1. The Fall of Adam and Eve and its effects on them and us
‘They were highly intelligent people, not at all like either the hominids or the cavemen some claim the first humans to have been. They were well educated, having been taught by the Lord himself. What an education! What an instructor!’ (Mark E Petersen)
Moses 2:28 Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth
‘All my life I have heard the argument that the earth is overpopulated. Much controversy surrounded a 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt. No doubt the conference accomplished much that was worthwhile. But at the very center of the debate was the socially acceptable phrase “sustainable growth.” This concept is becoming increasingly popular. How cleverly Satan masked his evil designs with that phrase.
Few voices in the developed nations cry out in the wilderness against this coined phrase, “sustainable growth.” In Forbes magazine a thoughtful editorial asserts that people are an asset, not a liability. It forthrightly declares as preposterous the broadly accepted premise that curbing population growth is essential for economic development. This editorial then states convincingly, “Free people don’t ‘exhaust’ resources. They create them.”
An article in U.S. News & World Report entitled “10 Billion for Dinner, Please” states that the earth is capable of producing food for a population of at least eighty billion, eight times the ten billion expected to inhabit the earth by the year 2050. One study estimates that with improved scientific methods the earth could feed as many as one thousand billion people. Those who argue for sustainable growth lack vision and faith. The Lord said, “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.” 17 That settles the issue for me. It should settle the issue for all of us. The Lord has spoken.’ (James E Faust, “Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 4-5)
Moses 3:17 Nevertheless thou mayest choose for thyself
…it is the only place in all the history where we read that the Lord forbade something and yet said, ‘Nevertheless thou mayest choose for thyself.’ He never said that of any sin. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of the Gospel institute Manual, p. 20)
Moses 5:10-11 Were it not for our transgression
‘With the Fall, Adam and Eve became mortal. Death, sin, sorrow, and pain became a part of life. But so too did the opportunity to progress, to grow in knowledge and develop our talents and gifts, to experience the joys of parenthood, and, if we are faithful to the commandments and to Jesus Christ, to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence. The scriptures state that Adam proclaimed, “Because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God” (Moses 5:10-12).
The experiences of life, with their contrasts and opposites-health and sickness, success and failure, joy and sorrow-help us to know how to value the good. They help us to make the choices necessary to obtain eternal happiness and exaltation. They are our great teachers, if we will but listen and learn from them. However, people can react differently to almost identical experiences. After losing a loved one, for example, some people draw closer to the Lord, but others alienate themselves from Him. T. S. Eliot’s comment that many people have “had the experience but missed the meaning” (“The Dry Salvages,” in Four Quartets , 39) suggests that we must understand the true meaning of life’s experiences if we are to learn from them.
To learn fully from the experiences of life, we must interpret them within the framework of the restored gospel. For example, those who understand and believe the Church’s teachings about the eternal nature of humankind and the family will feel and react much differently to the loss of a loved one than will others who fail to understand or believe these glorious doctrines. In this, as in all else, we are free to choose. “And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free” (Hel. 14:30).’ (Alexander B. Morrison, “Life-The Gift Each Is Given,” Ensign, Dec. 1998, 17-18)
Moses 6:49 Carnal, sensual and devilish
Carnal adj. 1. pertaining to or characterized by the passions and appetites of the flesh or body; sensual. 2. not spiritual; temporal; worldly. Refers to the physical rather than the rational or spiritual nature of human beings. CARNAL, although it may refer to any bodily need or urge, most often refers to sexuality. (adapted from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary 1996)
Sensual adj. 1. arousing or preoccupied with gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal. 2. lacking in moral restraints. 3. worldly; materialistic; irreligious. SENSUAL refers to the enjoyments derived from the senses, esp. to the gratification or indulgence of physical appetites: sensual pleasures. SENSUAL most often describes the arousal or gratification of erotic urges. See also carnal. (adapted from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary 1996)
Devilish adj. 1. Partaking of the qualities of the devil; diabolical; very evil and mischievous; malicious; 2. Having communication with the devil; pertaining to the devil. 3. Excessive; enormous; in a vulgar and ludicrous sense; as a devilish cheat. (adapted from American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828)
Moses 4:23-25 Cursed be the ground
‘Note that the curse was not placed upon Adam, but upon the ground for Adam’s sake. Rather than a curse upon Adam, it was a blessing to him. It launched him and his posterity upon the only course by which they can eventually reach that perfection enjoined by the Master. The fact that when the Lord cursed the ground to bring forth “thorns” and “thistles,” thereby requiring men to labor in order to derive a living from it, it was for their “sake”—meaning “good,” “advantage,” or “well-being?” This cannot be overemphasized.’ (Marion G Romney)
Abraham 3:24-26 We will prove them herewith
‘In fact, adequacy in the first estate may merely have ensured a stern, second estate with more duties and no immunities! Additional tutoring and suffering appears to be the pattern for the Lord’s most apt pupils. (See Mosiah 3:19; 1 Pet. 4:19.) Our existence, therefore, is a continuum matched by God’s stretching curriculum.’ (Neal a Maxwell, “Premortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 17)
Moses 4:6 He sought to destroy the world
In his desire to overthrow the plan of God, Satan did not realize that he was bringing about the very condition which would enable the plan to work, the mortality of man. God had structured the plan to bring about the desired result without violating the principle of agency.
2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ saves us from physical and spiritual death.
‘The Book of Mormon Saints knew that the plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, “By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, . . . and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man” (Mormon 9:12).
Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.
No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.
Brethren and sisters, we all need to take a careful inventory of our performance and also the performance of those over whom we preside to be sure that we are teaching the “great plan of the Eternal God” to the Saints.
Are we accepting and teaching what the revelations tell us about the Creation, Adam and the fall of man, and redemption from that fall through the atonement of Christ? Do we frequently review the crucial questions which Alma asks the members of the Church in the fifth chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon?
Do we understand and are we effective in teaching and preaching the Atonement? What personal meaning does the Lord’s suffering in Gethsemane and on Calvary have for each of us?
What does redemption from the Fall mean to us? In the words of Alma, do we “sing the song of redeeming love”? (Alma 5:26).’ (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1987, 85)
Moses 6:50-52 He called upon our father Adam by his own voice
‘The first man was instructed by the best teacher man ever had, for he was taught of God, and spoke the language of the Most High, in which angels conversed. This language he taught to his children. It is true that he was left to work out, through the use of his faculties, many of nature’s great secrets; but the Lord did not leave him helpless, but instructed him, and he was inspired by the Spirit of the Lord.
The Lord gave him commandments after he was driven out of the Garden of Eden, revealed to him the plan of salvation, and he taught his children, and he set up a government. It was a perfect government, for Adam listened to the counsels of the Almighty, his Father, and our Father. He taught his children principles of divine truth and endeavored to establish them in the knowledge and understanding of the things of the kingdom of God.
Some people have the idea that the Ten Commandments were first given by Moses when he directed the children of Israel and formulated their code of laws. This is not the case. These great commandments are from the beginning and were understood in righteous communities in the days of Adam. They are, in fact, fundamental parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the gospel in its fulness was first given to Adam.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:94-96)
3. Adam and Eve begin life as mortals, bear children, teach them the gospel, and worship and obey God.
Moses chapter 5 tells us about the beginning of family life on earth. We learn how God revealed the gospel to Adam and Eve and their posterity and how their posterity responded to the enticings of Satan.
Moses 5:12 made all things known unto their sons and daughters
‘If we do not take the pains to train our children, to teach and instruct them concerning these revealed truths, the condemnation will be upon us, as parents, or at least in a measure.
Teach your children from their youth, never to set their hearts immoderately upon an object of this world.
Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord.’ (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 207)
Moses 5:5-6 The law of sacrifice
‘Adam and Eve were given the law of sacrifice and commanded to practice it by giving offerings. These included two emblems: the firstlings of the flock and the first fruits of the field. They obeyed without questioning (see Moses 5:5–6). President David O. McKay explained, “The effect of this [law] was that the best the earth produced, the best specimen in the flock or herd should not be used for self, but for God” (“The Atonement,” Instructor, Mar. 1959, 66). At a time in history when just making sure your family had food, those who sought to worship the Lord were asked to sacrifice the best part of their source of life. It was a real test of Adam and Eve’s faith, and they obeyed.
Likewise, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the holy prophets from Adam to Moses offered the Lord sacrifices in a similar way.’ (M Russell Ballard, CES Symposium on the New Testament, 13 August 1996, Brigham Young University)
Moses 5:5-8 Animal sacrifice
“From Adam to Moses, and from Moses to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh, either as part of the gospel or of the Mosaic law, as the cases might be, all of the saints offered sacrifices in similitude of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. … For a pastoral people whose lives depended on their flocks and herds, there could have been no better similitude than this” (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 114–15).