Chapter 50: Ether 1–5

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 183–85


Introduction

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that the brother of Jared’s experience with the Savior “ranks among the greatest moments in recorded history, surely among the greatest moments in recorded faith. It established the brother of Jared among the greatest of God’s prophets forever” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 17). These chapters detail the blessings that came to the early Jaredite colony as a result of the faith and prayers of the brother of Jared. As students study and discuss Ether 1–5, they can evaluate their own prayers and look forward to the blessings that come through exercising faith in the Lord. This scripture block concludes with an insight into the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the witnesses who were chosen to testify of it.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • The prayers of the faithful can bring divine guidance and deliverance (see Ether 1:34–43; 2:5–25).

  • The Lord requires us to do all we can to solve our problems (see Ether 2:16–25; 3:1–5).

  • Great faith can lead us into the Lord’s presence (see Ether 3–4).

  • The Lord appointed three witnesses to testify of the Book of Mormon (see Ether 5).

Suggestions for Teaching

Ether 1:34–43; 2:5–25. The Prayers of the Faithful Can Bring Divine Guidance and Deliverance

Before class, write the following on the board:

Why did the Lord answer the prayers of the brother of Jared?

What does it mean to be “highly favored of the Lord”?

In response to the requests from Jared, the brother of Jared “did cry unto the Lord.” What might be some differences between crying unto the Lord and saying prayers?

Invite students to tell about times when they have faced challenging situations and received help through sincere prayer. Thank them for sharing, and explain that today they will be studying a similar story in the life of the brother of Jared.

Ask a student to read Ether 1:33. Then ask another student to briefly describe what took place at the Tower of Babel.

  • If you had been there, what would have been your greatest concern about this scattering of people and confounding of language?

Write Ether 1:34–43 on the board. Have students read the verses silently, looking for answers to the three questions on the board. After they have finished, ask them to share their answers.

To help students apply these principles in their lives, invite them to complete the second “Suggested Assignment” on page 368 in the student manual. As part of this exercise, consider asking the following questions:

  • How can we improve our prayers?

  • How does our obedience to God affect our prayers? How would disobedience affect our prayers?

Ask a student to read Ether 2:14 and the first sentence of verse 15.

  • What evil had the brother of Jared committed?

  • What can we learn from these verses?

  • Why does God want us to come to Him often in prayer?

Write chasten on the board. Read Doctrine and Covenants 95:1, asking students to look for reasons why the Lord chastens us. Help students understand that God chastens us because He loves us. You may also invite students to read the statements by Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on pages 363–64 in the student manual. Share your testimony of the power of prayer and the blessings we can receive through prayer.

Ether 2:16–25; 3:1–5. The Lord Requires Us to Do All We Can to Solve Our Problems

Ask students to read Ether 2:18–19 silently. Invite them to look for three problems the brother of Jared brought to the Lord.

  • What were the three problems? (The barges would not have any light in them, the people would not know where to steer the barges, and the people would run out of air to breathe in the barges.)

Explain that our Heavenly Father answers prayers in a variety of ways. Then invite a student to read Ether 2:20.

  • How did the Lord answer the question about the lack of air in the barges?

Ask another student to read Ether 2:22–25.

  • What did the brother of Jared learn about how the barges would be steered? (The people would not need to worry about steering the barges. The Lord would guide them across the sea by sending wind and “mountain waves.” See also Ether 6:4–8.)

  • What did the Lord say about how to get light in the barges?

  • What can we learn from the Lord’s request that the brother of Jared find a solution to this problem? (Answers might include that the Lord expects us to exercise our agency, intelligence, and faith; that He places some responsibility on our shoulders; and that sometimes He wants us to come up with our own plans, thus allowing us to grow.)

Invite a student to read Ether 3:1–5 to the class.

  • What did the brother of Jared do to bring light into the barges?

As students discuss this question, they might suggest the following answers: The brother of Jared studied the problem. He found a solution. He prepared the stones, but he could not make them glow—for this he needed the Lord’s help. Then he went back to the Lord for confirmation of his plan.

