Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Brother of Jared

"Because of the faith of Brother Jared, he was able to see the finger of God." -Ether 3
I'm excited to write about one of my favorite Book of Mormon prophets, the brother of Jared. He lived at the time of the confounding of languages that we read about in Genesis. The story while true is very symbolic of our own life as we journey through the hardships of mortal life to our promised land in the Celestial Kingdom.
The brother of Jared, or Moriancumer, made prayer such a part of his life that the Lord blesses him, his family and friends so that their language is not confounded at the time the people are building the tower of Babel. But for some reason he then forgets to pray for several years. I can't imagine that he completely stops praying. Maybe his prayers became casual or were not offered with real intent. Either way I feel like there is hope for me when I've said prayers that probably only made it to the ceiling in my room because I was in a hurry or too tired. One of Satan’s greatest desires is to keep us from God's guidance, comfort and love by neglecting our prayers.
Moriancumer experience shows us how three different ways God answers our prayers.
The first way was when Moriancumer prays to know how to get air for the barges and the Lord answers directly and tells him how he can do so. (Ether 2:20)
The second way he might answer us is when Moriancumer needs light for the barges the Lord tells him to think of the solution. (v.23)
 Brother Michael Wilcox a religion teacher gave a humorous antidote about how he would answer the Lord if he was told to come up with a solution. He said I would tell the Lord just 'blow softly" In fact he said you could make it like a cruise ship where we could sip our lemonade and get tan up on deck. If it takes a little longer it’s okay.
We want the way to be easy and sometimes even believe that it should be because we are keeping the commandments and so God should reward us for being faithful. But actually over and over again in the Book of Mormon we are taught that it is through trials that we become like the Savior. 
The third way he answers us is to tell us to trust him. Go forward with assurance that no matter the hardship I will be there. (v.24) Or as our late prophet President Hinckley stated, I don't know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work. 
Moriancumer shows humility in his appeals to the Lord. He never tells the Lord what he wants done or makes demands of him. He doesn't even ask the Lord to change his circumstances but instead asks how to deal with the problem.
Through repetition (so we won't misunderstand what he's trying to tell us and to show us what He thinks is important) the Lord teaches that we need to be tight as a dish (Ether 2 :17} or in other words have a strong testimony that never wavers because there are going to be some turbulent days in our lives ( Ether 2:24 for ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you.)
The Lord’s concern in this record isn't about having a tight vessel but allowing us to see from this story that he needs us tight as a dish with a strong testimony so we can return again to him worthy to be in His presence.
Could there be a more touching story than this one that ingrains into our minds that the Lord does indeed know each of us individually and that He will reach down and touch our efforts in school at home and at work and  fill them with light. That despite heartache, trials from divorce, loss of spouse, or fortune we will have light continually (Ether 6: 10) whether it was above the water or under the water. Hebrews says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he recieveth.” During our darkest days that scripture will be a beacon of light to us reminding us that He does care he does love us and is listening. I think there is great power in that. We have faith and then comes the fiery trial and we end up with greater faith. And like the brother of Jared and his family we can sing praises (v.9) instead of becoming bitter or sad or depressed. We can thank God all the daylong (v.9). Did you read that? All the day long. Oh wait it doesn't stop there it continues and says, and when the night came they did not cease to praise the Lord. I don't know how they did that and stayed positive when they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind (Ether 6:5) and buried in the depths of the sea because of the mountain waves which broke upon them and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.(v6)  But through all those tests and challenges it was their prayers that got them through for in verse 7 in Ether 6 it says when they had gone through all the above then they did cry unto the Lord (they knew the source of their deliverance) and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters. He'll give us peace and comfort and even in our darkest days. 
Now if we go to Helaman in the Book of Mormon chapter 5 verse 12 we see a similar counsel Helaman gave to his sons. 'And now my sons, remember , remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer who is Christ the SON of GOD that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built which is a sure foundation a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail.

Our faith will grow through trials as did Moriancumer as he says in Ether 3:4-5 Behold O LORD THOU CANST DO THIS. What incredible faith that one line says about the brother of Jared. We too if we remain faithful and true through every type of adversity and trial can have the faith to not only see the Savior but Become like Him.

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