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.
One Size Fits All
Letter to younger brother preparing for a mission
I had the most amazing lesson this week from 3 Nephi 10 and 11; it was a spiritual experience. As you read this letter you should go grab your scriptures and notice some of the amazing things in this chapter.
First, while I was reading it alone, chapter 10: 3-7 were a little confusing. The voice coming from heaven was speaking in past tense then switches to present and future tense. I didn’t know exactly what was going on until my teacher let me in on a small insight; he is speaking to both people in the spirit world and on earth! He is talking about gathering his people and how he had tried in these verses. This is just another example of life after death and those in the spirit world. So that was the interesting head thought of the lesson, then we switched into deeper doctrine in 3 Nephi chapter 11 when Jesus shows himself unto the people. In verse 12, it says that the whole multitude fell to the earth (the first fall). This was a cool concept because Jesus didn’t make them fall, they did it instinctively.
After the lesson I thought about this and everyone really would fall… there would be no stopping yourself because the presence of the Lord would be too strong. Then in verse 14, Jesus asks the multitude to “Arise” from their fall (the first fall, or physical death). After he arose the multitude and asked them to “thrust” their hands in his side, not just touch the spear wound to his heart, and feel the prints of the nails. My teacher helped me picture this moment and when you really put yourself in that position, what could you say to this man who suffered for your sins. I started to cry just thinking about it because there would be no words that could compensate for what I was feeling. Then, verse 15 reads,”And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come”. The multitude went one by one and felt the wounds of the Savior.
In my opinion, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he must have likewise experienced our sins one by one to truly know what each of us were going through. I don’t think it was anyone who has cancer He felt at once or everyone who broke and arm He felt it once. I picture Him, for every person, experiencing our sins one by one giving the atonement not only a measure of infinity, but intimacy also for each and every person. After this experience, the multitude fell again (a second fall) and then He gave the power of baptism to Nephi and others. As He gave them this power He asked these individuals to “Arise” from their second fall that was voluntary (spiritual death). He gave the power to baptize to these individuals so that through this power, the rest of the multitude could arise from this second death and live with Christ. Another side note. When these people had the opportunity to go to Christ one by one, each of them needed a different thing from Christ at that time; some might need a shoulder to cry on, children would need someone to smile with, etc. This is where you come in. On your mission you will need to take on this characteristic of “one size fits all”. You will need to stretch and condense as needed for the people of Peru to truly be a tool in the hands of God. Some will need encouragement, some will need love, some will need assurance, or some will need a friend. You will have an opportunity to do this.
I love you and know you will be great!