Old Testament

Week 4: The Fall, the telestial world, Cain and Abel

Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

The Fall in LDS belief

—Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:485

Dilemma in the garden

—2 Nephi 2:15–16


Closing the sale
• Three claims (Genesis 3:4–5):
 “Ye shall not surely die.” — half-truth  “God doth know…ye shall be as gods” — appeal to mistrust/jealousy  “Your eyes shall be opened…knowing good and evil.” — truth


Three cursings
• The serpent/Satan (Genesis 3:14–15).
 Belly.  Enmity.  Bruise (crush).

• The woman (Genesis 3:16).
 Painful childbirth.  Men will try to dominate.

• The man (Genesis 3:17–19).
 Ground cursed.  Toil and hard work.

The tree of life

Neo-Assyrian Tree of Life stele, c. 870 B.C., British Museum




Death before the Fall?

—2 Nephi 2:22


Death before the Fall?
LDS Bible Dictionary, “Fall of Adam”




Death before the Fall?

—Alma 12:22–24


Death before the Fall?

—Moses 6:45, 48, 58–59


Death before the Fall?

—Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:486


The telestial world
• Adam and Eve work and have children (Moses 5:1–2). • Adam offers sacrifices unto the Lord (Moses 5:5–8). • Adam and Eve rejoice in the results of their actions in the Garden (Moses 5:10–11).


Adam & Eve’s poetic refrain
Because of my transgression: Amy eyes are opened, and Bin this life I shall have joy, and Cagain in the flesh I shall see God. Were it not for our transgression: Dwe never should have had seed, and A1never should have known good and evil, and B1the joy of our redemption, and C1the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

The telestial world
• Some of their children go astray (Moses 5:12–13).


Cain & Abel
• Primogeniture: Right of the firstborn. • Cain = Hebrew sound play: ‫( קניחי‬qaniti, “I have created”) sounds like ‫( קין‬qayin). • Abel = ‫( חבל‬hevel, “breath” or “vapor”). • Cain‟s offering rejected (Moses 5:18–21).


Cain’s offering rejected
“It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man;…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.” —Joseph Smith, January 1834 (History of the Church 2:15)

Secret combinations
• Cain entered into a secret combination with Satan and became Master Mahan (Moses 5:28–31).
 Helaman 7:21.  Ether 8:14.


Secret combinations
“The Book of Mormon teaches that secret combinations engaged in crime present a serious challenge, not just to individuals and families but to entire civilizations. Among today‟s secret combinations are gangs, drug cartels, and organized crime families…. Among their purposes are to „murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God‟ (Helaman 6:23).

Secret combinations
“If we are not careful, today‟s secret combinations can obtain power and influence just as quickly and just as completely as they did in Book of Mormon times. Do you remember the pattern? The secret combinations began among the „more wicked part‟ of society, but eventually „seduced the more part of the righteous‟ until the whole society was polluted (Helaman 6:38).” —Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 1997

Secret combinations
“From the international drug and arms traffic to the sneaky chemical additions in the supermarket, the principle applies: life in exchange for profits. One example should suffice. This month a headline announces that „Radiation Dump Could Bring Cash to County.‟ Some counties actually clamor to convert the land Bountiful into the land Desolation for a quick buck.” —Hugh Nibley, May 1987

Secret combinations
• Secret combinations vs. sacred covenants. • Mahan = ‫( מהח‬maha), “to destroy” + -n = noun mahan, “destroyer.”
 Perdition = άπωθέω (apoleia), “destruction” (Moses 5:24).


“I am free…”
“Cain‟s observation of a newfound freedom was false doctrine straight from the adversary. In reality he enslaved himself to a life of deceit and a life „shut out from the presence of the Lord….‟ (Moses 5:41.) Cain brought this tragedy to his own life by disregarding priesthood principles. He refused to be his „brother‟s keeper,‟ and in so doing he sold his soul to the father of lies and murder.” —Bishop Robert L. Simpson, October 1968

Curse of Cain, mark of Cain
The curse (Moses 5:23– 25, 37): 1. Cain delivered up to Satan. 2. Unto Cain according to Satan‟s desire. 3. Cain rule over Satan. 4. Cain father of Satan‟s lies. 5. Cain called Perdition. 6. “These abominations were had from Cain.” 7. Ground would not produce for Cain. 8. Cain a fugitive and a vagabond. The mark (Moses 5:40): • Set to protect Cain from those who would kill him. • ‫’( אות‬owth), “sign” or “token.”

Cain & the priesthood ban
• Joseph Smith ordained black men to the priesthood. • Priesthood ban began between 1847 and 1852. • Revelation, or interpretation? • Theories behind the ban not scriptural, not revealed.
 “Folk doctrine.”

Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
“One clear-cut position is that the folklore [about the priesthood ban] must never be perpetuated…. I have to concede to my earlier colleagues…. They, I‟m sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is however well-intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong….


Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
“It probably would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don‟t know…but some explanations were given and had been given for a lot of years…. At the very least, there should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the newer and younger [apostles] to come along,…we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.” —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, March 2006

Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
“It‟s not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we‟re on our own. Some people put reasons to [the priesthood ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that…. The lesson I‟ve drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it.


Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
“Let‟s [not] make the mistake that‟s been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that‟s where safety lies.” —Elder Dallin H. Oaks, June 1988


Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
“There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, „You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?‟ And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
“We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don‟t matter any more. “It doesn‟t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year [1978]. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them.” —Elder Bruce R. McConkie, August 1978

Priesthood ban & Mormon folklore
• “Blacks are descendants of Cain” not scriptural, not revealed. • We don‟t know why the priesthood ban was instituted. • We do know the ban has been reversed. • The Lord “denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female…and all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).

Next week:

Moses 6:25–7:69

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