Studying the Book of Mormon Part 3
Musings of Jacob and Enos
Enos 1:23; “And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them.”
In our series of Studying the Book of Mormon we like to highlight one verse in the beginning to show the overall theme of the section. As you can see from the verse above, the Book of Enos and Jacob doesn’t shine forth with much hope for any Mormon to hold on to for themselves in times of need.
The most glaring discovery from every book in the Book of Mormon is what isn’t in the text. Where is the Law? Where are the meticulous outlines of what God expects from His people and how they are to conduct their lives?
Where are the rituals needing to take place in the temples that were supposedly built? Why is there no mention of Passover or the other festivals? These are the very things the Israelites lived their lives around. The festivals “celebrated a historical action of God to deliver Israel” – (Holman Bible Dictionary).
Where are the artifacts? If people were at war with each other for over 170 years by the end of Enos’ writing, where are the scribbled or carved notes on clay or rocks of invasions or even arrow heads?
From 1937 to 1945 over 72,000,000 people were dead from the ravages of the Second World War. As you can imagine they’re still finding artifacts some 65 years later. Likewise, archaeologists are discovering multiple layers of destruction debris, vessels and organic materials from the late Iron to early Bronze Ages in Megiddo which dates back to 12th Century BC. Most notably in the past one hundred years there have also been great discoveries of Jericho, the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the Hittite community. (http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/megiddo/2008_results.html) Sadly, there have been no such discoveries anywhere in Mesoamerica of the wars alluded to, nor are there any housing, vessels, animal or human bones. There is absolutely nothing.
The first chapter of Jacob informs us that only fifty five years had passed since the family had left Jerusalem and in that time there was already a division between the descendants of Nephi (1:13). It also seemed that Jacob had a strong urge to repeatedly tell his audience how he magnified the office he held. I’m left to wonder… why he didn’t magnify God and how did he go about magnifying the office he held?
The polygamy issue is something that has presented itself yet again in the e-mails we’ve received lately and the new explanations from the book of Jacob have me perplexed. For the life of me I can’t find the reasoning they’ve tried to employ stating the Mormon god didn’t condemn polygamy. The subject of polygamy begins in Jacob 2:15 and in 2:33, the Mormon god outright condemns it, so how do you justify it?
It seems the Lord is keeping to his story about people turning dark because of their sin and apparently the Lamanites were more righteous than the Nephites, including the observance of only having one wife, so why haven’t the Nephites turned dark? And why would Jacob tell the Nephites he was afraid the skins of the Lamanites would turn lighter than the Nephites if the Nephites didn’t start behaving. Really? What kind of prophet would be concerned about skin color?
One big problem in the book of Jacob is their profession of Christ. For goodness sakes it’s 400 BC! Why would you be using this terminology?
The word “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. It appears in the New Testament 514 times and is the official title of the Lord Jesus. It is not His last name, nor is it his given name. How is it they can even command the trees to obey them in the name of Jesus? (Jacob 4:6)
Another problem in this genre is the use of the words “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” in Jacob chapter six. The term “Holy Ghost” never appears in the Old Testament and the first time He was instilled in the body of believers isn’t until the book of Acts. And that leads us to the infamous use of the French word “adieu” at the very end of Jacob.
This book was supposedly written in 400 BC. French was not a language until 700 AD. Now the Mormons will tell you it was quite common for the early Americans to use the word “adieu” much like we use the term “later” when saying good-bye to someone.
If this was just a simple general term then why was Smith speaking in the outdated 1611 King James English in the nineteenth century? There are so many complications in his text…
The next book doesn’t clarify anything for us about the concerns above, nor does it give any detail of the father and son relationship between Jacob and Enos. We find that Enos went about prophesying the labors of the Nephites were all in vain (vs. 20). Because of the blood thirsty Lamanites, there was no end in sight to a peaceful resolution between the two parties. To compound the problem there seemed to be a gloomy outlook toward life in general.
He also preached that even though he must “go down to his grave” the people mustn’t worry because they too can go to the place prepared for them by the “Redeemer”. My question is how do they do that? If there’s no hope what type of redeemer is he speaking about and why shouldn’t you worry?
I found it more than a little interesting Joseph Smith would use this particular term in light of its translation.
