Book of Mormon Lesson 13 (Enos, Jarom, Omni, Words of Mormon)
March 20–26


After Jacob’s death in about 500 BC, his posterity maintained the record written on the small plates of Nephi for over four centuries, 544 BC to 130 BC. It is noteworthy that these important plates of Nephi were not passed on through Nephi’s own descendants but were kept by the posterity of his younger brother, Jacob.

The books of Enos, Jarom, and Omni bridge over three hundred fifty years of Nephite history. The result is only four small books, each only one chapter long, containing valuable lessons. Of the 24 men whose writings are in the Book of Mormon, 1/3 (8 individuals) are in these four books. Yet these four books total only seven pages (90 verses) of printed text.

Despite their brevity, these four small books contain important teachings concerning prayer, the reliability of God’s promises, faith, the role of ancient prophets, humility, and communication through the Spirit.

With these books we come to the end of the small plates of Nephi. The Words of Mormon then transition us over to his abridgment of the large plates of Nephi.


The Influence of Righteous Parents

Enos was the son of Jacob, who was Nephi’s younger brother (Jacob 7:27). Enos’ faith matched the faith of his noble father Jacob, his uncle Nephi, and his grandfather Lehi.

● Enos credited his father Jacob with teaching him the gospel (Enos 1:1, 3). When he was ready to repent, he remembered his father’s teachings.
— He was taught “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
— The teachings and example of righteous parents are very powerful.

● Clearly, Enos honored his father here and wished to obey his righteous counsel.

● Enos said his father “taught me in his language,” probably meaning in the language of the plates so he could continue the record (Enos 1:1).
— Nephi also said he made his record in the “language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians (1 Nephi 1:2).”
— King Benjamin also taught his sons “the language of his fathers” (Mosiah 1:2).

Offering Effective Prayers

● Enos said his supplication was a “wrestle” before God in “mighty prayer” (Enos 1:2–4). Enos did not actually wrestle with God. He wrestled alone with himself in an effort to commune with God through the Holy Spirit.

● Sometimes the greatest effort in prayer is this kind of contending with ourselves before and while we are praying. This requires deep thought, meditation, and concentration—going beyond repetitious cliches and truly pouring our souls into the words we offer up to God.

● Enos’s choice of words (“sunk deep,” “hungered,” “cried,” “mighty prayer and supplication,” “raise my voice high”) effectively shows his efforts to truly communicate with the Lord (vv. 3–4). President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Here is no casual prayer; here no trite, worn phrases; here no momentary appeal. All the day long, with seconds turning into minutes, and minutes into hours, and hours into an ‘all day long.’ But when the sun had set, relief had still not come, for repentance is not a single act nor forgiveness an unearned gift. So precious to him was communication with, and approval of, his Redeemer that his determined soul pressed on without ceasing. ‘Yea, and when the night came, I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens’ (Enos 1:2–4).”1

● Alma defines “wrestling with God” as “laboring in the Spirit” (Alma 8:10). President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Developing spirituality and attuning ourselves to the highest influences of godliness is not an easy matter. It takes time and frequently involves a struggle. It will not happen by chance, but is accomplished only through deliberate effort and by calling upon God and keeping his commandments.”2

● He was alone when he contemplated these things—free of distractions and able to meditate and pray (Enos 1:3).

Praying all day and night (Enos 1:4). Sometimes our requests are not granted after a brief prayer, but only after we have supplicated the Almighty for many hours—all day and into the night. Enos’ soul was hungry. He made a supreme effort to be heard (vv. 3–4). This does not mean he offered uninterrupted prayer. Paul did not teach that we never get off our knees, but that we retain the spirit of prayer (have a prayer in our hearts) at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Enos would have spent his day interspersing formal prayer with soul searching, lamenting, seeking forgiveness, and pondering the words of his father and the promises contained in the scriptures.

