Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Mother Eve and the Choice in Eden

Note: This is a re-post of an earlier piece, because the subject came up again. I think that although the world maligns Mother Eve, we as Latter-day Saints have little excuse for doing so, as the teachings of the Latter-day Prophets are quite clear that she not only did no wrong, she did something that was essential and very honorable. If you didn't read it the first time, I hope you will, and if you did, please share it with another Latter-day Saint, as we all need to hear and understand.

I have often recommended a great book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverly Campbell. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend you do. It was recommended to me by my wonderful Bishop. He explained that the book sheds Gospel light on the world's false notion that women should always have to be apologetic that they are women, and feel somehow less than worthy because Eve made "a big mistake" and committed "original sin"; when in fact, what she did was one of the most noble acts ever and absolutely necessary to our existence. I had heard some rumors of this in Sunday School classes, but no one really seemed to have much evidence of the truth. I want to share with you some of the quotes from the Prophets and other Church leaders which are in the book.

"In life all must choose at times. Sometimes, two possibilites are good; neither is evil. Usually, however, one is of greater import than the other. When in doubt, each must choose that which concerns the good of others--the greater law--rather than that which chiefly benefits ourselves--the lesser law. The greater must be chosen whether it be law or thing. That was the choice made in Eden." --Elder John A. Widtsoe

"As there are no words to extol the greatness of the Ancient of Days unto whom thousands and thousands shall minister and before whom 'ten thousand times ten thousand' shall stand in a day of judgment, so there is no language that could do credit to our glorious mother Eve.... Eve--a daughter of God, one of the spirit offspring of the Almighty Elohim--was among the noble and great in preexistence. She ranked in spiritual stature, in faith and devotion, in conformity to external law with Michael....we cannot doubt that the greatest of all female spirits was the one then chosen and foreordained to be 'the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh [Mary]' (1 Nephi 11:18) Nor can we do other than suppose that Eve was by [Adam's] side, rejoicing in her own foreordination to be the first woman, the mother of men, the consort, companion, and friend of mighty Michael. Christ and Mary, Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah and a host of might men and equally glorious women composed that group of 'the noble and great ones,' to whom the Lord Jesus Christ said: We will go down...and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell." --Elder Bruce R. McConkie ("Eve and the Fall")

"Then as His final creation, the crowning of His glorious work, He created woman. I like to regard Eve as His masterpiece after all that had gone before, the final work before He rested from His labors."
--President Gordon B. Hinckley

"So came Eve...the last created being in the creation of the world, without whom the whole creation of the world and all that was in the world would have been in vain and the purposes of God have come to naught."
--Elder J. Reuben Clark

"The Lord knew they would do this, and he had designed that they should."
--President Brigham Young (speaking on the foreordination of the Fall)

"Adam and Eve did the very thing the Lord intended them to do. If we had the original record we would see the purpose of the Fall clearly and its necessity explained." --President Joseph Fielding Smith

"[On the choice made in Eden]depended the whole Plan of the Great Council in Heaven, because those who kept their 'first estate' must have opportunity to come to earth, to obtain mortal bodies, that they might be proved in this 'second estate' 'to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them...and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever'(Abraham 3:25-26)."
--Elder J. Reuben Clark

"Adam, our father, and Eve, our mother, must obey. They must fall. They must become mortal. Death must enter the world. There is no other way. They must fall that man may be." --Elder Bruce R. McConkie

"When Adam and Eve received the first commandment, they were in a transitional state, no longer in the spirit world but with physical bodies not yet subject to death and not yet capable of procreation." --Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"Their bodies of flesh and bone were made in the express image of God's. In that state of innocence, they were not yet mortal. They could have no children, were not subject to death, and could have lived in Eden's garden forever. Thus we might speak of the Creation in terms of a paradisiacal creation. If that state had persisted, you and I would still be stranded among the heavenly host as unborn sons and daughters of God. The great plan...would have been frustrated.... Should they eat from the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil,' their bodies would change; mortality and eventual death would come upon them. But partaking of that fruit was prerequisite to their parenthood.... While I do not fully understand all the biochemistry involved, I do know that their physical bodies did change; blood began to circulate in their bodies. Adam and Eve thereby became mortal.... Accordingly, we could speak of the fall of Adam in terms of a mortal creation because 'Adam fell that men might be.'"
--Elder Russell M. Nelson

"The Fall came by transgression of a law, but there was no sin connnected with it. There is a difference between transgression and sin. Both always bring consequences. While it may not be sin to step off a roof, in doing so, you become subject to the law of gravity and consequences will follow.... The fall of man was made from the presence of God to this mortal life."
--Elder Boyd K. Packer

"For reasons that have not been revealed, this transgression, or 'fall,' could not happen without a transgression--an exercise of moral agency amountin to a willful breaking of a law (see Moses 6:59). This would be a planned offense, a formality to serve an eternal purpose.... Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin--inherently wrong--but a transgression--wrong because it was formally prohibited."
--Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall." --The Prophet Joseph Smith

"The eternal power of choice was respected by the Lord himself.... It really converts the command into a warning, as much as to say, if you do this thing, you will bring upon yourself a certain punishment, but do it if you choose.... The Lord had warned Adam and Eve of the hard battle with earth conditions if they chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He would not subject his son and daughter to hardship and the death of their bodies unless it be of their own choice. They must choose for themselves. They chose wisely, in accord with the heavenly law of love for others." --Elder John A. Widtsoe

"Such was the problem before our first parents: to remain forever at selfish ease in the Garden of Eden, or to face unselfishly tribulation and death, in bringing to pass the purposes of the Lord for a host of waiting spirit children. They chose the latter. This they did with open eyes and minds as to consequences. The memory of their former estates may have been dimmed, but the gospel had been taught them during their sojourn in the Garden of Eden. They could not have been left in complete ignorance of the purpose of their creation." --Elder John A. Widtsoe

"The role of Satan in this drama is not difficult to understand. He seeks to overthrow the work of God. By inducing Adam and Eve to disobey the Lord, he thought to have them in his power. He forgot, or did not know, that by their very 'disobedience' the purposes of the Lord with respect to his spirit children would be accomplished. The temptations of Eve turned upon him to the defeat of his evil designs. This often is the fate of evil." --Elder John A. Widtsoe

"It is a thrilling thought that Adam and Eve were not coerced to being God's work on earth. They chose to do so, by the exercise of their free agency. It is the lesson for all their children: Seek the truth, choose wisely, and carry the responsibility for our acts." --Elder John A. Widtsoe

"[Eve] sees through Satan's disquise of clever hypocrisy, identifies him, and exposes him for what he is...[ever since Satan has] had it in for women."
--Hugh Nibley

One last quote, this time from Sister Patricia Holland, "If I were Satan and I wanted to destroy a society, I think I would stage a full-blown blitz on women."

OK, that's all you're getting from me! But trust me, there is sooo much more! In my humble opinion, every LDS--male or female--really needs to read this book.
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