BYU (Brigham Young University) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church.” BYU students take nearly a semester 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 through this post.)
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.
About Mormons: Happy, Happy
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a perfect world–no wars, no hatred, no hurt or sadness. All toast lands butter-side-up and every pair of jeans is extra-long. What a wonderful life that would be.
But as much as we try, the world is never going to be perfect. Breakfasts will be ruined and my ankles will get cold. Wars will be fought, people will hurt others, there will be sadness, loss, and misery. So with all this sadness in an imperfect world, how exactly are we supposed to smile? How can we be expected to be happy?
During the last 20 chapters of the book of Alma, a prophet who lived in ancient America. Two major groups of people are at war: the Lamanites and the Nephites. At this time, the Nephites are righteous and trust in the Lord, while the Lamanites are wicked and fight just to shed blood. Many battles are fought between the two, and ultimately the Nephites prevail due to their faith and trust in God. But these wars spanned over the course of almost 20 years (74 B.C. to 56 B.C.). Good men were wounded, even killed; families were torn apart; at times, people were hungry and scared and under attack. So imagine my surprise when I read in verse 23 of chapter 50: “But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi.” Skip forward to verse 41 of chapter 62: “But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and Lamanites…many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.” There “never was a happier time?” The people “were softened?” How? And how can we do the same?
Trials are a part of this imperfect world and the perfect Plan of Happiness our Father in Heaven has prepared for us. We are meant to be tested and tried and stretched to our limits. But how we handle each situation is completely up to us. My professor told us that when it comes to trials, we have two choices: to become better or bitter. The only difference is an “i.” Will we choose to be happy, humble, and better people? Or will we choose to be angry, self-pitying, and sad?
Personally, I like being happy. And wearing boots with my jeans.
If these reflections helped you, or if you have any questions, I would love to hear from you.