Ether 7-11

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 260–263


Introduction

The families of Jared and his brother and friends flourished in the promised land. Ether 7–11 is a very condensed account of this people. The Jaredites experienced many of the same successes and failures as the Nephites and Lamanites. They were blessed when they were obedient and were punished when disobedient. They prospered under righteous kings and suffered under wicked ones. Prophets in their midst foretold their utter destruction if they refused to repent. These prophets were often rejected and killed. The people built up secret combinations according to the ancient oaths, which led to their destruction. Eventually they were destroyed by civil war.

Moroni’s abridgment of the book of Ether generally follows the descendants of Jared who reigned as kings throughout the long Jaredite history. Ether, who tells the story of the tragic end of the Jaredite nation, was of the lineage of these kings.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 139–42.

Suggestions for Teaching

Ether 7–15. Those who seek after money or power unrighteously can divide communities and nations and bring violence, misery, and death to themselves and those around them. (90–100 minutes)

Note: This overview can be taught over more than one day if necessary. If you are short on time, consider dividing the study questions in the table among groups of students and having them report their findings to the class. Or use this overview in your personal study as you prepare to teach the rest of the book of Ether.

Draw a crown on the board. Ask students: If you could be king or queen for a day, how would you use your power? List responses on the board. After some discussion, ask who would be benefited by each response listed on the board. Ask: With all that power available to you, what might make it difficult to be a good queen or king?

Read Ether 6:19–23 and discuss the following questions:

  • Why did Jared and his brother gather their people together?

  • What did their people request of them?

  • What prophetic concern did the brother of Jared express?

  • What examples of this have we already seen in the Book of Mormon?

Write the following instructions on the board:

    Write the following instructions on the board:

  1. 1.

    List the name of each king mentioned in your scripture block. Write whether he was righteous or wicked.

  2. 2.

    Write whether each king reigned in a time of war or peace and whether that king lived in captivity.

Display the accompanying chart on an overhead projector, or give students copies as a handout. Have them work through the study questions and suggestions on the chart as they complete the two instructions listed on the board.

Ether 7

•Read verses 23–27. What happened to the prophets during the reign of Shule?

•Why did Shule “execute judgment in righteousness”? (v. 27).

Ether 8

•Read verses 7–22. Mark the words and phrases that describe secret combinations.

•Read verses 23–26. What did Moroni say about secret combinations to the Gentiles living in the last days?

Ether 9

•Read verses 12–25. List the blessings that came to the righteous Jaredites.

•Read verses 26–35. What curse came upon the land?

•Why did it come?

•Why were some preserved by the Lord?

Ether 10

•Read verses 9–13. Was Morianton a good king or a bad king? Why?

•Read verses 18–28. Why were the people “prospered by the hand of the Lord” during the reign of Lib?

Ether 11

•Read chapter 11 and identify the prophets’ prophecies.

•How did the people react to the prophets and their messages?

•Why did they treat the prophets the way they did?

•What can we learn from this chapter that can help us today?

Ether 12

•Read verses 1–6. What did Ether do to try to keep the people from following a course of destruction?

Ether 13

•Read verses 20–22. Compare Ether’s prophecy to Coriantumr with what Mormon said about the Nephites in Mormon 6:16–19.

Ether 14

•Read verses 8–10, 24–25. Explain how the Jaredites fulfilled Moroni’s prophecy in Ether 8:22.

Ether 15

•Read verses 29–34. What do you think is the most important thing you have learned from the book of Ether?

Have students share with the class what they wrote in response to the two instructions on the board.

weekly iconEther 7–11. If we heed the words of the prophets, we will be blessed, but if we reject them we will be cut off from the Lord’s blessings. (45–50 minutes)

Show an empty prescription medicine container to the class. Ask them to identify what you are holding. Ask if they have ever needed prescription medicine. Read the instructions on the container and ask:

  • Why do doctors give directions on how to use medicine?

  • Why is it important to use medicine as directed?

  • What could happen if you don’t follow the directions?

  • What directions have we received from the Lord that could have bad results if we don’t follow them?

Review the account of how King Mosiah obtained the twenty-four gold plates containing the book of Ether (see Mosiah 8; 21:25–28; 28:10–16). Have students read Mosiah 28:17–19, and discuss the following questions:

  • What did King Mosiah do with the plates?

  • What did the plates contain?

  • How did Mosiah’s people respond to this account?

  • According to Mormon, why would this account be written later? (see v. 19).

