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: Open Your Umbrellas–Brace Yourself for the Storm!
I’m so excited for this weekend because of the amazing blessing that General Conference is! Ever since last October it seems that the Lord’s work is picking up and progressing more than ever before. In class Brother Griffen mentioned something that I thought was very interesting. He said to picture General Conference as a big umbrella. The brethren who speak have to make it very general to all of us, since people all around the world are watching and listening to their message–hence the part of the umbrella that shelters “everybody”. However, it is our job to take what the brethren say and make it specific to us by putting a “handle” on the umbrella and making it personal to our own lives. So I challenge you to do that!
This week we talked about the chapters of the book of Ether. My favorite concept was in chapter 6 when Mahonri (again, the brother of Jared) and the others were in the barges, and they were headed towards the promised land. I didn’t realize that the Jaredites were in these barges for 344 days! Can you believe the faith they had? In verse 5 it says that God caused “a furious wind.” Then in verse 6 it says that they continued to progress and the storms/tempests became even fiercer. It’s interesting to think that after all of the work these people had to go through in order to build these barges in the first place that Heavenly Father would bring such strife and hardship to them as they were out on the waters.
We could relate this to our own lives. Even as we are striving to do what’s right, a “storm” hits us and brings us trials and tribulation. I know many wonder why God gives us these obstacles to overcome, and my testimony has been strengthened understanding why. God is trying to speed up our learning! Notice how in the next verse (verse 8) it says, “And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters.” Even though they were going through hard times, they were progressing. Whenever we have things that are pulling us down and we continue to keep going—that’s when we make the most spiritual progress and learn! We become humble and more receptive to the Spirit. Heavenly Father simply wants us to reach our destination faster.
My heart was softened when I read that after these tumultuous storms, the Jaredites and Mahonri literally “sang praises” and thanked the Lord all day long, realizing the Lord’s intentions of getting them to their destination faster. Bursting with thankful hearts, they offered up prayers of gratitude.
I have a testimony of the purpose of trials. I know that if we make the most of them and keep stepping forward with a smile on our face, we can get through anything and bless others on the way! Remember that as you go and preach the gospel.
If these reflections helped you, or if you have any questions or comments, I would be happy to hear from you.