When Joseph Smith was working on a translation of the Bible, he received by revelation missing parts of the Books of Moses. These were compiled into the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. Scholars who study apocryphal accounts of Enoch have found remarkable connections between the writings in Joseph Smith’s revelatory work and the apocryphal records. Sources for drawing these connections would not have been available to Joseph Smith at the time and place in which he lived.
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen have written a multi-part article for The Interpreter online, showing these connections, called “Ancient Affinities within the LDS Book of Enoch.” This summary comes from Part 2 of their treatise.
Ancient texts cited by Bradshaw and Larsen refer to “gibborim and the nephilim,” sometimes assumed to be giants. However, theses are best described as mighty warriors. “In his Enoch writings, Joseph Smith specifically differentiated the “giants” from Enoch’s other adversaries.” Both the Book of Moses from Joseph Smith and the Book of Giants from Qumran speak of wars and bloodshed. Both texts also refer to mysterious covenants and alliances meant to spread works of violence and wickedness. These are akin to references in the Book of Mormon to “secret combinations,” with Satan as their author, which have been on the earth since Cain, and which hold the secret of being able to murder to get gain. Involved in these wicked oaths is Mahijah, whose identity and Hebrew name Joseph Smith could not have come up with without revelation, as he hadn’t the ability nor the sources.
“In preaching to the people, the Enoch of the Book of Moses refers to a ‘book of remembrance’ (Moses 6:46), in which the words of God and the actions of the people were recorded. Correspondingly, in the Book of the Giants, a book in the form of “two stone tablets”42 is given by Enoch to Mahujah to stand as a witness of “their fallen state and betrayal of their ancient covenants.”43 In the Book of Moses, Enoch says the book is written “according to the pattern given by the finger of God” (Moses 6:46). This may allude to the idea that a similar record of their wickedness is kept in heaven44 as attested in 1 Enoch: “Do not suppose to yourself nor say in your heart, that they do not know nor are your unrighteous deeds seen in heaven, nor are they written down before the Most High. Henceforth know that all your unrighteous deeds are written down day by day, until the day of your judgment.”
Thus we see that a Book of Remembrance was kept to record the acts of both the righteous and the wicked. Enoch calls the wicked to repentance in such a way that they quake and weep. Enoch’s power strikes them with fear. The Book of Moses explains what happened when the only-temporarily penitent warriors begin to attack the people of Enoch:
“And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness” (Moses 7:13).
Both the Book of Giants and the Book of Moses record the roar of wild beasts as Enoch used his priesthood power to remodel the landscape.
Weeping and Exaltation
In the Book of Moses, three people weep for the wicked—God, the Heavens, and Enoch. Meanwhile, the earth mourns. The following, from the Jewish Midrash Rabbah, parallels the account in the Book of Moses:
At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, wept and said, “Woe is Me! What have I done? I caused my Shekhinah to dwell below on earth for the sake of Israel; but now that they have sinned, I have returned to My former habitation. . . .” At that time Metatron [who is Enoch in his glorified state] came, fell upon his face, and spake before the Holy One, blessed be He: “Sovereign of the Universe, let me weep, but do Thou not weep.” He replied to him: “if thou lettest Me not weep now, I will repair to a place which thou hast not permission to enter,90 and will weep there,” as it is said, “But if ye will not hear it, My soul shall weep in secret for pride” [Jeremiah 13:17].
In the Book of Moses, God takes up the righteous City of Enoch to remove it from the polluting presence of the wickedness on earth. Theologian Terence Fretheim has written about Enoch’s being taken into the presence of God. Enoch becomes part of a divine counsel, and this is the divine spark in man, the theophany of prophets that seems to have been deleted from much of our existent scripture. Most of us don’t realize how willing God is to connect us with heaven when we have an eye single to His glory. Says Fretheim, “The prophet becomes a party to the divine story; the heart and mind of God pass over into that of the prophet to such an extent that the prophet becomes a veritable embodiment of God.”
The pseudepigraphal Enoch literature has much in common with Joseph Smith’s Book of Moses in talking of Enoch’s gaining access to the divine throne of God.
Charles Mopsik concludes that the exaltation of Enoch is not meant to be seen as a singular event. Rather he writes that the “enthronement of Enoch is a prelude to the transfiguration of the righteous—and at their head the Messiah—in the world to come, a transfiguration that is the restoration of the figure of the perfect Man.”
In Moses 7:35, God identifies Himself as “Man of Holiness.” This corresponds with other references in scripture, where prophets speak with God “face to face.” God is not some nebulous spirit. In the Book of Moses, He predicts His Only Begotten in the flesh as a separate being, not Himself, incarnate:
“Man of Holiness is [God’s] name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time” (Moses 6:57).
Enoch and the Temple
Late Mormon scholar, Hugh Nibley, said the following:
“…in the center of a study of matters dealing with initiation in the literature of Israel.” Enoch is the great initiate who becomes the great initiator. . . .113 The Hebrew book of Enoch bore the title of Hekhalot, referring to the various chambers or stages of initiation in the temple.114 Enoch, having reached the final stage, becomes the Metatron to initiate and guide others. “I will not say but what Enoch had Temples and officiated therein,” said Brigham Young, “but we have no account of it.”115 Today we do have such accounts.
The City of Enoch was called Zion, meaning “the pure in heart.” In a Zion society, everyone sees eye to eye, there are no poor, and there are no wicked. The reward for the pure in heart is that they shall see God. This can happen while men are In the flesh, if they are prepared. Enoch and all of his people were indeed prepared.
“Therefore,” the Lord told Joseph Smith, “sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you” (D&C 88:68–69).