Dry Bones

As disciples of Christ, we can in our day rise above those ancient Israelites who moaned, “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Perfect Brightness of Hope,” General Conference, April 2020

In one of Ezekiel’s many visions, he found himself in the middle of a valley full of bones. God asked him a question: “Son of man, can these bones live?” Although the answer seemed obvious, Ezekiel wisely withheld judgment: “O Lord God,” he said, “thou knowest.”

Soon the bones began to come together. Flesh, sinews, and finally skin began to cover them, “and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” Then the Lord shared the message of the vision:

Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts….

Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves,…

And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live.

Ezekiel 37:11-14

In a global sense, this vision is about the gathering of Israel. But in a more localized sense, it’s about finding hope when our circumstances look bleak. It’s about overriding the instinct that says, “Nothing can be done. There’s no more reason to hope.”

Ether lived to see the destruction of his people. Moroni must have felt a particular affinity for him, which might explain why he named his abridgment of Jaredite history after Ether. In spite of living in perilous and tragic times, Ether taught his people not to give up hope:

Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

Ether 12:4

Today, I will not lose hope. I will remember the valley of bones and God’s assurance to Ether that He can make us live again. I will remember Ether’s admonition to continue believing in God and his assurance that hope can become an anchor which enables us to abound in good works.

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