February 15, 2013 by FHElessons
Here is the first installment in the Scripture Stories series. I’m beginning with the Book of Mormon, and I’m thinking I will probably go in fairly chronological order. For a complete timeline of all the stories from the Book of Mormon, see my introductory post HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
This first story was summarized by my sister, Emily. She has an awesome blog about crafting, home décor, mothering, and all things homemaking. It’s called Remarkable Home, and you can check it out HERE.
I mentioned in my introductory post that the scripture stories would be summarized and would have a little lesson at the end. In her summary, Emily kind of included the lesson within the body of the story, pointing out things that could be learned from each aspect of the story as she told it. I will highlight the “lesson” elements within the story so that you can choose to include them or not as you tell the story. I have also added some Points to Ponder at the end. These are discussion questions that you can ask your family after telling the story. As you talk, you can guide the discussion, bear testimony, and teach your family.
By the way, I wish I were an artist and could draw awesome pictures to illustrate all these stories, but since I’m not, we’ll have to content ourselves with the artwork available on lds.org. For any pictures I use, you can click on the picture to be taken to lds.org, where you can print the picture for your personal use or use it in a slide show for your family. Enjoy!
picture from lds.org media library
The Brother of Jared and the Stones of Light
found in Ether 1-6 in the Book of Mormon
Summarized by Emily
At the time of the Tower of Babel in the Bible there was a man named Jared. Jared had a brother, referred to as “The Brother of Jared”, but who has been named “Mahonri Moriancumer” through a revelation given to Joseph Smith. We know that the world was very wicked at the time of the tower of Babel, and in his wrath God decided to confound all their language and scatter the people upon the face of the land. Jared, being a righteous man, asked his brother to plead with the Lord not to confound the language of their families. The Brother of Jared went and asked this of the Lord and “the Lord had compassion upon Jared” and he did not confound the language of Jared and his brother and their families.
Then Jared told his brother to cry unto the Lord and ask if He would not confound the language of their friends’ families as well. Again, the Brother of Jared pleaded with the Lord to not confound the language of their friends’ families, and “the Lord had compassion” and did not confound their language either.
Again, Jared asked his brother to cry unto the Lord and ask Him if He was going to drive them out of the land and that if he was going to drive them out, to ask the Lord where they would go. He was hopeful that the Lord would send them to a land which was choice above all other lands and that they could be righteous and have it for their inheritance. So, again, the Brother of Jared asked this of the Lord and “the Lord did hear the brother of Jared, and had compassion upon him.” And he told him to gather together their flocks, male and female of every kind, and also every kind of seed, and their families and friends. He told them once everything and everyone were gathered to lead them up north into the valley and that He would meet them there to lead them to “a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth.” (Ether 1:42)
The Lord said that in that land he would bless them and their seed and would raise up the greatest nation of the earth from their seed. And the Lord said, “thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me.” (Ether 1:43) So, in essence, the brother of Jared’s diligent prayer resulted in great blessings for his family and friends.I am not sure why Jared himself didn’t ask these things of the Lord. I suspect the brother of Jared was the patriarch of the family. The scriptures say that he was “highly favored of the Lord.” He probably had a good track record of communicating with the Lord on behalf of his family. And maybe Jared didn’t feel he had enough faith to ask these things of the Lord himself but believed that if his brother asked, the Lord would grant these blessings.
So the brother of Jared led everyone into the valley (which was called Nimrod). They took all the animals and seeds and things they needed for the journey. They even caught birds to take and made a vessel to hold live fish to take with them. And they took “deseret”, which mean honey bees. Basically, a mini Noah’s ark type of deal.
Once they got to the valley with all their gear, the Lord did come and talk to the brother of Jared like he said he would. He was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared couldn’t see him. Then the Lord told them to go into a part of the wilderness where no man had ever been, and He guided them and led them there in the cloud. To get there they had to build barges and cross many waters, “being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.” (Ether 2:6)
Once they got to the sea in the wilderness the Lord had them stop. He was going to have them cross the ocean to get to the land of promise, “which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.” (Ether 2:7) And the Lord told the brother of Jared that whoever was going to possess the land of promise had better be righteous and should serve the Lord or they would be swept from the Land of Promise. The land referred to and to which they will travel is the American continent. There are a few scriptures here which talk about how those who possess this land must remain righteous and serve the Lord or they will be destroyed. (Ether 2:7-12)
So, here they are by the sea where they pitch their tents, and they are waiting for the Lord to show them how to cross it. They named this place Moriancumer (obviously after Jared and his brother). They dwelt in tents here for four years. And after four years, the Lord came and stood in a cloud again and talked with the brother of Jared for three hours. He chastened him because “he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.” It doesn’t say why he had stopped praying, but maybe he was discouraged and angry at the Lord for leading them into the wilderness and leaving them for so long, or maybe they were happy and content there and hadn’t had a great need to call upon the Lord for help. People today often fall into these traps and forget to or decide not to pray.
So, after the Lord scolded him for not praying, the brother of Jared repented. The Lord forgave him and then reminded him that he better shape up or he would be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
The Lord then instructs him to build barges. The barges (eight of them) were built to be small and light upon the water and water tight. They were built to be able to go underneath the water at times, so they had a water tight top, not just sides and a bottom like a ship. Once they got them built, the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord and told him that they had completed the barges according to the Lord’s instructions, but that there was no light in them. He also said there was no air in them, except for the air already in them and that they wouldn’t be able to breathe in them. He asked him what to do to solve these problems. The Lord told him to make a hole in the top and in the bottom with stoppers to plug them, and when they needed air they could open up the hole to get air.
