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: Nephi Typifies Christ
In the Book of Mormon there is a prophet named Samuel. He has a prophecy in which he says five years from now will be the sign of Jesus Christ’s birth. After approximately 5 years had passed, the enemies of the Church decided they had had enough of the Christians and their prophets. They decided that they would choose a day to put the Christians to death, unless the sign occurred. This ultimatum was troubling to the prophet Nephi; rather than be afraid, he turned to the Lord in faith and prayed for the safety of his people. The Lord heard his prayer and consoled him, explaining that the time was at hand and the signs would begin. The scriptures I am referring to can be found in 3 Nephi 1:9-11, and they read as follows:
Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet. Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful. And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
In my life I have never had to deal with such an extreme test of my faith. I have never been threatened with death, I have never feared for the safety of my family because of our beliefs, and I have never had to pour my heart out to the Lord in order to try and save what I believe in. I hope that if a similar circumstance arose in my life that I too would turn to the Lord in prayer, not only in hopes that He would save me, but for the welfare of all those in danger.
I like these scriptures because it teaches us how we should respond when faced with trials. Nephi typifies Christ in his concern for others even over his concern for himself. I have a testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that it is true, and I know that I can become more like Christ as I follow the teachings and examples found in the Book of Mormon. These scriptures highlight just one example, but it is my hope and prayer that I will be able to follow Nephi’s example and live my life as the Savior lived His.