“Lesson 149: Ether 12:1–22,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 149,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
After recounting many years of Jaredite history, Moroni introduced the ministry of the prophet Ether. Moroni then interrupted the historical account to record some of the blessings that come to those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ. This lesson covers Ether 12:1–22, while lesson 150 deals with Ether 12:23–41.
Begin class by inviting a student to come to the board and draw some waves and a boat secured by an anchor.
Why is it important for a boat to have an anchor?
What dangers or difficulties might a boat encounter if it does not have an anchor?
What influence do waves have on a boat? (Answers might include that waves cause a boat to move around, drift, or be tossed to and fro.)
Label the boat with the words your life.
If the boat represents our lives, what could the waves be likened to? (Answers might include social pressures, adversity, false teachings, or wickedness.)
How might a person’s life be like a boat without an anchor? (You may want to suggest that students read Mormon 5:17–18 to help them answer this question.)
What are some things the Lord has provided that can act as spiritual anchors in our lives? (Students may give a variety of answers. Many aspects of the gospel could be likened to an anchor.)
Encourage students to look for examples of spiritual anchors as they study Ether 12.
Explain that Ether 12 begins with Moroni’s introduction of Ether, a Jaredite prophet who preached during a time when the people rejected the prophets and lived in wickedness. Invite students to read Ether 12:1–3 silently, identifying anything that impresses them about Ether’s actions. Have them report what they find.
Invite a student to read Ether 12:4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, identifying what those who believe in God can “hope for” despite being surrounded by difficulties and wickedness. As students respond, you might want to point out that the “better world” we are to hope for is “a place at the right hand of God.”
What does it mean to have a place at the right hand of God? (To return to His presence and receive eternal life.)
How do you think having hope “with surety” is different from merely wishing for something? (In the scriptures, hope refers to having confidence that we can receive the blessings God promises us if we keep our covenants with Him.)
According to Ether 12:4, how do we gain hope of receiving a place at the right hand of God? (As students respond, explain that the faith mentioned in Ether 12:4 refers to faith in Jesus Christ.) How does faith in Jesus Christ allow us to hope “with surety” for a place at the right hand of God?
On the board, label the anchor with the words faith and hope.
According to Ether 12:4, what happens when someone has hope and faith in Jesus Christ? (Though students may respond with different words, they should express the following principle: When we have hope and faith in Jesus Christ, we will become steadfast and we will abound in good works.)
What do you think it means to “abound” in good works? (To do many good things.)
What are some good works that “glorify God”? (Answers might include prayer, scripture study, serving others, and developing talents.)
Think of people you know who always seem to abound in good works and are not ashamed to glorify God. What are some specific things they do that make them good examples of this principle?
Invite students to ponder times when it has been difficult for them to be steady and to abound in good works. To help students prepare for similar situations throughout their lives, encourage them to look for ways they can increase their faith and hope as they continue to study Ether 12.
Write the following phrase on the board: I would like to gain a spiritual witness that …
Invite students to suggest any gospel truths, principles, or doctrines for which people may seek a spiritual witness. As students respond, write their answers on the board. (Responses might include a witness that the Book of Mormon is true; living a clean and virtuous life is important; the Word of Wisdom is a law of God; I should prepare to serve a mission.) Invite students to think of a gospel truth for which they would like to receive a spiritual witness or stronger testimony.
Explain that some people have the following attitude: “I will not believe or live according to a gospel principle until I see evidence that it is true.” Invite students to read Ether 12:5–6 silently, looking for how these verses relate to this attitude. Point out that Ether 12:6 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to suggest that students mark this passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to find it easily.
According to Ether 12:6, what must happen before we can receive a witness?
What thoughts do you have as you think about the phrase “trial of your faith”?
After students respond, you may want to explain that some people mistakenly interpret “trial of faith” to always refer to hardship. The phrase “trial of faith” can describe anything that gives us an opportunity to demonstrate or exercise our faith in Jesus Christ. To help students gain a better understanding of this phrase, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Before the statement is read, ask the class to listen for Elder Scott’s explanation of the phrase “trial of faith.”
“You can learn to use faith more effectively by applying this principle taught by Moroni: ‘… ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith’ [Ether 12:6; italics added]. Thus, every time you try your faith, that is, act in worthiness on an impression, you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. Those feelings will fortify your faith. As you repeat that pattern, your faith will become stronger” (“The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 76).
How is the process described by Elder Scott different from the attitude of those who want evidence before they will believe or act?
Write the following scripture references on the board: Ether 12:7–12; Ether 12:13–18; Ether 12:19–22, 30–31. Divide the class into three groups, and assign one of the scripture passages to each group. Ask students to look for blessings that came as a result of the faith of the people described in each passage. Encourage them to notice the use of the phrase “after they had faith” or “until after their faith” in verses 7, 12, 17, 18, and 31. (You may want to suggest that students mark these phrases each time they appear.)
After students report what they have found, invite them to summarize what the Lord provides after we demonstrate faith in Jesus Christ. Though students may use different words, they should express a truth similar to the following: If we desire a spiritual witness, then we must first exercise faith in Jesus Christ. Explain that much like spiritual witnesses, miracles do not come until after we have exercised our faith.
Present the following situations to the class. Invite students to explain how the individual in each situation might demonstrate faith in the Lord.
A young woman wants to receive a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
A young man has a strong desire to help his loved ones accept the gospel.
Invite students to ponder a time when they or people they know have received spiritual witnesses or miracles after demonstrating faith in the Lord. Invite a few students to share the experiences they thought of. (Be sure students understand that they should not feel obligated to share experiences that are too personal or private.) You may also want to share an experience.
Invite students to recall the gospel truth of which they would like to receive a spiritual witness. Invite them to write in notebooks or scripture study journals something they might do to exercise more faith in the Lord.