  • How can Mormon’s statement be likened to a doctor’s instructions on prescription medicine?

Explain to students that today they will discover some reasons “it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in” the book of Ether. Draw the following chart on the board (leave off the suggested answers in the “Warning Label” column). Divide the class into three groups and assign each group one of the sets of verses in the “Scripture References” column.

Scripture References

“Warning Label”

Ether 6:22–23; 7:4–7, 15–21; 8:1–10; 9:4–12; 10:5–8

Leaders who seek power in an unrighteous way bring captivity, death, and sorrow to their people.

Ether 7:23–27; 9:20–29; 11:5–8, 12–13, 20–22; 13:20; 15:1–3; D&C 1:10–16

We must listen to the prophets’ warnings or suffer destruction.

Ether 8:9–26; 9:4–6, 11–12, 26; 10:33–34; 11:7, 15, 22; 13:15; 14:8–10; 15:1–2

Because secret combinations can ruin whole nations, they must be destroyed.

Have the groups find the warning in their verses and write it on a piece of paper. Invite a spokesperson from each group to share their “warning label,” and write it next to that group’s verses on the chart. Have a student read the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“We live in a world of turmoil where we find sadness and destruction in every corner, much of which is brought about by man’s failure to listen to the words of the true prophets of God. How different would the lives have been of those who lived in all dispensations if they had listened to the prophet Moses and followed the Ten Commandments?

“There has always been a desperate need for the steady and reassuring voice of a living prophet of God—one who will speak the mind and will of God in showing the way to spiritual safety and personal peace and happiness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 17; or Ensign, May 1995, 15).

Discuss how this statement relates to the Jaredite experience. Sing or read “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (Hymns, no. 21).

Ether 8:20–26. Secret combinations are groups of people who use any means necessary to get power and gain and who support each other in their wickedness. Secret combinations were started by Satan and have existed since Cain killed Abel. If supported by the people, secret combinations can result in the destruction of entire nations. (30–35 minutes)

Note: Review the teaching suggestions for Helaman 1:1–22, 27; 2:1–14 (pp. 195–96) and Helaman 8:1–10; 11:1–2, 24–34 (pp. 201–2) as well as the commentary for Ether 8:23–26 in Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122 (p. 140) as you prepare to teach this suggestion.

Write on the board the words nuclear bombs, armies, and secrets. Ask: Which of these three items has the greatest power to destroy a nation? Why? Invite students to read Ether 8:18 and tell how it relates to the items listed on the board.

Read Ether 8:20–22 looking for Moroni’s warning about the destructive power of secret combinations. Ask:

  • What nations have been destroyed by secret combinations? What nations will be destroyed by them in the future? (see v. 22).

  • Why are these combinations able to exist and grow?

  • Why are nations that uphold secret combinations destroyed?

  • What possible examples of secret combinations can you identify in the world today?

Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The Book of Mormon teaches that secret combinations engaged in crime present a serious challenge, not just to individuals and families but to entire civilizations. Among today’s secret combinations are gangs, drug cartels, and organized crime families. The secret combinations of our day function much like the Gadianton robbers of the Book of Mormon times. They have secret signs and code words. They participate in secret rites and initiation ceremonies. Among their purposes are to ‘murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God’ [Helaman 6:23]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 51; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 38).

Discuss the following questions:

  • How are secret combinations today like the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon?

  • What makes secret combinations so dangerous to our way of life?

  • How does secrecy give power to these combinations?

  • What kind of support would a secret organization have if it were open about its purposes?

Tell students that Moroni gave a warning to the people of our day. Read Ether 8:23–25 and discuss the following questions:

  • What will happen to those nations that allow these combinations to “get above” them? (v. 23).

  • Why do you think a nation is in an “awful situation” (v. 24) when it has secret combinations in its midst?

  • What is the intent of those who build up these combinations?

  • Who is the source of secret combinations?

Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society (see D&C 1:14–16, 84:49–53). It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 103; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 87).

Discuss the following questions:

  • When you consider these statements by Moroni and President Benson, what concerns do you have?

  • Why should we seek to be more aware of organizations and powers in the world today?

  • What do you think we can do to overcome secret combinations?

Read Ether 8:26 and discuss why Moroni gave us this warning about secret combinations. The following questions might help your discussion:

  • How can knowing the truth about secret combinations help people do away with evil?

  • How can exposing Satan as the source of secret combinations help decrease his “power upon the hearts of the children of men”?

  • How can persuading people to “come unto the fountain of all righteousness” help them overcome the influence of secret combinations?