Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 14 – For a Wise Purpose

1. Enos prays for himself, the Nephites, and the Lamanites.

Enos 1:1 He taught me in his language

‘It is curious that Enos explains that his father taught him in the language of his father and in the ways of the Lord. We can readily understand the second idea, for we also strive to teach our children the ways of the Lord. What is less clear is why Jacob would have to teach Enos his “language.” Nephi stated that he has been “taught somewhat in all the learning of my father.… The language of my father… consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” (1 Ne. 1:1–2). While this seems to be a parallel statement, the difference is that Enos specifically mentions being taught the language where Nephi writes in the “language of my father.”

I suggest that Enos is literally speaking about learning Jacob’s language. Obviously, he is not talking simply about the unconscious way in which all toddlers absorb grammar and vocabulary from their parents. One possible reason for this statement is to indicate that Jacob taught him the language of the Old World (Hebrew) because the Nephites are now speaking a different language. This interpretation is appropriate, even likely, given the Nephites’ linguistic adaptation to a new location. But a second and more likely meaning is that Jacob taught Enos the writing system (Egyptian) that he would need for his record on the plates. Regardless of the spoken language, the plates require a specific script and vocabulary, modeled after the brass plates.’  (Brant Gardner, Second Witness, Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

 

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Enos 1:2 I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God

‘We cannot find Enos-like faith without our own wrestle before God in prayer. I testify that the reward is worth the effort. Remember the pattern: (1) hear the word of God, spoken and written by His servants; (2) let that word sink deep into your heart; (3) hunger in your soul for righteousness; (4) obediently follow gospel laws, ordinances, and covenants; and (5) raise your voice in mighty prayer and supplication, asking in faith to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I promise that if you do these things sincerely and unceasingly, the words Christ spoke to His disciples will be fulfilled in your life: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”‘ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, October 2004).

Enos 1:4 All the day long did I cry unto him

“Mental wrestling can take the form of prolonged prayer. It may be necessary to pray longer and harder sometimes in order to get the feeling that you have been heard. You remember the case of Enos and his day-long prayer. Of course, that was an extreme case involving a future prophet of God. If you ever get where you need to pray all day long, you will know it and the power will be given to you. It isn’t the sort of thing you just set out to do because you would like to hear a voice like Enos did. Still, Enos’s example is one you should ponder as you think of gaining the determination to think and communicate with God.” (Vaughn J Featherstone, Commitment, p. 30)

Enos 1:5 Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee

“The Redeemer can settle your individual account with justice and grant forgiveness through the merciful path of repentance [see Alma 42:15]. Full repentance is absolutely essential for the Atonement to work its complete miracle in your life. By understanding the Atonement, you will see that God is not a jealous being who delights in persecuting those who misstep. He is an absolutely perfect, compassionate, understanding, patient, and forgiving Father” (Richard G Scott, General Conference Report, Apr. 1995).

Enos 1:7 Lord, how is it done?

‘Enos could feel the weight of sin lifted from him. This was not an ephemeral experience, but one with tremendous power. The removal of sin was dramatic and conclusive. Enos did not wonder if perhaps he had been forgiven. Enos could feel that the burden of sin was gone, a change so dramatic that he immediately asked how it could have happened.

The answer is that the atonement comes through the Messiah. This is the crowning message of Nephi and Jacob, and now Enos has his foundational prophetic experience grounded in that very knowledge. Enos will also be a prophet who declares the Atoning Messiah for he has had personal experience with salvation through the coming Messiah. This is the key of the Nephite religion. It is not simply Messianic. Rather, it focuses on the Messiah’s atoning mission over his eschatological mission—the most important distinction made about Nephite Messianic beliefs. This small community of displaced Jews was not unique in their belief in the Messiah, but they were unique in retaining the earlier Israelite understanding of the atoning mission of the Messiah.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness, Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

Enos 1:13 That the Lamanites should not be destroyed

“Very often the Twelve and the First Presidency pray together. When President Kimball takes his turn to be voice, he generally includes this phrase in his prayers: ‘Bless our enemies. Help us to understand them, and them to understand us.’ He doesn’t ask for vengeance or retaliation, just for understanding so differences can be resolved. Perhaps, family differences and neighborhood problems could be resolved if we would follow our prophet’s example and pray for patience and forgiveness.” (Marvin J Ashton, General ConferenceApr. 1985)

Enos 1:22 There were exceedingly many prophets among us

‘The modern LDS model of church organization assumes a single prophet at the head of a unified organization. This is not the model of the Old Testament nor certainly of the early Nephite society. During Nephi’s lifetime the community had both Nephi and Jacob as “prophets,” although Jacob was officially the priest while Nephi acted as ruler. Enos summarizes his post-epiphany life by saying he preaches and prophesies (v. 19). Thus, Enos is a prophet, yet speaks of “exceedingly many prophets.” This description fits the Old World model of the prophet who calls for social and religious repentance, rather than the contemporary model of a person who leads a community of religious adherents.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness, Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

2. The Nephites prosper through continual repentance.

Jarom 1:1 That our genealogy may be kept

“To keep proper and correct genealogies of all our forefathers is a vital part of the Gospel plan. Every Latter-day Saints knows that in this way we may extend to our ancestors the blessings of the Gospel and thus become saviors on Mt. Zion. The Lord has enjoined his people, in every dispensation, to keep adequate records so that his purposes, in the end, will be fulfilled. The Jews and all the other tribes of Israel were vigilant in keeping in their proper order, a record of the lineage through which they sprang. The Nephites were zealous in all efforts to do this. Lehi found upon the Plates of Brass, a genealogy of his fathers and his descendants and ever afterwards preserved this divine injunction. Jarom, therefore, that the line may not be broken, writes a ‘few words’ according to this commandment which he had received.” (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 496)

