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ETHER 1-6: “REND THE VEIL OF THE LORD”
The Book of Ether covers close to 2000 years of history and could be considered a miniature Book of Mormon. They are known as the Jaredites.
Both the people of Lehi (Lehites) and the Jaredites:
Their records tell that both groups of people—remarkably they are so close to the same (we can see our society in there too):
Both deals with people who were led away from a wicked society to the promised land
Both crossed oceans in ships built according to special design revealed by God.
Once in the promised land, they multiply and spread out,
have righteous and wicked groups,
have prophets and righteous leaders,
both experienced prosperity during times of righteousness
both testified of the reality of Jesus Christ
have a period of 225 years of continual peace
both experience a major division of the people into two groups
then a time of constant wars and secret combinations
both experience great destruction of both the Jaredites/Lehities nations and people
both destructions are survived by a lone prophet-record keeper who was rejected and hunted by his people
The Book of Ether also serves as a second witness along with the Nephite record that those who live in a land “choice above all other lands” (America) must either serve God or be destroyed.
Remember the Book of Ether was abridged by Moroni from the engravings found on 24 plates of pure gold, which were found by the people of Limhi (Mosiah 8:9, 21:27). It is a record of the Jaredites, beginning at the time of the Tower of Babel, probably around 2200 BC and continuing until somewhere around 120 BC.
Ether—gives partial account from the tower until they were destroyed
30 generations from Ether to Jared
Begins in 2200 BC in the wicked society associated with the huge city of Babylon—city had walls 85 feet wide, 335 feet high, 56 miles long—city of extreme wickedness & arrogance
Building a tower to get to heaven—in defiance of the Lord—in effect saying, if they build a tower high enough, the Lord couldn’t destroy them again with a flood.
Reminds me of :
“When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.”
I’ve always wondered what they were trying to accomplish by building that tower, and why it was so offensive to God.
Another explanation by Orson Pratt (Journal of Discourses, 16:51-Genesis 11:4
. . . “They thought that the City of Enoch was caught up a little ways from the earth, and that the city was within the first sphere above the earth; and that if they could get a tower high enough, they might get to heaven, where the City of Enoch and the inhabitants were located.”
Read verses 33-38—didn’t confound language/Adamic
Joseph Fielding Smith said: . . . “they carried with them the speech of their fathers, the Adamic langugage, which was powerful even in its written form, so that the things Mahonri wrote ‘were mighty even . . . unto the overpowering of man to read them.’
- Why called the Brother of Jared?
Name not given in Book of Mormon—revealed to the Prophet JS:
“While residing in Kirland Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President JS was passing his door he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turned to Elder Cahoon he said, the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just show (or revealed) it to me. (first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation.)”
Read verses 38-42
V 42: JFS said: “The Book of Mormon informs us that the whole of America, both North and South is a choice land above all other lands, in other words-Zion.”
INSPIRED LEARNING: You must pay the price in prayer
Ridges: This is symbolic of when we obey the commandments of God, as we continue on our journey through life, we, too, are led to the “promised land” or heaven. Just like the brother of Jared and his people had to pass through the water, ocean, to get there, so also we must pass through the waters of baptism to arrive safely in the celestial kingdom.
Lord tells them to prepare—like on our journey through life—use our common sense and good judgment. They brought a variety of foods & supplies not just to survive, but to thrive and enjoy.
The “Lord” is actually the premortal Christ, the God of the OT. He still has a spirit body—he communicated to all the prophets such as Abraham, Moses, etc.
*As a general rule, AFTER the fall of Adam, whenever God is dealing with the prophets and people directly, it is Jesus Christ who is referred to as Jehovah.
V 8-10, 12: Promises of America
PEARL 2:12—serve the God of this land—Jesus Christ
INSPIRED LEARNING: America will be preserved and free from captivity IF it will serve the true and only God or otherwise the people will be swept off. Founding fathers and patriots who formed our govt remembered that covenant made with God—how are we doing with that today?
We must do our part to make sure America remember Jesus Christ—not remove the 10 commandments, keep Jesus Christ central in our land, Christian so that we are preserved.
- 13—dwelt in tents for 4 years—what happened here? Bro of Jared faithful man, Lord answered prayers
- 14 READ—Why did the Lord chasten the brother of Jared?
Taught in a cloud—represented the presence of the Lord—symbolizes His presence and symbolic of His coming.
He will come “with cloud,” (D&CS 34:7, Rev 1:7)
FOUR YEARS AND THREE HOURS
INSPIRED LEARNING: YOU NEVER HAVE ARRIVED—OR PRAYED ENOUGH TO LAST YOU FOR YOUR LIFETIME
BREAD OF LIFE—NEED EVERY DAY—LIKE MANNA—CAN’T STORE UP AND LIVE OFF OF PAST SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
Elder Eyring says: “The main barrier to such blessings is our inability to feel the danger we are in if we do not receive spiritual counsel—if we forget to call on the Lord. The main gateway to these blessings is faith—mighty prayer is heard and answered.”
D&C 101:7, 8 (Zion’s Camp)
“They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.
Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them; . . . I will remember mercy.”
