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: Having Security in a World of Uncertainty
I hope things have been good recently. I just wanted to share with you what I have been learning in my Book of Mormon class. We have been reading in Helaman and 3 Nephi. The topic I am going to focus on is trials of faith. There are two stories involved with this; one with Samuel the Lamanite (Helaman 13-16), the other about Nephi before Christ’s birth (3 Nephi 1).
Some interesting things about Samuel:
1) His prophecies were very specific, potentially the most specific of any prophet.
2) We don’t know anything about his past or future. To us, he is just Samuel, a Lamanite. This shows what God can do with ordinary people.
3) In 3 Nephi 23, Christ tells Nephi to include Samuel’s words in the record.
4) He was a very deep, great doctrinal theologian.
With that said, he is sent to Zarahemla to preach the gospel. After being rejected, he turns around, ready to head home. However, the Lord tells him to return. Samuel could have been thinking a lot of different things at that point – why didn’t He help me earlier? Why should I return, they don’t even care for the message? However, he still did as he was told and returned. At that point, he is rejected again. This doesn’t stop him, though. He then climbs onto the wall and proceeds to teach the people. And because he has the courage and exercises the obedience necessary, he brings about a lot of great things. I think this shows a lot about how we need to have faith in God’s timing and remember that He knows all. And He won’t leave us hanging if we choose to come to Him.
In 3 Nephi 1, the wicked pick a day for all those who believe that Christ will come to be killed. We know that Nephi prayed for everything to work out, but we don’t know when the prayer recorded happened. It could have happened the night before the day they would have been killed, or it could have happened weeks before. My teacher explained that we don’t know, but we can learn a lot from this story if this happened the day before (which is very probable). Nephi could have been praying for weeks, looking for an answer. However, he had to continue to hold out, not knowing what would happen. In this scenario, he would have gotten pretty nervous. He would have also been pretty confused because he had probably prayed repeatedly for quite some time without receiving an answer. But in the end, the Lord told him that everything was going to be fine and that Christ will be born on the morrow (3 Nephi 1:12-15). The lesson learned from this story is that we need to have faith to know that God knows everything, and we know nothing in comparison. He won’t always tell us what is going to happen or take us from trials, because from those hard things, we learn the most. Just before the probable breaking point for Nephi, the Lord answered his prayer. Our Heavenly Father loves us and is watching out for us. He knows what is best for us, and we need to remember that we can’t see our full plan, but He can.
Many things in life come unexpectedly, and lots of times those things make no sense at all. However, I know that if we remember that Christ is looking out for us, in this craziness of life we will find peace. I know that if we can remember this, we will find joy in the journey. It is so important for us to develop the “but if not” faith like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They knew that God would help them, but if not, they would still not lose faith in Him. What would happen is what God knew would be best. I hope that you can find that happiness and peace in your life always