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.
Mormonism: Who Am I to Judge My Brother?
Excerpt from an email to a non-member:
I realize this week that I made a mistake in ignoring some of my friends. Yes, they had done some things that were pretty mean and disappointing, and for a long time I felt justified in refusing to acknowledge them. I thought that perhaps by seeing my reaction they would realize their mistake. But I have been reading so many scriptures lately that have made me realize that I’m approaching it all wrong! I love it when I am reading the scriptures with something else worrying me, and then suddenly verses that I’ve read hundreds of times before suddenly take on an entirely different meaning and strength. For example: “Judge not that ye be not judged” (3 Nephi 14:1). That hit me pretty hard. I was spending all of this time trying to pick out why I was justified in withholding my friendship when, in reality, that wasn’t helping anyone. Both of us just end up losing a friend and poisoning ourselves with bitterness and regret. The verse that really sealed the message though read: “But behold, I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you” [or your friends] (Matthew 5:44). It makes so much sense, when it is put that way! When I thought about it I realized that, yes, it might seem counter-effective to continue treating these people with respect and even love when all I wanted to do was withhold love as a sort of punishment. But who am I to judge? Who am I to say that because someone makes one or even many mistakes it means that they’ve completely stopped trying to be better. One of my favorite lines from a hymn reads: Who am I to judge another/When I walk imperfectly?/In the quiet heart is hidden /Sorrow that the eye can’t see. There has to be a deeper reason than spite that explains why my old friends are acting this way. And if I ignore them, leave them and show my dislike for them, I’ll probably just make it worse. The Savior never did that. He forgave everyone, even the cruelest of men who crucified Him and scorned his followers. He always saw individuals not for who they were but for what they could become. I want to do that. I’ve been trying to reinitiate my friendship with several of those people, because in the end, that will be much more fulfilling than just giving up on them. That would be the more Christ-like thing to do.
If this has struck a chord with you, I would welcome your questions or comments.