45: "That Evil May Be Done Away" (Ether 6–11)
All of the Church’s Book of Mormon videos begin with this statement: “Based on actual events as recorded in the Book of Mormon.” And as we begin our study of Ether 6–11, it’s important that we keep in mind that these chapters are “based on actual events” because so many crazy things take place. Sons imprison fathers, fathers imprison sons, famines and poisonous serpents plague the land—it honestly sounds like the Jaredites had their own version of 2020. So grab your scriptures, and let’s dig into these events to find the warnings that are preserved for us in our day.
What are the similarities between the Jaredites' journey and our mortal journey?
2 For it came to pass after the Lord had prepared the astones which the brother of Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth the stones into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels.
3 And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.
4 And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of afood, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and bwhatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a afurious wind blow upon the face of the waters, btowards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times 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.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being atight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the bark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
9 And they did asing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did bthank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
12 And they did aland upon the shore of the bpromised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his ctender mercies over them (Ether 6:1–12).
- Christ is both the stone and the light.
- The Hebrew word for stone is "eben" and the word for help is "ezer." Ebenezer means stone of help or rock of help.
- Furious winds: The word spirit in Hebrew "ruach" also means wind.
What were the Jaredites doing while they sailed toward the promised land?
9 And they did asing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did bthank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water (Ether 6:9–10).
How did Nephi's brothers and their families do while they sailed toward the promised land?
9 And after we had been adriven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much brudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness (1 Nephi 18:9).
How did the Jaredites react when they reached the promised land?
12 And they did aland upon the shore of the bpromised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his ctender mercies over them (Ether 6:12).
What does it mean to be "taught from on high" today?
Quote: “Now, as we meet under the direction of President Thomas S. Monson, we anticipate hearing 'the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.' We trust in His promise: 'Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.'
"In the commotion and confusion of our modern world, trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is vital to our spiritual growth and endurance. . . .
For many of us, there are pressing worries and earnest questions. We want to renew our faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to strengthen our ability to resist temptation and avoid distractions. We come to be taught from on high” (Elder Neil L. Andersen, "The Voice of the Lord," October 2017 general conference).
Quote: "Today we often hear about 'a new normal.' If you really want to embrace a new normal, I invite you to turn your heart, mind, and soul increasingly to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Let that be your new normal" (President Russell M. Nelson, "A New Normal," October 2020 general conference).
How did the brother of Jared react when his people wanted a king?
Were his words fulfilled?
5 And when he had gathered together an army he came up unto the land of aMoron where the king dwelt, and took him captive, which bbrought to pass the saying of the brother of Jared that they would be brought into captivity (Ether 7:5).
What was the reign of Shule like?
23 And also in the reign of Shule there came aprophets among the people, who were sent from the Lord, prophesying that the wickedness and bidolatry of the people was bringing a curse upon the land, and they should be destroyed if they did not repent.
24 And it came to pass that the people did arevile against the prophets, and did mock them. And it came to pass that king Shule did execute judgment against all those who did revile against the prophets.
25 And he did execute a law throughout all the land, which gave power unto the prophets that they should go whithersoever they would; and by this cause the people were brought unto repentance.
26 And because the people did repent of their iniquities and idolatries the Lord did spare them, and they began to prosper again in the land. And it came to pass that Shule abegat sons and daughters in his old age.
27 And there were no more wars in the days of Shule; and he remembered the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them aacross the great deep into the promised land; wherefore he did execute judgment in righteousness all his days (Ether 7:23–27).
How did Shule's reign compare with other kings?
28 And there came prophets in the land aagain, crying repentance unto them—that they must prepare the way of the Lord or there should come a curse upon the face of the land; yea, even there should be a great famine, in which they should be destroyed if they did not repent.
29 But the people believed not the words of the prophets, but they cast them out; and some of them they cast into apits and left them to perish. And it came to pass that they did all these things according to the commandment of the king, Heth.
30 And it came to pass that there began to be a great adearth upon the land, and the inhabitants began to be destroyed exceedingly fast because of the dearth, for there was no rain upon the face of the earth.
31 And there came forth apoisonous serpents also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land bsouthward, which was called by the Nephites cZarahemla (Ether 9:28–31).
35 And it came to pass that when they had ahumbled themselves sufficiently before the Lord he did send rain upon the face of the earth; and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine (Ether 9:35).
Quote: “Sometimes we as leaders of the Church are criticized for holding firm to the laws of God, defending the Savior’s doctrine, and resisting the social pressures of our day. But our commission as ordained Apostles is 'to go into all the world to preach (His) gospel unto every creature.' That means we are commanded to teach truth. In doing so, sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father’s requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But wouldn’t it be far more uncaring for us not to tell the truth—not to teach what God has revealed? It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God’s children that we proclaim His truth. We may not always tell people what they want to hear. Prophets are rarely popular. But we will always teach the truth!” (President Russell M. Nelson, "The Love and Laws of God," BYU Devotional, September 17, 2019).
There is strife and contention over the kingdom—Akish forms an oath-bound secret combination to slay the king—Secret combinations are of the devil and result in the destruction of nations—Modern Gentiles are warned against the secret combination that will seek to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries.
12 Aspects of Secret Combinations:
- Their two objectives are to get gain and power; then they glory in it (see Helaman 6:17; Ether 8:22; Moses 5:31).
- Secret combinations require general wickedness to survive (see Helaman 6:21, 31, 38).
- Secret combinations thrive on secrecy, violation of which is a capital offense (see Helaman 5:22; 6:22; Moses 5:29, 50).
- Secret combinations involve formal covenant making (see Helaman 6:22; Moses 5:30–31).
- They use murder, violence, threat of violence, plunder, vice, whoredoms, and flattery to get gain and power (see Helaman 2:4–5; 6:17, 23).
- Secret combinations operate on laws contrary to the laws of the country (see Helaman 6:23).
- Satan is the grand conspirator and author (see Helaman 6:26–30).
- Participants have court trials for their own people—not according to the laws of the land but according to their own set of laws (see Helaman 6:23–24).
- They seek to take governmental power as rapidly as possible (see Helaman 2:5; 6:39).
- Participants seek to overthrow freedom for others but seek to maintain freedom for themselves (see Ether 8:25; Moses 5:28–33).
- Secret combinations cause the destruction of nations (see Alma 37:21, 26, 29; Helaman 2:13; Ether 8:21–22).
- Secret combinations are abominable in God’s sight (see 3 Nephi 9:9; Ether 8:18) (The Book of Mormon Student Manual, "Chapter 36: Helaman 5–9," ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
What effect did secret combinations have on the Jaredites?
22 And whatsoever anation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the bblood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for cvengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not (Ether 8:21–22).
- Ether 8:21–26 describe the makings of secret combinations.
- Secret: In Hebrew, secret is "sathar," which means backbiting, covering, covert, hiding place, to hide or conceal.
- Combination: The Websters 1828 dictionary defines combination as an "intimate union, or association of two or more persons."
Quote: "We do not fear the future for ourselves or for our children. We live in dangerously troubled times. The values that steadied mankind in earlier times are being tossed away.
"We must not ignore Moroni’s words when he saw our day and said, “Ye [must] awake to a sense of your awful situation” (Ether 8:24).
"We cannot take lightly this warning from the Book of Mormon:" (President Boyd K. Packer, "Do Not Fear," April 2004 general conference).
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 ano power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be bpersuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all crighteousness and be saved (Ether 8:26).
What was Riplakish's style of leadership?
5 And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and aconcubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did btax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings (Ether 10:5).
6 And he did erect him an exceedingly beautiful throne; and he did build many prisons, and whoso would not be subject unto taxes he did acast into prison; and whoso was not able to pay taxes he did cast into prison; and he did cause that they should labor continually for their support; and whoso refused to labor he did cause to be put to death.
7 Wherefore he did obtain all his fine work, yea, even his fine agold he did cause to be refined in prison; and all manner of fine bworkmanship he did cause to be wrought in prison. And it came to pass that he did afflict the people with his whoredoms and abominations.
8 And when he had reigned for the space of forty and two years the people did rise up in rebellion against him; and there began to be war again in the land, insomuch that Riplakish was killed, and his descendants were driven out of the land (Ether 10:6–8).
What was Morianton's leadership style like?
9 And it came to pass after the space of many years, Morianton, (he being a descendant of Riplakish) gathered together an army of outcasts, and went forth and gave battle unto the people; and he gained power over many cities; and the war became exceedingly sore, and did last for the space of many years; and he did gain power over all the land, and did establish himself king over all the land.
10 And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king.
12 And it came to pass that Morianton built up many cities, and the people became exceedingly rich under his reign, both in buildings, and in agold and silver, and in raising grain, and in flocks, and herds, and such things which had been restored unto them.
13 And Morianton did live to an exceedingly great age, and then he begat Kim; and Kim did reign in the stead of his father; and he did reign eight years, and his father died. And it came to pass that Kim did anot reign in righteousness, wherefore he was not favored of the Lord (Ether 10:9–13).
Who is the greatest leader?
Quote: "If I were to ask you, 'Who is the greatest leader who ever lived?'—what would you say? The answer, of course, is Jesus Christ" (Stephen W. Owen, "The Greatest Leaders Are the Greatest Followers," April 2016 general conference).
Who are the greatest followers?
Quote: "The world teaches that leaders must be mighty; the Lord teaches that they must be meek. Worldly leaders gain power and influence through their talent, skill, and wealth. Christlike leaders gain power and influence 'by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.' In God’s eyes, the greatest leaders have always been the greatest followers.
"Your ability to lead does not come from an outgoing personality, motivational skills, or even a talent for public speaking. It comes from your commitment to follow Jesus Christ. It comes from your desire to be, in Abraham’s words, 'a greater follower of righteousness.' If you can do that—even if you aren’t perfect at it, but you’re trying—then you are a leader" (Stephen W. Owen, "The Greatest Leaders Are the Greatest Followers," April 2016 general conference).
1 And there came also in the days of Com many aprophets, and prophesied of the destruction of that great people except they should repent, and turn unto the Lord, and forsake their murders and wickedness (Ether 11:1).
7 And they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations; wherefore, there began to be wars and acontentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth; and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom.
20 And in the days of Coriantor there also came many prophets, and prophesied of great and marvelous things, and cried repentance unto the people, and except they should repent the Lord God would execute ajudgment against them to their utter destruction; (Ether 11:20).
3 Principles President Nelson Shared During Women's Session of the October 2020 General Conference:
1. Create Places of Security
2. Prepare Your Mind to Be Faithful to God
3. Never Stop Preparing
Quote: "For example, each time we have the faith to be obedient to God’s laws—even when popular opinions belittle us—or each time we resist entertainment or ideologies that celebrate covenant-breaking, we are exercising our faith, which in turn increases our faith" (President Russell M. Nelson, "Embrace the Future with Faith," October 2020 general conference).
0:00:00 Tammy Uzelac Hall: So one of my favorite things about the Book of Mormon videos, the ones that the Church has recently produced that I love so much is at the beginning of every video as part of the intro, they always say "Based on actual events as recorded in the Book of Mormon." And that just struck me when I started watching them throughout The Book of Ether and Moroni and all of these things, because I thought, "Wait a minute, this really is based on actual events?" It's not based loosely on a true story or allegedly based on a true story, like a Lifetime television for women movie is. It is actually based on a true story. In Ether chapter 5, Moroni declared the divinity of the Book of Mormon and that three witnesses would declare the truthfulness of this book. So why do I even bring this up? Because, you guys, Ether chapter 6 through 11 is based on actual events, so why bring this up? Because it's crazy, you guys, this is crazy stuff, which is what makes today's lesson so good.
0:01:00 TH: Welcome to the Sunday on Monday study group. It's a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original, brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now, if you're new to our study group, here's how the podcast works: it's one hour long, or something cool that I like is that it's broken up also into six segments. And each segment is about 10 to 12 minutes each, so you can listen to the podcast all at once in an hour and be done for the week, or you can space it out through the week for 10 minutes each day and you can study your scriptures. And at the end of each segment, you're gonna hear a little bit of music, and that will let you know when the segment is finished, so listen for that music. And can I just say that I am so happy you're studying with us this week. And for those of you that have been with us all year, thank you and I really appreciate... I just have to say this, I appreciate everybody who has reached out with encouraging words and stories of how this podcast is helping you, and I love the fun shout-outs on Instagram, so thank you, Destiny Thompson, I love your shout-out.
0:01:57 TH: Now, another awesome thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always gonna be different, and this week we have my friend Jennifer Todd Pearson and Sharon Staples. Hi ladies.
0:02:08 Sharon Staples: Good morning. So nice to be with you. I'm excited about this lesson.
0:02:14 Jennifer Pearson: Me too.
0:02:14 TH: Hi.
0:02:14 SS: It's gonna be wonderful.
0:02:15 TH: How are you, Jen?
0:02:16 JP: Great, it's so glad to be with you. So excited to see you.
0:02:19 TH: Oh, this is a fun little reunion, so Sharon is a regular. We all know and love Sharon, but Jen Todd Pearson, she's one of my old seminary students, isn't that's so cool.
0:02:29 JP: But we've been friends for a long time, right?
0:02:31 TH: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. 'Cause now you're a mom with three boys.
0:02:35 JP: Three boys, I know, just doing my best to learn the Book of Mormon stories with our three boys, but it's mostly like the war chapters at our house.
0:02:42 TH: Yeah. So I bet they're gonna love Ether 6-11.
0:02:46 JP: Mm-hmm, yes. It's gonna be good. We're gonna act it out. [chuckle]
0:02:48 SS: Now that would be great.
0:02:51 TH: Make sure your husband has some foods stored away for when his sons put him in jail and starve him.
0:02:53 SS: Yeah, yeah.
0:02:56 JP: That's gonna be rough.
0:02:57 TH: Jen, tell us where you're living right now.
0:03:00 JP: I live outside of... Between Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas, in a suburb called Keller. But it's awesome 'cause I feel close to all of you, even though I'm in my closet in Texas and you all are in Utah.
0:03:12 SS: Yeah.
0:03:12 TH: Absolutely. Okay, well, if you wanna learn more about my friends, you can find their bios and cute pictures of them and their family, everything at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday, those will be in our show notes. So to start out today, I just want to use the words of my good friend, Sharon Staples. Sharon maybe you can remind me of what you had said, because we talked a couple of weeks ago about these chapters, and I said to you, "How do we even teach these chapters." And what did you say about them?
0:03:38 SS: I can't remember, I can't remember what I had for breakfast, so you want me to remember what I said to you weeks ago.
0:03:44 TH: Yes, because it was so profound, I loved it. Actually, it was pretty funny, here's what you said, "This lesson is a tough one, war after war and so-and-so killed so-and-so and... Oh, they're all related. It's just one big mess."
0:03:56 SS: It is, I couldn't believe it. As I got into it, I thought, "How can you murder your brother and murder your father? How can you put him in jail? Starve him to death."
0:04:03 TH: Mm-hmm.
0:04:03 SS: Oh, it's just awful.
0:04:03 TH: It is.
0:04:05 SS: I was a little depressed after reading all those chapters until we got to the part that the prophets prevailed. So that was nice.
0:04:13 TH: That is nice, yeah. What I really like about all of these chapters is it's a whirlwind history, and that means it just goes so fast and it covers many, many generations in six chapters, leaving an unbelievable destruction in its wake, and some very carefully placed lessons from Moroni that we need to know now more than ever. So friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in. Sharon and Jen, I wanted you to look for the similarities between the brother of Jared's journey and our mortal journey to the celestial kingdom. So I had you read Ether chapter 6, verses 1-12, and I'm so excited, I can't wait to see what you found out.
0:04:49 JP: Well, the first thing that stood out to me was in verse 3, it says, "And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness." And I just thought, "Okay, so they're gonna cross either way. It's just a question of whether they have light or dark as they do this," and I thought, "We're gonna do some things in our lives that are gonna feel like a big journey or a big undertaking, and sometimes it might feel really dark, and a lot of times we might pray that we don't have to do that particular journey, and sometimes we're just gonna have to." And so then we might wanna say, "Okay, I'm gonna change my prayer to can I have some light as I go through this journey. Can I have maybe not the relief of the journey taken away, 'cause it has to happen, but can I have some light or some support or something that's gonna make that journey a little bit more doable?"
0:05:45 TH: Yes, that's one of the verses that stood out to me. Sharon, did that stand out to you for any other reason?
0:05:49 SS: Well, just that my stones today are the scriptures and the prophets, and I went through those verses and looked at the stones, the physical preparations, and the waves and the temptations, the vessels, the wind, and try to determine what all of those elements are in my life today. The stones are the scriptures and the prophets, the physical preparations are food storage, the waves and the tempests are temptations that we face, the vessels that we have are our families and our temples that envelop us and keep us safe, and the wind are... For me, the conference talks and revelation from the authorities. So we have the stones, the physical preparation, the waves and the tempests, the vessels and the wind, we have inspiration to help us cross. As Jen so beautifully said, those dark places.
0:06:41 TH: Absolutely. What I love about what both of you shared is that you both pointed out the stones in verse 3, and that stood out to me also, and I circled the word "stones" and I circled it with the word "light," which is right below it, because I think for me, there was a connection there with stones and light, and then I immediately thought of Christ, and Christ is the light, but Christ is also the stone, and here's how he's the stone, I wanted to just share this with you. So I've always kind of thought, it's odd that we say, here I raise my Ebenezer, in the song, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," 'cause I was like, "Who's Ebenezer? Are we talking about Ebenezer Scrooge?" Then I learned Hebrew, and the Hebrew word for stone is Eben, and the word for help is Ezer. Now this is so cool.
0:07:29 TH: So here I raise my Ebenezer, my stone of help. Who is the Savior Jesus Christ, He is the Rock, he is the stone. So that's what stood out to me when I was like, "Oh my gosh, right here, the stones in the darkness to give light unto men, women and children, and that's what Christ does for us, He gives all of us light in the midst of all of our darkness which is what that song is totally about." Alright, ladies, keep going, what else stood out to you in these verses.
0:07:57 JP: In verse 5, I thought it was interesting that they used the word "furious" when they're talking about the wind, because when I usually use furious, it's 'cause I'm mad about something.
0:08:08 TH: Yeah.
0:08:08 JP: I'm so furious, why did you do that? But furious could have been just aggressive or pushing hard, or just kind of a really strong wind, and I think gosh, a lot of times we pray for relief from God, take this whole situation away, I don't want anything to do with it, it's really hard, rather than saying "This might be pushing me toward my promise land or pushing me in the right direction, and it's uncomfortable and I don't really like it, but what if this is what's gonna be the thing that gets me along my path further." And I think it's so important to remember that Heavenly Father sees the plan that we don't see. We see where we're uncomfortable and just like, "Get me off this path."
0:08:46 SS: Right. Yeah.
0:08:47 JP: Verses "Hey, you need to get over this hurdle, or you need to get to the next part of your path, and the only way you're gonna get there is with some furious winds behind you." And sometimes those furious winds come from Heavenly Father, even though you might feel a little bit like, "Well, here I am on my own."
0:09:05 TH: Oh, Jen, okay, I love that you just brought that up because at the end of verse 5, I want everyone to put verse 8 and look at the verse here, and Jen, will you just read verse 8 for us.
0:09:13 JP:" And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters, and thus they were driven forth before the wind."
0:09:24 TH: I just think when we're doing what we should, the furious wind it's going to constantly move us in that direction towards God. I think of my life at times when I've made poor choices and I've come back, the wind never stopped pushing me in the correct direction, and the wind could mean so many different things. We know that the word Spirit in Hebrew means wind. I don't know. Now, I just thought of that, that was somehow hard for me, hold on, I'm gonna put Spirit above the word wind.
0:09:47 JP: Yeah, because then you could take it and say, "Well, the Spirit is what's pushing me, not just God's plan, but the Spirit is prompting me to go in the direction I need to go."
0:09:57 TH: Yes, 100%. I just had an "Aha" Okay, that was cool. That's cool, Jen, I'm so glad you shared that. I would never have thought of it that way. Thank you. Okay, so those are just... I mean, we can do this all day long. With these verses 1-12, they're so powerful. So in the next segment, we're gonna jump right back into Ether chapter 6, and we're gonna read two verses that talk about what the people specifically did when they finally got to the promised land. And I often wonder if that's how I'll react when I make it to the celestial kingdom. This is fun.
0:10:30 TH: So Jen and Sharon, here's a question I have for you. "What is your go-to song when you really just wanna feel the Spirit?" I know for me in high school, when I was ever sad or depressed, I'd put on a Michael McLean tape and lay on my bed, and sing along to "You're Not Alone." [chuckle] So it's a little different today, I have new songs, but do you have a go-to song and one that just makes you... Just you feel the Spirit when you hear it?
0:10:52 JP: I love "I Believe in Christ," I don't sing it that often. It's long, but when I need it, it just feels like a testimony in a song.
0:11:03 SS: Mine is, "If You Could Hie to Kolob." To me, it confirms the immensity of the love Heavenly Father has for us given the immensity of the universe. And If you could hie... In the twinkling of an eye, could you ever find the end? No, it's eternal. Everything is eternal.
0:11:24 TH: Wow, great songs. Both of you, thank you for sharing those songs. Okay, so here's what this has to do with Ether chapter 6, so all of this time that the Jaredite are in these boats, and there's these furious winds, I love how in Ether chapter 6, verse 9 and 10, it tells us something that they're doing, something specific, let's read that, Sharon, will you please read that for us.
0:11:46 SS: Okie dokie, "And they did sing praises unto the Lord, yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long, and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord. And thus they were driven forth, and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them, and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water."
0:12:12 TH: Let's cross reference these two verses with... First Nephi, chapter 18, verse 9, this is Nephi and his family on their ship, it says, "And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, in so much that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither, yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness." What's the difference between the two that we just read about?
0:12:43 SS: The people of Jared went to the Lord, Nephi's brothers and Ishmael's sons, they didn't.
0:12:51 TH: Well, looking back at Ether chapter 6, verses 9 and 10, then here's what I wanna know is what benefits come to us when we sing praises unto the Lord?
0:13:01 JP: They're being protected versus the Nephites and the sons of Ishmael who they're about to capsize at one point because the Liahona can't guide them. They're not being protected from the elements the way that the Jaredites were.
0:13:13 SS: And the Jaredites were listening to and watching for the Lord's influence, where the Nephites folks, they weren't. The Jaredites were giving credit by looking at... "Well, gosh, we weren't swallowed up by a whale," and the Nephites never thought of that, they just say, "Oh yeah, well, we dodged a bullet."
0:13:32 TH: Yeah. Yeah.
0:13:35 SS: Instead of the Lord protected us from the monsters.
0:13:39 TH: I love that you brought that idea of that "no monster or whale," because to me, that seems like the silver lining approach to life, and I just love the idea of that, 'cause the verse right below it tells us how many days they were on that ship, in verse 11, they were there for 344 upon the water. A little interesting side note is that it's just 26 days less than Noah and his family, that's gotta be a hard journey, so hard, that look how they react when they get to the promise land. Let's read verse 12, and Jen, will you please read that for us?
0:14:11 JP: "And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them."
0:14:29 TH: Now, I know both of you marked that verse. Tell me your thoughts on it.
0:14:33 JP: I think multitude is such an important word, the multitude of tender mercies. It wasn't just, "Hey, we got here, Heavenly Father got us here safely." I think multitude tells us that they were looking for him in the details of their trip and in the details of their life, and seeing his hand there constantly and regularly. And probably praying regularly and feeling the Spirit regularly because they noticed that happening lots and lots of times.
0:15:00 TH: Yes, I like that. Pointing out the word multitude. Thank you. I'm just curious to know. What does the word tender add to the meaning of the word mercy?
0:15:10 SS: It's a heartfelt mercy. It's just an intense internal encompassing kind of love.
0:15:19 JP: And mercy is already extra, right. Mercy is not something you deserve, and so it just feels like extra, extra because I love you that much.
0:15:27 TH: You know what, Jen, I'm just thinking right now, 'cause I like that just a minute ago, you pointed out that they were doing things regularly, and I kind of think that maybe there's a connection to that word regularly and receiving tender mercies. I just kind of have that thought. So thank you, ladies. Thanks for sharing your ideas. So let's read verse 17, and, Sharon, will you read that for us?
