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 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.
Mormon Reflections on the Word: A Soft Heart and a Firm Mind
On page 353 of the Book of Mormon, Helaman uses the word “firm” three times to describe his army of 2,060 warriors. In verse 27 (in Alma chapter 57), Helaman says, “Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.”
Now, the fathers of these very warriors had buried their weapons of war years before, making a covenant with God that they would no longer fight. Their sons, Helaman’s army, took up arms to defend their people, never having touched a weapon in their lives.
The king of the men who buried their weapons said to them, “And behold, I thank my great God that he has given us a portion of his Spirit to soften our hearts…” (Alma 24:8).
What is the difference between having a firm mind and a soft heart, and how are we to have both?
I believe that having a soft heart is remaining open to the Holy Spirit. It is to be teachable, understanding, and thoughtful. A soft heart welcomes the seed of faith into our lives. Once we have faith, we make our minds firm, but keep a soft heart, because we know we are imperfect, and we must always learn and be open to the Spirit. However, a firm mind preserves our standards and faith. It is how we live, being an example of what we believe in.
Having a firm mind and a soft heart is extremely helpful to me when I have to make an important decision. I have been trying to decide what I am supposed to do with my life for the next six months: when I should go to school, where I should live and work, and if I should serve an LDS mission. I have made these decisions by exploring my options (prayerfully), making decisions with a firm mind, and asking in prayer, with a soft heart, if I have made the right decision. Sometimes, answers seem unclear, but given time with that soft heart, they reveal themselves, and I can go forward with a firm mind.