I remember, following Enos’s example, of going to the woods to pray in my life, in fact, more than once. Then, I recently was talking about Enos with a friend, and he said he, too, had gone to the woods to pray. I know, Scot, that you took Enos’s example, but went to a mountain. I don’t think the location matters because it can be right in our own bedroom, but there is something magnificent to learn about prayer from Enos in his book.


Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast on the Book of Mormon. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and today’s lesson is called “He Works in Me to do His Will” which covers the chapters from Enos to the Words of Mormon. If you are looking for the transcripts to this podcast they are at That’s  While you are there read some of the great articles on Meridian Magazine and sign up for the free subscription that delivers them right to your inbox.


We see a wonderful pattern that shows up in the Book of Mormon, including in the book of Enos, and that is the profound impact that the teachings of parents have on their children. Enos went to the woods to pray, but was overtaken by a more important purpose.

He said, “the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the ajoy of the saints, bsunk deep into my heart” (Enos 1:3)

His father, of course, was Jacob and those words didn’t just change his day. They had reached soul deep, echoing throughout his life. I love knowing that long after Jacob had taught his son, his words stayed with him.


We see the same how Alma’s words had so penetrated his son, Alma the Younger. All those years, when ostensibly Alma the Younger had not only fought his father’s teachings, but went about to destroy the church, he still retained his father’s words.

When Alma the Younger is struck down by an angel, he says:

And it came to pass that as I was thus aracked with torment, while I was bharrowed up by the cmemory of my many sins, behold, I dremembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, ahave mercy on me, who am bin the cgall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.” (Alma 36: 17-18)


His father’s teachings gave Alma the younger, the truth to hold on to at his worse moment.

Then we see the patient teaching of Alma to his own son Corianton, who had gone deeply astray in Alma chapters 39-42. He is firm and clear, while being loving.

Helaman’s stripling warriors claim that their strength came from their mother’s teachings.

“Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their bfathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

“And they rehearsed unto me the words of their amothers, saying: We bdo not doubt our mothers knew it” (Alma 56: 47,48).


Maurine, didn’t you say that is the phrase you would like some day on your tombstone, “We do not doubt our mother knew it.”


I did, but I am not looking to having that carved any time soon.


The point is this: I don’t see in any other book of scripture, such a deep emphasis on the importance of what a parent teaches. In the Book of Mormon, parents’ words and prayers empower their children, stay with them in the most difficult times, fortify them even when it looks as if they have been tossed aside. As parents and grandparents, we must remember that our teachings can also have that kind of resilience in a child’s heart.

By Divine calling, we are their teachers. It can be in study sessions together, or it can also be in everyday life. I will never forget soon after I returned from my mission, my mother and I were doing a major cleaning out a shed on our farm. We had been burning all kinds of trash and old items, but then she picked up our old ice cream maker, in which we had made so many batches of delicious, hand-cranked ice cream on the 4th of July and other occasions.  That ice cream maker truly meant something to me. She was going to throw it into the fire! I went to grab it to save it from the flames, and as I wrested it from her hands, it burst apart into pieces on the ground. It was so old. I was gasping in shock at the scene and Mom said, “That, my son, is where moth and rust doth corrupt,” knowing the scriptures well. That is a moment I will never forget. Don’t put your trust in or bind your heart in material things.


Sometimes we may feel that our children don’t hear us, but there is power in the gospel message that we teach. There is power when you express your real love of Jesus Christ to your child, not just say words, but share with them the experiences of your heart.

“I love the Lord and He has been there for me, when I had no place else to turn,” I can truly say to our children. Be honest with them about how you have come to know and love the Lord. Work hard to build your own testimony of Him so you have something to share.

This has more impact than you imagine. Do you remember, Scot, when we were in Moscow when President Hinckley had come to address the Latter-day Saints. They came from all over Russia to hear him speak. Saints from Siberia. Saints who had cobbled together enough change for a train ticket that would take them days.


