Ether 11 The decline of Jaredite society is marked by the rejection of the prophets
"As with the Nephites, the Jaredite society moved through various stages of decline. As we have seen thus far in their history, the Jaredites went through the cycle of prosperity, and so on. But as with the Nephites, eventually the depths of the apostasy became more and more serious. Here in this chapter we see the Jaredites moving toward the final stages of their cycle of apostasy. Earlier we are told the people rejected the prophets, mocking and reviling them, but the king passed a law protecting the prophets and punishing those who persecuted them. (See Ether 7:23-26.) Note the contrast with a later king who made it state policy to execute the prophets (v. 5). And finally the wickedness became so rampant that the prophets were withdrawn (v. 13)." (Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1981, p. 45-6)
Ether 11:5 the brother of Shiblom caused that all the prophets...should be put to death
Such a wholesale slaughter of all the prophets goes without parallel in scriptural history. It also marks a great turning point of the Jaredite society. Previously, the kings had protected them, And it came to pass that king Shule did execute judgment against all those who did revile against the prophets (Ether 7:24-25). In the same manner, Com provided protection (v. 2). But the days of Shiblom and his brother brought drastic change.
There are layers of rebellion against the Lord's prophets. The first layers are indifference and criticism which naturally lead to rejection and mockery. But the final stage is open persecution and murder. The Lord takes the rejection of his prophets personally, for he has said he that receiveth my servants receiveth me (DC 84:36), but the converse is also true, he that rejects his servants rejects Him-whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same (DC 1:38). Accordingly, the Lord has promised his servants, saying whoso rejecteth you shall be rejected of my Father and his house (DC 99:4). Wo...unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony of me; For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness (DC 84:95-96). The Jaredites were ripe for just such a scourge.
Ether 11:7 a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth
This great destruction came in the form of wars, contentions, famines, and pestilences. This terrible destruction was one in a series of punishments. The people had previously fought in a war which decimated almost the entire society (Ether 9:12). This was followed by the dearth and plague of serpents (Ether 9:30-31). Both were devastating, but neither compared to what Moroni briefly discusses in this verse. It was a destruction so great as to be overshadowed only by their final, brutal annihilation.
Ether 11:12 many prophets...did prophesy that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth
Marion G. Romney
"The Lord sent many prophets to the Jaredites, who '...prophesied of the destruction of that great people except they should repent...' (Ether 11:1.)
"As the end approached, Ether, '...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,...' (Ibid., 12:3.)
"The prophets were rejected and the Jaredite nation perished.
"...We today are at the crossroads of another cycle in the universal pattern, a cycle fraught with everlasting consequences. Whether it shall close in the light or in the shadow is for us to determine. The ominous signs are upon us, and the issues are crystal clear.
"Our whole world is in confusion. The wisdom of our wise men has proved inadequate to stay the rising crisis. With the means to unleash universal destruction in the hands of evil men, fear and apprehension ride with every breeze. In the past, situations similar to ours have generally terminated in destruction. It would seem that the judgments of God are about to be once more poured out upon the nations.
"The world situation being as it is, I feel impelled to emphasize the fact that, as already pointed out with respect to similar situations in the past, the Lord saw this one coming, and, in harmony with his universal pattern, sounded the warning and prescribed the means of escape. For although the pattern is universal so that the lesson may be clearly drawn from history, the Lord always warns the people of a new dispensation through prophets raised up unto them in their own day." (Conference Report, Apr. 1958, p. 128)
Ether 11:13 the prophets mourned and withdrew from among the people
"In each dispensation the world went bad while the prophets united in futile protest, as in the days of Samuel, Hezekiah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. In the powerful phrase of Ether, 'the prophets mourned and withdrew from among the people' (Ether 11:13). The prophets always tended to form societies of their own for mutual comfort and security, for they usually appear in numbers in time of crisis: 'And in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent' (1 Nephi 1:4). They were not well received." (Temple and Cosmos, p. 386)
Ether 11:21 the Lord God would send or bring forth another people to possess the land
This verse reminds us who is responsible for the great transoceanic migrations which populated the Ancient Americas. While some argue that groups in addition to the Jaredites, Nephites, and Mulekites came to possess the land, what is sure is that all these groups were brought by the hand of the Lord, for there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord (2 Ne 1:6).
Ether 11:23 Coriantor begat Ether, and he died, having dwelt in captivity all his days
Monte J. Brough
"For those of us who try to understand the great loss of our loved ones, we may compare our lot with that of Ether. We don't know exactly what happened to Ether's family. The record is silent as to his brothers and sisters and his wife and children, if any. We know little about his own household except that he was a son of Coriantor, who traced his genealogy back to Jared. Ether recorded that Coriantor died after begetting him, having spent his entire life in some form of captivity. Ether records that his great-grandfather Ethem 'was wicked in his days' (Ether 11:11). Ether's grandfather Moron also 'did that which was wicked before the Lord' (Ether 11:14).
"Ether obviously came from difficult circumstances in his home, with somewhat of a 'wicked' environment imposed on the household of his extended family. It is likely that he had little contact with his imprisoned or deceased father during the years of his youth. Somehow I envision a faithful and loving mother who accepted responsibility for her son because of her husband's captivity and untimely death. I know of several faithful men and women who have also lost their fathers early in life. It is a great loss to lose a parent at a young age. Yet many who have done so were taught important principles by their other parent, which resulted in a deep and abiding testimony of the gospel. The abridged record of Ether does not disclose the influence of a wonderful mother or even much detailed information regarding Ether's own immediate family. We are left to wonder about the family's conditions during Ether's youth.
"Of Ether's personal life, we know that he was possessed of an unwavering faith and testimony of the Lord. The record does teach that the loss and destruction of his people, and possibly members of his own family, was so enormous that Ether was left alone. None of his own immediate or extended family survived the tragic civil war that resulted in the death and destruction of an entire people. No person among all of the people would repent and listen to the voice of this great spiritual giant.
'For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether' (Ether 13:2)." (Heroes From the Book of Mormon, pp. 191-2)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Ether was born of a kingly line, but at one point his family was in captivity. Ether's father 'dwelt in captivity all his days.' (Ether 11:23; see also Ether 1:6-33, Ether 6:22-27.) Someday when we have the fulness of such episodes, we may see clearly how Ether's excellence arose out of adversity.
"So far as we can tell, Ether, like Joseph in Egypt, was not consumed by resentment or bitterness as a result of his captivity. It is so easy for us to overlook how Ether might have been disabled by this early experience, but he refused to let himself become emotionally crippled. Yet here was someone born of a royal line who spent much of his time living and writing in a cave." (Ensign, Aug. 1978, "Three Jaredites")