“Unit 31: Day 1, Ether 13–15,” Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2012), 308–10
“Unit 31: Day 1,” Book of Mormon Study Guide, 308–10
The prophet Ether prophesied of the New Jerusalem. He also warned Coriantumr, a Jaredite king, that his people would be destroyed because of wickedness, and he admonished Coriantumr and his household to repent. When Coriantumr and the people refused to repent, war and wickedness escalated for many years until the entire Jaredite nation was destroyed. Only Ether and Coriantumr survived to witness the fulfillment of Ether’s prophecy.
Consider some cities today that have alternate names indicating a significant feature of the city. For example, Paris, France, is also known as the City of Light. To begin, see if you can match the cities below with their correct alternate names (answers are given at the end of the lesson).
The Windy City
The City of a Thousand Minarets
The Eternal City
Mexico City, Mexico
The Pearl of the Orient
The City of Palaces
Today’s lesson draws attention to two significant cities in the last days: (1) Jerusalem and (2) the New Jerusalem. In the latter days these two cities will become known for their righteousness. Ether taught the Jaredites that the land upon which they lived was the site for a future city called the New Jerusalem.
Read Ether 13:2–8. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the New Jerusalem identified in Ether 13:6 would be built in Jackson County, Missouri, USA (see D&C 57:1–4; 84:1–4). What did Ether say about these cities in Ether 13:3, 5? Ponder what it would be like to live in a city like that. Study Ether 13:10–11 to learn what someone must experience in order to live in the holy cities of the New Jerusalem and Jerusalem of old (which will be holy when it is rebuilt unto the Lord; see Ether 13:5).
Another name for the New Jerusalem is Zion (see Moses 7:62; Articles of Faith 1:10). While we may not live in Jerusalem or the New Jerusalem, all members of the Church can be seeking to establish Zion. We can prepare to dwell in holy places, including the celestial kingdom of God, as we become clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In what ways have you seen people in our day harden their hearts and reject the Lord’s servants?
What will you do to keep yourself strong in the faith and heeding the words of the prophets?
As recorded in Ether 13:23–14:20, Coriantumr fought battles with several men who tried to take the kingdom from him, including Shared, Gilead, and Lib. Eventually, the entire Jaredite nation became engulfed in war. Coriantumr’s final enemy was a man named Shiz. The extent of the destruction among the Jaredites from these wars is detailed in Ether 14:21–25 and Ether 15:1–2.
Read Ether 15:3–6 to discover what Coriantumr attempted to do to spare the remainder of the people from destruction. Think about why Shiz rejected Coriantumr’s proposal and why the people in both armies refused to surrender (see also Ether 14:24).
Read Ether 15:12–17, and look for details about the Jaredites’ situation. What do you find particularly tragic or sorrowful about their condition? Remember that Ether had spent many years warning the people to repent (see Ether 12:2–3; 13:20). Read Ether 15:18–19, and identify the consequences that come from rejecting the Lord’s warnings to repent. Based on what you read, complete this statement: If we reject the Lord’s warnings to repent, then .
In the space above, you may have written a principle such as the following: If we reject the Lord’s warnings to repent, His Spirit withdraws and Satan gains power over our hearts.
- Using Ether 15:19 and the principle we learn from it, explain why one or more of the following rationalizations that someone might give today for refusing to repent are wrong:
I know the movies I watch are not in harmony with Church standards, but they don’t seem to have an effect on me.
Drinking alcohol with my friends isn’t that bad. We’re just having fun.
It is just a little pornography. It is not like I am going out and being immoral. Besides, I can stop anytime I feel like it.
I don’t have to repent now. That can wait until I’m about to go on a mission or get married in the temple.
Ether 15:20–32 relates how the two Jaredite armies fought each other until only their leaders, Coriantumr and Shiz, remained. Then Coriantumr killed Shiz.
The history of the Jaredites provides a vivid example of what happens to a people when they collectively reject God’s repeated efforts to convince them to repent. While we may not face immediate physical destruction by refusing to repent, we will experience feelings of guilt if we reject the Lord’s warnings to repent.
Reflect upon the following statement from Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “I testify that the Savior is able and eager to forgive our sins. Except for the sins of those few who choose perdition after having known a fulness, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. What a marvelous privilege for each of us to turn away from our sins and to come unto Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience” (“Repent … That I May Heal You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 40–41).
Examine anything you might be doing that may be interfering with the influence of the Holy Ghost in your life. Consider how you might draw upon the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement to make the necessary changes that will help you receive the Spirit and resist the power of Satan.
From Ether 13–15 we learn that anger and vengeance lead us to make choices that hurt ourselves and others. Read or reread the following passages, and mark words or phrases that teach this truth: Ether 13:27; 14:24; 15:6, 22, 28.
Ponder what consequences uncontrolled anger can have on a family or other relationships. Think about a situation in your life where you might need to forsake feelings of anger or revenge.
As you read the following statement by Elder David E. Sorensen, an emeritus member of the Seventy, look for how you can overcome feelings of anger or a desire to seek revenge: “When someone has hurt us or those we care about, that pain can almost be overwhelming. It can feel as if the pain or the injustice is the most important thing in the world and that we have no choice but to seek vengeance. But Christ, the Prince of Peace, teaches us a better way. It can be very difficult to forgive someone the harm they’ve done us, but when we do, we open ourselves up to a better future. No longer does someone else’s wrongdoing control our course. When we forgive others, it frees us to choose how we will live our own lives. Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies, and we can focus on the future with God’s love in our hearts” (“Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 12).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: When have you or someone you know experienced healing and freedom after choosing to forgive?
You can overcome any feelings of anger and revenge if you will turn to Jesus Christ and receive the power of forgiveness and comfort through His Atonement. Remember to turn to the Lord in prayer for the help you may need in those situations.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Ether 13–15 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: