What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Mahonri Moriancumer, known to readers of the Book of Mormon as the “Brother of Jared”, was a man of faith—so much so that his brother frequently requested that he be the one to make requests of the Lord. The first example in the Book of Ether illustrates this:
And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words. (Ether 1:34)
In simple language, chapter 1 of Ether talks about the brother of Jared crying to the Lord several times, with each round resulting in that for which he asked. Like Enos‘ petitions, they started out personal, then the circle enlarged to include the family, and then friends.
After securing these requested blessings, the brother of Jared inquired of the Lord and received direction as to where he should take his family and friends. So great was their righteousness and faith that the Lord guided them in a cloud, as he did with the children of Israel.
The Lord later rebuked the brother of Jared for forgetting to pray, and talked with him in a cloud for several hours. Later, after acknowledging his own unworthiness, the brother of Jared had enough faith to ask the Lord that he touch some stones to illuminate them, that they might provide light during their journey, just as Christ is to be our light through the journey of life.
The Lord did as the brother of Jared asked. While doing so, the veil was taken from the brother of Jared, and he saw the Lord’s finger. When the Lord asked him if he had seen anything more, he said no, and then with amazing faith told the Lord: “show thyself unto me”.
And [God] ministered unto [the brother of Jared] even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him. (Ether 3:18)
Behold, I [ Moroni] have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared. (Ether 4:4)
That doesn’t just happen with anybody… This man, of which we know so little, was one of the greatest prophets ever to be born. I look forward to the day when the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon will be made available, so that we can learn more of Mahonri’s amazing visions, teachings, and experiences.
He did what few others have done. He got the Lord to stay his hand for his family and friends when confounding people’s language. He secured the Lord as their guide through the wilderness. He was ingenious enough to ask the Lord to touch and illuminate some rocks. He saw the Lord in person, turning his faith into knowledge. He founded the greatest civilization of his time. He saw everything—all the inhabitants of the earth, and all the events from the beginning of the earth, to the end. And as if that weren’t enough, the guy moved a mountain.
Have you done any of that? I sure haven’t. Mahonri is a model of faith, and a model of faithfulness.
I’m sure that if we had more of his record, the faithful brother of Jared would counsel us as did Nephi: “the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him. Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” (1 Nephi 7:12)