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.
This article was written by Lindsey O., a student at Brigham Young University.
I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice. Everyday we have a million thoughts flow through our heads and we are in control of what thoughts we let affect our attitude. I’m not naive; I know there are situations and things that happen to us that make it seem impossible to be happy. In fact, we feel so much sorrow and misery sometimes we feel like we can never know happiness. I think that knowing this sorrow and misery is knowing happiness. Without knowing the bad, we can never truly appreciate the good. I know we don’t always feel happy, and I think that’s okay. The point I want to make is that despite the sorrow, we need to choose to hold happiness with it. That sounds like a paradox, I know. It sort of is.
Here’s my thinking. There’s a rough time in your life, a trial that you just feel like you can’t overcome. You feel the pain and sorrow of your situation and you wonder when things will get better, when you can get back to enjoying your life. Well, who said you can’t enjoy your life through the trial, through the pain? I think you can. You can choose to look on the bright side of life. Sounds a tad too optimistic, right? I thought so too. But it does work. Trust me.
A year or so ago, my family was going through some tough times. My aunt had cancer, my abuela had open-heart surgery and lost her feet, my mom had so many allergies and problems that she could hardly eat. On top of the stresses of school and just daily life it was a lot to take in. I felt at times like there was no hope. “Why is everything bad happening to my family? Why do I have to deal with this? Why do I have to be the strong one?” We all have those moments. The only way I got through it was by praying to my Heavenly Father and asking Him to fill me with His love and to reassure me that everything would work out in the end and that I’d be strong enough to make it through. With His hel,p I was able to see all of the blessings in my life which helped me to choose to feel the happiness over the sorrow. I still carried the sorrow in my heart, but I also had happiness right along with it.
I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense. Still, I felt like I should share the message that you can always have happiness, no matter what. It’s a choice you make to see the good in life and to count your blessings. In the Book of Mormon there is a part in the book of Alma that deals with a war between the Nephites and the Lamanites. Times were hard for the Nephites, the people of God. The Lamanites were trying to oppress them and take away their freedom. War was all around them. Their loved ones were losing their lives. Yet, amidst all of these tribulations, the Nephites chose happiness. They chose to find the joy in life:
“But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of judges” (Alma 50:23).
My hope is that we can all choose happiness during times of war in our lives, like the Nephites did. May we always see the good in life.