BYU Students Share Letters & Reflections on Scripture
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 copy of the Book of Mormon, and/or if these messages encourage and assist you spiritually as well.
Mormon Reflections on the Word: Surely There Could Not be a Happier People
When I was younger, my brother and I would fight like cats and dogs. I would push his buttons just right and he would become very angry. Our little spats were loud and the sound would carry to my dad, who would soon storm in, demanding to know what was going on. I would smile smugly as my brother cried, “She made me angry!” or “She’s annoying me!” My dad would shake his head and say, “No, she’s not making you do anything. You are choosing to be angry. You are choosing to be annoyed.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but my dad was completely correct: We all choose to react the way that we do. We can choose to be upset, we can choose to be offended, or—most importantly—we can choose to be happy.
I have an iPod. His name is Bruce. I love my iPod dearly and I take it with me everywhere. I hold onto my iPod more dearly than I hold on to my cell phone. It has been in very good condition until two Sundays ago when it fell off my kitchen table and the screen cracked. I stared at it, lying face down on the floor, begging silently in my head for the screen to be intact. Alas, as I slowly picked it up, I saw the screen and it was badly cracked. I was devastated for a moment before I pressed the home button and saw my lock screen light up, at which point I grinned and thanked my Heavenly Father that it was still working!
Now, I could have wept and wailed and gnashed my teeth, crying pitifully over my broken iPod, but I didn’t. I decided that, even though it was broken, I didn’t have to be upset. My dear Bruce still works just fine, and I am extremely grateful.
All my life, people would ask me, “How are you doing?” I would reply with the standard, “I am fine.” or “I’m doing well.” But last semester I realized…my life was so much better than “fine” or “well.” My life is AWESOME! I have the opportunity of continuing my education at Brigham Young University. I have a loving family, I have wonderful friends, a roof over my head, food in my cupboards. Sure, I do badly on tests sometimes or I arrive at school tired and unwilling to be there or trials hit me unexpectedly. But with so many simple, beautiful things in my life, there is no reason I can’t choose to look on the bright side and be happy.
So now, whenever anyone asks me how I am doing, I say, “I am fabulous!” or “I’m fantastic!” Because truly, life is fabulous and life is fantastic. And if you start saying that over and over, you will realize that life can be fabulous if you want it to be.
In the Book of Mormon, 4 Nephi 1:15-16 & 18, it says, “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people who had been created by the hand of God….And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings.”
If you can’t think of anything—really, anything—good in your life, at least you can say there are no murders or whoredoms or robbers! The Lord blesses each and every one of us in so many little ways. We need to start focusing on the wonderful things in life and stop zeroing in on the bad. Or rather, focus on the doughnut, not the hole.
I’m not going to promise that life will be easy. I’m not going to promise that everything will be perfect and you’ll never have any trials. Heavenly Father will give you trials so that you may learn and grow from them. They will be hard and you will feel burdened at times, but I testify to you that, no matter what trials are thrown your way, you can still overcome them gracefully and with a smile on your face.
Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to be happy. I most likely don’t know who you are, whoever may be reading, but I want you to be happy. And you know what? You can be. You can always choose to be happy. I implore you to try it. I want you to realize that, well, life is just fabulous.