LDS Gospel Topics 2

What Satan Taught Eve in the Garden

Observations on the Mainstream of the Church

 

What Satan Taught Eve in the Garden

Clearly whatever it was that Satan shared with Eve in the Garden of Eden it had something to do with their ultimate expulsion. Was this the apple?

The Garden story as we have it in the scriptures and the temple ceremony is clearly figurative. However, the details do have meaning. For example, the Tree of Life represents eternal life. Which is why Adam and Eve could not partake until after their lifelong trials and tests of worthiness.

We are also informed by the Lord through Lehi’s and Nephi’s dreams that the Tree of Life as well as its fruit represents the love of God. This may be understood as having to do with experiencing Heavenly Father’s love for us, his children. Partaking of this fruit may also be understood as our reciprocation of that love—in other word, our respective love of God and willingness to keep His commandments.

So, the two trees in the Garden could be considered in opposition to each other. The one being the Love of God, and the other, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, being its opposite. This is the one that, figurative or not, got them evicted from the Garden. Since they were instructed not to partake of this tree, it represented some form of disobedience.

We might say, therefore, that as the one tree represents the Love of God, and the other standing in opposition to it, could be considered as the Love of Self—that is, the blessed state of doing the will of the Lord, on the one hand, versus the propensity to and consequences of doing one’s own will on the other hand. This dichotomy pretty much wraps up the whole program of life. Typically we learn by a combination of rewards and punishments largely by the way we use the agency we were given in the Garden.

So what was the issue of conflict between the will of the Lord and the will of Eve that got this mortality ball rolling?

We will here suggest for your consideration that it was the Divine Order. This point will prove to be a mystery of God and godliness. In this Order the man is the president and patriarch in the home and the family. The woman is his first counselor, and the Holy Ghost is the second counselor. Notice that neither the Holy Ghost nor the women is in charge. And that the women, rather than the Holy Ghost is first counselor. The Holy Ghost does not supersede the agency of either the man or the women. Consequently, this only works well, as one might expect, when all three are in sync. [1]

So, back to the expulsion issue or issues, how do you suppose Eve felt when Heavenly Father laid out the rules and delegated the primary authority to Adam (and possibly without a lot of explanation)? Wasn’t she at least as intelligent as he? Affirmative! And that was part of the problem.

Desperate to get the show going on his terms, Satan taught Eve how to reverse what might be considered the marriage power equation, and to actually get the upper hand. Satan understood and was taking advantage of the fact that the Divine Order that Heavenly Father instituted was one that challenged both sexes to their limits. In this Order the man was required to take the lead and the woman to follow and support. And that this was the only way that both Adam and Eve or, in other words, both men and women, could be perfected, was to follow this path or role and authority assignments. It would only be by following the Divine Order that both Adam and Eve could return to and partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life and receive eternal life as a couple. This fact is portentous.

And since no other program would work, Lucifer’s intention was to create a counterfeit order which would negate the true Order, effectively shutting the gate to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom to Adam and Eve and their children. This counterfeit required the woman to take the lead, a role for which she was, in fact, well qualified.

And without the priesthood the man would not stand a chance in the almost inevitable power struggle. Nor would he, even if he had it, be able to secure the priesthood for exaltation and eternity (see GT 4: Oath & Covenant of the Priesthood) without the woman taking the designated (but often hated) role of support. This support role was definitely the greatest challenge for the woman because it required taking in some measure a backseat, having great patience and consummate trust in the Lord. It required suffering and high intelligence applied to many unnatural and challenging situations. It required faith that if she preformed her difficult sojourn in life her man would one day be perfected even though it often looked like an impossible task.

 

His job is equally difficult for him. Besides all the challenges of providing for a wife and family and acquiring the necessary leadership skills devoid of any unrighteous dominion, he must also provide the sacred space in which his wife may flourish and find inspiration to develop her talents and nurture and reciprocate his love. Unless he has the inspired support of his wife he will likely never sufficiently magnify his callings and mission in life. Essentially the keys are more in the woman’s hands than the man’s. She has great power but unless channeled through the Divine Order neither she nor her husband are likely to be sanctified and perfected. For this arrangement to work each must put the Lord at the highest priority in their lives, each other next, and then the children (an order that is generally confused to some degree).

Unless each partner seeks the Lord and acquires the necessary changes in character through regular repentance they will grow apart. Even if remaining married, they will lack the desire as well as the merits to be with each other in eternity. And a similar problem will exist with the children. If the parents do not put the Lord first and each other next the children will not receive and embrace the Divine Order in their own relationships, nor will they have acquired the benefits that the Divine Order would have caused to flow more purely in their respective developmental stages of life.

Thanks to Satan’s success, most marriage or joint relationships in this world are created without this knowledge or even with the priesthood as a mitigating factor. There are not many models or examples to learn from or emulate. However, this is very possibly the key issue in life, certainly with respect to exaltation and eternal life. Heavenly Father has laid out the Plan and it is the only one that works. The marriage covenant and the Divine Order of the priesthood in the home and family is the key to the realization and success of the New and Everlasting Covenant and its intended object of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.

