Adam, Eve, the Book of Moses, and the Temple: The Story of Receiving Christ’s Atonement

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Abstract: The authors begin by highlighting the importance of Book of Moses research that has discovered plausible findings for its historicity, rendering it at least reasonable to give the benefit of the doubt to sacred premises — even if, ultimately, the choice of premises is just that, a choice. Emphasizing the relevance of the Book of Moses to the temple, they note that the Book of Moses is not only an ancient temple text, but also the ideal scriptural context for a modern temple preparation course. Going further, the authors address an important question raised by some who have asked: “Since Christ is at the center of the gospel, why doesn’t the temple endowment teach the story of the life of Christ? What’s all this about Adam and Eve?” The answer given in detail in the paper is as follows: “The story of the life of Christ is the story of giving the Atonement. And the story of Adam and Eve is the story of receiving the Atonement. Their story is our story, too.”

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the Latter-day Saint community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, “Adam, Eve, the Book of Moses, and the Temple: The Story of Receiving Christ’s Atonement,” in Tracing Ancient Threads in the Book of Moses: Inspired Origins, Temple Contexts, and Literary Qualities, edited by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, David R. Seely, John W. Welch and Scott Gordon (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation; Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central; Redding, CA: [Page 158]FAIR; Tooele, UT: Eborn Books, 2021), page numbers forthcoming. Further information at]

Historicity and Plausibility of the Book of Moses

Bruce: The description for this conference states, “Because we believe that the Book of Moses includes authentic history, the possibility of evidence for that belief interests us as scholars.” In other words, the papers throughout this book have been prepared by scholars who believe in the general historicity of the Book of Moses, and their research has found evidence that supports that belief. I’d like to begin by offering some context and support for their approach.

I see clear parallels between our current interest in the historicity of the Book of Moses and what happened some years ago with research about the Book of Mormon. During the unfortunate Mark Hofmann era of the mid-1980s, the Church encountered an unusual barrage of criticism about Joseph Smith and the historicity of the Book of Mormon—that is, whether the history described there actually happened. Elder Neal A. Maxwell, then on Brigham Young University’s board of trustees, described this criticism as “a new generation of fiery salvos, including a few duds and re-used, old darts.”1

These issues prompted Elder Maxwell to galvanize the skilled and faithful scholars he knew at Brigham Young University (BYU) to “protect our flanks” rather than just “wave our arms.”2 And instead of focusing primarily on such external evidence as archaeology, he favored an approach that studied “parallels between the ancient world and the Book of Mormon,” especially parallels “drawn from texts and historical facts” discovered since 1829.3 This approach simply made sense to Elder Maxwell, who believed that there was so much internal evidence supporting the Book of Mormon that “the notion that it was concocted in the nineteenth century [is] just plain unscientific as a conclusion.”4

He encouraged a research approach that began with “gospel premises” and “with the mind [and scholarly research tools] still involved,” rather than importing the “secular vocabulary and viewpoint [of non–Latter-day Saint biblical scholars] into a Church setting.”5 This model looked for “historical contextualizing,” such as grounding “the Book of Mormon in ancient history.”6

[Page 159]Elder Maxwell believed that science would never be able to conclusively “prove or disprove holy writ.” So he saw these scholars’ work as a source of defense, not offense, because their research could verify the plausibility of religious propositions—meaning not that the proposition necessarily did happen, but that it could have happened—enough to offset attacks that claimed to be based on physical or logical evidence. Neutralizing those attacks—what C. S. Lewis called using good philosophy to answer bad philosophy7—doesn’t claim to prove the gospel’s truth; rather, it has the more modest but crucial purpose of nourishing a climate where voluntary belief is free to take root and grow. Only when belief is not compelled, by external evidence or otherwise, can it produce the growth that is the promised fruit of faith. In Elder Maxwell’s terms, “enough plausible evidence” about the truth of the scriptures will “come forth to prevent scoffers from having a field day” and from having “slam dunks”—but this evidence will not remove “the requirement of faith.”8

That approach to defending the Book of Mormon’s historicity is an apt model for defending the historicity of the Book of Moses, as this conference demonstrates. I’m grateful to our program participants, because their impressive credentials, attitudes, and skills show that it’s possible to gain the tools of a fine graduate level education and to use those tools to research and analyze ancient texts, scriptures, and other resources just as Elder Maxwell had hoped—through the lens of sacred premises rather than primarily through secular premises.

Evidence from ancient history will almost always be ambiguous, partly because specific, reliable ancient data are nearly impossible to find and identify with absolute certainty. Amid such uncertainty, a scholar’s premises can significantly influence his or her findings and conclusions. But where to look for research premises? A sacred map of reality can look at all knowledge through the gospel’s lens, allowing us to integrate the secular map of reality into the bigger, broader sacred map—and still include what the secular map shows. But the smaller secular map, with its more limited tools and framework, typically excludes religious insights. For example, I still remember reading years ago what the brilliant, but by then secularized, University of Utah professor Sterling McMurrin said when an interviewer asked what he thought of the Book of Mormon: “You don’t get books from angels.”9 And his premise largely determined his conclusion of disbelief.

Drawing on my own discipline of law, the varying standards of proof used in criminal and civil cases offer useful comparative tools when [Page 160]we want to understand how much evidence, and what kind, should be enough to “prove” (or disprove) a historical or other claim. In addition to the standard options of “true” and “false,” what does a jury (or we) do when, even after much effort, the real answer is “We can’t tell for sure”? That’s when the legal standard (like a research premise) about which side should receive the benefit of the doubt will decide a case. Lawsuits deal constantly with that problem.10

In nearly all universities today, the default position—where we place the benefit of the doubt—is with secular premises. If we don’t have adequate “empirically verifiable evidence,” we assume the secular default position—such as, “You don’t get books from angels.”

Another example. The current Wikipedia entry on “Abraham” tells us that until the 1970s, the leading biblical scholars and archaeologists believed that the Abrahamic patriarchs “were either real individuals or believable composites of people who lived in the ‘patriarchal age.’” Then other scholars challenged these views based on the relative lack of archaeological evidence and their own reading of ancient texts. So “by the beginning of the 21st century, archaeologists had given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac or Jacob credible historical figures.”11 .Thus an inadequate degree of verifiable empirical evidence can be taken to mean “no historicity,” when what it really means is that there is insufficient empirical evidence to prove historicity within the premises of the secular map.

People who seek graduate training today in such fields as ancient languages and biblical studies typically study at the feet of experts whose disciplines teach them to reason from secular premises and to bracket their personal faith in their scholarly discourse—partly as a matter of professional courtesy. It is natural for these graduate students to learn to teach and write with an implicit personal detachment that can leave their students and those who read their work quite uncertain about their personal beliefs—an assumption that can serve important purposes in professional gatherings. However, when BYU faculty and students teach or otherwise share their work with other Church members, as Elder Holland said recently while paraphrasing Stephen Prothero, the approach of bracketing one’s faith will “cost scholars credibility with [these] readers [or students] because . . . no one knows exactly where [they] are coming from ideologically.”12 Or, as Elder Maxwell put it, “Some [Latter-day Saint scholars] hold back by not appearing overly committed to the Kingdom, lest they incur the disapproval of particular [Page 161]peers [like those from their graduate school departments] who might disdain such consecration.”13

The institutional academic freedom protected by BYU’s explicit written religious mission consciously removes the brackets around one’s faith, like taking the mute out of a trumpet. And that unmuting allows the talented trumpets of BYU faculty and students to give an especially certain sound while integrating their faith with their academic disciplines—a liberating quality for the BYU community and for Latter-day Saints generally.

The larger sacred map tells us that Abraham did exist—indeed, modern scriptures tell us that he has already entered into his exaltation (see Alma 7:25; Doctrine and Covenants 132:7).14 And did Moses really exist? In 1836, Joseph and Oliver testified that Moses personally appeared to them in the Kirtland Temple and committed to them the keys for the gathering of Israel—a principal step in authorizing the Restoration (see Doctrine and Covenants 110:11). For the historical Moses to have conferred such authority on Joseph Smith makes his revelatory visit a matter “of great consequence to [our] faith.”15

The papers from this conference will share plausible findings that support the historicity of the Book of Moses—and scoffers won’t have slam dunks or a field day. Such findings do help make the historicity of the Book of Moses more believable, rendering it at least reasonable to give the benefit of the doubt to sacred premises—even if, ultimately, the choice of premises is just that, a choice. The Lord deliberately leaves us free to make such choices. He doesn’t create circumstances that compel our belief, even as He also invites us to be believing. For “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that [choose to] believe on his name” (John 1:5, 11–12; emphasis added). Why? Because something happens to people who choose to receive Him. They learn. They grow. Following His will changes them. Our uncoerced choices set in motion the process of becoming like Him.

One blessing of the Restoration is that Joseph received so much of his evidence and his authority firsthand—from those like John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John. That’s why the Lord could say that the Book of Mormon “contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . ; which was given [to Joseph] by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared . . . by them—proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and [Page 162]generation, as well as in generations of old” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:9–11).

