46. "By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled" | BYU Studies

46. "By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled"

Chart 31: "Jaredite Kings," Charting the Book of Mormon

This chart shows the chronology of Jaredite kings referred to in the book of Ether, their familial ties to each other, and whether they were righteous, unrighteous, or in captivity all of their days (in which case their moral character went unremarked). Mosiah attested to the ability of a king to influence his people for good or evil. Referring specifically to King Noah, he stated, "How much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!" (Mosiah 29:17). The main column on this chart gives the genealogy of Ether, the son of Coriantor (see Ether 11:23), which runs back to Jared (see Ether 1:6-32). This king list contains thirty names, from the Jaredite founder down to the prophet Ether, who was not a king but whose name is on the book in the Book of Mormon telling the history of the Jaredites. Conflicts with others who asserted powers as kings are also listed.

Chart 138: "The Two Final Battles," Charting the Book of Mormon

This chart compares the final battles of both the Jaredite and Nephite civilizations, which took place near the same hill (see Ether 15:11). Moroni, the only known Nephite survivor of the battle at Cumorah, was the narrator of the account in the book of Ether that involves the final Jaredite battle at Ramah. He must have been deeply impressed by the parallels between the two wars of annihilation. In both cases, nations of great promise were wiped away. Because of their wickedness, the Spirit of God "ceased to strive" with both peoples (Mormon 5:16; Ether 15:19). In this chart the dates, places, numbers of soldiers, outcomes, and other statistics of these battles are contrasted. Despite the consequent collapse of these civilizations, a remnant of Lehi's seed was preserved, fulfilling the promises made by the Lord to Lehi, Nephi, Enos, and other righteous Nephites.

Chart 159: "Plausible Locations of the Final Battles," Charting the Book of Mormon

Though evidence from the Book of Mormon is not conclusive, final battles of the Nephites and the Jaredites probably took place not far north of the narrow neck of land. As shown, the Nephites marched from Angola, through David, and eventually came to the city of Joshua (see Mormon 2:4-6). Nephite defense lines lay in Joshua for fourteen years; finally they collapsed, and Nephites retreated across the narrow neck of land, fleeing to various sites (see Mormon 2:16). The hill Ramah/Cumorah, upon which both the Jaredites and Nephites fought their last battles (see Ether 15:11; Mormon 6:4-6), is shown here on the northwestern edge of the Tuxtla Mountains in Mexico, about ninety miles from a narrow pass (see Mormon 3:5). Other Jaredite locations, including Omer's flight to Ramah (see Ether 9:3), are also shown here. Again, these locations are plausible, but not definite.

"The Plates of Ether and the Covenant of the Book of Mormon," by Lee L. Donaldson, The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

If the Book of Mormon were compiled in chronological order, the plates of Ether would be placed first. Donaldson proposes that Ether is placed at the end of the Book of Mormon because it lays out a clear covenant pattern to follow for disciples of Christ. The book of Ether serves as a reminder to all to keep their covenants or face destruction.

The Jaredites: A Case Study in Following the Brethren," by Douglas E. Brinley, A Book of Mormon Treasury: Gospel Insights from General Authorities and Religious Educators

Brinley attributes the utter destruction of the Jaredites to their failure to listen to the warnings and words of the prophets. He details the entire narrative, pointing out in which ways the Jaredites failed to follow their church leaders.

"Jared and His Brother," by Thomas R. Valleta, The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

The story of Jared and his brother is cut from the same pattern as the accounts of the fall of Adam and Eve and their subsequent search for truth, Noah's escape from a decadent civilization and voyage to the top of Mt. Ararat, the Israelites' exodus from their bondage in Egypt and their eventual crossing of the Jordan into the land of milk and honey, as well as Lehi's deliverance from a dark and dying Jerusalem to a new world of promise. The chronicle of Jared and his brother, like these other accounts, reveals a pattern and type testifying of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation.

"Ether and Mormon: Parallel Prophets of Warning and Witness," by E. Dale LeBaron, The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

While Ether was deprived of his rightful place to the throne, Mormon was elevated as commander of armies. Both Ether and Mormon were prophets and historians, each delivered a final witness to their people, and lived to witness their prophecies be fulfilled.

