Ether 12

 

A Confirming Covenant Witness

      Mormon 8 -- Moroni


 

 

Ether 12:1 Coriantumr Was King over All the Land:

 

     In Ether 12:1 we find a king named "Coriantumr" who "was king over all the land," and "the days of Ether were in the days of Coriantumr." Thus, if Jaredite kingship continued to be handed down from father to son, it appears that King Coriantumr was descendant of the second "mighty man," who was "a descendant of the brother of Jared" (Ether 11:17).

     We are told that Coriantumr "was king over all the land" but we are not told where he "reigned" from. The reader should note, however, that during some ensuing battles, "the brother of Shared" (Gilead) "came forth to the land of Moron, and placed himself upon the throne of Coriantumr" (Ether 14:5-6). Thus, Coriantumr apparently reigned over all the land from the (local?) land of Moron. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

Ether 12:1 Coriantumr was king over all the land (Illustration): A Projected Chronology of Jaredite History. [Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record, p. 46]

 

Ether 12:5 Ether Did Prophesy Great and Marvelous Things:

 

     Ether apparently made many "great and marvelous" prophecies (Ether 12:5; Ether 13:13). Apparently few of these prophecies were included in detail by Ether in his record for according to Ether 13:2-11, although "he truly told (his people) of all things, from the beginning of man" down to the "New Jerusalem" and the "Jerusalem of old;" he was "forbidden" by the Lord to write more of these prophecies in his record (Ether 13:13). [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

Ether 12:6 Faith Is Things That Are Hoped For and Not Seen:

 

     The Book of Mormon contains at least two classic definitions of faith. Moroni's definition is: "faith is things which are hoped for and not seen" (Ether 12:6). Alma the younger defined faith as follows: "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21). Paul defined faith in a similar way: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). [CES, Book of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121 and 122, 1989, pp. 189-190]

     Note* For a full listing of verses in the Book of Mormon that are similar to verses in the Bible, see Volume 6, Appendix C.

 

Ether 12:6 Dispute Not Because Ye See Not:

 

     In Ether 12:6 we find Moroni's counsel: "Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." In the scriptures, faith assumes faith in Jesus Christ. (See Ether 12:18) This brings Catherine Thomas to comment, Why is it so important to have a trial--a period of proving--of one's faith in Jesus Christ? Why is one more blessed for believing in Jesus without having seen him? Here we come to an essential spiritual fact: one key purpose of earth life is to develop faith, to learn to "walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) Moroni observed that people first had to have faith in Christ before he could show himself to them. But how can people have faith in that which they have not seen? Why should people believe in Christ more than in Buddha? Why should they believe in any God at all?

     God can hold people responsible of faith in Christ for three reasons:

     (1) Jesus Christ IS the Savior of all.

     (2) God created people such that they could discern truth from error. Their existence and progression involve the divine substances of light, spirit, truth, intelligence, and glory. (D&C 93) This divinity underlies the nature of God and man. People may enlarge their portion of divinity until like Christ they obtain the fullness, at which point they too become gods. Another term for the divine element in mortals is "Spirit of Christ." (Moroni 7:16; John 12:4)

     (3) Faith implies a desire, a choosing to know. Many people have sensed spiritual truths but have not wanted to exert the effort leading to personal sanctification. Amulek said, "I knew . . . yet I would not know." (Alma 10:6)

     Here is the distinction between testimony-seeking and sign-seeking: the sign-seeker wants to keep his disobedient life and still have spiritual power. He wants to reap when he has not sown. The testimony-seeker wants to submit to God, repent, and live by the light that the Lord gives through the Holy Ghost.

     When a messenger of God teaches the gospel by the Holy Spirit, that spirit bears witness to the truth. The listener is now responsible; shall he or she accept or reject the witness? We recall that God held Korihor responsible for his deception. Korihor confessed that he chose Satan's lie because it was pleasing to his carnal mind. (Alma 30:53) When gospel truth has been revealed, deception is a choice; spiritual blindness is self-induced. (Alma 13:4)

     If we have come to earth to develop this inner truth-discernment, then we understand why Jesus told his disciples that he must for their sakes go away. That is, if they were to develop this inner spiritual capacity independent of what they could see, spiritual realities had to be removed behind a veil. Moroni calls this spiritual organ of truth discernment the "eye of faith." (Ether 12:19).

