(December 19, 2013)
I had a pair of thoughts as I read through this chapter. The first will be easier to articulate – the Urim and Thummim (which seem to have been presented to the brother of Jared at this time and were passed down all the way to Joseph Smith) seem to have significance. I do not think it was an accident that the Lord gave the Urim and Thummim to the brother of Jared at this particular point. After all, what was the brother of Jared attempting to do? He did not want to cross the waters in darkness, but was praying to the Lord to touch stones to provide light as his people crossed the deep ocean. Is that not a symbol or type for the Urim and Thummim – stones touched by the Lord to give light to us as we cross the deep waters of our mortal life?
The second thought I had is more difficult to express. In the beginning of this chapter, the brother of Jared is acknowledging his weakness. He is unworthy, and his nature is to do evil continually. As he is righteous, we can assume he is being fully honest in this prayer. And yet, by the end of this chapter he is introduced into the presence of the Lord and redeemed from the fall. Sometimes we see ourselves in our fallen state, and we are tempted to believe that we are too far from the Lord to ever make it back to Him. But here, in a situation where the brother of Jared clearly believed himself to be unworthy, he in reality stood only moments away from redemption and being able to part the veil and enter the presence of the Lord. This is a powerful truth.