Abel had been chosen to carry the responsibilities of the priesthood to succeeding generations. But after he was murdered, Seth, who was born 130 years after the Fall of Adam and Eve, was selected as the chosen son to carry this sacred priesthood responsibility (see D&C 107:40–42). He was ordained when he was 69 years old and lived a total of 912 years. The scriptures refer to him as a “perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father” (see D&C 107:43).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:
“In the beginning God gave Adam a language that was pure, perfect, and undefiled. This Adamic language, now unknown, was far superior to any tongue which is presently extant. For instance, the name of God the Father, in this original language, is Man of Holiness, signifying that he is a Holy Man and not a vague spiritual essence. (Moses 6:57.)
“This first language spoken by mortals was either the celestial tongue of the Gods or such adaptation of it as was necessary to meet the limitations of mortality; and Adam and his posterity had power to speak, read, and write it” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 19).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said the following about the book of remembrance mentioned in Moses 6:5: “From the beginning, the Lord provided a language and gave men the power to read and write. … The thing which they first wrote, and which of all their writings was of the most worth unto them, was a Book of Remembrance, a book in which they recorded what the Lord had revealed about himself, about his coming, and about the plan of salvation, which plan would have force and validity because of his atonement. This was the beginning of the Holy Scriptures” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 86; see also Moses 6:46).
The priesthood “is without beginning of days or end of years” (D&C 84:17). From the time of Adam and Eve, the priesthood, the gospel, and the ordinances were available as we have them today (see Moses 5:58–59; see also D&C 107:40–42). The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) taught:
“The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed. …
“The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 104).
There were twenty generations of the priesthood from Adam to Abraham, being passed from father to son. Eight generations are listed in Moses 6:8–25 (from Adam to Methuselah); in Moses 8:5–12, three more generations (Lamech, Noah, and Shem) are given, and Genesis 11:10–26 records the nine generations from Shem to Abram (Abraham). (See also D&C 107:40–52.)
This verse mentions the earliest righteous people (“the people of God”) who moved from a land filled with wickedness to a land of promise (see also Moses 6:40–41). This is a pattern that is repeated many times in scripture (for example, see 1 Nephi 1–18; Omni 1:12–19; Ether 1–4).
The Bible contains only a few verses about Enoch (see Genesis 5:19–24). The book of Moses greatly increases our understanding of Enoch’s life, ministry, and teachings: Moses 6:26–36 tells of Enoch’s call, verses 37–47 record his words against the works of men, verses 48–68 contain his message of salvation, and Moses 7 is a record of his remarkable visions of God and of future events on this earth. Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam. He was born 620 years after the Fall, was ordained to the priesthood at 25 years of age, and at 430 years old he and his people were taken into heaven without tasting death (see D&C 107:49). An additional quotation from the prophecies of Enoch is found in Jude 1:14–15, and more information on his life is found in Luke 3:37 and Hebrews 11:5.
Because of the wickedness of the people in the days of Enoch, the Lord called upon Enoch to preach repentance. The Lord told Enoch, “A hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not.” This “hell” refers to the part of the spirit world known as the spirit prison where the wicked suffer torment because of their unrepented sins (see Alma 40:11–14).
Enoch was not the only prophet who felt inadequate when the Lord called him. Read about Moses’s and Jeremiah’s reactions in Exodus 4:10–12 and Jeremiah 1:4–9. President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency taught: “Most of us who are called to leadership in the Church feel that we are inadequate because of inexperience, lack of ability, or meager learning and education” (“These I Will Make My Leaders,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 36; see also 1 Corinthians 1:26–27; Ether 12:23–27; D&C 1:19–20; 33:8–10).
Elder John A. Widtsoe (1872–1952) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “A seer is one who sees with spiritual eyes. He perceives the meaning of that which seems obscure to others; therefore he is an interpreter and clarifier of eternal truth. He foresees the future from the past and the present. This he does by the power of the Lord operating through him directly, or indirectly with the aid of divine instruments such as the Urim and Thummim” (Evidences and Reconciliations, arr. G. Homer Durham, 3 vols. in 1 , 258; see also Mosiah 8:13–18).