“If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be
Cain covenants with Satan, kills Abel, and is cursed by the Lord.
Enoch preaches repentance to the people.
The people in the city of Enoch are of one heart and one mind with the
Lord, and the entire city is taken to heaven.
A study of this lesson will help us understand that choices to follow Jesus
Christ lead to liberty, happiness, and eternal life, while choices to follow
Satan lead to misery and captivity.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 5 Handout (PDF)
Cain & The Consequences of Wickedness
The story of Cain & Abel - Moses 5
It is interesting to note that Adam and Eve bore children prior to the birth
of Cain and Abel.
"And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him
sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.
And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide
two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and
they also begat sons and daughters." (Moses 5:2-3)
They taught the gospel to their children (Moses 5:12), but "Satan
came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them,
saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan
more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual,
and devilish" (Moses 5:13).
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE CHILDREN OF THESE RIGHTEOUS PARENTS WERE SO REBELLIOUS?
The book of Moses teaches that Satan came among them. Adam and Eve were the first
to attempt parenting on this planet. They were starting from scratch. We
do not have enough information about the life of these two great ancestors
to fully understand why there was such rebellion amongst their children. We can only speculate. They
did not have the scriptures. They
did not have all the wonderful Church programs that support parents today. Maybe they worked so hard establishing themselves in this physical world
that there simply was not enough time to teach their children sufficiently.
If such is the case, it certainly reinforces President Lee's statement,
always that the most important of the Lord's work you and I will ever do
will be within the walls of our own homes." (Stand Ye In Holy
- Resource Note 1.
Adam & Eve bore Cain (v16).
When Cain was born, Eve said "I have gotten a man from
the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words."
It was Adam and Eve's great hope that this new son would abide by the commandments
and live the gospel.
Their hopes were eventually dashed for "Cain hearkened
not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him?"
WHAT DOES THIS QUESTION SHOW ABOUT CAIN'S ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD?
He was like so many today, he did not care. Many people today are so caught up
in their own life and pursuits that devotion to God and religion is a nuisance.
Adam & Eve bore another son, Abel (v17).
Unlike Cain, "Abel hearkened unto the voice of
Cain & Abel took up different occupations (v17).
Abel was a keeper of sheep.
Cain was a tiller of the earth.
Cain made an offering to the Lord of "the fruit
of the ground" (v18-19).
WHAT WAS CAIN'S MOTIVATION FOR MAKING THE OFFERING?
He loved Satan more than God, thus he followed Satan's instructions.
Abel made an offering of "the firstlings of his
The Lord respected the offering of Abel, but not that of Cain (v20-21).
WHY DID THE LORD ACCEPT ABEL'S SACRIFICE BUT REJECT CAIN'S OFFERING?
Adam was commanded by the Lord to "offer the firstlings
of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord" (v5). This commandment
was taught to Adam's children. Abel obeyed. Cain offered a
sacrifice, but not in the way the Lord had commanded.
Joseph Smith: "By faith in this atonement or plan
of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which
was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground,
and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have
no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It
must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this
was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission;
and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern
the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary
to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased
in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently
Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. But Abel
offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was
righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts. Certainly, the shedding
of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done
in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through
the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye looking
forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of
sins." (TPJS, p58)
This quotation from the Prophet Joseph Smith is instructive. Adam
and Eve received a commandment from the Lord to "offer
the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord" (v5). When an angel
asked Adam why he made the offerings, he replied, "I know not, save
the Lord commanded me" (v6). He did not know the reason at the
time, but there was a reason. So it must be with all that we are
commanded to do. We may not always know the why, but the Lord would
not have commanded it without a purpose. Not only must we do what the Lord has
but we must do it in the way the Lord has instructed.
Cain reacts to the Lord's rejection of his sacrifice.
"Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell"
The Lord calls Cain to repentance, "If thou doest
well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at
the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken
unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up" (v23).
HOW DID CAIN REACT TO THE LORD'S CALL TO REPENT?
"And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more
to the voice of the Lord" (v26).
WHY IS IT SOMETIMES HARD TO BE CALLED TO REPENT?
Pride: We do not like to be told what to do. When I was a child
I decided I wanted to learn how to play the piano. My mother, as
a piano teacher, started teaching me. But I failed to practice. I did
not mind the lessons, but I hated to practice the songs over and over. I
did not see any reason for it. After three months, mom said that
if I was not going to practice she was not going to teach me. I refused
to comply and thus ended my brief career as a musician. I did not
like being told what to do and I am the one who suffered because of my
pride. I love piano music to this day, but I have to listen to someone
else or play a recording.
Change: We hate to move out of our comfort zones.
Lazy: We may not feel like doing what we are commanded. The
demise of my piano career was due to both pride and laziness.
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP MORE REPENTANT HEARTS?
We need to realize that it is for our own good and eternal progress. President Hugh B. Brown tells the story of moving to Canada and cutting
back a currant bush that had grown all out of proportion. He relates the
following, "As if to set the bush's mind at ease,
I said to it, as I took the shears in hand, 'Someday, when you are laden
with currants you will thank me for cutting you down so that you could
grow properly and develop the fruit that you were created to produce'."
(An Abundant Life, p49)
Cain enters into a pact with Satan to kill his brother Abel (v29-31).
"And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked
with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the
field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him. And Cain gloried
in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother
falleth into my hands" (v32-33).
WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE CAIN MEANT WHEN HE SAID, "I AM FREE"? OF WHAT DID HE THINK
HE WAS FREE?
He must have felt that he was free of his righteous brother Abel. One might suppose that they had a relationship like that of Laman and Nephi.
With his brother gone, he may have felt more free to do as he wished.
HOW DOES DISOBEYING GOD'S COMMANDMENTS ACTUALLY DECREASE OUR FREEDOM?
In Cain's instance, he gave up the freedom to choose. He was now
faced with the consequences of his action. He was bound for all eternity. There was nothing he could do to revoke the consequences.
Our transgressions may not have the irreversible effects of Cain's sin,
but they also bind us and cause us to lose freedom.
- Consider the consequences of not living the Word of Wisdom.
- Consider the consequences of moral transgression.
IN CONTRAST, HOW DOES OBEDIENCE INCREASE OUR FREEDOM?
Resource Note 2.
HOW DID CAIN RESPOND WHEN THE LORD ASKED WHERE ABEL WAS?
"And the Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel, thy
brother? And he said: I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?"
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER?
"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him,
how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love
in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (1 John
HOW DOES THIS STORY APPLY TO US TODAY?
Consider the words of Brother Hugh Nibley: "Failing
to enlist Adam in this project, Satan approached Cain and taught him the
basic principles of business: he took his fee, made him swear confidentiality,
taught him how to get rich, and gave him the degree of Master Mahan, making
him privy to the 'great secret' of how to get the stuff. Cain wanted his
brother's flocks.... So he murdered his brother Abel to get gain (Moses
5:50). An important part of the course was to overcome moral scruples...he
feels no qualms, admits no guilt, and easily defeats the polygraph. Cain,
in fact, 'gloried in that which he had done' (Moses 5:33). (It is not enough
to just live with it, you have to glory in it. Then you feel all right.
This was the big obstacle, and he gloried in it. And what gives him the
moral right to glory? The greatest of all appeals--freedom. Freedom sanctifies
all.) So Cain says, Now 'I am free; surely the flocks of my brother fall
into my hands' (Moses 5:33). He was free now, so he gloried in what he
had done. His murder didn't bother him in the least. Thus when the Lord
asked him, 'Where is your brother Abel?' Cain said, 'That is none of my
business; he can take care of himself. If not, that is just too bad for
him--he deserves what he gets' (cf. Moses 5:34). It's a dog-eat-dog world,
says the entrepreneur who comforts his ruined investors with the magnanimous
submission that life is unfair after all." (Collected
Bishop Robert L. Simpson: "The world today tells
you to leave your friend alone. He has the right to come and go as he pleases.
The world tells you that persuasion to attend Church or priesthood meeting
or to discard a bad habit might lead to frustration and undue pressures;
but again I repeat the word of the Lord, you are your brother's keeper,
and when thou art converted, you have an obligation to strengthen your
brother." (CR, Oct 1971)
WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES OF CAIN'S CHOICE TO OBEY SATAN RATHER THAN GOD?
He would be delivered up to Satan (v23).
He would be the father of lies (v24).
He would be called Perdition (v24).
Elder Milton R. Hunter: "Why should Cain
become Perdition? He committed murder, but there have been thousands and
thousands of murders committed since his day and God has not pronounced
the murderers sons of Perdition. The answer to this question lies in the
fact that Cain must have held the Holy Priesthood." (Pearl
of Great Price Commentary, p167)
Resource Note 3.
The earth would not yield abundantly for him (v36-37).
