Chapter 52: Ether 11–15

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 188–91


Introduction

As Moroni abridged the final Jaredite records, he interrupted the historical narrative. He had included many accounts of the Jaredite people rejecting their prophets’ message of faith. He had seen the same wickedness among his own people, the Nephites, as he and his father had preached the gospel. Knowing that similar conditions would exist in our day, he included Ether’s teachings on faith as well as many teachings of his own.

As students read and discuss Ether 11–15, they can learn how to apply the teachings of Ether and Moroni in their lives. You can help them see that faith in Christ helps them live steady lives of devotion to God. Your class should also understand that faith in Christ leads to miracles and revelations and helps us turn weakness into strength.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • Faith and hope anchor our souls and make us sure and steadfast (see Ether 12:1–4).

  • Great faith precedes miracles (see Ether 12:5–22).

  • The Lord turns our weakness to strength as we humble ourselves and have faith in Him (see Ether 12:23–41).

  • The New Jerusalem will be built in the Americas (see Ether 13:2–12).

Suggestions for Teaching

Ether 11–12. Introduction to Lesson Themes

In advance, assign a student to prepare a presentation based on the introduction to chapter 52 in the student manual and the commentary for Ether 11 on page 375 in the student manual. Ask the student to present this information at the beginning of class.

Bring a package of seeds to class. Ask students if they remember which Book of Mormon prophet used a seed as an object lesson to teach a spiritual principle. When students recall that Alma used a seed to teach about the word of God and faith (see chapter 30 in this manual), ask them to recall Alma’s definition of faith (see Alma 32:21 ). Invite students to look for counsel in Ether 12 that can help them increase in faith.

Ether 12:1–4. Faith and Hope Anchor Our Souls and Make Us Sure and Steadfast

Display a picture of an anchor (or draw an anchor on the board). Ask students to describe the purpose of an anchor. Instruct them to turn to Ether 12:4.

  • What does this verse identify as “an anchor to the souls of men”?

  • Why do we need an anchor to our souls?

Explain that verses 3–4 identify results of faith. Display the following diagram on the board, but leave the boxes to the right of the arrows empty. Ask students to complete the chart based on the principles they find in verses 3–4. Possible answers are shown below.

New old

Ask students how faith leads to each principle or action that is now listed to the right of the arrows. Briefly discuss each topic.

  • How does faith in Christ give you hope and anchor your soul?

Ether 12:5–22. Great Faith Precedes Miracles

Invite a student to read Ether 12:6 .

Write on the board What is a trial of faith? Invite one or two students to share brief examples of trials of faith that they have experienced or that someone they know has experienced.

Ask students to listen to the following statements and identify principles related to trials of faith. The statement by President James E. Faust is also available on the companion DVD A.

“No man can obtain salvation without a thorough trial of faith and obedience to the principles of eternal truth which have been established from the beginning for the salvation and exaltation of mankind” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:150).

“All must pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful. Yet this is part of the purging to become acquainted with God” (James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 85; or Ensign, May 1997, 63).

Explain that sometimes a trial of our faith comes in the form of difficulties; however, this is not the only way our faith is tried. Ask a student to read the statement by Elder Richard G. Scott on page 376 in the student manual. This statement is also available on the companion DVD B.

  • How did Elder Scott define a trial of faith?

Ether 12:6–22 refers to scripture accounts of blessings people have received as they have endured trials of their faith. Make the following chart on the board:

Who is mentioned?

How did they exercise faith?

What blessings did they receive?

   

Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Instruct each pair or group to copy the chart on paper. Ask them to read Ether 12:6–22, writing answers to the questions in the chart.

After students have had sufficient time to complete the activity, have them consider the blessing mentioned in verse 19.

  • How might this blessing be a type of what all the faithful will experience in the end?

  • In what ways do the blessings that flow from faith prepare us to enter into the Lord’s presence?

Explain that the Apostle Peter shared valuable insights about the trials of our faith. Invite students to identify the insights as one student reads 1 Peter 4:12–13.

  • Peter said that we should not think it is strange when trials come. How might this principle help us endure trials? (You may want to point out that we endure trials better when we know that they are part of life.)

Share your testimony about the Lord keeping His promises and rewarding us when we endure trials of our faith.

Ether 12:23–41. The Lord Turns Our Weakness to Strength as We Humble Ourselves and Have Faith in Him

Invite a student to come to the front of the class and do 10 push-ups.

  • What will happen if [student’s name] continues to do this exercise regularly?

  • Why do muscles get stronger through exercise?

  • What are some spiritual parallels to physical exercise?