As we interviewed them, we said, “You have lived in a country, the Soviet Union, where for decades religion has been suppressed and churches locked and bolted. No one has spoken of God or talked of God. Scriptures have been banned. How did you possibly have any idea about God? To a person, they answered the same thing. “My grandmother told me.” “I learned this at my grandmother’s knee.”

Somehow the faith of grandmothers had kept the idea of faith in God glowing in their grandchildren who were living in a cold, atheistic world. We heard this again and again in our interviews.


Who was Enos’s prime gospel teacher? His father. Who are our children’s prime gospel teachers? We are. However good their Sunday School or primary or Young Women or Men teachers are, we are their prime gospel teachers. Can we learn to live up to that call?

Elder Tad Callister told how his parents taught him

“I remember my father stretched out by the fireplace, reading the scriptures and other good books, and I would stretch out by his side. I remember the cards he would keep in his shirt pocket with quotes of the scriptures and Shakespeare and new words that he would memorize and learn. I remember the gospel questions and discussions at the dinner table. I remember the many times my father took me to visit the elderly—how we would stop by to pick up ice cream for one or a chicken dinner for another or his final handshake with some money enclosed. I remember the good feeling and the desire to be like him.”


Elder Callister continues, “I remember my mother, age 90 or so, cooking in her condominium kitchen and then exiting with a tray of food. I asked her where she was going. She replied, ‘Oh, I am taking some food to the elderly.’ I thought to myself, ‘Mother, you are the elderly.’ I can never express enough gratitude for my parents, who were my prime gospel teachers.” (Elder Tad R.  Callister, “Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children. )

We have so many ways to be the prime gospel teachers to our children. We know one man who shares some spiritual or significant thing that happened to him that week each Sunday via email with his grown children. Family history is a powerful way to connect not our family to each other, but also to the gospel. In these difficult times, when we feel such a need to protect our children, we can, like Moroni, build defenses around our homes as we tell them our own family history stories.


Here’s a short family history from our family about my third great grandfather James McClellan.

On June 27, 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith was assassinated in the Carthage jail. James McClellan and his sixteen-year-old son William Carroll McClellan were working in the field in Nauvoo, hoeing corn in the late afternoon that day. William later testified: “It was quite warm and we were about to quit for the day when Father straightened up and looked around and then looked at me. The solemn stillness of the surrounding area was almost frightening. The leaves on the corn suddenly drooped, as if they had been in a blast of extreme heat. The leaves on the trees wilted and hung as if in deepest sorrow. Father looked at me and said, ‘Will, something has happened to the Prophet.’ As soon as the men from the surrounding country could be notified from Carthage, we were told that at that identical time of which I spoke, the Prophet had been killed. That was proof enough to me. If the leaves of the trees and on the corn could be near enough to the Prophet to mourn the passing of his spirit, I could not ask for anything more faith promoting or convincing.”

Don’t you know that I hear that story and think, this believing blood is in me. It is who I am. It is part of my genes.


Enos’s father Jacob had planted the gospel deep into his soul, so when he went hunting that day in the woods, something deeper than bodily hunger moved him. “And my soul hungered,” he says (Enos 1:4) A hungry soul yearns to be fed. He wanted eternal life and the joy of the saints that his father had spoken of.

When you want knowledge of the Lord and the presence of the Lord in your life like a hungry man wants food, something remarkable can happen. You give what it takes to break the barriers of earth.

Enos uses powerful words to describe his prayer. “And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins” (Enos 1:2).


That’s such a powerful word to “wrestle.” It implies this wholehearted, whole-souled, all-in effort. He said, “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” (Enos 1:4).

This wrestling is not because the Lord is reluctant to give to His children, nor is He a stingy giver, nor does He want to hide from us. In fact, one of my favorite scriptures is from Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

That wrestling is for us. We have to wrestle free of the press of our daily life that binds us. We have to let our souls be loosed from the cords of our weaknesses.


That’s right. Too many of us kneel to pray, and we can hardly let go of all the other concerns of our lives. We are ready to dash off. We are muttering words, but our minds are already calculating what we have to do that day.