0:15:47 SS: "And they were taught to walk humbly before the Lord, and they were also taught from on high."
0:15:53 TH: Tell me how does walking humbly before the Lord allow us to be taught from on high? What's the connection between those two?
0:16:01 SS: Well, you open the gates of communication, you have to open the door of your heart, you have to open the door of your soul. And so when you walk humbly before the Lord, it's almost like having a prayer in your heart, 24/7, you just keep your heart open, you keep your mind open, you keep your soul open to the Lord's teachings to the Holy Spirit, you just set a pattern for the day of welcoming what he would have you do.
0:16:27 JP: I think when you humble yourself enough to know that you need to be taught, that's important preparation, to then be able to take yourself and pray with faith, and pray with humility and say, "You know, I don't know everything Heavenly Father, but I'm gonna come in prayer or I'm gonna come in fasting." And you can do some of those things that you really prepare yourself in humility to go and say, "Okay, now I'm ready to be taught." But you don't just show up like, "Okay, I think I know everything fill in the blank." But you come really prepared.
0:17:00 TH: Absolutely. So, Sharon, I appreciate what you said earlier, because you said in order to be taught from on high, we have to be willing to open our hearts, open our souls to receiving that Revelation. And I totally agree. And then connecting that with what you said, Jen, about just coming in prayer and having a prayer in our hearts is how we're taught from on high. There's such a great quote from Elder Andersen, and I feel like it echoes exactly what you guys said. Let's read this, and Jen, will you read this for us?
0:17:26 JP: "Now, as we meet under the direction of President Thomas S. Monson, we anticipate hearing the will of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. We trust in his promise: Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. In the commotion and confusion of our modern world, trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve is vital to our spiritual growth and endurance. For many of us, there are pressing worries and earnest questions. We want to renew our faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to strengthen our ability to resist temptation and avoid distractions. We come to be taught from on high."
0:18:06 TH: Thank you. What is a favorite conference talk for you? What is the talk where you felt like you were taught for on high?
0:18:13 JP: Well I... I mean, so many messages, particularly this last conference was so great, but I think what stood out to me at the very end of all of it was when President Nelson said, "If you really want to embrace a new normal, I invite you to turn your heart, mind and soul increasingly to our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, let that be your new normal." I think so many of us, I'm totally guilty of this, are like, "Oh, just get me to 2021, things would be great. Things will be fantastic forget 2020."
0:18:40 SS: Yeah.
0:18:42 JP: And I think that what he was telling us is, things are gonna ebb and flow, just like they did for the people in Ether 6-11, things are gonna get ugly, things are gonna get better.
0:18:51 TH: Mm-hmm.
0:18:52 JP: But if we want to feel normal and feel good, our new normal needs to include the Savior.
0:19:00 TH: Absolutely, because we have to be taught from on high, that is the only way we're gonna survive any of this. So for anyone who's listening today and has pressing worries or earnest questions, and if you want to renew your faith in the Savior, my challenge to you is to take the recent conference address, and for those of you that get the Ensign or what it's now called the Liahona, take it out of its plastic, if it's still in it. [chuckle] To me, it is, and read one or listen to one, see if you cannot be taught from on high by reading one of those talks. And at the end of the week, I'm gonna ask you guys to share, if you read a talk what you learned. I want to know how you were taught from on high this week. So in the next segment, we're gonna read about a group of people who did not take advantage of being taught from on high and how that affected them and their posterity.
0:19:49 TH: Jen and Sharon, is there a time when you were blessed for following the warnings or the guidance of a prophet?
0:19:55 SS: I remember many years ago when President Kimball asked us too fast that we would be able to keep the Sabbath Day holy because we were in a severe drought in Utah, of course, there are severe droughts all over the world now, and we're in big trouble, but then he was concerned with Utah because we were in the severe drought and then he asked us to fast and to pray that we would keep the Sabbath Day holy, and he said "The reason we don't have any rain is because we're not keeping the Sabbath Day holy." Well, sure enough, sure enough, we all prayed and fasted and within days the rains came.
0:20:33 TH: I didn't know that story though, Sharon. I love that you just shared that.
0:20:38 SS: You probably weren't born yet.
0:20:39 TH: Oh no, I was. [chuckle] But I was little, so. I don't think I knew how to fast yet or maybe I probably should have known. But...
0:20:46 SS: You were just a... You were just a puppy, but then this was years ago.
0:20:51 TH: Wow. That is neat.
0:20:53 JP: Cool story.
0:20:53 TH: That's a great example, thank you. What about you, Jen?
0:20:56 JP: Well, I was thinking about when I graduated from high school, it was in 2005, and that summer all across Utah, we're doing the Day of Celebration to recognize the prophet Joseph Smith. And I thought, because I had just graduated from high school, that I was off the hook, and my mom was like, "Oh no, no, no, you're still going to Rice-Eccles Stadium, you're gonna wear your yellow shirt and you're gonna sing all the songs." And I just thought she was the worst and was like, "Mom, I don't have to do this?" But my mom is fantastic and she prevailed and she just sent me along and we sang about Joseph Smith, and then I went off to BYU that fall, and President Hinckley had issued a challenge to all of the members of the Church to read the Book of Mormon by the end of that year. And he issued it in June or July, so you only had half the year to get going and get the Book of Mormon read. I really loved President Hinckley and I just thought, "Okay, I can do this, I can get the Book of Mormon read." So I did it, and I don't actually remember having a super significant experience other then great, I finished the Book of Mormon. That's always a good thing. [chuckle]
0:21:57 JP: But then fast forward to 2008, President Hinckley passed away in January, and my grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and they decided they wanted everyone in their extended family together on a bus to Nauvoo, Illinois, and I will never forget sitting outside and we're watching the pageant and all of a sudden, President Hinckley's voice comes over the speaker, bearing testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith, and in that moment, everything came together for me in this really strengthening moment of... Joseph Smith was the prophet. President Hinckley was the prophet, the Book of Mormon is true. This is all true.
0:22:38 SS: Great Story.
0:22:38 TH: Wow. Thank you, both of you. Great examples. In fact, as both of you shared your examples, I will say The Spirit absolutely witnessed to me that what you're saying was true, that your stories really did enhance your testimonies and it just enhanced mine. So thank you for sharing that. So let's jump into Ether then, because we're gonna look at two examples of what can happen if we accept or reject the prophets words, so I'm gonna give you a little background of these, we're in Ether chapter 7. Well, actually, we're in the end of Ether chapter 6 is were we're gonna go. So Jared and the brother of Jared, they're getting old and the people, their people want a king, so the brother of Jared, he was so sad, and by the people's request to be led by a king.
0:23:16 TH: In fact, he says in Ether chapter 6, verse 23, the brother of Jared says, "Surely this thing leadeth into captivity." Highlight that, "Surely this thing leadeth into captivity." And then draw a line down to verse 5 of chapter 7, because there's the fulfillment of that, sure enough, they were indeed lead into captivity in verse 5, it says at the very end, that they would be brought into captivity. So we see the fulfillment of that. So during the reign of many kings, the Jaredites, they go through several cycles of arguing with the prophet, living in unrighteousness, rejecting the prophets, living in wickedness. So we're gonna look at two different sets of Scripture, two different stories about two different groups of people and how what they did with the prophets words. The first one is in Ether chapter 7, verses 23-27, and the other one is in Ether chapter 9, verses 28-31.
0:24:05 TH: Now, I asked Jennifer and Sharon to go ahead and read these ahead of time, so we're just gonna discuss them. So what did you guys find? Well, let's compare and contrast these two groups of people.
0:24:14 JP: In here, you've got a lot of people that are being pretty nasty to the prophets, in Ether chapter 7, verse 24, it says they did revile against them, and did mock them. And then Shule who's the king he executes judgment against the people who are persecuting the prophets, and then the people start repenting, and what happens when you repent is the Lord spares you and the Lord blesses you, and we see that happen right here, that the Lord sees his people repent and they end up being okay, they end up being spared.
