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This page allows you to see all the commentary pages together for this Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine lesson. Click on the heading to go to a specific page. Click the edit links below to edit text on any pages.


Ether

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether

Subpages: Chapter 1a Chapters 1b-6 Chapters 7-11 Chapters 12-15

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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Book of Mormon. The relationship of Ether to the Book of Mormon as a whole is discussed at Book of Mormon: Unities.

Story. The book of Ether relates the history of the Jaredites, who lived in America prior to the Nephites. Moroni's abridgement of Ether's record contains a short prologue followed by three major sections:

  • Chapter 1a: Prologue. Genealogy from Ether back to Jared.
  • Chapters 1b-6: Jared and his brother. At the time of scattering from the Tower of Babel, the Jaredites are led to America as a land of promise. Moroni explains that the inhabitants of the land must either serve God or be swept off when ripened in iniquity. The brother of Jared asks the Lord to touch sixteen stones and cause them to give light as the Jaredites sail across the ocean. Because of his great faith, the brother of Jared is brought into the presence of the Lord and redeemed. The Jaredites cross the ocean in eight boats and establish themselves in the land of promise.
  • Chapters 7-11: The broad sweep of Jaredite history. The middle portion of Ether covers everything between the founding generation of Jared and his brother and the final destroyed generation of Coriantumr and Ether. Over the centuries, secret combinations cause the Jaredites to be destroyed three times. Moroni warns that any society that upholds secret combinations will likewise be destroyed.
  • Chapters 12-15: Coriantumr and Ether. Moroni describes the great faith of Ether and discusses faith, hope, and charity. He also recounts Ether's prophecy that the New Jerusalem will be located in America. King Coriantumr faces a series of four challengers at the head of secret combinations. He defeats the first three and then tries to negotiate with the fourth. But Coriantumr himself is in rebellion against God and does not repent. Secret combinations cause the Jaredites to be destroyed a fourth time, this time completely, in a great battle lasting eight days.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Ether include:

  • Secret Combinations. The susceptibility of centralized governmental power to attack from secret societies.
  • Ripeness for destruction. At what point a society becomes "ripe" in iniquity.
  • Faith. In both Ether and Moroni, faith is addressed in conjunction with hope and charity, and is addressed as a principle of power that can cause miracles to occur.

Historical setting[edit]

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The book of Ether recounts the history of the Jaredites, descendants of people who came to the American continent from the Old World at the time of the Tower of Babel (Eth 1:33; Gen 11:1-9) roughly two thousand years before the arrival of Lehi's colony, and were destroyed as a people sometime before the reign of King Mosiah (Eth 1:2; Mos 8:7-9).

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Inclusion of the Jaredite record in the Book of Mormon[edit]

Another possibility might be read in terms of Ether 13. The message of Ether to the Jaredites there seems to be that, as Gentiles, they were about to have the opportunity to be drawn into Israel (Lehi's family was apparently just coming to the land when Ether was prophesying). If they would repent, then Lehi would be in their midst, and they could brought into the Abrahamic covenant, and all of the promises of Israel might be given them, among which the least is certainly not the promise of having seed to last until the day of the coming of Christ. When the Jaredites do not repent, they are killed to the last man, and the last lives only to see the coming of the others (the Mulekites, at least). It may well be that the Jaredite story is included in the Book of Mormon precisely for the Lamanites, to show them the promises made unto their fathers: the Jaredites may well be a foil for Israel. In other words, the Lamanites might learn from the Jaredites how the promises are obtained, how they can become extended to the Gentiles, how the Gentiles will not receive them if they do not repent, how the Israelites are, though wicked, sustained until they do receive the promises, etc., etc., etc. It may be that all of the scholarly pickings apart of the title page are misguided by misunderstanding Moroni's reason for including the Jaredite record.

Editorial comment[edit]

Moroni several times directly addresses the reader and makes express doctrinal points, twice according to commandment. These are points that Moroni makes sure cannot be overlooked, and these points should therefore have a significant influence on the interpretation of the entire book of Ether.

  1. Ether 2:8-12 - Moroni tells the Gentiles that "we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land," that it is a choice land and that those who live upon it will be blessed while they serve God, and swept off when they are ripe in iniquity.
  2. Ether 4:6-19 - In obedience to a commandment from God, Moroni exhorts both Jew and Gentile to come unto Christ to obtain knowledge (immediately after relating how the Brother of Jared was redeemed and brought into the Lord's presence through faith and knowledge). He also states that the Brother of Jared's vision of world history will not be disclosed until the Gentiles repent, but that the account in Revelation of John's vision will begin to unfold when the Book of Mormon comes forth.
  3. Ether 5:1-6 - Moroni also tells the future translator (Joseph Smith) not to attempt to open the sealed portion of the plates containing the Brother of Jared's vision and that the Book of Mormon plates themselves will be shown to some who help in bringing the Book of Mormon forth.
  4. Ether 7:5 - Moroni notes in passing that a usurper taking the king captive fulfilled the Brother of Jared's warning (6:23) that monarchy leads into captivity.
  5. Ether 8:20-26 - Moroni states that the Lord commands those who read the Book of Mormon, when they see secret combinations, to put them down and not tolerate them.
  6. Ether 12:6-40 - Most of the discussion on faith, hope and charity in chapter 12 is Moroni's own exposition that he wants to be sure we understand. At the end he also expressly bears testimony to the Jews and Gentiles that he has seen Jesus face to face and commends the reader to seek him.

Secret combinations[edit]

The Jaredites suffer major destruction four times in the book of Ether (9:12, 9:26-35, 11:7-8, 15:13-14, 29-33). All four destructions follow the introduction of secret combinations, and the Jaredites never suffer destruction in their absence. In the Promised Land speech (2:8-12) we are given general principles regarding inheritance and destruction on the American continent. In the secret combinations speech (8:20-26) we are warned that if secret combinations take hold, society will be destroyed. Society will either hate or embrace secret combinations, and the result is a foregone conclusion based upon that decision. The secret combinations speech ends with a statement that secret combinations are to be done away so that the time may come that Satan has no more power over the hearts of men. This leads naturally into the New Jerusalem prophecy in 13:1-12.

Group temporal salvation and individual spiritual salvation[edit]

The narrative portions of Ether generally address what a society must do to save itself, rather than what an individual must do to save him/herself. The church, ordinances, and specific commandments are never mentioned, nor does the narrative ever concern itself with the spiritual salvation of any particular individual. When the Lord chastises the Brother of Jared, it is as a representative of the entire group, the threatened punishment does not apply only to him, and that threatened destruction is death rather than damnation. Likewise, the suspense at the end of the book is not whether Coriantumr will repent in time to save himself spiritually, but whether he will do so in time to save society temporally.

Individual salvation is addressed in the "faith" divisions of Ether, chapters 3-5, 12. Ether presumes that a person already knows what they must do to repent. Ether is a "third temple speech" book. That is, it does not function on the level of Jacob's speech in Jacob 2-3 (or 1-2 Nephi) where people are exhorted to behave as they know they should. Nor does Ether function on the level of King Benjamin's speech (or Mosiah-Alma generally) where people are led to feel the Holy Ghost and have a change of heart. Rather, the faith speeches in Ether 3 and 12 (and in Moroni 7, 10) function on the level of the Lord's teachings in 3 Nephi 11-27 and assume that people already know all that and can move beyond faith as a principle of action and obedience to learning about faith as a principle of power to work miracles and enter into the presence of the Lord.

Ether 3 and 13 relate visions to Jaredites, the contents of which are not to be freely distributed. Ether 2 and 12 contain Moroni's own comments and bear no such restrictions. The climax of the first half of the opening narrative is the first promised land speech (2:8-12), a statement of what it takes to save a nation temporally. The high point of the entire opening narrative is the experience where the brother of Jared is brought into the presence of the Lord and experiences individual spiritual salvation (3-5). Moroni apparently sees a close connection between these two ideas and suggests that societies are saved temporally when some critical mass of its members are qualifying for individual temporal salvation.

Throughout Ether, political conditions, especially as regards secret societies, are presented as reflections of underlying societal conditions. The solution to bad situations is always a very generic "repent." Only in Moroni's sidebar speech in 8:20-26, the doctrinal climax of Ether, and in the narrative climax under the reigns of Riplakish and Morianton, do we see any exercise of volition in a specific course of action to change the prevailing political conditions.

Political leaders[edit]

This emphasis on society as a whole rather than particular individuals may result from the fact that this record was kept by the society's political leaders rather than its religious leaders. Unlike religious institutions, political institutions are not concerned with the content of the marketplace of ideas; they are concerned only with seeing that the marketplace functions and is available. Similarly, God will not intervene to destroy, and has commanded us to support (AF 11), political institutions as long as that marketplace functions, thus allowing free agency (AF 12). Hence, Moroni's account of Jaredite history does not dwell at length on the content of Christ's Gospel as does Mormon's account of Nephite history. As long as society ensures the existence of free agency, society may save itself from destruction at God's hand, regardless of whether any particular individual, or any member of society at all, chooses to take advantage of it and save him/herself.

Throughout Ether, political conditions, especially as regards secret societies, are presented as reflections of underlying societal conditions. The solution to bad situations is always a generic "repent." Only in Moroni's sidebar speech in 8:20-26, the doctrinal climax of Ether, and in the narrative climax under the reigns of Riplakish and Morianton, do we see any exercise of volition in a specific course of action to change the prevailing political conditions.

The Brother of Jared warns about the evils of monarchy, power from the top down and a lure or prize to the ambitious, while Moroni warns of the evils of secret societies, power from the ground up.

Wickedness[edit]

Free agency requires that a person have both a correct understanding of what his/her choices are and the liberty to act on those choices. The Book of Ether never mentions false or competing ideologies. The Jaredites know the truth and either accept or reject it knowingly. Nor does Ether focus on divisions in society based on wealth, religious inclination, genealogy, etc. We know they exist from the mention of Morianton raising an army of outcasts, but that is not Moroni's point. As the picture is painted for us, the Jaredites never have to make hard choices when deciding whether to obey God as did the faithful Nephites on the eve of Christ's birth. When we are told that the Jaredites killed the prophets, the emphasis is on the hardness of their hearts rather than the difficult lot of a righteous prophet in a wicked society. Jaredite society thus exists in an environment of complete moral freedom with its knowledge of the gospel and the lack of any obstacles to its practice other than individual desire. Wickedness, then, is not the result of external conditions, such as the false traditions of the Lamanites. Rather, it is knowing and open rebellion motivated by worldly enticements. The issue in the book of Ether is not what it takes to obey God's Plan, but simply whether the Jaredites want to do so.

In the Nephite history secret societies are depicted as an external threat to the ability of the righteous to live as they should in a fractured society. In Ether, because society is depicted as monolithic, secret societies are an internal sickness, a result of what the people are like rather than an environmental condition. In Ether secret societies seem to disappear rather easily any time the people repent. It is true that Com II fought against them without success, but that just means the king was out of touch with his more wicked subjects. Jaredite society was never convulsed in an attempt to eradicate them as was the case with the Gadianton robbers, only as the result of having embraced them.

In summary, the two big questions throughout the Book of Ether are whether society as a whole will be saved temporally and whether individuals will be saved spiritually.

Relationship between opening and closing narratives[edit]

  • Chapters 1b-6: Jared and his brother. At the time of scattering from the Tower of Babel, the Jaredites are led to America as a land of promise. Moroni explains that the inhabitants of the land must either serve God or be swept off when ripened in iniquity. The brother of Jared asks the Lord to touch sixteen stones and cause them to give light as they sail across the ocean. Because of his great faith, he is brought into the presence of the Lord and redeemed. The Jaredites cross the ocean in eight boats and establish themselves in the land of promise. (5,304 words).

In the opening narrative of chapters 1b-2, 6 there are two main characters: Jared & his Brother. There are also two main characters in the closing narrative of chapters 13b-15: Coriantumr & Ether. In each case one is a political leader and the other is a religious leader who communicates with God. Only in these opening and closing narratives do we have an individual prophet with actual words. In both cases the prophet is closely related to the political leader: Jared & his Brother are brothers, and Ether the prophet is descended from the royal line.

In the opening narrative political decisions are made after seeking out and deferring to the counsel of the heavenly king and the religious leader, and as a result the people are saved from destruction and established in the promised land. In the closing narrative the political leader rejects the unsolicited (and therefore probably very important) counsel of the religious leader, and as a result the people are destroyed. These two narratives illustrate in the principles explained in the promised land speeches of 2:8-12 and 8:20-26. To gain God's assistance, society must seek out and follow God's counsel. And to ignore God's counsel when he offers it unsolicited is to qualify for destruction.

