everything was in absolute ruin. Thousands of people die, and those who lived “howl and weep” for the loss of their loved ones.
Then one of, if not, the most wonderful happenings in history occurs: the coming of Christ to the Americas. In Chapter 11, the Nephites see Jesus Christ descend from the heavens clothed in white. He declares to them who He is and shows them He has conquered death – both spiritual and physical – for them. They each remember the words of the prophets and begin to weep with joy, crying: “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” They are filled with the purest of joys, for they know the truth of the gospel and they feel our Savior’s love.
We ourselves will go through tempests, storms, fires, earthquakes and whirlwinds of our own, but they will be in a spiritual sense, if not a physical one. Some who read this may be going through some stormy times now. Those storms can’t be avoided because they are key to our spiritual progress here on earth. What we can control, though, is how prepared we are and how we act through those storms. If we are faithful, we will not fear whatever Satan blows our way. If we are prepared, we will be able to endure by the power and grace of God. Know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and, thankfully for us, that light is Jesus Christ. He loves you and is not only hoping you stay righteous and endure to the end, He is also doing all that He can to help you. And if times just seem to get darker and darker for you, remember: “The future is as bright as your faith.”