Those who say that the Book of Mormon is a valuable allegorical text while also denying its divine and historical origins as the Lord described them here are missing the crucial point that through the visits of Moroni, Moses, and the others, God Himself gave Joseph the authority and power to accomplish the “holy work” of the Restoration.

Let us move now from the historicity of the Restoration and its founding scripture to a discussion of Adam, Eve, the Book of Moses, and the temple.

Adam, Eve, the Book of Moses, and the Temple: Receiving Christ’s Atonement

It is very fitting that we should begin this conference on the Book of Moses by talking about the temple—because the Book of Moses is an ancient temple text16 as well as the ideal scriptural context for a modern temple preparation course. In answering the question “Why do we care about the Book of Moses?,” John Welch said, “To me, it’s all about the temple,” even though the Lord revealed this temple text to Joseph “well before [Joseph] had any idea about building a temple, let alone what was to be done in the temple.” And yet, “much of the blueprint for the endowment is here and only here.”17

I have for years encouraged people preparing to receive their temple endowment to study the Book of Moses. The book gives them unique and rich doctrinal perspective for understanding the endowment—the concepts of heavenly ascent, the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement, the purposes of mortality and its trials, ritual prayer, sacrifice, obedience, consecration, priesthood, revelation, building Zion, and preparing to meet God.18 And as Welch points out, the Book of Moses also teaches the difference between secular, self-centered marriage and “God-sanctioned, interdependent, child-rearing marriage.”19

In what follows, we will explore several of these concepts as taught by the Book of Moses and by the temple through the great archetypal story of Adam and Eve, with a central focus on their relationship to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.20

In recent years, we Latter-day Saints have been talking, teaching, and writing much more about Christ’s Atonement, in testimonies, articles, books, and conversations. This is a most welcome and much-needed development. At times, however, some of our conversations seem to lack doctrinal clarity.

[Page 163]For example, Jan Shipps, a non–Latter-day Saint scholar who is among the most astute and sympathetic observers of the Church, believes that what she calls our increasing “LDS atonement discourse” has failed “to specify how [Christ’s] atoning act is connected to the ‘fulness of the gospel.’” Our discourse, she says, especially “fails to link the atonement to that part of the ‘plan of salvation’ that includes progression toward godhood.”21 And just weeks ago, a very thoughtful Church member asked me, “Is there more to ‘drawing on the power of the Atonement’ than faith in Christ, repentance, and baptism?”

Christ’s Atonement indeed offers us great blessings in addition to forgiveness and the Resurrection—and those blessings are key elements in the fulness of the gospel, the plan of salvation, and our progression toward acquiring a perfected divine nature. But Marie and I have felt a need to identify some kind of existing doctrinal structure that would help us explain the source and meaning of those additional blessings. As we’ve searched for such structure, we’ve been led especially to the temple and to the Book of Moses.

Figure 1 shows a picture of the St. George Utah Temple. I grew up about four blocks from this temple, my sense of “home” in multiple ways. In returning there in 2010 to serve for three years, the two of us came to feel that the doctrines and ordinances of the temple provide much of the doctrinal framework we had been looking for.

The Ascending Path of True Followers of Christ, Shown Against the Backdrop of the St. George Utah Temple.

Figure 1. The Ascending Path of True Followers of Christ, Shown Against the Backdrop of the St. George Utah Temple.

[Page 164]Years ago, a friend said to me, “Christ is at the center of the temple. And Christ is at the center of the gospel. So why doesn’t the temple endowment teach the story of the life of Christ? What’s all this about Adam and Eve?” At that time, neither of us could answer his question.

But Marie and I now feel settled with this answer: the story of the life of Christ is the story of giving the Atonement. And the story of Adam and Eve is the story of receiving the Atonement. Their story is our story too. We can look at them and say, “That’s the story of my life.” And when we’re in the temple, we can naturally think of ourselves as if we were Adam and Eve.

For what will follow, refer to the headings located in table 1—“Priesthood,” “Principles,” “Ordinances,” “Adam and Eve Receive the Atonement,” and “Blessings of Christ’s Atonement.”

The St. George Utah Temple was the first temple dedicated after the Nauvoo Temple, and it is actually the same size and shape as the Nauvoo Temple. Indeed, architectural historian Elwin Robinson told us that the St. George Utah Temple is Joseph’s temple—even though Brigham Young planned and dedicated it.22 The deliberate design of this temple, like the first few that followed it, represents what we might call the original intent of the founders—that is, it’s what the Lord gave Joseph for us. Baptism is the first saving ordinance, and the baptistry is always on the temple’s lowest floor, symbolizing a new life—the beginning of ascending discipleship.

In the early temples of this dispensation, as a patron moved from the baptistry to each succeeding ordinance, he or she stepped up, literally, to a higher level. Think of the Salt Lake Temple, which has retained that design. With each move—from the creation room to the garden room to the telestial room and eventually to the celestial room—we climb upward. So it is in all the temples where it’s physically possible, even if only slightly. That upward climb symbolizes the pattern of ascending back to God’s presence.

President David O. McKay called the temple endowment “the step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence.”23 As Joseph Smith said, “When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step[.] … You must begin with the first [principles], and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation.”24

This upward pattern could plausibly derive from the Book of Moses, given to Joseph 12 years before he administered the first endowments in Nauvoo. In a clear prologue to the Adam and Eve story, chapter 1 begins with Moses in God’s presence, learning that he is God’s son and that God has a work for him to do. Knowing his identity and purpose, [Page 165]he then falls back to the earth, where he must overcome Satan’s power before beginning his upward journey of return, calling on God, hearing His voice, seeing His heavenly vision, and regaining His presence.

The same cosmic pattern repeats in Adam and Eve’s story of being created, falling, overcoming opposition, being redeemed, and growing and returning to God. Then Enoch, their descendant, experiences and extends the pattern, moving on to lead his entire city back to God’s presence. Thus “the temple themes in the Book of Moses extend beyond the . . . story of Adam and Eve” to their culmination in the story of Enoch.25

Moreover, Jeff Bradshaw and his colleagues have shown that the narrative and details of Moses 1 “place it squarely in the genre of the ancient heavenly ascent literature” that Joseph Smith couldn’t have known about in 1830.26 And where is Christ in these Book of Moses stories? Right in the middle of them, in every sense, as we’ll see—because, as Richard Bushman wrote, “Christ enters the [Book of Moses] discourse almost at once and remains present [because] Joseph Smith’s Moses is a Christian . . . even in pre-Christian times.”27

Terryl Givens describes the stunning implications of this insight: “Positing Adamic foundations to the [Christian] gospel meant the collapse of all those polarities on which traditional Christian understanding was based,” such as works and grace, “catastrophic fall and reparative redemption.” That is now all “integrated into a seamless vision of a premortally conceived plan delivered in the Garden [of Eden] and made new again in [Joseph] Smith’s day.”28

Consider now how the Book of Moses gives us the detailed story of Adam and Eve—the story of “receiving” Christ’s Atonement. We begin with baptism, the first temple ordinance in doing work for the dead. Some time after leaving the garden, Adam asks God in Moses 6:53, “Why is it that men must repent and be baptized?” God replies, “Behold, I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. . . . The son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:53).

Those simple sentences introduce a doctrinally unique foundation for our understanding of why we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ. With some variations among denominations, the entire Christian world had taught for centuries that, because of Adam and Eve’s Fall, children are born with an evil nature. And that natural depravity is why mortals sin, so we need the grace of Christ mostly to overcome our inherited [Page 166]fallen nature. But here the Lord says, “No, the Savior has already cleansed your children from that original sin.” As Joseph Smith would later write, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith 1:2). An echo in Doctrine and Covenants 93:38 tells us that because Christ redeemed all infants from Adam’s Fall, they are born “innocent.” Hence no need for infant baptism.

The Lord then tells Adam in Moses 6:55–56 why his children would still need Christ’s Atonement—language that revealed in 1830 a totally new understanding, after centuries of misunderstanding both the Fall and the Atonement. “Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin”—that is, born into a fallen world that is subject to death, sin, and temptation—“when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil.”

So the bitterness we taste in life is not because there’s something wrong with us, with God, or with life. Rather, we taste the bitter so we may know to prize the good. We came to earth to learn from experience, some of it bitter enough to require very demanding repentance. But Christ’s Atonement is not just for the purpose of erasing black marks. It is a developmental doctrine about our personal growth and learning. The Atonement and repentance make that process possible by protecting us while we learn from our wise and unwise choices what love really is or why wickedness cannot produce happiness. Because of the Atonement, we can learn from our experience without being condemned by it.

Moreover, after the Lord’s angel had taught Adam and Eve the purpose of their animal sacrifices, they taught their children the wondrous news of the Redemption. Immediately, however, Moses 5 tells us in a remarkable passage that “Satan came among them,” and he “commanded” their children not to believe what their parents had taught, “and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish” (5:13). Those free choices by some of Adam and Eve’s children then, not their parents’ choice in the garden, created the first examples of what King Benjamin called “the natural man” who is “an enemy to God” (Mosiah 3:19).