Moroni provides numerous parallels between the opening and closing narratives to highlight their relatedness and invite the reader to compare them to see how they teach the same things. These parallels include the following:

  • Plates found by people of Limhi, not write hundredth part (1:2,5; 3:17; also 15:33)
  • Lord swore in his wrath, Babel / Jaredites destroyed in fulfillment of prophecy (1:33; 2:8; also 14:24; 15:3,28,33)
  • Sweep off the earth, fullness of wrath (2:8-10; also 14:18,25,27)
  • A righteous king defers to / tries to kill the prophet (____; also ____)
  • Large & mighty men (1:34; also 13:15; 14:10; 15:26) - Shule, ch 11, 14:10
  • Two requests that people be saved, where go & how (1:34-37; also 15:4,18)
  • Gather supplies for the defining venture (1:41-2:7; also 15:12-15)
  • Four years by the large waters (2:13-14; also 15:14; 13:24)
  • Travel through many diverse lands (1:42; 2:6-7; also ____)
  • Lord contends with Brother of Jared for three hours (2:14)
Two armies contend for three hours (15:27)
  • The Spirit strives (2:15; also 15:19)
  • Eight boats carry people to safety (3:1) - Riplakish, 3:1, 15:7-32
Eight days of battle destroy people (15:7-32)
  • Brother of Jared / Shiz falls to the earth (3:6-7; also 15:32)
  • Brother of Jared is a great prophet/Ether, a descendant of Brother of Jared, is a great prophet
  • In the opening narrative we are shown who the Lord will help and what he will do for you. In the closing narrative we are shown who Satan will attempt to affect and what he will do to you.
  • Four sons/four challengers (__; also __)

The point is that both stories are in fact the same story, and that neither can be fully understood without the other. It is true that one may learn the facts of one story without learning the other. But one must see why God acts both to establish and to destroy before the purpose of the story is understood.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

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● Prologue, origins, and genealogy (Chapter 1a) (1:1-32)

I. Jared & Brother: Jaredites established in the land (Chapters 1b-6)

A. Jaredite travels begin (Chapter 1b-2)
● Land journey (Chapter 1b-2a)
a. questions and answers about scattering and traveling to a land of promise (1:34-43)
b. gathering food supplies for the journey (2:1-3)
c. Lord leads Jaredites toward promised land (2:4-7)
● We can behold: America as a choice land (2:8-12)
● Building boats to cross the ocean (Chapter 2b)
c. Lord chastises for three hours because no progress for four years (2:13-15)
b. building boats for the water journey (2:16-17)
a. questions and answers about light and air while traveling in boats (2:18-25)
B. Faith to receive knowledge and enter into the presence of the Lord (Chapter 3-5)
● Brother of Jared redeemed from the fall through faith (3:1-20)
• he requests in prayer that the Lord touch sixteen stones with finger (3:1-5)
• he sees the finger of the Lord because of his great faith (3:6-12)
• he is redeemed and brought back into Christ's presence because of his knowledge (3:13-20)
● Knowledge and redemption available through Holy Ghost on conditions of faith, repentance, and baptism (3:21-5:6)
• vision received of all mankind because of faith, instruction to seal it up until Christ's ministry, two stones (3:21-28)
• vision disclosed to Nephites after Christ's ministry, then again sealed up because of unbelief, two stones (4:1-5)
Moroni commanded to say:
• vision will again be disclosed only when Gentiles exercise faith and repent (4:6-12)
• come unto Christ to receive hidden knowledge, John's revelation is now unfolding (4:13-19)
• the Lord will confirm the testimony of Three Witnesses who will see the Book of Mormon plates (5:1-6)
A. Jaredite travels conclude (Chapter 6)
● Crossing the ocean in boats (Chapter 6a)
• stones, food supplies, and people aboard boats for journey (6:1-4)
• wind, protected, Noah (6:5-8)
• praise God the whole way (6:9)
• light, protected, Noah (6:10-12a)
● Settling on the promised land (Chapter 6b)
a. multiply, walk humbly, and prosperous (6:12b-18)
b. stewardship accounting of leadership (6:19-21)
b. four sons refuse kingship, people choose King Orihah, which will lead to captivity (6:22-27)
a. prosperous, walk humbly, and multiply (6:27-7:3)

II. Centuries of kings, prophets, secret combinations, and destructions (Chapters 7-11)

● Shule: Is protected and in turn protects the prophets, destruction averted (Chapter 7)
• Shule (follows Orihah and Kib) restores kingdom to his father Kib (7:4-13)
• other half of kingdom restored to Shule (7:14-22)
• Shule protects prophets from the people (7:23-27)
● Omer: Secret combinations introduced, destruction #1 (Chapter 8-9a)
A. secret combinations introduced (8:1-19)
• Omer brougt into captivity and restored to throne, Jared repents (8:1-6)
• daughter of Jared suggests a secret combination (8:7-12)
• Akish's oath initiates the secret combination (8:13-19)
B. Moroni commanded to warn against: secret combinations (8:20-26)
A. secret combinations result in destruction (9:1-15a)
• Omer warned to flee (9:1-3)
• Akish kills his father in law Jared (9:4-6)
• Akish kills his son, another son flees (9:7-9)
• other sons rebel, secret combinations kill all but thirty, Omer rules over a remnant (9:10-15a)
● Twelve kings: Prosperity in a choice land, oppression, destruction #2 (Chapter 9b-10)
a. Emer: prosperity in a choice land (9:15b-22)
b. Coriantum and Com: minimal detail (9:23-25)
c. Heth: embraces secret combinations and persecutes prophets, destruction by famine and serpents until people repent (9:26-35)
d. Shez: descendant remembers the destruction of his fathers and builds up a righteous kingdom (10:1-4)
c. Riplakish: oppresses the people with taxation and servitude until they rise up against him (10:5-8)
d. Morianton: descendant eases the people's burden but is personally wicked (10:9-13a)
b. Kim, Levi, Corom, and Kish: minimal detail (10:13b-18)
a. Lib: serpents destroyed, prosperity in a choice land (10:19-29)
● Twelve kings and captives: Captivity, prophets withdraw, destruction #3 (Chapter 11)
a. Hearthom and four descendants in captivity (10:30-31)
• Com: protects prophets but cannot overcome secret combinations (10:32-11:3)
• Shiblom and Seth: prophets killed by usurper and ignored because of secret combinations, destruction by war and famine until people repent (11:4-9)
• Ahah and Ethem: prophets ignored and withdraw (10-14a)
a. Moron and Coriantor in captivity (11:14b-23)

I. Coriantumr & Ether: Jaredite final destruction from off the land (12-15)

● Faith precedes blessing; humility, hope, and charity (Chapter 12)
● Faith precedes blessing (12:1-21)
a. Ether cannot be restrained from preaching faith, repentance, and hope (12:1-5)
b. faith precedes witness and miracles (12:6-18)
a. Brother of Jared could not be kept from within the veil because of his faith (12:19-21)
● Humility, hope, and charity (12:22-41)
a. Moroni: apprehension at his weakness in writing compared to speaking (12:22-25)
b. Lord: Gentiles must be humble (12:26-28)
c. Moroni: the Lord works according people's faith, Brother of Jared (12:29-31)
c. Moroni: hope and charity (12:32-35)
b. Lord: Moroni has been humble (12:36-37)
a. Moroni: closing testimony of his writing and of Christ (12:38-41)
● America as home to the New Jerusalem (Chapter 13a) (13:1-12)
● Coriantumr & Ether: Jaredite final destruction #4 from off the land (Chapters 13b-15)
● Ether's warning to avoid destruction by repenting (Chapter 13b)
a. Ether rejected, views destruction from hiding (13:13-14)
b. wars between secret combinations and king (13:15-16)
c. no one repents (13:17)
b. wars between secret combinations and king (13:18-19)
a. Ether prophesies final destruction and in hiding, no one repents (13:20-22)
● Coriantumr tries to avoid destruction by fighting four usurpers (Chapter 14)
a. Corinatumr and Shared battle three days (13:23-30)
b. curse on the land (13:31-14:2)
c. Coriantumr and Gilead battle in Akish and Moron (14:3-8)
d. self-destruction within secret combinations (14:9-10)
c. Coriantumr and Lib II battle in Moron and Akish (14:11-16)
b. fear of Shiz sweeping the earth (14:17-25)
a. Coriantumr and Shiz battle three days (14:26-31)
● Coriantumr tries to avoid destruction by negotiating, destruction fulfilled over eight days (Chapter 15)
a. Coriantumr sees that prophecy is being fulfilled, tries to avoid destruction by negotiating (15:1-5)
b. battle at seashore, Coriantumr faints (15:6-11)
c. camping four years to gather strength (15:12-14)
d. days 1-2 of final battle (15:15-17)
e. Coriantumr again tries to avoid destruction by negotiating (15:18-19)
d. days 3-6 of final battle (15:20-26)
c. days 7-8 of final battle, Coriantumr's group flees (15:27-29a)
b. Shiz and Coriantumr both faint, Coriantumr kills Shiz (15:29b-32)
a. Ether's witness that prophesied destruction is fulfilled (15:33-34)

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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Resources[edit]

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Previous editions.

  • The original 1830 edition of Ether was divided into only six chapters (I-VI). For the 1879 edition Parley Pratt further divided those six into the fifteen chapters (1-15) still used today. • I: 1-4 • II: 5 • III: 6-8 • IV: 9-11 • V: 12 • VI: 13-15

Related passages that interpret or shed light on Ether.

  • Moroni provides four "great faith sermons" at the end of the Book of Mormon, two in Ether that clearly form a pair (Ether 3-5 and Ether 12), and two more in Moroni that just as clearly form another pair (Moroni 7 and Moroni 10). All four sermons talk about faith as more than just a principle of action leading to obedience. Rather, these four sermons assume that the listener is already trying to be righteous, and so address faith in connection with hope and charity as a door to exaltation and as a principle of power that allows one to exercise gifts of the spirit and work miracles. These four faith sermons can all be read as a group since they were all written or edited by a single author and all address a single general topic.

References cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Ether 1:1-32

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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Ether. The relationship of Chapter 1a to the rest of Ether is discussed at Ether.

Story. Chapter 1a gives the genealogy of Ether.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 1a include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Ether 1:2: The 24 gold plates. Moroni says here that he takes his account from the twenty and four plates found by the people of Limhi (see Mosiah 21:25-27). We know from Mosiah 28:17 that had already translated this record once. Moroni makes no indication of that pre-existing translation here. This verse suggests Moroni goes back to the source making the Book of Ether Moroni's translation of Ether's record. (Or, to be more precise, the Book of Ether is Joseph Smith's translation into English of Moroni's translation into his own language.)
For more on the 24 plates, see Mosiah 8:9, Mosiah 21:27, Mosiah 28:11, Alma 37:21, and Ether 15:33.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Ether 1:1: Why does Moroni decide to "give an account" of the Jaredites?
  • Ether 1:1: Why does he refer to them as "ancient inhabitants"?
  • Ether 1:1: In what sense can we say that these ancient inhabitants "were destroyed by the hand of the Lord" when they clearly killed themselves through warfare?
  • Ether 1:1: What does Moroni mean by "this north country"? North in relation to what?
  • Ether 1:1: "This" north country suggests that Moroni is in that northern land--is this the land of Bountiful, or farther north? Cumorah?
  • Ether 1:1: The Nephite center of influence seems to have moved several times--from the Land of Nephi, to Zarahemla, to Bountiful, and perhaps now even farther north. What does this tell us about the nature of Nephite society?
  • Ether 1:2: How does Moroni get his "account from the twenty and four plates"?
  • Ether 1:2: What does this imply about how these ancient records had been kept since the time of Limhi?
  • Ether 1:2: Why is this record "called the Book of Ether"?
  • Ether 1:3: What might we be missing from the Book of Ether? How valuable would it be to have another ancient account of the creation, Adam, and the material found in our Book of Genesis?
  • Ether 1:4: Whoso findeth them. What does this mean? Is this a prediction or prophecy? Should we be looking for these plates? Where are they? How valuable would it be to have the original record? Does this imply that these records are potentially available to us and the rest of the world to find and translate?
  • Ether 1:5: How much of the 24 plates contained the parts that we don't have?
  • Ether 1:7-32: If Moroni was already editing the Book of Ether, why give this extended genealogy? Wouldn't it have been enough to say that Ether was a descendant of Jared? Why give us all the actual names?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Ether                      Next page: Chapters 1b-6


Ether 1-6

Ether 1-6

Ether 1:33-2:7

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 1b-2 / Verses 1:33-2:25
Previous page: Chapters 1b-6                      Next page: Chapter 3-5


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapter 1b-2 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. Chapter 1b-2, the opening portion of the Jardites' journey to America, consists of seven major sections:

  • Verses 1:34-43: Questions and answers about scattering and traveling to a land of promise.
  • Verses 2:1-3: Gathering food supplies for the journey.
  • Verses 2:4-7: Lord leads Jaredites toward promised land.
  • Verses 2:8-12: We can behold: America as a choice land.
  • Verses 2:13-15: Lord chastises for three hours because no progress for four years.
  • Verses 2:16-17: Building boats for the water journey.
  • Verses 2:18-25: Questions and answers about light and air while traveling in boats.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 1b-2 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • The question of contrast is interesting and provides plenty to think about on its own. In addition, thinking about the expanded episode of the brother of Jared (highly favored → reprimanded → allowed to see the Lord) should yield more questions and insights. MJ

Ether 1:33-2:7[edit]

  • Ether 1:34. In verse 34 Jared goes to his brother to have him petition the Lord not to have their language confounded. It seems that Jared turns to his brother because Jared believes that if his brother prays, they are more likely to have their petition granted. Within the scriptures the phrase "favored of the Lord" is consistently used in the context of righteousness. The suggestion is that Jared believes his brother's petition will be answered because his brother has been righteous, maybe more righteous than he has been.
  • Ether 1:36-40. Note that Jared demonstrates much faith in his brother. Jared believes and trusts his brother, knowing that he has special contact with God. This may be an example of the gift described in D&C 46:14: "To others it is given to believe on their words...".
  • Ether 2:1-5. The development of this plot (the Brother of Jared building ships with the help of the Lord) is a series of petitionary prayers finally answered by divine self-revelation. The Brother of Jared seems to be concerned with building a more-or-less comfortable vessel. The answer he gets is a more-or-less comfortable vessel, and to see the finger of the Lord, and ultimately to have the veil removed.

Ether 2:8-12[edit]

  • The relationship of verses 2:8-12 to the rest of the book, especially the secret combinations speech in Verses 8:20-26 and the New Jerusalem speech in Chapter 13a, is discussed at Ether.
  • A land of inheritance here on the earth can be symbolic of eternal inheritance we seek in heaven. The broad concept behind the instructions in this speech about inheriting a choice land of inheritance can also be applied to that promised land of heaven.
  • Ether 2:8: Sworn in his wrath. This phrase (or "sware in his wrath" or "swore in his wrath," with reference to God doing the swearing) also occurs in Ps 95:11 (likely the "original" text); Heb 3:11; Heb 4:3; Ether 1:33; D&C 63:33. In Mosiah 19:4, Gideon "swore in his wrath that he would slay the king." Similarly, in Ether 15:28, Shiz "swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr."
  • Ether 2:9: Ripened in iniquity. Here Moroni, as narrator, tells us that God sweeps the wicked off from the face of the earth, in the fulness of his wrath, when they become ripe in iniquity. The term "ripe in iniquity" is defined, and the principle behind destroying those who are ripe, are explored in the discussion of Hel 13:14.

Ether 2b / Verses 2:13-25[edit]

  • Question and answer pattern. The Brother of Jared asks two questions about the boats. Those questions are answered in reverse order, with the first answer being simple and the second answer much longer and more complicated. This pattern also often occurs in First Nephi (CITE).
  • Ether 2:16-22. The Lord commands the Brother of Jared to build barges "after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built," probably giving reference to the barges that are mentioned earlier in chapter 3. The Jaredites had already built barges and used them to cross waters while they were traveling in the wilderness. However, the second time the Jaredites built barges, the Brother of Jared had to inquire of the Lord as to what they should do have light and air in them. Why? Perhaps the first ones were only used for crossing small distances. Or perhaps they were similar to the second ones, but still slightly different (i.e. more like a boat).
  • Ether 2:21-25. It is possible that the Lord wanted the Brother of Jared to study the scriptures in more detail or provide his own solution to a problem. See footnote at Genesis 6:16 [1], where some Hebrew scholars believe that a stone was placed in the ark, similar to stones in the Brother of Jared's vessels. The Lord often gives us answers to questions that have not previously been revealed, but if something has been revealed, he expects us to search for the answer or make our own suggestions.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Highly Favored of the Lord. Given the context it seems that the phrase "highly favored of the Lord" refers to someone that the Lord blesses. This is consistent with the way the phrase is used in the rest of the scriptures. Within the scriptures this exact phrase is only used in the Book of Mormon, though related phrases are found in the Bible. For example, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is "highly favoured," presumably of the Lord (Luke 1:28) and the same angel tells Daniel that he is "greatly beloved," which could also be translated "highly favored" (Daniel 9:23). The phrase is consistently related to righteousness: when people are righteous the Lord favors them; when they are not righteous they are not favored. For examples, see the scripture search results for the phrase "favored of the Lord."
  • Ether 1:33: This verse mentions the scattering of the people after they had been confounded at the tower. Why is it that whenever the Lord is upset with His people he scatters them? Is there a specific reason? What effect is this supposed to have on the scattered people?
  • Islam has a similar story about God assigning people of the world different languages, but there the purpose for doing so is as a blessing, a demonstration of God's mercy. Is that an interpretation that we can learn from? If so, how?
  • Ether 1:34: The brother of Jared is a central figure in the first chapters of Ether. He was, presumably, the spiritual leader and described as "a man highly favored of the Lord" (vs. 34). Why is he known to us, through The Book of Mormon, primarily in relation to his brother?
  • Ether 1:34: Why is the actual name of the Brother of Jared not given in the scriptures?
  • Ether 1:36: Why does Jared always ask his brother to seek guidance from the Lord, rather than seeking it himself?
  • Ether 2:7: How is the promised land a "Land of Promise"? What is the promise (covenant) of the land?
  • Ether 2:10: What is the purpose of the repetition used in this and the preceding verses (i.e., "swept off"; "fulness of iniquity" or "fulness of his wrath")? Is there an overarching structure to these verses that this repetition is helping to construct? Is the repetition for emphasis?
  • Ether 2:14: Ether tells us that the Lord chastened the Brother of Jared for 3 hours "because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." This occurs just 14 verses after we read of the great blessings the Lord gave the Brother of Jared for diligently calling on the Lord (see chapter 1:43). What are we to make of the contrast between these two events so closely juxtaposed in Ether's account?
  • Ether 2:14: When we are told that the Brother of Jared hadn't been calling upon the name of the Lord, does this indicate that he had stopped praying altogether, or is there another way to interpret the scriptural phrase, "call upon the name of the Lord?"
  • Ether 2:25: The Lord asks the brother of Jared what he wants him to do in order to give them light on the way to the promised land. Why would the Lord ask Jared what to do and have him figure it out on his own?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Deseret in verse 2:3 - See Kevin Barney's article here for discussion of the origins of the word deseret and its meaning of "bee." Barney summarizes the Webb-Nibley theory (deseret means "to be red" in Egyptian but is a reference to the king of Lower Egypt; the Egyptian word for bee is also believed to be a reference to the king of Lower Egypt, hence the connection), then mentions some reservations about this theory, and then proposes a new Semitic theory (dbrh = bee; there is good evidence for evolution of the final consonant from h to t and the b may be related to dbsh which means honey). On ancient Near Eastern apiculture, see Ronan James Head at BCC Papers.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 1b-6                      Next page: Chapter 3-5

Ether 2:13-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 1b-2 / Verses 1:33-2:25
Previous page: Chapters 1b-6                      Next page: Chapter 3-5


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapter 1b-2 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. Chapter 1b-2, the opening portion of the Jardites' journey to America, consists of seven major sections:

  • Verses 1:34-43: Questions and answers about scattering and traveling to a land of promise.
  • Verses 2:1-3: Gathering food supplies for the journey.
  • Verses 2:4-7: Lord leads Jaredites toward promised land.
  • Verses 2:8-12: We can behold: America as a choice land.
  • Verses 2:13-15: Lord chastises for three hours because no progress for four years.
  • Verses 2:16-17: Building boats for the water journey.
  • Verses 2:18-25: Questions and answers about light and air while traveling in boats.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 1b-2 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • The question of contrast is interesting and provides plenty to think about on its own. In addition, thinking about the expanded episode of the brother of Jared (highly favored → reprimanded → allowed to see the Lord) should yield more questions and insights. MJ

Ether 1:33-2:7[edit]

  • Ether 1:34. In verse 34 Jared goes to his brother to have him petition the Lord not to have their language confounded. It seems that Jared turns to his brother because Jared believes that if his brother prays, they are more likely to have their petition granted. Within the scriptures the phrase "favored of the Lord" is consistently used in the context of righteousness. The suggestion is that Jared believes his brother's petition will be answered because his brother has been righteous, maybe more righteous than he has been.
  • Ether 1:36-40. Note that Jared demonstrates much faith in his brother. Jared believes and trusts his brother, knowing that he has special contact with God. This may be an example of the gift described in D&C 46:14: "To others it is given to believe on their words...".
  • Ether 2:1-5. The development of this plot (the Brother of Jared building ships with the help of the Lord) is a series of petitionary prayers finally answered by divine self-revelation. The Brother of Jared seems to be concerned with building a more-or-less comfortable vessel. The answer he gets is a more-or-less comfortable vessel, and to see the finger of the Lord, and ultimately to have the veil removed.

Ether 2:8-12[edit]

  • The relationship of verses 2:8-12 to the rest of the book, especially the secret combinations speech in Verses 8:20-26 and the New Jerusalem speech in Chapter 13a, is discussed at Ether.
  • A land of inheritance here on the earth can be symbolic of eternal inheritance we seek in heaven. The broad concept behind the instructions in this speech about inheriting a choice land of inheritance can also be applied to that promised land of heaven.
  • Ether 2:8: Sworn in his wrath. This phrase (or "sware in his wrath" or "swore in his wrath," with reference to God doing the swearing) also occurs in Ps 95:11 (likely the "original" text); Heb 3:11; Heb 4:3; Ether 1:33; D&C 63:33. In Mosiah 19:4, Gideon "swore in his wrath that he would slay the king." Similarly, in Ether 15:28, Shiz "swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr."
  • Ether 2:9: Ripened in iniquity. Here Moroni, as narrator, tells us that God sweeps the wicked off from the face of the earth, in the fulness of his wrath, when they become ripe in iniquity. The term "ripe in iniquity" is defined, and the principle behind destroying those who are ripe, are explored in the discussion of Hel 13:14.

Ether 2b / Verses 2:13-25[edit]

  • Question and answer pattern. The Brother of Jared asks two questions about the boats. Those questions are answered in reverse order, with the first answer being simple and the second answer much longer and more complicated. This pattern also often occurs in First Nephi (CITE).
  • Ether 2:16-22. The Lord commands the Brother of Jared to build barges "after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built," probably giving reference to the barges that are mentioned earlier in chapter 3. The Jaredites had already built barges and used them to cross waters while they were traveling in the wilderness. However, the second time the Jaredites built barges, the Brother of Jared had to inquire of the Lord as to what they should do have light and air in them. Why? Perhaps the first ones were only used for crossing small distances. Or perhaps they were similar to the second ones, but still slightly different (i.e. more like a boat).
  • Ether 2:21-25. It is possible that the Lord wanted the Brother of Jared to study the scriptures in more detail or provide his own solution to a problem. See footnote at Genesis 6:16 [2], where some Hebrew scholars believe that a stone was placed in the ark, similar to stones in the Brother of Jared's vessels. The Lord often gives us answers to questions that have not previously been revealed, but if something has been revealed, he expects us to search for the answer or make our own suggestions.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Highly Favored of the Lord. Given the context it seems that the phrase "highly favored of the Lord" refers to someone that the Lord blesses. This is consistent with the way the phrase is used in the rest of the scriptures. Within the scriptures this exact phrase is only used in the Book of Mormon, though related phrases are found in the Bible. For example, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is "highly favoured," presumably of the Lord (Luke 1:28) and the same angel tells Daniel that he is "greatly beloved," which could also be translated "highly favored" (Daniel 9:23). The phrase is consistently related to righteousness: when people are righteous the Lord favors them; when they are not righteous they are not favored. For examples, see the scripture search results for the phrase "favored of the Lord."
  • Ether 1:33: This verse mentions the scattering of the people after they had been confounded at the tower. Why is it that whenever the Lord is upset with His people he scatters them? Is there a specific reason? What effect is this supposed to have on the scattered people?
  • Islam has a similar story about God assigning people of the world different languages, but there the purpose for doing so is as a blessing, a demonstration of God's mercy. Is that an interpretation that we can learn from? If so, how?
  • Ether 1:34: The brother of Jared is a central figure in the first chapters of Ether. He was, presumably, the spiritual leader and described as "a man highly favored of the Lord" (vs. 34). Why is he known to us, through The Book of Mormon, primarily in relation to his brother?
  • Ether 1:34: Why is the actual name of the Brother of Jared not given in the scriptures?
  • Ether 1:36: Why does Jared always ask his brother to seek guidance from the Lord, rather than seeking it himself?
  • Ether 2:7: How is the promised land a "Land of Promise"? What is the promise (covenant) of the land?
  • Ether 2:10: What is the purpose of the repetition used in this and the preceding verses (i.e., "swept off"; "fulness of iniquity" or "fulness of his wrath")? Is there an overarching structure to these verses that this repetition is helping to construct? Is the repetition for emphasis?
  • Ether 2:14: Ether tells us that the Lord chastened the Brother of Jared for 3 hours "because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." This occurs just 14 verses after we read of the great blessings the Lord gave the Brother of Jared for diligently calling on the Lord (see chapter 1:43). What are we to make of the contrast between these two events so closely juxtaposed in Ether's account?
  • Ether 2:14: When we are told that the Brother of Jared hadn't been calling upon the name of the Lord, does this indicate that he had stopped praying altogether, or is there another way to interpret the scriptural phrase, "call upon the name of the Lord?"
  • Ether 2:25: The Lord asks the brother of Jared what he wants him to do in order to give them light on the way to the promised land. Why would the Lord ask Jared what to do and have him figure it out on his own?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Deseret in verse 2:3 - See Kevin Barney's article here for discussion of the origins of the word deseret and its meaning of "bee." Barney summarizes the Webb-Nibley theory (deseret means "to be red" in Egyptian but is a reference to the king of Lower Egypt; the Egyptian word for bee is also believed to be a reference to the king of Lower Egypt, hence the connection), then mentions some reservations about this theory, and then proposes a new Semitic theory (dbrh = bee; there is good evidence for evolution of the final consonant from h to t and the b may be related to dbsh which means honey). On ancient Near Eastern apiculture, see Ronan James Head at BCC Papers.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapters 1b-6                      Next page: Chapter 3-5


Ether 3-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 3-5
Previous page: Chapter 1b-2                      Next page: Chapter 6


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapters 3-5 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. Chapters 3-5, the story of the Brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord, consists of several major sections:

● Brother of Jared redeemed from the fall through faith (3:1-20)
• he requests in prayer that the Lord touch sixteen stones with finger (3:1-5)
• he sees the finger of the Lord because of his great faith (3:6-12)
• he is redeemed and brought back into Christ's presence because of his knowledge (3:13-20)
● Knowledge and redemption available through Holy Ghost on conditions of faith, repentance, and baptism (3:21-5:6)
• vision received of all mankind because of faith, instruction to seal it up until Christ's ministry, two stones (3:21-28)
• vision disclosed to Nephites after Christ's ministry, then again sealed up because of unbelief, two stones (4:1-5)
Moroni commanded to say:
• vision will again be disclosed only when Gentiles exercise faith and repent (4:6-12)
• come unto Christ to receive hidden knowledge, John's revelation is now unfolding (4:13-19)
• the Lord will confirm the testimony of Three Witnesses who will see the Book of Mormon plates (5:1-6)

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 3-5 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Ether 3:1-20[edit]

