Lesson 151: Ether 13–15

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

Moroni recorded Ether’s prophecies about the New Jerusalem and the Jerusalem of old. Ether warned Coriantumr, a Jaredite king, that his people would be destroyed if he and his household would not repent. When Coriantumr and his people refused to repent, war and wickedness escalated for many years until the entire Jaredite nation was destroyed. Only Ether and Coriantumr survived to witness the fulfillment of Ether’s prophecy.

Suggestions for Teaching

Ether 13:1–12

Moroni records Ether’s prophecies about the New Jerusalem and the Jerusalem of old

Explain that some cities are known by names that describe their significant features. Read the following descriptive names for cities, and ask students to guess which city matches each name: the City of Light (Paris, France); the Eternal City (Rome, Italy); the Windy City (Chicago, Illinois, United States); the Pearl of the Orient (Manila, Philippines); and the City of Palaces (Mexico City, Mexico). Ask students to suggest what these descriptive names might communicate about the cities.

Point out that Moroni recorded Ether’s prophecies about three cities: the New Jerusalem (see Ether 13:6–8, 10); the city of Enoch, which would “come down out of heaven” (Ether 13:3; see also Moses 7:62–64); and Jerusalem in the Holy Land (see Ether 13:11). Tell the class that Ether taught the Jaredites that the land upon which they lived was the site of a future city of great importance (see Ether 13:2–3).

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Ether 13:4–8. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the descriptive name Ether used when referring to Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem.

  • What descriptive name did Ether use for Jerusalem in the Holy Land and the New Jerusalem that will someday be built on the American continent? (“Holy city.”)

  • What do you think it would be like to live in a city known as “a holy city”?

Invite a student to read Ether 13:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how people will qualify to live in these holy cities.

  • How will people qualify to live in these cities? (By having their garments made “white through the blood of the Lamb.”)

  • What does it mean for people to have their garments made “white through the blood of the Lamb”? (It means that people have become clean and purified from sin through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God [see 1 Nephi 12:11; Alma 5:21].)

Ether 13:13–15:34

The Jaredites reject Ether’s prophetic warnings and persist in wickedness and war until they are destroyed

Summarize Ether 13:13–14 by explaining that the Jaredites rejected Ether and cast him out from among them. During the day, Ether “hid himself in the cavity of a rock,” where he finished his record of the Jaredites. At night, he went out to see the things that were happening to his people, the Jaredites. He wrote about the things he saw.

To prepare students to study the remainder of the account in the book of Ether, invite them to think of the last time they became angry or lost their temper (or saw someone else become angry).

  • What are some of the potential dangers or negative consequences of becoming angry?

As students continue to study Ether 13–15 today, invite them to look for what can happen when we allow anger to influence our actions.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Ether 13:15–19. Ask the class to follow along, looking for descriptions of the Jaredite society. After they have read, invite them to describe the Jaredite society in their own words. Then invite a student to read Ether 13:20–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the message the Lord commanded Ether to deliver to Coriantumr.

  • What was Ether’s message to Coriantumr? (If Coriantumr and his household would repent, the Lord would spare the people and allow Coriantumr to retain his kingdom. If they would not repent, everyone in the kingdom but Coriantumr would be destroyed. Invite students to consider marking Ether’s prophecy in verses 20–21. As students continue their study of Ether 13–15 today, invite them to look for how the words of Ether were fulfilled.)

Invite a student to read Ether 13:22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Coriantumr and his people responded to Ether’s message.

  • How did Coriantumr and his people respond?

Summarize Ether 13:23–14:20 by explaining that wars continued in the land. Three men in succession—Shared, Gilead, and Lib—tried to take the kingdom from Coriantumr. Eventually, secret combinations gained more power, and the entire nation became engulfed in war. Coriantumr’s final foe was a man named Shiz.

Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from Ether 14:21–24. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what motivated Shiz in his fight against Coriantumr.

  • According to verse 24, why did Shiz pursue Coriantumr so relentlessly? (Shiz had sworn to seek revenge against Coriantumr because Coriantumr had killed Shiz’s brother. Shiz also wanted to prove the prophecy of Ether wrong.)

Summarize Ether 14:25–31 by explaining that as the fighting continued, Coriantumr was seriously wounded by Shiz and “was carried away as though he were dead” (verse 30).

Invite a student to read Ether 15:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Coriantumr attempted to do to spare the remainder of the people from destruction.

  • What did Coriantumr do? (He offered to give up the kingdom to Shiz.)

  • If you had been in Shiz’s situation, what would you have done? Why?

Ask a student to read Ether 15:5 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for how Shiz responded to Coriantumr’s offer.

  • How did Shiz respond to Coriantumr’s offer? (He said that he would spare the people if he could be allowed to kill Coriantumr.)

  • Why do you think Shiz made this decision? (It seems that Shiz was still determined to seek revenge against Coriantumr for the death of his brother and to disprove Ether’s prophecy [see also Ether 14:24].)

Invite a student to read Ether 15:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a phrase that describes each group of people’s attitude toward the other. After students report what they find, invite them to consider marking the repeated phrase “stirred up to anger.”