INSPIRED LEARNING: REPENTANCE BRINGS BACK TEACHABILITY
Remember Martin Harris: (wanted to translate)
“Behold you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” D&C 9: 7-8
SOMETIMES THE LORD GIVES US THE ANSWERS, SOMETIMES HE LETS US FIGURE IT OUT FOR OURSELVES—NOT COMMANDED IN ALL THINGS
Doctrine and Covenant 58: 21
“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. . “
The Lord knew unlimited ways to light the ships, but he only offered help after Moriancumer had designed the solution. He did all he could first, then the Lord came through
He heated rock to make 16 transparent stones—a lot of work on Mt Shelem—asked for Him to touch the stones and light them—
Commentary said B of J knew that Moses had stones that the Lord touched to make shine inside the ark too
- Why does the Lord expect us to do for ourselves?
“It is contrary to the law of God for the heavens to be opened and messengers to come to do anything for man that man can do for himself.” JFL, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:196
Pres Harold B. Lee: “Notice how the Lord dealt with this question. He said to the brother of Jared, “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” As if he were saying, “Well, have you any good ideas? What would you suggest that we should do in order to have light?” . . .
Then the Lord went away and left him alone. It was as though the Lord had said, ‘Look, I gave you a mind to think with, and I gave you agency to use it. Now you do all you can to help yourself with this problem; and then, after you’ve done all you can, I’ll step in to help you.” (Stand Ye in Holy Places, 243)
Brigham Young taught this great SUCCESS FORMULA:
“Work as if everything depends on you; pray as if everything depends on the Lord.”
V 5—touched stone/saw finger
Interesting symbolism with light and rocks—(Brian Garner, Search These Things Diligently):
Jesus is both the ROCK of our salvation and the LIGHT of our lives. We may rely on Him as our rock-solid foundation in life and as the light for our path as we cross the treacherous seas of mortality.
“I am the light and life of the world.’ Ether 4:12
The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” D&C 39:2
The darkness cannot put out the light—the light doesn’t end
Pres Hunter observed this:
“There is interesting symbolism in the account of the Savior touching the stones that lit the way for the Jaredites. “Whatever Jesus lays His hands upon lives. If Jesus lays His hands upon a marriage, it lives. If He is allowed to lay His hands on the family, it lives.” (Ensign, Nov 1979)
V 13-20—showed Himself to Brother of Jared
- Was it faith or knowledge that allowed the Brother of Jared to see the Lord?
“Knowledge and faith are not antithetical, nor are they on opposite ends of a continuum. God possesses all knowledge and God possesses all faith.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert Millet, Doctrinal Commentary, 4:278)
Elder Holland: “Preparatory faith is formed by experiences in the past—by the known, which provides a basis for belief. But redemptive faith must often be exercised toward experiences in the future—the unknown . . . Exacting faith, mountain-moving faith, faith like that of the brother of Jared, precedes the miracles and the knowledge. He had to believe before God spoke. He had to act before the ability to complete that action was apparent.”
B of J commanded to go out of mount and write the things he had seen, but they were forbidden to be known until after Jesus was crucified (King Mosiah kept them)
Moroni told to write these things on the gold plates (which he would give to JS)
Seal them up and interpreters (Urim and Thiumum)
If time: verse 15:
- What would happen if our faith were to win the battle over our unbelief?
Elder Jeffrey Holland helped make this scripture applicable to us: “The Book of Mormon is predicated on the willingness of men and women to ‘rend the veil of unbelief’ in order to behold the revelations . . . It would seem that the humbling experiences of the bro of Jared in his failure to pray and his consternation over the 16 stones were included in this account to show just how mortal and just how normal he was—so very much like the men and women we know and at least in some ways so much like ourselves . . . Ordinary individuals with ordinary challenges could rend the veil of unbelief and enter the realms of eternity.” (Nurturing Faith through the Book of Mormon)
In this chapter, Moroni speaks directly to Joseph Smith
Told not to attempt to translate sealed portion of the Book of Mormon
V 1, 2
Show to witnesses—8 and then 3 –Lord knows all things from the beginning—prepares ahead
Finally the Jaredites board the 8 small barges and sail 344 days to the promised land
Amazing, unprecedented journey of firsts:
President Spencer W Kimball:
“This unparalleled journey should intrigue navigators: . . . the first recorded ocean crossing was about 40 centuries ago, of seaworthy, ocean-going vessels without known sails, engines, oars, or rudders—eight barges like and near contemporary with Noah’s ark, long as a tree, tight as a dish, peaked at the end like a gravy boat, corked at top and bottom, illuminated by molten stones, perhaps with radium or some other substance not yet rediscovered by our scientists. Light and like a fowl upon the water, this fleet of barges was driven by winds and ocean currents, landing at a common point in North America probably on the west shores.”
We are told “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 24:23)
The people of the Bro of Jared have done all they can do—built barges, gathered supplies quality for Grace, ask for heavens help.
Can’t gain the promised land by ourselves—move through life’s journeys on our own without the power of God.
Lord provided continual light for the journey—picture/lights the way/doesn’t give way to darkness
After v 4: “Men and women who turn themselves over to God will find He can make more of their lives than they can.” Pres Ezra Taft Benson
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man will hear my voice and will open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.”
The Lord wants to reveal Himself to us, to bless us, and answer our prayers. He stands ready and knocking for us to open the door to Him. He stands ready to forgive us for our neglect, such as the brother of Jared experienced, to begin anew again, a fresh chance to begin again to repair the relationship between God and His children.
REND THE VEIL OF DISBELIEF