Brother of Jared
The brother of Jared (c. 2200 B.C.) was the first Jaredite prophet (see Book of Mormon: book of Ether). He led his people from "the great tower" in Mesopotamia to the Western Hemisphere. "A large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord" (Ether 1:34), he is remembered most for his very great faith that allowed him to see and converse face to face with the premortal Jesus Christ (Ether 3:13; 12:19—21) and to be shown in vision all the inhabitants and events of the earth from beginning to end (Ether 3:25).
Only a few details are known about the life and revelations of this ancient prophet. In response to his prayer of faith, the Lord did not confound his language or that of his family and friends at the time of the Tower of Babel. Instead, the Lord instructed him to lead those people to a land "choice above all the lands of the earth" (Ether 1:42), and he was promised that his descendants would become a great and righteous nation. They were called the Jaredites. The Lord came in a cloud to tell the brother of Jared where they should travel, but he did not see him (Ether 2:4). They gathered flocks and seeds, and journeyed to a place on the sea that they called Moriancumer (Ether 2:13). Although the Book of Mormon does not give this prophet's name, Joseph Smith later identified it as Mahonri Moriancumer (T&S 2 : 362; Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 27 [May 1, 1892]: 282).
For four years the Jaredites dwelt in tents on the seashore. During those years, the brother of Jared apparently ceased praying for guidance, and when the Lord appeared again in a cloud, he talked with him for three hours and chastened him, which caused him to repent and return to favor with God. Latter-day Saints see this as evidence of God's concern for his children, of the importance of daily prayer, and of the fact that the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man, even with a great prophet, unless he continues to petition the Lord in righteousness (Ether 2:15).
The brother of Jared built eight unique barges (Ether 2:16—25) in which to cross the ocean. Then he prepared sixteen clear molten stones and asked the Lord to make them shine to illuminate the inside of the barges (Ether 3:1—5). As the Lord touched the stones, the brother of Jared saw the finger of the Lord and was "struck with fear" (Ether 3:6). Never before, the record states, had man come before God with such exceeding faith; as a result, he was brought into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and saw the premortal spirit body of Christ (Ether 3:9—13).
In this vision, the brother of Jared learned many things: he was told that he had been redeemed from the Fall; he saw that human beings were physically created in the image of God and that the spirit body of Jesus looked the same as would his future physical body; he beheld all the inhabitants of the earth from the beginning to the end; and he learned many other sacred things, which he was commanded to record in a cryptic language, sealed up to come forth in the "due time" of the Lord (Ether 3:24; 4:1—3). With that record he included two stones that had been prepared by the Lord to aid future prophets in interpreting the record. For all these reasons, Latter-day Saints esteem the brother of Jared as one of the mightiest prophets who ever lived.
The brother of Jared and his people crossed the sea to the promised land. His great faith, as noted by Moroni, once caused a mountain, Zerin, to be removed (Ether 12:30). He had twenty-two sons and daughters. He lived to see his people begin to prosper and his nephew, Orihah, anointed as their king.
Eyring, Henry B. "The Brother of Jared." Ensign 8 (July 1978): 62—65.
Holland, Jeffrey R. "Rending the Veil of Unbelief." In Nurturing Faith through the Book of Mormon, 1—24. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995.
Rex C. Reeve, Jr.