"Jaredite Zion Societies: Hope for a Better World," by Frank F. Judd Jr, The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

While the record of the Jaredites is one of ultimate destruction and bloodshed, if one reads it as only a tale of wickedness and destruction, one misses Mormon's purpose in including it. The book of Ether serves as a warning to follow the teachings of Christ or risk suffering a similar fate. Additionally, Moroni provided in his abridgment of the Jaredite record the experiences of a few righteous societies, which show the modern reader how to overcome the darkness.

"The Years of the Jaredites," by John L. Sorenson

An overview of the Jaredite timeline. It details the dynastic line of the Jaredite kings and their corresponding years, noting the different periods of dissension and destruction among the Jaredites.

"What the Book of Mormon Is (Concluded)," by Sidney B. Sperry, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4, no. 1

An analysis of the writers and the text of 3 Nephi to Moroni. The book of Ether exposes the terrible end of a people persisting in wickedness. The book of Moroni shows his love for his enemies.

Ether 8

"Getting Cain and Gain," by Matthew L. Bowen, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 15

The biblical etiology (story of origin) for the name "Cain" associates his name with the Hebrew verb qny/qnh, "to get," "gain," "acquire," "create," or "procreate" in a positive sense. A fuller form of this etiology, known to us indirectly through the Book of Mormon text and directly through the restored text of the Joseph Smith Translation, creates additional wordplay on "Cain" that associates his name with murder to "get gain." This fuller narrative is thus also an etiology for organized evil—secret combinations "built up to get power and gain" (Ether 8:22–23; 11:15).

"Secret Combinations, Warfare, and Captive Sacrifice in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon," Bruce W. Warren, Warfare in the Book of Mormon

In some ways, the rise of secret combinations described in the book of Ether and their relation to warfare and the subsequent captivity of kings parallel the Maya traditions and customs relating to myths of origin, secret combinations, sacral warfare, and the capture and sacrifice of divine kings in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.1 Just as the Jaredite record states that certain patterns of warfare originated with the organization of secret combinations, the Maya derive their customs of ritual warfare from ancestral gods, practices that they place in the third millennium B.C.

"Notes and Communications - "Secret Combinations" Revisited," Daniel C. Peterson, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1, no. 1

The claim that the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon are merely a reflection of nineteenth-century Masons, who were referred to in the late 1820s as "secret combinations," is false since an 1826 use of the phrase establishes that those words were not used exclusively to describe Masons.

"'Secret Combinations': A Legal Analysis," by Nathan Oman, FARMS Review 16, no. 1

This article addresses the belief that the account of secret combinations in the Book of Mormon is a satire on Masonry. Many scholars claim that the term secret combinations was exclusively used in the 1820s to refer to Masonry. However, Nathan Oman points out that this term was also used in legal situations to refer to criminal conspiracies.

"Hiding the Secret Plans," John A. Tvedtnes, Insights 22, no. 8

The Second Conference of Abbot Serenus 21, written about AD 426 by the Christian scholar John Cassian, sheds light on statements made in the Book of Mormon (Ether 8:15) and the Book of Moses about Cain, who slew his brother Abel, and the beginning of secret combinations.

Ether 9

"Secret Combinations, Warfare, and Captive Sacrifice in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon," Bruce W. Warren, Warfare in the Book of Mormon

In some ways, the rise of secret combinations described in the book of Ether and their relation to warfare and the subsequent captivity of kings parallel the Maya traditions and customs relating to myths of origin, secret combinations, sacral warfare, and the capture and sacrifice of divine kings in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.1 Just as the Jaredite record states that certain patterns of warfare originated with the organization of secret combinations, the Maya derive their customs of ritual warfare from ancestral gods, practices that they place in the third millennium B.C.

"Some Test Cases from the Book of Ether," by Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon

In this chapter, Hugh Nibley picks out some peculiar items in the Book of Ether to show how they vindicate its claim to go back to the very dawn of history. In Ether the reign and exploits of King Lib exactly parallel the doings of the first kings of Egypt (entirely unknown, of course, in the time of Joseph Smith) even in the oddest particulars. The story of Jared's barges can be matched by the earliest Babylonian descriptions of the ark, point by point as to all peculiar features.