It was necessary that the Garden scenes ended the way they did. Because of the nature of the man and of the women it is the same in every creation. However, one can see that, with respect to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom—becoming gods and having eternal procreation, strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it (see also: White Papers WP2: Some Broader Implications of Frequency Testing).

1) This essential relationship of each partner in marriage with the Lord also relates to what is taught by L Lamar Adams as The Divine Triangle. As each marriage partner moves up their side of the triangle closer to the Lord, and if each are so engaged, the distance between them, first acquired in the Garden, diminishes, and they become spiritually closer to each other--until united at the top of the triangle with the Lord..

 

Observations on the Mainstream of the Church

“Had I inspiration, revelation, and lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated…there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their homes and shut their mouths in everlasting silence on religion till they had learned something”   Joseph Smith

The so-called mainstream of the Church, which we will define for the present purpose as the main body of active members, will only get to heaven by going through hell—either here or in the hereafter. Why? Because the average Church member frequency (measure of personal Light and Truth) is only log 122/123. That is exactly the minimum frequency to even have a chance to make it into the Terrestrial Kingdom. This state of affairs suggests the unavoidable necessity of the coming refining fire of trials and tribulation.

When someone declares himself/herself reliant upon the so-called mainstream of the Church to avoid any discussion or consideration of deeper doctrine or to protect against dealing in “mysteries” we may wonder if they actually understand the mission of the church or if they have read the scriptures (see GT 2: Scriptures Pertaining to the Mysteries). Or, as Abinadi pointed out to the priests of Noah, who had read the scriptures and could even quote them, “Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise.” (Mosiah 12:27)

Such mainstreamers can manage callings, participate in class discussions and give proper answers to basic gospel questions. They can go to the temple, be temple workers, listen to conference talks, read church books, go to BYU Education Week, etc., and never get their Light and Truth quotient (frequency) above log 125. So, what is the problem?

The Church is a great staging area for people to come into from out of the world, but unless they apply themselves to the doctrine and the necessary application of revealed knowledge they will just mill around the staging area until they die. They may never get on or pursue the covenant path of sanctification that must be traversed to reach the Celestial Kingdom. Unfortunately, without a change in their spiritual trajectory, they will not arrive there and, therefore, cannot bring anyone with them.

Living the forms of Church membership and worship provides some protection but does not perfect a person. Only personal repentance and the revelatory knowledge that comes as a result of seeking and doing the will of the Lord has power to perfect. Unfortunately it is only a small percentage of members, a “tithe” at best, that learn and apply what they have been offered by Heavenly Father. Mainstreamers generally live on gospel milk. They do not get around to consuming the meat of the gospel, which might best be defined as doing the will of the Lord (see KJV John 4:31-34). And in order to do the will of the Lord one must first obtain the will of the Lord..

However, we know from our clinical experience that a member with a typical frequency in the 120’s will, rather than being welcomed into Paradise upon death, find themselves at or around a dark frequency log 42 environment, and generally will only gradually increase thereafter. At this average or typical level of mortal performance, as just illustrated, there is a serious drop in personal frequency when the mortal probation is over. They will not have been greeted at death by family members or angels. At the end of the first year in the realm of spirits they will typically have advanced only to log 45. Since the threshold (in the scale we use) to the Light is log 76 such spirits of the dead are clearly in hell. Rather than glorious reunions as imagined by living relatives, for these spirits this is an existence of confusion, isolation, guilt, fears and obsessive thoughts.

This situation will only change for the spirit of our departed mainstream members if they have the spiritual wits to pray and ask the Lord why they are in darkness and what they should do. However, this may be challenging since in this frequency range they clearly have not sought the Lord’s will in mortal life and have developed very entrenched patterns of doing their own will. They may have kept the basic commandments physically but have not availed themselves of the opportunity to have their characters changed through regular participation in the atonement. They may have read the scriptures but never understood them. They had the keys of knowledge in their hands but seldom if ever used them. They likely never considered the possibility that they were to work on repenting of all their sins.

Even if these spirits make it to and past log 76, the threshold of Light, they are far from Celestial heaven. This is only the first of seven gates. They are now facing the challenge of learning everything of spiritual importance they failed to learn in mortal life. And what we were told about this is veritably true—that it is much easier to repent, learn and progress here than there. Those that learn the principles and mysteries of godliness here “have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:18-19)

Since it is also true that “where much is given, much is required,” many church members may be at a disadvantage compared to others in the realm of spirits that did not have the gospel. These mainstreamers have been sitting at a table where a celestial feast could have been ordered and consumed but just partook of spiritual fast food instead—trusting in rote beliefs and essentially a Primary level of knowledge. And they never really got around to leaving Babylon.