Jarom 1:3 Much should be done among this people

‘Jarom states that a tremendous work must be done among the Nephites because of the hardness of their hearts, the deafness of their ears, the blindness of their minds, and the stiffness of their necks. In fact, he feels that if it had not been for the sufferance of a merciful God, they would have been swept from the face of the land long ago.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Jarom 1:5 The Sabbath day

“The Lord said: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy’ (Ex. 20:8) and made Sabbath day observance a sign between Him and the people to indicate their obedience. (See Ex. 31:13-17). That commandment and sign have never been rescinded. In our day, standards for keeping the Sabbath day holy are lowered a little at a time by some individuals until practically anything seems to become acceptable. The sign between the Lord and His covenant peoples is trampled underfoot as Church members skip Sunday meetings to seek recreation at lakes and beaches, in the mountains, at sports arenas, and at theaters. Parking lots at supermarkets and discount stores often are full on Sundays. Many store owners feel compelled to open their doors on Sundays because of the demand for the merchandise and services. The people who misuse the Sabbath lose the blessings of spiritual food and growth promised to those who keep this commandment.” (Joseph B Wirthlin, Ensign, Mar. 1993)

Jarom 1:7 Battle

‘For many years, the prevailing scholarly opinion visualized Mesoamericans as peaceful star-gazers, with little or no military activity. The Book of Mormon’s description of fortifications seemed out of place against that peaceful assumption. Subsequent research has revealed a war-torn Mesoamerica complete with fortifications from early times.

Archaeologist David Webster notes: “A sizable Late Preclassic [500 B.C.–A.D. 250] community existed at Punta de Chimino, and some archaeologists believe that the impressive earthwork fortifications that defended the Punta de Chimino peninsula were first built at that time. If so, warfare had very deep roots in the region.”’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness, Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

3. Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki keep the records.

Omni 1:12-17

‘In this short account, we learn of three groups of people whom the Lord brought to the land of promise in the Western Hemisphere. The first group mentioned was Lehi’s colony. The majority of the Book of Mormon relates their story and that of their descendants.

The Book of Mormon also identifies a second group, referred to as the people of Zarahemla, who were descendants of Mulek and who joined the Nephites (see Mosiah 25:2). Mulek, a son of King Zedekiah, left Jerusalem and traveled to the Americas after Babylon destroyed Jerusalem around 587 B.C. (see Omni 1:15). Without a scriptural record, the people of Zarahemla were a living witness of what the Spirit said to Nephi that a whole nation would dwindle in unbelief (see 1 Nephi 4:13). The Mulekites then joined with the Nephites under the rule of King Mosiah (see Omni 1:19).

The third group was the Jaredites, who came to the land of promise following the time of the “great tower” mentioned in Genesis 11. The original Jaredite colony grew into a great race. Eventually, however, they annihilated themselves in a great civil war sometime between 600 and 300 B.C., leaving only Coriantumr, their last king, and Ether, a prophet of the Lord (see Ether 15:29–34). Ether finished the record, and Coriantumr apparently wandered until he found the people of Zarahemla, where he lived “for the space of nine moons” (Omni 1:21) before dying. Little is known of the Jaredites other than what is recorded by Moroni in the book of Ether.’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Omni 1:13 They came down into the land of Zarahemla

“The concept of going ‘up’ when you go north and of going ‘down’ when you go south is of relatively recent origin, and thus was not used by the Nephites. When the Nephites stated they went from Nephi down to Zarahemla, they were referring to elevation and not to direction. Zarahemla was definitely lower in elevation than Nephi because the river Sidon had its head in the land of Nephi but flowed down through the center of the land of Zarahemla. (Alma 16:6-7; 22:27-29.)” (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.169)

Omni 1:20 A large stone

‘Mesoamerica is unique in the Western hemisphere for its writing systems. While the best-known is that of the Maya, the roots of literacy are much earlier, probably extending to the Olmec. Part of that tradition includes inscriptions on stelae, or large stones.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness, Analytical and Cultural Commentary on the Book of Mormon)

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Omni 1:25 There is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord

“Amaleki explained that ‘there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord:  and that which is evil cometh from the devil’ (Omni 1:25; see also Alma 5:40).  This is the great litmus test for determining the truthfulness or rightness of a matter- does it invite and entice one to come unto God, to partake of his goodness and grace, to enjoy the fruits of his Spirit, to gain in time those godly attributes and godly powers which will equip the person to be with and be like God?  If it does so, it is of God.” (McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 335)

4. Mormon adds the small plates of Nephi to his abridgment of the large plates.

“The Words of Mormon were apparently written near the end of Mormon’s life for the purpose of connecting two major records. It was made known to Mormon ‘by the workings of the Spirit of the Lord’ that the small plates of Nephi (which ended when Benjamin was a relatively young man) might be used to replace his abridgment of the book of Lehi (which ended when Benjamin was an old man about ready to die). So that a gap would not occur in the history of the Nephites, Mormon included the major events of the lifetime of King Benjamin in The Words of Mormon, thus connecting the account on the small plates of Nephi with Mormon’s abridgment of the book of Mosiah.” (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.171)

 

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