We have an account of Christ’s “ministry” to the Nephites beginning in chapter 11 of 3 Nephi and continuing through the 28th chapter. During the ministry Christ instructed, performed ordinances, (including the sacrament) blessed, healed, taught from scriptures, provided prophecy, and extended the promise of exaltation to many, including the Twelve He called. The full extent of what He did became so sacred that the account is interrupted and we are told that it was not lawful to put it into writing. (See, e.g., 3 Ne. 17: 15-16; 26: 16; and 27: 23.)
Now, if you can take all that in, (and it is worth careful consideration to make sure you get the point) then you can begin to understand this statement recorded by Moroni about the visit between Christ and the Brother of Jared:
“And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites. And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.” (Ether 3: 17-18.)
When Moroni wrote this it was nearly 400 years after Christ’s ministry to the Nephites. When he wrote this Moroni:
1. Had the records of Christ’s ministry before him.
2. Had been personally visited by Christ. (Ether 12: 39.)
3. He also had personally been visited by the three Nephite disciples who were there when Christ appeared and called them as His witnesses. (Mormon 8: 10-11.)
4. Had the entire Jaredite record before him, including the portion that he would not translate due to its sacred character. (Ether 4: 5-7.)
When Moroni says that Christ “ministered” to the Brother of Jared “as He ministered unto the Nephites” this is more than just an appearance. It is more than just a conversation, with the Lord showing Himself to the man. It is more than merely giving the man an understanding that He lives, that He is the Redeemer and Savior. It would include the same kind of ministry as was had among the Nephites.
I believe the Lord’s ministry in any age is the same. As the Redeemer, determined to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, (Moses 1: 39) it would only make sense that He would be determined to have those who receive Him be redeemed, promised eternal life, and instructed sufficiently to enter into their exaltation. This is why Christ says that He and the Father will “take up our abode with” such men. (John 14: 23.) That “abode” is the Father’s House. More plainly, it is the Father’s family. It is to become His son, begotten by the Father. Sonship requires initiation, and Christ’s ministry would include all the required promises, rites and teachings to allow the person to lay claim upon eternal life.