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.
Mormon Reflections on the Word: Agency
Alma 42:27: “Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.”
In our church we believe in free agency. We have the power to choose the course of action we take, and as a collective group we pattern our life after the Savior Jesus Christ. As a young adult (or emerging adult, as my elders continue to remind me), I thought it was fitting to focus on a scriptures about free agency because, let’s face it, I love being able to decide what to do. I love being in college and the freedom I have to decide for myself what to do, with whom I hang out and where I go. Finally I am at the point where I no longer have to follow the rules my parents have set for me, and what do I do? I follow them anyway. When I was younger my dad told me, “Anything you see me do, you can do.” Now, even 3,000 miles away from my family, I choose to pattern my life after my dad’s. Why? I am wise enough to realize that my dad has more experience than I do, and I know that he only wants the best for me. All of the rules I had to follow when I was younger were designed to help keep me safe, and with this understanding I have chosen to follow these rules even though I live somewhere where they cannot be enforced.
I believe that our doctrine of free agency works in a similar manner. The rules we follow, the commandments, are set by a loving Heavenly Father, and they are ultimately for our own safety. However, just like a young adult living thousands of miles away, there is no way to enforce them. It’s up to us to choose to live them. We must come and partake of the waters of life freely. No one will force us to live righteously, instead we need to choose to do so.