That Evil May Be Done Away Ether 6-11
I really love Ether 8: 26:
Wherefore, I Moroni am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away and that the time may come that Satan may have no more power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.
In the past, I have often wondered about the purpose of these chapters in Ether. I remember during Seminary as we zipped through the thousands of years of history covered in just a few short chapters, wondering why so little detail was shared about the experiences of the Jaredites.
We can learn lessons even when the story is vague
Sure, we have the experiences of the brother of Jared in detail, and we also get some details about the poisonous serpents. But we also get a very long list of different kings, righteous and evil, swapping power, into captivity and out of captivity with very little of the specifics.
And I think it bothered me, because I wanted to know more, and I didn't understand why we didn't get it. But this year has been completely different for me. I think it's because when we hit a point in our lives where a message is needed, the Lord provides it if we're looking.
Which brings me to two different lessons that I learned from these chapters.
The Lord's Timeline and Patience
I will firmly admit that I am NOT a patient person, and I never have been. And reading accounts in the scriptures has never really helped my patience problem because it feels like a problem is presented and then resolved in just a few pages. I seem to miss the part where it actually takes years, decades, or a lifetime.
So the voyage of the Jaredites across the sea really stuck out to me this time. They were in those dark "tight like unto a dish" vessels with nothing but rocks for light and a plug hole for fresh air, being tossed about upon the water, driven by the never ending wind for an entire year.
An entire year....
The more I thought about this, the more I felt ashamed of all the complaining I've been doing about conditions around me in the world over the last six months.
I can't imagine what that experience must have been like for them, and the faith that it required to press forward in all of the uncertainty and turbulence, trusting that God was taking them to where He wanted them to be.
Do I have that kind of faith? Do I trust that when things aren't smooth and turning out the way I wished that Heavenly Father is leading me somewhere? And do I have the patience to wait for the day when I get there?
The honest truth is, I have no idea where the Lord is leading me right now. And I have good days, where I can feel the wind pushing me, but the waves and turbulence have calmed. But I also have those days when it feels like the storm is picking up, the waves are crashing, and my boat is tumbling. I have been trying to not let those days get the better of me, but it can be difficult.
Learning from the scriptures
The second really important lesson that I saw in these chapters is the importance of learning lessons from the scriptures and history.
King Mosiah read the Jaredite record and learned such an important lesson from what he read that he changed their entire system of government. It led me to ask myself, "What changes have I made in my life because of things I've learned in the scriptures?"
These chapters and the rush through so many generations of leaders made me realize the importance of who I follow. Righteous leaders will make us or break us, and the truth is, everyone is following someone.
And in the age of social media, this has never been more true.
Who are you following?
Maybe it's a famous actor or actress, a political figure, a news commentator, a prophet, or even a group of friends. Whoever it is, it's important to figure out who the loudest voices are, and why we are listening.
If you're curious about who it is you're really following, spend a week keeping a little notebook with you and keep track of what you read, what you listen to, whose Facebook posts you take the time to read and comment on, etc.
After doing this, you might be surprised at what you find. Good or bad, for me, it is leading to some great changes in where I am spending my time and investing my energy. That in turn is affecting my mood, my faith, and my focus.
Need some help with the Youth and Children's Program, especially when activities and meetings have been limited? I have some new GOAL PLANNERS to help! Check them out here: Youth Goal Planners and Children's Goal Planners
Activities With this Lesson
There were a lot of great things I found that went with this lesson, and one of my favorite was a video called "If the Brother of Jared's Sixteen Stones were Prophets and Apostles" (or, "How Lit is Your Vessel?") I included this one on the challenge cards for kids, but it's actually pretty great for everyone! It really made me think!
If you're new the the Challenge Cards, I hope you'll grab them and give them a go! I have a lot of fun researching them and putting them together, and I hope they will be helpful for your family.
If you subscribe, I send them out each Sunday night to go with that week's lesson. Then be sure to come back here each week for links to the activities!
Challenge Card Activity Links