Ether 12-15

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 263–266


Introduction

The prophet Ether’s tale of the history of his people is a sad one. Ether was surrounded by continual conflict, war, and rebellion, yet the Lord blessed him with views of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the building of the New Jerusalem on the American continent, and other “great and marvelous” things that Moroni was forbidden to write (see Ether 13:4–6, 13). Elder Neal A. Maxwell, then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, wrote:

“Ether is a classic example of a prophet who devoted his whole life to the cause of the Savior. ‘In the days of Coriantumr’ Ether reached a point in his spiritual development when, as a prophet, he ‘could not be restrained because of the Spirit of the Lord which was in him.’ (Eth. 12:2.) Because his righteousness removed the restraints that otherwise hold each of us back, Ether actually saw high points of the future—centuries before these were to occur. …

“Ether was born of a kingly line, but at one point his family was in captivity. Ether’s father ‘dwelt in captivity all his days.’ (Eth. 11:23; see also 1:6–33, 6:22–27.) …

“Later, courageous Ether prophesied face to face to King Coriantumr when Ether was directed by the Lord to do so: …

“‘And it came to pass that Coriantumr repented not, neither his household, neither the people; and the wars ceased not; and they sought to kill Ether, but he fled from before them and hid again in the cavity of the rock.’ (Eth. 13:20–22.) …

“It must have torn at Ether’s emotions to see the people he loved move relentlessly toward anarchy. This was actual physical and political anarchy. Eventually, the situation deteriorated into one in which ‘every man with his band [was] fighting for that which he desired.’ (Eth. 13:25.)” (“Three Jaredites: Contrasting Contemporaries,” Ensign, Aug. 1978, 6–8).

According to scripture, only two people survived the awful destruction of the Jaredite nation: Coriantumr, the king who was warned that this end would come, and Ether, the prophet who declared the Lord’s warning. Ether sealed up the record, and an abridgment has come to us through the hand of Moroni. It has come forth in our day to testify that we “should serve him, the true and only God, or [we] should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come” (Ether 2:8).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 142–43.

Suggestions for Teaching

Ether 12:1–22. Faith in Jesus Christ leads to spiritual power. (25–30 minutes)

Draw an anchor on the board. Ask students what an anchor does for a boat. Read Ether 12:1–6 and ask:

  • To what did the prophet Ether liken faith?

  • How can our faith in God be like an anchor in a spiritual storm?

  • Read Mormon 5:18. Who had power over the Nephites because they lacked this anchor?

  • What does Ether 12:5 teach about the Jaredites’ spiritual anchors?

  • According to verse 6, why must we have faith before we can receive a spiritual witness?

Explain that Moroni gave several examples of individuals who were “anchored” to God and how they were blessed because of their faith. Have students read Ether 12:7–22 and identify as many of these examples as they can. Write the examples on the board and discuss what they have in common. Ask: Where must we place our faith in order for our “anchors” to be sure? Have a student read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Anchor your life in Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. Make your Eternal Father and His Beloved Son the most important priority in your life—more important than life itself, more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then all that you need for happiness will come to you” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 43; or Ensign, May 1993, 34).

Discuss with students what they can do to anchor their lives in Jesus Christ. Invite them to write a brief example from their own life (or the life of someone they know) that shows how faith anchored them in a time of need. Collect their examples and share some with the class without revealing names.

scripture mastery iconEther 12:6 (Scripture Mastery). The Lord blesses us with a spiritual confirmation after we have exercised our faith through obedience to His commandments. (10–15 minutes)

Show a copy of the book Faith Precedes the Miracle by President Spencer W. Kimball, or write the title on the board. Ask students what this phrase means. Invite them to give examples from the scriptures or their own lives in which someone exercised faith before a miracle occurred (caution them not to reveal anything too sacred or personal). Read and discuss Ether 12:6. Cross-reference it with Alma 32:21 and discuss how these two verses relate to each other.

Read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“It takes faith—unseeing faith—for young people to proceed immediately with their family responsibilities in the face of financial uncertainties. It takes faith for the young woman to bear her family instead of accepting employment, especially when schooling for the young husband is to be finished. It takes faith to observe the Sabbath when ‘time and a half’ can be had working, when profit can be made, when merchandise can be sold. It takes a great faith to pay tithes when funds are scarce and demands are great. It takes faith to fast and have family prayers and to observe the Word of Wisdom. It takes faith to do home teaching, stake missionary work, and other service, when sacrifice is required. It takes faith to fill full-time missions. But know this—that all these are of the planting, while faithful, devout families, spiritual security, peace, and eternal life are the harvest” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 11).

Read Ether 12:7 looking for the blessing that came to the Nephites as a result of their faith. Testify that the Lord is reserving this same blessing for us today. Point out that the coming of Christ to the Americas can be likened to the Second Coming. After our faith has been tried, if we are found faithful, either in this life or the next we will see the Lord.

scripture mastery iconEther 12:27 (Scripture Mastery). God gives us weakness so we will be humble. If we humble ourselves, our weakness can be made strong through Jesus Christ. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students to think of a weakness they have that they would like to overcome (do not have them tell the class). Remind them that a weakness is not the same thing as a sin. Ask: What would you be willing to give or do to overcome this weakness? Have them read Ether 12:27, and ask:

  • What are some of the weaknesses we suffer as a result of mortality?

  • Why do you think the Lord gives us weakness?

  • How can we eventually overcome these weaknesses and become strong?

  • Read Alma 26:11–12. How do these verses apply to the principle in Ether 12:27?

  • Read Ether 12:37. According to this verse, what blessing came to Moroni because he recognized his weakness?

Read Ether 12:41 to find how Moroni says we can obtain God’s grace. Discuss with students ways they can “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” Encourage students to choose something they can do during the week to help them seek the Lord and start to overcome a particular weakness.

Ether 12:38–41. We should “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” (10–15 minutes)

Write Nephi, Jacob, Isaiah, brother of Jared, and Moroni on the board and ask what they have in common. Have students search 2 Nephi 11:2–3; Ether 3:7–8, 13; 12:38–39 to find the answer. Display a picture of the Savior. Ask:

  • Why is it important that there be people who are witnesses of the Savior?

  • Who are some others who have seen the Lord? (Answers might include the Nephites who survived destruction [see 3 Nephi 11:8–10] and the Prophet Joseph Smith [see D&C 76:22–24].)

Read Ether 12:41 and look for what Moroni commends us to do. Ask:

  • What does the word seek mean?

  • What do you think it means to seek Jesus?

  • In what ways have you felt His influence when you sought Him?

Write the following references on the board (do not include the suggested answers in parentheses). Have the students read the verses to find how we can seek Jesus in our lives, and write the answers by the references on the board.

Ether 13:1–11. In the last days, Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the New Jerusalem will be built on the American continent. In the Millennium, both will be holy cities, inhabited by members of the house of Israel who have been washed clean “through the blood of the Lamb.” (25–30 minutes)

Ask students what city they would most like to live in. Ask them what they like about that city, and list the qualities they mention on the board. Have students read Moses 7:18–21 and tell what they like about Enoch’s city. Ask:

  • Would you have liked to live there? Why?

  • What happened to Enoch’s city?

Explain that Ether prophesied about three holy cities. Read Ether 13:2–11 looking for answers to the following questions:

  • What are the names of these cities? (The New Jerusalem that would come down out of heaven, the New Jerusalem built in America, and the Jerusalem of ancient Israel, which would be rebuilt.)

  • Where will they be located?

Note that in these verses both the city in America and the city of Enoch are referred to as the “New Jerusalem.” According to Moses 7:62–64, Enoch’s city will join the New Jerusalem in America and they will become one city. To help students see that all three cities are mentioned in Ether 13:2–11, review the statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith in the commentary for Ether 13:1–12 in Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122 (p. 143).

Discuss with students the idea that how we live is more important than where we live. We must be holy to live in a holy city. Read again Ether 13:10–11 and ask:

  • What do the people of these two cities have in common?

  • What does this teach you about life during the Millennium, when “there shall be a new heaven and a new earth”? (v. 9).

  • How can you receive the power of the Savior’s Atonement in your life? (see 3 Nephi 27:19–22).

Read with students Ephesians 2:19–22; 4:11–15 and discuss how the Church helps prepare us to be “fellowcitizens with the saints.”

Ether 13:15–15:33. When we reject God and His prophets, His Spirit withdraws, and destruction eventually follows. (25–30 minutes)

Read the following statement by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve:

“We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

Discuss the following questions:

  • What are the prophets warning us about today?

  • Who should be concerned about these warnings?

  • What are some of the “calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets”? (see D&C 45:26–27, 31–33, 41–42, 68–69; 88:87–91).

  • Why is it certain that these calamities will come to pass?

  • Read Ether 2:8. What warning did the Jaredites receive soon after they arrived on the American continent?

  • Read Ether 13:20–21. What warning did Ether give Coriantumr?

Read as a class selected verses from Ether 14–15 that tell the story of how the prophecies of the prophets were fulfilled. It might be helpful to point out the following ideas as you read:

  • Ether 14:21–23. The Jaredites “march[ed] forth from the shedding of blood to the shedding of blood.”

  • Ether 15:1–6. Though Coriantumr finally realized that Ether’s warnings were coming to pass, he could not convince anyone else of the plight they were in.

  • Ether 15:19. The Spirit withdrew from the people and “Satan had full power over [their] hearts.” As prophesied, their wickedness was full and they were ready for complete destruction (see Ether 2:10).

Discuss why prophets are a blessing in our lives. Have students write on a piece of paper what they think is the most important principle they learned from the book of Ether, and also what they can do to better follow God’s prophets. Bear your testimony of the importance of following the prophets. Sing or read “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19).