Ether 6:1-12 Life Is a Journey
All is prepared for the Jaredites’ journey and they enter their vessels to cross the great waters. Several elements of their story can be considered symbolic of our lives on earth:
- We follow the Lord’s instructions, we commend ourselves to the Lord, and we embark (verses 2, 4).
- The Lord gives us light so that we will not have to cross the great waters of life in darkness (verses 3, 10).
- The Lord causes a “furious wind” to blow, which tosses us about, buries us in the depths, and creates waves that break upon us; but this same wind gets us to the Lord’s designated destination (verses 5-6).
- In the midst of the “terrible tempests” and the “fierceness of the wind,” we cry unto the Lord and trust in Him; even singing praises unto Him day and night (verses 6-9).
- As we move along, we learn from experience that “no monster” can break us (verse 10).
- The journey may be long, but at the end we will humbly bow down before the Lord and shed tears of joy “because of the multitude of his tender mercies” (verses 11-12).
Ether 6:22-30 A Foreboding Prophecy
Just like Samuel (see 1 Samuel 8) and King Mosiah II (see Mosiah 29), the brother of Jared knew that setting up a monarchy would “surely” lead his people into captivity. In spite of things starting off well (see Ether 6:27-30), the unfolding of Jaredite history proves him right. According to 6:30; 7:27, what was one of the keys to the righteous rule of Orihah and Shule? How can “remembering” help you maintain your righteousness?
Ether 7 A Pattern That Will Be Followed for Many Generations
The words of the brother of Jared (in 6:23) came true in only two generations. Chapter 7 offers a model of things to come throughout the 1,600 years of the Jaredite civilization:
- Orihah was replaced as king by his son Kib, but Kib’s son Corihor rebelled, took his father into captivity, and became king (verses 1-5).
- Corihor’s brother Shule gave battle and took away the kingdom (verses 7-10).
- Corihor’s son Noah rebelled, took over the land, became king, and placed his uncle Shule into captivity (verses 14-17).
- Shule’s sons killed Noah and restored Shule as king (verse 18).
- The sons of Noah built up their own kingdom, causing the country to be divided between Shule and Cohor, the son of Noah (verses 19-20).
- Shule killed Cohor in battle, who was succeeded by his son Nimrod. Nimrod gave his portion of the kingdom back to Shule (verses 21-22).
It is not difficult to see the pattern. The chapter headings for the rest of the book of Ether are not pleasant to read, but they tell the ongoing story, using terms such as usurpation and strife; rival kingdoms; wickedness and idolatry; contention; secret combinations; intrigue and murder; prophets cry repentance; wars and dissensions; a curse upon the land; blood and carnage; millions are slain; mortal combat; utterly destroyed.
As we have seen repeatedly in the Book of Mormon, the Lord sent prophets who called upon the Jaredite people to repent, and warned them of destruction (verse 23). But “the people did revile against the prophets, and did mock them” (verse 24). However, King Shule supported the efforts of the prophets, and finally his people repented (verses 25-26). But it didn’t last.
Ether 8 Moroni’s Warnings to Us
In this chapter we see the monarchy continue to pass from one king to another through violent means and devious conspiracy; including the rise of secret combinations. The results bring many more generations of intrigue, murder, and war among the Jaredites and their reigning families.
In the middle of the story, Moroni speaks directly and forcefully to his latter-day readers. Look for the following:
- Verses 15-25 What are the objectives of secret combinations? What are the results of their activities? (See also 3 Nephi 9:9; Moses 5:28-33.)
- Verses 22-25 What warnings and admonitions did Moroni give us?
- Verse 26 What four great purposes of the Book of Mormon did Moroni identify in verse 26? How do these purposes bless you personally?
Ether 9-11 There’s Always Hope Through Faith and Repentance
The record recounts occasional episodes of righteous leaders and their people, such as Emer and his son Coriantum (see 9:15-23), but not long after them “an exceedingly great wickedness” prevailed once again (verse 26). This, as always, is followed by prophets “crying repentance” (verse 28), “but the people believed not the words of the prophets, but they cast them out” (verse 29). This same pattern continues in chapters 10-11.
In chapter 11, look for what Moroni wrote just before and right after the words because of, in verses 7, 15, and 22. Things got bad: “The brother of Shiblom caused that all the prophets who prophesied of the destruction of the people should be put to death” (verse 5). But there is always hope, for remarkably and thankfully, this circumstance was followed by: “And the people began to repent [and] the Lord did have mercy on them” (verse 8).
“Fear Not” and “Be Not Troubled”
The most frightening of Moroni’s warnings include: “Whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; [therefore] suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, … awake to a sense of your awful situation” (Ether 8:22-24). Surely, our only safety is in following our living prophets, as we strive to love and obey our living God.
In the October 2018 general conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve taught:
“The Lord knew that at times we would feel fear. I have been there and so have you, which is why the scriptures are replete with the Lord’s counsel: ‘Be of good cheer, and do not fear’ (D&C 68:6).… ‘Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not’ (D&C 6:36). ‘Fear not, little flock’ (D&C 6:34).… No matter how much wickedness and chaos fill the earth, we are promised by our daily faithfulness in Jesus Christ the ‘peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7).
“… Remember, ‘they that be with us’ on both sides of the veil, those who love the Lord with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, ‘are more than they that be with them’ (2 Kings 6:16). If we actively trust in the Lord and His ways, if we are engaged in His work, we will not fear the trends of the world or be troubled by them…. The battles will rage on, but we will face them with the Spirit of the Lord…. Yes, we live in perilous times, but as we stay on the covenant path, we need not fear.”