Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ether 2

Moroni's purpose in adding the Book of Ether to his father's record is stated clearly in chapter 2. He inserts his editorial comment in the story of Jared and his brother and warns that those who dwell in the promised land (this land in the Americas) must serve the god of this land who is Jesus Christ.

11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

After this explanation, Moroni returns to Jared and his people. They were led to the shore of the ocean where they remained for four years. There immediate problems with the confusion in Babel solved, they apparently found a place of plenty and peace and settled in to enjoy themselves. But where the brother and Jared received great promises before "because this long time ye have cried unto me," he now has the experience where God "chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." This chastening went on for three hours.

When we face crises, most people turn to God in prayer, pleading for relief from suffering, fear, and want. But when we are blessed with plenty, we sometimes forget to thank God and continue to call on Him. There may be no atheists in foxholes, but there are many in palaces.

After humbling himself, the brother of Jared received and followed instructions to build barges of unique design as shown him through revelation. There were two issues with the barges -- they were closed so Jared asked God how they were supposed to get air and light in their passage over the seas. God told him directly how to solve the problem of air circulation. But then instead of just giving the brother of Jared the answer to his concern about light, God asked him to come up with a solution. "
Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" (v. 25)

One of the great spiritual experiences of all recorded scripture occurred as the brother of Jared worked on this question. We need to use the mind God has given us and pray and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as we face problems. As we struggle to come up with solutions to problems we face, our spirits stretch and grow. Our capacity to receive revelation expands. God asked the brother of Jared to come up with a solution to the problem of darkness in the barges so that he could grow.

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