Thus, writes Terryl Givens, the Book of Moses is “an audacious critique [of the Bible] with no Christian parallels.”29 Adam and Eve’s choice was “designed rather than tragic.” It did not “bring sin or fallenness on their race but opportunity and progress,” with “mortality conceived as an educative ascent from premortality.” These astounding doctrinal [Page 167]ideas were “decisively outside any recognizably Christian cosmology or etiology, at least of the nineteenth century.”30 Imagine the irony, then, of arguing that Joseph Smith found these new ideas somewhere in his 19th century environment.

Returning to the story of Adam and Eve, once they are forgiven, shouldn’t they just go back to Eden? No—as we see in the progressive sequence of the temple endowment, they don’t return to the garden. Rather, they continue their journey of ascent from the fallen telestial world toward their ultimate exaltation. That’s what the terrestrial and celestial rooms are all about.

The next ordinance is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost—or confirmation. Again, that part of Adam’s story is described only in the Book of Moses, chapter 6: “Thus he was baptized, and . . . born of the Spirit, and . . . quickened in the inner man.” Adam heard a voice saying, “Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost,” then these interesting words: “Thou art after the order of” the son of God (Moses 6:65–67). This tells me that Adam next received the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:3).

With these ordinances, Adam and Eve climbed the path of discipleship to receive forgiveness and the Atonement’s other blessings. What happens on that path? After King Benjamin’s people accepted the Atonement by baptism, the king told them, “This day he hath spiritually begotten you.” You have entered into a covenant to become “the children of Christ” (Mosiah 5:7). So they took His name upon themselves, entering into the relationship of becoming disciples of Jesus.

Thus they did as we do, embracing the two-way covenants that are reaffirmed in the sacrament prayers. By accepting the bread and water, we pledge our willingness to take upon ourselves His name, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments. And He covenants that His Spirit may always be with us—to what end? As we keep climbing, learning, and growing, He bestows upon us three broad categories of blessings: (1) redeeming blessings, (2) strengthening blessings, and (3) perfecting blessings. These three kinds of blessings are all made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah speaks of the redeeming blessings in terms that connect our repentance and baptism to our relationship with Christ—the two-way relationship made possible by His Atonement. First, the Lord says through Isaiah, “I have redeemed thee, . . . thou art mine” (Isaiah 43:1; emphasis added). Second, again through Isaiah, the Savior describes what will follow from this mine-thine relationship: “I will strengthen [Page 168]thee; yea, I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:10; emphasis added). What is He saying? We’ve become the children of Christ. Now we are following Him along a straight, narrow path—the steep ascent, sometimes the rocky ridges. Every step of that way, He is The Way, and He will be with us to strengthen us. Then third, Moroni exhorts us to keep moving until we qualify to receive His perfecting blessings: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” For if you “deny yoursel[f] of all ungodliness” and “love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that . . . ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).

The next time you sing all the verses of “How Firm a Foundation,” think about the Lord’s promise to His followers about the Atonement’s strengthening and perfecting blessings:

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.31

Our covenant relationship with Christ, being born again as His covenant children, is the source of these redeeming, strengthening, and perfecting blessings of the Atonement. Apart from this relationship, as President Russell M. Nelson has said, “There is no amorphous entity called ‘the Atonement’ upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus Christ is the source.”32

Succor, healing, and power are indeed among the blessings made possible by Christ’s Atonement, in addition to forgiveness. But “Jesus Christ”—not some amorphous entity—“is the source” of these blessings.33 And His Atonement is what qualifies Him to enter into the relationship with us that produces these blessings. We grow toward maturity as His spirit children on the bedrock of this covenant relationship. How firm a foundation.

As his people climb this covenant path, King Benjamin urges them to “be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works.” And if they faithfully do that, they will eventually receive this supernal blessing: “That Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his . . . that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life” (Mosiah 5:15).

Beginning as the baptized children of Christ, Adam and Eve walked the mortal path with its sweat, thorns, and occasional bitterness. And He called to them, “I will help thee. I will strengthen thee. Thou art mine.” With His help, they overcame Satan and all mortal opposition until one day He “sealed” them His. That’s a temple word. Then they were truly [Page 169]“at one” with Him, among the perfected, full-grown men and women of Christ.

Amulek shows us the inverse image of this sacred idea. Moses 5 tells us that when many of Adam and Eve’s children chose to love Satan more than God, they became carnal, sensual, and devilish. What is the destiny of this natural man if he continues on that carnal path? Amulek said he becomes “subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his” (Alma 34:35).

So those who are sealed to Christ become saints through His Atonement (Mosiah 3:19), and they will know a life of eternal joy. Those sealed to Satan become devilish by nature, and they will know a life of eternal misery. So what do the Book of Moses and other modern scriptures teach is the nature of man? At birth we are neither good nor evil but whole and innocent. Then we’re free to choose whom, and whose plan, we will follow—until we eventually acquire either a saintly or a devilish nature.

Now let us apply this doctrinal context to the framework of the temple’s ordinances and covenants. Table 1 lists the ordinances in ascending order—from baptism and confirmation to the temple ordinances of initiatory, endowment, and sealing. We won’t discuss each ordinance here, but we will note again that the temple teaches the story of Adam and Eve to show us how to receive the full blessings of Christ’s Atonement.

The upward sequence of table 1 shows Aaronic Priesthood and then Melchizedek Priesthood ordinances. For both men and women, the temple endowment makes clear the sequential progression from the Aaronic Priesthood level to the Melchizedek Priesthood level. Why does that matter? Because in the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood—meaning primarily the temple ordinances—“the power of godliness is manifest.” And without those temple ordinances, “the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this [power] no man [or woman] can see the face of God . . . and live” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:19–22).

So Aaronic to Melchizedek, from the lesser to the higher priesthood. In table 1, at the lower, or Aaronic, level the principles of faith and repentance are on the same level as baptism, an Aaronic Priesthood ordinance. And faith, repentance, and baptism are the first three principles and ordinances of the gospel, followed by confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

[Page 170]If these four are the first principles and ordinances, there must be more. Consider, for example, sacrifice and consecration, gospel principles that illustrate the higher, or Melchizedek-level, principles embedded in temple covenants. Table 1 shows these higher principles and covenants on the same level as the higher ordinances of the temple—the initiatory ordinance, the endowment, and the sealing. Perhaps we could say that the principles of sacrifice and consecration are to the Melchizedek Priesthood ordinances what the principles of faith and repentance are to the Aaronic priesthood ordinances. The higher perfecting principles ascend alongside the higher ordinances and covenants.

As we ascend upward from the first principles, we will always stand on the permanent foundation of faith, repentance, and baptism. Faith will always be the first and foundational principle, constantly needed and never outgrown. Repentance is similarly essential as a crucial, ongoing process. That said, we do learn in Doctrine and Covenants 84 and 107 about the differences between the two priesthoods. Among other things, the “lesser” or Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of “the preparatory gospel” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:26). And the “greater” or Melchizedek Priesthood holds the keys of “all the spiritual blessings” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:18). So priesthood, principles, and ordinances are all connected in ways that reflect the temple’s progressive ascent—suggested by the ascent of Moses in Moses 1 and in the ancient heavenly ascent literature. In summary, “While baptism [focuses] on the cleansing of the soul, the temple [focuses] on the development of the soul.”34

As we’ve seen, Moses 6 makes clear the Atonement’s developmental dimension. Thus after repentance, baptism, and initial forgiveness, Adam and Eve continue climbing and learning from experience until they enter what President McKay called “the Eternal Presence,” the presence of God.35 Would being in God’s presence then be different from when they were in His presence in the Garden of Eden?

T.S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”36 For Adam and Eve, “the place where we started” was in God’s presence in the innocence of Eden. Yet they were so inexperienced then that they didn’t know what it meant to be there. But finally, after tasting enough of the bitter that they could prize—that is, they could comprehend the sweet, they returned to Him. And they were probably overwhelmed to discover what it meant to be with Him. Now they knew the place—His presence—fully for the first time.

[Page 171]Marie: Let’s look again at how Eve and Adam show us the temple’s ascending development—in particular, what it means to receive Christ’s Atonement. This interactive receiving assists Eve and Adam step-by-step in becoming enough like Christ that they can stay with Him. That same receiving of His Atonement blesses us in the same way.

Near the end of his life, Lehi chose—of all possible topics—to teach his children about Adam and Eve receiving the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in their mortal lives. If our first parents had “remained in the garden of Eden,” Lehi said, they “would have had no children.” Instead, they would have “remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery” (2 Nephi 2:22–23).

Oh, I get it: no children — no misery! But verse 23 goes on: “. . . doing no good, for they knew no sin.” And then the famous lines, “Adam fell that men might be.” And here we need to fill in a blank, right? That men might be “mortal.” And why are men mortal? “That they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). 

