The Contradictory Commands

A few years ago, I was asked to teach Gospel Principles for one week. The class was very small, and the subject was the Fall of Adam and Eve. I remember this lesson, because I was explaining conditions in the Garden of Eden and the results of the Fall. The manual summarizes the scriptures and doctrines by stating that: “When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were not yet mortal. In this state, ‘they would have had no children’ (2 Nephi 2:23). There was no death.”[1] Yet the very next paragraph taught that: “God commanded them to have children. He said, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth . . .’ (Moses 2:28). God told them they could freely eat of every tree in the garden except one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Of that tree God said, ‘In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ (Moses 3:17).”[2] I did my best to explain these ideas, and one of the people in the class pointed out that these two things seem to contradict one another: In the garden, they couldn’t have children. God commanded them to have children but also commanded them to not do the thing that would allow them to have children—partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I didn’t have a good answer, and told them as such. We sat there for a minute with puzzled expressions on our faces, shrugged, and then moved on with the rest of the lesson.


Adam and Eve. Image courtesy

Since that time, I have given the dilemma of the two contradictory commands God gave in Eden a lot of thought. Through my study and thinking, I have come up with three possible answers to the dilemma. I do not consider any of them completely satisfying, but they are worth consideration. The three are: (1) God wanted to give them a final chance to exercise their agency to decide if they would enter the harsh conditions of mortality, (2) The issue was one of timing and obedience, and (3) The issue is based in the records through which we receive the story. Let’s consider each of these in turn.

  1. Higher Law

The basis of this idea is that the command to not partake of the forbidden fruit was a lesser commandment compared to the command to multiply and fill the earth. In some versions of this theory, the command to not partake of the fruit was more a warning than a command. In other versions, the choice to partake of the fruit was still a choice to violate a commandment, but one that was done to obey a more important commandment. Most Church leaders who have articulated these positions maintain that partaking of the fruit was not a sin per se, but a transgression.

As stated, one approach to the two contradictory commandments is to hold that they were indeed contradictory commandments from God, but Eve and Adam chose to follow the command that was more important. Elder John Widtsoe expressed this position when he wrote: “In life all must choose at times. Sometimes, two possibilities 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 which is chiefly benefits ourselves—the lesser law. The greater must be chosen . . . that was the choice made in Eden.”[3] Eve’s actions were, according to Dallin H. Oaks, “a planned offense, a formality to serve an eternal purpose. . . . Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life.”[4] Thus, the choice to partake of the fruit may have been a transgression, but one that served a greater purpose.


The nature of God’s command to partake of the fruit may have also been more a warning than an actual commandment. In the Genesis account, the command is given as follows: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). In the Joseph Smith Translation, this command was altered as follows: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Moses 3:16-17, emphasis added). The change represents a significant softening of the command—Adam is given a choice, but told it is forbidden because of the consequences of partaking of the fruit. To borrow a phrase from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, the command was more a guideline than an actual rule.

Latter-day prophets have noted this distinction, using it to soften God’s command into a warning. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that: “Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruits, for God had decreed that he should eat and fall—but in compliance with the decree he should die.”[5] It wasn’t considered a sin because it was God’s will for them to partake of the fruit, but the consequence thereof would be death. Speaking more clearly, President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “Now this is the way I interpret [Moses 3:16–17]: The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here, then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here, then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself, and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it, you will die.”[6] As such, the command to not partake of the fruit could be seen more as a warning of the consequences of mortality with a choice given to Adam and Eve.

The idea that partaking of the fruit was a good thing hinges on the premise of a fortunate Fall. Joseph Smith taught: “What was the design of the Almighty in making man[?] It was to exalt him to be as God, the scripture says ye are Gods and it cannot be broken.”[7] Mortality is a necessary part of human progress towards partaking of the divine nature in the form that the Prophet taught. President John Taylor stated that it is necessary to “obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize [our] divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”[8] Living with physical bodies is a deeper, more developed, and more difficult form of existence than having only a spirit body. Having a body involves traits, conditions, and limitations that test and enlarge the human soul in its progress towards self-mastery. President Brigham Young taught that: “Darkness and sin were permitted to come on this earth. Man partook of the forbidden fruit in accordance with a plan devised from eternity, that mankind might be brought in contact with the principles and powers of darkness, that they might know the bitter and the sweet, the good and the evil, and be able to discern between light and darkness, to enable them to receive light continually.”[9] By coming into contact with the powers of darkness as a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve, we are able to decide to reject darkness and choose a better way.

