CLICK HERE to read Ether 12.
(Note: I think this chapter cannot be separated from Ether 3 and Hebrews 11.)
Ether, the prophet whom this book is named after (verse 2), lived in the days when Coriantumr was king (verse 1).
He did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled… wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God (verses 3-4).
Ether urged the people to repent, taught them, prophesying “great and marvelous things” which the people did not understand or believe (verse 5).
Moroni now interrupts the story to add some commentary. When speaking of these things the people would not believe because they could not see proof of it (though the lives of the people are the evidence), Moroni reminds us (verse 6):
faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
Christ showed himself to the disciples in Israel after he rose from the dead, and appeared to the Nephite people also (see 3 Nephi 11 and John 10:16), but he did not show himself until they first had faith in him (verse 7). But because some did believe, he showed himself to them (verse 8). This gave them hope, because all they had believed was true (verse 9). When their faith became knowledge (testimony), they were “called after the holy order of God” (verse 10).
This is the pattern set for us. The law is given to teach us what is to come, and it is Christ who fulfills that law (verse 11). But without faith, there is no miracle because those who do not believe will not recognize Him or His work (verse 12).
Moroni then gives some examples, including Alma and Amulek (verse 13), Nephi and Lehi (verse 13), Ammon and his brethren (verse 15), and the three disciples (verse 17). All of these experienced miracles that came through faith (verse 16) and not until after their faith – they first had to believe in the Son of God, and believe that He can do what He promised He could do (verse 18). Some of these believed so strongly, that they could not be kept from remembering what they knew and recognizing what they had seen premortally (verse 19) – even recognizing Christ Himself, in the case of Jared’s brother (verse 20).
We all know it, because we were all there.
We just have to remember.
We remember by believing in Christ, and by believing Christ.
The more we know it is true, the more we recognize it.
the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil (verse 21).
All things are there, in front of us, and we see them when we know it is true.
Those who do not believe, or do not understand it is true will mock us and think we are weak (verse 23).
But we must testify to the best of our strengths, with the skills that we have (verse 24).
The brother of Jared was made “mighty in writing… that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them” (verse 24).
His words, his testimony, was so powerful that not everyone could bear it.
So even with us, when we try to express what we know to be true:
when we write, we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words (verse 25).
But the Lord says only fools mock, and those fools will mourn (verse 26).
His grace is sufficient for us, even “that they shall take no advantage of your weakness… (for) I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weakthings become strong unto them” (verse 27).
So one who was weak in truth, and weak in words, becomes strong in words of truth.
The seeds of righteousness are these: faith, hope, and charity (see also 1 Corinthians 13) (verse 28).
Moroni says then that when he understood this, He knew that the Lord would accomplish His righteousness (verse 29) because He knew (believed = faith becomes testimony = knowledge) that the miracles (evidence) of faith had testified the true-ness of the prophets (verse 30). This is how the power of God is manifest (verse 31), and how we can hope that the Lord has prepared us for our Father (verse 32).
And this He did because He loves us (verse 33).
So, to be like Him, to feel welcome in His presence, we must also love others the way He loves us (verse 34). Without this pure love, even that which we have been given will be taken away (verse 35). It is by the grace of God, His gift we do not deserve, that we are able to pray for and ask and do the work to develop charity (love) for other people (verse 36).
And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me… thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared… (verse 37).
Moroni then begins closing the final chapters on the Book of Mormon. For the rest of the chapters of this book and the last book that bears his name, each chapter sounds like a closing because each chapter may be his last. He is being hunted, and he is the last of his people, and he is diligently trying to finish these records and get them hidden before they are destroyed.
He says that because he has taught all these things that he knew, because he has testified of them, then he is now free to be faithful in his own life and his testimony rests on us. We are responsible for the sins of others – not the choices they make, but for our duty to warn them and teach them. If we do not invite them to the Savior’s words, then the consequences are ours. But if we prophesy and testify and teach them, then we may know that our “garments are not spotted” with their blood (verse 38).
And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things (verse 39).
So he closes this chapter, pleading with us to “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen” (verse 41).