Lehi illustrates here what the Lord had told Adam about his and Eve’s children: “They [will] taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good” (Moses 6:55). Lehi calls his version of this concept “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Without misery and opposition, we have no comparison, no contrast. We would have no way to understand the difference between good and evil—and therefore no way to choose between good and evil, no way to choose between the bitter and the sweet, and no way to choose to learn and grow from our experience.

As we’ve noted earlier, in all of Christianity, the Restoration’s developmental perspective is an entirely unique way of looking at sin, experience, and Christ’s Atonement. Our development in this sense helps us to change and become sanctified—prepared to comprehend being again in His presence. The Book of Moses tells us this story—what Eve and Adam are thinking and feeling and how they are developing— in ways we simply would not know otherwise.

To illustrate this developmental perspective, I want to share a narrative poem about Eve by Arta Romney Ballif, President Marion G. Romney’s sister. She is trying to imagine what it was like for Eve after she and Adam had been driven out of Eden. They were alone in a fallen world. There was no way for her to call her mother to ask, “What do I do with these boys? They’re driving me crazy. They’re on their cell phones all the time!” What was it like for her? Arta Ballif shows us what she imagines Eve thought and felt in the midst of one of her most wrenching experiences.

[Page 172]Her poem has levels of symbolic meaning. Look for the following symbols:

  • “Fruit.” Eve trades the “fruit” of the garden for the “fruit” of her body.
  • The “storm.” Storms in Eve’s life. Storms in our lives.
  • Seed.” “Seed” of plants. “Seed” of animals. Our “seed.”

As you look for the symbols, look for Eve’s feelings. How do we know Eve’s attitude at the end of the poem when she asks, “Why?” Arta Ballif calls her poem “Lamentation.”

Multiply, multiply—echoes multiply–
Thy sorrow, sorrow, sorrow—

I have gotten a man from the Lord
I have traded the fruit of the garden for the fruit of my body
For a laughing bundle of humanity.

And now another one who looks like Adam.
We shall call this one, “Abel.”
It is a lovely name, “Abel.”

Cain, Abel, the world is yours.
God set the sun in the heaven to light your days
To warm the flocks, to kernel the grain
He illuminated your nights with stars
He made the trees and the fruit thereof yielding seed
He made every living thing, the wheat, the sheep, the cattle
For your enjoyment.
And, behold, it is very good.

Adam? Adam,
Where art thou?
Where are the boys?
The sky darkens with clouds.
Adam, is that you?
Where is Abel?
He is long caring for his flocks.
The sky is black and the rain hammers.
[Page 173]Are the ewes lambing
In this storm?

Why your troubled face, Adam?
Are you ill?
Why so pale, so agitated?
The wind will pass
The lambs will birth
With Abel’s help.

What is dead?

Merciful God!

Hurry, bring warm water
I’ll bathe his wounds
Bring clean clothes
Bring herbs
I’ll heal him.

I am trying to understand.
You said, “Abel is dead.”
But I am skilled with herbs
Remember when he was seven
The fever? Remember how—

Herbs will not heal?

And Cain? Where is Cain?
Listen to that thunder.

Cain cursed?
What has happened to him?
God said, “A fugitive and a vagabond?”

But God can’t do that.
They are my sons, too.
I gave them birth
In the valley of pain.
Adam, try to understand
In the valley of pain
[Page 174]I bore them


This is his home
This [the] soil he loved
Where he toiled for golden wheat
For tasseled corn.

To the hill country?
There are rocks in the hill country
Cain can’t work in the hill country
The nights are cold
Cold and lonely, and the wind gales.

Quick, we must find him
A basket of bread and his coat
I worry, thinking of him wandering
With no place to lay his head.
Cain cursed?
A wanderer, a roamer?
Who will bake his bread and mend his coat?

Abel, my son dead?
And Cain, my son, a fugitive
Two sons
Adam, we had two sons
Both—Oh, Adam—


Dear God, Why?
Tell me again about the fruit
Please, tell me again

I’m looking forward to meeting Eve one day. I want to thank her.

Did you notice how Eve asked her questions at the end of the poem? And with what attitude? Did she demand, “Heavenly Father! Tell me! After all we’ve sacrificed, why are you doing this to me?” I don’t think so. She didn’t ask why she felt such anguish and agony about Cain and [Page 175]Abel; rather, she asked with more trust, “Heavenly Father, why do we have all the terrible difficulties to work through in this world? And where could working through those difficulties lead us? What is, after all, the ‘fruit’ of this life?”

As I think about the developmental ascent we’re all struggling in, I’m grateful for Elder Maxwell’s honest insight, asked ironically: “How can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’”38

So . . . what does Christ’s Atonement have to do with what Eve describes in the poem? Again, the best answer—a ringing doctrinal answer—is in the Book of Moses, in an angel’s visit to an altar. “Why,” the angel asks, “dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?”

Walter Rane: The Angel with Adam and Eve.

Figure 2. Walter Rane: The Angel with Adam and Eve. © by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

[Page 176]“I know not,” Adam replies, “save the Lord commanded me” (Moses 5:6).

Figure 2 depicts Walter Rane’s painting showing the angel teaching Adam and Eve. Again, the Book of Moses paints a clearer picture. “This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father. . . . Wherefore, . . . thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore” (Moses 5:7–8).

Look at the angel’s face. What is his attitude? Is he scolding them? No. He wants them to understand. He wants them to want to do the hard things they will have to do to ascend. He wants them to ascend, to get their feet out of the mud and get themselves into the fiery light of heaven. He loves them.

Look at Adam’s and Eve’s faces. It’s not fear you see. They’re leaning forward, desiring to understand. Look at the diagonal division in the painting. In the lower right is the reality, the mud of mortality. The glory of God can be reached only by stretching up and out and through the difficulties created by that symbolic mud. And notice Eve’s hand on Adam’s shoulder, as if she’s saying, “We’re going to do this together.”

The angel and the Holy Ghost teach them not only about Christ’s sacrifice but also about the great plan of redemption and salvation (see Moses 5:9). What is Eve’s reaction to the these divine teachings? Eve and Adam were not novices at this point—they’d been around the block in mortality a few times. They had had children and many hard experiences. And Eve is no Pollyanna; yet Moses 5:11 tells us that she “heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed [“seed” again], and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption.” She’s saying, “If we hadn’t chosen to taste the bitter, we wouldn’t, we couldn’t, prize the good.”

Eve is getting it. Remember—no experience, no children, no misery, no sin—and therefore no joy. So she says that without the anguish they wouldn’t know “the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (verse 11). I love how she doesn’t say “unto all the perfect,” but “unto all the obedient”—those who are striving. In this story, the Book of Moses again makes clear the unique doctrine that Christ and his atoning mission were central to Adam and Eve from their earliest days and that mortal afflictions are designed not to punish us, but to teach us. Mortal afflictions are a catalyst to growth.

Adam and Eve are stepping up, as in the temple’s pattern, to the terrestrial world and moving toward the celestial (see table 1). And as part of that stepping up, we can also see the additional blessings of the [Page 177]Atonement. The Savior is so ready to give us what is good for us when we become ready and when we’re willing to reach up.

As we think of the redeeming blessings, the strengthening blessings, and the perfecting blessings, notice how the perfecting blessings relate to the endowment and to the higher priesthood with sacrifice, with consecration. The angel’s visit strengthened Adam and Eve. And I believe the Savior is strengthening us while we’re being redeemed and while we’re trying to become perfected.

If Eve and Adam could grow through their extreme difficulties, maybe I could. The Book of Moses teaches this doctrine: I can climb up and out of any anguish if I stick with Him. I believe that if my faith is based on trust in God, and not on blessings, I can grow through any trial. It is a doctrine of hope.

Bruce: Let me add two brief thoughts about Adam and Eve’s marriage—and the doctrines of sealing and sacrifice, which culminate the story of receiving the Atonement. We noted earlier that the Book of Moses shows the contrast between other-centered and self-centered marriage; we’ll discuss more on that shortly. We have also seen that Eve and then Adam chose wisely in the garden because only the natural, mortal consequences of eating the fruit could provide the experience—including the children—needed to fulfill God’s plan for them and for us.

In contrast, traditional Christianity teaches that Eve’s choice was a terrible mistake, bringing down the wrath of God on all mankind. Some Christian churches still teach that because women are the daughters of foolish Eve, wives should be dependent on their husbands. Reacting strongly against this idea, most people today would say that a wife should be independent of her husband. And, in fairness, they would add, a husband should also be independent of his wife. But when both spouses are independent of each other, they usually accept today’s standard of marriage as a “nonbinding commitment,” which makes them both more likely to leave their marriage when the fun stops—or when the trouble starts.

Which is correct in a marriage: dependence or independence? Neither one. Resting on the doctrinal foundation provided by the Book of Moses, the restored gospel—unlike the rest of Christianity—teaches that Eve and Adam’s choice in the garden wasn’t a mistake or an accident; rather, their action was a deliberate, even glorious, part of the plan of salvation. Thus the Restoration sees Eve—and all women—as noble beings who are the complete equals of men. So Eve is not dependent on Adam, nor is she independent from him. Rather, Eve and Adam are interdependent with [Page 178]each other. As the Church’s “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” states, they are “equal partners” who “help one another” in everything they do.39 That concept was also not likely to have been present in Joseph Smith’s 1830 New England culture.

The Adam and Eve story also teaches us about sacrifice—both in general and as a sanctifying dimension of marriage. During our time in the St. George Utah Temple, I was asked to perform a sealing in the same sealing room where Marie and I had been married about half a century earlier. As I invited the young couple to come to the altar, suddenly I realized something I hadn’t caught before. I would be asking them to kneel—like Adam and Eve—at the sacred altar of prayer, the altar of covenant, the altar of sacrifice. And what would they be doing there?

I found myself telling them that when the Savior spoke to the Nephites after He had completed His atoning mission, He said that He no longer wanted animal sacrifices. He wanted instead the new sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit (see 3 Nephi 9:20).

Animal sacrifice was symbolic of the Father offering His Son. But having a broken heart and a contrite spirit is a symbol of the Savior offering Himself as a sacrifice for us. James E. Talmage taught that Jesus literally died of a broken heart. When we make that kind of sacrifice, offering ourselves, we seek to emulate Him. So that couple were meekly offering themselves on the altar—to God and to each other, holding nothing back—like Adam and Eve.

And what will happen to them as they try to live for each other and for their family in a way that emulates Christ? This thing is in similitude of the Only Begotten. As they try individually to live as He did, they offer themselves to God vertically and they offer themselves to each other horizontally. As “Adam said: This [woman] . . . is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” “Therefore shall a man . . . cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” And “Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him” (Moses 3:23–24; 5:1).

Think of a triangle, with the bride and groom in the two bottom corners and the Lord at the apex above them. As they individually ascend toward Him on either side of the triangle, the closer they come to the Lord, the closer they will come to each other. And eventually, when they come to the point of being “at one” with Him, they will also be at one with each other. As their sealing is sanctified in this way, they are personally sanctified—as the Savior’s perfecting grace blesses their lifetime of placing their hearts on the altar of selfless love.

[Page 179]This covenantal, sacrifice-based understanding of marriage differs starkly and powerfully from the prevailing cultural view of marriage today. In His parable of the good shepherd, Jesus describes a hireling—someone who is paid to care for the sheep. When the wolf comes, He says that the hireling “leaveth the sheep, and fleeth.” Why does the hireling run away? Because “his own the sheep are not.” By contrast, Jesus said of Himself, “I am the good shepherd. . . . I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:12, 14–15). In today’s culture, many marriage partners view themselves like hirelings—who too often flee when the wolf of trouble comes. They are like Adam and Eve’s misguided descendants who “hearkened not” to the words of Noah and who were “lifted up in the imagination” of their own hearts (Moses 8:21–22). But we, in similitude, try to give our lives for the sheep of our marriage covenant—an hour, a day at a time.

I know that the Good Shepherd lives and that our personal relationship with Him leads to a joining of His sacrifice and ours. Within and through that relationship, He redeems us, He strengthens us, and He perfects us.

Finally, when I was assigned to meet in the St. George Utah Temple with people ready to receive their own endowment, I would tell them that they were about to have an experience similar to what Moses had, as described in Moses 1. And I would say that what the Lord said to Moses, He would be saying to them during the endowment: “[imagine the Lord saying your name], thou art my son [or my daughter],” and “I have a work for thee” to do (Moses 1:4, 6). I’m so thankful for the Book of Moses, because through the temple it teaches us the divine vision of who we really are, and it teaches us the work that will return us to His presence.


Dan Peterson:

You have given us a rich banquet of reflections on the temple and the Book of Moses and a really marvelous introduction to this conference. We’re grateful for that. So, thank you very much. I have some questions here—some of my own, and some that have come in. One is this: “How does the Book of Moses address the criticism that Joseph Smith’s theology evolved, especially regarding the temple?”

[Page 180]Bruce C. Hafen:

Well, we believe in continuing revelation. Of course Joseph’s theology would evolve. As we’ve already said, he was given what Jack Welch called the blueprint for the temple endowment in 1830 in the Book of Moses. And then, over time, the Saints became ready to receive that endowment. But we didn’t even receive the full endowment in Kirtland. Beautiful as that temple was, historic as it was, with the visit of Moses and all the others, it wasn’t time for the complete endowment until the Saints were in Nauvoo. So was Joseph’s understanding—his theology—evolving? Beautiful. Yes.

Marie K. Hafen:

Yes. And even then, we didn’t have it all until St. George.

Bruce C. Hafen:

This was once the matron of the St. George Temple. What do you mean, Sister Hafen?

Marie K. Hafen:

We didn’t have all of the ordinances for the dead—like the endowment for the dead. So the pattern for temple work wasn’t complete until then.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Yes, that’s a wonderful point, really. And we didn’t realize that ourselves until we were working in the St. George Temple a few years ago. The first endowments for the dead took place there in 1877, when the St. George Temple was first dedicated. Later that year came the celebrated temple visit of the Founding Fathers, who essentially said to temple president Wilford Woodruff, “Finally, you’re doing endowments for the dead, but you haven’t done ours.” Well, it was all part of the evolving understanding. Why didn’t the Saints do all of that in Nauvoo? They barely received their own endowments and marriage sealings before their enemies chased them out of town. Yes—it was evolving.

Marie K. Hafen:

But the blueprint was there, for the basic—

Bruce C. Hafen:

Yes, the blueprint. The foundation.

[Page 181]Dan Peterson:

But Brigham Young asked President Wilford Woodruff, your predecessor there, to systematize and organize the temple ordinance work. This was really our first chance, I think, to have a peaceful place where we could really contemplate what we were doing in a temple.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Nice way to put it, Dan. I mean, Brigham Young broke ground for the Salt Lake Temple within just a few years of when the Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Yet it took 40 more years to build that temple. And they had so much trouble, such as when they once had to cover up the foundation and prepare to run for the hills. They didn’t know what was happening. They didn’t know when the dedication day would ever come. And so Brigham Young went to St. George in 1871 to announce the construction of that temple. The temple was then partially dedicated in 1877 in January, then fully dedicated in April. And Brigham Young died just a few months later.

Marie K. Hafen:

So that temple was built in six years.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Right. And talk about peaceful conditions—peace and poverty. They often go together in a strange way. But Brigham Young also asked Wilford Woodruff and others who were there to write down the temple ordinances for the first time. They had kept them sacred—

Marie K. Hafen:

They were in their minds.

Bruce C. Hafen:

—and confidential. That was under Brigham Young’s direction. And after he had dedicated the St. George Temple, within the next few months he dedicated the temple sites for both the Manti Temple and the Logan Temple. And then he died one week after the Founding Fathers visited President Woodruff in August of 1977.

Dan Peterson:

[Page 182]If I could just add something myself, years ago I was on the Gospel Doctrine writing committee, and I was asked to do a lesson about Brigham Young. And I decided that I was tired of reading about Brigham Young as the great pioneer leader. We knew that. I wanted to show Brigham Young, the religious leader devoted to temples. One quote sticks in my mind where he said sometimes he wanted the tongues of seven thunders to wake up the people. He said, “If you understood how important this work is, this house [speaking about the St. George Temple] would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” It would never close, there’s so much work to be done.

Bruce C. Hafen:

The quote that you just offered so accurately was from his talk at the dedication of the St. George Temple.

Dan Peterson:

So he was committed to that. He wasn’t only the practical man of action, irrigation, canals, and colonizing. It was all in the service of the work of the Lord and temples, particularly.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Tying that back to something you said earlier, Dan, about Joseph and evolving theology, Hugh Nibley once said Brigham Young was Joseph Smith’s most faithful disciple. You may remember that we quoted the temple architecture historian Elwin Robinson, who has done a lot of historical work for the Church, even though he lives in Ohio. He told us the St. George Temple was Joseph’s temple. The relationship between Joseph and Brigham was so clear in the temple work. And my own personal little theory about why Brigham Young was in such a hurry to get that temple built in St. George is that he sensed he didn’t have much longer. And he wasn’t about to face his mentor Joseph and say, “Sorry, we had too many problems.” No, we’ll just go to poverty-stricken but peaceful little St. George and get it done.

Dan Peterson:

That’s a great point. Here’s another question that came in. “Should we take the archetypal story of Adam and Eve as an allegory, based on [Page 183]a prospective series of Adam and Eves in our universe?” That’s fairly speculative, I think.

Marie K. Hafen:

OK, read the last part again.

Dan Peterson:

It says, “Based on a prospective series of Adam and Eves in our universe.”

Bruce C. Hafen:

Hmm. I don’t know much about other Adams and Eves in our universe. So I guess I’d say, “What’s the next question?”

Dan Peterson:

Well, I’ll go on because there’s even another part to this one, which I didn’t understand.

Marie K. Hafen:

Or is he saying, “If Adam and Eve lived, then are we all like Adam and Eve?” Or “Did they do it because there would be a lot of Adam and Eves?”

Dan Peterson:

I don’t know exactly. Are there Adams and Eves in other worlds? I suppose there might be something like that. This question goes on to say, “They might seem to merge to the point where we can actually tell, is this right?” I’m not sure I know what that means. I thought maybe you might.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Well, maybe what that means, just giving the questioner the benefit of the doubt—sometimes speculative questions come from a good place—

Dan Peterson:


Bruce C. Hafen:

Maybe when we say archetypal pattern, we mean something so fundamental that it’s universal. And if the Adam and Eve story is so archetypal that it’s universal, then maybe that’s what he’s talking about, and it could well be true.

[Page 184]Dan Peterson:

Yes. I think in Persian, for example, they use the word Ādăm, Adam, to refer to just any person, a person. Because Adam is everybody, every man. I think that’s really striking in a non-Christian, non-Jewish culture, but they still do it. Now, here are some other thoughts that occurred to me—some are thoughts, some are questions. One is, on the whole, my sense is that we’re not doing an adequate job of preparing young people and others to go to the temple for the first time. If so, how might we improve on that as individuals, in our families, in the Church?

Bruce C. Hafen:

Wonderful question, Dan. And it’s on the minds of the First Presidency and the Twelve—they’ve talked about it in conference. They’re serious about that. We don’t have those temples popping up all over the world just hoping someday, somebody might see one. They’re there on purpose. And so we need to prepare our young people everywhere. I think of the places where the Church is so new, and yet they already have temples. We had a granddaughter just come back from a mission to Cambodia. I hardly knew the Vietnam War was over, and she was called as a missionary to Cambodia! And now there’s a temple coming there. So the Lord is hastening His work. And that must mean hastening the process of teaching our young people. So what are we going to do about that? Well, how about starting with the Book of Moses—because it contains the doctrinal foundation. It’s one thing to talk about the practical nuts and bolts of going to the temple, and there are lots of them, and we need to understand them. But knowing the doctrinal perspective is fundamental. And I sense that the Brethren are telling us, if we’re careful, if we follow the guidance on the Church website, we can say more, we can teach more, we can talk more. And that includes the doctrinal big picture, such as the scriptures we were talking about tonight. Then when people go, they are more ready.

Marie K. Hafen:

So we can certainly teach anything that’s in print, and there’s a lot of published material available now. But I think maybe you also have to go back to the real base where, say, a mother teaches her children to pray. A mother talks with her children around the dinner table. The father is there, and they discuss what the temple means to them. What did they learn from going to the temple? So that step-by-step teaching, as they’re ready, as it’s age appropriate, then they learn what the next steps are [Page 185]so that they can be ready with their hearts, and also with their minds, to understand what they will be presented with in the temple.

Dan Peterson:

I think the Church is being much more open nowadays, showing photographs of temple clothing, and so on. Now I heard an objection just the other day. Someone told me of a person who had gone to the temple and was turned off because one of the characters representing people in the temple had buttons, and buttons didn’t exist in the days of Adam and Eve. And I thought, Oh my, someone missed the point. Maybe we can help out a little there.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Well, there again, we don’t know our own history very well. One of the delightful discoveries we made being in the St. George Temple was the history of how they decided what clothing they would wear. Marie and I love the story of Wilford Woodruff.

Marie K. Hafen:

When he and the other ordinance workers first came to work inside the temple, they didn’t wear white.

Bruce C. Hafen:

He was the temple president, but they were just figuring this out. And one day he showed up in white clothing, as did Lucy Bigelow Young, who was the matron of the temple and one of Brigham Young’s wives. They were both clothed in white. And then the ordinance workers began wearing white. And then the patrons. There were so many other things that happened like that. It was line upon line, and precept upon precept.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Can I put in a plug for one other point, Dan? And that is the value of the new four-volume history of the Church entitled Saints. It is so candid. So open. It’s based on stories—and that’s what we’ve been doing here tonight with the story of Adam and Eve. We want each other in the Church to know these stories, the doctrinal ones about the temple, about the issues that people said they didn’t know enough about earlier. And there might have been a time earlier when it was better to kind of let people wait until they were ready to look deeper into the Adam and Eve story. But we live in a culture that isn’t waiting until anybody’s ready for [Page 186]anything. It’s all sort of in your face, ready or not, here we come. And I think we’re starting to do that more in the Church. And that history is a good example of it.

Marie K. Hafen:

Also, I was just thinking about the instructions that I was privileged to give to young women who were coming to the temple—mostly younger women coming for the first time, either as missionaries or to be married. I would tell them that if they understood what a symbol is, then they would take a big step up toward understanding the temple. Because the Lord will take whoever comes to the temple where he or she is, and then He will teach them based on their desire, based on their living, based on their understanding, the next step that they need to have. And He teaches them in a way that is not obvious on the surface, but if you look for the symbols and understand the symbols, then you’re going to understand the temple better and better, deeper and deeper.

Dan Peterson:

I can say some of my best moments in the Church, but specifically in the temple, have been when suddenly a light bulb goes on, and I get something. I see what it means—at least, I think I do. I’m seeing a new light on this now.

Marie K. Hafen:

In a new way.

Dan Peterson:

Yes, yes. And I’ve made a step, I think. And these are tremendous moments. Oh, this is sort of related to it. I’m intrigued by the idea of the Book of Moses as a temple text. And sometimes it seems to me, the temple is kind of out there in normal church experience: before you’ve gone to the temple, you’ve been to sacrament meetings. The temple’s nothing like a sacrament meeting in a lot of ways. And we say, “Well, we don’t have all the symbolic stuff,” and so on. And then people go to the temple, and we do. And there’s kind of a disconnect. And I think talking about the Book of Moses as a temple text maybe suggests one way that we might integrate the temple with our more common, everyday, outside-of-the-temple experience as Latter-day Saints.

Marie K. Hafen:

[Page 187]Well, can I comment just a little bit? Because I think the Book of Moses gets closer to the temple, being a poem, than our regular everyday speech. And if you look at the temple as a poem, rather than as just a narrative story, then that also helps you to understand why and how it’s going to be different from our normal everyday life.

Bruce C. Hafen:

I would just add that we’ve been getting a little taste recently in the Church of what sacrament meeting is really all about. I would sometimes say to young people coming to the temple for their own endowment that, actually, ordinances are central to what we do outside the temple, as well as inside. I would say, occasionally, “What if you would go to sacrament meeting, and the only thing you did was walk in, sit down, and somebody brings you the sacrament, and then you go home, you’re done?” Well, that’s kind of what the temple is. It’s receiving an ordinance. And why don’t we think of the sacrament in those terms? Maybe we can understand it better now, since that’s what we’re sometimes doing during this season of COVID-19 restrictions.

Dan Peterson:

I think sometimes we’ve seen the sacrament as something you get out of the way so you can get to the real heart of the meeting—

Bruce C. Hafen:

Yes. Yes.

Dan Peterson:

—which is the talks. Whereas, actually, the talks are dispensable. Even if they’re good, they’re dispensable. The sacrament is not.

Marie K. Hafen:

Again, it’s condensed like a poem.

Dan Peterson:


Marie K. Hafen:

And it has unfolding meanings as you bring more to it.

[Page 188]Dan Peterson:

Yes, yes. I remember baptizing one of my sons, and it suddenly hit me how simple the ordinance of baptism is. It only takes a few seconds, and it’s a very simple thing. You say a few words—dip them in water, bring them out. That’s baptism. And yet it’s so profoundly, symbolically rich, and obviously so eternally important. But we can skip it by. And I remember when I was a bishop once, there was a person who came to me, and he was thinking of not getting married in the temple. He was worthy in every way. I couldn’t understand why. I asked him, and he said, “Well, because I don’t want all the expense, and all that sort of thing, the reception.” And I said, “Look, you’ve got this all mixed up. The reception—maybe you should have one, maybe you shouldn’t. But it’s not necessary. The temple is very simple. You don’t have to shell out a lot of money. If you just want to go there with your fiancée and get married, you can do that. Don’t drop the temple—drop the reception, if you’re going to let one go or the other.”

Marie K. Hafen:


Dan Peterson:

Yes, I didn’t think I was really supposed to counsel someone to elope. But it was going to be a choice of temple or not. You might choose that. Elope to the temple.

Bruce C. Hafen:

There’s actually a similar problem, Dan, with those going on missions. It was interesting to me to hear the members of the First Presidency and Twelve talk about this more than once. They wanted temple presidents, and they wanted priesthood leaders and families, to understand that when people receive a mission call and they can now go to the temple, that’s not just to check the first box on the way to the MTC. It has an independent, significant meaning that we’ve been talking about all evening—to be able to go to the temple for itself, with all of the meaning it has. And so to have missions kind of disrupted, and missionaries going to the temple have been disrupted—maybe that will help us think in fresh ways about both of those things.

