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.
Our Selfless Savior
Letter to Younger Sister
In my most recent Book of Mormon class, we discussed 3 Nephi chapters 18-21. For a lot of the class period, we discussed the sacrament and the symbolism involved. I learned a lot from this lesson and I hope that I can explain my thoughts clearly to you.
In 3 Nephi 18:1, it says that Jesus “commanded his disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him.” Jesus did not just ask if He could have some—He commanded His disciples to bring Him some. Jesus did not ask for it because He was hungry—He was asking for it because the people needed the sacrament. Commandments, in general, are not for God’s benefit. God commands us to do things so that we can be tested and strengthened. After all, He never commands us to do something that we are not able to do with His help.
Jesus could have simply created bread and wine on the spot, like He does later, but He instead asks for the disciples to get some. This simple example illustrates how Jesus empowers the gift of agency. He wants us to learn for ourselves what is true. He also wants to test our faith so that we can become strong in the gospel. Jesus usually does not tell us the reason for a commandment because He wants to test our faith. Whatever we produce in this life will be inferior to what God and His Son can create. Because Jesus asked for bread from the disciples, He receives far inferior bread compared to what He Himself could have produced right then and there. However, our best is good enough to Christ. Jesus takes our imperfect offerings, sanctifies them, and gives them back to us as eternal blessings. When we partake of the sacrament, we are renewing our covenant to always remember Jesus and to keep His commandments. Although we still make mistakes, Jesus blesses us for repenting and striving to do our best, even though we fall short.
In 3 Nephi 18:7, Jesus tells His disciples that the bread of the sacrament is a symbol of “my body, which I have shown unto you.” At this point in the scriptures, Jesus has been resurrected and His body is whole again with scars. When we partake of the sacrament, we should remember His perfected and resurrected body and have hope. We should also have gratitude for the immense sacrifice He made for us. After all, we have put all of our sorrows etc. into His bitter cup, and He drank it without becoming bitter. In return, Jesus gives us the sweet cup of the sacrament as a kind reminder to remember Him and follow Him.
I am so thankful for the Savior and the gift of the sacrament. I know that when I take the sacrament seriously and really think about our Savior, the Holy Ghost testifies to me of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that I can one day reach the level of humility that our Savior has. I encourage you to really take time to ponder the gift of the atonement and what it does for you personally. The gift of the sacrament allows us to stay on the path of becoming more like our Savior.