So, the brother of Jared put the holes in and then went back to the Lord and asked the Lord again about the light and if He intended them to cross the ocean in darkness. And the Lord said to him, “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” (Ether 2:23) The Lord told him that these would be going under the water like a whale and that the Lord would bring them up again. The Lord told them that He had prepared them to be able to cross this great ocean in this manner, and then He asked the brother of Jared again what he wanted the Lord to do so that they could have light while they were under the ocean.
This is a great example in the scriptures of how Heavenly Father wants us to put forth effort in solving our own problems and in receiving revelation from Him about how to solve our problems. He could have easily told the brother of Jared what to do, just like he had for the air. But instead, he told him to go figure it out and come up with a plan, and then He would help him accomplish it. This is what He wants us to do as well. He doesn’t want to solve all our problems. He wants us to do our best and then use him to complete the parts we can’t do without Him.
So, the brother of Jared came up with a plan. He went up into the mountain and did “molten out of a rock sixteen small stones.” (Ether 3:1) Again, he did work. He could have just picked up 16 rocks, but instead he moltened them. I imagine they were similar to glass as it says they were “white and clear, even as transparent glass.” You don’t find smooth, glass-like stones in nature. He had to make the stones through hard work. Once he had them ready he went to the top of the mountain and asked the Lord to touch the stones to make them light. As he was asking Him, he confessed his weakness and unworthiness before the Lord. He was very humble in his asking. We need to be humble when we bring our problems and proposed solutions to the Lord. So, he humbly asked the Lord to touch the stones with his finger to make them light. And he demonstrated his great faith. He said, “Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.” (Ether 3:5)
Then the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from the eyes of the brother of Jared so that he actually saw the finger of the Lord. “…and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood.” (Ether 3:6) So here we learn that the Lord is like us, flesh and blood.
After Jared saw the Lord’s finger, he was scared that he would be smitten by the Lord because he saw it. The Lord told him that it was because of his faith that he saw the Lord’s finger. “…and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger.” (Ether 3:9) Then the Lord asks the brother of Jared if he saw more than His finger, and Jared tells Him that he didn’t. But he asks that the Lord show Himself unto him. The Lord then asks him if he will believe the words which he will speak to him and the brother of Jared says that he will because he knows He is a God of truth and can’t lie. So, here we learn another thing about the nature of God-that He can’t lie.
The Lord then shows his whole self to the brother of Jared. He tells him that he is Jesus Christ, who will be the Redeemer of the world. He tells him He has never shown Himself unto a man that He has created before. The Lord goes on to teach the brother of Jared about Himself and His mission and role on Earth. He also ministered unto him as he ministered unto the Nephites. Moroni tells us that the brother of Jared no longer had faith in the Lord, but that he had a perfect knowledge because he had seen the Lord.
Now that they have light for the barges, the Jaredites pack up food and provisions along with all their animals and board their ships. The Lord causes a furious wind to blow them across the ocean. They are sometimes tossed upon the waves of the sea and sometimes buried in its depths, but still they sing praises unto the Lord during their journey. After 344 days, they arrive at the Promised Land, where they bow themselves down and shed tears of joy.
An interesting point: Moroni, who recounts the story for us, tells us that he can not make a full account of the things which the Lord told to the brother of Jared. The Lord had told the brother of Jared that the things which He had taught and shown him were not to go unto the world until the time Jesus was glorified in the flesh. He also told the brother of Jared he would write the things he had experienced in a language that could not be read by others, and He and gave him the Urim and Thummim to keep with the writings. The Lord then shows him all the people who ever live on the Earth from the beginning to the end. The brother of Jared had such great faith that the Lord could not withhold anything from him and showed all things unto him. Then the Lord told the brother of Jared to write it all down and seal it up with the Urim and Thummim and that He would show them to whom He wanted at the right time.
When the writings and Urim and Thummim come to King Mosiah many years later, the Lord commands Mosiah to keep the stories secret until after Christ manifests himself to the people in America. This is mostly because of the secret works of darkness that happen later in the book, but more on that in the next story. When Moroni abridges the story for inclusion in the Book of Mormon, he is also instructed to seal up the plates and the Urim and Thummim because those who are left in the land at that time are unrighteous.
I love this story of the brother of Jared. I love his faith. I love how the Lord teaches him. I love that he saw the Lord’s finger and the Lord was surprised by that. I love the idea of the Lord touching the stones to make them light and how he can touch us to make us light, too.
Points to Ponder:
- Does the Lord answer prayers?
- Who is allowed to pray and expect answers?
- What kind of power does faith have?
- What quality is important for us to have when we pray? (humility)
- What do we learn about the purpose of the American continent from this story?
- Can you imagine spending almost a year in a boat that was sealed up tight with all your animals and everything? What must that voyage have been like?
- What do we learn about the nature of God?
- What does the Lord expect from us when we go to Him for help with our problems?
- What is the difference between faith and knowledge?
- Why would the Lord keep a certain record from a people? What does this tell us about the importance of the records that we have?
To read the next story, the Jaredites and What Became of Them, click HERE.