Today’s Reading: Ether 13
13 And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden; but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether; but they esteemed him as naught, and cast him out; and he hid himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people.
I feel a genuine sadness as I read Ether. The Jaredites just a short time before this chapter were a wonderfully faithful people. Some of my favorite stories growing up came from the experiences of the brother of Jared and his family. Were we not all amazed by the incredible account of him seeing the finger of Jesus Christ as he touched the stones to bring light to their barges? Then blown away when because of his faith the brother of Jared was allowed to not only see the Savior but also shown ALL THINGS from the beginning to the end? I know I was. I still am. Those humble followers of Jesus Christ teach us much about the power of faith and hope. Is it any wonder why it is so painful then to read that their posterity could stray so far from those precious truths?
I know first hand the awful, gut wrenching pain that comes from watching someone you love dearly choose to abandon those precious truths, whose purpose is to bring everlasting joy, and instead seek after “secret combinations” that are self destructive and lead them down a path filled with nothing but empty promises. You could feel the sorrow coming through the pages as Moroni records what Ether had written. He must have felt such a kinship with that Jaredite prophet who, like him, had been destined for a solitary walk through mortality. The faith these two men had in God’s plan is something to be emulated. How easy it could have been for them to throw their arms up in despair and abandon their course rather than hide away recording and watching as everyone they cared for was destroyed.
As in all things though there is opposition, and while feeling this great sadness reading Ether I also felt immense JOY. Ether saw “great and marvelous things” about OUR time. OURS. I firmly believe that Ether and all the magnificent men and women who dedicated their lives to the Savior were given incredible gifts. One of them being the power of seership, or the ability to see events in the future and from the past. Elder Maxwell has said that, “Ether is a classic example of a prophet who devoted his whole life to the cause of the Savior. . . . Because his righteousness removed the restraints that otherwise hold each of us back, Ether actually saw high points of the future—centuries before these were to occur.”[i] What a HUGE gift he was given to help him navigate such a devastating time. To be able to see that not only would everything work out in the end but that his purpose wasn’t necessarily to bring those of his time to Christ but those of OURS. I get the sense that Ether as well as Moroni had a very solid understanding of the role they were to play here on Earth. And that understanding was what propelled them to seek after those precious truths, and proclaim them boldly even when it wasn’t easy. Even when it meant they had to proclaim them alone. It gave them the ability to have peace and joy amidst what could only have been an excruciatingly sorrowful time.
What I took away from Ether 13 is this…We have so much to be grateful for. We have so much to find JOY in. We live in a time when evil is pervasive around us and it can feel like the number of “believers” is diminishing and we may even wish to hide in the cavity of a rock some days. But the reality is that we live in the days Ether saw that were “great and marvelous”. He SAW them but we, who live in these last days, who have the FULLNESS of the gospel, we get to EXPERIENCE them. And that…that is just plain awesome. I, for one, am excited to be here now. To fight the good fight and proclaim the good news of the gospel to any and all who will listen.
“Let us go forward in this glorious work. How exciting and wonderful it is. I do not know how anybody can feel gloomy for very long who is a member of this Church. Do you feel gloomy? Lift your eyes. Stand on your feet. Say a few words of appreciation and love to the Lord. Be positive. Think of what great things are occurring as the Lord brings to pass His eternal purposes. This is a day of prophecy fulfilled, … this great day in the history of this Church. This is the day which has been spoken of by those who have gone before us. Let us live worthy of our birthright. Keep the faith. Nurture your testimonies. Walk in righteousness, and the Lord will bless you and prosper you, and you will be a happy and wonderful people.” [i]
President Gordon B. Hinckley