This is one in a series of reviews of the weekly lessons found in the Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To link to all of the 2022 teachings, click here. Bold face type in this article comes from the Church’s curriculum. (Note: Not every sentence is being reviewed.)
January 17-23 (Genesis 5; Moses 4-5)
Most of Genesis 5 is a list of the generations between Adam and Eve and Noah. We read a lot of names, but we don’t learn much about them. Then we read about Enoch, six generations from Adam, who is described with this intriguing but unexplained line: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Surely there’s a story behind that. But without further explanation, the list of generations resumes.
Thankfully, Moses 6 reveals the details of Enoch’s story—and it’s quite a story. We learn of Enoch’s humility, his insecurities, the potential God saw in him, and the great work he performed as God’s prophet. We also get a clearer picture of the family of Adam and Eve as it progressed through the generations. We read of Satan’s “great dominion” but also of parents who taught children “the ways of God” and of “preachers of righteousness” who “spake and prophesied” (Moses 6:15, 21, 23). Especially precious is what we learn about the doctrine these parents and preachers taught: faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost (see Moses 6:50–52). That doctrine, like the priesthood that accompanies it, “was in the beginning [and] shall be in the end of the world also” (Moses 6:7).
As referenced in the reviews from the previous three weeks, the Book of Moses is not found in the Old Testament. There is no manuscript documentation to support this extrabiblical account. Of course, if a person would like to blindly accept Joseph Smith as a “prophet” of God and claim he was speaking for Moses from 3500 years ago, then I suppose Smith should be allowed to say anything he wants.
What is included in the Book of Moses might make a nice story, but the idea this “scripture” is true is not taken seriously by outside observers. Instead, the creative mind of Joseph Smith should be credited, nothing more. I am not trying to be mean but make a point that the Book of Moses is not considered an ancient resource by anyone who believes manuscript evidence is required for such a claim.
As you study Moses 6:26–36, what do you learn about eyes, darkness, and seeing? In Enoch’s time, who could not “see afar off”? Why were these people unable to see truth? What was Enoch able to see? What has built your faith that modern-day prophets are seers?
This passage teaches that there was a “seer” whom God raised unto his people. Because Enoch supposedly had a prophetic gift, he must be akin to a prophet, or so the argument goes. To stretch this idea to show how “modern-day prophets” (i.e. LDS apostles and prophets) are seers cannot be taken seriously and is rejected by the Bible-believing Christian.
It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed with what the Lord has called us to do. Even Enoch felt that way when the Lord called him to be a prophet. As you read Moses 6:26–36, look for why Enoch felt overwhelmed and what the Lord said to give him courage. In verses 37–47, look for ways the Lord supported Enoch and empowered him to do His work (see also Moses 7:13). You might compare Enoch’s experience with that of other prophets who felt inadequate, such as Moses (see Exodus 4:10–16), Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 1:4–10), Nephi (see 2 Nephi 33:1–4), and Moroni (see Ether 12:23–29). What do you feel God wants you to learn from these scriptures about the work He has given you to do?
The Exodus 4 and Jeremiah 1 passages along with “Genesis 5” are the only biblical references used in this teaching. All others come from the unique LDS Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price. How many Latter-day Saints who are studying with the church’s lesson really grasp that there is nothing in this lesson so far that shows a person “about the work He has given you to do” in the Old Testament?
Because we have the book of Moses, we know that God has been teaching His children how to find forgiveness and redemption ever since the beginning. In the scriptures, these teachings are sometimes called the doctrine of Christ (see 2 Nephi 31:13–21). As you study Moses 6:48–68, search for what we must know and do to be redeemed. You may find it helpful to write your own summary of what Enoch taught. Why is it important to know that these truths have been taught since the days of Adam and Eve? What do you feel prompted to do as a result of studying these teachings?
The “doctrine of Christ” was not taught until Jesus came 2,000 years ago. Yet the Book of Moses acts as if this reference was authored by Moses some 15 centuries before the work of Christ. No other Old Testament passage–especially any of the Pentateuch actually authored by Moses–could be considered so specific as this that a person could
hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt . . . this is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten . . . (Moses 6:52, 54, 62).
Then, in verses 64-66, Adam is miraculously “caught away by the Spirit of the Lord,” “laid under the water,” and “thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit . . . And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying, Thou are baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the on, from henceforth and forever.”
These references to New Testament events are understood by many readers who live today, but nobody in the Old Testament was ever as specific as this. Certainly neither Moses nor anyone who lived in the time of Moses would have understood such doctrines as blood atonement being accomplished by someone who is God’s Son or the idea of baptism being done in water. None of this would have made any sense, as the Old Testament never depicts such enlightenment of those who lived before Jesus.
