The Book of Ether Chapter 2 Critique
The Jaredites prepare for their journey to a promised land—It is a
choice land whereon men must serve Christ or be swept off—The Lord
talks to the brother of Jared for three hours—The Jaredites build
barges—The Lord asks the brother of Jared to propose how the barges
will be lighted.
Verses 1-2: And
it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families, and
also the friends of Jared and his brother and their families, went down
into the valley which was northward, (and the name of the valley was
Nimrod, being called after the mighty hunter) with their flocks which
they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. And they
did also lay snares and catch fowls of the air; and they did also
prepare a vessel, in which they did carry with them the fish of the
Note: Fish were not kept artificially until the Roman Empire.
In the Roman Empire, the first fish to be
brought indoors was the sea barbel, which was kept under guest beds in
small tanks made of marble. Introduction of glass panes around the year
50 AD allowed Romans to replace one wall of marble tanks, improving
their view of the fish. In 1369, the Hongwu Emperor of China
established a porcelain company that produced large porcelain tubs for
maintaining goldfish; over time, people produced tubs that approached
the shape of modern fish bowls. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is
a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all
manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.
Note: Brigham Young wanted LDS followers to stay busy.
Deseret was proposed as a name for the U.S.
state of Utah. Brigham Young—governor of Utah Territory from 1850 to
1858 and president of the LDS Church from 1847 to 1877—favored the name
as a symbol of industry. Young taught his followers that they should be
productive and self-sufficient, a trait he had perceived in honeybees.
And it came to pass that when they had come down into the valley of
Nimrod the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared; and he
was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared saw him not. And it came to
pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the
wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And
it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with
them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should
travel. And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and
did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed
continually by the hand of the Lord.
Note: God wants people to follow Him.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar
of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them
light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of
cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in
the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the
land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord
God had preserved for a righteous people. And he had sworn in his wrath
unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of
promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the
true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his
wrath should come upon them. And now, we can behold the decrees of God
concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever
nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off
when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of
his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were pagan polytheists.
Olmec religious activities were performed by a
combination of rulers, full-time priests, and shamans. The rulers seem
to have been the most important religious figures, with their links to
the Olmec deities or supernaturals providing legitimacy for their rule.
There is also considerable evidence for shamans in the Olmec
archaeological record, particularly in the so-called "transformation
figures". Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands;
wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept
off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the
fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept
off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the
decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities
until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the
wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
Note: Much of North America is non-choice deserts.
The continent's deserts are largely between the
Rocky Mountains and Sierra Madre Oriental on the east, and the rain
shadow-creating Sierra Nevada, Transverse, and Peninsular Ranges on the
west. The North American xeric region of over 95,751 sq mi (247,990
km2) includes: 3 major deserts; numerous smaller deserts; and large
non-desert arid regions; in the western United States and in northeast,
central, and northwest Mexico. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: Solomon Spalding knew nothing about the North American deserts.
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it
shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other
nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who
is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in pagan Pre-Columbian America.
Also known as the Earth Monster, the Olmec
Dragon has flame eyebrows, a bulbous nose, and bifurcated tongue. When
viewed from the front, the Olmec Dragon has trough-shaped eyes; when
viewed in profile, the eyes are L-shaped. Fangs are prominent, often
rendered as an upside-down U-shaped bracket. With the Bird Monster, the
Olmec Dragon is one of the most commonly depicted supernaturals.
And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the
Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea
which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched
their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and
they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space
of four years.
Note: LDS scholars have no answers for Jared’s travel to the Pacific Ocean.
Extending across the entirety of northern Asia
and much of eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and
incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. Wikipedia
Note: Solomon Spalding had no idea how far it is from the Middle East to the Pacific Ocean.
Verses 14-15: And
it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto
the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for
the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared,
and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of
the Lord. And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had
done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were
with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy
brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall
remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if
ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the
presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I
shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice
above all other lands.
Note: The Sonoran Desert is a non-choice area of North America.
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert
which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona
and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California
and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in North America,
with an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). Wikipedia
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about the Sonoran desert.
And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges
which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of
Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the
manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord.
And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto
the lightness of a fowl upon the water. And they were built after a
manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold
water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a
dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends
thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish;
and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof,
when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.
Note: No barges have ever been made like two attached dishes.
Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms
in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how
you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits,
its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a
window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and
set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower,
second, and third decks. Genesis 6:14-16.
Note: Solomon Spalding knew nothing about ship building.
And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord,
saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me,
and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me. And
behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And
also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air
which is in them; therefore we shall perish. And the Lord said unto the
brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also
in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the
hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee,
behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.
And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did so, according as the
Lord had commanded.
Note: No ships have ever been built with holy bottoms.
In the time before ancient maritime history, the
first boats are presumed to have been dugout canoes, developed
independently by various stone age populations, and used for coastal
fishing and travel. The Indigenous of the Pacific Northwest are very
skilled at crafting wood. Best known for totem poles up to 80 feet (24
m) tall, they also construct dugout canoes over 60 feet (18 m) long for
everyday use and ceremonial purposes. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 22-24: And
he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as
thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people,
and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer
that we shall cross this great water in darkness? And the Lord said
unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may
have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for
they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for
ye shall not go by the light of fire. For behold, ye shall be as a
whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon
you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the
sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains
and the floods have I sent forth.
Note: Submarines did not exist until the 17th century of the common era.
The first submersible of whose construction
there exists reliable information was built in 1620 by Cornelius
Drebbel, a Dutchman in the service of James I of England. It was
created to the standards of the design outlined by English
mathematician William Bourne. It was propelled by means of oars.
And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross
this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and
the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come.
Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have
light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?
Note: God made a promise never to flood the entire earth again.
And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant
which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with
you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it
shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It
shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall
be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between
Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall
never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be
in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting
covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on
the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant
which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the
earth.” Genesis 9:12-17.
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