  • Some hypothesize that the Brother of Jared got the idea of the stones from Noah. In Genesis 6:16 the lord tells Noah to make a window. In Hebrew the word is tsohar which means a dual or double light. Signifying "one for each end," just as the brother of Jared needed for the barges.
  • The Brother of Jared, did not doubt that the Lord could provide them with light, even though the Lord had not given them means of light. In his great faith, the Brother of Jared, invented a solution that could bring light to the ships. He asked this of the Lord, and because of this faith he saw God.
  • Ether 3:9. Relating the Brother of Jared's experience to Alma 32, we could say that he is experiencing the fruits of faith described in Alma 32:37. And when he sees the Lord, his faith could be described as becoming dormant (in the sense of Alma 32:34) regarding the existence of God.
  • Ether 3:13: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall. The wording here suggests that in some sense something that the brother of Jared knows is the cause (not a result) of the Lord manifesting himself to the brother of Jared (cf. "because of the knowledge of this man" in v. 19). The knowledge being referred to here seems to be given in verse 12 where the brother of Jared declares that he knows the Lords speaks (only) truth. This knowledge seems to be what causes the brother of Jared to be redeemed from the fall. Logically, this seems to be an incomplete explanation, there is an assumption that appears to be missing or at least implicit, an assumption that the Lord has told or is telling the brother of Jared that he will be redeemed. This gap in the logic of the account is particularly striking in the context of another curiosity starting in verse 11, namely that the Lord promises to speak, but then shows himself before speaking. That this manifestation of the Lord occurs before the speaking that was promised in a way that effectively interrupts the logic of the Lord's promise to speak seems to double the Lord's speaking itself: the declaration of the brother of Jared's redeemed state is declared before a full explanation of that state is offered. This pattern may also be followed by Moroni himself: he interrupts the narrative in verse 17 before he has finished giving it.
  • Ether 3:19-20. In these verses, Moroni is giving a brief summary of why the brother of Jared was brought into the presence of the Lord, or perhaps better said, not why, so much as how it was possible that such a thing occurred. When compared with Christ's own explanation to the brother of Jared in verses 9, and 13 - 15, this opens up interesting possibilities relating to knowledge, faith, and the relationship between the two. Moroni definitively claims that it is because of the brother of Jared's knowledge that he "could not be kept from beholding within the veil". What Moroni says later is that because the brother of Jared witnessed the finger of the Lord, he fell with fear, for he "knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting". It would seem then that the brother of Jared possessed both knowledge and faith at the same time, but his faith was not the deciding factor in having the right to view Jesus in person. Rather, his knowledge was the key.
The verse ends with the phrase "nothing doubting." It is a curious phrase to say the least, because in our modern LDS understanding of faith, we understand that to have faith is to not doubt in the first place. For Mormon to say "nothing doubting" as a way of describing the giving way of faith to a "perfect knowledge" goes a bit against the grain of the conventional LDS interpretation of faith in the first place. Are we to understand here that the brother of Jared had doubts before viewing Jesus? What were the quality of these doubts? Surely he did not doubt the existence of God, he talked with God all the time, conversed with him in a cloud, and heard his voice on a regular basis. So what, then, about visual confirmation of truth gives rise to a "perfect knowledge" of something, as opposed to knowledge with faith?
Perhaps there is another way of reading the phrase "nothing doubting". It is a bit ambiguous, and although it is perhaps stretching the limits of English grammar, it is not entirely impossible to read the phrase as reading something to the effect of "and nothing doubted anymore," as opposed to "and the brother of Jared didn't doubt anymore." That may not be a fruitful way of understanding the phrase, but let's see where it might take us. The notion of doubt being brought up in the middle of all this is an interesting move on Moroni's part, because throughout the narrative the brother of Jared never shows the slightest inkling of doubt. He opposes even such a possibility in all his language to Christ, for in all Christ's queries, he boldly asserts that he knows something. In fact, the brother of Jared claims "to know" something 3 times in the chapter, twice in his prayer to God before viewing His finger, and once afterwards (v. 2, 5, and 12). The only thing the brother of Jared said he did not know is that the Lord had a finger of flesh and bone like man's (v. 8), but this lack of knowledge does not point to any kind of doubt on the brother of Jared's part, but simply a complete lack of ever even considering the matter in the first place. And yet, he mentions a finger in verse 4, which is a bit problematic, because it then leaves one to wonder what kind of finger the brother of Jared had in mind, if not a fleshy, bony, man-like finger. But at any rate, this lack of knowledge of the Lord's finger only appeared after the veil had been rent in the first place, and seems to bear little on whether or not such a knowledge would have qualified the brother of Jared for the vision. Obviously it didn't disqualify him, because it happened.
What is interesting is that at the precise moment that the brother of Jared first concedes a lack of knowledge on his part, that is when Moroni says he obtained his "perfect knowledge of God, and could not be kept within the veil. Wherefore, he saw Jesus...". It seems that this opening phrase in verse 20 draws the readers' attention back to the opening phrase in verse 19. When compared, they are strikingly similar. v. 19: "He could not be kept from beholding within the veil." v. 20: "he could not be kept within the veil." In the first instance it is a question of sight, in the second instance it shifts to a question of location. In the first instance, there is an element of faith, and, apparently, doubt. In the second instance, those have been swept away by the raw, glorious advent of the viewing of the Son.
These preliminary steps call for a close re-examination, and perhaps a re-reading of verses 2- 18. It is as if one reads verses 2-18 with an element of doubt and faith the first time, but then after seeing Moroni's interpretation of the events can go back and obtain for themselves a more "perfect knowledge" of what is going on. It is almost as if the reader has the opportunity to fear and tremble along with the brother of Jared the advent of the Lord's finger, but then, as the brother of Jared did, with this newfound, more perfect knowledge, one can come to view Christ in His entirety as he did.

Ether 3:21-5:6[edit]

  • Ether 3:23. It appears that the Brother of Jared walked up the mountain with sixteen stones, but came back down with eighteen.
  • Ether 4:1-19. This chapter is a map for obtaining knowledge from heaven. Several keys are provided, along with specific prophesies, warnings and promises. In verse 6, Moroni is informed that the plates will go forth unto the Gentiles at some future day (when the gentiles have repented). The importance of the plates appears to stem not only from their intrinsic value, but we are later told in verse 17 that they are a sign that the work of the Father in the last days will have commenced, which work involves at its core the dispensing of almost unlimited revelation (see verses 13, 14, 16).
Verse 9 reminds us that the heavens are opened and shut at the word of the Lord. In other words, revelation comes and goes at the command of the Lord. When revelation is given, individually we can accept or reject it (verses 10 & 11). If we believe the revelation, the Lord promises manifestations of the spirit that will grant knowledge that what is said is true. A key for identifying manifestations from God is given in verse 12: "whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me." An additional key is given for obtaining knowledge. Verse 15 instructs us to "rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind. . ." If we do so, we are promised to receive "great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world" (verse 14). Among these great things is knowledge of the Father's covenant with the house of Israel (verse 15). We are also to have unfolded to us the revelations of John, which will be manifest "in very deed."
The revelations of the restoration are obvious evidence of the fulfillment of these promises, as are arguably the staggering advances in science and technology that have largely come during the same time period.
Note: The general belief is that chapter 4 refers specifically to the sealed portion of the gold plates and not to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
  • Ether 4:1. In Verse 1 the brother of Jared is commanded to write the things that he saw down; however, it is forbidden for these things to be revealed until after Christ resurrects and shows himself to his people. There seems to be some connection between the facts that 1) the words the brother of Jared writes down explain how he saw the body of Christ and 2) that it is forbidden for this information to be revealed until after Christ shows his body to his people. But, the verses don't make clear exactly what the connection is between these two points. Why couldn't the brother of Jared's experience be openly known before Christ shows himself to his people? Since no other explanation is given, it seems that answer is what is said in verse 9--that the Lord gives revelation to his people and withholds revelation when he wants.
  • Ether 4:6. If verse 1 confirms that what the brother of Jared saw could not be had among Israel "until after Christ should show himself unto his people," and if verse 2 suggests that once Christ had come among the Nephites these things were commonly had, then the commandment of verse 3 to "hide [the plates] up again in the earth" must be understood as a consequence of the disappearance of the Nephites ("there is none save it be the Lamanites" Moroni explains in verse 3). However, Moroni states explicitly in verse 5 that he does more than "hide them up again in the earth," and it is only in the present verse that some ground is offered for this further action. If Moroni was further commanded to seal up a portion of the plates, and then to seal up the possibility of interpreting that portion, then, as this verse explains, it was because this portion of the plates was not for the eyes of the Gentiles. That the exclusion at work here is a question of nations and covenants deserves further attention.
A phrase from verse 2 emphasizes that this exclusion is a question of nations and covenants: the experience of the brother of Jared was to be released commonly "after Christ truly had showed himself unto his people." There is a subtle hint here that the experience was only to be shared with the covenant people of the Christ, and then only after He Himself had been in their midst (confirming them His people as King enthroned?). This verse offers a couple of stipulations that must be fulfilled before the Gentiles can have any access to what is recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, but the next verse proceeds to offer further stipulations, and the situation becomes rather complex rather quickly. In the end, there seems to be some connection between this situation and what Christ tells the Nephites in 3 Ne 15:23: Jesus explains that "the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice," that, in fact, He "should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost." Without the very real visitation of the Son, one is not to have access to the sealed portion of the record. But this presents a very real difficulty for the Gentiles, who will "not at any time" have that experience: they can only receive these things by entering into the presence of the Lord by the same commanding faith as the brother of Jared. This realization grounds all the discussion that follows in this chapter.
  • Ether 4:7: Gentiles, Jaredites, and the Brother of Jared. This verse, in the end, sets up a sort of equivalence between the "Gentiles" of verse 6 and the brother of Jared. This pairing is of some significance for the projected history of the Book of Mormon, since the Gentiles will have, according to the pairing, to do what the brother of Jared did to learn of the incredible revelations recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon (that is, they will also have to part the veil uninvited). As it turns out, the pairing is not exactly innovative, just good reading on Moroni's part. Perhaps one of the difficulties of reading the Book of Mormon is the task of trying to sort out where the Jaredites fit into the covenant history of Israel (the awkward phrasing and paragraphing of the title page of the Book of Mormon forces this question). Since the Jaredites left the Near East at the very time Abraham was wandering around in working out his covenant with God, they were not a part of the foundational covenant of Israel. Fascinating as their story is, they are not part of the covenantal history, as far as one can tell. But this pairing of the brother of Jared with the Gentiles makes quite clear that the Jaredites do have a place in the history of the covenant: they are Gentiles. The Hebrew term translated as "Gentile," gwy, first appears in the Hebrew Bible in the genealogical register that founds the story of the tower of Babel. The "Gentiles" are the many nations, specifically, that scatter as the project of the tower comes to an end, and the Jaredites are one of those nations. In the end, the Jaredites--the brother of Jared and his people--are Gentiles.
Hence, the pairing here is rather significant simply because it draws out a point all too easily missed in the course of the Book of Ether and in the stories told here and there of the Nephite encounters with Jaredites and Jaredite traditions (Nibley's two books on the Jaredites shed quite a lot of light on these Nephite encounters). But the most important thing to be learned in the pairing is perhaps the standing of the Gentiles before God: if "they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw," which is clarified as "the unfolding unto them of all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ." If the Gentiles are elsewhere in the Book of Mormon kept at some distance from the Lord (to be taught and included only by the Holy Ghost), then there is opened here the very real possibility of the Gentiles' full acceptance in the actual presence of God. And it comes down to having the same faith as the brother of Jared.
  • Ether 4:7: The Lord Jesus Christ. Up to this point in the chapter, the term Lord seems to refer to the Brother of Jared's vision and the commands that Moroni receives. In this verse, however, the later phrase "saith Jesus Christ" parallels the earlier phrase "saith the Lord." This is made more explicit in verse 8 where the phrase "Jesus Christ" is further clarified "for I am he who speaketh." The further description of Jesus Christ as "the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth" is picked up again in verses 9-12 where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are elaborated upon. The Godhead seems to be an important theme here for Moroni in describing the manifestation of Christ and the sealed aspect of the vision of the Brother of Jared. There may be a significant similarity here with Nephi's writing when he is discussing the the Godhead in relationship to baptism at the end of 2 Ne 31, but then is constrained from speaking more in 2 Ne 32:7.
  • Ether 4:7: Individual vs. community manifestation. In contrast to the Jews and the Nephites, Christ did not appear to the Jaredites as a people. The tete a tete nature of the Brother of Jared's vision may be part of what Moroni is referring to here in his admonition to "exercise faith ... even as the Brother of Jared did." That is, rather than waiting for a communal manifestation, Moroni may be advocating the Gentiles as individuals to exercise faith in Christ like the Brother of Jared did.
  • Ether 4:13-14. After the equivalence between the Gentiles and the brother of Jared, as worked out in verses 6-7, the structure of these two verses is somewhat surprising: the Israelites and the Gentiles seem to be equated in their relation to the "veil of unbelief" of verse 15. If the Gentiles and the brother of Jared are equivalent in that they can only come into the presence of God through the visitation of the Holy Ghost or through an incredibly superabundant faith that rends the veil, then it is not exactly clear why the Israelites are paired with the Gentiles here. What is most confusing, in the end, is that both the Gentiles and Israel are given the same three word command: "Come unto me." When spoken to the Gentiles, in verse 13, the command seems quite clearly to have reference to the approach as performed by the brother of Jared: the Gentiles are to come before the Lord in an absolutely humble faith, and just so they will be able to rend the veil and pass into the presence of the Lord to see everything. But when the same phrase is spoken to Israel, it is not clear how one should read it. The unquestionable identity with the invitation to the Gentiles suggests that it be read as a similar invitation: Israel is to come in the same humble faith and rend the veil as did the brother of Jared. At the same time, however, that Israel is here in question suggests otherwise, that the invitation is somehow misguided, misplaced, or worded oddly. Clearly, something more is at work here.
Perhaps a first possibility for unraveling this difficulty can be found by thinking the connection implied between the Gentiles and Israel: this is not the only place in the Book of Mormon where the Israelites and the Gentiles are understood to perform their work together before the Lord. In fact, once this pairing is described this way, a thousand passages in the Book of Mormon suddenly come to mind, all suggesting that the Gentiles and Israel are eventually to be combined, the Gentiles joined to Israel in a joint return to the presence of the Lord (the gathering, etc.). But a difficulty nonetheless remains, or rather, this interweaving of Gentiles and Israel does not quite seem to release the tension of the present passage. Throughout the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles are presented as being joined to Israel, the latter being bound, after all, by covenant to the Lord. In the present passage, however, it appears that the Gentiles are the ones with the faith and ability to approach ("come unto me" can only be the approach of the Gentiles/brother of Jared), and it appears as if Israel were attached to the Gentiles in their odd approach, rather than vice versa. There is, in other words, still an important tension between this passage and other Book of Mormon discussions of the Gentiles and Israel: elsewhere Israel seems privileged (through the covenant), but here the Gentiles seem privileged (through the brother of Jared faith/approach).
At the very least, this tension calls for a more careful reading of all Gentile/Israelite relations as worked out in the Book of Mormon.
  • Ether 4:16-19. Isaiah foresaw that a portion of the gold plates would be sealed (Isa 29:11-12). The sealed portion contains a recorded history of the world from the beginning to the end thereof (2 Ne 27:7). It contains the "very things that the Brother of Jared saw" and according to Moroni never were greater things made manifest (Ether 4:4-5). Also in verse 16 Moroni describes that we will find the same general things that were given to us by the book of Revelation in the bible.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Ether 3:2: In addition to calling upon the Lord, what else must we do to "receive according to our desires"?
  • Ether 3:4: What does the brother of Jared have in mind when he says "touch these stone, O Lord, with thy finger"? Later just that happens, and it freaks him out. Why would it freak him out if exactly what he asks for is what happens?
  • Ether 3:5: Entering the Lord's presence. In this section, the Brother of Jared goes to a sacred mountain, prays to the Lord, and enters the Lord's presence after the Lord parts the veil with his hand. What does this teach us about how to enter the presence of the Lord? Where can modern LDS worshippers obtain a similar experience?
  • Ether 3:6-8: Why is the Brother of Jared's afraid after seeing the Lord's finger?
  • Ether 3:6-8: The Brother of Jared seems shocked to learn that the Lord had a body like ours. As a prophet, why didn't he know that before?
  • Ether 3:6-8: What sort of finger did the brother of Jared expect the Lord to have when he asked the Lord to use his finger in verse 4, and how exactly would such an expectation differ from his actual experience of witnessing a "finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood"?
  • Ether 3:14: The Lord has shown himself unto the brother of Jared and he says that this is the first time he has shown himself because in the past "never has man believed in me as thou hast." What does this mean? Hadn't previous prophets seen the Lord?
  • Ether 3:18: Body of my Spirit. What does it mean to say that the Pre-Mortal Christ has a body? What is the "body of my Spirit" that the Lord shows the Brother of Jared?
  • Ether 3:18: How is the Lord's visit to the Brother of Jared similar to his visit to the Nephites? What is it about His manner of visiting that allows them to know that He is God?
  • Ether 3:19: Because of the knowledge. Verse 9 seems to indicate that Christ manifests himself unto the Brother of Jared because of his faith, whereas here in verse 19 the reason given is knowledge. How are we to understand the relationship between faith and knowledge in these verses? How does this view compare to Alma's use of the terms in Alma 32?
  • Ether 3:20: Having this perfect knowledge. Is this verse saying that the Brother of Jared have perfect knowledge before Christ showed himself? What does "perfect knowledge" mean here?
  • Ether 3:20: Knowledge vs. perfect knowledge. What is the difference between the "knowledge" mentioned in verse 19 and the "perfect knowledge" mentioned in verse 20? (One difference seems to be that "knowledge" in v. 19 is being used in a causal sense whereas "perfect knowledge" in v. 20 seems to be the result of the more preliminary type of knowledge in v. 19....)
  • Ether 3:26-28: When will we receive the full record of the Brother of Jared, including the account of his vision of all things from the beginning to the end?
  • Ether 4:7: This verse seems to offer a challenge to modern readers, promising that we can obtain the same vision that the Brother of Jared saw, if we will exercise the same faith that he did. How can we exercise faith like the Brother of Jared?
  • Ether 4:11-15: How is Christ the light, life, and truth of this world?
  • Ether 4:16: What does the phrase "when ye see these things" mean? To what does "these things" refer?
  • Ether 5:1: What does Moroni mean when he says he is writing according to his memory? What is he remembering? Is he transcribing the record of Ether, or just retelling the story from memory?
  • Ether 5:2: Why was it a privilege for Joseph Smith to let others see the plates?
  • Ether 5:3: Was the power of God in the showing or the seeing?
  • Ether 5:4: How powerful was the testimony of the three witnesses?

