Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Never could be a people more blessed than they

Here's some verses that caught my attention recently in the Book of Ether:

22 And they were exceedingly industrious, and they did buy and sell and traffic one with another, that they might get gain.
23 And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work.
24 And they did have silks, and fine-twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves from their nakedness.
25 And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash.
26 And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts.
27 And they did make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner of work of exceedingly curious workmanship.
28 And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it. (Ether 10:22-28)

In these verses is a catalog of the material advantages of the Jaredites at this time under the reign of Lib. I notice that it focuses the attention on the blessings they enjoyed in their industry—metal ore found in mining efforts, and then the different kinds of clothing they could make to clothe themselves, and then on all the types of tools they had. They had tools for agriculture, tools for working their animals, weapons for defending themselves, and they must have had tools for their mining and weaving too.

What this teaches me is that in an industrious society, tools and mechanical ingenuity are great blessings. If we compare our technological society to the Jaredites, we see what additional tools we have--all manner of communication tools, transportation methods, robotic tools, construction tools, medical tools, calculating and problem-solving tools, tools for recreation, musical instruments, even molecular and genetic-manipulation tools.  Improve the tools and life improves for lots of people.

I suppose if we are spiritual, the gifts of the Spirit, revelations, and priesthood will be seen as great blessings as well—plus scriptures, prophets, temples, ordinances, callings, meetings, and all the helps and governments we have in the church.  The increase in blessings is absolutely staggering.

It can truly be said today that never could be a people more blessed than we. Of course, I suppose “never could be” is the rub.  I wonder if over the last 200 years people have thought they at the pinnacle of excellence.   Yet somehow the blessings keep coming. 

For the Jaredites, of course, things didn’t last. Their society fell apart from pride and wickedness and war and secret combinations.  It’s a warning that the same thing could happen today.  The onus is always on people (you and me and all of us) to not mess things up.