     Faith progresses from one's having confidence in God to God's having confidence in that person and permitting him or her to witness and even to administer divine power, as did Moses, Alma, Amulek, Nephi and Lehi, Ammon, the three Nephite disciples, and those--like the brother of Jared, whom Moroni described in Ether 12:19-21, whose inner spiritual capacity was so well-developed from obedience--who had obtained Christ's word (or mind of Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:16) to such a degree that they could, with their immanent oneness in Christ, compel his presence. We will learn before the end of chapter 12 in the book of Ether that Moroni himself was such a man. [Catherine Thomas, "A More Excellent Way," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 2, pp. 274-277]

 

Ether 12:6 No Witnesses [Not] Until:

 

     According to Barbara Fowler, to most English-speaking people, the use of a double negative, such as, "You cannot have no candy," grates against the ears and conjures up images of a stern English teacher reproaching students with the axiom, "Two negatives equal a positive!"

     However, that rule of language has not always existed. In Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar it is stated that "Two negatives in the same sentence do not neutralize each other but make the negation the more emphatic" (Kautzch 1909:483).

     There are several instances in the Book of Mormon where a negative word which existed in the original or printer's manuscript has been deleted or changed to a positive word. These examples would point to the Hebrew authorship of the book, as well as enrich meaning of these passages. One such instance is found in Ether 12:6. The second negative (in italics) was removed and has never been in print:

           And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness, not until after the trial of your faith.

[Barbara Fowler, "Double Negatives in the Book of Mormon? Yes! Yes!," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 2, p. 57]

 

Ether 12:26 Mock . . . Mourn (Antithetical Parallelism):

 

     According to Donald Parry, parallelism is universally recognized as the characteristic feature of biblical Hebrew poetry. (p. i)

     Apparently, the prophets and writers of the scriptures employed the repetition of alternating parallel lines for the purpose of reinforcing their teachings and doctrines. (p. x)

     Antithetical Parallelism is characterized by an opposition of thoughts, or an antithesis between two lines. This "antithesis is not in terms of contradiction but in opposite aspects of the same idea. A common feature of antithetic parallelism is the article "but." (p. xxvii)

     A good example is found in Ether 12:26:

     Fools mock,

     but they shall mourn;

[Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, F.A.R.M.S., p. 473]

 

Ether 12:30 The Brother of Jared Said unto the Mountain Zerin Remove--and It Was Removed:

 

     According to Daniel Ludlow, in the New Testament the Savior said that "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove" (Matthew 17:20). Many people have assumed that the Savior was simply giving a dramatic illustration to portray the great power of faith. However, He may have been referring to an actual incident, for Ether 12:30 says that the brother of Jared "said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove--and it was removed." [Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 325]

 

Ether 12:30 For the Brother of Jared Said unto the Mountain Zerin, Remove--and It Was Removed:

 

     In Ether 12:30 we find that "the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove--and it was removed." Glenn Scott gives an intriguing (yet hypothetical) scenario of this event:

           As the long miles were traversed and the months and years slipped away [in vast wilderness country of Asia] (Ether 3:3), the faith of Jared's people must have been sorely tried. Consider for example their frustration at finding their way blocked by a mountain they called Zerin. Try to imagine yourselves in their place. One day as they drove their flocks along . . . they found themselves in a narrowing pocket from which their only exit was to go back the way they had so arduously come. . . "O Lord," the Brother of Jared must have cried, "we have led this people whithersoever thou has directed us, for these many years in the wilderness, but now we have nowhere to turn. Wilt thou now suffer us to perish here in this wilderness?" (compare Ether 2:18-19; 3:3-4)