Ether 11

"Conjectural Emendation and the Text of the Book of Mormon," by Stan Larsen, BYU Studies Quarterly 18, no. 4

This article deals with various textual variants in the Book of Mormon. In Ether 11:4-9, the reader encounters the character "Shiblom," which is spelled differently than the "Shiblon" found in Ether 1:11-12. Larsen argues that this is the same person, but simply exhibits a different spelling.

Ether 12

"'Weak Things Made Strong'," by Carolyn J. Rasmus, The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction

The 58 words which comprise Ether 12:27 are powerful and instructive; however, this verse becomes increasingly meaningful when we examine the context in which the Lord gave this instruction to Moroni, analyze other scriptures related to it, and apply the principles taught by the Lord in our own lives.

"The Timing of Christ's Appearance to the Nephites," by John A. Tvedtnes, The Most Correct Book: Insights from a Book of Mormon Scholar

Most casual readers of the Book of Mormon probably conclude that Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites immediately after the great cataclysm accompanying the crucifixion, when the thick vapor dissipated. However, this assumption has been questioned by several scholars. Ether 12:7 teaches that Christ did not appear unto the Nephites until they had shown that they had faith in Him.

"Words and Phrases," by John W. Welch, David Rox, Roger R. Keller, Paul Y. Hoskisson, Deloy Pack, Robert F. Smith, and Bruce W. Warren, Reexploring the Book of Mormon

Ether 12:25 states that the words of the Book of Mormon are "great and powerful." This article explains some distinctive words and phrases uniquely found in the Book of Mormon that support the Book of Mormon's ancient origins and authenticity.

Ether 13

"Place of Crushing: The Literary Function of Heshlon in Ether 13:25-31," by Matthew L. Bowen and Pedro Olavarria, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 14

The name Heshlon, attested once (in Ether 13:28), as a toponym in the Book of Mormon most plausibly denotes "place of crushing." The meaning of Heshlon thus becomes very significant in the context of Ether 13:25–31, which describes the crushing or enfeebling of Coriantumr's armies and royal power.

Ether 15

"When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?" by John L. Sorenson, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1, no. 1

While this article focuses mostly on the different civilizations that may have interacted with the Nephites, the Jaredites also likely interacted with surrounding cultures. The book of Ether experiences extreme fluctuations in population dynamics that would be hard to achieve with a single family. The Jaredites most likely interacted with, and lived with people of other civilizations that accounted for their immense numbers by the end of the book of Ether.

"Out of the Dust," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8, no. 2

This article examines several interesting discoveries pertaining to the Book of Mormon. Anthony W. Ivins suggests that the Jaredites may not have been completely extinct, that Coriantumr, the alleged last Jaredite, may have had children with Mulekite women after he discovered the people of Zarahemla. A wooden vessel that was found in Lake Michigan turns out to be a prototype of a proposed "sea-going tow barge" developed in World War II for the Navy. Arrowheads discovered in Israel show that steel was in use by about 1000 bc; the name Aha was engraved with steel on one arrowhead, thus giving a Hebrew-language source for this name found in the Book of Mormon. Researchers have found similarities between the Anthon Transcript and Old South Arabian (Arabic).

"Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations," by Matthew Roper, The FARMS Review 15, no. 2

This article discusses the long-held LDS belief that modern Native Americans are the exclusive descendants of the Lamanites. Roper discusses the various possible ancestral lines of the modern Native Americans and where this belief originates in LDS thought.

"Book of Mormon Swords in Mesoamerican Antiquity," by Matthew Roper, Insights 28, no. 2

In Ether 15:30, Coriantumr leaned upon his sword before decapitating Shiz. Roper discusses the nature of swords in the Book of Mormon and how these were more likely the mesoamerican "machuahuitl" rather than the European steel blades.

"The "Decapitation" of Shiz," by Gary M. Hadfield and John W. Welch, Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s

In Ether 15, the head of Shiz gets cut off, yet he seems to raise himself up and gasp for breath. This article explains how this description is consistent with medical sources on decapitation.