If mortality and bringing children into the world are so necessary, however, the question is raised: Why would God prohibit partaking of the fruit in the first place? One answer might be that agency—the ability to choose—is central in the Plan of Salvation as we understand it. Moral agency gives us the opportunity to develop the ability to stand on our own two feet and to develop the attributes of Godliness. As President David O. McKay taught: “Free agency is the impelling source of the soul’s progress. It is the purpose of the Lord that man become like him. In order for man to achieve this it was necessary for the Creator first to make him free.”[10] Otherwise, we would be “mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man’s coming to earth would have been frustrated.”[11] Thus, choice is a necessary part of humankind’s progression.

Yet, mortality is also fraught suffering as we come into contact with the powers of darkness. We bear the spiritual traces of every thought, word, and action we have ever committed (see Alma 12:14). Sinfulness is a condition “contrary to the nature of God” (Alma 41:11). Considering that exaltation and eternal life are the end products of partaking of the divine nature and becoming like God, iniquity holds us back because it is “contrary to that righteousness” which is the root of God’s identity and the source of His perfect joy (Helaman 13:38). Along these lines, Methodist William Law said that: “To suppose God to bring any creature into an unnatural state is to suppose Him acting contrary to himself and to that nature which is from Him.”[12] For God to forcefully thrust humankind into the suffering and sinfulness of mortality would consist of Him against His very nature as we understand it.


Ceiling of the Ely Cathedral. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

To avoid forcing mankind into mortality, the Lord let Adam and Eve choose whether they would fall and become mortal. Elder Orson Pratt taught that: “The Lord being perfect in goodness, could not, consistently with this great attribute of His nature, inflict pain or misery upon innocent beings, like our first parents.” Therefore, God placed the tree in the garden as enticing option, and provided man with a “warning of the consequences which would follow.”[13] Similarly, Elder Boyd K. Packer taught that: “There was too much at issue to introduce man into mortality by force. That would contravene the very law essential to the plan.”[14] They were given a choice between staying as they were or moving forward through pain and suffering towards eternal life.

Believing that partaking of the fruit was a necessary step forward, Church leaders have indicated that there is a technical difference between sin and transgression and that partaking of the fruit was the latter. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that “it is possible to transgress a law without committing a sin, as in the case of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.”[15] Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained this position in greater detail. He taught that:

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. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall.[16]

An official manual of the Church went even further, stating that: “Another meaning of the word transgress is ‘to go beyond established limits or conditions.’ Adam and Eve went beyond the limits that would have kept them in the Garden of Eden forever, and in so doing helped provide the opportunity of mortality for all of us.”[17] As a violation of a lesser command, the Fall was still a violation of law, but not a sin in the full sense.

Latter-day Saints even offer praise to Eve for choosing to partake of the fruit and Adam for going along with her. One nineteenth-century LDS writer in stated that: “We are taught that Eve was the first to sin. Well, she was simply more progressive than Adam. She did not want to live in the beautiful garden for ever, and be nobody.”[18] LDS Scholar Hugh Nibley likewise noted that in the story, Eve “takes the initiative, pursuing the search for ever greater light and knowledge while Adam cautiously holds back. Who was the wiser for that?”[19] Finally, Dallin H. Oaks stated that: “Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall.”[20] In each of these statements, Eve is lionized for choosing to partake of the fruit because it led humankind into the next phase of existence.


Adam and Eve Offer Sacrifice. Image courtesy

This approach to explaining the contradictory commandments is the dominant strain of thought in Mormonism today. To summarize: the two commandments were given as a choice for Adam and Eve—a choice between staying in paradise and entering a mortality that involves pain and suffering, but growth and joy as well. God wished for mankind to choose the latter, but could not thrust them into conditions where they would sin and suffer, so used the commandments to communicate the choice. Understanding this, Eve chose to partake of the fruit to move forward towards the divine destiny of humankind and Adam chose to follow her in doing so. Because it is a positive thing, violating the command to not partake of the fruit was not a sin in the full sense, but has been called a transgression instead. For their transgression, Eve and Adam should be revered and honored by their descendants.

This belief is not without its difficulties, however. A lot of the praise to Adam and Eve is based on the idea that they chose to partake of the fruit with a full knowledge of the consequences. Yet, the scriptures indicate that Satan deceived Eve, that Adam and Eve were ashamed of their choice, and that God was angry with them for partaking of the fruit. When God visited them after their transgression, Adam and Eve sought to “hide themselves from the presence of the Lord” (Moses 4:14). When it came to light that they had partaken of the fruit, both tried to pass the blame. Adam blamed Eve, stating: “The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat” (Moses 4:18). Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent: “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Moses 4:19).[21] The Lord, in response, dishes out punishment to the serpent, Eve, and Adam. The serpent was cursed to crawn in the dust, the woman to have pain in childbirth and subjection to the man, and the man to toil in sweat and sorrow for food. Although we often gloss the statement, “cursed shall be the ground for thy sake” to mean that ground being cursed was beneficial, the Hebrew text in the Bible is more accurately rendered: “Cursed is the ground because of you.”[22] These seem to be indications of God being angry and punishing all individuals involved in the Fall. In the texts closest to the story of the Fall, none of the people or beings involved seem happy with the consequences at the time.

LDS author and general Sunday School president Tad R. Callister noted this in his book, The Infinite Atonement. He wrote:

If Adam and Eve had partaken with ‘full’ knowledge of obeying a higher law as some would suggest, one wonders why the scriptures would have used words and phrases such as ‘beguiled,’ deceived,’ yielded,’ and even ‘spiritually dead’ (D&C 29:41), to describe their Edenic conduct and subsequent state of affairs. One also wonders how they could have ‘full’ knowledge when they lived in a state of innocence, it would not have been possible for them to completely comprehend which choice was good and which was evil. One further wonders why Adam, upon responding to the Lord’s question, ‘Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat . . . ?’ (Moses 4:17), would shift the ‘blame’ or responsibility to Eve, and likewise, she would further shift the ‘blame’ to the Serpent (Moses 4:18-19). If they had proceeded with a full or even partial knowledge of the consequences, this would have been an appropriate moment to respond: ‘We knowingly broke the lesser law in order to keep a higher one. We understand there will be some harsh consequences for the moment, but in the eternal scale of things, it will be a blessing, not a curse to us and our posterity.’ This would have been a time not of blame, but of explanation as to why the choice had been made.[23]

Thus, Brother Callister points out the biggest holes in the theory discussed above—if it was necessary for them to choose to partake of the fruit to enter mortality, they seem to have done so without a full understanding.

Callister goes on to say that we do not know or understand all the conditions under which the Fall occurred, but that it truly was necessary and fortunate. He also points out that it was after Adam and Eve had been informed of the Atonement of Christ that they rejoiced. Thus, there are great truths to be found in the ideas discussed so far, even if they don’t provide perfect answers to the question of why there are contradictory commands. There are, of course, different answers that similarly shed light on important principles and potentially resolve the paradox.


Adam and Eve at an alter. Image courtesy

  1. Timing and Obedience

This approach is somewhat more speculative, but focuses on timing and who we choose to obey. In essence, God gave them the two commands with the understanding that at some point in the future, they could move beyond the command to not partake of the fruit to fulfill the command to multiply and fill the earth. By choosing to partake of the fruit at Satan’s request while existing in a state where God’s command was to not partake, Eve and Adam brought condemnation upon themselves.