[Page 189]Marie K. Hafen:

I think it is, because of COVID-19. When our grandson recently went on his mission without having been to the temple, he just had to wait until there was an opportunity.

Dan Peterson:

Right. Now, this is, I think, helping us to boil things down to the essence, and that can be very good sometimes. A lot of things can grow up around the essence, and we begin to confuse them with the core. So . . .

Bruce C. Hafen:

Well now, can I ask you a question, Dan?

Dan Peterson:

[Laughs] I don’t know if we allow that.

Bruce C. Hafen:

This is a question about the Book of Moses conference. Getting ready for this conference has been really intriguing for both of us. And you’ve heard us say some things tonight that some people might consider new ideas. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ teaches an understanding about the Fall, the Atonement, the meaning of life—all of those fundamental essences about the mortal experience—that the rest of Christianity doesn’t know about. I don’t condemn them. They just don’t know any better.

Dan Peterson:


Bruce C. Hafen:

But are we trying to keep this a secret in the Church? Because I find that a lot of our people don’t recognize how unique our doctrine is. We’ve talked tonight about the developmental nature of the Restoration’s doctrine about Christ’s Atonement. The temple traces that, and the scriptures teach it, especially in the Book of Moses. So I say hooray for this conference, because it will give some visibility to the uniqueness and the value of our theology. There’s something far more at stake here than “Is there historicity behind the Book of Moses?”

[Page 190]Dan Peterson:

Oh yes. And we talk that way. As time went on in our preparation, we talked that way on purpose. And we do salute you for opening the conference. And we believe in trying to get the word out about the temple. Let’s also get it out about the theology that’s in the Book of Moses.

Dan Peterson:

I don’t think that we fully appreciate—most of us, probably any of us fully appreciate—how rich and radical, in the good sense, the doctrine is. This came home to me once in a way. I’m supposed to be asking you questions, but I’m telling stories.

Marie K. Hafen:

That’s good.

Bruce C. Hafen:

You’re just answering our question.

Dan Peterson:

But I remember years ago, I was in a conference with Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Graz, Austria. And I ended up spending a little extra time there. My wife and children were already in Jerusalem. I was going to teach there. But I couldn’t catch my flight right away. So I was there with a rabbi who taught at a university back east. And we were talking about the Church a little bit. He wanted to know about it. And I said, well, one of the issues it was facing was rapid growth in many areas and having to staff new units. And he said, “Growth?” He said, “I don’t mean to insult you, but I’ve always thought of Mormonism as the sort of quintessential boring midwestern Protestantism.” And I said, “Boy, you really don’t know anything about us at all.” But it was clear, he thought of us as just basically evangelicals or fundamentalists with an extra book, maybe an extra wife, I don’t know. And I thought, Sometimes I just want to scream, “No, we’re much weirder than you think we are. We’re really different.”

Bruce C. Hafen:


Dan Peterson:

And our theology is radically different in a really good way.

[Page 191]Marie K. Hafen:

Yes, we have all the rungs in the ladder.

Dan Peterson:

Yes, yes. We’re not just another form of Protestantism. It’s very different than that. Of course, some of our critics know that, but they don’t appreciate it. But others don’t know it at all. Well, I don’t want to keep this going too long, but there are questions and issues that maybe you’d have something to say about. There seems to be a rising tendency among some members of the Church to say, “Well, the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Moses doesn’t really matter.” Or some even say they just aren’t historical, and what difference does that make? It’s always been the position of people outside the Church. And it’s probably been the position of people who were leaving the Church, fading out of membership. But I hear it more often nowadays—occasionally among people who are still in. “I’m thoroughly active. I just think the Book of Mormon—well, Joseph Smith made it up.” And how do you react to that?

Bruce C. Hafen:

We’re kind of that same way about our culture. The “cancel culture” of people today would like to just do away with historicity in general. If you don’t like something, cancel it. If you don’t understand something, cancel it. But we don’t know who we are without our history. So to say that in our country, as well as in our modern scriptures, there’s no historicity, is to say—we kind of alluded to that earlier—that you don’t really grasp the reality and the nature of the Restoration. It’s not just Protestantism with another book. So hooray again for this conference, because that will help people think more clearly.

Dan Peterson:

Well, I think you raised one really strong point about this. Moses appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. I also want to ask, “If the Book of Mormon’s not historical, then who was it that appeared in his bedroom and told him where the plates were? What’s going on here? Who are these persons who keep showing up who you say weren’t historic?”

[Page 192]Bruce C. Hafen:

And there are so many of them. That’s another reason for—let’s read Saints

Dan Peterson:


Bruce C. Hafen:

—because there are so many people who came to Joseph. The Restoration was such a huge process. And once you see the size of it, then these questions about the historicity of something specific just sort of fade into relative insignificance.

Dan Peterson:

Yes, yes. I just think, it’s one thing to bracket the historicity of the ancient scriptures that we have. But that also makes a hash of the Restoration, because you’ve got Peter, James, and John. And you’ve got Moroni. You’ve got Moses. You’ve got all of these figures who are coming. And so the ancient history matters, and it matters in the 19th century, and the end of the 21st too. You can’t just ignore that. Well, there were a couple of other things you said that I just really loved. I’ve loved your quotation from Elder Maxwell: “How can we expect to receive everything the Lord has if we say, ‘Well, I want experience, yes, but none of the unpleasant things’?”

Marie K. Hafen:

None of the hard things that made Him who He is.

Dan Peterson:

Yeah. The stuff that He had to go through. I don’t want that. But then I want to be rewarded. I remember one day when I was becoming active in the Church as a teenager. I grew up in a part-member family. And my mother wasn’t overly active. But I was suddenly just oppressed by the thought that Abraham may have already entered into his exaltation, but I’m nowhere near Abraham. How can I even think of reaching that sort of status? What would I have to do to get there? But somehow we’re assured that we can follow that path. But then we have to be willing, I guess, to take what the Lord gives us too, and that may or may not be the trials and tests of Abraham.

[Page 193]Marie K. Hafen:

Yes, yes—as in Mosiah 3:19.

Bruce C. Hafen:

But the pattern is the same. And that’s, I think, what we’re talking about. That’s why I’m so grateful for the Book of Moses—

Marie K. Hafen:

For the blueprint.

Bruce C. Hafen:

—and the temple. The temple’s blueprint is the archetypal pattern. Sure, there are all these variations, but that pattern fits all times, places, seasons. It’s just remarkable.

Dan Peterson:

I love the image too from your comments about sealing a young couple. I would love to have had it as a bishop when I was sending young couples to the temple. I like this one: think of a triangle with the bride and groom at the two bottom corners, kneeling at the altar, and the Lord at the apex, above them, as they individually ascend toward Him on either side of the triangle. The closer they come to the Lord, the closer they will come to each other. And eventually, when they come to the point of being at one with Him, they will also be at one with each other. I thought that was a marvelously profound statement.

Bruce C. Hafen:

There are some little hints there about the blessings of the at-one-ment.

Dan Peterson:

Yes. And one other thing—I’m entering into this much more than I intended to, but I like the comments you made about trying to see more clearly the link between Latter-day Saint atonement discourse and the plan of salvation, especially progression toward the divine nature. It seems to me, I actually made an argument, something like this, in a piece for Jack Welch a few years ago, that the full atonement, the full at-one-ment with God, actually already entails partaking of the divine nature. If you’re fully at one with God, you’re there. That’s what it is. And you’re at one with everyone else who is at one with God.

[Page 194]Bruce C. Hafen:

But knowing it is a developmental process changes the way you look at everything about it. And this process is in the temple, and in the Book of Moses. So when you make that paradigm shift, “Oh, it’s developmental,” it’s not just a kind of one-and-done thing overnight. It’s the comparison with the typical doctrines of other Christian faiths, where they’re doing the best they can. But knowing that it’s developmental changes everything.

Marie K. Hafen:

But that’s what gives you hope as well.

Dan Peterson:


Marie K. Hafen:

Because you think, well, I can do that a step at a time.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Are we lurching to a close here, Dan? There’s another image that occurs to me. One of the things I like about the developmental nature of our spiritual experience is that we know where this leads us. We go to the temple, and we learn where that developmental pattern ends up. There’s a message there for us. This process, this pattern, in the Book of Moses and in the temple is, as Marie said so beautifully, both simple and symbolic. It’s a way of saying, Where are we going? What did the angel want for Adam and Eve, and all the rest of us? “I’m trying to get you home.” This isn’t some club that’s reserved for an elect few who somehow learn some secret password or code or know somebody. No, everybody, “come, follow me.” And we know where we can go, what we can become, by developing through experience and with all the blessings of the Atonement. So even though it seems so far away, there’s something about these stories and these doctrines that bring “Home” within reach enough for us to keep going. And that’s really all we need.

Marie K. Hafen:

Yes. “And follow me through the difficulties and the hard things that I have ‘inflicted upon you’ [see Mosiah 3:19] so you can become as I am.” So, yes. “Come, follow me.” But where does that lead?

