"Never Has Man Believed in Me As Thou Hast"
Lesson 45 - Ether 1-6
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, ĎThe name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown [or revealed] it to me.í Elder William F. Cahoon...heard the Prophet make this statement to his father; and this was the first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation (George Reynolds, "The Jaredites," Juvenile Instructor, 1 May 1892, 282).
This lesson discusses the brother of Jared, Mahonri Moriancumer, of whom the Lord said, "Never has man believed in me as thou hast" (Ether 3:15). Because of his faith, the Jaredites were blessed to have their language preserved after the tower of Babel, and they were guided safely to the promised land. His example can increase our understanding of the importance and power of faith.
The Lord granted the requests of the brother of Jared.
The prophet Ether wrote the record of the Jaredites, who left Babylon when the Lord confounded the language of the people attempting to build the tower of Babel . Ether wrote this record on 24 gold plates, which were later found by the people of Limhi (Mosiah 8:7-11). The book of Ether contains Moroniís abridgment of Etherís record. When the people were scattered and their language was confounded, Jared asked his brother to go to the Lord.
Ether 1:34 This verse tells us that the brother of Jared was a man of imposing physical presence--large and strong --and more importantly, he was highly favored of the Lord, so it must have appeared to Jared that his brother might more easily gain a desired blessing from the Lord.
Ether 1:34-39 In response to requests from Jared, the brother of Jared "did cry unto the Lord".
Alma 34:17-28 These verses give us some instruction that is helpful in understanding the difference between "crying unto the Lord" and merely saying prayers. We can make our prayers more effective if we exercise faith that motivates us to be more faithful, diligent, and obedient in our lives; more sincere and completely honest and humble in our prayers; more conscious of the Lord in each moment of our daily life; and more loving and mindful of our fellow men in our daily actions.
Ether 1:35, 37, 40 Each time the brother of Jared prayed, the Lord "had compassion" on him and his people, answering pleas to retain their language, remain together as an extended family, and be guided to wherever the Lord desired them to go.
Pause and consider how you have felt the Lordís compassion in response to your prayers.
Ether 1:41-42 Preparations the Lord instructed the people to make included gathering the resources that would provide their livelihood--flocks and seeds--and their family and those they considered "friends" along with their friends' families.
Ether 1:43 The reason the Lord promised to guide the Jaredites to a promised land was their constancy in prayer. Note the Lordís words:"This long time ye have cried unto me."
We learn from this example that if our prayers are consistent, sincere, humble, and based on faith and willingness to obey, the Lord will answer our righteous desires.
The Jaredites began their journey to the promised land.
Ether 2:7 The Lord promised to lead the Jaredites to "the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands".
Ether 2:7 The Lord preserved that choice land for a "righteous" people.
Ether 2:8 The Lord gave a stern warning to the brother of Jared regarding the promised land that if they did not serve Him--the true and only God--that they would be swept off the promised land.
Ether 2:9-12 Moroni noted that the decrees of God pertaining to the land of promise were a warning and promise for all people who would inhabit the Americas, not just the Jaredites.
Ether 2:13 When they arrived at the seashore, the Jaredites pitched their tents and stayed there for four years. At the end of the four years, the Lord spoke with the brother of Jared.
Ether 2:14 The Lord chastened Mahonri Moriancumer because he had failed to pray unto the Lord.
Ponder why you might sometimes neglect to call upon the Lord.
Ether 2:15-17 The brother of Jared repented and began building barges to cross the sea.
Ether 2:19 The brother of Jared encountered three major problems after the barges were built--lack of illumination, lack of ability to steer the vessels, and lack of a ventilation system to allow them to breathe.
Ether 2:20 The Lord instructed the brother of Jared to cut holes in the bottoms and tops of the barges to have fresh air to breathe by capturing it when the barges were floating on the surface of the water.
Ether 2:23-25 When the brother of Jared asked how to light the barges, the Lord's response was to assure him that the Lord would control the winds and the waves, but He asked the brother of Jared for a suggestion as to how to illuminate the barges' interiors since windows and fire wouldn't be possible.
What can we learn from the Lordís response and why is it important to do all we can in addition to asking the Lord for help? Elder Russell M. Nelson said that he has often heard President Gordon B. Hinckley say, "I donít know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work" (Ensign, Nov. 1997, 16).