He would be a fugitive and a vagabond (v37).
A mark was set upon him (v40).
Cain was shut out from the presence of the Lord (v41).
This was not a temporary curse, but a curse that has no end. Cain
shall never again know his Heavenly Father and the joy that comes through
His descendants followed in his footsteps. Lamech, a great, great,
great grandson, became Master Mahan, "master of
that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan"
HOW CAN OUR RIGHTEOUS OR UNRIGHTEOUS CHOICES AFFECT OUR FAMILY MEMBERS?
"And thus the works of darkness began to prevail
among all the sons of men" (v55).
Cain was responsible for the first secret combinations and the subsequent
wickedness that followed.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "From the scriptural
records available to us, from the sermons of the Prophet, and from a knowledge
of the revealed requisites for becoming a son of perdition, we know that
Cain was a liar and a rebel in pre-existence; that, like Lucifer, he had
power and influence there; that in this life he was taught the gospel,
received the priesthood, and knew of the divinity of the Lord's work; that
he then came out in open rebellion against God; that he in fact loved Satan
more than God, choosing to worship and serve that evil one rather than
the Lord; and that he offered false sacrifices at Satan's behest and slew
Abel because the devil directed him so to do. (Gen. 4; Moses 5:16-55)."
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:197)
Loved Ones Who Go Astray
Adam and Eve taught their children the gospel, yet Cain and others of their
children and descendants chose to live unrighteously.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OURSELVES OR OTHERS BEAR THE PAIN WHEN LOVED ONES GO ASTRAY?
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP THESE LOVES ONES?
Resource Note 4.
Enoch & The Blessings Of Righteousness - Moses
6 & 7
The Hope For A Better World.
Consider current events around the world:
The ongoing threat of terrorism.
Instability in many countries.
Crime and moral degradation.
AS YOU OBSERVE THESE EVENTS, DO YOU FIND YOUR SOUL STIRRED IN HOPE FOR A BETTER,
MORE PEACEFUL WORLD?
WHAT IS THE CONDITION THAT WE AS LATTER-DAY SAINTS HOPE FOR?
The establishment of Zion.
WHAT IS ZION?
A national park.
A bank in Utah.
A hill in Jerusalem, site of Solomon's temple, Jerusalem,
The place where the pure in heart dwell.
A city built by the people of Enoch.
A city to be built in Jackson county.
Joseph Smith: "The building up of Zion is a cause
that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon
which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with particular delight....
[It is] a work God and angels have contemplated with delight for generations
past; that fired the souls of ancient patriarchs and prophets; a work that
is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the
renovation of the earth, the glory of God and the salvation of the human
family." (TPJS, p231)
Enoch & Zion.
WHO WAS ENOCH?
Enoch was the son of Jared. He was the fourth great-grandson of Adam and
lived in the land of Cainan.
Enoch's genealogy (see
Adam > Seth > Enos > Cainan > Mahalaleel > Jared > Enoch.
"Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God"
Enoch preaches repentance to the people.
The Lord called Enoch to teach repentance to the people, "for
their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their
eyes cannot see afar off . . . they gone astray, and have denied me, and
have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations
have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments"
Enoch's response to the Lord, "Why is it that
I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate
me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?" (6:31).
Enoch was given great promises if he would fulfill this call (Moses 6:32-34).
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE PEOPLE WERE OFFENDED WHEN ENOCH BEGAN TO PREACH
WHY DID THESE PEOPLE CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO ENOCH?
- Maybe they were curious. "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"
Enoch taught the people the gospel (6:41-63).
Many listened to this prophet, were converted, and repented of their sins.
Preaching truth has great power.
When Alma went the land of Antionum to teach the
rebellious Zoramites, this was his approach. "And
now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people
to do that which was just—yea, it had … more powerful effect upon the minds
of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto
them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue
of the word of God" (Alma 31:5).
Elder Henry B. Eyring commented on this scripture: "Alma
knew that words of doctrine had great power. They can open the minds of
people to see spiritual things not visible to the natural eye. And they
can open the heart to feelings of the love of God and a love for truth"
(CR, Apr 1999).
Enoch's experience is evidence of the power of teaching truth.
Consider the faith of Enoch and the people.
"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;
and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and
so great was the power of the language which God had given him."
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "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. 'Let Mount Hermon be
cast into the Great Sea.' Such would not be one whit different than the
brother of Jared saying 'unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed.'
(Ether 12:30)." (Mortal Messiah, 3:73)
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP THIS KIND OF FAITH?
