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: Be Glad in It
My ward has been promoting a “40 days of Conference” reading challenge to prepare for the next session of General Conference in April. For those of you who do not know what General Conference is, it is the opportunity to hear modern prophets and apostles share messages that they feel prompted by Heavenly Father will be for our benefit as His children. Conference occurs twice a year in April and October.
So on Tuesday I read “Of Regrets and Resolutions” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an apostle of the Lord and the second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And he quoted Psalms 118:24:
“This is the day which the Lord hath made. . . Rejoice and be glad in it.”
It really hit me, and I have been thinking about it a lot this week. What do I need to do better to rejoice and be glad in it, every day?
In our reading this week, we read about Samuel the Lamanite, a prophet who was trying to preach to the Nephites. Kind of like General Conference. The Nephites were wicked, enveloped in pride, and Samuel was sent to them because the Lord still loved them. Speaking of the Savior and repentance, in Helaman 14:13, Samuel said:
“And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits” (emphasis added).
Samuel continued by telling the people the “glad tidings,” that Jesus Christ would soon be born. And then in Helaman 15:3, Samuel warns the people that if they do not repent, the signs and the wonders that will mark the coming of Christ will not be so “glad.” However, he goes on to teach that the Lord loves them:
“Yea, wo unto this people who are called the people of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them” (emphasis added).
Some of the people are converted by Samuel, but many are not. A period of wickedness follows, and then a peaceful period, and then the Nephites find themselves at war again, against the Gadianton Robbers – a group of murderous people. In this particular battle the Nephites, who had been chastened and brought into a righteous state, prayed mightily that they would defeat their enemy. And they did. 3 Nephi 4:33 says:
“And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.”
So let’s take a minute, and apply all of this. What reason do we have to rejoice on a daily basis?
1. We have the glad tidings. Jesus Christ was born. And He will come again.
2. By His merits we can repent of all of our sins. Not some of them. All of them.
3. He chastens us because He loves us. So that bad day, or difficult trial, or time when you feel alone, incompetent and inadequate, guess what? He loves you still. Tough love makes us better people, and we will never be pushed farther than we are able.
4. When we face our enemies (people or trials), if we are in a state of repentance, we do not have to worry. Because ultimately, if we are penitent and humble and acting righteously, we have been saved from an everlasting destruction. No matter what happens. Even if the Nephites had died in that battle, they were going to a better place. Through Christ, we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven, with our families for eternity. There is no such thing as destruction for us, if we take His yoke upon us, and go into the battles together. What happier thing is there?
Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Repentance is about teaming up with Jesus Christ. It is about accepting His love for us. He had faith in us before we had faith in Him. And every day is a day to take advantage of repentance.
This is the day which the Lord hath made. . . Rejoice and be glad in it.