Unit 29: Day 4, Ether 3

Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, (2012), 297–300


Introduction

The Lord asked the brother of Jared, “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” (Ether 2:23). In response, the brother of Jared carefully prepared 16 stones and humbly prayed that the Lord would touch them “that they may shine forth in darkness” (Ether 3:4). Because of the brother of Jared’s great faith, he saw the Savior’s finger as the Savior touched the stones. The Lord then showed Himself to the brother of Jared and commanded him to write what he had seen and heard.

Ether 3:1–20

The Lord touches stones to provide light for the Jaredite barges, and He shows Himself to the brother of Jared

What are some examples of what you or other young people sincerely pray for? Choose one of these things, and write it here: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

As you study the example of the brother of Jared in Ether 3, look for insights that would help you or a friend receive help from the Lord.

Think about the brother of Jared’s prayer to the Lord about providing light for the barges and the Lord’s answer to him. Review Ether 2:22–3:1. Then write a caption for each of the following pictures that describes what the brother of Jared did as his part to solve the problem of not having light.

man with fire and tools

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

man climbing mountain

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. journal icon1.

    Write in your scripture study journal about what impresses you about the brother of Jared’s efforts to solve the problem of having light in the barges. Even though the brother of Jared went to great effort, consider how effective his molten stones would have been at providing light without the Lord’s help.

Read Ether 3:2–5, and then do the following:

  • Identify or mark phrases that show the brother of Jared was humble and recognized his dependence on God. It may be helpful to know that the phrase “our natures have become evil continually” refers to our sinful state on earth. Because of the Fall of Adam, we are physically separated from God. We are also prone to sin. Without divine help, we could never return to God’s presence.

  • Identify what the brother of Jared asked the Lord to do.

  • Identify or mark what the brother of Jared testified he knew about God.

The Brother of Jared Sees the Finger of the Lord
  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What evidence can you find in Ether 3:1–5 that the brother of Jared had faith that the Lord could help Him solve His problem?

    2. b.

      How can his example help you to recognize your dependence on the Lord as you ask for His help?

Read the following statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which emphasizes the faith of the brother of Jared: “Surely God, as well as the reader, feels something very striking in the childlike innocence and fervor of this man’s faith. ‘Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this’ [Ether 3:5]. Perhaps there is no more powerful, single line of faith spoken by man in scripture. … However uncertain the prophet is about his own ability, he has no uncertainty about God’s power” (“Rending the Veil of Unbelief,” in Nurturing Faith through the Book of Mormon: The 24th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [1995], 12).

Read Ether 3:6, and imagine what it might have been like to be in the situation described in this verse.

Read Ether 3:9, looking for why the Lord was willing to touch the stones and why the brother of Jared was able to see the finger of the Lord.

Finish the following principle statement according to what you have learned so far in Ether 3: As we humbly call upon the Lord, He will answer us according to our ____________________ and His will.

  1. journal icon3.

    Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Refer to what you wrote at the beginning of this lesson about what you or other young people pray for. How might someone show faith in the Lord as he or she seeks for the Lord’s help and guidance in that situation?

    2. b.

      What have you experienced in your life that has led you to know of the truthfulness of the principle that as we humbly call upon the Lord, He will answer us according to our faith and His will?

Take a moment and silently evaluate how much you trust the Lord. Read Ether 3:9–12, and look for and mark evidence of the faith the brother of Jared had in the Lord.

Review Ether 3:11, and think about whether you have enough faith in the Lord to commit to believe and follow what He will reveal to you even before He reveals it.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Read the following statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and underline what we must do to exercise faith like the brother of Jared: “Preparatory faith is formed by experiences in the past—by the known, which provides a basis for belief. But redemptive faith must often be exercised toward experiences in the future—the unknown, which provides an opportunity for the miraculous. … Faith like that of the brother of Jared, precedes the miracle and the knowledge. He had to believe before God spoke. He had to act before the ability to complete that action was apparent. He had to commit to the complete experience in advance of even the first segment of its realization. Faith is to agree unconditionally—and in advance—to whatever conditions God may require in both the near and distant future” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 18–19).

Think about the experiences of the brother of Jared, beginning at the Tower of Babel. What experiences may have helped increase his faith in the Lord? How do you think these experiences prepared him to exercise “such exceeding faith” (Ether 3:9) at that moment?

  1. journal icon4.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What is an experience in your life that has increased your faith in the Lord?

    2. b.

      How did that experience prepare you to exercise even greater faith in the future?

Read Ether 3:13–20, and look for the blessing the brother of Jared received because of his faith. What did the brother of Jared learn about the Savior from this remarkable experience? Another important principle you can learn from Ether 3 is this: As we exercise faith in the Lord, we will grow closer to Him. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures next to Ether 3:11–20.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland commented on Ether 3:15–16 and the possible confusion that might arise from that experience:

“[An] issue that requires brief comment stems from the Lord’s exclamation ‘Never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger.’ And later, ‘Never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast.’ [Ether 3:9, 15.]

“The potential for confusion here comes with the realization that many (and perhaps all) of the major prophets living prior to the brother of Jared had seen God. How, then, do we account for the Lord’s declaration? …

“This issue has been much discussed by Latter-day Saint writers, and there are several possible explanations, any one—or all—of which may cast light upon the larger truth of this passage. Nevertheless, without additional revelation or commentary on the matter, any conjecture is only that and as such is inadequate and incomplete. …

“Some believe that the Lord meant he had never before revealed himself to man in that degree or to that extent. This theory suggests that divine appearances to earlier prophets had not been with the same ‘fulness,’ that never before had the veil been lifted to give such a complete revelation of Christ’s nature and being. …

“A final explanation—and in terms of the brother of Jared’s faith the most persuasive one—is that Christ was saying to the brother of Jared, ‘Never have I showed myself unto man in this manner, without my volition, driven solely by the faith of the beholder.’ As a rule, prophets are invited into the presence of the Lord, are bidden to enter his presence by him and only with his sanction. The brother of Jared, on the other hand, seems to have thrust himself through the veil, not as an unwelcome guest but perhaps technically as an uninvited one. Said Jehovah, ‘Never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. … Never has man believed in me as thou hast.’ Obviously the Lord himself was linking unprecedented faith with this unprecedented vision. If the vision itself was not unique, then it had to be the faith and how the vision was obtained that was so unparalleled. The only way that faith could be so remarkable was its ability to take the prophet, uninvited, where others had been able to go only with God’s bidding” (Christ and the New Covenant, 20–23).

Ether 3:21–28

The Lord commands the brother of Jared to write the things he saw and to seal up his record

Read Ether 3:25–26, and identify what else the Lord showed the brother of Jared. As recorded in Ether 3:21–24, 27–28, the Lord commanded the brother of Jared to write the things he was shown in vision and to seal them up. The Lord also explained that He would prepare a way for the brother of Jared’s writings to be translated in the future. One of the ways this prophecy was fulfilled was when the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the book of Ether from the gold plates as part of the Book of Mormon and made the record of the Jaredites available for all people to read.

Ponder how you can apply what you have learned today and what you can do to demonstrate your faith in the Lord. As you exercise faith in Jesus Christ, God will pour out blessings upon you, as He did the brother of Jared.

  1. journal icon5.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Ether 3 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: