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. (more…)
Tithing is a principle that I follow as a Latter-day Saint. We give 10% of what we earn to the Lord. I’ve had people tell me that what I do is crazy; why would I give up that much of my money and why does it even matter? I’ve even asked myself that a few times. Why does the Lord need my money? He doesn’t, but that’s not the point of paying tithing. Tithing is there to show the Lord that we are willing to give up something we value a lot, especially when we have to struggle a little bit by giving it up. By giving something we value most, money in our case, we are showing the Lord that we love Him more than we love our worldly possessions.
There is a sort of parable about a mother cat. A hunter in the woods saw some boys throwing little kittens into the river. When he asked them why they were doing this, they said they had to because they couldn’t afford to keep all of the kittens. The man asked them if he could buy the cats from the boys, and they agreed. The mother cat followed the man because he now had her kittens. The man took care of the kittens. To show her appreciation, the mother cat brought a big, dead mouse to the man. The man accepted the mouse, knowing that the mouse meant so much to the cat.
When we are willing to put the Lord in our lives, above all worldly things, we are truly blessed. Recently, I struggled with paying my tithing. I had set aside the money to do so, I just never gave it to my Bishop. In my mind I kept justifying that I didn’t have to do it, that it wasn’t a big deal, and that since I didn’t get the money from work I could keep it. I wasn’t seeing the principle of tithing. I was just trying to find a way to keep the money so I could spend it for myself. Then we had a lesson on tithing in my Book of Mormon class, and I heard the parable of the cat. I realized the meaning of tithing and that no matter what, I needed to show the Lord that I love Him enough to put Him first in my life. Since then, I’ve been blessed with knowing that I am following the commandments of the Lord. I also found out that I received a scholarship, something I desperately needed to make my goal to go on a mission more attainable. (more…)
To those who wish they could do more for God:
Confession time: One of my greatest weaknesses is the fact that I constantly feel unworthy. It’s something that has pressed my mind for as long as I can remember. As I read the account of Christ’s ministry in the Americas this time around, though, I felt I was learning a lot more than I ever have. I felt myself feeling down as I thought, “I’m glad I wasn’t there, because there is no way on earth that I could ever come face to face with Jesus Christ without either fleeing to the darkest corners of the earth with thoughts of inadequacy haunting me for the rest of my days or bursting into flames because of my unworthiness.” Then we learned about the Parable of the Grateful Cat. Now take note: This is not a biblical parable, nor is it even a scriptural one. Rather, it was given by a Latter-day Apostle named James E. Talmage. The gist of the story goes like this:
A man was talking a walk near a pond when he saw two boys with a basket. He then realized that the basket was full of kittens and that the boys intended to drown them. The mother cat was running on the bank, clearly in distress. Upon inquiry, the boys told the man that their family’s cat just had the kittens, but the family couldn’t afford them – hence the drowning. The man paid the boys and took the kittens under his arm, touting them back to his home. The mother cat followed him, occasionally emitting grateful yet mournful purrs. The man made a comfortable place for them to stay in his house. The mother cat, seeing her kittens were taken care of, left with much joy. The next day, the man was having a party with notable company. During the party, the mother cat returned. In her mouth was a fat, still slightly alive mouse. She walked up to the man and dropped it at the feet of the man, then turned around and left. (more…)
In my Book of Mormon class this week we read 3 Nephi 15-21. These chapters are the words that Christ spoke to the Nephites when he came to them and so when I read them before I thought I studied them well, but there is always something more you can get out of them.
What I learned this time comes from 3 Nephi 18:1 “And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should bring fourth some bread and wine unto him.” In class we talked about how Jesus gave them this commandant but didn’t tell them why, and it probably seemed like an odd thing to them. Why would Jesus need bread and wine and the answer is he doesn’t, but we do. Jesus often doesn’t tell us why we need to do something, just that we should and we must take the leap of faith and act on it anyway. They didn’t know why they needed to get bread, but they did anyway because they were commanded.
This also reminds us that commandments aren’t for Jesus, he doesn’t need anything from us, he doesn’t command us to do things because he needs us to, but because we need to. Commandments are for us – we need them, we need to follow them. (more…)
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”), I have been inspired by many of the scriptures we study in the church.
There is a passage of scripture in the Book of Mormon, (a companion scripture to the Bible which testifies of Jesus Christ), that inspires me. It is about Helaman’s army- the “2000” young men that are often referred to as the “Stripling Warriors.” Helaman is a prophet of God written about in the Book of Mormon similar to biblical prophets.
The verses that inspired me are Alma 37:21-27. Verse 21 reads: “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.”
Two things from this passage and the passages that follow had a big impression upon me. First, the importance of mothers in our lives. The Mormon religion teaches the importance of strong, faithful women and mothers who teach about Jesus Christ. A leader in the Latter-day Saint Church (LDS or Mormon), Jeffrey R. Holland said of mothers:
Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever. (more…)