How important is saving knowledge and personal revelation? It may assist to understand that each person born into mortality has an assignment on the average of five demons whose mission is to keep each of us from perfecting our characters. This is the job of the one third of the hosts of heaven that followed Satan. They are focused on perpetuating our weaknesses. It is our Celestial salvation objective to turn our weaknesses into strengths through repentant use of the atonement. As our weaknesses turn into strengths, the evil spirits must depart from us. One-by-one, as we change, they no longer have a right to be there. There is a custom Holy Spirit guided repentance program for each of us by which we become free of evil influence. And as explained by Brother Joseph personal revelation is required.

“A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:588, italics added, see also D&C 131:6)

Unfortunately, at the level of Light and Truth of the average church member, all five of the demons assigned are still there. This is why there is such a serious frequency drop for this category of member upon passing through the veil of death. Regarding the availability of the necessary saving knowledge the Lord explained through the Prophet Joseph:

How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints. Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:33-36, italics added)

The principles of righteousness referred to above commence with regular humble repentance and a willingness to seek and submit to the will of the Lord. The rolling waters include the afflictions that are designed to humble and refine us if we realize and embrace their purpose. It is the too common situation in which great knowledge and its transforming nature was made available but not acquired or applied that so troubled the prophet Nephi as he looked down the centuries to our time and painfully observed:

And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; …But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint... (2Ne 32:7-9, italics added)

Nephi is clearly speaking to Latter-Day-Saints, his “beloved brethren,” who are the only ones to whom the truth is now given “in plainness.” It is in the members of the Restored Church that the lack of knowledge and understanding so disappoints him. The related necessary prayers that Nephi urges will include that of a broken heart and contrite spirit—a condition of the personal soul that permits the Lord’s transforming power.

This was also the object of King Benjamin’s powerful address to his people on the occasion in which they found themselves prostrate on the ground. (Mosiah 2:20-25, 4:1-2) What the good king and the Spirit of the Lord achieved in these members of the church was a collective and individual view of themselves as being “less than the dust of the earth.” The relevant points were/are: 1) the dust is totally obedient, and we are not, and 2) when one understands the difference between ourselves and our Father in Heaven, who is a perfectly Holy Being, it is the beginning of wisdom, humility and a new level of covenant obedience. It is only the humble and obedient seeker with whom the Lord can work his transformative program to bring them to the Church of the Firstborn. Members operating in cruise-control need not apply.

Because mainstreamers lack Light, Truth and knowledge, they also lack discernment. They are easily swayed by misinformation and false narratives. Isaiah, the prophet of the Restoration, like Nephi, bemoaned the condition of the Latter-Day-Saints predicting, "Therefore my people have gone into captivity because they have no knowledge." (Isa 5:13). Because they do not understand doctrine they are subject to the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. Wise members come to understand that the Church and Kingdom is much more than an LDS subcultural picnic at the Ward bowery, but rather is a staging area to start climbing the mountains of character change that ultimate godhood requires. So, we may ask ourselves if we take or have taken the gifts we have been offered seriously? Regarding this subject the Prophet Joseph said:

“…the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity--thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations--too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God. We are called to hold the keys of the mysteries of those things that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world until now. (Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith, Section 3: 1838/39, p. 137, italics added)

Accordingly, we are called to hold the keys of mysteries hidden from the foundation of the world. Do we actually have these keys of the mysteries of God and godliness? If so, have we used them? Do our understandings reach to the utmost heavens? Do we commune with God? And what did we find out when we did? What did we learn or are learning thereby? Our salvation is clearly dependent upon revelation, including receiving and applying personal revelation. Personal revelation requires personal repentance—which requires basic and essential changes to our personal character—changes that make us more like Christ—changes that also change the people around us.

“…who cannot see the propriety of the Savior’s saying, “The works which I do, shall they do; and greater works than these shall they do, because I go to the Father?” These teachings of the Savior must clearly show unto us the nature of salvation; and what he proposed unto the human family when he proposed to save them—That he proposed to make them like unto himself; and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings:  And for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed: and on this hinge turns the door of salvation.” Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, lecture 7:15-16, italics added)

The Prophet Joseph taught us that salvation is a serious matter. It is useful, even critical, to understand that the forms of our religion do not generate the changes in character that Celestial salvation requires any more than did the law of Moses perfect the Jews. The necessary participation in the atonement does not happen in Sunday School or Priesthood. However, to be redeemed with our families and become members of the Church of the Firstborn, is the object and personal challenge that all of our Latter-Day-Saint supports and programs are there for.

What the mainstreamers may fail to comprehend is that the Lord requires us to put everything on the altar, including our will and our sins (especially our favorite ones). It is only by doing so, again according to the prophet Joseph, that we may acquire the power of full salvation.

“For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God.

Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, lecture 6:5,7-8, italics added)

With this understanding we may importune at the feet of the Supreme Judge until we know what to do and have the power to do it. Everything else in the Church and in life is there for that object.