Resources[edit]

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  • Ether 3:15: Jackson article. In BYU Studies v. 30(3), Kent Jackson has an article entitled "Never Have I Showed Myself unto Man": A Suggestion for Understanding Ether 1:15a". Jackson first summarizes earlier attempts to explain the presumably problematic "never" in this verse: Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie emphasizing the degree of revelation; Sperry's emphasis on "man" meaning "unbelieving man"; Ludlow's emphasis on "had" meaning the Brother of Jared's faith compelled Christ to show himself;. Then Jackson proposes that what is unique about this appearance is that Jehovah is revealing himself in his role as Jesus Christ, the Son rather than in his role as Father like in other revelations to previous prophets/patriarchs. Also see his article "Christ and the Jaredites" In Studies in Scripture, p. 253-54.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Ether 3:1-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 3-5
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Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapters 3-5 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. Chapters 3-5, the story of the Brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord, consists of several major sections:

● Brother of Jared redeemed from the fall through faith (3:1-20)
• he requests in prayer that the Lord touch sixteen stones with finger (3:1-5)
• he sees the finger of the Lord because of his great faith (3:6-12)
• he is redeemed and brought back into Christ's presence because of his knowledge (3:13-20)
● Knowledge and redemption available through Holy Ghost on conditions of faith, repentance, and baptism (3:21-5:6)
• vision received of all mankind because of faith, instruction to seal it up until Christ's ministry, two stones (3:21-28)
• vision disclosed to Nephites after Christ's ministry, then again sealed up because of unbelief, two stones (4:1-5)
Moroni commanded to say:
• vision will again be disclosed only when Gentiles exercise faith and repent (4:6-12)
• come unto Christ to receive hidden knowledge, John's revelation is now unfolding (4:13-19)
• the Lord will confirm the testimony of Three Witnesses who will see the Book of Mormon plates (5:1-6)

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 3-5 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Ether 3:1-20[edit]

  • Some hypothesize that the Brother of Jared got the idea of the stones from Noah. In Genesis 6:16 the lord tells Noah to make a window. In Hebrew the word is tsohar which means a dual or double light. Signifying "one for each end," just as the brother of Jared needed for the barges.
  • The Brother of Jared, did not doubt that the Lord could provide them with light, even though the Lord had not given them means of light. In his great faith, the Brother of Jared, invented a solution that could bring light to the ships. He asked this of the Lord, and because of this faith he saw God.
  • Ether 3:9. Relating the Brother of Jared's experience to Alma 32, we could say that he is experiencing the fruits of faith described in Alma 32:37. And when he sees the Lord, his faith could be described as becoming dormant (in the sense of Alma 32:34) regarding the existence of God.
  • Ether 3:13: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall. The wording here suggests that in some sense something that the brother of Jared knows is the cause (not a result) of the Lord manifesting himself to the brother of Jared (cf. "because of the knowledge of this man" in v. 19). The knowledge being referred to here seems to be given in verse 12 where the brother of Jared declares that he knows the Lords speaks (only) truth. This knowledge seems to be what causes the brother of Jared to be redeemed from the fall. Logically, this seems to be an incomplete explanation, there is an assumption that appears to be missing or at least implicit, an assumption that the Lord has told or is telling the brother of Jared that he will be redeemed. This gap in the logic of the account is particularly striking in the context of another curiosity starting in verse 11, namely that the Lord promises to speak, but then shows himself before speaking. That this manifestation of the Lord occurs before the speaking that was promised in a way that effectively interrupts the logic of the Lord's promise to speak seems to double the Lord's speaking itself: the declaration of the brother of Jared's redeemed state is declared before a full explanation of that state is offered. This pattern may also be followed by Moroni himself: he interrupts the narrative in verse 17 before he has finished giving it.
  • Ether 3:19-20. In these verses, Moroni is giving a brief summary of why the brother of Jared was brought into the presence of the Lord, or perhaps better said, not why, so much as how it was possible that such a thing occurred. When compared with Christ's own explanation to the brother of Jared in verses 9, and 13 - 15, this opens up interesting possibilities relating to knowledge, faith, and the relationship between the two. Moroni definitively claims that it is because of the brother of Jared's knowledge that he "could not be kept from beholding within the veil". What Moroni says later is that because the brother of Jared witnessed the finger of the Lord, he fell with fear, for he "knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting". It would seem then that the brother of Jared possessed both knowledge and faith at the same time, but his faith was not the deciding factor in having the right to view Jesus in person. Rather, his knowledge was the key.
The verse ends with the phrase "nothing doubting." It is a curious phrase to say the least, because in our modern LDS understanding of faith, we understand that to have faith is to not doubt in the first place. For Mormon to say "nothing doubting" as a way of describing the giving way of faith to a "perfect knowledge" goes a bit against the grain of the conventional LDS interpretation of faith in the first place. Are we to understand here that the brother of Jared had doubts before viewing Jesus? What were the quality of these doubts? Surely he did not doubt the existence of God, he talked with God all the time, conversed with him in a cloud, and heard his voice on a regular basis. So what, then, about visual confirmation of truth gives rise to a "perfect knowledge" of something, as opposed to knowledge with faith?
Perhaps there is another way of reading the phrase "nothing doubting". It is a bit ambiguous, and although it is perhaps stretching the limits of English grammar, it is not entirely impossible to read the phrase as reading something to the effect of "and nothing doubted anymore," as opposed to "and the brother of Jared didn't doubt anymore." That may not be a fruitful way of understanding the phrase, but let's see where it might take us. The notion of doubt being brought up in the middle of all this is an interesting move on Moroni's part, because throughout the narrative the brother of Jared never shows the slightest inkling of doubt. He opposes even such a possibility in all his language to Christ, for in all Christ's queries, he boldly asserts that he knows something. In fact, the brother of Jared claims "to know" something 3 times in the chapter, twice in his prayer to God before viewing His finger, and once afterwards (v. 2, 5, and 12). The only thing the brother of Jared said he did not know is that the Lord had a finger of flesh and bone like man's (v. 8), but this lack of knowledge does not point to any kind of doubt on the brother of Jared's part, but simply a complete lack of ever even considering the matter in the first place. And yet, he mentions a finger in verse 4, which is a bit problematic, because it then leaves one to wonder what kind of finger the brother of Jared had in mind, if not a fleshy, bony, man-like finger. But at any rate, this lack of knowledge of the Lord's finger only appeared after the veil had been rent in the first place, and seems to bear little on whether or not such a knowledge would have qualified the brother of Jared for the vision. Obviously it didn't disqualify him, because it happened.
What is interesting is that at the precise moment that the brother of Jared first concedes a lack of knowledge on his part, that is when Moroni says he obtained his "perfect knowledge of God, and could not be kept within the veil. Wherefore, he saw Jesus...". It seems that this opening phrase in verse 20 draws the readers' attention back to the opening phrase in verse 19. When compared, they are strikingly similar. v. 19: "He could not be kept from beholding within the veil." v. 20: "he could not be kept within the veil." In the first instance it is a question of sight, in the second instance it shifts to a question of location. In the first instance, there is an element of faith, and, apparently, doubt. In the second instance, those have been swept away by the raw, glorious advent of the viewing of the Son.
These preliminary steps call for a close re-examination, and perhaps a re-reading of verses 2- 18. It is as if one reads verses 2-18 with an element of doubt and faith the first time, but then after seeing Moroni's interpretation of the events can go back and obtain for themselves a more "perfect knowledge" of what is going on. It is almost as if the reader has the opportunity to fear and tremble along with the brother of Jared the advent of the Lord's finger, but then, as the brother of Jared did, with this newfound, more perfect knowledge, one can come to view Christ in His entirety as he did.

