“Prophesying of Wars”

Brant Gardner

Verse 24's wars are the explanation for verse 23's "prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death." The preaching of the prophets focuses on the same topics as all other prophets, the return to righteousness, but the message is colored by the very real presence of death from war. In addition to the rest of their message, the urgency of undelayed repentance is highlighted by the wars between the Lamanites and the Nephites.

Enos also highlights by his description of the topics preached to the people the clear tendency they maintained to move away from the path of the Lord. The call to return was harsh because only the harshness of the penalties was sufficient to "keep them from going down speedily to destruction."

In the view of a prophet, and particularly Enos after the nature of his conversation with the Lord, the speedy destruction would be to continue along the path they had begun during his father's lifetime. That path was "speedy" because it was so tempting. It was tempting them away from their religious/cultural heritage, and wrapping them in a new culture that unfortunately brought with it new religious ideas which came dangerously close to supplanting those they had received from Nephi, Jacob, and all the other prophets Enos mentions.

Historical: The brevity of Enos' account contrasts mightily with his longevity. Enos must have live into his 90's, and have been in charge of the plates from his youth (given the approximately 170+ years that had to be covered by two life spans, with some overlap). Thus we have Enos in charge of the records for somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 years, and we have one specific event, and a brief synopsis of the rest. Perhaps to Enos it was so much of the same thing that condensing it into lots of preaching and lots of wars said it all.

The multiple wars mentioned suggests that what we see here is the conflict of a society in the throes of merging cultures, with the difficult task of maintaining and integrating the old into the attractive new.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon