Book of Ether

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The Book of Ether (/ˈθər/)[1] is one of the books of the Book of Mormon. It describes the Jaredites, descendants of Jared and his companions, who were led by God to the Americas shortly after the confusion of tongues and the destruction of the Tower of Babel.[2]

The title refers to Ether, a Jaredite prophet who lived at the end of the time period covered by the book, believed to be circa 2600 or 2100 BC[3] through 600 BC or later, at least 1500[4] but possibly as long as 2500 years.[5]


Lineage of Ether[edit]

Jared → Orihah → Kib → Shule → Omer → Emer → Coriantum → Com → Heth → Shez → Riplakish → Morianton → Kim → Levi → Corom → Kish → Lib → Hearthom → Heth → Aaron → Amnigaddah → Coriantum → Com → Shiblon → Seth → Ahah → Ethem → Moron → Coriantor → Ether

Journey to America[edit]

Jared and his people were among the many scattered peoples from the destruction of the Tower of Babel. The brother of Jared is described as "a large and mighty man ... highly favored of the Lord",[6] and seems to have been the spiritual leader of the group. He was given a vision of the history of the world, and inscribed prophecies, which were "sealed up" until the Lord decides to reveal them. The Lord told the brother of Jared to build unpowered submarines, termed "barges" or "vessels", to cross the ocean to the promised land. The barges could circulate fresh air by opening one of two holes in the top or bottom of the vessel.[7] Thus, if the barge capsized, the bottom became the top.

Because the vessels could not sustain fire or windows for light, the brother of Jared went to a mountain and prayed for help. God touched several molten stones and made them shine. Because of the brother of Jared's great faith, he saw the finger of God. He then saw and spoke with Jehova. The people launched the vessels and traveled through great storms. After 344 days, they arrived at the Americas. Jared and his brother led the people to successfully establish a righteous nation.


As Jared and his brother age, their people ask that they appoint a king to govern them. They crown Orihah, the youngest son of Jared, to be king, but only after all the sons of the brother of Jared and all of Jared's older sons refuse to be king. Many more generations of kings rule the people.

During the rule of Com (the second), who was the twenty-first-great-grandson of Jared, many prophets predicted the people would face destruction unless they repented. The people did not want to hear them, and they sought to kill the prophets, so the prophets fled to Com for safety. The prophets preached to Com, and they blessed him with long life and success.

Com begat Shiblom and the brother of Shiblom, who warred with each other. The brother of Shiblom executed all the prophets that preached destruction if the people refused to repent. There was a great demise of the people, due to wars, famines, and pestilence. The people repented and the Lord gave them mercy.

Shiblom was slain, and his son Ahah became king. Ahah was sinful, and reigned only briefly. His son Ethem was also sinful, and reigned only a little longer than Ahah. Again, many prophets preached God would smite the people unless they repented. The people would not listen, so the prophets relented. Ethem begat Moron, and Moron was also wicked.

A descendant of Jared overthrew Moron and took his kingdom. Moron was imprisoned, and there he begat Coriantor who lived in prison all of his life. Coriantor begat Ether in captivity. Ether prayed, and God freed him. He left prison and preached to the people during Coriantumr's reign.

End of the Jaredites[edit]

The Jaredites reject Ether's preaching. Coriantumr did not repent, and tried to capture Ether, but Ether hid in a cave. He watched the people from afar, and documented the events on metal plates.

A man named Shared led armies against Coriantumr, and imprisoned him. Shared ruled for four years, but Coriantumr's sons eventually released him. Coriantumr and his sons fought Shared and his armies in the valley of Gilgal, and Shared retreated to the plains of Heshlon. Shared regrouped and forced Coriantumr back to the valley of Gilgal.

They fought again in the valley of Gilgal. Coriantumr killed Shared, but Coriantumr was wounded and ill for two years. The people were not governed well during Coriantumr's illness, so they sinned, and bandits and killers plagued the nation. The people were cursed that all objects disappeared at night (robbery). So everyone always wore their weapons and possessions on their person.

Then the brother of Shared, who was named Gilead, gave battle to Coriantumr, and was driven to the wilderness of Akish. But the brother of Shared waylaid a part of the army of Coriantumr because they were drunken. And he went to the land of Moron and placed himself on Coriantumr's throne. Meanwhile, Coriantumr stayed with his army in the field for two years.

Gilead's high priest murdered him as he sat upon the throne of Coriantumr. Then Lib was elevated to king just in time for Coriantumr to come back to Moron and give battle. Lib wounded him in the arm, but the army of Coriantumr drove the army of Lib to the shore of the sea.

But the army of Lib smote the army of Coriantumr and drove them through the wilderness of Akish to the plains of Agosh. On the plains of Agosh Coriantumr smote upon Lib until he died, but Lib's brother Shiz rose up in his place and gave battle, causing Coriantumr to flee.

Shiz chased after Coriantumr, burned down many cities, and slew women and children. And all the people in the land flocked into either the army of Shiz or the army of Coriantumr. The war had been so bloody that the whole face of the land was covered with dead bodies, and no one took the time to bury them because they were busy marching to slay more people. And the land stank.