0:24:49 SS: In chapter 7, verses 23-27, you have religious freedom, you have civil law, and 9:28-31, you have no governmental decree to protect the prophets. So to me, it says, it's important for the nation in which we live, whatever the nation, all over the world, that we have religious freedom and civil law, if we don't, then we end up in like in chapter 9, verse 28-31, it's just chaos and destruction and awful stuff. So civil law will protect us from total destruction in addition to our turning to Heavenly Father and to our Savior to protect us spiritually. So the comparison to me is religious freedom and civil law versus chaos, and no religious freedom and no civil law.
0:25:44 TH: Wow, I love that. Sharon, I hadn't even considered that. That's what I like about the way you think, is that you bring that into play because when you talk about chaos in Ether chapter 9, I mean it was chaos. We have a famine, we have a dearth, we have poisonous serpents, I mean, it's kind of like a 2020 for us, 'cause if we did have poisonous serpents we'd be like "Of course we do. Why wouldn't we have poisonous serpents. So in Ether chapter 9, verse 35, Sharon it goes right along with the story that you had, Sharon, will you just read verse 35 for us.
0:26:13 SS: "And it came to pass that when they had humbled themselves sufficiently before the Lord he did send rain upon the face of the earth, and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine."
0:26:30 TH: So it seems obvious like, "Okay, let's just do what the prophet said, if we can just follow his words, then everything's gonna be fine." But why is it not that easy? Why do people choose to reject the Prophets warnings?
0:26:41 SS: Pride, they think they know better, they're not willing to turn their will over to Heavenly Father, they wanna do it themselves.
0:26:50 TH: I think what's interesting, and we've talked a lot about this, the show of pride, is in how subtle it is, there is such a good talk, it's one of my favorite talks by President Nelson, and it was given last year. It was given on September 17th, 2019 to BYU students in a devotional. Sharon, can you read this quote for us?
0:27:06 SS: "Sometimes we as leaders of the Church are criticized for holding firm to the laws of God, defending the Savior's doctrine, and resisting the social pressures of our day. But our commission as ordained Apostles is, "To go into all the world to preach his gospel unto every creature." That means we are commanded to teach truth. In doing so, sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father's requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But wouldn't it be far more uncaring for us not to tell the truth, not to teach what God has revealed? It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God's children that we proclaim his truth. We may not always tell people what they want to hear. Prophets are rarely popular. But we will always teach the truth."
0:28:04 SS: My understanding of a prophet is as a seer and a revelator is that he will always speak truth, he will say, "This is true." And when he says true, it's with a capital T, meaning it was in the pre-mortal life, it's true now, and it will be true, forever. So that truth is to me, a binding thread from pre-mortal to current to post-mortal, and that line... That thread of truth, if I hold on to that kind of like the iron rod and listen to the prophets and know that they are going to direct me and guide me and keep me on that iron rod, I'll be okay.
0:28:50 JP: I don't want to be a pot-stirrer, so let me just preface it by saying that, but I think there is a lot of discussion and noise right now about finding what works for you, especially within the church and kind of picking and choosing that, and then people that say the prophet can speak about that, but he doesn't really know 'cause he doesn't really know what life is like and these social norms and these things that are facing the younger generation or whoever, and so it was a little bit heartbreaking a few times during conference weekend, to come across people that said, "Just pick and choose what you wanna listen to, it's not gonna be for everybody. That's why it's called general conference, it's general." And I just thought, "Oh no, listen to the prophet, the prophet is always right, the prophet is always... " Like Sharon said, speaking truth, and I think if we go back to D&C, where we learn, by the voice of God's servants, it's the same, it doesn't matter if Heavenly Father says it or if Jesus says it, or if it's the prophet say it, when it comes from the prophet in a prophetic setting, it's the same as if the Lord himself spoke it to us, and so I think that we will always find security, we will always find truth, we will always find absolute peace in listening to the prophet even if it's not socially normal or very cool.
0:30:08 TH: Thank you. Both of you, what you said was so perfect. And as you were talking, I was thinking, for me, it seems like for many of us, we are in the middle of a famine, we are in our own spiritual dearth. Our own spiritual famine. And if we want the Lord to send rain, and we do, we need rain. We have to be willing to do what the prophet says. So in the next segment, we're gonna take a look at the sad tale of what can happen to an entire society who chose not to follow the prophet.
0:30:40 TH: Jen, I'm wondering, do you have any rules about secrets with your boys, like raising kids?
0:30:44 JP: Yeah, they're not allowed. You cannot keep secrets in this house. Well, let me go back and say, every now and then, my middle son will say, "Can we have a brother secret?" And I'll say "That's okay." 'Cause it's so cute, but we generally don't have secrets because I feel like A, it creates factions or contention between, with three kids, it's an uneven number, someone's always gonna feel left out, so it creates hard feelings. But then I also just really feel like I want the communication between my kids and their parents to always be flowing, and I want them to trust us and not feel like they can't tell us things and that they have to keep things secret from us, or that we keep secrets from them. We try to really communicate, and if we have questions in our family, we ask them and we talk about them, and we try to do things that don't embarrass or shame people, but just communicate and answer whatever questions come up.
0:31:39 TH: Yeah, I have the same thing. My response is the same way, we don't have secrets. Sharon, as an educator in psychology, you have a PhD, tell me what's wrong with secrets?
0:31:49 SS: Well, you have to have a unity of faith, if you don't have a unity of faith, then you're going nowhere, and you can't have a unity of faith, if there are secret. So everyone has to be on the same page. And if you're not on the same page, you don't get through the book.
0:32:06 TH: Yes. Okay, thank you so much for sharing that. So let's read about these destructive secrets and these destructive secret combinations in Ether chapters 8, 9 and 10. So a little bit about this is that Moroni gives a summary of many generations of the Jaredite people, and this fast-paced overview, it shows the consequences of righteousness and wickedness. Now, Moroni observations and warnings, they can help us avoid the pitfalls that were experienced by the Jaredites, that's the whole point of what Moroni is doing. The reason why he included all of this information in chapters 8, 9 and 10, 'cause if you read it, you're like, "Ah!" like we've said, "So-and-so is killing so-and-so and duh duh duh duh duh." But Moroni's whole point and purpose of including the stories of secret combinations is so that we can see how it applies in our lives, how destructive secret combinations can be, 'cause that is the problem with all of this. So let's look at some of these secret combinations. Sharon, will you please read the section heading of Ether chapter 8?
0:33:03 SS: "There is strife and contention over the kingdom. Akish forms an oath-bound secret combination to slay the king. Secret combinations are of the devil and result in the destruction of nations. Modern Gentiles are warned against the secret combination that will seek to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries."
0:33:23 TH: In that section heading, I highlighted "modern Gentiles are warned," that us. So to go with that warning, let's study these 12 aspects of secret combinations and how we can avoid them, I really love this list. Okay, we'll start with you, Jen. Here we go.
0:33:37 JP: Number one, their two objectives are to get gain and power, then they glory in it.
0:33:43 SS: Secret combinations require general wickedness to survive.
0:33:48 TH: Number three, secret combinations thrive on secrecy, violation of which is a capital offense.
0:33:55 JP: Number four, secret combinations involve formal covenant-making.
0:34:00 SS: Number five, they use murder, violence, threat of violence, plunder, vice, whoredoms and flattery to get gain and power.
0:34:09 TH: Number six, secret combinations operate on laws contrary to the laws of the country.
0:34:16 JP: Number seven, satan is the grand conspirator, and author.
0:34:19 SS: Eight, participants have court trials for their own people, not according to the laws of the land, but according to their own set of laws.
0:34:28 TH: Nine, they seek to take governmental power as rapidly as possible.
0:34:33 JP: 10, participants seek to overthrow freedom for others, but seek to maintain freedom for themselves.
0:34:40 SS: 11, secret combinations cause the destruction of nations.
0:34:44 TH: And the last one, 12, secret combinations are abominable in God's sight. Is there one that stood out to you as you read it or heard it?
0:34:52 JP: Number six, secret combinations operate on laws contrary to the laws of the country, is so interesting because they're basically doing whatever they want, they're not listening to anybody, and that can get so dangerous so quickly because there's no recourse. There's nothing stopping them, there's nothing that's gonna keep it from being... Just overtaking everything.
