“Moses 7:1–41,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Moses 7:1–41,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
Enoch had an experience similar to that of Moses and Abraham (see Moses 1:31; Abraham 3:11). President Brigham Young (1801–77) added detail to this point: “Man is made in the image of his Maker, … he is His exact image, having eye for eye, forehead for forehead, eyebrows for eyebrows, nose for nose, cheekbones for cheekbones, mouth for mouth, chin for chin, ears for ears, precisely like our Father in Heaven” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, July 21, 1869, 284).
Enoch was told at the beginning of his ministry that he would do great things (see Moses 6:34). Enoch’s faith in Jesus Christ enabled him to do those things. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Faith is power; by faith the worlds were made; nothing is impossible to those who have faith. If the earth itself came rolling into existence by faith, surely a mere mountain can be removed by that same power” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary , 3:73; see also Jacob 4:6; Ether 12:13–22).
Enoch’s city had two names, Zion and City of Holiness. The second name becomes more meaningful when we remember that Heavenly Father’s name in the language of Adam is Man of Holiness (see Moses 6:57).
Those people who were taken up into heaven without tasting death were translated. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained: “Translated beings are still mortal and will have to pass through the experience of death, or the separation of the spirit and the body, although this will be instantaneous, for the people of the City of Enoch, Elijah, and others who received this great blessing in ancient times, before the coming of our Lord, could not have received the resurrection, or the change from mortality to immortality, because our Lord had not [yet] paid the debt which frees us from mortality and grants to us the resurrection” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. , 1:165).
The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) said: “Many may have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God and into an eternal fulness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fulness as those who are resurrected from the dead” (“Instruction on Priesthood, 5 October 1840,” 6–7, josephsmithpapers.org; capitalization, punctuation, and spelling standardized).
Satan promotes works of darkness and seeks to bind, captivate, and destroy mankind (see 2 Nephi 26:22; 28:17–23; Alma 12:11; Moses 4:4). God does not work in darkness, and He seeks to save mankind (see 2 Nephi 26:23–24, 33). Furthermore, in stark contrast to Satan and his angels, who laughed at the wickedness of mankind, Moses 7:28 tells us that God wept over the wickedness of His children.
The righteous people described in Moses 7:27 were translated and “caught up” to join those in the city of Zion. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “After those in the City of Holiness were translated and taken up into heaven without tasting death, so that Zion as a people and a congregation had fled from the battle-scarred surface of the earth, the Lord sought others among men who would serve him. From the days of Enoch to the flood, new converts and true believers, except those needed to carry out the Lord’s purposes among mortals, were translated” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man , 284).
Elder Marion D. Hanks (1921–2011) of the Seventy explained:
“God, from whom all blessings come, asked of his children only that they should love each other and choose him, their Father.
“But as in our day, many neither sought the Lord nor had love for each other, and when God foresaw the suffering that would inevitably follow this self-willed, rebellious course of sin, he wept. That, he told Enoch, was what he had to cry about” (“Willing to Receive,” Ensign, May 1980, 29).
Satan’s goal is to deceive and to blind all mankind; to lead every one of God’s children captive at his will, if they will not hearken to the voice of the Lord (see Moses 4:4). Satan thereby becomes “father” to those who choose to follow him, and they experience his misery (see 2 Nephi 2:18; D&C 10:22, 26–27).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “Men in Noah’s day rebelled, rejected the Lord and his gospel, and were buried in a watery grave. Their spirits then found themselves in that prison prepared for those who walk in darkness when light is before them” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 330).
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “From the time of their death in the flood until the time of the crucifixion of the Savior, they were shut up in the prison house in torment, suffering the penalty of their transgressions, because they refused to hear a prophet of the Lord—and so it will be with every man who rejects the gospel, whether he lived anciently or whether he lives now; it makes no difference” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 2:229).
The pronoun That refers to Jesus Christ. He was chosen in the premortal existence to be the Savior of the world (see D&C 38:4; Moses 4:2). After completing His mission on earth, and while His body lay in the tomb, Christ visited the spirit world as a spirit being (see 1 Peter 3:18–20). Once there, He organized the spirits of the righteous to go among the spirits of the wicked in prison and declare the gospel to them (see D&C 138).