Our Father in Heaven knew that we would face challenges and be required to make decisions in this life that would be beyond our own ability to decide correctly. In His plan of happiness, He included a way for us to receive help with challenges and decisions during our mortal life. This assistance will come to us through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance. It is a power, beyond our capability, that a loving Heavenly Father wants us to use consistently for peace and happiness.
Another favorite church hymn that teaches this principle is “Choose the Right.” Through the verses we learn that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we make righteous choices; His light will continue to shine over us and our hearts will confide truth and right to us. Wisdom will mark the pathway we are to follow and God will bless us. We can take comfort in our knowledge that we are not left alone to make decisions in life, that we have His Spirit. Just as we sing – we will be led to the light as we choose the right and His Spirit will be a companion to guide and confide. As we choose the right way and follow the personal revelation we have been given, we will discover the most important truths of our existence: the living reality of God, our Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ; the truthfulness of the restored gospel; and God’s purpose and direction for us.
One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon comes from the Book of Ether and teaches of Jared and His brother, Mahonri Moriancumer, say it fast three times :), who is otherwise known as the Brother of Jared. His faithfulness recorded in chapters 2 and 3 is inspiring! The Lord gives us much by way of commandments and instructions. If we choose to follow His counsel we will have the ability to solve situations and trials in our own life, just as the Brother of Jared did. Mahonri’s faith led him to the “promised land” and our faith will lead us to heaven. The Lord will answer our questions, but also expects us to work for the solutions. In this work we gain a greater humility and faith. The Brother of Jared had perfect faith; faith that led him to a perfect knowledge and introduction to the Lord, Jesus Christ. We will build our faith as our efforts in asking are as great as our exertions in acting. It has been said, “We must pray like everything depends upon the Lord, then work like everything depends on us!”
1 And it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families, and also the friends of Jared and his brother and their families, went down into the valley which was northward, (and the name of the valley was Nimrod, being called after the mighty hunter) with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. This journey required great work on their part.
2 And they did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the waters.
3 And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.
4 And it came to pass that when they had come down into the valley of Nimrod the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared; and he was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared saw him not.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.
6 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.
7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.
11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.
13 And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.
14 And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. A good reminder – don’t forget to pray.
15 And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands. The Lord commands the people to build another set of ships in which they will cross the ocean to America. Once again, work is required to accomplish the Lord’s will.
16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.
17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.
18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.
19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish. The Lord answer’s the concerns the Brother of Jared has. The first problem of receiving fresh air:
20 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.
21 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did so, according as the Lord had commanded. Second, the problem of light:
22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?
23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire. The Lord does not give the Brother of Jared the solution. He wants him to discover one on his own. Third, the problem of reaching their destination:
24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for 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. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?
The brother of Jared sees the finger of the Lord as He touches sixteen stones—Christ shows His spirit body to the brother of Jared—Those who have a perfect knowledge cannot be kept from within the veil—Interpreters are provided to bring the Jaredite record to light.
The following is taken from “The Book of Mormon Made Easier” written by David J. Ridges:
“There are many lessons for us in this chapter, both instructional and doctrinal. Among other things, we will be taught the work ethic for receiving desired blessings. Imagine how much work it would require just to be able to form the sixteen small, clear, white stones mentioned in verse 1, next, he would likely have to hunt animals from which to obtain hides from which to make bellows to heat the fire hot enough to melt the rock to form the stones. The hides would probably have to be tanned to be workable as bellows. Perhaps he would have to make tools and mold in which to pour the white hot molten rock…plus the energy and effort to climb to the top of this mountain of “exceeding height” to pray and tell the Lord what he had in mind for the white stones as a means of light for the eight ships.”
1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:
2 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.
3 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.
4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.
5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men. A prayer of great faith.
6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear. Look for the teaching method the Lord uses in the next several verses of asking questions and getting answers (great teaching tip for us):
7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.
9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.
17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.
18 And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.
19 And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. The most powerful part of the chapter, the Savior shows all things, including himself, to the Brother of Jared, because of his great faith:
20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.
21 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt not suffer these things which ye have seen and heard to go forth unto the world, until the time cometh that I shall glorify my name in the flesh; wherefore, ye shall treasure up the things which ye have seen and heard, and show it to no man.
22 And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read.
23 And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write.
24 For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.
25 And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.
26 For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.
27 And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.
28 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men.
Now it’s time to “experiment on the words” and discover God’s plan for you by asking then acting.
The teaching ideas below will help class members understand how to receive personal revelation. Following the direction of the Spirit, choose one that will work best for your class.
Show the following video, “Hearing His Voice,” and ask the youth to look for things the youth in this video did to prepare themselves to receive personal revelation. What are some other ways we can prepare ourselves? (see Nephi 17:2-3; D&C 9:7-8). Encourage class members to accept the challenge that the youth in the video accepted, and invite them to share their experiences in a future class.
TEACHING TIP: After sharing portions coming from the 2nd and 3rd Books of Ether, invite class members to share experiences to increase understanding and testimony of personal revelation. For example, give each class member a piece of paper or an index card and something to write with. Ask them to write down an experience when they received personal revelation and how they knew it was from the Lord. Did they have courage to ask and the power to act? Invite students to share their experiences with the rest of the class.