After the Jaredite journeys, the book of Ether continues to give us teachings for our time, as the entrepreneur of faith.
In the Jaredite journey through the desert “… 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. “ ( Ether 2: 4 )
To facilitate reading we will call Mahonri the brother of Jared, name that was revealed to Joseph Smith.
On this first occasion Mahonri does not see the Lord, but speaks with him. Following his instructions “… and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters” ( 6 ) . It does not specify the way of making the boats, the Lord did not specially instruct them in this first time, otherwise they would have mentioned it.
This first trip through many waters refers to an inland sea such as the Red Sea. Because “… 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“ ( 7 ) . Then they advanced to the oceanic sea and there they stopped.
They were unemployed for four years. I guess fishing, sunbathing, collecting, milking their goats etc. But detained in its objective. Having lost it, they were moved by simple survival.
And how did that situation change?
” 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 …” ( 14 )
It was not Mahonri to seek the Lord, but he came to look for it Just as the Lord looked for those who had gone back to fishing in Tiberias, forgetting their objectives. In this case he did not wait 4 years.
I wonder how Mahonri could forget the Lord after talking to him in a cloud? It is clear that in abandoning their objectives they did not need the Lord to survive in a welcoming land. Mahonri became inactive. And that does not mean he lost his testimony. This can happen to all of us.
When he finishes speaking with the Lord for three hours, “… said the Lord: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built ” ( 16 ).
This is the relationship model that he uses with the Jaredites: “Go to work“. The relationship and the revelation come through a work model, we could almost say about the employment relationship. In fact, the Lord uses the labor relationship and its agreements in several parables of the workers in his vineyard . He wants us to work because it is through goals when it is necessary to talk to him. Otherwise, the years will pass without realizing, fishing or sunbathing on the coasts of Arabia.
The problems arise
In this second construction of ships, Mahonri receives concrete instructions on how to make them. But problems arise, “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… “ ( 19 )
When he finishes making the boat he realizes that there is no light or ventilation. Nephi, before beginning construction, first realizes that he has no tools. Mahonri, has tools but does not foresee these difficulties.
We can ask ourselves why the Lord did not warn you of these problems? Why in his instructions did not include the serious mishap of air and light? And in addition, Mahonri clarifies
“…I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.” ( 18 )
Why did you get to that situation?
I believe that the Lord had a plan and this included problems. As in school, the teacher subjects his students to problems. On that occasion the Lord did not wait 4 years. He proposed a list of objectives, difficulties arose and it was necessary to ask the teacher. When we are on vacation we do not remember the teacher.
This is a key to whether we are on the right path: the need to ask about our problems. Even when they are questions … like Mahonri’s. And the mystery discovered for me is this: The Lord was looking for Mahonri to come closer to him. The problems help us get closer to him.
The response of the Lord is partial “ 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 … “ ( 20 )
Start by giving the solution to the secondproblem, not the first one. Because it is obviously necessary to make an opening to introduce some air to breathe. Good problem solved.
But when dealing with the problem of light, of a more refined nature than air, the Lord proposes two options that must be eliminated. They would not have light through windows or fire. They were the technology they had available as an immediate solution. With this, the Lord turns the question towards the terrain of the impossible. And that’s where his intentions converge, putting Mahonri in a dilemma.
“What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? “ ( 23 )
Now the roles are reversed and it is the Lord who asks Mahonri what he wants him to do. In other words, it takes Mahonri to a situation where it takes much more than a saw to open an opening in the wood. Now it takes a miracle. This is where the problems of the Lord lead us to leave the mountains and ask for a miracle. He had no knowledge to solve that and the teacher knew it.
The entrepreneur of faith
What Mahonri did from this moment on would mark his destiny.
The subsidized entrepreneur would say:
Lord, you are almighty, you said, in the creation of the world, “let there be light” and light was made. Do the same on ships say “let there be light”.
The subsidized entrepreneur always expects something similar to an abracadabra. We see many like this, waiting to see ships appear out of nowhere, a grant from the heavens. What this entrepreneur does not understand is that in creation the Lord organized a world. However, in those lonely beaches, he formed the soul of a man and he has a lot of agency, that is, we have to see what will happen to him.
Mahonri begins to act as Enoch, an insane “…and there is a strange thing in the land; a wildman hath come among us.” ( Moses 6:38 ) that is, he begins to propitiate a miracle to have light in the ships …
“And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did moltenout of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord,… “ ( Ether 3: 1 )
Well, why do I say he acted like a madman? … because that is how someone who does not know the Lord would see it. Melting 16 stones as crystal to illuminate hermetic ships is illogical, but it is much more than an alehop!