Shiz pursued Coriantumr to the seashore and gave battle for three days. The people of Shiz grew frightened and fled to the land of Corihor, while Coriantumr pitched his tents in the valley of Shurr, and assembled his army on the hill of Comnor hard by.

In the battle Shiz smote upon Coriantumr with many wounds, and Coriantumr fainted from the loss of blood and was carried away. Casualties were so high on both sides that Shiz ordered his people not to pursue the armies of Coriantumr.

When Coriantumr recovered from his wounds, he remembered the words of Ether and saw that two million of his men had been slain already, and also their families, and he realized that the prophesies had been fulfilled to the letter. So Coriantumr wrote a message to Shiz that he ought to resign for the sake of the lives of his people. Shiz said no.

Then Shiz wrote a message to Coriantumr that if he gave himself up, he would spare the lives of the people. Coriantumr said no. So the people of Coriantumr gave battle to the people of Shiz. But when Coriantumr saw that he was about to be defeated he fled from the armies of Shiz.

They came to the river Ripliancum, which was the greatest river in the land. In the morning the armies fought. Coriantumr was wounded in battle and fainted with the loss of blood. After that, the armies of Coriantumr drove the armies of Shiz southward to Ogath. The army of Coriantumr camped at the hill Ramah (or Cumorah), where Mormon hid the plates of Nephi and where another battle would take place that would result in 240,000 deaths.

Four years were spent by both sides mustering anyone who still lived for the fight (except Ether, who would be an observer).

All the people in the land fought at the hill Ramah. Men, women, and children were all armed with weapons and wore armor. Men killed women and children as well as other men. Mothers killed other mothers and their children. The children of Coriantumr killed the children of Shiz, and vice versa, so much did they hate each other.

After that day's fighting, Coriantumr wrote a message to Shiz to the effect that he didn't want to fight anymore, but Shiz didn't agree to stop. The next day they fought again until there were 69 folks with Shiz who were still alive, and 52 with Coriantumr. The next day they fought again until there were 32 folks with Shiz who were still alive, and 27 with Coriantumr.

Shiz and his men chased down Coriantumr and his men, and they fought until only Shiz and Coriantumr still lived. Then Coriantumr gained so many hits on Shiz that Shiz passed out from the loss of blood. Then Coriantumr smote off the head of Shiz. "And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died."

After Coriantumr slew Shiz he wandered alone, the last Jaredite, for many years. Coriantumr is finally discovered by the Mulekites, another Book of Mormon people who come to the Americas sometime after the fall of Jerusalem in 600 B.C. Later, the people of Zarahemla also discover a large stone containing a history of the Jaredites that Mosiah was able to translate.[8]

In addition to the historical events outlined above, the Book of Ether contains several interpolations by Moroni,[9] regarding points of doctrine or lessons illuminated by the actions of the Jaredites, such as how faith works and the importance of following Jesus Christ to be blessed as a nation.


The Book of Ether parallels in many ways the story of the Book of Mormon as a whole. A small group (Jared and his companions; Lehi and his family) separate themselves from a wicked society (the Tower of Babel; Jerusalem just prior to its destruction) and establish a new nation (the Jaredites; the Nephites) in "the promised land." In each case the group is divided following the death of the original leaders and the divisions contend for many generations. The fortunes of the nations are dependent upon their obedience to God—righteousness brings prosperity and wickedness brings destruction (sometimes delayed). Ultimately, the wicked prevail and the nation is destroyed.[citation needed][10]

These parallels are often emphasized in Mormonism as applicable to the present day. The Americas are still considered "the promised land" and the continued prosperity of the present nations are believed to be contingent on the righteousness of their people.[citation needed]


According to the Book of Mormon, the Book of Ether was taken from a set of twenty-four plates written by Ether and discovered by the people of Limhi during the time of King Mosiah (son of King Benjamin).[11][12] Joseph Smith claimed the book was abridged by Moroni onto the golden plates,[13][14] from which he later translated the Book of Mormon into English.

However, according to Daniel H. Ludlow, it is not clarified in the Book of Mormon whether Moroni made his abridgment of the record of Ether from Mosiah's earlier translation[15] or whether Moroni took his account directly from the plates of Ether—in which case he would have needed to translate the record as well as abridge it.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Book of Mormon Pronunciation Guide" (retrieved 2012-02-25), IPA-ified from «ē´ther»
  2. ^ Ether 1:33
  3. ^ Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon p. 117, quoted in Church Educational System (1996, rev. ed.). Book of Mormon Student Manual (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), ch. 6.
  4. ^ Church Educational System (1996, rev. ed.). Book of Mormon Student Manual (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), ch. 48.
  5. ^ Randal Chase (2008). Making Precious Things Plain: A Book of Mormon Study Guide (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort) p. 127.
  6. ^ Ether 1:34
  7. ^ Ether 2:20
  8. ^ Omni 1:20–22
  9. ^ Ether 4, Ether 5, and Ether 12
  10. ^ "Book of Mormon Student Manual". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2009. p. 414. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  11. ^ Mosiah 8:9
  12. ^ Ether 1:2
  13. ^ Ether 1:2
  14. ^ Moroni 1:1
  15. ^ Mosiah 28:1–20
  16. ^ Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 178

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]