Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Culture Enoch Preached To

37 And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him.
38 And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us. (Moses 6:37)
These verses give us subtle details about the culture Enoch preached to and we see some of the kinds of wickedness they were involved in.

First, we are told that as he testified against their works, all men were offended in him.  They were not used to being told they were doing the wrong thing.  It seems their culture had squelched forms of chastisement against sin.  Enoch comes along and he gives it to them straight exactly what they were doing wrong and their first reaction was to take offense.  Everyone felt convicted in their conscience.

Second, they hire tent-keepers to watch their tents while they go listen to Enoch.  Why did they need tent-keepers?  Because there were thieves everywhere who would steal whatever was not nailed down if someone wasn’t in the tent to watch things.

Third, they call Enoch a wild man.  His frank speech and freedom to express truth seems positively untamed and predictable.  He was a loose cannon to them.  Interestingly enough, they can’t stop listening.  It is also possible that his “wildness” was divine drive and anxious engagement in the good cause of preaching.

So, Enoch preached to a culture that lied about good and evil, that stole from each other, and that had silenced social reformers, and probably had to be prodded constantly into doing anything resembling duty.

It is so interesting to me that these people have one foot firmly in the world – taking measures to prevent their stuff from being stolen, which is a consequence of their own rampant dishonesty and thievery – and one foot inching toward Zion—wanting to hear the prophet Enoch speak.  I wonder what attitude they had as they listened more.  I wonder if they were willing to be chastised in order to hear others be chastised too, or whether they were starting to learn and accept the righteous principles Enoch taught.

I’ve had a few experiences recently when sharing the truth has made me feel a little “wild.”  In one conversation a woman was telling me that there are so many churches out there that you can choose the one that you like that works best for you.  I plucked up my courage and said, “Actually, it isn’t a matter of choosing what we like.  It is about finding the way of salvation.”  She looked at me like she had never thought of it that way or had never expected me to say something like that. 

Have you had an experience like this that you could share?


Ramona Gordy said...

It seems that Enoch's world is our world, almost one and the same. A couple of years ago, a new family started investigating the church. They came from very turbulent circumstances, the husband was an "undocumented" citizen and he and his wife were former gang members. They had 2 small children. Everyone in the ward was moved to help them both legally and financially. So the wife got baptized 1st, and as sweet as she was,she was a product of her environment, which consisted of mistrust, fear, intimidation, body art,etc. On the Sunday she was confirmed, my husband noticed a curious behavior, when she went to the pulpit, she left her baby with her husband, but she took her purse and her coat with her.Some of the sisters offered to hold them for her, but she refused.
The husband was baptized much later, and in him we witnessed a profound change not only in his demeanor, but his whole outlook on life. They later moved.

Michaela Stephens said...

What an interesting story!