The mindset of the faith entrepreneur
La mentalidad de un emprendedor de fe, consiste en que que si va a necesitar un milagro, tiene que aportar todo lo que esté en su mano, para no ser un subsidiado. Mahonri dominaba la fundición, y la aplicó a un plan de iluminación. Pensó que en una flota de barcos de dos puntas necesita dos focos de luz por barco. Ocho barcos dieciséis focos de luz. Eso es un plan de iluminación.
Why did not you just take rocks from the beach?
He went up to Shelem, a high mountain, he did not want stones fruit of the erosion of the wind or the sea. I wanted special stones, exits from the bowels of the earth. Mahonri became accustomed to the working model of the Lord. He had to manufacture his proposals for miracles, he had to mark his miraculous proposals with his work as far as he could go, in this case in light. That’s why they were white and diaphanous, like transparent glass. They were not light but they were close to their appearance. The same tried to approach the miracle, presented a worthy support for the blessing. Very far from an abracadabra. And even more so much used Why does God allow … etc?
The gods organized the matter to create the world, with a plan of illumination, there is nothing from nothing.
The forge of the Lord
The Lord also chooses the rock of the natural man and makes it clear men, like transparent crystal. Mahonri is climbing that mountain, performing an act that represents the forge of his own soul in the hands of his Lord. Just as the spirit of Israel was forged on Mount Moriah, on an altar of stones.
Then what happened was not planned. ” therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness …” ( Ether 3: 4 )
Mahonri’s request is a bit strange. If we meditated on it, I had not seen the Lord, only a cloud, nothing that suggests fingers or hands to the mind. A voice from a cloud. The immaterial spirit, steam … why does he ask for a finger to touch?
I think Mahonri was not fully aware of what he was asking but he was prepared to know why? Because he was an unsupported faith entrepreneur and he became involved in the Lord’s working model. Nothing of light, but boats, wood, stones, openings and in that model, hands, arms, fingers, work.
Complementary elements, work and hands. Miracles and fingers. His teacher should have them, although he did not know. That’s why he asked that his finger touch each of the stones. A sequence of touches 16 (count the reader now in your mind up to 16), that is to ask the Lord to work, one, two, three …
Mahonri conceives the Lord working with his fingers. How wonderful the scriptures! How wonderful The Book of Mormon! Are we subsidized? Mahonri makes a detailed request (16 touches), because his work and his plan are detailed. He is an entrepreneur of faith. When someone comes to that kind of condition, their requests to the Lord are correct even if they seem preposterous. Because by accepting his way of doing things, we are shown what we have to ask for.
The word of the teacher
“And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.” (8) . Mahonri began to know without knowing it. Calling for a finger to touch. Because the work model of the entrepreneur of faith leads him to that knowledge without words. That takes consistency when the Lord asks … why did you fall?
Adam fell in the garden, however, knowing the answer, the Lord asked him. “Where goest thou?” ( Mo 4:15 ) In the same way when taking the holy supper every Sunday again , why have you fallen? Where are you? Who told you you were naked? … the Lord keeps asking.
Following the instruction that Mahonri received, we read ” Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?” ( 9 )
The Lord already knew that he had not seen more than this, besides, Mahonri already said it … I saw the finger of the Lord, and I was afraid . Then why do you ask what you already know? Well, because he is telling Mahonri that he can see something more than this, that is, he is preparing it so that the veil falls apart. Did you see more than this? That suggests, do you want to see more? Or what is the same … you can see more.
The ways of the Lord
And there we come to the way of the Lord, because above appearances, ships, openings, lights, crossings. Above this and in parallel, he has a purpose hidden in things. From the beginning there were two trips. One the obvious, that of reaching the promised land with ships, lights, bees, openings to breathe. And another trip that took place inside Mahonri and ours. The journey towards the voice that speaks from the cloud. The journey to find the Lord and know his nature.
“And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. “ ( 15 )
That journey we have all undertaken to come to this land, but too many of us spent much more than four years on the beaches of Arabia, inactive and when more requesting abracadabras. However, it may take some years to understand how Mahonri … “O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us…. “ ( 3 )
The entrepreneur of faith
What at first was the preoccupation to have light in some boats, ended up knowing in person the light that illuminates not only the ships but the world, yes “giveth light to every man that cometh into the world” ( D & C 84:46). ). Mahonri did not seek this knowledge, but working on the model of the entrepreneur of faith led him to the source of faith.
Joseph wanted to join a church, and ends up knowing the source of all righteousness. He just wanted to be a proselyte of a religious confession and ends up being the prophet of restoration.
The work model of the entrepreneur of faith, gives a high power to any task we undertake, however simple it may seem. Being the initial value, greatly exceeded by the final result. Divine mathematics is like that.
We can all emulate Mahonri. Have confidence in the Lord above any fear and doubt … ” and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me..” ( Isaiah 49:23 )