Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

BOM Lesson #45: Ether 1-6

Posted by janetlisonbee on November 19, 2008

Book of Mormon Lesson #45 – “Never Hast Man Believed in Me as Thou Hast”.

THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER

The Brother of Jared was most likely a younger brother because, if the rights of the firstborn applied back then, it would have been Mahonri-moriancumer’s responsibility to be the spiritual leader. Jared, however, must have been a very spiritual man and received much revelation. Yet he honored his brother’s position and encouraged him to receive the revelations and blessings for the family needed to survive the crisis of Babel. Mahorni-moriancumer did go to the Lord and the Lord blessed them and guided them through the wilderness by a pillar of fire, just as He later did with Moses and the Children of Israel.

When they reached the great ocean, they took a much needed rest, and the Lord allowed that. After four years, however, Mahonri-M was chastised for “not remembering to call upon the name of the Lord” [Ether 2:14]. It is very difficult to believe that Mahonri-M forgot to pray. Surely he had his daily prayers. However, it is possible that he did not go to the Lord in mighty prayer, seeking further direction. Perhaps he didn’t really want to know if the Lord wanted them to cross the ocean. Perhaps he was very content where he was. Many of us have traversed “wilderness” situations in our lives and have often felt the Lord’s guiding influence. Then we feel like we have been through enough and become settled and content in our lives, not truly seeking or wanting to know if the Lord has more plans for us. Sometimes we feel we have gotten rid of the major sins in our lives and feel we are “good enough” and don’t seek the Lord’s searching light to show us the “dirt under the bed”. We need to apply the example of young Joseph Smith in truly seeking to “know of my state and standing before Him” [JSH 1:29] often in our lives. C. S. Lewis understood this principle when he wrote that God “… is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.’ [Mere Christianity]

BUILDING THE SHIP

After repenting “of his evil”, Mahonri-M sought the Lord’s direction on how to make sea-worthy vessels and the principles parallel with Nephi‘s ship building experience. Sometimes there will be situations in our lives that require us to build “tighter” ships. Because they went to the Lord and built “not after the manner of men”, their ships withstood the fierce winds, mountainous waves, and monsters of the sea. In Doctrine and Covenants, regarding the building of temples, the Lord said, “Now here is wisdom, and the mind of the Lord—let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world.” [95:13]. We, like Mahonri-M and Nephi, need to go to our “mountains” and in mighty prayer seek how to make our vessels “tight” and “seaworthy”. It is through the blessings of the Temple that we become sealed “like unto a dish.” [Ether 6:7] It is also interesting to note that when they entered their ships, they did “commend themselves unto the Lord their God” [Ether 6:]. We need to likewise submit ourselves, our will, to the Lord.

Mahonri-M was concerned about no light in the vessels. “And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer?” [Ether 2:19]. Apparently they did have some sort of steering device in the ships, but they needed light in order to use them. I really liked Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s 2007 Conference address, “Two Guiding Lights”. He said the two lights should be the two great commandments. “Love the Lord” and “love thy neighbor”—these are the two guiding lights I wish to impress upon your hearts. These lights will shine ever in the darkness and provide guidance during the storms of life.” I think he is right. If our relationships with God and our fellowman is motivated by charity, it will be “well with us” [Moroni 10:47]

HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD

I think this story is a good example of faith and works. The brother of Jared demonstrated his faith by his work of molten stones. We need to show the Lord through our works that we have faith in Him in order to receive the blessings. Please see the wiki on Ether chapter 3. There is good discussion and I really liked Kent Jackson article referenced on 3:15 regarding why the Lord told the brother of Jared that “Never Hast Man Believed in Me as Thou Hast”. It is also interesting that the brother of Jared presented the Lord stones for Him to touch, and in the end Mahonri-M received two stones from the Lord in addition to the ones he brought that shed further light on the mysteries of Godliness hidden from the world. Reminds me of the 2 sacraments in 3rd Nephi. The first bread and wine had been brought by the disciples and the Lord blessed them. The second time, the Lord provided the bread and wine and expounded the scriptures unto them “And he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory—yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth.” [3 Nephi 26:3]. The brother of Jared likewise received a panoramic vision. [Ether 3:25] Even Moroni made this comparison, “And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him. [Ether 3:18]

Now the Lord instructed Moroni regarding the record of Mahonri-M: “They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. And in that day that 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, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.’ [Ether 4:6-7]

Similarly, Mormon was commanded not to write the great things Jesus showed and taught the people, “Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people. [3 Nephi 26:11] However, the Lord promises, “And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. [vs. 9]

5 Responses to “BOM Lesson #45: Ether 1-6”

  1. robf said

    Thanks from someone camped out on the seashore!

  2. Robert C. said

    Janet, I love your thought linking the sealing of the vessel to the sealing in the temple—this isn’t a connotation of the word seal we (at least I) usually don’t think about in relation to the temple.

    Also, I really like what you said about the doubling of the stones and the doubling of the sacrament in 3rd Nephi (Joe has a theory about the two creation accounts in Genesis, and elsewhere, that makes this particularly thought-provoking for me—related to temple symbolism, cf. Isa 22:23, and even the very nature of chiasm as a confirmation of something that has been previously given…).

    Finally, this last point you make about God withholding certain things from us is also very thought-provoking for me, esp. in light of my Alma 32 paper where I did a lot of thinking about the relationship between this kind of withholding and the nurturing of our own faith….

  3. Brant Gardner said

    The most likely relationship between Jared and his brother is the political/spiritual division. The book of Ether’s kings trace lineage to Jared, indicating that he was the one establishing the political line. His brother is clearly the religious leader in the group. That arrangement is pretty typical in the ancient world. Where a division occurred, the political leader was the primary and the religious leader a secondary figure.

    Some of this might be seen between Nephi and Jacob, at least as described in the book of Jacob. Jacob is a religious leader, but there is a king (Jacob mentions Nephi II and Nephi III). Certainly his brother Nephi was a religious man, but the division between the government position and the religious leader appears to be pretty clear with Nephi’s plausible sons who inherit the throne.

  4. joespencer said

    One has to raise the question, also, of course about why the brother of Jared goes unnamed in the book. I wonder whether it isn’t significant that only one other figure goes so emphatically unnamed in Ether, and that is the daughter of (a different) Jared: is one intended to see some sort of comparison/contrast between these two figures, one being the source of one kind of secret, the other being the source of the opposite kind of secret?

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