  • Why do you think the people were “stirred up to anger”?

Summarize Ether 15:6–11 by explaining that the people of Coriantumr and the people of Shiz continued to battle one another.

Divide students into pairs. Invite students to read Ether 15:12–17 aloud with their partners. Ask them to look for what happened because the people were angry and sought vengeance against one another. When they have had time to read, ask a few students to report what they found.

  • What principles about anger and revenge can we identify? (Students may identify a few different principles, including the following: Anger and vengeance can lead us to make choices that hurt ourselves and others.)

  • What consequences can anger have for an individual or a family?

Ask students to think about how they have seen anger or vengeance lead to hurt and regret.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David E. Sorensen (1933–2014) of the Presidency of the Seventy. Ask the class to listen for what he encouraged us to do rather than give in to feelings of anger or desires for revenge.

Elder David E. Sorensen

“When someone has hurt us or those we care about, that pain can almost be overwhelming. It can feel as if the pain or the injustice is the most important thing in the world and that we have no choice but to seek vengeance. But Christ, the Prince of Peace, teaches us a better way. It can be very difficult to forgive someone the harm they’ve done us, but when we do, we open ourselves up to a better future. No longer does someone else’s wrongdoing control our course. When we forgive others, it frees us to choose how we will live our own lives. Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies, and we can focus on the future with God’s love in our hearts” (David E. Sorensen, “Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 12).

  • According to this statement, what should we do rather than seek vengeance?

  • When have you seen someone choose to forgive another instead of giving in to feelings of anger or desires for revenge?

Invite students to ponder about whom they may need to forgive. Encourage them to act on any promptings they receive to forgive others.

Remind students that Ether had warned the people to repent (see Ether 12:2–3; 13:20). Invite students to quickly review Ether 13:22 and Ether 15:6 to see how the people responded to Ether and the Lord’s warnings to repent. Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we reject the Lord’s warnings to repent, …

Invite a student to read Ether 15:18–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, identifying ways to complete the statement on the board. After students share their ideas, complete the statement by writing the following principle: If we reject the Lord’s warnings to repent, His Spirit will withdraw and Satan will gain power over our hearts.

  • How did the Jaredites’ refusal to repent earlier affect their ability to change later?

Summarize Ether 15:20–32 by explaining that the armies of Coriantumr and Shiz fought until only Coriantumr and Shiz remained. Then Coriantumr killed Shiz. As Ether had prophesied, all the people in the kingdom had been killed except Coriantumr, who then lived to see another people—the people of Zarahemla—inherit the land (see Ether 13:21; Omni 1:20–22).

Ask a student to read Ether 15:33 to show that the words of the Lord spoken by Ether were fulfilled.

Testify that as we repent and retain the influence of the Spirit, we will be able to resist the power of Satan and to forgive those who hurt or anger us. Encourage students to turn to Heavenly Father in prayer for the help they need if they feel anger toward another person.

Commentary and Background Information

Ether 13:3–5. The New Jerusalem and the Jerusalem of old

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about the New Jerusalem and the city of Jerusalem built anciently:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“To envision what is meant by [New Jerusalem], we must know these five facts:

“1. Ancient Jerusalem, the city of much of our Lord’s personal ministry among men, shall be rebuilt in the last days and become one of the two great world capitals, a millennial city from which the word of the Lord shall go forth.

“2. A New Jerusalem, a new Zion, a city of God shall be built on the American continent.

“3. Enoch’s city, the original Zion, ‘the City of Holiness, … was taken up into heaven.’ (Moses 7:13–21.)

“4. Enoch’s city, with its translated inhabitants now in their resurrected state, shall return, as a New Jerusalem, to join with the city of the same name which has been built upon the American continent.

“5. When this earth becomes a celestial sphere ‘that great city, the holy Jerusalem,’ shall again descend ‘out of heaven from God,’ as this earth becomes the abode of celestial beings forever. (Rev. 21:10–27.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary [1973], 3:580–81).

Ether 13:2–4, 6. Where will the New Jerusalem be built?

The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that in the last days, the New Jerusalem will be built in the United States, in Jackson County, Missouri (see D&C 57:1–4; 84:1–4). Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the relationship between the current gathering of members of the Church and the eventual establishment of the New Jerusalem:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Let Israel gather to the stakes of Zion in all nations. Let every land be a Zion to those appointed to dwell there. Let the fulness of the gospel be for all the saints in all nations. Let no blessing be denied them. Let temples arise wherein the fulness of the ordinances of the Lord’s house may be administered. But still there is a center place, a place where the chief temple shall stand, a place to which the Lord shall come. … And that center place is what men now call Independence in Jackson County, Missouri, but which in a day to come will be the Zion of our God and the City of Holiness of his people” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 595).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Ether 13:1–12. The New Jerusalem

Explain that another name for New Jerusalem is Zion (see Moses 7:62; Articles of Faith 1:10). While the New Jerusalem and the city of Jerusalem will be established in the future, all members of the Church can seek now to establish Zion wherever they live (see D&C 6:6; 14:6). In the most basic sense, Zion is “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21).

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, ‘the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them’ (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 38).