Enos, Faith, and Charity, Part 1

The Book of Papa

“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. And I said: Lord, how is it done?

“And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.” Enos 1:5-8

How did the faith Enos had in Jesus Christ, make Enos whole? What was different about Enos? What were the fruits of what happened to him?

Continue in the next verse: “Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them.” Enos 1:9

Now, wait a minute. These were the Nephites. The good guys. Maybe not so much. Nephi explains later:

“And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction.” Enos 1:23

Enos is aware of what a stiff-necked people the Nephites could be. After all, in the last chapter of Jacob, Enos’ father, we hear the sorry tale of Sherem. Sorry because of the gullibility of the people but also sorry for Sherem’s desire for the honors of men and the things of this world. D&C 121:35

The fruit of Enos’ encounter with God was a deep and overwhelming desire for his fellow Nephites, knowing how sorry a bunch they can be, at times. The Lord told Enos that the Nephites would be blessed, or cursed, according to their own behavior. The Lord  promised Enos that the records would be preserved so, at least, future generations could know of their fathers.

Immediately after thinking of his own people, he also began to have thoughts about those who hated the Nephites. “And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.” Enos 1:11

These are the fruits of an encounter with the Lord. The faith that had made Enos whole at the beginning of the holy encounter, but now his faith “began to be unshaken in the Lord.”

Were his desires for his brothers, both the Nephites and Lamanites, and their welfare,  missing before? I’m sure he must have cared before although now Enos’ desire was deep and abiding and a new part of him. And that difference made Enos whole. Some would call Enos compassionate, kind, or sensitive to the difficulties both people faced. A more accurate explanation is found in charity, or the pure love of Christ. Enos was a perfect example of charity.

Some say charity is giving to the poor and it is certainly that. However, there is much more. Charity recognizes agency. There is no coercion in charity. There is only influence by “persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile…”

Shaking hands was once a way to prove to another that you did not have a weapon in your hand. “I offer you my hand, my brother,” you might say to a passing warrior. He is now put at ease in your presence by your outstretched, and vulnerable hand. We have a spiritual handshake we can do to accomplish the same thing but it takes a listening and caring ear.

Next week we’ll discover something about that handshake.

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