“November 9–15. Ether 1–5: ‘Rend That Veil of Unbelief,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“November 9–15. Ether 1–5,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2020
Record Your Impressions
Consider this creative way to invite sharing: Pass out stones to 16 class members, and invite a few of them to share a truth they remember from their personal or family study of Ether 1–5. What are they going to do because of what they learned?
Every one of us has struggled to find an answer to a problem or question. How can the brother of Jared’s experiences help those you teach learn how to seek help from the Lord? Perhaps you could draw a table on the board with columns labeled The brother of Jared’s question, The brother of Jared’s action, and The Lord’s response. Then you could divide the class into three groups and assign one column to each group. Each group could work together to scan Ether 1:33–43 and 2:16–3:6 and write what they find in their assigned column. Afterwards the class could discuss questions like these: What do we learn about the various ways the Lord may choose to help us? What do we learn about our role in the process of receiving revelation? Perhaps class members could share other examples from the scriptures that teach similar principles. The statement from Elder Richard G. Scott in “Additional Resources” provides further insights about how the Lord answers prayers.
The brother of Jared’s prayer in Ether 3:1–5 might inspire class members to evaluate their personal prayers. Perhaps class members could imagine that they were giving counsel to someone who is just learning how to pray. What advice would they give? Then they could search Ether 3:1–5 and summarize each verse with one or two tips or principles about how to pray effectively. Consider giving class members a few minutes to think about their own prayers and how they can follow the brother of Jared’s example to make their prayers more meaningful.
After sharing the brother of Jared’s revelatory experience in Ether 3, Moroni gave counsel in Ether 4 about how we can receive revelation from the Lord. To help class members learn from this counsel, you could display a picture of Jesus Christ and invite class members to search Ether 4:8–10 for things that can prevent us from receiving revelation or truth from the Lord. As class members share what they find, you could slowly cover the picture of Christ with a cloth or piece of paper. How can we avoid these spiritual barriers in our lives? Next, class members could search Ether 4:7, 11–15, looking for how we can qualify to receive truth from the Lord. As class members share what they find, remove the cloth or piece of paper. What does it mean to “exercise faith in … the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did”? (Ether 4:7; see also Ether 3:1–9). What does it mean to “rend [the] veil of unbelief” in our lives? (Ether 4:15). How can we help others do the same? Class members could also look for truths about personal revelation in President Russell M. Nelson’s message “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 93–96).
Even a prophet as great as the brother of Jared received chastening from the Lord. In fact, part of what made him great was the way he responded to chastening. To help class members learn from the brother of Jared’s example, you could invite them to read Ether 2:14–15 together in pairs. Then ask them to pretend that one of them is the brother of Jared and the other is someone who has just received chastening from a Church leader or parent. Have them discuss or role-play what the brother of Jared might say about his own experience to help this person. What counsel might he give? What lessons do we learn that will help us draw closer to Heavenly Father? You could also discuss how the Lord’s chastening and the brother of Jared’s response may have helped prepare him for the experience he had in Ether 3:1–20. Here are some other resources that can help: Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s message “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 97–100) or the section titled “Discipline” in Elder Lynn G. Robbins’s message “The Righteous Judge” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 96–97).
Learning more about Moroni’s prophecy of the Three Witnesses could help strengthen class members’ testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Perhaps half of the class could read Ether 5 and the other half could read “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” (at the beginning of the Book of Mormon) and share with each other what they feel the Lord’s purpose was in allowing the Three Witnesses to see an angel and the plates. They could also discuss other instances in which multiple witnesses establish truth (see, for example, Matthew 3:13–17; 18:15–16; John 5:31–47; Doctrine and Covenants 128:3). What witnesses in our lives have inspired us to believe? How has “the power of God and also his word” been “shown forth” to us in the Book of Mormon? (Ether 5:4).
Invite class members to imagine that their political leaders were continually capturing and killing one another. In Ether 6–11, they will read about how this happened to the descendants of Jared and his brother. They will also find some warnings that will help them avoid the problems the Jaredites faced.
Elder Richard G. Scott taught:
“When we explain a problem and a proposed solution, sometimes He answers yes, sometimes no. Often He withholds an answer, not for lack of concern, but because He loves us—perfectly. He wants us to apply truths He has given us. For us to grow, we need to trust our ability to make correct decisions. We need to do what we feel is right. In time, He will answer. He will not fail us. …
“… He wants us to act to gain needed experience:
“When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
“When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
“When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act” (“Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 31–32).
Go to the scriptures first. The scriptures should be the primary source for your study and preparation. Don’t forget that the words of modern prophets complement the standard works and are also scripture (see Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 17–18).