One of Satan’s greatest goals seems to be receiving the respect and worship that is due to God. In the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, Moses confronts a Satan whose opening barrage is: “Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12), a refrain which is repeated throughout the encounter. Another inspired addition to Genesis adds that Lucifer offered to be the Savior in a time prior to mortal life on earth, saying: “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1, emphasis added). Satan’s goal, according to this same section, was to “destroy the agency of man . . . and also, that [God] should give unto him [God’s] own power” (Moses 4:3). After being cast out, Satan “became . . . the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto [God’s] voice” (Moses 4:4). In all of these situations, Satan is obsessed with receiving honor, worship, power, and control over humankind.


Moses Overcomes Satan. Image courtesy

Applying this insight to the Fall of Adam and Eve, a Religious Studies scholar from BYU named M. Catherine Thomas wrote that: “We have to learn something about the adversary’s objectives. When the Lord gave Adam dominion over the earth, one of Lucifer’s first designs was to wrest this power from Adam and his posterity.”[24] As recorded in a revelation to Joseph Smith, Adam “became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation” (D&C 29:40). Building on this idea, Sister Thomas wrote on a separate occasion that:

I suggest one possibility concerning the way in which Eve was deceived. Eve in the garden occupies a position similar to the Savior’s in the wilderness when Satan tried to tempt him to turn the stones into bread. The Savior recognized Satan and refused to do his bidding with the words: “Man shall . . . live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus refused Satan because to do what Satan bade him do would have put him in subjection to Satan, which consequence would have relieved him of his messiahship. Eve apparently did not recognize Satan and may not have understood about subjection to him. Their eating the fruit at his enticement nevertheless placed them in that subjection (see D&C 29:40). Is it possible that the deception rested in the fact that Eve took it from the wrong hand, having listened to the wrong voice?[25]

Although discussed in a different context, M. Catherine Thomas’s insights apply to a discussion about contradictory commands. Perhaps the problem with partaking of the forbidden fruit was an issue of choosing to follow Satan’s commands rather than God’s commands.

A suggestion that has been made is that the two commands were conditional on time and situation. A comparison is that we are still told that “God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”[26] Yet, according to The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”[27] For individuals who are not married, these two commands would be contradictory in a similar way to the two commands given to Adam and Eve were contradictory—you are supposed to have children, but you can only do so by using the powers of procreation that are restricted to marriage. When the timing is right, however, these individuals can enter marriage and fulfill both commandments. There would, by extension, be some way in which Adam and Eve could move beyond the state where they could not have children while still respecting the command to not partake of the fruit.

It is possible that God would have eventually given the command to partake of the fruit or acted in some other way to allow Adam and Eve to experience mortal life and have children. Elder James E. Talmage suggested that: “If it can be supposed that our first parents had not fallen surely some other means would have been employed to initiate the conditions of mortality on earth.”[28] In this hypothetical scenario, the two commands were both intended to be fulfilled in the way and time God wanted. For the time being, they were supposed to stay in the garden and not partake of the fruit, but when the time was ripe, God would have provided the way for them to move forward.


Adam and Eve teach their children. Image courtesy

All of this, however, is extremely speculative. There is no indication in the scriptures that God was planning on commanding Adam and Eve to enter mortality at a later time. Actually, Lehi indicates that “if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end” (2 Nephi 2:22). There are also no conditions listed in which Adam and Eve would have been allowed to partake of the forbidden fruit. This makes the comparison to procreation being restricted to marriage somewhat of a stretch, because there is an obvious, known solution to resolve the contradiction—single individuals can get married and then have children. With the records that we have, there is no similar resolution to the contradiction of commands to not partake of the fruit and to have children. Hence, this solution is still not completely satisfying from an intellectual perspective.

While not completely sufficient, this idea does have some positive aspects to it. It still allows for deception of Adam and Eve and some frustration on God’s part, even though it still fit into His plan. It provides an important lesson to us (and to Eve and Adam) about Satan’s goals and what happens when we listen to his voice rather than God’s voice. There may be truth to it, but there are areas of this theory that we just don’t know enough to speak with any certainty.