I like the way Oliver Cowdery describes what happened to Joseph Smith, the night he prayed and Moroni came. Remember, Joseph’s concerns when he went to pray that night were much like Enos’s. He wanted to know if his sins could be forgiven. He was concerned about the state of his soul.

Oliver Cowdery wrote, ““On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind—his heart was drawn out in fervent prayer, and his whole soul was so lost to everything of a temporal nature that earth to him had lost its charms, and all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God.


Oliver continued to describe Joseph:

“At length the family retired, and he, as usual, bent his way, though in silence, where others might have rested their weary frames ‘locked fast in sleep’s embrace,’ but repose had fled, and accustomed slumber had spread her refreshing hand over others beside him—he continued still to pray—his heart, though once hard and obdurate, was softened, and that mind which had often flitted, like the ‘wild bird of passage,’ had settled upon a determined basis not to be decoyed or driven from its purpose.” (Citation in original: “Oliver Cowdery, ‘A Remarkable Vision,’ Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 1, no. 2 (May 1840–April 1841): 42.” Originally published in Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1, no. 5 (Feb. 1835): 78–79.)

I love that image of our thoughts as a “wild bird of passage.” How often they are! And how often we wish they were not that way. So Joseph’s determination and focus led to his softened heart and opened the doors to heaven.


When we wrestle we are also asking questions that we really need an answer to. We wrestle when we are trying to move from ignorance to knowledge. We wrestle to open ourselves to receive revelation. We wrestle to move to a higher plane. We wrestle to find the question that we really need to ask. When we are seeking to grow we might ask:

What lack I yet?

Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.

Can I trust your promises?

Is it true that you know and love me personally?

Can you help me recognize how you talk to me?

Can you help me see personal revelation in my life?

How can I move from being caught in the mundane to caring about the heavenly? I am so bound with earth chains.


Sometimes people who find themselves in a crisis—a loved one dies, a child is in an accident—find themselves asking, ‘Do I really believe what I believe?”

Then there are the range of questions that we can’t get easy answers to, but have to learn by faith.

Sheri Dew said, “The Lord wants us to ask every probing question we can muster.”

“When we have unresolved questions, our challenge doesn’t lie in what we think we know. It lies in what we don’t yet know.


“The Lord has promised to open the “eyes of our understandings” and to reveal ‘all mysteries.’ But He isn’t likely to do either of these unless we seek to know. Truman Madsen taught that he could find ‘nothing in the scriptures…to excuse anyone from brain sweat and from the arduous lifetime burden of seeking ‘revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge.’ He was describing an ongoing spiritual wrestle…

President Spencer W. Kimball declared, “Why, oh, why do people think they can fathom the most complex spiritual depths without the necessary…work accompanied by compliance with the laws that govern it?”


We wrestle as we would with any subject that is currently beyond our understanding. The Lord has told us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8,9).

We wrestle to understand what are the flaws in our current understandings, the sins that are invisible to us.

We have to wrestle to understand where we are wrong.

Does this mean that every prayer is a wrestle? No, of course not.


But we do need the help of the Spirit to pray with wisdom. As Paul said,

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26)


The Bible dictionary notes, “Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”

Enos’s wrestlings and hunger for the Lord is rewarded because as he says, “And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie, wherefore my guilt was swept away” (Enos 1: 5,6).

Scot, I know how much you love those words.


Yes, think of the importance of that knowledge: “And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie.” If you really know for yourself that God cannot lie, think of the assurance that opens up for you. For Enos, it meant that he did not have to carry guilt.

Yet for all of us, there are so many glorious promises offered us from the Lord, and if we really are confident that he cannot lie, we can be completely secure.  President Nelson just recently assured us of the Lord’s promises: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say.” Couple that with what Enos taught—God CANNOT lie!  I trust Him.

Consider just two or three more of those promises, remembering this fundamental attribute of God that He cannot lie.


Here’s from Moroni 7:33:

And Christ hath said: if ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” That’s quite a promise from someone who cannot lie. Elder Richard G. Scott said that this means we can trust in God and His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.


How about this promise from a God who cannot lie found in Mormon 9:21: “Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.” Could there be a more inclusive grand promise than this, made by someone who cannot lie?


And the Lord, who cannot lie, told us this in Doctrine and Covenants 11: 13, 14. “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; And then shall ye know…all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.”

When you really know that God cannot lie, that it is completely contrary to His nature, then you can trust Him.


Elder Scott said this about trusting in the Lord, “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.


Elder Scott continued,

“This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.

”To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it.”


Elder Scott continued, “When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow.

“Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.” (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord”

Thinking about all these things, we had a family home evening where we had our grandchildren memorize this scripture:  “My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.” That is Abraham 2:8.  Our grandchildren really took that scripture to heart and it has increased their trust in the Lord.


It is so interesting that after Enos is assured that his sins are forgiven, his prayer follows a pattern. First, as we saw, he prayed for himself, and then next, he prayed for his own people, the Nephites, pouring out his whole soul for them. His circle of concern continues to widen. Third, he prays, with what he calls “ many long strugglings”for the Lamanites and their welfare. Finally, he is praying for future generations, that if the Nephites are destroyed, and the Lamanites turn from the Lord, that the record of their people may still be preserved.


Enos wrote, “I knowing that the Lord God was able to apreserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.

And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records;  and he covenanted with me that he would cbring dthem forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.

And I, Enos, aknew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.”


Do we want to know the secret to having a soul that can rest? Enos gives us the secret. It is completely trusting God. We also see in that ever-widening circle in his prayers, that when the aches and wounds are healed in our own souls, we are able to expand to think much beyond ourselves.

This promise that the records would be preserved was a promise echoed to many other Book of Mormon prophets for they understood how important this book would be to save future generations. Let us not let this record which has been prayed over and carefully written gather dust on our shelves!


Now the next two books, Jarom and Omni, are short, but cover a long period of time, from about 399 BC to about 130 BC. Jacob’s family has been tasked to keep the record of the small plates of Nephi. In these books, we see a sweep of history, some of it disappointing.

Though prophets and teachers labor to bring people to the word of God “because of the hardness of their hearts, and the deafness of their ears and the blindness of their minds, and the stiffness of their necks” (Jarom 1:3,4) they are slow to respond.


Still, the laws of their nation are very strict about keeping the law of Moses and the Sabbath day. They don’t profane or blaspheme, and there are some among them who “have many revelations” (Jarom 1:4). Still, all in all, they are living far beneath the spiritual privileges that could be theirs, and Jarom is grateful to the mercy of God that they have not been swept off the land because of their iniquities.


Here you see the theme repeated that we talked about in 2 Nephi 1, that this land is a covenant land under a covenant promise of protection and prosperity. Yet, when the people turn from their covenants and the Lord, His spirit is withdrawn and so is the promise.

We also see that they are on a rich land, “exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel” (Jarom 1:8). Those who are interested in the location of the Book of Mormon need to understand that this mineral wealth is a characteristic of the area. The Book of Mormon does not take place in a location that is not rich in gold and silver and other metals.


We learn that the Nephites and Lamanites have multiplied and spread across the land, and that the Lamanites are much more numerous than the Nephites, which may indicate that they have intermarried with populations that were already present in the Promised Land. We know that there are many wars between these peoples who are kindred. So many clues are given us in Jarom about the development of the Nephites and Lamanites.

And Omni, Jarom’s son picks up the same story: “we had many seasons of peace; and we had many seasons of serious war and bloodshed” (Omni 1:3). By the time Omni’s son Amaron is writing, he reports even worse: “the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed” (Omni 1:5). It makes you want to weep for their blindness, after the Lord had promised that those who kept his covenant would be protected.

Why not just keep your covenants?


It actually goes back to what we have been talking about when Enos said he knew that God could not lie. Amaron said that God “would not suffer that the words should not be verified, which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall not prosper in the land” (Omni 1:6). It is really a foreshadowing of the entire story of this people.

Again, we learn that the righteous are spared.


