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. 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.)
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.
Individual Love Taught by an Infinite Being
This week I have been studying, further, Jesus’ teachings to the Nephites and Lamanites while visiting them in the America’s (approximately 1 year after Christ’s death in Jerusalem). Having examined this body of scripture a little more, this section may be my favorite account of Jesus in the Book of Mormon. The section to which I am referring is found in 3 Nephi chapter 17. My intention is to share what I have learned about the nature of Christ and the one-on-one nature of His atonement.
At this point, Christ has just finished teaching about the lost sheep of Israel and how the gospel will be spread to the House of Israel by the Gentiles in the last days. This topic was merely the most recent in a long line of other topics such as the Doctrine of Christ, including the proper mode of baptism, the Beatitudes, the calling of the twelve apostles, and the fulfilling of the Law of Moses. These are some heavy topics. I have been to conferences where I have had to take in a lot of information in a short period of time, so I can relate. These people would most certainly be tired. In 3 Nephi 17:2, Christ displays a characteristic that we should all heed. He says to the multitude, “I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.”
As teachers, missionaries, parents, and friends, we often spend more time concentrating on the “what” and the “how” of Christ’s teachings instead of focusing on the “why” or, better yet, the “who”. This simple interaction of Christ with the people demonstrates the Savior’s ability to empathize. We learn here that Christ is not only focused on delivering His message, but, more importantly, He is concerned for the individual who is receiving the message. He then instructs the people to return to their homes, ponder what he has taught, and return the next day prepared to receive and understand what further he has to say. At this point, Christ gives us yet another lesson in compassion and Priesthood service. He, looking around at the multitude and sensing that they wished he would stay with them a little longer, said unto them “Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any sick among you? Bring them hither…and I will heal them.”
The lessons that I learn from this are that the Savior wants us to be mindful of the individual needs of those around us. He wants us to set aside our wants and desires to do His bidding and attend to the needs of others even when we may be tired ourselves. Now, I know Jesus, as a resurrected being, probably wasn’t tired, but I know I would be tired if I had been preaching to a group of people all day. I remember being a missionary and nearing extreme exhaustion towards the close of each day, having ridden my bike many miles, knocked on countless doors, taught several lessons, and shrugged off the many rejections along the way. Being a missionary is tough! Then, at the end of the day as you are about to head home, you are invited into nearly the last home on the street. In moments like this, we are required to do as the Savior did and give them our full attention. We must allow the spirit to flow through us to bless the life of the one who owns the couch upon which we sit, regardless of the exhaustion plaguing our bodies.
The Savior then healed each person one-by-one, thus reflecting the individuality of the scope of His atonement. Later, calling the little children to “come unto” Him and ministering unto them, we see the incredible, infinite love of a God in caring for those who are most dear to us. I can only imagine the joy I would experience for me to witness my son in the presence of the Savior. Oh how my heart aches for that day. Not only did the Savior take time to speak with the children, but he also blessed them and prayed unto the Father for them. And then, the most powerful emphasis of the love of the Savior is expressed with two simple words, “he wept”. Jesus, giving unto us the perfect example of empathy, He being a God himself, wept for joy.
I love the lessons the Savior teaches, but I love Him more for who He is. I wish to be like Him. I long to love as He loves. And it is in His name that I testify, He lives! It is my prayer that we strive this week to be a little better and do a little more to be like the Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen