We are in Post Falls with our new little granddaughter, Maren, and her family. We've been having a great time. Nancy left last Monday and flew to Spokane. Allison and I drove up on Wednesday. The roads were dry the whole way and it was a fun drive with good company.
We brought the bunk bed that Jill and Lee gave Logan and Rachel. It is the bed that was in Conrad's room. It looks great in Evelyn's room. So far only one accident worth mentioning. Jack found out that falling off the top is faster than climbing down the ladder. Ouch!! He's okay.
Happy 4th birthday! We love the birthday hair!!
Logan is a master chef. We've eaten very well since we've been here.
This was Griff, Ash, and Zoey Skyping us. Everybody got a chance to hold Maren.
Hood time! We're going on a walk.
Grandma is in her glory. Three grandkids and a computer!
Allison is the great entertainer. This game went on for a long time.
Addy's turn to hold Maren. She's got Addytude.
More Skyping. Technology can bring families together.
Evelyn loves her bed! Jack tried this on the bottom bunk and came out crying after bumping his head.
Jack's turn to hold Maren. He loves her and is very soft with her.
Evelyn's turn to hold Maren.
Logan's breakfast masterpiece.
Rachel and Maren . . . Maren is under the tent.
The contraption Logan made to help with the "cover up" challenge.
Logan's fruit plate masterpiece.
Grandpa in the window. It snowed a little.
Two sleeping beautys. Allison and Maren have bonded.
Get the parents away . . . we can do it all by ourselves.
Jackson, Evelyn, Maren, and Adalie
Here's my talk. It's kind of rough, but you'll get the idea.
When I was young, I lived in San Jose California. Today it’s huge, but at the time it was a small farming community about the size of Rexburg. There were cherry, prune, and apricot orchards everywhere. Interspersed between the orchards were housing developments. My siblings, friends, and I spent much of our growing up years playing in the orchards. BB guns, mini bikes, climbing trees, and making forts were the fair of the day.
The watering practice of the farmers was to build motes around the trees and then flood the orchards. We would travel the maze of piled up dirt mounds and try not to get wet or muddy. Every day was a great adventure.
On one of these adventures I noticed a baby rabbit stranded next to a tree surrounded by water. I jumped over the water and out to the tree where I was able to snatch the little rabbit. It was wet and cold.
I took it home, and with my mom’s help we dried it with a towel and warmed it in the oven. The little rabbit regained its energy and enthusiasm for life. We prepared a little box for it to live in and for the next couple of days let it live in the house with us. I became very attached to our new pet. We named him “Brownie”.
A couple of days later, after it looked like he had recovered and was ready to live outside again, we put him in our pigeon cage in the back yard. It got cold, and in the morning, Brownie was dead.
I didn’t understand. Why did things we love have to die? This was my first experience coming to grips with the reality that death was part of life.
Later, I experienced the death of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. And it became more clear that death was a part of life. But, I still wondered why?
In Hymn 173: While of These Emblems We Partake, John Nicholson penned these words in the third verse.
The law was broken; Jesus died
That justice might be satisfied,
That man might not remain a slave
Of death, of hell, or of the grave,
Jesus came to satisfy the demands of justice because the law had been broken. But, what law? What broken law made it possible and necessary for the savior to come to the earth to satisfy the demands of justice? And who broke that law?
Adam and Eve were brilliant. They were fabulous. They were courageous. They understood the plan of happiness. Adam took part in the creation of the earth. Then He and Eve were taught and ministered to by our Heavenly Father in the Garden of Eden. They loved Him, and even if they couldn’t remember us because of the veil, they loved us. And we knew and loved them.
You know the story.
After a period of time in the Garden of Eden they came to realize that in their state of innocence there was no possibility for them, or us, to progress. So, as we watched with interest and anticipation from heaven, they made a choice to break the law and move on. They partook of the forbidden fruit. And we were happy because of their willingness and their courage to move forward.
Satan would like to take credit for Adam and Eve partaking of the fruit of the tree of life, and separating them from God, but the credit should go to Adam and Eve. They knew what they were doing. And they made a choice to move on, because it was the right time.
There are some beautiful doctrines taught in chapter two of Second Nephi. The teacher in me wants to start with a little pre test. (From The Book of Mormon Made Easier by David J. Ridges, pg 177).
Here are the rules: You can either write the answer down, tell the person sitting next to you, or answer it in your head. Writing it down is the best so I’ll give you a minute to get a pen, pencil, or crayon. You can make good use of your program by writing on it.
Question 1: True or False
Because of the Savior’s Atonement, everyone but the very most wicked will get resurrected.
In 2nd Nephi 9:22 it says:
22. And he (Jesus Christ) suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.
Answer: (False). Everyone will get resurrected.
Question 2: True or False
In a way, it’s too bad Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, because our lives would be much easier if they hadn’t.
2nd Nephi 2:22, 24-25 says:
22. And now, behold 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 created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.’
24. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25. Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.
