Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's up that I fell


We talk a lot about the plan of salvation and what our place is in the plan. I think it is appropriate to look at Adam and his role in the plan, and consider ourselves as having similar opportunities and choices in front of us.

When Adam was created he was innocent. He didn't know right from wrong, although he was told what he should and shouldn't do. He was commanded to be happy, to dress the Garden of Eden, to fulfil the measure of his creation, and to multiply and replenish the Earth. He was also commanded to be with Eve, who was created as a companion for him because man was not meant to be alone. They were commanded not to eat the forbidden fruit. In fact, they were told that if they did eat it they would die.

Often when we think about how the Adam and Eve story applies to us as gay Latter-day Saints, we get caught up in the Adam and Eve part- the gender. It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. We also get very caught up in the commandment to multiply and have babies that fill the Earth. Though those are important parts of the story, I would like to point out some of the other aspects of the story that I believe are just as important.

1. Man was not meant to be alone. When Eve partook of the fruit Adam was not going to partake. He resisted the temptation until she reminded him that her absence would make him a lone man in the garden. That was the motivation for him to partake of the fruit. He couldn't fulfil all of God's commandments by himself.

2. Man is that he might have joy. One thing that hit me over and over in the temple the other day was how much God wanted us to be happy. He commanded Adam to be happy. Adam, however, couldn't be happy until he learned right from wrong. The only way he could learn right from wrong (that we know, at least) was to partake of the forbidden fruit and be cast out of the garden. That is what he did.

Many Latter-day Saints talk a lot about Adam's fall being a good thing. The reality is, though, that he was breaking a commandment! He was doing what God told him not to do and reaped the negative consequences of it- death! Despite this, it was what many Mormons call a fall up. Now I believe there is sin. I believe that sin is wrong. I don't think Adam's transgression justifies sin, but perhaps there is a point to be made here.

Like Adam, we all have the ability to choose. We all want to be happy. We all want to be with someone. For some people that means breaking God's commandment and partaking of the forbidden fruit. It brings negative consequences, no doubt. At the same time, it may be necessary for some (I will include myself) to learn for themselves out of their own experiences. It may also be necessary to have broken the one commandment to fulfil God's other commandment to be happy. I have decided that if I don't partake of the forbidden fruit I will be alone, unhappy, and unable to progress in the areas where I want to progress. I would rather live with all the thorns of the dreary world with someone than as a lone man in paradise.

The best part about Adam's fall, is that even before he fell God had set up a plan to redeem him from the negative effects of his choices. In Jesus Christ the "death" part of eating the forbidden fruit is swallowed up. I don't think it is a healthy attitude to go and do whatever you want believing that you can fall back on the Atonement in the end. I do want to point out, however, that despite wanting Adam to fall so that man could progress, God never gave permission or indicated acceptance for eating the fruit. I think that's the point of this post, that there are choices we all face that are somewhat similar. Because we are different people, we may choose different things. In the process we will experience different consequences and realizations, both positive and negative.

As I anticipate comments to this post, I expect there to be warnings about apostasy. I'm not claiming this to be revelation, just thoughts. I expect some to say that sinning and repenting doesn't make you stronger than resisting sin (I would agree. That is not the point I was trying to make here at all). I also anticipate a comment telling me that same gender togetherness is only temporary and will lead to loneliness in the eternities. I expect warnings about justification too. And I anticipate some thoughts about what happiness is and how pleasure can be confused with happiness. That's all fine. Perhaps those will be posts for another day. All I ask is that you be respectful of my opinions, reasonable and mature in your reaction, and apply the same allowance for learning by experience to me that you have already applied to yourself.

14 comments:

One of So Many said...

For some, traveling through the darkness may only be the way for them to get to the light and want to be there. Some. Not by no means all or even a majority.

Even for some of us who choose the right and never give in to those certain sins, there is still the sucumbing of temptation to look at that other side, even to long for it, though actual choice and indulgence may not be taken.

In the end it is just trying to know God and his plan for us and trust he will guide us as needed. In the end it's knowing that we are each unique with our own footfalls to place and one person's path can't justify another actions.

AttemptingthePath said...

Oh, God no. Never Adam and Steve.



Adam and Steven.

draco said...

I love pomegranates!

drex said...

I'm gonna be the one who chalks this up to justification. Not that I think your justification is off-base - in fact, I quite agree that for some people to progress, different choices need to be made and direct experience needs to be had. That doesn't mean that the new opinions expressed along the way aren't justification, just that it's...justifiable justification?

It still makes me sad when people choose to partake of the 'forbidden fruit', not because I think they're damning themselves, because I believe if you have a testimony and know how to recognize the Spirit you'll be able to work things out in the end, but because it seems like the 'tried-and-true' path is the easier way back to God's presence.

In the end, I'm glad you're happier, and hope that things work out well for you. (:

biggins said...

While I can't say I agree with your decision, I do sincerely hope I'm wrong and you're right. Good luck with everything!

sam said...

I think that what the people who choose not to partake of the forbidden fruit fear the most is that partaking maybe will end up being a righteous decision and that the people that do partake will actually end up leading happy and fulfilling lives.

Peter said...

Wow, Sam. Thank you for that very provocative statement.

Often I feel like people's biggest fear is that accepting same gender relationships, even marriages, would cause no change. Or worse, it might make people better/happier. I never thought about what that would mean to people who choose to deny themselves of a same gender relationship.

David said...

Hey...this was exactly what I needed to read this morning. It gives me something to think about...maybe even some hope that the decision I want to make will not lead to endless misery like my family and leaders keep telling me.

playasinmar said...

Aren't we just supposed to accept the endless misery?

Good luck, man. Know that many wish they had guts like you do.

iwonder said...

I agree. Apples as the forbidden fruit? How boring!

Pomegranate is good, but I think it was actually a passion fruit tree...

(wink wink)

And, I find it interesting that as soon as anyone is "justifying" anything, that means it is automatically bad. I agree with drex, there is such thing as justifiable justification.

And Sam, I couldn't agree with you more. I think that is exactly why those who don't partake feel such a need to judge and condemn those who do.

playasinmar said...

Are we now justifying justifiable justifications?

Neal said...

"In Jesus Christ the "death" part of eating the forbidden fruit is swallowed up. I don't think it is a healthy attitude to go and do whatever you want believing that you can fall back on the Atonement in the end. I do want to point out, however, that despite wanting Adam to fall so that man could progress, God never gave permission or indicated acceptance for eating the fruit."

Also remember that Adam and Eve then made covenants to obey the laws and commandments of God; which they did not fully understanding at the time. They were faithful in keeping them nonetheless.

"I think that what the people who choose not to partake of the forbidden fruit fear the most is that partaking maybe will end up being a righteous decision and that the people that do partake will actually end up leading happy and fulfilling lives."

Or perhaps they simply believe what the scriptures and the Brethren tell them about this issue (that its not a righteous decision) and want to keep their covenants. Perhaps they also know you can have happy and fulfilling lives without taking the path of sin.

Regards,

Neal

drex said...

So...did I just get overgeneralized? Apparently my happiness is dependent on other people's misery, and if someone else is happy I won't be able to handle it, and it will make me unhappy.

'cuz THAT makes sense.

If the 'forbidden' choice ends up being 'righteous' in the end, good on you. That doesn't change how I feel about my wife, nor the fact that I'm happy right now. Any road that leads to Rome gets you where you're going. I won't begrudge anyone that.

Josh said...

atp, I think you and I are the only ones that understand that it is never Adam and Steve, it's Adam and Stephen.