Invite students to review the statement by President Harold B. Lee on page 364 in the student manual.

  • In what ways can you apply this counsel in your life?

Ether 3–4. Great Faith Can Lead Us into the Lord’s Presence

Read Ether 3:6–14 as a class, having students take turns reading one or two verses.

  • The brother of Jared’s faith brought him into the presence of the Lord. What similar privilege is promised to us in Ether 4:7?

Put the following chart on the board:

What did the brother of Jared do?

What should we do?

Assign half of the class to read Ether 3:4–26, looking for what the brother of Jared did that enabled him to see the Savior. Ask them to also consider his actions as recorded in Ether 1–2. Assign the other half of the class to read Ether 4:4–19, looking for what Moroni counseled us to do to “rend [the] veil of unbelief” (verse 15). You may need to explain that the word rend means to tear and that a veil is a covering used to hide something. The phrase “veil of unbelief” describes how unbelief can separate us from God.

After sufficient time, ask students what they have found. List their responses on the board.

  • What similarities do you notice between the two lists?

Ask a student to read Alma 19:6.

  • How was the “veil of unbelief” cast away from Lamoni’s mind? (Add students’ responses to the right side of the chart on the board.)

Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 67:10.

  • What additional counsel has the Lord given to help us rend the veil of unbelief? (Add students’ responses to the right side of the chart on the board.)

Invite students to ponder how the counsel on the board could help them become closer to the Lord. You may want to ask them to write down their ideas.

Share your testimony about how we steadily see more of the Lord’s plan for our lives as we exercise faith in Him. The Lord has promised that if we live righteously, exercise faith in Him, and keep our covenants, the day will come when we will be able to see Him and live in His presence.

Have students study Ether 3:6–15, either individually or in pairs. Ask them to list gospel truths the brother of Jared either learned or had confirmed during his experience in the Lord’s presence. They may want to mark these truths in their scriptures. After sufficient time, invite students to share what they have found. You may want to record their comments on the board.

Answers may include the following:

  • The Lord would take upon Himself flesh and blood (verse 6).

  • The Lord redeems us from the Fall (verse 13).

  • Jesus Christ was prepared from the foundation of the world (verse 14).

  • Eternal life comes through the Savior (verse 14).

  • Jesus is the Father and the Son (verse 14).

  • The faithful become the sons and daughters of Christ (verse 14).

  • No one had ever seen the Lord in the manner that the brother of Jared saw Him (verse 15).

  • God created man in His own image (verse 15).

If students have questions about verse 14, you might consider referring them to the information about Mosiah 15:1–7 on page 153 in the student manual. If students have questions about verse 15, you might consider referring them to the statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on pages 365–66 in the student manual.

  • How can the account of the brother of Jared help us grow stronger in our testimonies?

Ether 5. The Lord Appointed Three Witnesses to Testify of the Book of Mormon

Ask students to read Ether 5:2–4, Doctrine and Covenants 5:11–15, and Doctrine and Covenants 17:1–6 and cross-reference them with one another.

  • What are the names of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon?

Invite students to turn to the introductory pages in the Book of Mormon. Ask a student to read the Testimony of Three Witnesses.

Share the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith, which he made to his father and mother soon after his experience with the Three Witnesses:

“Father! Mother! … you do not know how happy I am. The Lord has caused the plates to be shown to three more besides me, who have also seen an angel and will have to testify to the truth of what I have said, for they know for themselves that I do not go about to deceive the people. And I do feel as though I was relieved of a dreadful burden which was almost too much for me to endure. But they will now have to bear a part, and it does rejoice my soul that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world” (quoted in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 127).

  • Why do you think the experience of the Three Witnesses made the Prophet Joseph so happy?

Invite students to read Ether 5:2–4 and mark four different witnesses of the Book of Mormon. (For insights about these witnesses, see page 367 in the student manual.)

Have the students read the statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks on page 367 in the student manual. This statement is also available on the companion DVD A.

  • In what ways can you be a witness of the Book of Mormon?

  • In what ways can your witness of the Book of Mormon influence other people?

Conclude by bearing your testimony of the Book of Mormon.