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Ancient Testaments: A little about the first couple

Some people believe that Adam and Eve sank our boat. Perhaps there is something to that.

Imagine a ship holding the family of God, passengers with infinite potential hoping to become mighty, as their Father is.

But things are too perfect aboard this heavenly liner. A wise plan outlines but one way these souls can finish maturing: They must go into the waters awhile, facing the icy, salty and boisterous deep. A solemn vote is taken. An admired couple is appointed. They go below decks and courageously drill a hole. The ship begins to sink, and a dramatic stage of the plan is under way.

As the waters rushed in, just what earthly scenes surrounded that couple? We have some clues:

"Joseph, the Prophet, told me that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. When Adam was driven out he went to the place we now call Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri. There he built an altar and offered sacrifice" (Brigham Young, as reported by Wilford Woodruff, quoted in Wilford Woodruff, His Life and Labors, 481).

A direct route from Jackson County to the present day site of Adam-ondi-Ahman is 80 miles long — something like three days of diligent walking.

Of course, we are not told whether our first parents followed a direct route, or how long they took. The time frame for their migration might have been days or months or years.

However, Joseph's words recalled by Brigham were that "when" Adam left one place he "went" to the other. This may imply that it was not a gradual migration.

We can only guess at the appearance of the area in those days, for the earth in general has passed through dramatic changes since then.

But here again, we have a hint. When Joseph visited Adam-ondi-Ahman in the spring of 1838, he identified remains of a stone structure built during Adam's time. This might suggest that parts of the topography — certain features of the earth's surface in that little area — have remained somewhat intact for the last 5,000-6,000 years.

With such sparse clues, why do we try to visualize those scenes? It seems that our feelings for Adam and Eve are naturally tender. Our hearts turn to them. We belong to them, and they to us.

From sacred testaments, we know a few things for sure. Under spartan circumstances, they began mankind's long campout in the fallen world. They oversaw the pioneering of every kind of human endeavor. We know they were faithful for some nine centuries. (Moses 6:1-12.)

And we know that they are now magnificent. Adam and "our glorious Mother Eve" are like other key couples, who "have entered into their exaltation" (Doctrine and Covenants 138:38-39; 132:37).

The prophet Daniel was shown an event, still future, with Adam upon a throne "like the fiery flame," his clothing "white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool," and a "fiery stream" issuing from him. The righteous of all ages in history will be present, numbering "ten thousand times ten thousand." Perhaps we ourselves will join in, honoring this priesthood pioneer (Daniel 7:9-10).

As with the grandeur of Adam, so with Eve, for "women are not one whit behind men in spiritual things" (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:361).

But if we are indebted to these two who forced us to face the ocean, we are the more indebted to yet Another, who gets us back to safety when our turn in the water is over.

No wonder the testaments say so little about them, and so much about him.

Wayne E. Brickey, who lives in Gallatin, Mo., is a retired Church Educational System teacher and curriculum writer and has been a tour guide to Holy Land and Mormon history sites. His novel "Before His Manger: The Long Wait for Christ's First Coming" can be found in serialized segments on MormonTimes.com.