Highlights for Ether 1-5
These chapters are such a welcome relief – especially after studying Moroni’s doomed era and its alarming likeness to our day. The brother of Jared is quite refreshing as he shares a stunning account of his relationship with Jesus Christ, close-up and personal. His is a sacred record, full of hope and powerful promises to each of us.
Step 1 – Be Born Divine
There’s a first step to becoming divine and exalted and that is – be born divine. We have a majestic pedigree. Lorenzo Snow, one of my absolute favorite prophets, expressed just how remarkable our own divinity is. This quote has clung to my soul ever since I read it about seven years ago:
“We were born in the image of God our Father; he begat us like unto himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and faculties which he himself possessed, as much so as the child on its mother’s bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers and susceptibilities of its parent.”
“I believe that we are the sons and daughters of God, and that He has bestowed upon us the capacity for infinite wisdom and knowledge, because He has given us a portion of Himself. We are told that we were made in His own image, and we find that there is a character of immortality in the soul of man…”
“We have divinity within ourselves; we have immortality within ourselves; our spiritual organism is immortal; it cannot be destroyed; it cannot be annihilated. We will live from all eternity to all eternity.” (Lorenzo Snow)
Day-to day, we might maintain a nebulous idea we are related to God. But when was the last time you stopped to contemplate how MUCH you are created in His image, including character traits? Or how deeply has the phrase, “you are a child of God” penetrated your identity?
Say It Out Loud
Both the written and the spoken word are more powerful than our random, idle thoughts (which tend to be negative or dismissive). As an experiment, try to say the following sentence out loud and see how it feels to you?:
==> I am a daughter [son] of God with his spiritual DNA imprinted on my soul.
The connection to Him is direct and glorious. I treasure it with all my heart. It makes me cry to even contemplate the power and majesty of such a truth. And it’s a truth which belongs to every one of us in equal measure. Male and Female.
This same inner spiritual being, and essence you now have is the same like-kind Heavenly Father himself started with, and still has (though greatly developed). This is both a sobering and an empowering thought for me. Here’s another quote by Lorenzo Snow:
As man now is, God once was.
As God now is, man may be.
Step 2 – Become Divine A Second Time
We’re already of divine origin. So, now comes the 2nd step; become divine a second time by our own choices and doing. In other words, conquer this second estate (i.e. master our mortal selves). What’s so fortunate is the path and instructions to become divine are available to learn and study. In fact, they are included in the book of Ether.
Before we go through this list – Ether, chapters 3 and 4 recount one of my favorite scripture stories. The exchanges between the brother of Jared and Jesus Christ are fascinating. Especially, when the Savior himself calls to us to have the same mind-bending manifestations, much like the brother of Jared did – who had all revelations given to him:
And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ether 4:7)
Note: The earlier verses in Ether 4 reference “they” and “them” as the Gentiles of our day.
How do we become qualified and sanctified as mentioned in verse 7? The list from Ether, chapter 4 includes about 8 different verses so I pulled out the individual instructions and listed them:
- Believe Christ (vs. 11)
- Bear record of Him (vs. 11)
- Do good (vs. 12)
- Seek after Christ (vs. 13)
- Rend the veil of unbelief [denial, procrastination, non-action] (vs. 15)
- Do away with wickedness [including partial obedience], hardness of heart [like stubbornness], blindness of mind [in other words, enlighten the mind with scriptures] (vs.15)
- Pray to the Father in Christ’s name (vs. 15)
- Have a broken heart and a contrite spirit [deeply recognize and feel remorse for your sins] (vs. 15)
- Repent [and repent again] (vs. 18)
- Believe Christ’s gospel teachings [and know them by studying them] (vs. 18)
- Be baptized (vs. 18)
- Endure to the end and be found faithful to Christ (vs. 19)
The list is not a complex one, but it takes our yearning, practice and perseverance to accomplish these items.
Our divinity comes in two phases. Primarily, the divinity we are born with, and there is plenty there. And secondly, the divinity we create through trial and error and striving. Jesus Christ is our only Savior and only chance for succeeding with the second part. So, seeking after Him and partnering with Him is essential. Through the gift of His atonement and with the influence of His Spirit – we can make it.