Ether 3:21-5:6[edit]

  • Ether 3:23. It appears that the Brother of Jared walked up the mountain with sixteen stones, but came back down with eighteen.
  • Ether 4:1-19. This chapter is a map for obtaining knowledge from heaven. Several keys are provided, along with specific prophesies, warnings and promises. In verse 6, Moroni is informed that the plates will go forth unto the Gentiles at some future day (when the gentiles have repented). The importance of the plates appears to stem not only from their intrinsic value, but we are later told in verse 17 that they are a sign that the work of the Father in the last days will have commenced, which work involves at its core the dispensing of almost unlimited revelation (see verses 13, 14, 16).
Verse 9 reminds us that the heavens are opened and shut at the word of the Lord. In other words, revelation comes and goes at the command of the Lord. When revelation is given, individually we can accept or reject it (verses 10 & 11). If we believe the revelation, the Lord promises manifestations of the spirit that will grant knowledge that what is said is true. A key for identifying manifestations from God is given in verse 12: "whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me." An additional key is given for obtaining knowledge. Verse 15 instructs us to "rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind. . ." If we do so, we are promised to receive "great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world" (verse 14). Among these great things is knowledge of the Father's covenant with the house of Israel (verse 15). We are also to have unfolded to us the revelations of John, which will be manifest "in very deed."
The revelations of the restoration are obvious evidence of the fulfillment of these promises, as are arguably the staggering advances in science and technology that have largely come during the same time period.
Note: The general belief is that chapter 4 refers specifically to the sealed portion of the gold plates and not to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
  • Ether 4:1. In Verse 1 the brother of Jared is commanded to write the things that he saw down; however, it is forbidden for these things to be revealed until after Christ resurrects and shows himself to his people. There seems to be some connection between the facts that 1) the words the brother of Jared writes down explain how he saw the body of Christ and 2) that it is forbidden for this information to be revealed until after Christ shows his body to his people. But, the verses don't make clear exactly what the connection is between these two points. Why couldn't the brother of Jared's experience be openly known before Christ shows himself to his people? Since no other explanation is given, it seems that answer is what is said in verse 9--that the Lord gives revelation to his people and withholds revelation when he wants.
  • Ether 4:6. If verse 1 confirms that what the brother of Jared saw could not be had among Israel "until after Christ should show himself unto his people," and if verse 2 suggests that once Christ had come among the Nephites these things were commonly had, then the commandment of verse 3 to "hide [the plates] up again in the earth" must be understood as a consequence of the disappearance of the Nephites ("there is none save it be the Lamanites" Moroni explains in verse 3). However, Moroni states explicitly in verse 5 that he does more than "hide them up again in the earth," and it is only in the present verse that some ground is offered for this further action. If Moroni was further commanded to seal up a portion of the plates, and then to seal up the possibility of interpreting that portion, then, as this verse explains, it was because this portion of the plates was not for the eyes of the Gentiles. That the exclusion at work here is a question of nations and covenants deserves further attention.
A phrase from verse 2 emphasizes that this exclusion is a question of nations and covenants: the experience of the brother of Jared was to be released commonly "after Christ truly had showed himself unto his people." There is a subtle hint here that the experience was only to be shared with the covenant people of the Christ, and then only after He Himself had been in their midst (confirming them His people as King enthroned?). This verse offers a couple of stipulations that must be fulfilled before the Gentiles can have any access to what is recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, but the next verse proceeds to offer further stipulations, and the situation becomes rather complex rather quickly. In the end, there seems to be some connection between this situation and what Christ tells the Nephites in 3 Ne 15:23: Jesus explains that "the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice," that, in fact, He "should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost." Without the very real visitation of the Son, one is not to have access to the sealed portion of the record. But this presents a very real difficulty for the Gentiles, who will "not at any time" have that experience: they can only receive these things by entering into the presence of the Lord by the same commanding faith as the brother of Jared. This realization grounds all the discussion that follows in this chapter.
  • Ether 4:7: Gentiles, Jaredites, and the Brother of Jared. This verse, in the end, sets up a sort of equivalence between the "Gentiles" of verse 6 and the brother of Jared. This pairing is of some significance for the projected history of the Book of Mormon, since the Gentiles will have, according to the pairing, to do what the brother of Jared did to learn of the incredible revelations recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon (that is, they will also have to part the veil uninvited). As it turns out, the pairing is not exactly innovative, just good reading on Moroni's part. Perhaps one of the difficulties of reading the Book of Mormon is the task of trying to sort out where the Jaredites fit into the covenant history of Israel (the awkward phrasing and paragraphing of the title page of the Book of Mormon forces this question). Since the Jaredites left the Near East at the very time Abraham was wandering around in working out his covenant with God, they were not a part of the foundational covenant of Israel. Fascinating as their story is, they are not part of the covenantal history, as far as one can tell. But this pairing of the brother of Jared with the Gentiles makes quite clear that the Jaredites do have a place in the history of the covenant: they are Gentiles. The Hebrew term translated as "Gentile," gwy, first appears in the Hebrew Bible in the genealogical register that founds the story of the tower of Babel. The "Gentiles" are the many nations, specifically, that scatter as the project of the tower comes to an end, and the Jaredites are one of those nations. In the end, the Jaredites--the brother of Jared and his people--are Gentiles.
Hence, the pairing here is rather significant simply because it draws out a point all too easily missed in the course of the Book of Ether and in the stories told here and there of the Nephite encounters with Jaredites and Jaredite traditions (Nibley's two books on the Jaredites shed quite a lot of light on these Nephite encounters). But the most important thing to be learned in the pairing is perhaps the standing of the Gentiles before God: if "they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw," which is clarified as "the unfolding unto them of all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ." If the Gentiles are elsewhere in the Book of Mormon kept at some distance from the Lord (to be taught and included only by the Holy Ghost), then there is opened here the very real possibility of the Gentiles' full acceptance in the actual presence of God. And it comes down to having the same faith as the brother of Jared.
  • Ether 4:7: The Lord Jesus Christ. Up to this point in the chapter, the term Lord seems to refer to the Brother of Jared's vision and the commands that Moroni receives. In this verse, however, the later phrase "saith Jesus Christ" parallels the earlier phrase "saith the Lord." This is made more explicit in verse 8 where the phrase "Jesus Christ" is further clarified "for I am he who speaketh." The further description of Jesus Christ as "the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth" is picked up again in verses 9-12 where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are elaborated upon. The Godhead seems to be an important theme here for Moroni in describing the manifestation of Christ and the sealed aspect of the vision of the Brother of Jared. There may be a significant similarity here with Nephi's writing when he is discussing the the Godhead in relationship to baptism at the end of 2 Ne 31, but then is constrained from speaking more in 2 Ne 32:7.
  • Ether 4:7: Individual vs. community manifestation. In contrast to the Jews and the Nephites, Christ did not appear to the Jaredites as a people. The tete a tete nature of the Brother of Jared's vision may be part of what Moroni is referring to here in his admonition to "exercise faith ... even as the Brother of Jared did." That is, rather than waiting for a communal manifestation, Moroni may be advocating the Gentiles as individuals to exercise faith in Christ like the Brother of Jared did.
  • Ether 4:13-14. After the equivalence between the Gentiles and the brother of Jared, as worked out in verses 6-7, the structure of these two verses is somewhat surprising: the Israelites and the Gentiles seem to be equated in their relation to the "veil of unbelief" of verse 15. If the Gentiles and the brother of Jared are equivalent in that they can only come into the presence of God through the visitation of the Holy Ghost or through an incredibly superabundant faith that rends the veil, then it is not exactly clear why the Israelites are paired with the Gentiles here. What is most confusing, in the end, is that both the Gentiles and Israel are given the same three word command: "Come unto me." When spoken to the Gentiles, in verse 13, the command seems quite clearly to have reference to the approach as performed by the brother of Jared: the Gentiles are to come before the Lord in an absolutely humble faith, and just so they will be able to rend the veil and pass into the presence of the Lord to see everything. But when the same phrase is spoken to Israel, it is not clear how one should read it. The unquestionable identity with the invitation to the Gentiles suggests that it be read as a similar invitation: Israel is to come in the same humble faith and rend the veil as did the brother of Jared. At the same time, however, that Israel is here in question suggests otherwise, that the invitation is somehow misguided, misplaced, or worded oddly. Clearly, something more is at work here.
Perhaps a first possibility for unraveling this difficulty can be found by thinking the connection implied between the Gentiles and Israel: this is not the only place in the Book of Mormon where the Israelites and the Gentiles are understood to perform their work together before the Lord. In fact, once this pairing is described this way, a thousand passages in the Book of Mormon suddenly come to mind, all suggesting that the Gentiles and Israel are eventually to be combined, the Gentiles joined to Israel in a joint return to the presence of the Lord (the gathering, etc.). But a difficulty nonetheless remains, or rather, this interweaving of Gentiles and Israel does not quite seem to release the tension of the present passage. Throughout the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles are presented as being joined to Israel, the latter being bound, after all, by covenant to the Lord. In the present passage, however, it appears that the Gentiles are the ones with the faith and ability to approach ("come unto me" can only be the approach of the Gentiles/brother of Jared), and it appears as if Israel were attached to the Gentiles in their odd approach, rather than vice versa. There is, in other words, still an important tension between this passage and other Book of Mormon discussions of the Gentiles and Israel: elsewhere Israel seems privileged (through the covenant), but here the Gentiles seem privileged (through the brother of Jared faith/approach).
At the very least, this tension calls for a more careful reading of all Gentile/Israelite relations as worked out in the Book of Mormon.
  • Ether 4:16-19. Isaiah foresaw that a portion of the gold plates would be sealed (Isa 29:11-12). The sealed portion contains a recorded history of the world from the beginning to the end thereof (2 Ne 27:7). It contains the "very things that the Brother of Jared saw" and according to Moroni never were greater things made manifest (Ether 4:4-5). Also in verse 16 Moroni describes that we will find the same general things that were given to us by the book of Revelation in the bible.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Ether 3:2: In addition to calling upon the Lord, what else must we do to "receive according to our desires"?
  • Ether 3:4: What does the brother of Jared have in mind when he says "touch these stone, O Lord, with thy finger"? Later just that happens, and it freaks him out. Why would it freak him out if exactly what he asks for is what happens?
  • Ether 3:5: Entering the Lord's presence. In this section, the Brother of Jared goes to a sacred mountain, prays to the Lord, and enters the Lord's presence after the Lord parts the veil with his hand. What does this teach us about how to enter the presence of the Lord? Where can modern LDS worshippers obtain a similar experience?
  • Ether 3:6-8: Why is the Brother of Jared's afraid after seeing the Lord's finger?
  • Ether 3:6-8: The Brother of Jared seems shocked to learn that the Lord had a body like ours. As a prophet, why didn't he know that before?
  • Ether 3:6-8: What sort of finger did the brother of Jared expect the Lord to have when he asked the Lord to use his finger in verse 4, and how exactly would such an expectation differ from his actual experience of witnessing a "finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood"?
  • Ether 3:14: The Lord has shown himself unto the brother of Jared and he says that this is the first time he has shown himself because in the past "never has man believed in me as thou hast." What does this mean? Hadn't previous prophets seen the Lord?
  • Ether 3:18: Body of my Spirit. What does it mean to say that the Pre-Mortal Christ has a body? What is the "body of my Spirit" that the Lord shows the Brother of Jared?
  • Ether 3:18: How is the Lord's visit to the Brother of Jared similar to his visit to the Nephites? What is it about His manner of visiting that allows them to know that He is God?
  • Ether 3:19: Because of the knowledge. Verse 9 seems to indicate that Christ manifests himself unto the Brother of Jared because of his faith, whereas here in verse 19 the reason given is knowledge. How are we to understand the relationship between faith and knowledge in these verses? How does this view compare to Alma's use of the terms in Alma 32?
  • Ether 3:20: Having this perfect knowledge. Is this verse saying that the Brother of Jared have perfect knowledge before Christ showed himself? What does "perfect knowledge" mean here?
  • Ether 3:20: Knowledge vs. perfect knowledge. What is the difference between the "knowledge" mentioned in verse 19 and the "perfect knowledge" mentioned in verse 20? (One difference seems to be that "knowledge" in v. 19 is being used in a causal sense whereas "perfect knowledge" in v. 20 seems to be the result of the more preliminary type of knowledge in v. 19....)
  • Ether 3:26-28: When will we receive the full record of the Brother of Jared, including the account of his vision of all things from the beginning to the end?
  • Ether 4:7: This verse seems to offer a challenge to modern readers, promising that we can obtain the same vision that the Brother of Jared saw, if we will exercise the same faith that he did. How can we exercise faith like the Brother of Jared?
  • Ether 4:11-15: How is Christ the light, life, and truth of this world?
  • Ether 4:16: What does the phrase "when ye see these things" mean? To what does "these things" refer?
  • Ether 5:1: What does Moroni mean when he says he is writing according to his memory? What is he remembering? Is he transcribing the record of Ether, or just retelling the story from memory?
  • Ether 5:2: Why was it a privilege for Joseph Smith to let others see the plates?
  • Ether 5:3: Was the power of God in the showing or the seeing?
  • Ether 5:4: How powerful was the testimony of the three witnesses?

Resources[edit]

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  • Ether 3:15: Jackson article. In BYU Studies v. 30(3), Kent Jackson has an article entitled "Never Have I Showed Myself unto Man": A Suggestion for Understanding Ether 1:15a". Jackson first summarizes earlier attempts to explain the presumably problematic "never" in this verse: Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie emphasizing the degree of revelation; Sperry's emphasis on "man" meaning "unbelieving man"; Ludlow's emphasis on "had" meaning the Brother of Jared's faith compelled Christ to show himself;. Then Jackson proposes that what is unique about this appearance is that Jehovah is revealing himself in his role as Jesus Christ, the Son rather than in his role as Father like in other revelations to previous prophets/patriarchs. Also see his article "Christ and the Jaredites" In Studies in Scripture, p. 253-54.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Ether 3:21-5:6

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 3-5
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Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapters 3-5 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. Chapters 3-5, the story of the Brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord, consists of several major sections:

● Brother of Jared redeemed from the fall through faith (3:1-20)
• he requests in prayer that the Lord touch sixteen stones with finger (3:1-5)
• he sees the finger of the Lord because of his great faith (3:6-12)
• he is redeemed and brought back into Christ's presence because of his knowledge (3:13-20)
● Knowledge and redemption available through Holy Ghost on conditions of faith, repentance, and baptism (3:21-5:6)
• vision received of all mankind because of faith, instruction to seal it up until Christ's ministry, two stones (3:21-28)
• vision disclosed to Nephites after Christ's ministry, then again sealed up because of unbelief, two stones (4:1-5)
Moroni commanded to say:
• vision will again be disclosed only when Gentiles exercise faith and repent (4:6-12)
• come unto Christ to receive hidden knowledge, John's revelation is now unfolding (4:13-19)
• the Lord will confirm the testimony of Three Witnesses who will see the Book of Mormon plates (5:1-6)

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 3-5 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Ether 3:1-20[edit]

  • Some hypothesize that the Brother of Jared got the idea of the stones from Noah. In Genesis 6:16 the lord tells Noah to make a window. In Hebrew the word is tsohar which means a dual or double light. Signifying "one for each end," just as the brother of Jared needed for the barges.
  • The Brother of Jared, did not doubt that the Lord could provide them with light, even though the Lord had not given them means of light. In his great faith, the Brother of Jared, invented a solution that could bring light to the ships. He asked this of the Lord, and because of this faith he saw God.
  • Ether 3:9. Relating the Brother of Jared's experience to Alma 32, we could say that he is experiencing the fruits of faith described in Alma 32:37. And when he sees the Lord, his faith could be described as becoming dormant (in the sense of Alma 32:34) regarding the existence of God.
  • Ether 3:13: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall. The wording here suggests that in some sense something that the brother of Jared knows is the cause (not a result) of the Lord manifesting himself to the brother of Jared (cf. "because of the knowledge of this man" in v. 19). The knowledge being referred to here seems to be given in verse 12 where the brother of Jared declares that he knows the Lords speaks (only) truth. This knowledge seems to be what causes the brother of Jared to be redeemed from the fall. Logically, this seems to be an incomplete explanation, there is an assumption that appears to be missing or at least implicit, an assumption that the Lord has told or is telling the brother of Jared that he will be redeemed. This gap in the logic of the account is particularly striking in the context of another curiosity starting in verse 11, namely that the Lord promises to speak, but then shows himself before speaking. That this manifestation of the Lord occurs before the speaking that was promised in a way that effectively interrupts the logic of the Lord's promise to speak seems to double the Lord's speaking itself: the declaration of the brother of Jared's redeemed state is declared before a full explanation of that state is offered. This pattern may also be followed by Moroni himself: he interrupts the narrative in verse 17 before he has finished giving it.
  • Ether 3:19-20. In these verses, Moroni is giving a brief summary of why the brother of Jared was brought into the presence of the Lord, or perhaps better said, not why, so much as how it was possible that such a thing occurred. When compared with Christ's own explanation to the brother of Jared in verses 9, and 13 - 15, this opens up interesting possibilities relating to knowledge, faith, and the relationship between the two. Moroni definitively claims that it is because of the brother of Jared's knowledge that he "could not be kept from beholding within the veil". What Moroni says later is that because the brother of Jared witnessed the finger of the Lord, he fell with fear, for he "knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting". It would seem then that the brother of Jared possessed both knowledge and faith at the same time, but his faith was not the deciding factor in having the right to view Jesus in person. Rather, his knowledge was the key.
The verse ends with the phrase "nothing doubting." It is a curious phrase to say the least, because in our modern LDS understanding of faith, we understand that to have faith is to not doubt in the first place. For Mormon to say "nothing doubting" as a way of describing the giving way of faith to a "perfect knowledge" goes a bit against the grain of the conventional LDS interpretation of faith in the first place. Are we to understand here that the brother of Jared had doubts before viewing Jesus? What were the quality of these doubts? Surely he did not doubt the existence of God, he talked with God all the time, conversed with him in a cloud, and heard his voice on a regular basis. So what, then, about visual confirmation of truth gives rise to a "perfect knowledge" of something, as opposed to knowledge with faith?
Perhaps there is another way of reading the phrase "nothing doubting". It is a bit ambiguous, and although it is perhaps stretching the limits of English grammar, it is not entirely impossible to read the phrase as reading something to the effect of "and nothing doubted anymore," as opposed to "and the brother of Jared didn't doubt anymore." That may not be a fruitful way of understanding the phrase, but let's see where it might take us. The notion of doubt being brought up in the middle of all this is an interesting move on Moroni's part, because throughout the narrative the brother of Jared never shows the slightest inkling of doubt. He opposes even such a possibility in all his language to Christ, for in all Christ's queries, he boldly asserts that he knows something. In fact, the brother of Jared claims "to know" something 3 times in the chapter, twice in his prayer to God before viewing His finger, and once afterwards (v. 2, 5, and 12). The only thing the brother of Jared said he did not know is that the Lord had a finger of flesh and bone like man's (v. 8), but this lack of knowledge does not point to any kind of doubt on the brother of Jared's part, but simply a complete lack of ever even considering the matter in the first place. And yet, he mentions a finger in verse 4, which is a bit problematic, because it then leaves one to wonder what kind of finger the brother of Jared had in mind, if not a fleshy, bony, man-like finger. But at any rate, this lack of knowledge of the Lord's finger only appeared after the veil had been rent in the first place, and seems to bear little on whether or not such a knowledge would have qualified the brother of Jared for the vision. Obviously it didn't disqualify him, because it happened.
What is interesting is that at the precise moment that the brother of Jared first concedes a lack of knowledge on his part, that is when Moroni says he obtained his "perfect knowledge of God, and could not be kept within the veil. Wherefore, he saw Jesus...". It seems that this opening phrase in verse 20 draws the readers' attention back to the opening phrase in verse 19. When compared, they are strikingly similar. v. 19: "He could not be kept from beholding within the veil." v. 20: "he could not be kept within the veil." In the first instance it is a question of sight, in the second instance it shifts to a question of location. In the first instance, there is an element of faith, and, apparently, doubt. In the second instance, those have been swept away by the raw, glorious advent of the viewing of the Son.
These preliminary steps call for a close re-examination, and perhaps a re-reading of verses 2- 18. It is as if one reads verses 2-18 with an element of doubt and faith the first time, but then after seeing Moroni's interpretation of the events can go back and obtain for themselves a more "perfect knowledge" of what is going on. It is almost as if the reader has the opportunity to fear and tremble along with the brother of Jared the advent of the Lord's finger, but then, as the brother of Jared did, with this newfound, more perfect knowledge, one can come to view Christ in His entirety as he did.

Ether 3:21-5:6[edit]

  • Ether 3:23. It appears that the Brother of Jared walked up the mountain with sixteen stones, but came back down with eighteen.
  • Ether 4:1-19. This chapter is a map for obtaining knowledge from heaven. Several keys are provided, along with specific prophesies, warnings and promises. In verse 6, Moroni is informed that the plates will go forth unto the Gentiles at some future day (when the gentiles have repented). The importance of the plates appears to stem not only from their intrinsic value, but we are later told in verse 17 that they are a sign that the work of the Father in the last days will have commenced, which work involves at its core the dispensing of almost unlimited revelation (see verses 13, 14, 16).
Verse 9 reminds us that the heavens are opened and shut at the word of the Lord. In other words, revelation comes and goes at the command of the Lord. When revelation is given, individually we can accept or reject it (verses 10 & 11). If we believe the revelation, the Lord promises manifestations of the spirit that will grant knowledge that what is said is true. A key for identifying manifestations from God is given in verse 12: "whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me." An additional key is given for obtaining knowledge. Verse 15 instructs us to "rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind. . ." If we do so, we are promised to receive "great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world" (verse 14). Among these great things is knowledge of the Father's covenant with the house of Israel (verse 15). We are also to have unfolded to us the revelations of John, which will be manifest "in very deed."
The revelations of the restoration are obvious evidence of the fulfillment of these promises, as are arguably the staggering advances in science and technology that have largely come during the same time period.
Note: The general belief is that chapter 4 refers specifically to the sealed portion of the gold plates and not to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
  • Ether 4:1. In Verse 1 the brother of Jared is commanded to write the things that he saw down; however, it is forbidden for these things to be revealed until after Christ resurrects and shows himself to his people. There seems to be some connection between the facts that 1) the words the brother of Jared writes down explain how he saw the body of Christ and 2) that it is forbidden for this information to be revealed until after Christ shows his body to his people. But, the verses don't make clear exactly what the connection is between these two points. Why couldn't the brother of Jared's experience be openly known before Christ shows himself to his people? Since no other explanation is given, it seems that answer is what is said in verse 9--that the Lord gives revelation to his people and withholds revelation when he wants.
  • Ether 4:6. If verse 1 confirms that what the brother of Jared saw could not be had among Israel "until after Christ should show himself unto his people," and if verse 2 suggests that once Christ had come among the Nephites these things were commonly had, then the commandment of verse 3 to "hide [the plates] up again in the earth" must be understood as a consequence of the disappearance of the Nephites ("there is none save it be the Lamanites" Moroni explains in verse 3). However, Moroni states explicitly in verse 5 that he does more than "hide them up again in the earth," and it is only in the present verse that some ground is offered for this further action. If Moroni was further commanded to seal up a portion of the plates, and then to seal up the possibility of interpreting that portion, then, as this verse explains, it was because this portion of the plates was not for the eyes of the Gentiles. That the exclusion at work here is a question of nations and covenants deserves further attention.
A phrase from verse 2 emphasizes that this exclusion is a question of nations and covenants: the experience of the brother of Jared was to be released commonly "after Christ truly had showed himself unto his people." There is a subtle hint here that the experience was only to be shared with the covenant people of the Christ, and then only after He Himself had been in their midst (confirming them His people as King enthroned?). This verse offers a couple of stipulations that must be fulfilled before the Gentiles can have any access to what is recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, but the next verse proceeds to offer further stipulations, and the situation becomes rather complex rather quickly. In the end, there seems to be some connection between this situation and what Christ tells the Nephites in 3 Ne 15:23: Jesus explains that "the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice," that, in fact, He "should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost." Without the very real visitation of the Son, one is not to have access to the sealed portion of the record. But this presents a very real difficulty for the Gentiles, who will "not at any time" have that experience: they can only receive these things by entering into the presence of the Lord by the same commanding faith as the brother of Jared. This realization grounds all the discussion that follows in this chapter.
  • Ether 4:7: Gentiles, Jaredites, and the Brother of Jared. This verse, in the end, sets up a sort of equivalence between the "Gentiles" of verse 6 and the brother of Jared. This pairing is of some significance for the projected history of the Book of Mormon, since the Gentiles will have, according to the pairing, to do what the brother of Jared did to learn of the incredible revelations recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon (that is, they will also have to part the veil uninvited). As it turns out, the pairing is not exactly innovative, just good reading on Moroni's part. Perhaps one of the difficulties of reading the Book of Mormon is the task of trying to sort out where the Jaredites fit into the covenant history of Israel (the awkward phrasing and paragraphing of the title page of the Book of Mormon forces this question). Since the Jaredites left the Near East at the very time Abraham was wandering around in working out his covenant with God, they were not a part of the foundational covenant of Israel. Fascinating as their story is, they are not part of the covenantal history, as far as one can tell. But this pairing of the brother of Jared with the Gentiles makes quite clear that the Jaredites do have a place in the history of the covenant: they are Gentiles. The Hebrew term translated as "Gentile," gwy, first appears in the Hebrew Bible in the genealogical register that founds the story of the tower of Babel. The "Gentiles" are the many nations, specifically, that scatter as the project of the tower comes to an end, and the Jaredites are one of those nations. In the end, the Jaredites--the brother of Jared and his people--are Gentiles.
Hence, the pairing here is rather significant simply because it draws out a point all too easily missed in the course of the Book of Ether and in the stories told here and there of the Nephite encounters with Jaredites and Jaredite traditions (Nibley's two books on the Jaredites shed quite a lot of light on these Nephite encounters). But the most important thing to be learned in the pairing is perhaps the standing of the Gentiles before God: if "they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw," which is clarified as "the unfolding unto them of all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ." If the Gentiles are elsewhere in the Book of Mormon kept at some distance from the Lord (to be taught and included only by the Holy Ghost), then there is opened here the very real possibility of the Gentiles' full acceptance in the actual presence of God. And it comes down to having the same faith as the brother of Jared.
  • Ether 4:7: The Lord Jesus Christ. Up to this point in the chapter, the term Lord seems to refer to the Brother of Jared's vision and the commands that Moroni receives. In this verse, however, the later phrase "saith Jesus Christ" parallels the earlier phrase "saith the Lord." This is made more explicit in verse 8 where the phrase "Jesus Christ" is further clarified "for I am he who speaketh." The further description of Jesus Christ as "the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth" is picked up again in verses 9-12 where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are elaborated upon. The Godhead seems to be an important theme here for Moroni in describing the manifestation of Christ and the sealed aspect of the vision of the Brother of Jared. There may be a significant similarity here with Nephi's writing when he is discussing the the Godhead in relationship to baptism at the end of 2 Ne 31, but then is constrained from speaking more in 2 Ne 32:7.
  • Ether 4:7: Individual vs. community manifestation. In contrast to the Jews and the Nephites, Christ did not appear to the Jaredites as a people. The tete a tete nature of the Brother of Jared's vision may be part of what Moroni is referring to here in his admonition to "exercise faith ... even as the Brother of Jared did." That is, rather than waiting for a communal manifestation, Moroni may be advocating the Gentiles as individuals to exercise faith in Christ like the Brother of Jared did.
  • Ether 4:13-14. After the equivalence between the Gentiles and the brother of Jared, as worked out in verses 6-7, the structure of these two verses is somewhat surprising: the Israelites and the Gentiles seem to be equated in their relation to the "veil of unbelief" of verse 15. If the Gentiles and the brother of Jared are equivalent in that they can only come into the presence of God through the visitation of the Holy Ghost or through an incredibly superabundant faith that rends the veil, then it is not exactly clear why the Israelites are paired with the Gentiles here. What is most confusing, in the end, is that both the Gentiles and Israel are given the same three word command: "Come unto me." When spoken to the Gentiles, in verse 13, the command seems quite clearly to have reference to the approach as performed by the brother of Jared: the Gentiles are to come before the Lord in an absolutely humble faith, and just so they will be able to rend the veil and pass into the presence of the Lord to see everything. But when the same phrase is spoken to Israel, it is not clear how one should read it. The unquestionable identity with the invitation to the Gentiles suggests that it be read as a similar invitation: Israel is to come in the same humble faith and rend the veil as did the brother of Jared. At the same time, however, that Israel is here in question suggests otherwise, that the invitation is somehow misguided, misplaced, or worded oddly. Clearly, something more is at work here.
Perhaps a first possibility for unraveling this difficulty can be found by thinking the connection implied between the Gentiles and Israel: this is not the only place in the Book of Mormon where the Israelites and the Gentiles are understood to perform their work together before the Lord. In fact, once this pairing is described this way, a thousand passages in the Book of Mormon suddenly come to mind, all suggesting that the Gentiles and Israel are eventually to be combined, the Gentiles joined to Israel in a joint return to the presence of the Lord (the gathering, etc.). But a difficulty nonetheless remains, or rather, this interweaving of Gentiles and Israel does not quite seem to release the tension of the present passage. Throughout the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles are presented as being joined to Israel, the latter being bound, after all, by covenant to the Lord. In the present passage, however, it appears that the Gentiles are the ones with the faith and ability to approach ("come unto me" can only be the approach of the Gentiles/brother of Jared), and it appears as if Israel were attached to the Gentiles in their odd approach, rather than vice versa. There is, in other words, still an important tension between this passage and other Book of Mormon discussions of the Gentiles and Israel: elsewhere Israel seems privileged (through the covenant), but here the Gentiles seem privileged (through the brother of Jared faith/approach).
At the very least, this tension calls for a more careful reading of all Gentile/Israelite relations as worked out in the Book of Mormon.
  • Ether 4:16-19. Isaiah foresaw that a portion of the gold plates would be sealed (Isa 29:11-12). The sealed portion contains a recorded history of the world from the beginning to the end thereof (2 Ne 27:7). It contains the "very things that the Brother of Jared saw" and according to Moroni never were greater things made manifest (Ether 4:4-5). Also in verse 16 Moroni describes that we will find the same general things that were given to us by the book of Revelation in the bible.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Ether 3:2: In addition to calling upon the Lord, what else must we do to "receive according to our desires"?
  • Ether 3:4: What does the brother of Jared have in mind when he says "touch these stone, O Lord, with thy finger"? Later just that happens, and it freaks him out. Why would it freak him out if exactly what he asks for is what happens?
  • Ether 3:5: Entering the Lord's presence. In this section, the Brother of Jared goes to a sacred mountain, prays to the Lord, and enters the Lord's presence after the Lord parts the veil with his hand. What does this teach us about how to enter the presence of the Lord? Where can modern LDS worshippers obtain a similar experience?
  • Ether 3:6-8: Why is the Brother of Jared's afraid after seeing the Lord's finger?
  • Ether 3:6-8: The Brother of Jared seems shocked to learn that the Lord had a body like ours. As a prophet, why didn't he know that before?
  • Ether 3:6-8: What sort of finger did the brother of Jared expect the Lord to have when he asked the Lord to use his finger in verse 4, and how exactly would such an expectation differ from his actual experience of witnessing a "finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood"?
  • Ether 3:14: The Lord has shown himself unto the brother of Jared and he says that this is the first time he has shown himself because in the past "never has man believed in me as thou hast." What does this mean? Hadn't previous prophets seen the Lord?
  • Ether 3:18: Body of my Spirit. What does it mean to say that the Pre-Mortal Christ has a body? What is the "body of my Spirit" that the Lord shows the Brother of Jared?
  • Ether 3:18: How is the Lord's visit to the Brother of Jared similar to his visit to the Nephites? What is it about His manner of visiting that allows them to know that He is God?
  • Ether 3:19: Because of the knowledge. Verse 9 seems to indicate that Christ manifests himself unto the Brother of Jared because of his faith, whereas here in verse 19 the reason given is knowledge. How are we to understand the relationship between faith and knowledge in these verses? How does this view compare to Alma's use of the terms in Alma 32?
  • Ether 3:20: Having this perfect knowledge. Is this verse saying that the Brother of Jared have perfect knowledge before Christ showed himself? What does "perfect knowledge" mean here?
  • Ether 3:20: Knowledge vs. perfect knowledge. What is the difference between the "knowledge" mentioned in verse 19 and the "perfect knowledge" mentioned in verse 20? (One difference seems to be that "knowledge" in v. 19 is being used in a causal sense whereas "perfect knowledge" in v. 20 seems to be the result of the more preliminary type of knowledge in v. 19....)
  • Ether 3:26-28: When will we receive the full record of the Brother of Jared, including the account of his vision of all things from the beginning to the end?
  • Ether 4:7: This verse seems to offer a challenge to modern readers, promising that we can obtain the same vision that the Brother of Jared saw, if we will exercise the same faith that he did. How can we exercise faith like the Brother of Jared?
  • Ether 4:11-15: How is Christ the light, life, and truth of this world?
  • Ether 4:16: What does the phrase "when ye see these things" mean? To what does "these things" refer?
  • Ether 5:1: What does Moroni mean when he says he is writing according to his memory? What is he remembering? Is he transcribing the record of Ether, or just retelling the story from memory?
  • Ether 5:2: Why was it a privilege for Joseph Smith to let others see the plates?
  • Ether 5:3: Was the power of God in the showing or the seeing?
  • Ether 5:4: How powerful was the testimony of the three witnesses?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Ether 3:15: Jackson article. In BYU Studies v. 30(3), Kent Jackson has an article entitled "Never Have I Showed Myself unto Man": A Suggestion for Understanding Ether 1:15a". Jackson first summarizes earlier attempts to explain the presumably problematic "never" in this verse: Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie emphasizing the degree of revelation; Sperry's emphasis on "man" meaning "unbelieving man"; Ludlow's emphasis on "had" meaning the Brother of Jared's faith compelled Christ to show himself;. Then Jackson proposes that what is unique about this appearance is that Jehovah is revealing himself in his role as Jesus Christ, the Son rather than in his role as Father like in other revelations to previous prophets/patriarchs. Also see his article "Christ and the Jaredites" In Studies in Scripture, p. 253-54.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Ether 6:1-12

