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: Perfect Gospel, Imperfect People
My name is Brynne Wise. I am a student in Brother Griffin’s Book of Mormon class at Brigham Young University. This week, we began studying “the war chapters” in the Book of Mormon, Alma 43-63. These chapters focus specifically on the wars between the righteous and the wicked. Helaman, Moroni, Pahoran, the stripling warriors and many others represent those who are righteous and followers of God and they are preparing themselves for war against Zerahemnah, Amalickiah, Ammoron and their followers. The righteous are fighting “in memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (Alma 46:12). They do not rejoice in fighting, but they will do so for the right reasons.
When these scriptures were written, we as members of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as “Mormons”), believe that they were written on gold plates, later translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith through the power of God. Think about that. If these words were written on gold plates, there was not an eraser. There is no delete button. These words were being etched by hand. It takes hard work and focus to say what needs to be said exactly how it needs to be said the first time. In Alma 43:38 you will find these words:
“While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites,
by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts
of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the
When Mormon was writing these verses, he was meaning to say that the vital parts of their bodies were covered. When he first etched this into the plates, though, what he really said was that “they were being shielded from the more vital parts of the body.” You then have this image coming to your mind of people throwing hearts and kidneys at each other…that is not what Mormon was meaning to say. Mormon realized this. He went back, he changed his mistake. He said, “or the more vital parts of the body being shielded.”
The point I am trying to make is that although the people affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not perfect, the principles and gospel taught within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are true. God uses imperfect people, people who make mistakes, to bring about His perfect gospel. One of our modern-day prophets, President Gordon B. Hinckley, said,
“My plea is that we look for strength and goodness rather than weakness and foibles in
those who did so great a work in their time. We recognize that our forebears were human.
They doubtless made mistakes. But the mistakes were minor when compared with the
marvelous work they accomplished. The Lord has used imperfect people in the process of
building His perfect society.”
Let us look for the good in others. Let us forgive. Let us forget. Let us be believers in the perfect man that is our Savior, even Jesus Christ. Do not lose your belief in our perfect Savior based on the imperfections of man. The gospel is true. The Savior lives.