Chapter 51: Ether 6–10

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 186–87


Introduction

In Ether 6–10, Moroni gives a summary of many generations of the Jaredite people. This fast-paced overview shows the consequences of righteousness and wickedness. Moroni’s observations and warnings can help us avoid the pitfalls experienced by the Jaredites. The Lord continued to call on the Jaredites to repent and come unto Him, and He continues to call on us to do the same so He can grant us peace and happiness.

Some Doctrines and Principles

Suggestions for Teaching

Ether 6:1–12. As We Trust in the Lord and Do His Will, He Directs Our Course

Invite students to read Ether 6:1–12 silently, looking for similarities between the Jaredites’ journey to the promised land and our journey through mortality toward the celestial kingdom. Suggest that they make a list of words and phrases in this scripture passage that can be applied to our life. For example, they might think about how the wind blowing toward the promised land could be compared to the influence of God in their lives. They might also consider parallels to the stones, the food stored in preparation for the journey, the depths of the sea, the barges or vessels, and the Jaredites themselves.

When students have had time to study and ponder, ask them to gather in small groups to share what they have found. Then ask each group to choose someone to share the group’s ideas with the entire class. Invite students to share additional doctrines or principles as the discussion progresses. Suggest that students take notes on what each group shares.

  • What principles can we learn from the experience of the Jaredites?

  • In what ways can these principles help us receive God’s direction fully in our lives?

Ether 6:9. “They Did Sing Praises unto the Lord”

Give students time to silently read Ether 6:9 and 1 Nephi 18:9.

  • What was the difference between the singing described in these two verses? (For another comparison of these accounts, see page 369 in the student manual.)

  • What benefits come to us and to others as we “sing praises unto the Lord”?

Ether 6:12. “They … Did Shed Tears of Joy … Because of the Multitude of [the Lord’s] Tender Mercies”

Read Ether 6:12 with the students.

  • What does the word mercies mean to you?

As part of this discussion, you may want to invite students to read the entry on “Mercy” on pages 102–3 in True to the Faith.

  • How does the word tender add meaning to the word mercies?

  • What does the word multitude contribute to our understanding of this verse?

  • What did the people do when they arrived in the promised land? In what ways can we follow their example?

Give students time to think about “the multitude of [the Lord’s] tender mercies” in their lives. After sufficient time, invite some of them to share examples.

Ether 6:17. “They Were Taught to Walk Humbly before the Lord”

Ask a student to read Ether 6:17.

Ask students to identify actions and attitudes they have seen in others that demonstrate “walk[ing] humbly before the Lord.” You may want to list students’ responses on the board.

  • Why do we need to “walk humbly before the Lord” in order to be “taught from on high”?

  • How can we be more humble? How can remembering our relationship to the Lord help us be humble?

  • What are some challenges we face as we strive to be humble? How can we overcome these challenges?

Ether 7:23–27; 9:28–31. Prophets Condemn Wickedness and Warn of Danger

Give students time to read Ether 7:23–27 and 9:28–31 silently. Ask them to look for the similarities and differences in the two accounts. Discuss the following questions:

  • What might lead a person to accept or reject a prophet’s warnings?

  • What are some warnings we have received from our living prophet?

  • What are some examples of people receiving blessings because they have followed the warnings of the prophet? (Encourage students to share examples from their lives or from the lives of people they know.)

Ether 8; 9:26–27; 10:33. Secret Combinations Seek to Destroy Nations and Overthrow Freedom

Ask students to review the material about Helaman 6:18–40 on pages 271–72 in the student manual, either individually or as a class. This material gives a brief explanation of secret combinations.

Explain that as the prophet Moroni summarized the Jaredite history, he warned modern readers of the dangers of secret combinations. Have students read the chapter heading for Ether 8. Then, using Ether 8:20–26, discuss some or all of the following questions:

  • Moroni said that secret combinations destroyed the Jaredite civilization and the Nephite civilization (see verses 20–21). Why do you think secret combinations are so destructive?

  • How might individuals or nations “uphold” secret combinations? (See verse 22.)

  • Why do you think Moroni wrote about the awful results of secret combinations? (See verses 23–26.)

  • How are secret combinations a counterfeit of true covenants with God?

Have students read Ether 9:26–27 and 10:33.

  • Why do you suppose that even after periods of righteousness the Jaredite civilization kept falling prey to secret combinations?

  • What personal attributes can we develop that will help us resist secret combinations? (Students may give responses such as personal integrity, love for the Lord, and love for the Lord’s commandments.)

Have students read Helaman 6:37 and 3 Nephi 5:4–6.

  • What is the best way to rid a community of secret combinations?

Ether 10. Leaders Can Influence Societies to Be Wicked or Righteous

Explain that in Ether 10, Moroni summarizes several generations in just 34 verses. Some kings were righteous and led the people to prosperity and peace; others were wicked and led the people to misery. It is not likely that the society changed quickly from righteousness to wickedness or from wickedness to righteousness as their kings changed. Rather, it is likely that they changed gradually.

Use the following object lesson to illustrate this point. You may want to practice it before class.

Display a clear glass that is filled halfway with clean water.

Ask a student to read Ether 10:5. Then add a drop of dark food coloring to the water.

Have a student read Ether 10:9–11. Then add another drop of food coloring to the water.

Invite a student to read Ether 10:13. Then add another drop of food coloring.

Point out that just as societies with wicked leaders can gradually become wicked, societies with righteous leaders can gradually become more righteous. Have a student read Ether 10:16. Then add some bleach to the stained water. Repeat this process with verse 17 and then with verses 18–19. (At the conclusion, the water should be clear again.)

  • What principles can we learn from this object lesson? How did these principles apply to the Jaredites? In what ways do they apply to societies today?

  • What are some influences in our society that can make our lives impure? What can we do to keep our lives pure?

Conclude by emphasizing that when we are living righteously, we can be happy in any circumstance.