Brigham Young: "Were your faith concentrated
upon the proper object, your confidence unshaken, your lives
pure and holy, every one fulfilling the duties of his or her calling
according to the Priesthood and capacity bestowed upon you, you would be
filled with the Holy Ghost, and it would be as impossible for any man to
deceive and lead you to destruction as for a feather to remain unconsumed
in the midst of intense heat." (DBY, p132)
John Taylor: "How does the faith required
as the first principle in the plan of salvation or gospel come? Let Paul
answer: 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.'
(Romans 10:17.) It is not the letter then that bringeth faith, but hearing
the word of God dispensed by a living oracle or minister of God, clothed
upon with power from on high. It is not a recorded gospel, but the preached
word which emanates with power from a man of God inspired by the Holy Ghost.
. . .
"Faith without works being
dead, it is evident that living faith and that which is acceptable to God,
is that which not only believes in God, but acts upon that belief. It is
not only the cause of action, but includes both cause and action. Or in
other words it is belief or faith made perfect by works." (Gospel
D&C 45:66-70. The power of Zion in the last
days will be comparable to that of Enoch's Zion.
WHY WOULD THE WICKED FEAR TO ATTACK ENOCH'S PEOPLE OR A MODERN ZION?
The glory and power of the Lord would be there.
A Zion People.
THE LORD REFERRED TO HIS PEOPLE AS "ZION" (7:18). WHY?
They were of one heart and one mind.
There was no poor among them.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE OF ONE HEART AND ONE MIND? DOES IT MEAN THAT WE ALL VOTE
THE SAME WAY AND SHOP AT THE SAME STORES?
CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING PART OF SUCH A SOCIETY?
DO WE HAVE THIS SITUATION WITHIN THE CHURCH, OUR WARD, OUR FAMILY?
HOW DID THE PEOPLE OF ENOCH BECOME OF ONE HEART AND MIND?
They exercised faith in the words taught by Enoch.
They sought to live the gospel every moment of their lives.
WHAT WAS THE ULTIMATE DESTINY OF ENOCH'S ZION?
"And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch,
were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked
with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion
was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went
forth the saying, Zion is fled." (7:68-69)
HOW CAN WE BECOME A ZION PEOPLE?
President Kimball suggested three things we should do to assist in the
bringing forth of a modern day Zion :
Joseph F. Smith: "When I am ready to say, 'Father,
all that I have, myself included, is Thine; my time, my substance, everything
that I possess is on the altar, to be used freely, agreeable to Thy holy
will, and not my will, but Thine, be done,' then perhaps I will be prepared
to go and help to redeem Zion." (quoted in The Doctrine &
Covenants Speaks, 2:299-300)
"We must eliminate the individual tendency to
selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind.
"We must cooperate completely and work in harmony
one with the other. There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity
in our actions.
"We must lay on the altar and sacrifice whatever
is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a 'broken heart and a contrite
spirit.' We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields
of labor and callings. We learn our duty and execute it fully. Finally
we consecrate our time, talents, and means as called upon by our file leaders
and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit." (Teachings
of Spencer W. Kimball, pp363-364)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Cain chose to follow Satan and teach his evil practices to his children
The consequences: Cain and his descendants grew in wickedness and
were cursed by God for their unrighteousness.
Enoch chose to follow the Lord and preach repentance.
The consequences: An entire city became so righteous that they were
removed from the earth to dwell with God.
- How will we choose?
- Our happiness and eternal destiny
depends on righteous choices. Throughout the history of the restored
Church there have been those who have been proud and refused to give up
their pride and humble themselves (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Sidney
Rigdon, William Smith, and others). How much did they lose? We may not always like what we hear from the prophet (as the listeners
of Enoch), but if we continue to listen and obey, our blessings can be
as great as theirs. We can be tools in the hand of God in building
a modern day Zion.
Record your thoughts on the story of Cain and Abel and the establishment
of Enoch's Zion. What do these accounts teach you?
Resources Used In This Lesson
An Abundant Life - The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown edited by Edwin B. Firmage.
Collected Works of Hugh Nibley.
Conference Reports (CR).
Discourses of Brigham Young edited by John A. Widtsoe.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie.
Pearl of Great Price Commentary by Milton R. Hunter.
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
The Doctrine & Covenants Speaks by Roy W. Doxey.
The Gospel Kingdom: Selections From the Writings and Discourses of John
The Mortal Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
12 January 2018