Brigham Young University (BYU) 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.

Here, in this column, students enrolled in scripture study classes have shared their thoughts, insights, and reflections on the New Testament and gospel of Jesus Christ in the form of letters to someone they know.  In publishing these, we fulfill their desire to witness to all of us of the relevance, power, and beauty of the New Testament, and God’s plan of happiness for each of us.  We invite you to take a look at their epiphanies and discoveries as they delve into the scriptures.

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About Mormons: Preparing for Something Greater

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

A highlight of the week was my study in Genesis of the characteristics of Joseph as a leader in Egypt. Of course, this was not part of my New Testament study. But after talking with my mission president last Friday and the promptings I felt during my leadership class, I decided I should take a closer look at the leadership qualities Joseph possessed in almost every situation he was in. When Joseph was sold into Egypt he was bought, as a slave no doubt, by one of the officers of Pharaoh, a captain of the guard. This is the equivalent of a secret service agent of those days, and they don’t let just anyone in their home. He must have been able to trust Joseph from the get-go. Joseph then went along, proving his leadership ability while always keeping the commandments. Genesis 39:23 explains how he was successful: “…[that] the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.” Joseph served, was diligent in working hard and continually avoided temptation (Potiphar’s wife), yet was “dethroned” with the passing of unchangeable circumstances.

Joseph was sent to prison, where he was again put in charge of all the prisoners, while maintaining his inmate status. Just incredible! Using his networking skills, he received help from the imprisoned butler to be summoned by the Pharaoh himself and then, in compensation for his wisdom, became a leader over all of Egypt. I know I am going to have to review this story to identify more of the fine-print attributes, but the underlying characteristic is having the Lord with you. If you don’t have a firmly planted basis of values, your leading platform is wobbly. Joseph never deviated from his values in spite of the inevitable opposition. He just stood back up and rose higher. I surely hope God makes “all things prosper in [my] hands” as I strive to lead the way he would have me lead.

Our study of Galatians was a particularly difficult read. Brother Griffin helped us understand the concept Paul was trying to convey, that the Law of Moses was a lesser law, given to the Egyptians because of transgression (disobedience). They struggled with that change, even after Paul explained that their favorite prophet (Abraham) had no need of this lesser law (Gal. 3:17). Just as we are taught today and as was taught in the beginning, God’s people were given the Law of Sacrifice and the Law of the Gospel. The Law of Moses was implemented after to protect the people from breaking greater laws. The most difficult part for the people to grasp was that they were in fact worthy to live a new, higher law. This must have scared them, since they were so comfortable in the old tradition.

I remember when I was a missionary there were many “laws” that I would have put under the lesser law category, but it was through proving obedience to those lesser laws that I was prepared for more perfect obedience to the higher laws. Isn’t it awesome how this 1000-year-old principle still holds true?

I love you both,

Carlton

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