Why study this book?
The book of Enos illustrates the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cleanse people from sin and make them whole. Enos wrestled before God in mighty prayer before his sins were forgiven. He then prayed for the spiritual welfare of the Nephites and the Lamanites, and he spent the remainder of his life laboring for their salvation. As students study the book of Enos, they can discover important lessons about prayer, repentance, and revelation. They can also learn that as individuals receive the blessings of the Atonement, they will desire to share those blessings with others.
Who wrote this book?
Enos, a son of Jacob and a grandson of Lehi and Sariah, wrote this book. Enos recorded that his father taught him “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Enos 1:1). Near the end of his life, Enos wrote that he had declared “the word according to the truth which is in Christ” throughout all his days (Enos 1:26). Before his death, Enos passed the small plates of Nephi to his son Jarom (see Jarom 1:1). Enos concluded his record by saying that he rejoiced in the day when he would stand before his Redeemer. He declared, “Then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father” (Enos 1:27).
To whom was this book written and why?
When Enos received the small plates from his father, he promised to engrave only the writings that he considered to be most precious, which included sacred teachings, revelation, and prophecy (see Jacob 1:1–4; 7:27). Enos knew that his people, the Nephites, eventually would be destroyed. He prayed that the Lord would preserve a record of the Nephites “that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation” (Enos 1:13).
When and where was it written?
Enos closed his record by declaring that 179 years had passed since Lehi left Jerusalem (see Enos 1:25). That places the date of his writing between approximately 544 BC (when Jacob closed his record) and 421 BC. Enos wrote this record while living in the land of Nephi.
What are some distinctive features of this book?
The book of Enos introduces a pattern that shows how individuals can receive the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and share those blessings with others. First, Enos was taught the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Enos 1:1, 3). Next, he recognized his need for the Savior and prayed for forgiveness (see Enos 1:2–4). Then, after receiving a remission of his sins, he prayed and labored diligently to bring others to salvation (see Enos 1:5–27). This pattern appears throughout the Book of Mormon. Examples include Alma (see Mosiah 17:1–2; 18:1–2), Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah (see Mosiah 27–28), and Lamoni and his people (see Alma 18–19).
Additionally, the book of Enos is the first to describe in detail the apostate condition of the descendants of Laman and Lemuel (see Enos 1:20). It also mentions that there were “exceedingly many prophets” among the Nephites, although the majority of the Nephites were “a stiffnecked people” who had to be stirred up continually “to keep them in the fear of the Lord” (Enos 1:22–23).
Enos 1:9–18 Enos prays for the Nephites and the Lamanites and asks the Lord to preserve the records of the Nephites.
Enos 1:19–24 Enos describes the wickedness of the Lamanites and the stiffnecked nature of the Nephites. He and other prophets labor continually for their salvation.
Enos 1:25–27 Enos concludes his record and writes of the assurance of eternal life he has received through his Redeemer.