Explain that Ether 12 helps us understand how mortal weakness can be overcome in the strength of the Lord. Invite students to search Ether 12:23–25, looking for the weakness that Moroni perceived in the record he was compiling. Ask students to share what they find.

Ask a student to read Ether 12:27 . This verse contains the promise that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to help us overcome our weakness (you may want to refer to the commentary for Ether 12:27 on pages 378–79 in the student manual). Have students read Ether 12:26–28 silently, looking for attributes we must acquire in order for the Lord’s grace to be sufficient to “make weak things become strong unto [us].” You may want to suggest that students mark these attributes in their scriptures. Their lists might include humility, meekness, faith, hope, and charity.

  • How do these attributes help us develop spiritual strength?

  • How do these attributes relate to coming unto Christ?

  • How can spiritual strength received through the grace of Christ compensate for mortal weakness?

Point out that after Moroni heard the Lord’s words in verses 26–28, he “was comforted” (Ether 12:29) and he expressed his testimony of the Lord. Invite students to read Ether 12:29–36, looking for Moroni’s declarations of testimony. Encourage them to look for statements that begin with “I know” or “I remember.”

  • Of what truths did Moroni bear testimony?

  • How has your testimony of these truths influenced your life?

Read Ether 12:37 with the class.

  • According to this verse, what blessing would Moroni receive because he had seen his weakness?

  • Think of a weakness you have. How can relying on the Lord help you turn this weakness into a source of spiritual strength? (Allow students to ponder this question silently, without feeling obligated to share their answers.)

Invite a student to read Ether 12:38–41.

  • How does it influence you to know that these teachings came directly from the Lord?

  • What reasons does Moroni give for us to “seek this Jesus”?

Invite students to share how they have gained strength as they have come unto the Savior.

Ether 13:2–12. The New Jerusalem Will Be Built in the Americas

On the board, draw a simple diagram like the one below, but leave off the words New and Old.

Explain that this diagram represents the world. Ask students if they have ever heard of two Jerusalems. If they have, ask where these cities will be located. Explain that Ether 13:2–12 shows Ether’s seership. In these verses, Moroni recounts Ether’s prophecies of the New Jerusalem and the Jerusalem of old. Add the words New and Old to the diagram.

Instruct half of the class to read Ether 13:2–12, looking for Ether’s prophecies about the Jerusalem of old. Instruct the other half of the class to read the same verses, looking for Ether’s prophecies about the New Jerusalem. Ask each group to have a scribe take notes on what they learn. After giving the class sufficient time, invite each scribe to list the prophecies on the board under “Old Jerusalem” or “New Jerusalem.”

The completed board might contain the following information:

Old Jerusalem

  1. 1.

    It would be destroyed (see verse 5).

  2. 2.

    It would be built up again as a holy city of the Lord (see verse 5).

  3. 3.

    It would be built unto the house of Israel (see verse 5).

  4. 4.

    Its inhabitants would be cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see verse 11).

  5. 5.

    The scattered descendants of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem would be gathered (see verse 11).

  6. 6.

    Its inhabitants would receive the fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham (see verse 11).

New Jerusalem

  1. 1.

    It would be built in the Americas (see verses 2–3, 6, 8).

  2. 2.

    It would come down from heaven (see verse 3).

  3. 3.

    It would be the holy sanctuary of the Lord (see verse 3).

  4. 4.

    It would be built unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph (see verse 6).

  5. 5.

    It would be like the Jerusalem of old (see verse 8).

  6. 6.

    Its inhabitants would be cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see verse 10).

For item 3 under “Old Jerusalem,” you may want to point out that the word unto in Ether 13:5 means “for the use or benefit of.” For item 2 under “New Jerusalem,” you may want to point out that the prophecy in Ether 13:3 will be partially fulfilled when the city of Enoch returns to the earth and unites with the New Jerusalem (see also Moses 7:13–21, 62–64).

Ask students which of the blessings of the New Jerusalem are available to us now, wherever we live. Help students see that the more we commit ourselves to righteous living, the more we gain peace and happiness. You might share Doctrine and Covenants 59:23 with them.

Invite students to commit themselves to righteous living each day. Share your testimony about the blessings that come in this life and in the life to come as a result of righteous living.

Ether 14–15. The End of the Jaredite Civilization

Ask if any of the students can summarize the destruction of the Jaredites as recorded in Ether 14–15. If a student is unable to do so, briefly summarize these two chapters yourself or ask a student to read the chapter headings.

Write the following references on the board, and invite students to read them and identify what led to the destruction of the Jaredites.

  • How did Satan get hold of the hearts of these people?

  • What lessons can we learn from the destruction of the Jaredites?