“Mighty Prayer and Supplication for Mine Own Soul”

He places his story in the forest; a place apart. He describes his activities as "prayer and supplication" which lasts through the day into the night. His description of the event concludes by describing contact between himself and God. Through that contact, he receives a remission of his sins.

There is another description of a "wrestle" between man and God analogous to Enos'. In the other account the setting is also a lone place apart. Jacob's encounter also lasts into the night, and similarly includes contact between the man and God. Jacob's wrestle is recorded in these terms:

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Gen. 32: 24-30.)

We must conclude Enos intended to write these similarities into his record. These are deliberate parallels. Beyond the parallels, however, there are elements which anyone familiar with the fullness of the Gospel will recognize. Jacob weaves into his account the following list:

The implications are clear. Jacob's narrative is deliberately including ritual symbols involved in Temple rites. Some things are sacred and cannot be spoken directly. But symbols which remind us of the sacred are entirely appropriate. Symbols are used in the Genesis account of creation to both conceal and reveal at the same moment. Christ would remind those He taught they needed to have "eyes to see" if they were to understand His teachings. He taught at different levels. Those who could not grasp the depth of His stories were left unaccountable for hidden knowledge. But those who could "see" the underlying truths of His teachings were able to be informed without being forced to see. When ready, it opens to the pupil's view. When not ready, it stays veiled. In this respect Christ was a gifted and merciful teacher.

Joseph taught the ordinances of the Gospel have always been the same. The Gospel has been the same since the beginning of time. Those who lived anciently were taught the same things as we are taught, including our most sacred ordinances. It should not surprise us that Enos was able to incorporate symbols in his narrative which tie to symbols we would recognize.

Just like Jacob, Enos also demonstrates a similar capacity to employ sophisticated symbolism woven into his narrative to capture hidden meanings. He weaves into his account the following list:

The implications are clear enough: Enos is serving us notice that his record is intended to be read as a hermetic text. He is using symbols to communicate in few words a larger meaning. He expects us to employ these symbols and their meanings as readers of his account.

So we need to consider carefully his use of images. When he writes, "I went to hunt beasts in the forests" we should keep in mind what he tells us later about the herds of domesticated animals kept among his people. He explains in verse 21 that "the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses." He did not need to "hunt" to have meat. Why mention this setting in the forest where he is engaged in hunting beasts in connection with his remembering "eternal life and the joy of the saints?"

Enos' father ministered in the Temple. As a result, Enos would have Temple knowledge passed to him directly from inside his family. His introduction included reference to his father being a just man who taught him. Here Enos elaborates that "the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart." Note what Enos is meditating upon has nothing to do with guilt, remorse or regret. It is purely positive; purely the highest of aspirations found in the Gospel. Enos is on a quest. He tells us what his quest involves. He is seeking after "eternal life, and the joy of the saints."

Enos' account continues with this description: "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens." So what did Enos' petition include? How would he have continued these many hours in this lengthy "prayer and supplication" for his own soul?

Was there a ceremony involved here as a part of the "supplication" process? It becomes apparent Enos combined elements of worship to communicate something profound. He sets the events in an Eden-like site. He tells us the object he had in mind was eternal life and the joy of the saints. He includes as part of the description performing animal sacrifice. He adds he, "raise[d] my voice high that it reached the heavens." This could not mean the decibel volume of his speaking, because from the time of Babel mankind has been on notice that heaven cannot be accessed using physical means. It must instead refer to the power of the content of the words being spoken. Everything about this suggests a most sacred and ritual meaning. Enos' words soared. They were lofty. They were sacred. They were holy. They reached into heaven itself.

Enos, the son of the Temple priest Jacob, is telling of his own endowment of power from on high. His wrestle with the Lord results in the washing away of his sin, or his anointing with the Spirit, and of his acquaintance with God.

As Enos succeeds in aligning the things of heaven with the things of earth, the veil dividing these two moves apart. In response to his petition "there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed." Enos' wrestle has succeeded. He has come to the veil hiding the pavilion of God, knocked in the proper way, and been admitted.

He receives a new name. "Thou shalt be blessed" might be punctuated: "Thou shalt be: Blessed." We will discuss "blessed" as a proper noun or title later in this book.

In this contact with God, Enos refers to the "voice" which came to him. However, in another few words he will refer to what he has "heard and seen" in this encounter. Enos knows how to selectively include the right mix of symbols to inform those with the eyes to see what sacred things are unfolding in his narrative. He writes very differently from his father Jacob or his uncle Nephi. We are encountering an adept mystic; familiar with the symbols of righteousness; writing for a select audience. Five verses into his book, and we have already encountered a universe of symbols with hermetic meaning.

This is not a solitary hunting trip. Nor is this just a foray into the forest. He is writing something profound and sacred which includes symbolic allusion to Melchizedek Priestly rites and ordinances. His record is meant to be understood through "eyes which can see."

Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. -

Denver C. Snuffer, Jr.

Beloved Enos