The brother of Jared saw Jesus Christ.
Ether 3:1-5 The brother of Jared proposed to solve the problem of lighting the barges by having the Lord "prepare" the stones to "shine forth in darkness" by simply touching them with His finger. This demonstrated his humility and faith. Review these verses and identify words or phrases spoken by the brother of Jared that show his humility and faith.
Ether 3:6 When the brother of Jared had finished speaking, the Lord touched the stones one by one with His finger.
Ether 3:6-8 The brother of Jared was very frightened when he saw the finger of the Lord because he thought he might be smitten for learning that the Lord's body was very similar to mortal man's.
Ether 3:9 The Lord said that the faith of the brother of Jared exceeded that of any man who had come before Him.
Ether 3:11 The Lord asked if the brother of Jared believed His words before showing Himself to this faithful mortal.
Ether 3:12 The response of the brother of Jared demonstrated the depth of his faith because he accepted the Lordís words even before he had heard them. Think about what you might do to follow his example.
Ether 3:13-14 The Lord described Himself to the brother of Jared as being the Savior chosen in the pre-mortal existence, gave the name by which he would be called in mortality and by his followers, described his positions as both Father and Son, declared that all men could have light through faith in Him, and taught that those who believe in Him would become his sons and daughters in eternity.
It was necessary for the brother of Jared to exhibit complete faith and an unfailing testimony of God to be in the Lordís presence. Ponder what is necessary for you to be in the Lordís presence eternally.
Ether 3:15-18, 25-26 The Lord showed the brother of Jared the body of his spirit that the bodies of men were created in the image of, and then He showed him all the inhabitants of the earth throughout all time.
Ether 3:21-24, 27-28; Ether 4:1 After he had seen these things, the Lord instructed the brother of Jared to treasure these sacred things and not show them to any man, but that when the brother of Jared shall "come unto me [the Lord]", he would write down what he saw and it would be preserved until the Lord wanted it to come forth and then it would be understood by using the two sacred seer stones that would accompany the record.
Moroni sealed up the writings of the brother of Jared.
Ether 4:4 Moroni described the vision of the brother of Jared by saying that greater things had never been revealed.
Ether 4:3, 5 The Lord command Moroni to seal up the brother of Jaredís record and the interpreters and hide them in the earth.
Ether 4:6-7 We will be able to receive these records when we have faith as great as the brother of Jaredís and become sanctified.
Ether 4:8, 10, 12 The Lord taught that those who deny His words at the last day will be cursed for denying his words, his disciples, the Savior, and the Father.
Ether 4:11 The blessings of manifestations of the Spirit and a knowledge of God will come to those who believe the Lordís words.
Ether 4:13-14 The Lord exhorted the Gentiles and the house of Israel to come unto Him and receive great blessings and knowledge.
Ether 4:15, 18 He said that to come unto Him, we must exercise faith in Christ, repent, accept and honor the baptismal covenants, and call upon the Father with a broken heart and contrite spirit.
Ether 4:15-19 He promised the blessing of eternal life to those who do these things.
The Jaredites traveled to the promised land.
Ether 6:1-12 These verses continue the record of the Jaredites as they journeyed to the promised land. The Jareditesí journey to the promised land can be likened to our journey through life.
Ether 6:3 The Lord caused the stones in the barges "to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children".
Consider what "lights" the Lord has provided for us as we journey through life--the scriptures, the prophets, and the companionship of the spirit might appear on your list of "lights".
Ether 6:4 The Jaredites entrusted themselves to the Lord after they had prepared all they could for their journey.
Ether 6:8-9 As the winds blew and the Jaredites were driven forth, the Jaredites sang hymns of praise and thanked the Lord throughout the day and night.
Ether 6:12 When the Jaredites arrived in the promised land, they bowed down and gave thanks to the Lord.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "The brother of Jared may not have had great belief in himself, but his belief in God was unprecedented. In that there is hope for us all. His faith was without doubt or limit. ...Once and for all it was declared that ordinary people with ordinary challenges could rend the veil of unbelief and enter the realms of eternity" (Christ and the New Covenant , 29).