The account of the Jaredites’ journey to the promised land contains principles that can guide us in our journey through mortality toward eternal life. Remember that the records contained in the Book of Mormon were written for our day As we study and prepare to learn, look through these scriptural accounts for principles that can strengthen you and your families to face the challenges in your lives.
Imagine that these chapters were being made into a movie; what phrase from Ether 6–11 would you suggest as a title?
History and Background Ether 6–11
In Ether 6–10, Moroni told of the Jaredites’ journey across the ocean to the promised land. He then summarized the reigns of several generations of kings, contrasting periods of righteousness with periods of wickedness and conflict. Moroni observed many similarities between the Jaredites and his own people, the Nephites. He described the cycle of pride, prosperity, wickedness, and repentance that he had seen in the two nations. He outlined the grave danger we put ourselves in when we allow pride and secret combinations to get control in our society. Both the Nephite and the Jaredite civilizations illustrate the truth that what we sow, we shall reap. Following the Lord brings happiness while straying from His commandments brings strife and misery.
Ether 6 After making preparations according to the commandments of the Lord, the Jaredites boarded their vessels, trusting that the Lord would bring them through their difficult journey to the promised land. The Lord sent a wind that tossed the barges on the waves and buried them in the sea many times, yet that wind propelled the vessels toward the promised land. Upon establishing themselves in the new land, the people chose a king, despite warnings from the brother of Jared.
Ether 7–11 The brother of Jared was saddened by his people’s request to be led by a king. He said, “Surely this thing leadeth into captivity” Ether 6:23. His prophecy was fulfilled two generations later. During the reigns of many kings, the Jaredites went through several cycles of hearkening to the prophets and living in righteousness and then rejecting the prophets and living in wickedness.
Part One Ether 6:1–12 The Lord will guide us through our mortal journey.
This week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families suggests comparing the Jaredites’ voyage across the sea to our journey through mortality.
**Points to Ponder:
- What do you think it means that the Jaredites embarked on their journey “commending themselves unto the Lord their God” Ether 6:4?
- Why might it have been difficult to trust in the Lord in this situation?
- What do you think would have been difficult about traveling in a Jaredite barge?
- What do you think the phrase “mountain waves” Ether 6:6 means? How do you think you would have felt if you had been in a Jaredite barge when such a wave caused it to be “buried in the depths of the sea”? (Remember that the Jaredites had to wait for their barges to surface before they could unplug a hole and receive air.)
- How did the Jaredites show their trust in the Lord as they crossed the sea? Ether 6:7, 9.
- According to Ether 6:11, how long did the Jaredites travel this way?
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1 And now I, Moroni, proceed to give the record of Jared and his brother.
2 For it came to pass after the Lord had prepared the stones which the brother of Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth the stones into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels.
3 And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.
4 And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.
12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.
Do you find details about the voyage that could have symbolic meaning (such as the shining stones, the barges, and the wind)
What might these symbols represent in our lives? For example, what is our “promised land”? verse 8. How does God guide us on our journey? (see the verse above or click the link)
How does turning to God helps us grow through our trials? The Lord provides light for us during our journey through mortality. Trials and adversity can propel us toward eternal life. If we sincerely pray, God can lift us above trials and adversity.
Our trials prepare us to receive eternal life
Speaking in a general conference during the difficult years of World War II, Elder Charles A. Callis of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “We are told that when the Jaredites in their barges set forth for this land of promise, fierce and terrible tempests prevailed. The winds blew and they were in imminent danger all the while on that perilous journey. God sustained them. And we read that although these gales and tempests raged, holding destruction in their wake, that the wind was continually blowing toward the Promised Land. And these adversities through which we are passing, these terrible wars and all the horrible things that are prevailing, are in the power of God. He can stop them when He chooses, when His divine purposes are fulfilled. But let us not forget that through this sea of trouble, our adversities, the experiences through which we pass and which God will make work together for our good, if we will obey Him—all these are blowing us forward to the haven of rest, to a glorious future, to eternal life” (Conference Report, Apr. 1943, 62).
What did the Jaredites do when they “were encompassed about by many waters”? verse 7. (see verse above or click the link)
How did the way they responded to their trials help them progress toward their “promised land”?
How did the Lord help them through their struggles?
Based on what you have learned from the Jaredites’ journey, what will the Lord do for us as we trust in Him and do His will? As we trust in the Lord and do His will, He will direct the course of our lives and lead us to eternal life.
President Thomas S. Monson taught how we can be prepared for the challenges that face us: “We live at a time when many in the world have slipped from the moorings of safety found in compliance with the commandments. It is a time of permissiveness, with society in general routinely disregarding and breaking the laws of God. We often find ourselves swimming against the current, and sometimes it seems as though the current could carry us away. I am reminded of the words of the Lord found in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Said the Lord, ‘Ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come’ [Ether 2:25]. My brothers and sisters, He has prepared us. If we heed His words and live the commandments, we will survive this time of permissiveness and wickedness—a time which can be compared with the waves and the winds and the floods that can destroy. He is ever mindful of us. He loves us and will bless us as we do what is right” (Thomas S. Monson, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 109).
Part Two Ether 6:7–18, 30; 9:28–35; 10:1–2 The Lord blesses us when we are humble.
Although much of the story of the Jaredites illustrates the negative consequences of pride and wickedness, it also includes periods of humility and prosperity that we can learn from. Look in these verses for evidence that the Jaredites had humbled themselves—or were humbled by their circumstances—and how the Lord blessed them as a result.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being atight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the bark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were adriven forth before the wind.
