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.
This article was written by Monique Jones, a student at Brigham Young University.
I wrote this for my blog this week.
More oft, than not, many people give me a double take when they find out I’m a Mormon. Most of the time it’s because there aren’t as many black people that are members of the church. However, what seems to puzzle people too, is how I have no doubt in my mind that I know the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. To put into simple words, it is my faith. Now to explain faith, Alma, a prophet, best describes faith in The Book of Mormon, in the book of Alma, chapter 32, verse 21 as: “And now as I have said concerning faith- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” So there you have it. For me, my faith stems from my testimony which, as the years have progressed, has grown along me as I have struggled in my own personal trials and then coming out on the other end of them, a better person and having learned another lesson. I know these things that I have been taught since I was a young child at church that they are without a doubt true. I know that because every time I hear a truth there is a swelling within my heart that I know is truth being manifest unto me. And even when I may have a doubt about something and whether or not it’s true, all I have to do is go to our Father in Heaven and ask Him in fervent prayer whether or not these things are true. And then He answers my prayer letting me know whether those things or true or not. Now there’s probably a question bring asked among some of you wondering how do I know our Heavenly Father answers prayers? How do you know that is truth swelling in your heart and not just a bad case of heartburn? And I can answer that with a couple of simple scriptures. The first is found in The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 8, verses 2-3: “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” The other verse is also found in The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 9, verses 8-9:
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
I know for some that it’s hard to believe that such a strong concept of faith can be explained in something so simple, but in reality faith is simple. It can also be comparable to seed. When you plant a seed, how do you know that it will grow? Does it grow all by itself as soon as you put it in the ground? Absolutely not. It needs to be cultivated. You need to water it, make sure it gets sufficient light, that it is planted in the proper environment…all those kind of factors. Faith is exactly like that. A simple idea or thought can be planted in your heart. However, just because someone, including myself, tells you that something is true doesn’t mean that that is the end of it. It is then up to you to continue to seek out the truth for yourself as well as other truths that contribute to growing your seed until you have a tree of life blossoming within your heart, and even after that point, it is still growing… and it will continue to grow. I know I’m not the most perfect member, but I do know of the wonderful blessings that can come from this joyous gospel and the truths it teaches, I know that it all begins with a little seed of faith, which can bring to pass a tree of life in our own lives and bring us great joy. I also know without a doubt in my mind that my Redeemer lives and loves me too. I know that He hears every word I say when I kneel to pray to Him. All this I say in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.