“Prophesying of Wars”

Brant Gardner

The wars explain why Enos lists “prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death.” The prophets’ preaching focuses on the same topics as all other prophets (the return to righteousness) but the message is intensified by the danger of death in war, which highlights the urgency not to delay repentance. It is possible, particularly in a generation only once removed from the fathers who had come from Jerusalem, that Enos saw multiple prophets preaching of coming war as a parallel to the conditions in Jerusalem which led to the Lehite exodus. At that time there were also wars and rumors of wars and many prophets warning the people of the coming tribulations.

Enos emphasizes in his preaching the Nephites’ persistent tendency to move away from Yahweh’s path. The call to return was harsh because only the harshness of the penalties kept “them from going down speedily to destruction.”

Enos would have understood, after his epiphany, that speedy destruction awaited his people if they continued along the path they had begun during his father’s lifetime. That path was “speedy” because it was so tempting. It tempted them away from their religious/cultural heritage, snaring them in a new culture containing new religious ideas which could supplanted those they had received from Nephi, Jacob, and all the other prophets Enos mentions.

Chronology: Enos’s brevity contrasts with his longevity. He must have lived into his nineties and had charge of the plates perhaps as long as eighty years. (See discussion accompanying Enos 1:1.) His personal record-keeping consists of one specific event (his epiphany) and a brief synopsis. Perhaps to Enos near the close of his life, all events but one blended into the two generalizations of preaching and wars.

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