“I Enos, Knowing My Father That He Was a Just Man”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Enos’s father was certainly a “just man”—his father was Jacob, the sensitive scriptorian and prophet who had seen the Savior and was sealed up to eternal life. He had properly raised his son Enos and taught him about the things of God. Still, Enos had to discover for himself the value of his parents’ teachings and gain his own testimony through the “wrestle” which he had before God (on “wrestling with God,” see also the commentary at Alma 8:10). Enos was also “wrestling” with himself. All people, without exception, have to struggle with their own spiritual growth and come to grips with the realities and challenges of mortality.

The great patriarch Jacob (Israel) literally wrestled for a blessing from God during a time of extreme trial and anxiety. But it was also an inner struggle. He was rewarded with the presence of God (Genesis 32:7–8, 24–30). The Prophet Joseph Smith stated that Zacharias went into the temple to wrestle with God, according to the order of the priesthood, to obtain a promise of a son. 1 He was rewarded with the birth of a son, who would be the forerunner to the very Son of God. President Brigham Young said that all of us are situated “upon the same ground,” in that we must “struggle, wrestle, and strive, until the Lord bursts the veil and suffers [allows] us to behold His glory, or a portion of it.” 2 Thus, each of us can be rewarded with the Lord’s presence in our lives. Unfortunately, many of us live below our birthright opportunities and blessings, but we do not need to.

Phillips Brooks, rector of Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts, in the early 1890s, wrote: “You may search all the ages for [a person who has had no struggle]. You may go through the crowded streets of heaven, asking each [one] how he came there, and you will look in vain everywhere for a man morally and spiritually strong, whose strength did not come to him in struggle… . Do you suppose that man has never wrestled with his own success and happiness… .

“… There is no exception anywhere. Every true strength is gained in struggle.” 3

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1