“The Brother of Jared”

Alan C. Miner

According to Kent Jackson, there is no suggestion in Moroni's abridgment as to why "the brother of Jared" is known by this descriptive name rather than a proper name. Perhaps his name was not recorded on Ether's twenty-four plates, or perhaps he was actually called "the brother of Jared." [Kent P. Jackson, "Christ and the Jaredites," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 2, p. 247]

“A Large and Mighty Man”

The book of Ether describes the brother of Jared as "a large and mighty man" (Ether 1:34). According to Jerry Ainsworth, the Old Testament records that giants lived before the Flood and begot "mighty men" (Genesis 6:4). According to the book of Moses, giants dwelt in the land in Enoch's day (see Moses 7:15). Giants also lived after the Flood (see Numbers 13:33). There is a similarity between these scriptural accounts and an ancient fragmentary account concerning the first pyramid at Cholula Mexico. This account now appears in a plaque on the wall of the mayor's palace in that city.

The account at Cholula mentions "seven brothers" who were saved from the waters "in the caves of the mountain." Their leader was "Xelhua the giant," whose name, in the ancient Nahuatl language, means "vomited out of the water." He built the pyramid in Cholula in commemoration of their deliverance. This account appears to combine traditions dating back to the Flood with later ones about the Tower of Babel and the migration to this land. Four distinct strands of tradition are apparent: (1) "At the time of the Flood, giants lived upon the earth, and many of them perished, drowned in the waters"' (2) A pyramid was built that "threatened to reach the clouds," at which the "father of all the gods" sent down a "celestial fire" that "killed many of the builders," the rest "dispersing so that the work was not continued"' (3) "Seven brothers were saved in the caves of the mountain"' and (4) "Xelhua the giant went to the site that was later called Cholollan [Cholula]" and there "started to build the pyramid in memory of the mountain in which he was saved."

The Genesis account records how people wanted to build a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven" (Genesis 11;4). The Book of Mormon says their purpose was "to build a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven" (Helaman 6:28). As noted, the spiral architecture of the first pyramid at Cholula was likely influenced by the Tower of Babel. Spiral buildings and pyramids are also found on the west coast of Mexico in the states of Colima and Jalisco.

In Central America today, the ruins of pyramids are generally crowned with temples or sacred sanctuaries for worships. Evidence of sacrifices made at such sites abounds, even though later corruptions became mistaken for the sites' original purpose. A similar trend appears in the Old Testament. At first, Israel's "high places" were used for offering acceptable sacrifices to God (see 1 Samuel 9:10-19; 1 Kings 3:2-4). Later, at the corruption of the people's religion, the "high places" became sites for idolatrous practices (see 1 Kings 12:28-33). [Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, pp. 53-55]

Ether 1:34 A large and mighty man ([Illustration]): A plaque on the wall of the mayor's palace at Cholula containing fragments of the earliest history of its people. [Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, p. 53]

“The Brother of Jared”

According to Daniel Ludlow, it is not clear why the name of the brother of Jared does not appear in the Book of Mormon. However, the following are possible reasons:

(1) The brother of Jared may have omitted his name out of modesty (John the Beloved did essentially this same thing in the Gospel of John which he wrote).

(2) The Book of Ether is clearly a family record of Jared, not the brother of Jared; Ether--the final writer and perhaps the abridger of the record--was a descendant of Jared and might naturally have emphasized the achievements of his direct ancestor rather than the brother of his ancestor.

(3) Moroni may have omitted the name in his abridgment because of difficulty in translating (or "transliterating") the name into the Nephite language. [Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 310] [See the commentary on Ether 2:13]

The name of the brother of Jared was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith. Elder George Reynolds recounted: "While residing in Kirtland Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turning to Elder Cahoon he said, the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown [or revealed] it to me. Elder William F. Cahoon, who was standing near, heard the Prophet make this statement to his father; and this was the first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation." ("Jaredites," Juvenile Instructor 27:282) [Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet, and Brent L. Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. IV, p. 263]

According to Thomas Valletta, Jared, whose name in Hebrew means "to go down," was one of those sent forth when the tower fell. Like Adam and many before and many after, Jared embarked on a new beginning. He was not alone in his journey. Jared had a special though unnamed brother. Although the Prophet Joseph Smith apparently revealed this great prophet's name to be Mahonri Moriancumer, the text of Ether does not record his name. Commentators have suggested many possible reasons for this phenomenon (see Ludlow 310), but it just may be that the book of Ether employs the phrase "the brother of Jared" as a type for Jesus Christ. The exclusion of the name draws attention to the fact that Jared was not left alone, but had a very special brother who intervened in his and his family's behalf. . . . It should not be surprising that the brother of Jared could be a type of Jesus Christ, as all of God's prophets typify Jesus Christ (J. McConkie, Gospel Symbolism 146-72). In the case of the brother of Jared, there are many similarities between the recorded facts of his life and events in the life of Jesus Christ (see illustration). [Thomas R. Valletta, "Jared and His Brother," in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction, pp. 307-308]

Ether 1:34 The brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord ([Illustrated]): The Brother of Jared. Artist: Del Parson. [Henry B. Eyring, "The Brother of Jared--An Expert at Learning," The Ensign, July 1978, p. 63]

Ether 1:34 The Brother of Jared ([Illustration]): The Brother of Jared. Artist: Del Parson. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 613]

Ether 1:34 The brother of Jared ([Illustration]): The Brother of Jared as a Type of Jesus Christ [Thomas R. Valletta, "Jared and His Brother," in The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction, pp. 307-308]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary