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. 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.)
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: How God Answers Prayers
One of the lessons that can be learned in the first few chapters of Ether is that God answers prayers in three different ways: 1) If there is something that we are unable to do ourselves, He performs an act, often miraculous, that solves our problem; 2) He tells us how to solve our own problems by giving us step-by-step instructions; 3) He allows us to use our agency to try and solve our problems.
In the story of the Jaredites (an ancient people living during the time of the tower of Babel), God answered the prayers of the people to not confound their language. Unlike those building a tower to heaven, the Jaredites and their kindred were able to continue to communicate with each other. Though it was beyond their capacity, God had miraculously preserved their language.
After this people was lead by God through the wilderness to the ocean on their way to a promised land, the Lord instructed them in a step-by-step process on how to build barges that would carry them across the ocean. He told them how to craft them and how to solve a few of the engineering issues regarding them, such as a lack of air. The Jaredites had to build these barges according to specifications, but God gave them information they couldn’t get on their own.
Upon building the barges according to specifications, the brother of Jared discovered that the barges had no light. Upon asking the Lord for instruction, the Lord told the brother of Jared that he should think of a way to solve this problem. The brother of Jared fashioned sixteen stones to look almost like glass and asked the Lord to touch them so that they might emit light for the barges. The brother of Jared did everything he could within His power to solve his problem, and the Lord saw his offering, accepted it, and provided the Jaredites with that which they could not provide themselves.
I have experienced all three kinds of answers to my prayers. I know that God answers every single one of our prayers, because He always answers mine. I can’t always tell how He will answer.
If you are reading this post and have any questions or comments, I would be happy to hear from you.