“The Voice of the Lord Came into My Mind Again”

This is a remarkable comment which clarifies what Enos has experienced. We should consider what Enos has just informed us.

Enos has given to us an insight into how one form of revelation occurs. Although this is playing out directly to Enos, he knows it is a voice “into [his] mind.” Someone standing beside him would not know and could not hear the dialogue taking place. Joseph Smith explained how this happens in these words: “All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies.” (TPJS, emphasis added.) In the Vision of the Three Degrees of Glory (D&C 76), only Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw the vision, even though there were others in the room. The scribe who wrote down the account as it was dictated heard only Joseph‘s and Sidney’s voices. He and the others saw only Joseph and Sidney, but nothing of the Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial or outer darkness conditions. This is because it was not opened to the minds of these others.

Joseph’s First Vision contains a similar description of how this works. When the encounter began it “entirely overcame me,” wrote Joseph. (JS-H 1: 15.) When it ended, he reawakened. “When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven.” (Id., v. 20.) Someone else standing in the Sacred Grove on that particular Spring morning would have seen nothing. They could not take part in God’s communication with Joseph. He was the lone recipient.

This is not to say such experiences are not experienced physically. As Paul put it: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Cor. 12: 2-4, emphasis added.) Paul saw the Celestial abode of God; or the third heaven as he describes it. He no doubt felt tangible surface beneath his feet, saw tangible things unfolding before him, smelled the incense of heavenly courts, heard the ceremonial greetings which occur there, with such concrete and specific substance that they were tangible to him. This was not Paul’s imagination. It was done to him. It was so physical an event he could not tell if he was taken bodily to the third heaven or only taken in the spirit.

Joseph and Oliver saw Christ in the Kirtland Temple. They describe the event in physical terms: “We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.” (D&C 110: 2-5.) Although the description contains purely physical things (Lord standing, paved work of pure gold, eyes like fire, white hair, shining countenance), Joseph and Oliver put the entire event into context by the first verse: “The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.” Their “minds” were opened. The “eyes of understanding” were able to see. To those who experience these things, they are physical while they occur. So far as either of them could tell, Christ was standing on a pure gold pavement atop a pulpit of the Kirtland Temple.

Joseph F. Smith‘s vision of Christ’s visit to the Spirit World contains a similar statement of how the event was shown him. He wrote: “As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great.” (D&C 138: 11.) He sees a shift of scenes and later adds: “And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them[.]” (Id., v. 29, emphasis added.)

Enos has used the same description to present to us the same kind of event. He hears the words of God entering into his mind. He understood them with clarity even greater than words spoken by an audible voice.

Christ can and does appear physically, as well as in visions; when he cooked and ate beside the sea after His resurrection; He showed Himself every bit as tangible as any of us. So we need to be careful about dogmatically claiming the capacities of resurrected beings to appear are limited to any single form. If He appears physically, He assumes one of two forms: He appears as any other mortal, like on the Road to Emmaus; or He appears as a glorified being. However, as a glorified being, He can only show Himself to men who are transfigured so as to survive His glory.

Speaking to Enos, the Lord answers his heartfelt concern for his brethren with this promise: “I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.” This is the state of the Americas. It is a promised land, but will only provide security for those who follow Christ. The Nephites were (as Neal Maxwell might put it), probationary possessors of the promised land. Should they violate the conditions of their probation, they would lose the right to possess it. As a result, this answer given to Enos is only a reaffirmation of prior warnings.

Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. -

Denver C. Snuffer, Jr.

Beloved Enos

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