0:35:12 TH: Right? Absolutely. What about you Sharon?
0:35:15 SS: As I looked at all of those and read them, I looked at verse 13 of chapter 8, where it says, "Will you swear unto me that you will be faithful unto me in the thing which I shall desire of you?" Swearing an oath, in all of these, one through 12, you almost have to swear an oath to the person or persons who are perpetrating this murder, violence, threat of violence, or whatever. We use oaths in the church because they're so binding.
0:35:47 TH: Mm-hmm.
0:35:48 SS: And Satan uses that word oath because it's binding.
0:35:51 TH: Yeah.
0:35:51 SS: And so he binds people to these principles one through 12 in such a way that they almost can't get out of it, 'cause they've sworn an oath to do this, and so I'm struck by the intensity of those 12.
0:36:08 TH: Wow, thank you for that comparison, Sharon.
0:36:11 SS: Mm-hmm.
0:36:11 TH: When I read that satan is the grand conspirator and author, I knew that, but I think what struck me was in Ether chapter 8, verse 16, in verse 16, it says, "And they were kept up by the power of the devil." So that really struck me like the power of the devil is what's keeping up the success of these secret combinations, and then I thought, "How is he doing that? What does that look like?" I mean, what kind of power must he have to keep up all of these secret combinations and how much work that must be, and he's never going to get tired, he'll just keep doing that all the time. Let's go into Ether chapter 8, and we're gonna read verses 21 and 22, and Jen, will you please read those two verses for us?
0:36:49 JP: "And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed, for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not."
0:37:19 TH: Thank you. Okay, to the outside of verses 21, down the side of my page, I wrote, "secret combinations 20-26." So all of these verses describe the makings and workings of a secret combination, and as I read these, I was thinking, "Uh-huh, mm-hmm." And I could think in my mind of everything, I think like, I see it here, I see it here. And it's so easy for us to think, "I see this in the government, I see this in organizations and factions and groups and whatever," and I never really have seen it in myself until now. Here's what's interesting about the word secret, in Hebrew, it's sathar, and the definition for a secret in Hebrew is backbiting, covering, covert, hiding place, which I understood the covering, the covert, the hiding place, but the word backbiting... I was like, "Ouch."
0:38:09 SS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
0:38:11 TH: Alright, I might be guilty of a couple of secrets, and then the word combination, according to the 1828 Webster's dictionary, it says an intimate union, an association of two or more persons, and immediately it struck me that intimate union at times in my life has been with satan. That's the only person you have to have to create a secret combination, it's you and satan. There you have it. There's your combination. And so, do we have our own secret combinations, is there something that you participate in that no one really knows about, that you think is not really that bad, it's not really gonna hurt anybody, it's not really affecting anyone, it's just me, and you're keeping it a secret to yourself, and that's kind of what I had been thinking of with the secret combination.
0:38:54 SS: May I read a quote from Boyd K Packer?
0:38:57 TH: Please, Sharon.
0:38:57 SS: Okay, this is Packer, "Do Not Fear." He says, "We live in dangerously troubled times. The values that steadied mankind in earlier times are being tossed away. We must not ignore Moroni's words when he saw our day and said, "Ye must awake to a sense of your awful situation." That was in Ether 8:24. We cannot take lightly this warning from the Book of Mormon." So when I read that chapter 24, and I also read what Brother Packer says, it means that I need to be on the alert for backbiting. For being in cahoots with two or three other people to have a little club or whatever it is. [chuckle] I think it's awareness, and I think turning to the scriptures and being alerted as were alerted in the scriptures to what could possibly happen. That is the number one preventative measure of getting into secret combinations is read and absorb and internalize what Moroni is telling us, what Brother Packer is telling us, what other... All the prophets have told us. So I think if I tune into that, I don't have to worry about the individual little petty things that go on during the day, 'cause my mind is attuned to being awakened to what could happen to me on a daily basis.
0:40:15 TH: Oh gosh, thank you, Sharon, because what you just shared is powerful and true, I believe that, and you know it goes perfectly with Moroni's words to us in Ether chapter 8, verse 26. Will you please read that for us?
0:40:27 SS: "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 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."
0:40:47 TH: At the beginning of that verse, it says, "Commanded to write these things that evil may be done away." How can we do this? How can we best do this in our own lives, and our own communities to help evil be done away, to rid ourselves of secret combinations.
0:41:03 JP: I keep thinking, as we've talked about this for the last little bit, that we know that what satan does in general are cheap imitations of what the Lord gives us, so if he is getting us to make oath and covenants with him, it's because he doesn't really want us to remember the oaths and covenants we've made with the Savior. But I think if we really focus on remembering the covenants we've made with God, our baptismal covenant. And if you've been through the temple to think of your temple covenants, then we replace the energy and the time that we might spend on secret combinations with the actual real thing, the covenants we make with God, rather than the cheap imitation of covenant or oath made to satan, we've gotta be focused on being covenant people and on the right covenants and on the right promises that we've made.
0:41:56 TH: Thank you, Jen. And as you brought up baptismal covenant, the thought I had in my mind was, "Am I mourning with those who mourn, or am I mocking with those who mock?" I think sometimes I'm mocking, and that's my secret combination, I think it's so subtle for all of us, and you're right, satan wants to have his own oath, he wants to mock or mimic what the Savior is doing, so thank you for sharing those. So in the next segment, we're gonna see how your actions and the goals that you set affect others and why God needs you now more than ever, to leave your secret combination.
0:42:36 TH: So when I was growing up, my dad pretty much only gave me one piece of advice, and he would always say to me, "Be a leader, not a follower," he would always say that to me. Like some people say when they would leave home, "Remember who you are and don't let it get you down." Nah, I'm just kidding, just kidding. Nobody's parents really said that. [chuckle] "Remember who you are and what you stand for." But my dad would always say, "Be a leader, not a follower." And I've said that to my kids and it was kind of cute, 'cause a couple of weeks ago, I overheard my 13-year-old talking to an adult and she did say... "Well, my mom always told me to be a leader, not a follower." And I'm like, "Mom win, right there, I'll take that. Thank you." So with that advice that my dad gave me, my question to both of you is, what does it mean to be a leader?
0:43:17 JP: I think a great leader is someone who knows where they wanna go and knows how to get themselves on that path without being distracted and then is strong enough to get themselves there, even if other things are going on around them. I think you have to have that strength to not get distracted or not second guess yourself. But just keep moving, keep moving at a good pace, keep moving in a good direction and just stay where you know you need to be.
0:43:45 SS: To me, being a leader is being a brick wall and a brick wall in the gospel, in that the buffeting who come against that brick wall will bounce off or be destroyed, and I can be that brick wall because I am centered, I am directed, I am who I am, and I know who I am, and I can be a reflection of my value system, which is the gospel.
0:44:10 TH: So your descriptions of leadership, you guys, that was perfect. So thank you for your thoughts. You know in this chapter, there were some leaders who would have totally benefited from your description of effective leadership, so let's go to Ether chapter 10 and read about these leaders. Now, this is interesting, 'cause in none of these examples did the society quickly change from righteousness to wickedness, it seemed like it was a little more gradual as kings changed, and so we're gonna read about that in these chapters, the first leadership we wanna read about is in Ether chapter 10, verse 5. Sharon, will you please read verse 5?
0:44:43 SS: "And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men's shoulders which was grievous to be borne, yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes, and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings."
0:45:02 TH: So Riplakish, here's his leadership style, and in verses 6 and 7, He loves gold, he loves silver, everything's being built up for him, and then he has last long, verse 8, he dies, and then it gets a new leader who's a relative of him Morianton. So tell me what stood out to you about Morianton's style of leadership?
0:45:20 JP: He's into war, right?
0:45:21 TH: Mm-hmm.
0:45:21 JP: He's exerting his power. In verse 9, it says, "He gained power over many cities, and the war became exceedingly sore, and did last for the space of many years."
0:45:31 TH: And I'm intrigued with that verse, I'm glad you brought that up, Jen, where it says, "He gathered together an army of outcasts." What is that?
0:45:37 JP: I mean, you're hoping that the people that knew what was going on, we're not touching that, so they were like, We're not doing this with you. And the only people he could get were those people that were like, I have no other option.
0:45:52 TH: Right.
0:45:52 JP: I'm an outcast, I guess I'm coming with you, or even we're forced. I don't know.
0:45:58 TH: Let's go back into then Ether, chapter 10 and tell me, were there any other leadership styles you noticed?
0:46:02 SS: He did ease the burden of the people.
0:46:04 TH: Oh, read that verse for us Sharon, this is interesting. Read verse 11.
0:46:08 SS: "And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms, wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord."
0:46:16 TH: Isn't that interesting? And then go down to verse 13, and Jen, will you read that for us?
0:46:22 JP: "And Morianton did live to an exceedingly great age, and then he begat Kim, and Kim did reign in the stead of his father, and he did reign eight years, and his father died. And it came to pass that Kim did not reign in righteousness, wherefore he was not favored of the Lord."
0:46:38 TH: So let's go back to the very beginning question I asked you when I said, what is leadership to you? What makes a good leader? And I love this idea. So in the 2016 general conference, Stephen W. Owen, he spoke and he asked this question, "If I asked you who is the greatest leader, the perfect example of leadership that ever lived. You would say it's Jesus Christ." And then he said, conversely, "Who would you then say, is the greatest follower that ever lived?"
0:47:09 SS: Me. I have to be the greatest follower. If he's my leader, I have to follow him with every ounce of will and power and strength that I have, so that he will... In Mosiah 5 and 15, it says, "So that he will seal you his." And so in order to be sealed to him, I have to follow him.
0:47:34 TH: You're absolutely right, Sharon, in fact let's read this quote by Elder Owen, this is so great because he makes this connection to... If you wanna be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. Jen will you read this?
0:47:48 JP: "The world teaches that leaders must be mighty, the Lord teaches that they must be meek. Worldly leaders gain power and influence through their talent, skill and wealth. Christlike leaders gain power and influence by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned. In God's eyes, the greatest leaders have always been the greatest followers. Your ability to lead does not come from an outgoing personality, motivational skills or even a talent for public speaking, it comes from your commitment to follow Jesus Christ, it comes from your desire to be in Abraham's words, a great follower of righteousness. If you can do that, even if you aren't perfect at it, but you're trying, then you are a leader.
0:48:30 TH: Thank you. And I love how you answered that, Sharon, that who can be the greatest follower? All of us. We can all be leaders, because we can all be followers, by doing that which is good in the sight of the Lord. I think there's this saying, " Some people would desire to be a leader because they want the power, but the reality is, is you can't lead until you follow." When you read in Scripture, he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, they are being followers, which makes them great leaders, which made their society prosper. And throughout Ether 6-11, that is the pattern that we see in prospering, is that the leadership are people who follow Jesus Christ. So today, I want you to kind of just think, because today, one of our greatest leaders is indeed an excellent follower, and it's our prophet President Russell M. Nelson, his prophetic leadership and message to us this year are exactly what we have needed, so in the next segment, we're gonna see the role that a prophet can play in turbulent times and what we must do to endure these specific times.
0:49:32 TH: So if you were to tell somebody, if you were to give them a run down of what 2020 was like, just start listing all the calamities that we have endured. What stands out in your mind?
0:49:42 JP: Pandemic.
0:49:43 SS: Social unrest. Economic downfall.
0:49:46 JP: Schools closing, work closing, work from home, things that we've just never, ever experienced and never thought that we would as far as our livelihoods go.
0:49:56 TH: Absolutely.
0:49:56 SS: I think just chaos and confusion, we're experiencing chaos and confusion.
0:50:01 TH: Definitely. Okay, let's go into Ether chapter 11 then, because we've already mentioned this briefly, but remember we talked about how the people had a famine, a dearth, poisonous serpents, they repented and then they got rain, and now we have another example in Ether chapter 11. So, Jen, will you read Ether chapter 11, verse 1, and then skip to verse 7 and 8?
0:50:23 JP: "And there came also in the days of Com many prophets, and prophesied of the destruction of that great people except they should repent, and turn unto the Lord, and forsake their murders and wickedness." verse 7, "And they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations, wherefore, there began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, in so much that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth, and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom. And the people began to repent of their iniquity, and in as much as they did the Lord did have mercy on them."
0:51:04 TH: Turn the page and we're gonna read verse 20, and then we're gonna talk about this. And Sharon, will you please read verse 20?
0:51:11 SS: verse 20, "And in the days of Coriantor there also came many prophets, and prophesied of great and marvelous things, and cried repentance unto the people, and except they should repent the Lord God would execute judgment against them to their utter destruction."
0:51:28 TH: What stood out to me in that verse, specifically Sharon, was when it talked about how the prophets prophesied marvelous things to the people, because I feel like our prophet today has spoken many marvelous things to us, he's encouraged us, he's instructed us to let God prevail in our lives. And so tell me, in what way... Or what ways have you seen God prevail in your life over this past year?
0:51:53 JP: Well, my husband has a really long commute into Dallas, generally it's 35 or 40 minutes each way, there's traffic, and before he started working from home, my kids were never seeing him, they go to bed at seven, 'cause they get up early to catch the bus, and it just was like, we were never having family dinners, it was really hard, and since he started working from home, we have lunch together, we have dinner together, they're playing in the backyard after dinner and we're seeing each other, my two-year-old checks in on him many times a day, "Hey dad, hey dad, do you work from home? Hey dad." [chuckle] And it's just been such a sweet thing, I know that it's hard for a lot of other reasons, and it's not a perfect situation, but I have been able to see our family strengthen and get closer to one another, 'cause we just hung out with each other for many months, just the five of us, and we're seeing each other, which has been really, really special and such a huge blessing for us.
0:52:50 TH: How has it brought you closer to Christ? This last year.
0:52:56 JP: It's been really wonderful to have my boys watch their dad administer the Sacrament in our home and we talked about it, and usually when we're at church, it's like, "Shh! Don't talk, it's the sacrament." And when it's in our home, we can say, "Yeah, this is the bread, this helps us think about Jesus." And we can talk about it a little bit more loudly, and while it's happening, and use it as a teaching moment. And I think as we have tried to start with a song and a prayer and put on our church clothes and be ready to think of the Savior, and teach our kids about why it matters that we get up and get ready and sit reverently and sing and prepare for the sacrament, they're kind of like, "Okay, this is a big deal." And we talk about it, and that's been really, really special.
0:53:43 TH: Thank you, Jen. That's a great example.
0:53:45 SS: And I say amen to everything you've said, Jen, I think that's wonderful. And the same is true for us. Our neighbor and his 12-year-old son have been coming over every Sunday and administering the sacrament, and we prepare an opening hymn and a little talk, and they assign them a little talk, it takes about a half an hour total, but the Spirit is so much stronger than it is like in a chapel filled with cheerios and gummy bears.
0:54:15 TH: There are cheerios and gummy bears, I'm sorry there are for me.
0:54:19 SS: Yes, but they're not Legion. [chuckle] It's just one or two. And that has made a significant difference. I think the other thing is that I'm now taking time to study more diligently the scriptures, and I'm also more mindful of the sisters to whom I minister, and also has caused me to have internal reflection. I have time now to say, "Okay, what are you all about? Who are you all about? What do you wanna do with your life? If you have a life after COVID? If there is a new normal, how do you wanna plan your life? How do you wanna go about doing what you need to do in order to have the feelings that you have now and the strength that you have now?" So that's been a blessing to me.
0:55:04 TH: Thank you both of you for sharing, those are really beautiful experiences, and I can see how God has prevailed in your life through what you shared, and I can't help but think... It makes me so emotional. If you're grieving of any kind of loss of the result of this dumb year, I'm so sorry, if you're grieving the loss of a job or a loved one or anything it is, I would love to know how you have seen God prevail in your life over this year or how he is prevailing in your life. In fact, I'm gonna actually ask for this on social media towards the end of the week, so please share, go on Instagram and Facebook. I wanna know how those of you who are grieving and struggling, how you have seen God prevail in your life throughout this year. You know, I shared earlier a couple of weeks ago that the friend of one of my very best friends passed away from COVID, and she called me on her way to Texas and she said, "Tell me I can do this." And then we just sobbed the whole time while she was driving, and I thought, "How is God prevailing in her life?" When we had our guests on Jalyn and Shilo, one of the cool things about talking about miracles was that Shilo said, "Sometimes the miracle isn't the end result, it's the process."
