Adam and Eve could not have children while they were in the Garden of Eden. They lacked the capacity to bear children in the innocent state in which they then existed. See 2 Ne. 2: 23.
They had been given the gift of childbearing as an endowment from God. The endowment of the capacity did not mean they had the means or understanding at the time to act upon it. Without the fall, they would not have been able to act on the endowment. They were like little children who are born male and female with the capacity to one day become parents, but who are immature and innocent, and therefore unable to bear children.
The great offense was in Satan’s control of the timing. Had they remained in the Garden throughout the Sabbath day of rest then they would have received the commandment to partake of the fruit in the Lord’s timing. At this point they would have moved from their innocent state into a condition not unlike the Millennial day. The “fall” would have transitioned to a Terrestrial state, rather than a Telestial state.
The psalmist’s words, “by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer[.]” (Psalms 17: 4) refers to all the words of God. Not just those in scripture alone, but also those that came from “thy lips” O Lord. The Lord visited with the psalmist as he recorded: “thou hast visited me in the night.” (Psalms 17: 3.)
This idea of God’s visitation with those who follow Him is as ancient as creation itself. Belief was always intended to grow into faith. Faith was always intended to grow into knowledge.
James promised the Lord would answer those who lack knowledge and ask with a sincere heart (James 1: 5-6). The Prophet Jeremiah made a similar promise. In Jeremiah’s promise the words are a quote from the Lord. He said: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29: 13.)
He is approachable. He wants us to approach Him.
Those who receive a Terrestrial estate include “they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.” D&C 76: 79. This means that they actually did have a testimony of Jesus, were on the right path, received the Gospel and accepted it, but failed to be “valiant” in their testimony.
I do not believe this means rigid, dogmatic, insistent or bellicose. In fact, the religious people having these qualities have historically been the greatest persecutors of the few, humble followers of Christ in all generations.
I believe this means they were willing to suffer much for the Lord. To follow Him in meekness, gentleness, kindness, persuasion, and love unfeigned. To bear the crosses of this world, and to return good for evil. Valiance is measured by the patience you show to your fellowman when they say all manner of evil against you falsely, for His sake. It is measured by the things you suffer willingly and without complaint.
It is not to get a reward in this life. Nor is it to be given acclaim, recognition, applause or chief seats.
It is to minister to others, rather than to be ministered unto.
When I think of the greatest examples of such conduct as would be truly described as “valiant,” I think of mothers and what they have done and do to bring, bear, love and raise children in this world. Creation itself is renewed every time a new, innocent life is brought into this world.
My car insisted it was 5:36 this morning as I drove my daughter to Seminary. The Honda was not yet in on the collective conspiracy to sustain the loss of an hour by our common consent.
My daughter got out the owner’s manual while we were driving and helped me convince the car to sustain the new hour. Now the Honda is also in on the conspiracy by common consent to change our bearings in the universe.
It still gets light and dark as before, but we call it something different. Happily, the Honda does not contradict that illusion anymore.
We cannot control the reality in which we live, but we can use our collective agreements to pretend it is otherwise. Now we awake and arise at a different time, but call it an hour later. Common consent is a powerful thing. It can be used to change how we look at time itself.
Ceremonial uncleanness under the law of Moses could be spread from the unclean to the person who came in contact with them. Uncleanliness could be spread.
A tradition grew among the Jews that the altar of the Temple could not be profaned, and that if an unclean person came into contact with it, the altar did not become unclean but instead the person coming into contact with the altar became clean. We have two examples of persons relying upon this tradition in the case of Joab in the Old Testament and Zacharias in the New.
Joab was to be killed by Solomon, and he knew he was to die. To die in contact with the altar was to die clean, and so Joab fled to the tabernacle, took hold of the altar and was killed there. The ones sent to kill him hesitated because they also knew they were killing a clean man, and had to be told a second time to kill him by Solomon. (See, 1 Kings 2: 28-34.) Solomon did not care that Joab would die clean.
In the case of Zacharias, his death is not recorded other than in a passing reference by Christ as He confronted the scribes and Pharisees. (Matt. 23: 35.) Joseph Smith said this reference was to John’s father.
In the case of Christ, the tradition had fulfillment. He touched the unclean, but communicated cleanliness to them. Whether it was the woman with an issue of blood, a leper, or the dead, touching them did not make Him unclean, rather it made those whom He touched clean.
We celebrated Daylight Savings by neglecting to reset the clocks and missing Sacrament Meeting. Apparently this was a widespread celebration in our ward, with less than half making it to the meeting on time. I sense a family tradition in the making here.
In Stephen’s testimony just prior to his martyrdom in Acts, he gives an account of Moses which does not appear in our version of the Old Testament. In Stephen’s explanation, he attributes to Moses the knowledge that he was going to be a deliverer of Israel even before he killed the Egyptian. (See Acts 7: 24-25.) According to Stephen, Moses was frustrated that the Israelites failed to recognize him as their deliverer.
Our account instead tells us that Moses was called by God, to his surprise. When called, Moses responded: “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exo. 3: 11.)
This goes to show that there were different traditions reflected in the biblical accounts. Just as there are references to scriptural books which we no longer possess.
The relevance of personal revelation, and the need for continuing revelation, remain apparent even if you want to understand the very scriptures we believe in. Hence the almost immediate reaction of Joseph and Oliver to receiving the Holy Ghost and how scriptures took on new, even previously hidden meanings. (See JS-H 1: 74.)
I was taught from the New Testament all my childhood by a mother who was a Baptist. When hands were laid upon my head after baptism, I re-read the New Testament and thought it was a new book.