BYU (Brigham Young University) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church.” BYU students take nearly a semester 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.
Alma 36: A Message of Hope!
Hi! My name is Kira Webster. I am a freshman at BYU and I am going to be serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 6 months! I am so excited! Here is an excerpt from my blog:
Every week, I am going to post some of my feelings from what I am currently reading in the Book of Mormon. Whether you are of my faith or not, I truly want you to know my feelings of the truths within this book. It is extremely special to me and I want to be able to share with you the things that I know to be true.
To me, Alma 36 is one of the most beautiful chapters within the Book of Mormon. No matter what each one of us may be experiencing in our lives, it is applicable at every stage of our life. Every single one of us makes mistakes. Whether we are making mistakes now or are trying to forgive ourselves for past sins, we can know there is hope for us because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He did much more than die on a cross for each and every person who has ever lived and will ever live. He took upon Himself our pains, our sins, our afflictions, our trials, and our infirmities. He is the one person who is not only there to support us but actually knows every emotion we are feeling. Through Him, we can overcome anything that may cross our path because He has already overcome it. We just have to look to Him always if we want to be able to do so.
In Alma 36:17, Alma talks about how he was reminded of all of his sins:
And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
The first line of the scripture sounds absolutely horrible. The guilt, the regret and the sorrow Alma must have felt as he remembered his past and the terrible choices he had made must have been unbearable. Then the next line brings hope. Now when I talk about hope, I will always be referring to Jesus Christ. Without Him, we would feel as Alma does in the first line of this scripture at all times. We would not have someone by our side who knows EXACTLY how we feel. It is through Christ that we can repent and forgive ourselves for our past sins and when we do this our joy will exceed our pain (Alma 36:20).
I know this firsthand. I have not always made the best choices in my life. There have been times where I have felt as though I was too far beyond the help of the Savior, but that is NEVER true. Here is a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today (just like James, Peter and John were during Christ’s time).
I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable (Matthew 20:1-15), but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines (“The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign, May 2012).
Like the Savior was there for Alma, He will always be there for us. He is just waiting for us to reach out to Him.