Greater things to come!

I remember when I was 10 years old, my best friend Cindy and I rode our bikes down to our neighborhood grocery store to buy some candy.  When we came out, Cindy’s bike was missing.  We were devastated because Cindy’s shiny pink banana seat bike with its white basket attached to the front handle bars was a new birthday present she had just received a few weeks prior.  We stood there speechless, looking up and down the road to see if we could spot it.  Finally, I said, “Cindy, I think we should say a prayer”, Cindy agreed.  I asked God to help us find Cindy’s bike and for a 10-year old, I remember to this day, the overwhelming reassurance that we would find her bike.

Weeks passed, and though her bike was not found yet, I continued with my prayers and vigilance.  Then, one day as I was walking home from school, I looked across the street, which happened to be Washington Blvd. in Ogden, Utah, and saw a gang of teen boys riding their bikes.  Immediately, I spotted a bike that looked exactly like Cindy’s bike except it was completely painted black.  I ran home and told my older brothers to go and follow those boys and see if the serial number on the black bike matched that of Cindy’s.  Excitedly, my brothers came back on their bikes to report that, sure enough, the bike was Cindy’s.  We called the police and the bike was restored, then returned to Cindy.  My prayer was answered.  On a scale from 1-10, where did my faith rank?  Did my faith increase and did I rely on the Lord more from that day forth?

How much can God give us if our faith is small?  How much can he give us if our faith is tried, tested and increased as such was the case with my 10-year old faith?  There are three key components in faith: the first is hope, the second is prayer and the third is action.  The Lord can only give us what we put forth.  If we continue to exercise our faith, we increase in faith; however, if we fail to hope for things or pray, our faith decreases.  I really wanted Cindy to get her bike back and I knew God could make this happen.  I had nothing personally to gain from this experience materialistically, but I really loved my friend and it shattered my heart for her loss. I truly hoped her bike would be found and when it was, I knew the Lord could accomplish great things with prayer.

Moriancumer, who was otherwise known as the brother of Jared in the book of Ether found in the Book of Mormon, had this kind of faith and more as he was allowed to see the Lord.  Who was this man and when did this history take place?

This early American History began roughly four years after the Tower of Babel when the Lord spared Jared, his brother as well as friends and family from confounding their language. Ether 1:33-43  After all the languages were confounded and the people were separated and scattered, the Jaradites were guided by the hand of God on their journey to a new and promised land which marked the first recorded American History spanning more than 1000 years and ending about 323-130 B.C.

The brother of Jared learned how to really pray to God and he exercised his faith in behalf of his beloved people as well as the entire posterity of Adam.  God revealed to him everything from the beginning of mankind to the end and he wrote it all; however, God had a time table for these writings to come forth.  Therefore, there are three records of the Jaradite Nation mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

The first record was a large stone had by a Coriantumr who was the last Jaradite survivor.  The stone contained a valuable history of his people which was eventually presented to King Mosiah by the people of Zarahemla to interpret.   The second were the writings of the brother of Jared revealed to him by Jesus Christ on 24 gold plates. These writings were to come forth in two parts; the first to the Nephites after the Savior’s mortal ministry and the second before the Savior’s second coming.  Both are to be another witness of Jesus Christ, although, the last portion, which is the third and remaining revelation, we are waiting to receive.  

The first mention of the large stone is found in Omni 1:

20 And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.

 21 And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.

 22 It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people; and the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward.

The Urim and Thummim were also sealed up so that they could not be used for the purpose of interpreting those sacred writings of this vision, until such time as the Lord should grant to man to interpret them. When they were to be revealed, they were to be interpreted by the aid of the same Urim and Thummim [Ether 3:21–28]. …

“Joseph Smith received with the breastplate and the plates of the Book of Mormon, the Urim and Thummim, which were hid up by Moroni to come forth in the last days as a means by which the ancient record might be translated, which Urim and Thummim were given to the Brother of Jared [D&C 17:1]” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:223–25).

The second was the sealed portion containing all the sacred things the Lord revealed to the brother of Jared which was not to be translated until after Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry. The Book of Mormon itself prophesies that the sealed portion will come to us in some future time when we exercise enough faith. When it comes to us, it will again be translated with the aid of the Urim and Thummim.This study shows that the Lord has provided means for both the Nephites and the Latter-day Saints to receive scriptures from ancient prophets, as well as interpreters to translate them.  Neil A. Maxwell JOURNAL OF BOOK OF MORMON STUDIES vl 11 2002.

 In Neil A. Maxwell’s Institute for Religious Scholarship we learn of a sealed third record. What do we know about the brother of Jared?  He was a prophet of God who was privileged to see Jesus Christ.   He was commanded to write the sacred events and to seal them. The Lord provided another testament of Jesus Christ for the Nephites through the book of Ether and again for us through the Book of Mormon. It is amazing how the Lord prepared, in the era of the Tower of Babel, a most important revelation for humankind to be given later to the Nephites, after his ministry among them, and then again around the time of his second coming (see Ether 4:1–7, 16–17). It is also notable that, at the same time, he prepared the means whereby the Nephites could have the book of Ether and the Latter-day Saints the Book of Mormon. Neil A. Maxwell JOURNAL OF BOOK OF MORMON STUDIES vl 11 2002.

 Such language clarifies in part Moroni’s declaration that “he [Christ] ministered unto him [the brother of Jared] even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God” (Ether 3:18). Thus the Lord not only administered ordinances to both the brother of Jared and the Nephites, but he also prophesied to both concerning the history of mankind to the end of the earth. In this light, after Nephi had recorded the teachings of the resurrected Savior and had translated the sealed record, the Savior’s teachings in their virtual entirety were in written form among the Nephites. Knowing this throws more light on the awful fate of the Nephites. In the decades leading up to their annihilation, it seems evident that many had sinned against the greater light that had come from the Lord

Joseph Smith said,  “And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit-“ D&C 5:16:

Moroni said, “But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record.  For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.” Ether 4:11

Noah said, “Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.”Moses 8:24

Days before his passing, Elder Boyd K. Packer’s witness of our Savior is truly a Christmas gift to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, said he:

Of Him I Am a Witness

“There are some things just too sacred to discuss. …

“It is not that they are secret, but they are sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and to be protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence.

“I have come to know what the prophet Alma meant:

… It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.

“‘And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full’ (Alma 12:9–10). …

The story of the record of the brother of Jared is not finished. It will be revealed to us also if we continue to grow in faith. The apocalypse of John teaches us about a book with seven seals, each seal covering the history of humankind for 1,000 years. Christ alone can unseal that record. Either the sealed part of the gold plates and this book spoken of by John cover much the same history or they could well be the same. Many great prophets have received a vision of the history of the world and have offered glimpses of that revelation to others. But the brother of Jared was chosen to write down the vision in its entirety. His writings will be the means for us to come to a far greater knowledge and understanding than we currently enjoy but will require more faith on our part.

I exercised simple faith as a child and the Lord answered my prayers by opening my eyes to see the bike.  My friend Cindy’s gratitude toward me had grown because she got her bike back, but more importantly, the seed of faith was planted inside her heart that God lives and cares about each one of us individually.  We can thank the brother of Jared for his faith in God because now we have additional revelation of Jesus Christ, but even more importantly, the greater record that is yet to come if our faith allows it.

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