According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary it means “one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs. He redeems us from all evil by the payment of a ransom”.
First of all that flies in the face of the LDS phrase “endure to the end”, nor does it line up with the theory that you must atone for some sins Jesus can’t cover you for, i.e., murder (D&C 42:79), blasphemy (D&C 132:27) or if you’re an apostate (D&C 85:11). See our article on interesting facts here http://www.lifeafter.org/3n1facts
Enduring to the end has enabled the Mormons to clothe themselves in a martyr syndrome. They are fed a steady diet of being told no one likes them because they are Mormon and here in their own scripture they find solace in the empty promises of this false god telling them to pick themselves up by their bootstraps.
When we’re troubled we need to go to the Lord, not just endure to the end! We are victorious because of what HE has done for us, not because we slouched through another day of being picked on!
1 John 5:4; “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
It is through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit residing inside each believer that hearts are changed when we read scripture and understand it in a new light. It is because of His redemptive work we mature in our faith to become Christ-like and begin to rest in the victory He has already fought for and gained.
1 Corinthians 15:57; “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
With all that aside, remember what God told Lehi? According to Lehi, God promised him the new land would be an eternal covenant and inheritance. The land was supposedly a choice land above all other lands. I have to ask:
Why are there wars in the new Promised Land?
What happened to God’s promise of it being there as an everlasting covenant for future generations? The Nephites died out in 421 AD.
Enos tells us that it’s been 179 years after the Israelites left Jerusalem (1:25), but makes no mention of any other individual Nephite or their life. I just cannot imagine always fighting in malicious wars with no hope. There’s no account of anyone at all coming to know the Lord. Trusting in this book is living without a god who keeps his promises and worshipping a god who might zap you into a “cursed” color if you don’t behave properly.
In the Bible we see individuals coming to know God personally because of the miracles He performed through His prophets like Elisha. Remember the lady whose son died and Elisha brought him back to life? 2 Kings 4:8-37.
So when Enos wrote his letter it had been 179 years that had passed and still there is no mention of anyone knowing the Lord personally and no mention of any sacrifices being made in a temple somewhere…
The god in the Book of Mormon is nothing like the God of the Bible. He may use the same terminology the KJV used, but that language came from man, not God and doesn’t serve as proof this is “another testament from God”. We’ll forego the whole “Reformed Egyptian” subject for now.
How were Enos’ sins wiped away after he prayed if no blood sacrifice had been made? Remember it’s only 421 BC, Jesus hadn’t been crucified yet so animal sacrifices were still in effect.
Another noteworthy mistake is found in Enos 1:20. The text tells us the Lamanites were using cimeters and eating raw meat which he obviously thought was a sin. Cimeters are a type of sword and not around until after 500 AD. Originally this sword was found to be used in the Middle East so how does Enos have this thing in the Americas several hundred years before it was invented? http://www.lifeafter.org/artifacts This means there is a 900 year discrepancy. It’s not quite as bad as the 1,100 year problem with French being used in Jacob, but still!
The problem with the raw meat episode is because of what was mentioned earlier in first Nephi. Why wasn’t it a sin for Lehi and family to eat raw meat, but it was for the Nephites?
Compare 1 Nephi 17:2 & Enos 1:20 with what God says in Leviticus 7:25-26. Is it any wonder the Mormon people are confused?
Enos claimed that he prophesied about the truth of Christ, but not one single explanation about Christ is mentioned in his short chapter. Nothing about the cross or the Paschal Lamb that would be sacrificed on Passover, and nothing specific about the fulfilled prophecies of God Incarnate walking this earth. If this Christ was so important why wouldn’t he tell the readers why?
As an example of how little information there is let’s take another look at what Enos says.
Enos 1:6-8; “And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. 7 And I said: Lord, how is it done? 8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Honestly people. My concern about this kind of thing is mainly for my mother. Of course we pray for all Mormons and we truly do this with a sincerity of heart, but then I think of the average, every day Mormon like my mother Vickie. How is she to glean any promise from Abba in Enos or Jacob?
If you are a member of the LDS Church we want for you to know God loves you! He wants for you to come into a full relationship with Him instead of sitting on the outskirts just using His name. If you want further info on Mormonism feel free to contact us!
With Love in Christ; Michelle
1 Cor. 1:18