While there are general prophesies about the Messiah in a variety of Old Testament books (especially Isaiah, the Psalms, and some of the minor prophets), Jesus’ name is never once mentioned by name (in the Greek even!) by the authors of the Hebrew Old Testament. If this were true, it would be an incredible prophecy. Instead, this has all been made up by Joseph Smith. For the Latter-day Saint who disagrees, it is necessary to produce any ancient manuscript (even just an one manuscript dated before 1830) that supports what the Book of Moses teaches. Without such evidence, however, only someone who lived after the time of Moses and Jesus, namely Joseph Smith, could have been the originator of this text.
Adam and Eve were taught the precious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the Lord’s words in Moses 6:27–28 make clear that in the generations before Enoch, many people weren’t living those truths anymore. The Lord wanted Enoch to restore the truths that had been lost—along with the commandment originally given to Adam: “Teach these things freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58). As you read Moses 6:51–62, what do you learn about Jesus Christ? What do you find that would be especially valuable to the rising generation? What can you do to help pass these truths on to future generations?
My answer to this question about “what do you learn about Jesus Christ” from the Book of Moses is absolutely nothing at all. As stated–and I can’t be more serious or straight forward–everything in the Book of Moses has been made up or plagiarized by Smith, so there is nothing to learn about Jesus. The person who wants to understand more about Him will be better served by reading the New Testament, which was written after Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
Genesis 5: Moses 6:5-26, 46. Reading about the “book of remembrance” that Adam and Eve’s family kept may inspire your family to make your own book of remembrance. Discuss as a family what you would like to include. Maybe you have photos, stories, or documents from your family history. You might choose to include things that are happening in your family now. What will future generations find valuable? You could also discuss how the phrases “by the spirit of inspiration” (Moses 6:5) and “the pattern given by the finger of God” (Moses 6:46) could guide your efforts.
There is nothing wrong about remembering things done together as a family, but Moses 6 is not needed to come up with this type of application.
Moses 6:53-62: How would we answer Adam’s question found in Moses 6:53? What answers do we find in verses 57–62?
The question supposedly asked by Adam was, “Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water?” Yet Adam was never baptized and had no understanding of what baptism meant, so this was never a question he asked. As far as how we would answer this question as Christians, the Bible teaches how baptism is our response to faith; it is not something done to earn God’s favor because justification only comes by faith and through the grace and mercy of God (Rom. 3:28; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). For more on baptism, visit Crash Course Mormonism.
Moses 6:59. What does it mean to be “born again into the kingdom of heaven”? What can we do to continue to be born again throughout our lives?
To be born again is to have faith in Christ. This term comes from John 3 where Jesus said we must have been born again to enter the kingdom of God. In verse 15 he says that “everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” Then Jesus made it clear in verse 16 when He taught, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Mormonism has corrupted the Gospel by making it appear that works must be added to God’s grace. Despite what this manual is teaching, believers do not “continue to be born again throughout our lives.” Rather, they are born again upon faith with nothing added. Christians can know, according to 1 John 5:13, that they have eternal life, even now. For more, see Can Christians be Assured of their Salvation?
Moses 6:61. What do we learn about the Holy Ghost from this verse?
Smith uses words such as “Comforter” (John 14:16) by Jesus and “quickeneth all things” and “maketh alive all things” (1 Timothy 6:13) by Paul. Smith even cribbed from the previously written Book of Mormon (“knoweth all things” and “hath all power” in 1 Nephi 9:6). Smith was nothing more than a creative plagiarist.
Moses 6:63. What are some of the things that “bear record of [Christ]”? (see also 2 Nephi 11:4). Consider inviting family members to share something that they see “in the heavens above” or “on the earth” that helps them learn about Jesus Christ. For example, how do trees, rocks, or the sun remind us of the Savior? What do the titles “living water” and “bread of life” teach us about Him? (John 4:10–14; 6:35).
Why is Jesus the subject of a manual supposedly covering the Old Testament? Of course, Christians love Jesus, but the Old Testament is about the time before He lived.
I may sound like a broken record, but this study has nothing to do with the Old Testament. If the church would have limited itself to studying the Old Testament–not the Pearl of Great Price–it would be possible to contrast Mormonism’s interpretation of the Old Testament with what is taught in Christianity. It is amazing that, in the first 4 weeks (which is an entire month!), so very little of the Old Testament has been covered; more of the Pearl of Great Price (a non-canonical book) has been covered than the Bible. Latter-day Saints should not assume that they are studying the Bible because, so far, this series is practically everything but.