Answer: 2 Nephi 2:22, 24-25 (False). The Fall was good plus essential.
Question 3: True or False
If Adam and Eve had not transgressed in the Garden of Eden, they and their children would never have become mortal and progressed.
In 2nd Nephi 2:23 it says:
23. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
Answer: False. They would not have had children.
Question 4: True or False
Because of their transgression and the resulting Fall, Adam was cursed by God, but Eve got even a worse cursing.
Genesis 3:14-17 says:
14. And the Lord god said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of they life;
15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise they head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for they sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
So, the answer is false; neither of them was cursed. The Fall was a great blessing and it gave Adam and Eve ownership of the consequences, which brought great joy along with hardships which promoted growth (Moses 5:10-11). Satan was cursed and the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake. But Adam and Eve were not cursed.
Not only were they not cursed, but they seemed to be pretty happy about the whole thing.
In Moses 5:10, Adam says:
10. And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for 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.
Then in verse 11, Eve says:
11. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed (children), 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.
Question 5: True or False
It was a good thing that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
Answer: 2 Nephi 22-25 and Moses 5:10-11 (True)
From the scriptures we’ve already read, the answer is “true”. It was a good thing that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
Now, let’s go back to the hymns.
In verse six of Hymn 195: How Great the Wisdom and the Love, Eliza R. Snow was inspired to write the following:
How great, how glorious, how complete,
Redemption’s grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet
In harmony divine!
The grand design spoken of in this hymn was the grand design of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. He designed it as the hymn suggests, in wisdom and love.
From an eternal perspective, three things haven’t always been a part of life:
Physical Bodies, death, and children.
1. Physical Bodies haven’t always been a part of life. In the pre existence we were spirits without bodies.
a. This might seem weird, but everybody take the hand of the person next to you. Isn’t that cool that you can feel their body and vice versa. I love having a body and experiencing the pain and joy it allows me to experience.
2. Physical Death hasn’t always been a part of life. In the pre existence we were spirits, and then, even during the creation, all things were created in a “non-mortal” state; including Adam and Eve. They were not immortal, but they were non-mortal. They could not die. Their physical bodies were different than ours. For one thing, according to the bible dictionary, they had flesh, but they didn’t have blood. We say we have bodies of flesh and blood. Adam and Eve could not say that. Although it sounds a little incomplete, they could only say they had bodies of flesh.
3. Children haven’t always been a part of life. In the pre existence, we were, and we still are children of Heavenly Father, but we didn’t have any of our own children.
It’s a great blessing to be a parent, and it’s a great blessing to be a child. To the youth and children, I encourage you to listen to and learn from your parents. I also think it’s important for you to understand that we parents learn from you and we grow because of you. That’s all part of our Heavenly Father’s plan.
Just as bodies, children, and death have not always been a part of life, there are two things that have always been part of life. They are: Opposition and agency.
Lehi tells his son Jacob that we can’t have agency without opposition:
11 For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, . . .
(2nd Nephi 2:11)
We can’t remember, but the scriptures tell us that we took part in a great conflict in the pre existence. We fought a war in heaven because we wanted to follow our Heavenly Father’s plan. We wanted to maintain and use our agency to make choices to gain immortality and eternal life. This all included bodies, children, and death.
The creation of Adam and Eve and their fall were part of the process for us to gain bodies, become mortal, and have children when the time was right.
Another reason we fought this battle in heaven was because we understood that Heavenly Father would send his son Jesus Christ to redeem us from the fall, through the resurrection, and empower us to return to live with him because of the atonement.
We believe that Adam and Eve’s transgression was necessary, but we also believe that we will be blessed or punished for our own choices, good or bad, and not for Adam’s. (article of faith).
When Christ came to the earth he suffered, died, and was resurrected. He saved us from the fall and gave us all the free gift immortality through the resurrection. Then, through the atonement he provided an opportunity for us to gain eternal life through our choices.
So, choices matter. They affect us and they affect those around us. Satan’s choice to rebel against God mattered. The Savior’s choice to follow God’s plan mattered. Adam’s choice to partake of the forbidden fruit mattered.
And now, it’s our chance. Our daily choices to follow the commandments, to do our best to be, as President Hinckley said, a little kinder, a little more generous, and a little more thoughtful . . . matter.
And our choices to receive the principles and ordinances of the gospel such as faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, temple ordinances, and enduring to the end all matter.
I’m no longer confused about death like I was when Brownie died. I’ve come to know that it is part of the grand design in bringing about the purposes of God.
To paraphrase that grand design, let me read Mormon 9:12-13
12. “Behold, he (God) created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man, And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
13. “And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before the bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.”
I appreciate the opportunity to express my gratitude to Heavenly Father for His Plan of Happiness; to my savior Jesus Christ who satisfied the demands of justice through the work of the atonement; and to Adam and Eve for the courage and wisdom they had to play their part in the plan.
May we now do our parts in making good choices that matter so we can return to live with our Heavenly Father and, hopefully, gain eternal life is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.