The Gospel Doctrine lesson #14 manual objective is “To emphasize that the scriptures have been prepared and preserved to guide and direct us.”
To add deeper meaning to Enos’ example of prayer – and to give examples of faithful women who followed the Lord in His wise purposes.
Enos and Prayers
The story of Enos is well known and is a powerful example of prayer, humility, and forgiveness.
“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; all the day long did I cry. … After I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unti me; I will grant unto thee according to thy desires,; because of they faith.” Enos 1: 4 & 12
While the scripture story centers only on Enos’ story, I would imagine there were others praying with and for Enos. In a poem by Agnes Bell, entitled “The Book of Enos’ Wife,” she imagines Enos’ wife praying for him. A portion of her poem:
He gathered bow and arrows,
wrapped his arm around my waist,
Kissed my neck and walked away.
He didn’t hear me call his name,
In daylight, in darkness. He didn’t hear
My plea for our safety, for his soul.
Prayer is an important message; and I believe the message is richer when contemplating the web of people who pray with you and for you.
In the 2011 film “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, we see the story of Oskar, a young boy (living in New York City) on a quest to find the origin of a mysterious key. Oskar finds this key among his father’s things after his father is killed in the 9/11 attacks. Oskar forms a plan and then slips away from his home each day to talk to people in a variety of neighborhoods asking them about the key. He wants to know if they recognize the key and they know what lock it might fit. He meets many interesting, kind people on his journey. Near the end of the film, he discovers that his mother has known about his plan from the beginning – and that she has actually gone out ahead of him to talk to people about his quest – ensuring a welcome reception when he knocks on their door. Oskar’s path has been smoothed and prepared by his mother.
In a similar fashion, our way is smoothed and prepared by mothers and friends and others who pray with us and for us.
For a Wise Purpose
“The Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.” 1 Nephi 9:5
Nephi makes two sets of plates – and tells us that he does this because the Lord has commanded it for a wise purpose. It takes faith to do the right when we don’t understand “the why”. There are many examples in the scriptures of women who have done the same.
- Jochebed (Exodus 2)
Jochebed, Moses’ mother, seeks answers from God when trying to save her son from Egyptian swords. In a bold move of faith, she sends him down the river in a basket.
- Ruth (Book of Ruth)
Ruth chooses love over fear when she decides to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. She plays a great part in history later on, but uses faith when making her original choice.
- Abigail (1 Samuel 25)
Abigail chooses right by taking a peace offering to David and his men, though she does not know beforehand how it will be received.
- Esther (Book of Esther)
Esther fasts and prays and makes a faithful choice to go before the King in an attempt to save the Jewish people from death.
- Nephi’s wife (1 Nephi 18)
While on a ship on the ocean, Nephi’s brothers bind him with strong cords. With faith and courage, Nephi’s wife confronts his brothers and then turns to the Lord, who creates a storm to frighten Nephi’s brothers.
- Pioneer Women (Mormon History)
Many faithful pioneer women braved long travel in difficult conditions to follow the Lord and the prophet west, without knowing their final destination.
Keeping a record for future generations – as a testament of Christ
“We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they many look for a remission of their sins.” 2 Nephi 25:26
There are many reasons why Jarom, Omni, Amaron, Chemish, and others kept records, including following the Lord, instructing their people, and preserving scriptures for future generations. But, I believe the most powerful reason is to teach of Christ, so that our children may know Him. It is the responsibility of women, mothers, and others to continue to influence our children (and future generations) with the scriptures.
Related Mormon Women Project Interviews
Prayer Changes Things, Willie Mae Wright Douglas
It was such a hard time. Sometimes you don’t have anyone you can turn to. It was always chaotic between my husband and my son. My husband was against our son’s lifestyle. He didn’t care that he was sick. I just can’t explain how hard that was. It was a load weighing me down. I would go for a walk every evening and I would walk and I would pray. I asked God to help him and keep my son and not let him suffer, because I didn’t think I would be able to stand seeing him suffer when there was nothing I could do to help him.
A Pioneer in Paris, Josiane Lazeras
My mother is very religious. When I was young, I saw her praying. I learned to pray. When the missionaries asked us to pray to know if the message of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon was true, for me and my brother, prayer was already something we were accustomed to. Even when we were young, we had the habit to get on our knees and pray. It is something wonderful that my mother passed to us, a spiritual heritage. I’ve done genealogy work for my mother’s Swiss side and I was astonished and happy to see that many of my ancestors were named Isaac, Abraham, Jacob, or Moses. There really has been a spiritual heritage that has enriched me, I think. Then, after my conversion, the Church has enriched me spiritually as well.
Other Related Women’s Voices
Now Let Us Rejoice, Barbara Thompson
Sisters, now more than ever, we need women to step up and be strong. We need women who declare the truth with strength, faith, and boldness. We need women to set an example of righteousness. We need women to be ‘anxiously engaged in a good cause.’ We need to live so that our lives bear witness that we love our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ and that we will do what They have asked us to do. We need to rescue ‘all that is finest down deep inside of [us]’ so that as daughters of God we can do our part to build the kingdom of God. We will have help to do this. As Joseph declared, ‘If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.’
A Woman of Faith, Margaret Nadauld
A woman of faith trusts God and faces adversity with hope…In prayer she seeks the kind, unfaltering guidance and help of a listening Heavenly Father. As she prays, she listens—allowing the communication to be two-way. She trusts that in His still and quiet way, He will lead her by the hand and give her answer to her prayers.