  1. Records

Modern Biblical studies have opened the doors into a deeper understanding of the context and conditions in which the Bible was written. Some of these insights have bearing upon the question of the contradictory commands given to Adam and Eve. Admittedly, some propositions of modern scholars are challenging for Latter-day Saints because they challenge assumptions about both the Bible and Joseph Smith’s translation. David Bokovoy does a good job of addressing those concerns in his work Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis—Deuteronomy, but there is still a lot of room for differing interpretations and beliefs on the issue. So, remember that this is just a suggestion of one possibility for resolving the question at hand.


The Garden of Eden. Image courtesy

Many Biblical scholars have come to believe that the Torah or Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) do not represent a single, monolithic production by one individual. Instead, it is a compilation of different sources woven together. In the most well-known proposition of this theory, there are four major sources brought together: two more ancient sources (the Elohist or E and the Yahwistic or J) and two later sources (the Priestly or P and the Deuteronomic or D). Each of these sources comes from different perspectives on theology and history, based on the people involved in compiling the source, the era in which they lived, and the place that they lived (northern and southern kingdoms). Material in the Torah are often sorted into these four sources based on presentation, word choice, theology, and focus. This theory does much to explain repetitions, inconsistencies, and contradictions found within the Torah, including the contradictory commands given to Adam and Eve.

The creation accounts that the commands stem from are thought to come from two different sources. Genesis 1:1-2:3 is thought to be from the Priestly source and presents a more ethereal and less-corporeal God who controls the universe through speech. After creating man and woman on the sixth day of creation, He gives them the command to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth (see Genesis 1:28), as well as dominion over the earth to use plants and animals as food. The Garden of Eden story is not found in this creation account, and thus the command to not partake of the fruit is not present in this account.


The Creation. Image courtesy

The other creation account (beginning in Genesis 2:4) is thought to be from the older Yahwistic tradition. God as presented in this account is more human than how He is presented in Genesis 1, working with His hands to form man, avoiding the heat of the day, etc. The order of creation is also different. In the Priestly source (Genesis 1), the creation flows from water to land to plants to sea animals and birds to land animals and finally both humans at the end. In the Yahwistic source (Genesis 2), after God has created the earth, plants, and the Garden of Eden, he creates the man to tend to the garden. After creating the man, God creates all the animals in an attempt to find the perfect helper and partner for Adam. After each of them fail in turn to live up to being Adam’s partner, he takes the rib from Adam and forms the woman. In this account that they are commanded to not partake of the fruit of the tree, and there is no command given to multiply and replenish the earth.

The resolution to the two contradictory commands given here is simply that they are commands that are presented by two separate records with different points of view and are not interrelated. As LDS Biblical scholar David Bokovoy wrote:

Dividing the opening two chapters of Genesis into their respective sources solves many problems for a Latter-day Saint audience. Often readers struggle to make sense of the fact that God gave the first humans a command in Genesis 1 to “be fruitful, and multiply” (v. 28), yet in Genesis 2, he commanded the humans not to eat the fruit that would have granted them this very ability. Latter-day Saints often reconcile this contradiction by asserting that God needed to create a situation in which agency could exist by giving two conflicting commands. This reading certainly contains merit as a theological concept. However, combining this construct with an historical awareness of the two separate traditions that produced these distinct accounts resolves much of the dissonance readers often sense.[29]

Thus, historical insights from modern Biblical scholarship can help resolve the contradictory commands as well.

Garden Room, Nauvoo Temple

This approach is challenging from a Mormon perspective because we have assumed that all of Genesis was written by Moses. This assumption does seem to be affirmed by the Joseph Smith Translation, particularly Moses 1, which puts the prehistory section of Genesis in the context of Moses receiving a vision from God and recording it. In both the JS-T and the Book of Abraham, the two different accounts of creation are smoothed together by making the first an account of the spiritual creation and the latter the physical creation. For example, in the Book of Abraham, chapter 4 (equivalent to Genesis 1), the first account concludes with the statement “And the Gods said: We will do everything we have said, and organize them” (Abraham 4:31).  The Book of Moses inserts a discussion about how God “created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5) between the two accounts as well.

This division of spiritual and physical creation does, incidentally, create another possibility for the contradictory commands. Elder Orson Pratt pointed out that:

It would seem too, that the command to multiply was given to all the children of men both male and female on the sixth day; and as Adam and Eve were not formed temporally until the seventh day, the command must have been given while they were in the spirit world, and it is not at all likely that they remembered the command after entering their tabernacles. In the book of Abraham, the Lord has not told us that he gave a positive command for man to multiply; but while counselling [sic] upon the subject on the sixth day, “The Gods said, we will cause them to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” This was not a command, but merely a declaration what the Gods would do. “We will cause them to be fruitful,” etc. Now we have already seen what plan was adopted to cause them to multiply; it was by placing before them “the tree of knowledge,” that they, through the exercise of their own agency, might be endowed with the requisite qualifications not only to bring forth mortal children, but to govern them according to the laws of good and evil. [30]

Thus, the commands may not have both been given to Adam and Eve in the garden, and the command to multiply itself may have been more of a plan of the Council of Heaven than a command.

Returning to the discussion at hand, however, accepting that the Torah is composed of multiple sources centuries after the time of Moses challenges the traditional assumptions of the Torah being produced by Moses. This in turn challenges the nature of Joseph Smith’s work with Genesis and Abraham. LDS scholars have tried to reconcile the two by shifting how we speak about the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham to the translations being inspired productions of Joseph Smith rather than an ancient documents presented through Joseph Smith (a discussion beyond the scope of this post), but that, in my observation, is a difficult proposition for most Mormons to accept.



The commands given at the creation to the first man and woman are a paradox. In essence, they are the command to bear and raise children and the command to not partake of the fruit that would allow them to bear and raise children. Three possible resolutions are presented in this post. First, the command to not partake of the fruit was a lesser command, the violation of which was necessary to propel humankind forward toward a divine destiny. Second, God would have provided a way for humankind to move into mortality at the proper time and place, but Eve chose to listen to Satan’s command instead of God’s command, resulting in subjugation to the devil. Third, Biblical scholarship indicates that the two commands come from two different traditions and are not part of the same story. Each approach has its merit and flaws, but taken together provide some ways to resolve the conflict of the two contradictory commands.


World Room, LA Temple

[1] Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2009), 28.

[2] Gospel Principles, 28.

[3] John A Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1947), 2:78.

[4] Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” CR. October 1993,

[5] Joseph Smith remarks to the Nauvoo Lyceum, 9 February 1841, McIntire Minute Book.

[6] “Fall—Atonement—ResurrectionSacrament,” in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd ed. [1982], 124.

[7] Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, eds. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [Orem, UT: Grandin Book Company, 1991], 247.

[8] The Family, A Proclamation to the World.

[9] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (SLC: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997), 39.

[10] David O. McKay, in Conference Report, April 1950, 32.

[11] David O. McKay, in Conference Report, April 1950, 34-35.

[12] William Law, The Spirit of Love, in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life; The Spirit of Love, ed. Paul G. Stanwood (New York: Paulist, 1978), 372.

[13] Orson Pratt, The Seer 1.6 (June 1853): 84.

[14] Boyd K. Packer, “Atonement, Agency, Accountability,” CR April 1988.

[15] Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 804.

[16] Oaks, “Great Plan.”

[17] Pearl of Great Price, Student Manual,

[18] E.N.B., “Women’s Rights,” Women’s Exponent 3.16 (15 January 1875):122.

[19] Hugh Nibley, “Patriarchy and Matriarchy,” in Old Testament and Related Studies, ed. John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City: Deseret and Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986), 92.

[20] Oaks, “Great Plan.”

[21] In early Christianity, Paul suggested that Eve was indeed deceived: “The woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14).

[22] See the New Revised Standard Version, Genesis 3:17. This is discussed in David Bokovoy, Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis—Deuteronomy (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2014), 152-155.

[23] Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 37-38.

[24] M. Catherine Thomas, Selected Writings of M. Catherine Thomas (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 229.

[25] M Catherine Thomas, Spiritual Lightening (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 53.

[26] The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

[27] The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

[28] James E. Talmage, Sunday Night Talks by Radio, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1931), 69.

[29] Bokovoy, Authoring the Old Testament, 53-54.

[30] Orson Pratt, The Seer 1.6 (June 1853): 85.

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