So these plates are passed and kept from Amaron to his brother Chemish to Abinadom and finally to Amaleki, who gives us some important historical information. People who don’t understand this can be confused about who is who when they read the Book of Mormon.

Do you remember that when Lehi’s family first came to the Promised Land that they settled in what they called the land of First Inheritance on the western shores by the Sea West? Then when Nephi and his followers split from Laman and Lemuel, they came to live in the Land of Nephi, east of that original landing place? This Land of Nephi has been the location of the Nephites activities now for many generations. To get a visual sense of what a map of the Book of Mormon lands looks like, just based on the information that is given us in the books, you can google “Virtual Book of Mormon map” and see the places in relation to each other. This is just based, again, on information that is given us in the Book of Mormon. This map is not assigned to any real geography.


So the Nephites live in the land of Nephi until their King, whom we will call Mosiah 1, is given a warning “of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness” (Omni 1:12).

It is important to know who this King Mosiah 1 is so you won’t be confused. He is the father of King Benjamin, and King Benjamin names his son Mosiah after his father.

Remember, also how we have taught that when a wicked people are going to be destroyed, the Lord warns the righteous to flee. That is the beginning of a wilderness journey.


Mosiah 1, then, travels north and, is led by the hand of the Lord, as in all good wilderness journeys. Then they come to a land called Zarahemla. For Mosiah, this is a discovery. Until now, he had not known of the people of Zarahemla and they had not known of him and his people.

What’s more, the people of Zarahemla rejoice exceedingly because Mosiah brings with him the records of the Jews on the plates of brass.


Who are these people of Zarahemla? We also call them the people of Mulek, or sometimes the Mulekites, because Mulek was the only remaining son of Zedekiah, the last king in Jerusalem before it was sacked by the Babylonians. He and others escaped Jerusalem and also came to the Promised Land, probably across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving on the north-eastern shore of the promised land.

Because the people of Zarahemla did not have the plates of brass or any scriptural record, their language had been corrupted, and, they denied the being of their creator. They had no genealogies and had forgotten in part who they were.


The Nephites, who are Mosiah’s people, and the people of Zarahemla join together and make Mosiah their king. From this time forward, the Nephite capital is Zarahemla—not the Land of Nephi where they have been up to this point.

That’s a lot of information, but important to know to make sense of what happens.

Now, we turn to the Words of Mormon. Again, these are very few verses, but absolutely critical to our understanding of how the Book of Mormon is compiled.


So the small plates of Nephi consist of 1 Nephi to Omni. This record was delivered by Amaleki to King Benjamin to keep.  Mormon, of course, lives many hundreds of years later than King Benjamin, at the end of the Nephite nation. He has access to all the records of the Nephites, piles of plates in a cave, because he has been given the stewardship of editing and preserving the record. Can you imagine sifting through all the writing, the histories and prophecies to create a single volume? He laments that “I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people” (Words of Mormon 1:5)


Yet, among all these plates that he has been editing, there is this one which stands apart. He will not edit this record or leave parts of it out. Instead, when he has entirely finished his work, he will add this other record, which we know of as the small plates of Nephi, intact to his record.

He wrote, “And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knowth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh  in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:7)


It is because these small plates are not part of the record Mormon has edited and abridged, that he feels to give us this insertion in the Book of Mormon. He wants to explain why these plates are different than the rest and that he has not edited them.

And was there a wise purpose? We have mentioned before that the 116 pages lost by Martin Harris was the Book of Lehi that covered this same time period. When Joseph was not allowed to re-translate those 116 pages, the small plates of Nephi were already there, ready to take the place of the Book of Lehi. This is not only an example of the astonishing foreknowledge of God, but that his purposes are always wise beyond our comprehension.

These small plates of Nephi have been a profound witness of Christ which we never tire of studying.


That’s all for today. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this has been Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. Next week we shall celebrate Easter with a special podcast that covers a two-week period, including General Conference week, called, “He shall rise…with healing in his wings.”


Until next time—we love you and see you again soon.