           The answer must have been, "What will ye that I should do for you? Have I not promised to go before you into a land which is choice above all the land of the earth?" (compare Ether 2:7). Then the Brother of Jared upon receiving direction from the [Lord] understood as Moroni later described, "O Lord . . . I know that Thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith," [and] the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove--and it was removed." [Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust, p. 32]

 

Ether 12:36 Give unto the Gentiles Grace, That They Might Have Charity:

 

     Jerry Ainsworth notes that just as Mormon, some thirty years earlier, had given a discourse on faith, hope, and charity to the believers in Christ, so Moroni, approaching the end of his ministry, does the same. Only this time Moroni addresses the Gentiles concerning their disposition to be devoid of charity. Moroni expresses to the Lord his apprehensions concerning the Gentiles. He pleads with the Lord that the Gentiles' lack of charity not be a result of his weakness in writing. Finally Moroni pleads with the Lord to "give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity" (Ether 12:36). As indicated later in this chapter, the Lord exonerates Moroni of the impending catastrophe among the Gentiles. [Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, p. 222]

 

Ether 12:38 My Garments Are Not Spotted with Your Blood:

 

     The phrase "My garments are not spotted with your blood" (Ether 12:38) is covenant language. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [For a full discussion on garments without spot (white garments), see the commentary on 2 Nephi 5:21]

 

Ether 12:39 I Have Seen Jesus . . . He Hath Talked with Me Face to Face:

 

     According to Daniel Ludlow, one major purpose for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is to witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ. It therefore seems fitting and proper that many of the writers in this book should be personal witnesses of the Savior. Most of our present Book of Mormon was written by four men: Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni, and all four of these men personally saw the Savior and visited with Him. We have read earlier in the Book of Mormon concerning the appearance of the Lord to Nephi (2 Nephi 11:2), Jacob (2 Nephi 11:3), and Mormon (Mormon 1:15), and now Moroni says: "I have seen Jesus . . . He hath talked with me face to face" (Ether 12:39). [Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 325]

 

Ether 12:39 I have seen Jesus Christ (Illustration): Chart: "People to Whom Jesus Christ or the Angel of the Lord Appeared." Source: John W. Welch, "Ten Testimonies of Jesus Christ from the Book of Mormon," in Doctrines of the Book of Mormon: The 1991 Sperry Symposium, ed. Bruce A. Van Orden and Brent L. Top (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 223-42. [John W. & J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching, F.A.R.M.S., Chart #41]

 

Ether 12:41 God the Father, and Also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost:

 

     According to Richardson, Richardson and Bentley, the Book of Mormon teaches that the Godhead consists of three separate and distinct beings, "God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost" (Ether 12:41). This correlates very well with the beliefs of Mesoamerica.

     In ancient American theology, the earth was created by a Godhead of three distinct personages:

           "then they planned the creation, and the growth of the trees and the thickets and the birth of life and the creation of man. Thus it was arranged in the darkness and in the night by the Heart of Heaven who is called Huracan. The first is called Caculha Huracan. The second is Chipi-Caculha. The third is Raxa-Caculha. And these three are the Heart of Heaven." Chipi-Caculha is also referred to as, Gucumatz and is identified with the Fair God--Quetzalcoatl. (Franklin S. Harris, Jr., The Book of Mormon: Messages and Evidences, pp. 76-78)141

 

     Peter DeRoo writes the following in his work, History of America Before Columbus (1900), vol. 1, p. 372:

           The natives of Campeche assured the Spanish missionaries that their religious teacher, Quetzalcoatl had given them images to explain his doctrine, and, in particular, a triangular stone, as an illustration of the Blessed Trinity, with which mystery they were well acquainted, says Sahagun, and in whose name they were baptized.

 

     DeRoo goes on to tell of the Quiche trinity in Guatemala called "Tohil, Awilix, and Gucumatz," and the Chiapan trinity called "Icona, Bacab and Echuac." (Cheesman, The World of the Book of Mormon, p. 5)142 [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson and Anthony E. Bentley, 1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust: 500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon, pp. 31-32] [See the commentary on 3 Nephi 11:32]