9 And they did asing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did bthank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
11 And thus they were driven forth, athree hundred and forty and four days upon the water.
12 And they did aland upon the shore of the bpromised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his ctender mercies over them.
13 And it came to pass that they went forth upon the face of the land, and began to till the earth.
14 And Jared had four asons; and they were called Jacom, and Gilgah, and Mahah, and Orihah.
15 And the brother of Jared also begat sons and daughters.
16 And the afriends of Jared and his brother were in number about twenty and two souls; and they also begat sons and daughters before they came to the promised land; and therefore they began to be many.
17 And they were taught to awalk humbly before the Lord; and they were also btaught from on high.
18 And it came to pass that they began to spread upon the face of the land, and to multiply and to till the earth; and they did wax strong in the land.
28 And there came prophets in the land again, crying repentance unto them—that they must prepare the way of the Lord or there should come a curse upon the face of the land; yea, even there should be a great famine, in which they should be destroyed if they did not repent.
29 But the people believed not the words of the prophets, but they cast them out; and some of them they cast into pits and left them to perish. And it came to pass that they did all these things according to the commandment of the king, Heth.
30 And it came to pass that there began to be a great dearth upon the land, and the inhabitants began to be destroyed exceedingly fast because of the dearth, for there was no rain upon the face of the earth.
31 And there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla.
32 And it came to pass that there were many of them which did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the land southward.
33 And it came to pass that the Lord did cause the serpents that they should pursue them no more, but that they should hedge up the way that the people could not pass, that whoso should attempt to pass might fall by the poisonous serpents.
34 And it came to pass that the people did follow the course of the beasts, and did devour the carcasses of them which fell by the way, until they had devoured them all. Now when the people saw that they must perish they began to repent of their iniquities and cry unto the Lord.
35 And it came to pass that when they had humbled themselves sufficiently before the Lord he did send rain upon the face of the earth; and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine.
1 And it came to pass that Shez, who was a descendant of Heth—for aHeth had perished by the famine, and all his household save it were Shez—wherefore, Shez began to build up again a broken people.
2 And it came to pass that Shez did remember the destruction of his fathers, and he did build up a righteous kingdom; for he remembered what the Lord had done in bringing Jared and his brother aacross the deep; and he did walk in the ways of the Lord; and he begat sons and daughters.
How does being humble help us draw closer to God? If we humble ourselves and exercise faith in the Lord, then He will make weak things become strong unto us bringing more in tune with Him allowing the spirit to strive with us always.
The thing about being humble is that when we recognize our inability to do it all ourselves and rely on and trust in God, our relationship with him becomes individually unique, and not only are we led here in this life, but we will be led safely home eternally.
To be humble is to recognize gratefully our dependence on the Lord—to understand that we have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgment that our talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that we know where our true strength lies. We can be both humble and fearless. We can be both humble and courageous.
Jesus Christ is our greatest example of humility. During His mortal ministry, He always acknowledged that His strength came because of His dependence on His Father. He said: “I can of mine own self do nothing. … I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).
The Lord will strengthen us as we humble ourselves before Him. James taught: “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:6, 10). (Gospel Topics Humility)
Part Three: Ether 7–11 Righteous leaders direct people to God.
Even those who have never held a formal leadership position can learn from the examples of righteous and wicked Jaredite kings; these accounts can help us become better leaders in our homes, in our communities, and at church.
Think about someone you consider to be a good leader. What are some of that person’s qualities?
Learn about one of the Jaredite kings in Ether 7–11 from the following list: (Click the link beside each name to read)
- Orihah—Ether 6:30–7:1
- Shule—Ether 7:23–27
- Jared—Ether 8:1–7, 11–15
- Emer and Coriantum—Ether 9:21–23
- Heth—Ether 9:26–30
- Shez—Ether 10:1–2
- Riplakish—Ether 10:5–8
- Morianton—Ether 10:10–11
- Lib—Ether 10:19–28
- Ethem—Ether 11:11–13
What do you learn from these kings about leadership?
How can we develop these qualities and be leaders, even if we don’t have a specific leadership assignment?
Qualities of righteous leaders.
“In God’s kingdom, greatness and leadership means seeing others as they truly are—as God sees them—and then reaching out and ministering to them. It means rejoicing with those who are happy, weeping with those who grieve, lifting up those in distress, and loving our neighbor as Christ loves us. …Leadership in the Church is not so much about directing others as it is about our willingness to be directed by God” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Greatest among You,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 79–80).
“Only the wholesome have the capacity to lift and encourage one another to greater service, to greater achievement, to greater strength” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson , 244).
“The world teaches that leaders must be mighty; the Lord teaches that they must be meek. Worldly leaders gain power and influence through their talent, skill, and wealth. Christlike leaders gain power and influence ‘by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned’ [Doctrines and Covenants 121:41]” (Stephen W. Owen, “The Greatest Leaders Are the Greatest Followers,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 75).
Being humble is not only how we survive it's how we live, how we understand, its how to be Christlike in turbulent times. When we are not compelled but willingly humble ourselves, the tribulations of earth life become teaching moments that change us into the eternal beings we are meant to be. Likewise, this humbleness can help us to become loving leaders Christ also needs us to be, whether in our homes, through callings, or both. Our mortal journey is our greatest calling, it is paramount that we magnify it, learn from it, and allow it to groom us for eternity as life does not end here but goes far beyond what our minds can imagine
Book of Mormon Student Manual
Doctrine and Covenants
King James Holy Bible LDS
Gospel Topics Church of Jesus Christ.org
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