To help class members understand from the example of the brother of Jared how faith can enable us to enter the presence of the Lord eternally.
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Ether 1. The Lord grants the requests of the brother of Jared and promises to lead the Jaredites to a promised land.
Ether 2. The Jaredites begin their journey to the promised land.
Ether 4. Moroni seals up the writings of the brother of Jared until the Gentiles repent and exercise faith.
Ether 6:1–12. The Jaredites travel to the promised land, and when they arrive they praise the Lord for His tender mercies over them.
If the picture The Brother of Jared Sees the Finger of the Lord is available, prepare to use it during the lesson (62478; Gospel Art Picture Kit 318).
Suggestions for Lesson Development
As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Share the following account with class members:
“While residing in Kirtland Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door, he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turning to Elder Cahoon he said, ‘The name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown [or revealed] it to me.’ Elder William F. Cahoon … heard the Prophet make this statement to his father; and this was the first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation” (George Reynolds, “The Jaredites,” Juvenile Instructor, 1 May 1892, 282).
Explain that this lesson discusses the brother of Jared, Mahonri Moriancumer, of whom the Lord said, “Never has man believed in me as thou hast” (Ether 3:15). Because of his faith, the Jaredites were blessed to have their language preserved after the tower of Babel, and they were guided safely to the promised land. His example can increase our understanding of the importance and power of faith.
Scripture Discussion and Application
Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.
1. The Lord grants the requests of the brother of Jared.
Discuss Ether 1. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that the prophet Ether wrote the record of the Jaredites, who left Babylon when the Lord confounded the language of the people attempting to build the tower of Babel (Ether 1:33–43; see also Genesis 11:1–9). Ether wrote this record on 24 gold plates, which were later found by the people of Limhi (Mosiah 8:7–11). The book of Ether contains Moroni’s abridgment of Ether’s record.
When the people were scattered and their language was confounded, Jared asked his brother to go to the Lord. What kind of person was the brother of Jared? (See Ether 1:34.)
In response to requests from Jared, the brother of Jared “did cry unto the Lord” (Ether 1:34–39). What is the difference between “crying unto the Lord” and merely saying prayers? What can we do to make our prayers more effective? (See Alma 34:17–28.)
Each time the brother of Jared prayed, the Lord “had compassion” on him and his people (Ether 1:35, 37, 40). How have you felt the Lord’s compassion in response to your prayers?
What preparations did the Lord instruct the people to make? (See Ether 1:41–42.) What was the reason the Lord promised to guide the Jaredites to a promised land? (See Ether 1:43. Note the Lord’s words: “This long time ye have cried unto me.”) What can we learn from this example about the power of prayer?
2. The Jaredites begin their journey to the promised land.
Read and discuss selected verses from Ether 2.
The Lord promised to lead the Jaredites to “the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:7). For whom had the Lord preserved that choice land? (See Ether 2:7.) What warning did the Lord give the brother of Jared regarding the promised land? (See Ether 2:8.)
What did Moroni say about the decrees of God pertaining to the land of promise? (See Ether 2:9–12. Point out that the warning and promise were for all people who would inhabit the Americas, not just the Jaredites.)
When they arrived at the seashore, the Jaredites pitched their tents and stayed there for four years (Ether 2:13). At the end of the four years, the Lord spoke with the brother of Jared. Why did the Lord chasten him? (See Ether 2:14.) Why might we sometimes neglect to call upon the Lord?
The brother of Jared repented and began building barges to cross the sea (Ether 2:15–17). What problems did the brother of Jared encounter after the barges were built? (See Ether 2:19.) What did the Lord instruct the brother of Jared to do to have air to breathe in the barges? (See Ether 2:20.)
What was the Lord’s response when the brother of Jared asked how to light the barges? (See Ether 2:23–25.) What can we learn from the Lord’s response? (See the quotation below.) Why is it important to do all we can in addition to asking the Lord for help?
Elder Russell M. Nelson said that he has often heard President Gordon B. Hinckley say, “I don’t know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 16).
How do you think the challenge to light the barges helped the brother of Jared grow? How can challenges in our lives help us?
3. The brother of Jared sees Jesus Christ.
Read and discuss selected verses from Ether 3.
How did the brother of Jared propose to solve the problem of lighting the barges? (See Ether 3:1–5.) How did this show his humility and faith? (You may want to have class members identify words or phrases spoken by the brother of Jared that show his humility and faith.)
When the brother of Jared had finished speaking, the Lord touched the stones one by one with His finger (Ether 3:6). Why was the brother of Jared so frightened when he saw the finger of the Lord? (See Ether 3:6–8. If you are using the picture of the brother of Jared seeing the finger of the Lord, display it now.) What did the Lord say about the faith of the brother of Jared? (See Ether 3:9.)
What question did the Lord ask before showing Himself to the brother of Jared? (See Ether 3:11.) How did the brother of Jared’s response demonstrate the depth of his faith? (See Ether 3:12. He accepted the Lord’s words even before he had heard them.) What can we do to follow his example?
How did the Lord describe Himself to the brother of Jared? (See Ether 3:13–14. You may want to have a class member read these verses aloud.) What was necessary for the brother of Jared to be in the Lord’s presence? What is necessary for us to be in the Lord’s presence eternally?
4. Moroni seals up the writings of the brother of Jared.
Read and discuss selected verses from Ether 4.
How did Moroni describe the vision of the brother of Jared? (See Ether 4:4.) What did the Lord command Moroni to do with the brother of Jared’s record and the interpreters? (See Ether 4:3, 5.) When will we be able to receive these records? (See Ether 4:6–7. We will be able to receive them when we have faith as great as the brother of Jared’s and become sanctified.)
What did the Lord teach about those who deny His words at the last day? (See Ether 4:8, 10, 12.) What blessings will come to those who believe the Lord’s words? (See Ether 4:11.) In what ways does the Holy Ghost help you know that the Lord’s words are true?
The Lord exhorted the Gentiles and the house of Israel to come unto Him and receive great blessings and knowledge (Ether 4:13–14). What did He say we must do to come unto Him? (See Ether 4:15, 18.) What blessings did He promise to those who do these things? (See Ether 4:15–19.)
5. The Jaredites travel to the promised land.
Read and discuss selected verses from Ether 6:1–12. Explain that these verses continue the record of the Jaredites as they journeyed to the promised land. Discuss how the Jaredites’ journey to the promised land can be likened to our journey through life.
The Lord caused the stones in the barges “to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children” (Ether 6:3). What “lights” has the Lord provided for us as we journey through life?
What did the Jaredites do after they had prepared all they could for their journey? (See Ether 6:4. They entrusted themselves to the Lord.) How can we show this same kind of trust in the Lord?
As the winds blew and the Jaredites were driven forth, what did the Jaredites do throughout the day and night? (See Ether 6:8–9.) What are some ways we can give praise to the Lord?
What did the Jaredites do when they had arrived in the promised land? (See Ether 6:12.) In what ways might this be similar to our return to our Father in Heaven?
Read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“The brother of Jared may not have had great belief in himself, but his belief in God was unprecedented. In that there is hope for us all. His faith was without doubt or limit. … Once and for all it was declared that ordinary people with ordinary challenges could rend the veil of unbelief and enter the realms of eternity” (Christ and the New Covenant , 29).
As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.
Additional Teaching Idea
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.
Teachings from Ether 5
To whom is Ether 5 addressed? (Joseph Smith.) Who were the three witnesses Moroni spoke of in Ether 5:3? (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. See The Testimony of Three Witnesses in the introductory material of the Book of Mormon.) How has the testimony of the Three Witnesses helped strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon?