“I Went to Hunt Beasts in the Forests”

Brant Gardner

Enos jumps into his story after the briefest of introductions. His narration is intensely personal. Where Jacob's writings focused on his mission to the people, Enos returns to the personal experience narration that characterized much of 1 Nephi.

Sociological: The book of Enos is an important departure from the books of Nephi and Jacob. What is significant is what is not here.

Contrasting what we will find in the book of Enos with the material from Nephi and Jacob, what we find absolutely missing is any reference to an official position among the people. There are no recorded public ceremonies of recognition of place. Nephi was made king, and Jacob declared a priest. Enos is a prophet, but the nature of a prophet for the Nephite community during this period of development was much more similar to ancient Israel than modern Mormon norms. Enos is a prophet, but there were many prophets (Enos 1:22).

While the last of the book of Jacob saw the redemption of Jacob, it apparently does not create a condition that passes on to his son. Enos does not appear to be a formal priest for the people. He has no public function that can be discerned and the process of marginalization we saw with Jacob becomes more apparent in Enos, and becomes painfully obvious in subsequent small plate writers.

What can we reconstruct of Nephite society at this point? Certainly they would have had a continuation of the position of king. It is very likely that there was some position of official priest, as the size of the community would warrant such a religious specialist. However, it is clear that the religious leader was not assigned as hereditary through Jacob. If it were a hereditary position it probably reverted to members of Nephi's line rather than that of his brother.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon