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.
The Lord causes a wind to drive the Jaredite barges to the promised land
Begin class by asking students to name faraway destinations that they would like to visit.
What are some problems or challenges that could make your journey difficult or even prevent you from reaching your desired destination?
On one side of the board, write Us, and on the other side, write Eternal Life. Ask students what problems or challenges could prevent us from making it safely through mortality and reaching eternal life. Write their responses on the board in between Us and Eternal Life.
Explain that the account of the Jaredites’ journey to the promised land contains principles that can guide us in our journey through mortality toward eternal life. As students study Ether 6 today, encourage them to look for principles that will help them with challenges like those listed on the board.
Divide students into pairs. Invite them to study Ether 6:1–11 with their partners, looking for phrases that describe how the Jaredites were able to have a safe and successful journey to the promised land. Invite students to consider marking what they find.
After sufficient time, invite students to report to the class what they found. Some of the phrases they report might reflect the following aspects of the Jaredites’ journey: The Lord provided light for them during their journey (see verses 2–3); strong winds tossed them upon the waves of the sea and propelled them toward the promised land (see verse 5); when they were buried by the waves, they prayed and were brought back to the surface (see verses 6–7); and they praised the Lord all day long (see verse 9).
What truths or principles can we identify from these phrases about how we can journey safely toward eternal life? (Students’ answers may include the following: 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. Invite students to consider writing these truths in their scriptures next to the verses that teach them.)
How does the Lord provide light for us during our journey through mortality?
What do you think determines whether the winds and storms of life hinder us or propel us toward eternal life?
Describe a time when you have felt God lift you above trials and adversity as you have sincerely prayed to Him.
Refer to the list of challenges on the board and ask:
How can the truths we identified help us overcome these kinds of challenges?
To help students identify another principle from these same verses, divide students into groups of three or four, and provide each group with a copy of the following handout. Invite them to look again at verses 1–11 as needed and to discuss the questions on the handout together.
Crossing the Sea
Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual—Lesson 147
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? (See Ether 6:7, 9.)
According to Ether 6:11, how long did the Jaredites travel this way?
After sufficient time, invite students to report their answers to the questions on the handout.
Invite students to read Ether 6:12 silently, looking for the result of the Jaredites’ journey. Ask students to report what they find.
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? (One of the principles students should identify is that as we trust in the Lord and do His will, He will direct the course of our lives and lead us to eternal life. Write this principle on the board.)
What can you do to develop or strengthen your trust in Jesus Christ?
Invite students to ponder experiences in which they have trusted in the Lord and done His will and have witnessed Him direct them toward eternal life. Ask a few students to share their experiences with the class. You may also want to share an experience.
Invite students to reflect on how they might better trust in the Lord and follow His directions in difficult situations they may be facing right now. Encourage them to act on the promptings they receive from the Lord.
The Jaredites teach their children to walk humbly before the Lord; the people desire a king
Summarize Ether 6:13–21 by explaining that when the Jaredites arrived in the promised land, they began to establish their families and raise crops. They taught their children to walk humbly before the Lord, and they multiplied and grew strong in the land. As Jared and his brother neared the end of their lives, they gathered their people together and asked what they would like to have done for them.
Invite a student to read Ether 6:22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the people asked of Jared and his brother.
What did the people want? (A king.)
Ask students to search Ether 6:23 to identify what the brother of Jared warned would happen if they chose a king.
What did the brother of Jared warn would result from having a king?
Summarize Ether 6:24–30 by explaining that Jared was willing to allow the people to have a king and asked them to select one of his or his brother’s sons to be king. Only one of their sons, Orihah, would agree to serve as king. Eventually, Jared and his brother died. Orihah reigned in righteousness.
Conclude today’s lesson by inviting students to review the truths they discovered and ponder how they will apply them in their lives.
President Thomas S. Monson taught how we can be prepared for the challenges that face us:
President Thomas S. Monson
“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).