Growing up in the Baptist church I was taught to see Adam and Eve’s “fall from grace” in the most negative light. It was the cause of our sinful state and the primary reason we were separated from God and needed a Savior- and of course, Adam may have given in, but Eve was solely to blame for eating that proverbial “apple.”
I was never taught to see Eve’s transgression as an act of bravery. And although I am a feminist, I would never have thought to see traces of myself in her – except perhaps in the areas where I struggle most in the “sinning” department.
True, I will confess my love for Heavenly Mother and Mary Magdalene, or the great women of the Hebrew Bible; Sarah, Miriam, Hannah or Sariah from the Book of Mormon....but Eve?
Until one day a couple weeks ago, I walked into the Gospel Principles Sunday school class – by accident, really, because as Chorister I had to change the numbers on the song board for Relief Society, and something told me to stay, so I did. Although I could not for the life of me tell you what the lesson was on for that day, what I can say is somehow the discussion digressed to Mother Eve, and I felt in that moment as if that part of the lesson was just for me.
Just within that past week, I had been facing a very important decision in my life- where to apply for a doctorate, and quite honestly I was thrown for a loop. That Wednesday, I had been up at the church doing genealogy and I received a blessing in which I was told I would be given clear direction so I could become the person my Heavenly Parents wanted me to be. I just didn’t think the direction would come so quickly, and that in the next day or so I would be on the phone making a decision that in many ways would force me to come full circle with my religious upbringing.
I kept asking, “God are You sure?”.... “Really Mother?"...." You’ve got to be kidding me.” And I kept hearing “yes.”..... "Really?"...... "Yes." Okay, I’ll get the rest of my application materials together, but I’m not so sure about this.
So fast-forward to that Sunday sitting in Gospel Principles class, hearing a theological perspective that would be so far removed from, well you name it. I felt for all my concerted efforts to push the limits of my theological upbringing over the years....and yet, there was Mother Eve. She had been there- she had marked the path. She knew. She had asked the same question- there has to be more!
And yet, if I hadn’t pushed the limits, I wouldn’t have been sitting there in that Gospel Principles class. I wouldn't have joined the LDS Church. Perhaps in reaching for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I stumbled upon the Tree of Life. I too, knew something was missing, and I kept pushing, kept challenging. Kept seeking, kept knocking….“If any of you lack wisdom…”
And yet, in all my inner struggles and hidden fears, I kept hearing God say, it’s okay. All the mistakes you felt you made in the search for wisdom were necessary; it was all just part of the process.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the LDS! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor, her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall.”
Hebrew scholar Dr. Nehoma Aschenasy points out that if you go back to the Hebrew meaning of the term “beguiled;” it does not mean “tricked” or “deceived” or even duped. Rather it was a calculated decision. This rare verb indicates an “intense multilevel experience, evoking great emotional, psychological or spiritual trauma.” It was the great catalyst for spiritual transformation that caused Eve to ponder her purpose.....in more ways than one, this describes my personal journey.
Joseph Fielding Smith said the “transgression” was necessary- something they had to do.
And as one of my friends pointed out that in doing what she had to do, Eve dared to confront the devil on his own level – and she emerged stronger as a result.
When Eve “saw” the fruit was good, she was seeing as a visionary sees into the future. She’s Eve the Seer, made in the likeness of our Heavenly Mother. And what does she teach us? In order to push forward in our Eternal Progression, sometimes we have to keep pushing, knocking, seeking, before the door will become open to us.
President Uchtdorf said….
"Brothers and sisters, as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit. Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things. We can block the growth and knowledge our Heavenly Father intends for us. How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn’t get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?"
And just as I was hitting the "submit" button for some of my application materials, my husband called for me to come outside just in time to see a snake slithering across our back yard. We have no idea where the snake went after that. We thought it either went into the woods, or crawled into a hole, but there were no holes around, and we never actually saw it go into the woods.....My husband thinks it just disappeared.
Reference: "Empowering LDS Women" http://empoweringldswomen.blogspot.com/p/mother-eve_01.html