[Page 195]Dan Peterson:

It’s a stirring vision. I remember the thing that probably caught my attention. I’ve told this story in some contexts, and then I’ll be quiet and allow you to do some closing thoughts. But I discovered a little book when I was staying home from school one day. I think I may have really been sick. I don’t remember. But I found a book that we just inherited from my grandmother called Added Upon, by Nephi Anderson.

Marie K. Hafen:

Yes, I know that one.

Dan Peterson:

And I don’t know, I’ve tried to read it again, and it didn’t age well with me. But when I read it the first time, I had thought that church was just a series of boring meetings, and I was not very interested in it. And then I read that—and for the first time, I think I caught a vision of the plan of salvation, that panorama from premortal existence on through. I thought, and I still think, that is the most breathtaking thing that I had ever read or seen. Just astonishing to me. And suddenly, I thought, Oh, now if this is true, this changes everything. It puts everything in this life in a different light. It all makes sense, and it’s worth devoting oneself to. And the temple is a summary of that same path.

Marie K. Hafen:

Love that title. My mother read that book as a girl in Old Mexico when she was growing up there in the colonies.

Dan Peterson:


Marie K. Hafen:

Yes. The vision. And she always had that. I think it’s one of those things you try to help your children see—the vision of what they can achieve and become.

Dan Peterson:

Well, thank you very much. And now if you have any parting thoughts, I will depart the stage.

[Page 196]Bruce C. Hafen:

Marie, do you have anything you’d like to say?

Marie K. Hafen:

No, I think we’ve probably said more than they’d like to hear. I don’t know.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Oh yes. I can’t see the unseen audience. Where are they? Are you still there?

Marie K. Hafen:

That Added Upon. I think the temple adds upon—

Bruce C. Hafen:


Marie K. Hafen:

And the Book of Moses adds upon. It’s a great, great thought.

Bruce C. Hafen:

As I mentioned in our presentation, I did used to talk to people who were being endowed about the Book of Moses. I simply believed in it. It had been my own experience. I would say, “As you go through this endowment, imagine—I don’t know when it will happen to you, maybe it won’t be the first time—but as you keep coming back, the Lord will be whispering two ideas to you. First, ‘Thou art my son, or my daughter.’” What’s that? It’s the vision of who you are. That’s what he gave Moses. And once Moses understood that, then, second, the Lord said, “I have a work for thee to do.” Yes, go get Israel out of Egypt. Well, for a lot of us, we don’t have to do that. We maybe have to get—

Marie K. Hafen:

Egypt out of us.

Bruce C. Hafen:

Yes. The vision and the work, it’s all in the temple. It’s all in the Book of Moses. And it’s so simple. I love the power of the simplicity—the vision [Page 197]and the work. And we can all understand it, it’s so accessible and so needed. Thanks for the opportunity to be with you.

Dan Peterson:

Oh, thank you. Thank you.


1. Bruce C. Hafen, A Disciple’s Life: The Biography of Neal A. Maxwell (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 508.

2. Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 509.

3. Noel B. Reynolds. “The coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the twentieth century.” BYU Studies Quarterly 38, no. 2 (1999): 6–47., 36, quoted in Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 510.

4. Truman G. Madsen, Oral History Interview, 37–38, Church History Library. Unpublished manuscript in the possession of the author, quoted in Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 510.

5. John Woodland Welch interview: Salt Lake City, Utah, 2000 September 13-29, OH 570, Church History Library, quoted in Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 511.

6. Hafen, A Disciple’s Life, 511.

7. “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered” (C. S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Orlando, FL: Macmillan, 1980, reverse and exp. ed.), 28.)

8. Neal A. Maxwell, Plain and Precious Things (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 4.

9. Sterling McMurrin, “An Interview with Sterling McMurrin,” interview by Blake Ostler, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 17, no. 1 (Spring 1984): 25,

10. On the role of evidence in nurturing faith, see John W. Welch, “The Power of Evidence in the Nurturing of Faith,” in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: [Page 198]Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2002), 17–53,, and  (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2002), 17–53, .

11. “Abraham,” Wikimedia Foundation, last modified 5 November 2020, 00:45,

12. Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Maxwell Legacy in the 21st Century,” 10 November 2018, Joseph Smith Building auditorium, Brigham Young University, in Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2018 Annual Report, p. 16, See Stephen Prothero, “Belief Unbracketed: A Case for the Religion Scholar to Reveal More of Where He or She Is Coming From,” Harvard Divinity Bulletin 32, no. 2 (Winter/Spring 2004): 10–11.

13. Neal A. Maxwell, “Discipleship and Scholarship,” BYU Studies 32, no. 3 (1992): 8,

14. For a website with relevant perspectives on the Book of Abraham, see The site includes 40 historical validations of Abraham. . The site includes 40 historical validations of Abraham.

15. “Tracing Ancient Threads in the Book of Moses: 2020 Interpreter Foundation Conference,” Interpreter Foundation,

16. “I define a ‘temple text’ as one that contains the most sacred teachings of the plan of salvation that are not to be shared indiscriminately, and that ordains or otherwise conveys divine powers through ceremonial or symbolic means, together with commandments received by sacred oaths that allow the recipient to stand ritually in the presence of God.” John W. Welch, “The Temple in the Book of Mormon: The Temples at the Cities of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful,” in Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism, ed. Donald W. Parry (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 300.

17. John W. Welch, email message to Bruce C. Hafen, 9 September 2020.

18. John Welch suggested several of these terms in our recent exchange of emails on this subject. See Welch, email message to Hafen, 9 September 2020.

19. [Page 199]Welch, email message to Hafen, 9 September 2020.

20. We first explored many of the themes described in this paper in Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart: How the Atonement Applies to Life’s Experiences, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009); and Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, The Contrite Spirit: How the Temple Helps Us Apply Christ’s Atonement (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2015). The doctrinal foundations for both books rely heavily on scriptural passages from the Book of Moses.

21. Jan Shipps, Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 112.

22. Elwin Robinson, conversation with Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, 2013.

23. David O. McKay, Los Angeles Temple dedication, Los Angeles, CA, 11 March 1956, quoted in Truman G. Madsen, “House of Glory,” in Five Classics by Truman G. Madsen (repr., Salt Lake City, UT: Eagle Gate, 2001), 282.

24. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007), 268.

25. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, “The LDS Book of Enoch as the Culminating Story of a Temple Text,” BYU Studies 53, no. 1 (2014): 44.

26. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, David J. Larsen, and Stephen T. Whitlock, “Moses 1 and the Apocalypse of Abraham: Twin Sons of Different Mothers?” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 38 (2020): 190,

27. Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 134.

28. Terryl Givens and Brian M. Hauglid, The Pearl of Greatest Price: Mormonism’s Most Controversial Scripture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 5.

29. Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 30.

30. Givens and Hauglid, Pearl of Greatest Price, 40–42.

31. “How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, no. 85.

32. Russell M. Nelson, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 40.

33. [Page 200]Nelson, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ,” 40.

34. Allan Rau, email message to Bruce C. Hafen, 25 June 2012; emphasis added.

35. McKay, in Madsen, “House of Glory,” 282.

36. Thomas Stearns Eliot, “Little Gidding,” in Four Quartets (New York City: Harcourt, 1971), 59.

37. Arta Romney Ballif, Lamentation and Other Poems. Privately printed, 1989, with permission. Quoted in Bruce C. Hafen. Covenant Hearts: Marriage and the Joy of Human Love (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005), 67-70.

38. Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds,’” Ensign, May 1991, 88.

39. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2010, 129.

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About Bruce C. Hafen

Bruce Hafen grew up in St. George, Utah. After serving a mission to Germany, he met Marie Kartchner from Bountiful, Utah at BYU. They were married in 1964. Elder Hafen received a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah. After practicing law in Salt Lake City, he went to BYU in 1971 as a member of the original faculty of BYU’s new Law School. He taught and published research on family law and constitutional law. He served as the President of BYU-Idaho from 1978 to 1985. Then he was Dean of the BYU Law School and later served as the Provost—the second in command–at BYU. He was called as a full-time General Authority in 1996, serving in area presidencies in Australia, North America, and Europe. He also served at Church headquarters as an adviser to the Priesthood Department, the general auxiliary presidencies, Church History, and the Temple Department. He became an Emeritus General Authority in 2010 then served as president of the St. George Temple. More recently he served as Chairman of the Utah LDS Corrections Committee, overseeing the Church branches in Utah’s state prisons and county jails. He is the author of several books on gospel topics, including the biography of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and books on marriage, the temple, and the Atonement—including The Broken Heart and Covenant Hearts.

About Marie K. Hafen

Marie K. Hafen is a homemaker and teacher. She has a Master’s Degree in English from BYU and has taught Shakespeare, freshman writing, and Book of Mormon at BYU-Idaho, the University of Utah, and BYU. She was also on the Young Women General Board, the Board of Directors of the Deseret News, and was matron of the St. George Temple. She has edited and co-authored books with her husband, including The Contrite Spirit and, most recently, Faith Is Not Blind. Sister Hafen has seven children and 46 grandchildren.

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