“Lord, How Is It Done?”

Brant Gardner

Enos could feel the weight of sin lifted from him. This was not an ephemeral experience, but one with tremendous power. The removal of sin was dramatic and conclusive. Enos did not wonder if perhaps he had been forgiven. Enos could feel that the burden of sin was gone, a change so dramatic that he immediately asked how it could have happened.

The answer is that the atonement comes through the Messiah. This is the crowning message of Nephi and Jacob, and now Enos has his foundational prophetic experience grounded in that very knowledge. Enos will also be a prophet who declares the Atoning Messiah for he has had personal experience with salvation through the coming Messiah. This is the key of the Nephite religion. It is not simply Messianic. Rather, it focuses on the Messiah’s atoning mission over his eschatological mission—the most important distinction made about Nephite Messianic beliefs. This small community of displaced Jews was not unique in their belief in the Messiah, but they were unique in retaining the earlier Israelite understanding of the atoning mission of the Messiah. (See 1 Nephi, Part 1: Context, Chapter 1, “The Historical Setting of 1 Nephi.”)

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3