Ether 2: The Jaredites Build Barges

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 187–188


The Jaredites traveled across many waters as they were led toward the promised land (see Ether 2:6–7). The Lord knew their journey across the sea would be difficult and gave them specific instructions on how to build boats that would help them travel safely. As you read Ether 2, compare their journey to the promised land to your life as you progress toward the celestial kingdom. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that our journey in life will also be difficult:“I meet so many people who constantly complain about the burden of their responsibilities. Of course the pressures are great. There is much, too much, to do. … Turn your thinking around. The gospel is good news. Man is that he might have joy. Be happy! Let that happiness shine through your faces and speak through your testimonies. … “I enjoy these words of Jenkins Lloyd Jones. …“‘Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed.“‘Most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.“‘Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.“‘The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride’ (Deseret News, June 12, 1973)” (Four Imperatives for Religious Educators [address to religious educators, Sept. 15, 1978], 4).
Jaredites building barges

Understanding the Scriptures

Ether 2

Snares (v. 2)Traps
By interpretation, is (v. 3)Which means
Quarter (v. 5)Area
Barges (vv. 6, 16, 18)Boats
Suffer (vv. 7, 22)Allow
Preserved (v. 7)Saved, protected
Chastened (v. 14)Scolded, corrected
Peaked (v. 17)Pointed
Dashed (v. 23)Smashed

Ether 2:13—“Moriancumer”

Brother of Jared

“While residing in Kirtland Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turning to Elder Cahoon he said, the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown (or revealed) it to me” (“Questions and Answers,” Improvement Era, July 1905, 705).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Ether 2.

Activity A iconRespond to a Question

Imagine that a friend who is not a member of the Church asked you what was meant by the term “land of promise” (Ether 2:9). Use Ether 2:8–12 and write what you would say to help your friend understand one of the meanings of this phrase, as it relates to the land referred to in these verses.

Activity B iconWrite a “Thus We See” Statement

After reading Ether 2:13–16, think of a lesson this account teaches and write a “thus we see” statement that summarizes what the Lord wants us to learn from this experience.

Activity C iconDraw a Picture

  1. 1.

    Review Ether 2:16–25 and draw a picture of how you think the Jaredite barges looked. Your drawing should illustrate how the barges worked and why their design was successful.

  2. 2.

    Using Ether 2:1–7; 6:1–4 make a list of what the Jaredites took with them on their barges.