● Enos’ faith was rewarded with an answer to his prayer and with forgiveness (Enos 1:5–8). The voice of the Lord said to Enos, “Thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed” (v. 5). Enos thankfully asked, “Lord, how is it done?” and the Lord answered, “Because of thy faith in Christ” (vv. 7–8).

● The voice of the Lord came to him “in his mind (Enos 1:5, 10).” This is consistent with other instances where people have heard the voice of God.
— Elijah heard a “still small voice” rather than mighty thunderings (1 Kings 19:11–13).
— The Lord’s voice to the Nephites was “small” and “piercing” (3 Nephi 11:3–5).
— It was a “still voice of perfect mildness” but was also “piercing” (Helaman 5:29–33).

● The Lord gives us revelation “in your mind” and “in your heart” (D&C 8:2–3).
— The answers come into our minds first as “intelligence” or “ideas.”
— Then a knowledge that the message is from God (and not of our own making) comes into our “hearts” through the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost—the “burning in our bosom.”

— The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The Spirit of Revelation is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.,) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.”3

● Enos had this very same experience when he prayed: (Enos 1: 6, 10, 27)
— The answer came into his mind (v. 10).
— The peace of God came into his heart (v. 6).
— A testimony of Christ was the end result (v. 27).

Enos’ Concern for Others

● After Enos learned that his sins were forgiven, he prayed for the welfare of his fellow men, both Nephites and Lamanites (Enos 1:9–11).
— When we are filled with the love of Christ, our concern for others expands.
— When we feel truly forgiven, we want others to find this same blessing.
— Enos’s example illustrates the expanding concern of a righteous person, first for himself, next for his own people, and finally for his enemies.
— In answer to this concern, the Lord told Enos that He would bless the Nephites if they would keep his commandments (vv. 9–10).

● Enos was also concerned for our salvation. He prayed that the records would be preserved to bless our lives (Enos 1:12–18).

● Enos went among his people prophesying of the things that he had seen, calling them to repentance, and influencing them for good. He described the Nephites of his time as a “stiff necked people” who were only moved by “exceeding harshness” and “exceedingly great plainness of speech” (Enos 1:19–23).

● Enos’ testimony and promised reward for faithfulness (Enos 1:24–27). Enos knew that when he died his Redeemer would accept him into the kingdom of God (v.27). Enos’s reward for a life of faithfulness to God was made known to him through “the more sure word of prophecy” (D&C 131:5), which means knowing that we are sealed up unto eternal life.”


Jarom was the son of Enos and grandson of Jacob. He did his writing around 399 BC, 200 years after the Lehites had arrived in the promised land (v. 5). He wrote only about half as much as his father, but recognized the importance of the plates and the need to write some things for the benefit of the Lamanites.

The Importance of the Plates

● Jarom was commanded by his father Enos “that our genealogy may be kept” (Jarom 1:1).

● Jarom stated his reasons for not adding much to the records: (Jarom 1:2)
— They are written for the Lamanites in the future, not his own people.
— They already contain the fulness of the gospel of Christ.
— They are small and there is not much room left.
— He did recognize, however, a need to continue the family genealogy and to write a few things that might benefit the Lamanites.

The Importance of Obedience

● Jarom identified four things that keep us from the promptings of the Spirit: (Jarom 1:3)
— A hard heart An unwillingness to believe.
— Deaf ears An unwillingness to listen.
— A blind mind An unwillingness to understand.
— A stiff neck Pride and self-sufficiency.

● Jarom identified two key qualities of those who receive revelation: (Jarom 1:4)
— They are not proud.
— They have faith.

● The condition of the Lamanites: More numerous but barbaric (Jarom 1:5–6).

● The condition of the Nephites: More prosperous and advanced because of their obedience to the commandments (Jarom 1:7–9).

● The interesting teaching techniques of the Nephite prophets: (Jarom 1:10–12).
— “Threaten the people” with destruction if they are disobedient.
— Teach of the Messiah “as though he already was.” This made their teachings seem more personal and relevant and helped them repent.
— Only constant preaching kept the Nephites from being destroyed by the Lamanites. Jarom recorded that their prophets “did prick their hearts with the word” (v. 12).

● Jarom’s final summary of conditions when he finished his contribution to the plates: (Jarom 1:13–15).
— 238 years had passed away since Lehi’s family left Jerusalem, making it approximately 361 BC.
— Spending most of his time calling people to repentance, he had managed to write only 15 verses in 38 years.
— His people had been plagued with wars, and contentions, and dissensions, for the space of much of the time” (v. 13).
— And with that, Jarom passed the plates on to his son Omni “that they may be kept according to the commandments of my fathers” (v. 15).


The small book of Omni contains the record of five scribes. It covers approximately 200 years, yet it is only 30 verses long. It could be called the book of Amaleki, since he wrote almost 2/3 of the thirty verses. Though they wrote little, these five men obeyed the commandment to keep and preserve the plates.

Four Scribes Who Wrote Very Little

Victor L. Ludlow provides the following information about the five scribes in the book of Omni, four of which wrote very little:4

Omni admitted that he was “a wicked man” who had not kept the commandments “as I ought to have done” (Omni 1:1–3).

Amaron covered about forty years of history in only five verses, all of which he wrote at the very end of his life (Omni 1:4–8). He explained the Nephites’ declining fortunes. They failed to keep the Lord’s commandments and he therefore would not allow them “to prosper in the land.” Because of their wickedness the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed.

Chemish (Amaron’s brother) followed the same pattern, but wrote even less (Omni 1:9). His single verse makes him the Book of Mormon writer with the least amount of writing in the entire book.

Abinadom (Chemish’s son) doubled his father’s output to a total of two verses (Omni 1:10–11). He justified his limited writing by saying that a record of his time was on the plates kept by their kings. (The large plates of Nephi).

● Also, during his time, revelation had apparently ceased among the Nephites.

Amaleki wrote most of the material in the book of Omni (Omni 1:12). He was born in the days of King Mosiah, grandfather of the Mosiah after whom the book of Mosiah was named. His record provides valuable information on three major colonies of Book of Mormon peoples.

The Importance of the Brass Plates

The people of Zarahemla (Mulekites). Mosiah and a group of righteous Nephites, including Amaleki, left the land of Nephi, wandered through the wilderness, and discovered the people of Zarahemla. For several centuries this would be the homeland of the Nephite nation (Omni 1:12–14).

● The people of Zarahemla “did rejoice exceedingly” because the people of Mosiah had brought with them “the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews”(Omni 1:14–17). This was their heritage; they were Jews from Jerusalem, having escaped just prior to its destruction. They were named after Mulek, the sole surviving son of Zedekiah, King of Judah, who accompanied them to the new world (Helaman 6:10; 8:21). This is why we call them “Mulekites” today.

—The name Mulek is an interesting one, since the Hebrew word melek means “king,” and the vowel u implies “last in line,” neither of which would have been known to Joseph Smith at the time he translated this record.5

The brass plates were a source of spiritual instructions. They provided a standard for preserving the Mulekites’ language. They “had become exceedingly numerous,” yet they had experienced many wars and contentions, their language had degenerated, and they had lost the knowledge of their Redeemer. This demonstrates clearly that Nephi was right about the importance of the brass plates to his descendants (1 Nephi 3:19–20).

● The Mulekites’ existence provided proof to the Nephites that the Lord had destroyed Jerusalem, just as Lehi and Nephi had said (Helaman 8:21).

● King Benjamin reiterated the importance of the brass plates to the Nephites and their children: (Mosiah 1:3–5)
— Mosiah taught the Mulekites the language of the Nephites (Omni 1:18).
— He became the king of both groups in the land of Zarahemla (Omni 1:19).
— The merging of these two groups created a new mixed-race of “Nephites.”
— Since Mulek was the sole heir to the throne of Judah, it can accurately be said that future Nephites would be descendants of that royal bloodline.
— And inasmuch as Nephi was a descendant of Joseph, it can be said that the Nephites descended from both Joseph and Judah.
— All of this reinforces Jacob’s decision to call those who worshiped the true God “Nephites,” and those who did not “Lamanites” (Jacob 1:9–14). To be a Nephite or a Lamanite was a spiritual and not a racial distinction.

An Even More Ancient People

The Jaredites (Omni 1:20–22). By interpreting an engraved stone kept by the Mulekites, Mosiah learned of another civilization (the Jaredites) that had existed in the land. They came to the western hemisphere at the time of the Tower of Babel. These records (translated from the stone) were later re-translated by Moroni and constitute the Book of Ether in our Book of Mormon.

Coriantumr was the last king and survivor of the Jaredites. Before his death, Coriantumr had wandered into a Mulekite settlement (Ether 12–15).

● Mosiah later received the 24 gold plates that Limhi’s people had found among this destroyed civilization. These records were later re-translated by Moroni and constitute the Book of Ether in our Book of Mormon.

Amaleki Closes the Record

● Amaleki’s final witness and testimony (Omni 1:25–26).

● Amaleki speaks of a group of people who returned to the land of Nephi (Omni 1:27–30). We learn later that this leader’s name was Zeniff (Mosiah 9:1).


The Large and Small Plates Came Together in Mosiah’s Day

● Amaleki was about to die and had no one to whom he could entrust the sacred records. So he gave them to King Benjamin, who had succeeded his father Mosiah (Omni 1:23–24).
— After Nephi’s death, the large plates remained with the kings down to Mormon’s time.
— The small plates went to Jacob and his posterity until the time of Amaleki.
— When Amaleki gave the small plates to King Benjamin, the two sets of plates were back into the possession of one person.

Mormon Brought Together the Two Sets of Plates Again

All of the Book of Mormon so far has come from the small plates of Nephi. Mormon now explains the connection between these plates and the larger plates kept by the kings.

● Mormon lived five centuries after Amaleki (the dates at the bottom of these pages in the Book of Mormon) (Words of Mormon 1:1–5).

● Victor L. Ludlow said, [Mormon] “received a vast library of plates from all the earlier generations of Nephites. He sought to abridge these records into one set of plates—the plates of Mormon. He started with Lehi and completed his abridgment down to the time of King Benjamin. . . . In searching for further records of this period, he discovered the small plates of Nephi, which basically overlapped the whole period of his abridgment to that point.”6

● The small plates of Nephi contained a more spiritual account of these earlier generations, along with a more complete record of key prophecies, revelations, and teachings. Mormon decided to include this whole record with his own set of plates. He wrote a few words at the end of the small plates (the Words of Mormon) to bridge the record on the small plates to what he had written about King Benjamin.

“For a wise purpose” (Words of Mormon 1:6–8). Mormon included the small plates because the Spirit told him to, even though he did not know the reason why. The “wise purpose” known to the Lord nearly 2,500 years in advance, was to provide a second record to replace the 116 pages that would be lost by Martin Harris.

● Despite the loss of the 116 pages, the Lord declared that his work had not been frustrated (D&C 3:1). After the 116 pages of the translation were lost, the Lord instructed Joseph Smith not to re-translate the same records (D&C 10:8–14). These records are not found in the Book of Mormon today. Instead, the same time period is described through the account from the small plates.

● Mormon testified that the records would be preserved and that his people would be judged by them (Words of Mormon 1:9–11).

● Mormon stated the purpose of the sacred record he was abridging (Words of Mormon 1:2, 8). We should read the Book of Mormon with this purpose in mind.


1.   “Prayer,” Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, 11 Oct.
2.   In Conference Report, April 1979, 34, 35; or Ensign, May 1979, 25.
3.   Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 151.
4.   “Scribes and Scriptures,” 201–202.
5.   Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni [2000], 80.
6.   “Scribes and Scriptures,” 202.