0:56:16 TH: And I think that's what my friend is experiencing right now, is the process after the death and all of the miracles and the things that she has shared with me, and so taking this idea that the prophet loves us and he's sharing marvelous things with us and not all hope is lost, and we really can let God prevail in our lives. So in the women's conference talk this year, our prophet gave us a challenge to do three specific things that will help let God prevail in our lives. I want us to read this and talk about these. He urged us to take steps to be temporally prepared, but then he said he was more concerned with our spiritual and our emotional preparation than he was with our temporal preparation, and then he gave us a challenge to do three things, number one, to create places of security where we are safe, and he talked about our homes, making our homes a place of security for safety. Number two, prepare your minds to be faithful to God, and number three, never stop preparing.
0:57:12 TH: And then I love how in the Sunday session, he then issued the challenge to let God prevail in our lives, so my question then with those three things, create a place of security, prepare your mind to be faithful to God and never stop preparing, how are you going to let God prevail in your lives?
0:57:33 SS: Well, I think it's already been done for me, when the prophet came out with the come follow me, and that church would be centered in the home, and they did this long before the pandemic ever hit, and that is a confirming testimony builder for me. So when it says, to prepare my mind and prepare food storage and prepare all those other things, I listen to that now, because they were prepared, and I have proof of that. Now, in 2020, that I have the scriptures in my home, I have church in my home, I preachers in my home. All of that is here because they were being prepared years years ago.
0:58:17 TH: Perfect, Sharon, thank you for sharing that. That was excellent, Jen.
0:58:22 JP: One of the things I've been thinking a lot about lately is just what my prayers look like right now, and what I want them to look like in a new normal. It's something that I wanna work on, it's something good, I think, Okay, if I'm gonna be turning my heart and my mind more fully to my savior and to my Heavenly Father, then how does that come across? What comes out of my mouth and what comes out of my heart to get my mind in the right place and to turn my heart there, so I think the last little bit of 2020 and hopefully into 2021, we're gonna be working on our prayers in this household.
0:58:55 SS: Mm-hmm. Good point. Wonderful.
0:58:57 TH: That's a great point. Thank you, thank you for sharing that. And I encourage everyone to go back and read President Nelson's talk that he gave at the women's session of October 2020 general conference. Because there were so many parts that struck me, I think for me, the one thing I'm gonna do to help accomplish these three goals that he gave us the challenge was when he said... And this just struck me in my heart, about resist entertainment or ideologies that celebrate covenant breaking, and it just really made me think of the way I've kind of been spending the pandemic a little bit, and I've talked about this before, but with the streaming devices and the movies we watch, and the shows we watch, and how many of them do celebrate covenant breaking, and so my goal is going to be to rid myself of all those shows, which is going to be hard 'cause I kinda wanna be in the know. I wanna talk to people about the shows they're watching and how great they are, and they are great, except for this one part, so.
0:59:51 SS: Yeah.
0:59:51 TH: It's gonna be my goal to just not even... I'm just gonna have to let it go. I just have to let it go and not worry about watching these shows anymore, so that's my goal. So thank you, ladies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. That's the end of our episode, we're done. That was so awesome.
1:00:05 SS: Thank you very much.
1:00:06 JP: That was awesome. It was so fun. Thank you.
1:00:07 TH: There was so much in there, I mean, there was a ton, a ton, a ton of stuff. So tell me what your takeaway was. Go ahead and share that with us.
1:00:15 JP: I loved what you said at the very beginning about Ebenezer, about Christ being our stone our rock as well as our light, 'cause I also love that song, and I'm never gonna listen to it the same again, I'm gonna listen to it with new ears and really use it as a chance to reflect on how well I'm letting Christ be both my stone and my light in my life.
1:00:39 SS: My take away was when we talk almost flippantly, not really flippantly about, "Well, the Book of Mormon was written for our day. My gosh, if you read these scriptures, it is 2020, Moroni and Mormon and Ether and all they wrote so that we would be prepared and protected, and the prophets and the leaders of the church knew that, and they were preparing us and Moroni, and the boys were trying to prepare us as well. So what's in these little verses, in these little words are the foundation for our being safe, and so when they say, the Book of Mormon was written for our day, I don't take that lightly anymore.
1:01:23 TH: Yes, absolutely. My take away, for those of you who, you don't get to hear this at the beginning, but we start every episode out with a prayer, and Sharon gave the prayer today before we began, and what stood out to me, my takeaway was what she prayed for, and it's gonna change the way I pray because in her prayer, she said to Heavenly Father, we are so grateful for the brother of Jared and for Moroni, and for the words that they wrote, and I've never given thanks for Moroni or the brother of Jared or any of the writers of the book of Mormon, and I will tonight, I am so grateful that they took the time to write on these plates, to carry these heavy plates to all the places they went to so that we can have this true record based on actual events for our life today, and we need it now, more than ever. So that was my take away from your little... Your sweet prayer Sharon. So thank you for doing that.
1:02:14 SS: You're welcome, thank you for asking me to pray.
1:02:17 TH: And Jen's statement, it's not a buffet, I love that.
1:02:18 SS: Well, in Ether chapter 1, verses 6-2, we have the genealogy.
1:02:23 TH: Right.
1:02:24 SS: I want them to do my family history. [chuckle] I mean, this is wonderful. They've been doing family history thousands of years ago, and we have access to that, and I look at that and I... The first thing I thought of was, Oh, I've got to get back to my family history. Yeah, because this is a wonderful genealogy.
1:02:42 JP: It's because they include stories.
1:02:45 SS: I can't pronounce the names, so I don't know who they are and any of the stuff, but nonetheless, it's in the Book of Mormon.
1:02:52 TH: Mm-hmm.
1:02:52 SS: Family history is in the Book of Mormon. Hello, Wake Up pay attention. [chuckle] Read between the lines.
1:02:58 TH: Yeah, your journals will matter, even though you think, Oh, who's ever gonna read this? Maybe you don't want someone to read it. Well...
1:03:03 SS: That's right, absolutely.
1:03:05 TH: I'm sure that Shiz wasn't really pleased for reading his story either, but whatever. Neither here or there, we're gonna learn a lot from him. So.
1:03:12 TH: Thank you, thanks for sharing that. Oh my gosh, well, we... Okay, for those of you are listening, I can not wait to hear what your big takeaway was from this week because there's so much stuff, so if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, you totally should. 'cause the thing I like about it is that it's a great place to ask questions. If you're studying through the week and you wanna know about stuff, post a question on Instagram and Facebook and we will answer it, I'll get back to you, I'll totally research and answer it, and other people in the community will answer it too, which is so much fun. And then at the end of each week, it's usually on a Sunday, we do a post asking for what your big takeaway was, so comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let me know what you learned, and I read them all and it's so much fun, and one always stands out to me and I always share it on Monday morning.
1:03:54 TH: You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday. And it's such a good idea to go there because that's where we have the links to all of the quotes that we use today, all of the scriptures, all of our references, and there's also a complete transcript of this entire discussion, so you can follow along with it while you listen, which I've heard some people do, which I think is so awesome.
1:04:16 TH: The Sunday and Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS original and it's brought to you by LDS living, it's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today are beautiful awesome study group participants for Jennifer Todd Pearson and Sharon Staples, and you can find more information about these ladies at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here, we will see you next week. And remember, you are God's favorite.
1:04:48 TH: Well, and it was so sweet when you reached out to me after you had found out that I was hosting this podcast, and you're like, "I listen, I love it. Oh my gosh, Sister U... Is that really you?" And I'm like, "It's me." And then of course, I'm like, I've gotta have her on.
1:05:00 SS: Right.
1:05:01 TH: This worked out perfectly. The timing, everything.
1:05:03 JP: And now if I call you Sister U, everyone will know that I have rights to call you Sister U. [chuckle]
1:05:09 TH: Yeah, you totally do. So for those of you listening, she doesn't call me Tammy, I'm Sister U for the rest of the episode. You're totally fine.