Ether 1 – 15 — Ether as part of the ancient temple-code outline of the Book of Mormon — LeGrand Baker

The story of the Jaredites, as told by Moroni, takes on a new significance when it is seen, not as an addendum to the Book of Mormon, but as an integral part of the story Mormon left to his son Moroni to complete.

As we have noted before, the prophet Mormon followed the pattern of the ancient Israelite temple drama in his subtextual outline of the entire Book of Mormon. The fact that Moroni meticulously concluded that pattern is another evidence of the book’s carefully designed structure. If one does a hopscotch across the pages of the book and only lands on the major sermons and on an occasional outstanding priesthood event, the pattern clearly materializes. The following is what one finds:

1) Nephi begins by saying that his father was at the Council in Heaven were he saw God sitting on his throne and where he received an assignment from Jehovah.
2) Lehi and his family make the necessary preparations to fulfill their assignment.
3) They cross the chaotic waters (the ancient symbol of creation as well as of birth) and they go to a new world.
4) Lehi teaches his sons about Adam and Eve and the Fall.
5) Nephi’s psalm asks why we have come here when it is so very difficult.
6) Jacob answers that question by teaching about the Atonement.
7) Nephi quotes much of the first part of Isaiah whose underlying message is that God is the God of this world and Satan is not.
8) Nephi explains faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
9) Jacob teaches about the importance of keeping covenants
10) Enos teaches that one must pray.
11) King Benjamin teaches his people about the importance of obedience. They make a covenant that they will obey, and they receive a new name.
12) Abinadi teaches Alma the gospel in terms of the Savior’s sacrifice; then we see Abinadi’s sacrifice.
13) At the Waters of Mormon the people are baptized. But neither Alma’s sermon nor his prayer mentions the remission of sins. This baptism is the token of a covenant that the people will support each other, the church, and the kingdom.
14) When Alma and his followers are in the wilderness, they briefly live the law of consecration.
15) Alma 5 and 7 the prophet sums up many of the principles of the ancient temple drama and admonishes the people to keep their covenants.
16) In Alma chapters 12 and 13, he teaches Zeezrom about the legitimacy of priesthood and kingship.
17) Alma 26 and 29 are psalms about responsibilities of missionary work.
18) Alma 32 teaches how to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and eventually how to become as a tree of life. (The tree of life is always an important part of the drama. If Alma 32 were not there the whole structure of the pattern would collapse.)
19) When Alma talks to his three sons,
19a) he teaches his oldest son he must keep sacred things sacred.
19b) he teaches the second that he must be true to the eternal law of his own being.
19c) he tells the third about justice and mercy and the importance of the laws of chastity.
20) The war remind us of the aloneness of this dreary world. Mormon introduces it with a whole series of covenants and covenant names (There are always new names associated with new covenants).
20a) Captain Moroni tears off a piece of his coat (after that it is called “garment” so it is the outer of the two—there are always two).
20b) He writes a chiastic poem on it. The poem the is covenant title of “Liberty.”
20c) Mormon interrupts his narrative to tell us that those who believe in Christ “took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ,” and are called Christians.
20d) Captain Moroni identifies the land in terms of its geographical boundaries (measuring it and defining it as sacred space) and gives it the same covenant name as the poem—“the land of liberty.”
20e) The people come and make a covenant that they will keep the Lord’s commandments if he will preserve them in their Liberty.
20f) The focus of the story is about the sons of Helaman who “entered into a covenant,” and “they called themselves Nephites” (Alma 53:16-17).
20g) Helaman tells us that all the boys who made and kept their covenants were protected—some were badly hurt, but they all survived because they kept their covenants.
21) After the war, Nephi and Lehi are baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost.
22) Nephi is given the sealing power (Helaman 10:5).
23) Samuel the Lamanite tells the people that the Savior is coming, and urges them to get ready to see him.
24) In three days of darkness, the world is cleansed of its unrighteousness (this maps
to Jehovah’s restoring Israel and the king after he has been in the Underworld for three days).
25) The Savior comes to his temple just as the king does in the drama.
26) The Savior organizes his church and kingdom, and teaches the people how to
keep their covenants (these map to the seventh day of the drama).
27) Then in Fourth Nephi the people do keep their covenants and live the law of consecration (this maps to the eighth day of the drama). In the symbolism, they had returned to the Garden to enjoy the blessings of the eating freely of the fruit of the tree of life (3 Nephi 20:5-9), and the promised millennial reign.
28) The book of Ether is the counterbalance of that story. It shows the destructive consequences when people do not keep their covenants with God.
29) The Book of Mormon’s crescendo is repeated three times near the end of the book. There the reader is taught one must have faith, hope, and charity in order to enter the presence of God (Ether 12:28,39; Moroni 7; and Moroni 10:20-21).
30) Then Moroni reviews the entire drama and in the last verse he says, “I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, … before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah.”

Moroni did a superb job in finishing the Book of Mormon. Without the Book of Ether, the sub-textual pattern of the Book of Mormon would not be complete. And without the crescendo of faith (pistis), hope and charity, and the promise in each of the three repetitions that there is a way to come back to God, the conclusion of the drama would not even be there (Ether 12:39, Moroni 7:48, Moroni 10:28-34).

The Book of Ether is also structured in a very interesting way:

A.  Chapters 1-3 = story of the brother of Jared and his              relationship with the Savior
B.  Chapters 4-5 = Moroni’s testimony
C.  Chapters 6-7 = wars and chaos
D.  At the center of the book Moroni ties the two stories together: “Now the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites Ether 7:6).”
c.  Chapters 7-11 = more wars and chaos
b.  Chapters 12 = Moroni’s testimony
a.   Chapters 13-15 = concluding story of the prophet Ether and his relationship with the Savior

The Book of Ether is a testimony. It is both a counterbalance to the story in the larger Book of Mormon, and it is also a solemn warning to the people of our time that there are irrevokable consequences to those who reject the God of Israel.

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