“Lesson 144: Ether 2,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 144,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
After departing from the Tower of Babel, Jared and his brother and their families and friends were led by the Lord through the wilderness. The Lord instructed the brother of Jared to build eight barges to carry his people over the sea to a land of promise. As the brother of Jared and his people obeyed the Lord in faith, the Lord gave them the guidance and direction necessary to be successful in their journey.
To help students see how following the instructions we receive from God can prepare us to receive further guidance and direction from Him, conduct the following activity:
Before class, hide something representing a treasure in the room where you meet. Prepare a series of three or four clues that guide students to the treasure. You will give the first clue to the students. That clue will lead to the next one, which will lead to the next one, and so on until the students find the treasure. After they have found the treasure, ask:
What would have happened if you had ignored the first clue? (They would not have found the second clue.)
Invite students to review Ether 1:41–42 silently, looking for the Lord’s first set of instructions to guide the Jaredites to the promised land.
To help students see how the Jaredites responded to these instructions, invite a student to read Ether 2:1–3 aloud.
How did the Jaredites respond to the Lord’s first set of instructions?
Invite a student to read Ether 2:4–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the blessing the Jaredites received after they followed the first set of instructions.
What happened after the Jaredites followed the Lord’s first set of instructions? (The Lord gave them additional instructions through the brother of Jared.)
What can we learn from this account about how to receive guidance from the Lord? (Students may use different words, but their answers should reflect the following principle: As we act in faith on direction the Lord has given us, we can receive further guidance from Him. You may want to suggest that they write this truth in their scriptures next to Ether 2:6.)
To help students better understand and apply this principle, invite them to think of an impression or prompting they have received recently from the Lord. Then read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about how we often receive revelation:
“It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father’s capacity to respond. While sometimes it’s very hard, it results in significant personal growth” (“Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 9).
Invite students to answer the following questions in notebooks or scripture study journals. You may want to write them on the board or read them slowly so students can write them down.
When have you followed a spiritual prompting and then received further direction from God?
Why do you think we sometimes need to respond to a spiritual prompting before we can receive additional revelation?
Summarize Ether 2:8–12 by explaining that the Lord told the brother of Jared that when the Jaredites arrived in the promised land, they would need to “serve him, the true and only God” (Ether 2:8) if they were to become the great nation He had promised they could become. If they did not serve Him, they would be “swept off” the land (Ether 2:8–10). Moroni said that this was an “everlasting decree” (Ether 2:10), meaning that it would apply to all who would live in that land.
Invite students to read Ether 2:13–15 silently, looking for what the Jaredites did when they reached the seashore.
What did the Jaredites do? (They pitched their tents and stayed at the seashore for four years.)
Why did the Lord chasten the brother of Jared?
What lessons can we learn from Ether 2:14? (Students may identify different truths, including the following: The Lord wants us to call upon Him regularly in prayer; the Lord is not pleased when we fail to call upon Him in prayer; and the Spirit will not strive with us if we are sinful.)
Ask students to think about their own personal prayers as you read the following statement by Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy:
“Daily fervent prayers seeking forgiveness and special help and direction are essential to our lives and the nourishment of our testimonies. When we become hurried, repetitive, casual, or forgetful in our prayers, we tend to lose the closeness of the Spirit, which is so essential in the continual direction we need to successfully manage the challenges of our everyday lives” (“Securing Our Testimonies,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 39).
Write the following questions on the board before class. (Or you may want to prepare them on a handout or read them slowly so students can write them down.) Give students two or three minutes to write brief responses to these questions in notebooks or scripture study journals.
Ask students to think of a challenge they might have or an important decision they might need to make, now or in the future. For example, they might think about a difficult family situation, challenges in school, deciding whom to marry, or choosing a profession to pursue. Invite them to ponder how the Lord might give them direction or help. As they study the rest of Ether 2, encourage them to look for principles that will help them receive the Lord’s help in making good decisions.
Invite a student to read Ether 2:16–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told the Jaredites to do to progress toward the promised land. When the student has finished reading, ask if someone would like to come to the board and quickly draw what they think the Jaredites’ barges may have looked like.
Copy the following chart on the board without including the answers in the bottom three rows. Provide the chart as a handout or ask students to copy it in notebooks or scripture study journals.
Problem with the barges
What the Lord did
What the brother of Jared did
Make holes that can be opened and closed in the top and bottom of the barges
Gave the brother of Jared instructions
Made the holes
Wind will blow the barges toward the promised land
Caused the wind to blow
Trusted in the Lord
Prepare special stones and ask the Lord to touch them so they will shine
Advised the brother of Jared about things that would not work and instructed him to find a solution that would work
Touched the stones after the brother of Jared prepared them
Prepared the stones and asked the Lord to touch them so they would shine in the darkness
Invite students to search Ether 2:18–19 on their own to find the three problems that the brother of Jared noticed in the barges.
What problems did the brother of Jared notice? (Write students’ answers in the first column of the chart, as shown. Encourage them to do the same on their copies of the chart.)
After students have identified the problems, invite them to study Ether 2:20–25; 3:1–6; 6:4–9. (Note: The passages in Ether 3 and 6 will be covered in greater detail in lessons 145 and 147.) Give them time to complete the rest of the chart individually.
When students have had enough time to complete the chart, ask the following questions to help them identify principles from the experience of the brother of Jared:
Based on the solution to the concern about air, how does the Lord sometimes help us solve our problems or answer our questions? (Sometimes the Lord tells us how to solve a problem and expects us to follow His instructions.)
Based on the solution to the concern about steering, how does the Lord sometimes help us solve our problems or answer our questions? (Sometimes the Lord takes care of the solution Himself.)
Based on the solution to the concern about light, how does the Lord sometimes help us solve our problems or answer our questions? (Sometimes the Lord requires us to come up with a solution and ask for His approval and help in carrying it out.)
Write the following principle on the board: As we call upon the Lord and do our part to solve our problems, we can receive the Lord’s help. To help students apply this principle, ask them to consider the important decision they thought about a few minutes ago. Then ask them to ponder the following questions:
What do you think the Lord might expect you to do in making this decision?
What might the Lord do to help you?
How can you demonstrate trust in the Lord as you think about this decision?
Give students a few minutes to write about what they have learned today. Share your testimony that when we faithfully call upon the Lord and do our part to solve our problems, He will direct us and help us according to His wisdom and power.