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 6 / Verses 6:1-7:3
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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapter 6 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. The Jaredite travels that began in Chapter 1b-2 are concluded in Chapter 6. This concluding half consists of two major sections:

● The ocean journey (Chapter 6a)
• stones, food supplies, and people aboard boats for journey (6:1-4)
• wind, protected, Noah (6:5-8)
• praise God the whole way (6:9)
• light, protected, Noah (6:10-12a)
● Settling in the promised land (Chapter 6b)
a. multiply, walk humbly, and prosperous (6:12b-18)
b. stewardship accounting of leadership (6:19-21)
b. four sons refuse kingship, people choose King Orihah, which will lead to captivity (6:22-27)
a. prosperous, walk humbly, and multiply (6:27-7:3a)

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 6 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Ether 6a / Verses 6:1-12: The ocean journey[edit]

  • Ether 1b-2 recounted the travels of the Jaredites in the Old World. Chapters 3-5 interrupted that travel narrative to recount the Brother of Jared's encounter with the Lord. Chapter 6 resumes the travel narrative where the it left off at the end of chapter 2. All of chapters 1b-6 form a single unit as they tell the story of the first generation Jaredites receiving a land of inheritance. The relationship of verses 2:13-25 to the rest of chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6. Verses 2:13-25 can be outlined as follows:
a. subsist on food and light from two stones (2-4)
b. wind, protected, Noah (5-8)
c. praise God the whole way (9)
b. light, protected, Noah (10-12a)
a. arrive in promised land and tender mercies (12b)
  • Ether 6:2-4. In verse 3 the stones are to give light to men, women and children, not specifically to these particular people. Hence their story is meant to be instructive for all of us.
  • Chaos of life motif. Crossing the ocean is a "chaos of mortal life" motif. In the ancient world wind often symbolized life or spirit, good things from God. Large open bodies of untamed water, on the other hand, often symbolized the evil forces opposing God, namely death and chaos.
The Lord gives two stones to each boat so they will not go through life in darkness. The stones recall the urim and thummim, which are tools for receiving revelation and dispelling spiritual darkness. Eight submerged boats recalls baptism in particular and accountability in general. The people never cease to praise God, the wind of the Lord's spirit never ceases to blow upon them, and therefore no evil power can harm or overcome them, and they all end up reunited in the promised land of inheritance that the Lord has prepared for them. This is just like committing ourselves to mortality where we are surrounded and assaulted by the forces of evil and must rely upon the Lord's guidance and protection if we are to arrive at the end in the promised land of heaven.

Ether 6b / Verses 6:13-7:3: Settling in the promised land[edit]

a. multiply, walk humbly, and prosperous (13-18)
b. stewardship accounting of leadership (19-21)
b. allowing the people to choose a king (22-27)
a. prosperous, walk humbly, and multiply (6:27-7:3)
  • Ether 6:19-21. Other final stewardship accountings include Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman where he blessed his posterity, Jacob blessing his sons at the end of Genesis, King Benjamin preaching to his people in Mosiah 2-5, and Alma the Younger to his sons in Alma 36-42. Here the story is silent about blessing or telling, and instead recounts the significant fact that Jared and his Brother asked what the people wanted.
  • Ether 6:22-27. Here the people request a king. The Brother of Jared, the prophet, warns that this will lead to captivity. But the political leader Jared for the first time rejects the prophet's advice and the people choose a king. The opening narrative has shown the people travel to and establish themselves in the promised land under very favorable conditions as they make requests of the Lord and follow his instructions. But at the end of the opening narrative they ask a person, albeit the prophet, and then reject his warning. That single ignored warning establishes a principal difference between the Jaredite experience with monarchy (in Ether) and the Nephite experience rejecting unaccountable monarchy in favor of accountable democracy (in Mosiah-Helaman). It is interesting that the people surrender their personal accountability to a king on the same occasion at which Jared and his Brother appear to be making their final accounting of their mortal stewardships.
  • Ether 6:23. Here the Brother of Jared warns that monarchy leads to captivity. In the central passage of Ether (8:20-26) Moroni will warn that secret combinations lead to destruction. In the central division of Ether (chapters 7-11) the Jaredites will suffer repeated destructions as a result of secret combinations. They will also on occasion rise up and hold their monarchs accountable when their captivity to a king becomes too oppressive.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 3-5                      Next page: Chapters 7-11

Ether 6:13-7:3

Home > The Book of Mormon > Ether > Chapters 1b-6 > Chapter 6 / Verses 6:1-7:3
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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapter 6 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.

Story. The Jaredite travels that began in Chapter 1b-2 are concluded in Chapter 6. This concluding half consists of two major sections:

● The ocean journey (Chapter 6a)
• stones, food supplies, and people aboard boats for journey (6:1-4)
• wind, protected, Noah (6:5-8)
• praise God the whole way (6:9)
• light, protected, Noah (6:10-12a)
● Settling in the promised land (Chapter 6b)
a. multiply, walk humbly, and prosperous (6:12b-18)
b. stewardship accounting of leadership (6:19-21)
b. four sons refuse kingship, people choose King Orihah, which will lead to captivity (6:22-27)
a. prosperous, walk humbly, and multiply (6:27-7:3a)

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 6 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Ether 6a / Verses 6:1-12: The ocean journey[edit]

  • Ether 1b-2 recounted the travels of the Jaredites in the Old World. Chapters 3-5 interrupted that travel narrative to recount the Brother of Jared's encounter with the Lord. Chapter 6 resumes the travel narrative where the it left off at the end of chapter 2. All of chapters 1b-6 form a single unit as they tell the story of the first generation Jaredites receiving a land of inheritance. The relationship of verses 2:13-25 to the rest of chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6. Verses 2:13-25 can be outlined as follows:
a. subsist on food and light from two stones (2-4)
b. wind, protected, Noah (5-8)
c. praise God the whole way (9)
b. light, protected, Noah (10-12a)
a. arrive in promised land and tender mercies (12b)
  • Ether 6:2-4. In verse 3 the stones are to give light to men, women and children, not specifically to these particular people. Hence their story is meant to be instructive for all of us.
  • Chaos of life motif. Crossing the ocean is a "chaos of mortal life" motif. In the ancient world wind often symbolized life or spirit, good things from God. Large open bodies of untamed water, on the other hand, often symbolized the evil forces opposing God, namely death and chaos.
The Lord gives two stones to each boat so they will not go through life in darkness. The stones recall the urim and thummim, which are tools for receiving revelation and dispelling spiritual darkness. Eight submerged boats recalls baptism in particular and accountability in general. The people never cease to praise God, the wind of the Lord's spirit never ceases to blow upon them, and therefore no evil power can harm or overcome them, and they all end up reunited in the promised land of inheritance that the Lord has prepared for them. This is just like committing ourselves to mortality where we are surrounded and assaulted by the forces of evil and must rely upon the Lord's guidance and protection if we are to arrive at the end in the promised land of heaven.

Ether 6b / Verses 6:13-7:3: Settling in the promised land[edit]

a. multiply, walk humbly, and prosperous (13-18)
b. stewardship accounting of leadership (19-21)
b. allowing the people to choose a king (22-27)
a. prosperous, walk humbly, and multiply (6:27-7:3)
  • Ether 6:19-21. Other final stewardship accountings include Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman where he blessed his posterity, Jacob blessing his sons at the end of Genesis, King Benjamin preaching to his people in Mosiah 2-5, and Alma the Younger to his sons in Alma 36-42. Here the story is silent about blessing or telling, and instead recounts the significant fact that Jared and his Brother asked what the people wanted.
  • Ether 6:22-27. Here the people request a king. The Brother of Jared, the prophet, warns that this will lead to captivity. But the political leader Jared for the first time rejects the prophet's advice and the people choose a king. The opening narrative has shown the people travel to and establish themselves in the promised land under very favorable conditions as they make requests of the Lord and follow his instructions. But at the end of the opening narrative they ask a person, albeit the prophet, and then reject his warning. That single ignored warning establishes a principal difference between the Jaredite experience with monarchy (in Ether) and the Nephite experience rejecting unaccountable monarchy in favor of accountable democracy (in Mosiah-Helaman). It is interesting that the people surrender their personal accountability to a king on the same occasion at which Jared and his Brother appear to be making their final accounting of their mortal stewardships.
  • Ether 6:23. Here the Brother of Jared warns that monarchy leads to captivity. In the central passage of Ether (8:20-26) Moroni will warn that secret combinations lead to destruction. In the central division of Ether (chapters 7-11) the Jaredites will suffer repeated destructions as a result of secret combinations. They will also on occasion rise up and hold their monarchs accountable when their captivity to a king becomes too oppressive.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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