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As I was talking about the gospel to some friends of mine in a different christian denomination, we somehow got onto the topic of "Eve's curse" and they told me that God punished Eve for partaking of the fruit by making her endure monthly menstruation. Keeping in mind Article of Faith 2, is this compatible with LDS beliefs? What is the LDS stance on the subject? Is it open-theology?

Edit: I am LDS, just don't know the answer. 

Edited by BradenH

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Pretty much the only LDS folks that I've heard talking about that, tend to be talking about it in high school gym locker rooms.   

They also believe redheaded women have no souls, or something.  Honestly, I wasn't paying much attention. 

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43 minutes ago, BradenH said:

As I was talking about the gospel to some friends of mine in a different christian denomination, we somehow got onto the topic of "Eve's curse" and they told me that God punished Eve for partaking of the fruit by making her endure monthly menstruation. Keeping in mind Article of Faith 2, is this compatible with LDS beliefs? What is the LDS stance on the subject? Is it open-theology?

Addressing the broader concept that men (and women) are punished for their own sins and not for those of another:  That is absolutely accurate.  But people also frequently suffer for the sins of others--not as a matter of punishment; but as a result of simple cause-and-effect.  (Think of crime victims, or babies born fetally exposed to alcohol or drugs.)

As to menstruation:  I'm not going there.  :P   But as to the weaknesses of mortality generally:  We certainly are subject to the effects of Adam's fall, even though those effects are not intended as punishments.  

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57 minutes ago, BradenH said:

As I was talking about the gospel to some friends of mine in a different christian denomination, we somehow got onto the topic of "Eve's curse" and they told me that God punished Eve for partaking of the fruit by making her endure monthly menstruation. Keeping in mind Article of Faith 2, is this compatible with LDS beliefs? What is the LDS stance on the subject? Is it open-theology?

Other Christian groups have a very negative perception of Eve (speaking generally).  Some other Christians believe that anything related to childbirth or menstrating pains are because God "cursed" Eve in 3:16 which says "16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."  

Now talking about LDS beliefs: there is no LDS stating having monthly cramps is a curse.  Remember, from the Book of Mormon we know that Adam and Eve could not have children in the Garden, so it is entirely possible that menstrual cramps are just a side effect of being a fertile mortal woman.  We live in a fallen world and their physical pain here, but it's not something you go around say "Adam this is all your fault and horrible!".   Remember, this life, this world, was always God's Plan A and to be for our good, even if it does hurt some right now.

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I've never tried to create a coherent argument or even firm personal conclusions because I just can't see the value in it, but here are some random thoughts for whatever they might be worth...

Old Testament and Related Studies, chapter 5, " Patriarchy and Matriarchy", by Hugh Nibley (I added the paragraph split to make it easier to distinguish the first paragraph for Eve and the second for Adam):

Quote

Now a curse was placed on Eve, and it looked as if she would have to pay a high price for taking the initiative in the search for knowledge. To our surprise the identical curse was placed on Adam also. For Eve, God “will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16.) The key is the word for sorrow, atsav, meaning to labor, to toil, to sweat, to do something very hard. To multiply does not mean to add or increase but to repeat over and over again; the word in the Septuagint is plethynomai, as in the multiplying of words in the repetitious prayers of the ancients. Both the conception and the labor of Eve will be multiple; she will have many children.

Then the Lord says to Adam, “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (that is, the bread that his labor must bring forth from the earth). The identical word is used in both cases; the root meaning is to work hard at cutting or digging; both the man and the woman must sorrow and both must labor. (The Septuagint word is lype, meaning bodily or mental strain, discomfort, or affliction.) It means not to be sorry, but to have a hard time. If Eve must labor to bring forth, so too must Adam labor (Genesis 3:17; Moses 4:23) to quicken the earth so it shall bring forth. Both of them bring forth life with sweat and tears, and Adam is not the favored party. If his labor is not as severe as hers, it is more protracted. For Eve’s life will be spared long after her childbearing—”nevertheless thy life shall be spared”—while Adam’s toil must go on to the end of his days: “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life!” Even retirement is no escape from that sorrow. The thing to notice is that Adam is not let off lightly as a privileged character; he is as bound to Mother Eve as she is to the law of her husband. And why not? If he was willing to follow her, he was also willing to suffer with her, for this affliction was imposed on Adam expressly “because thou hast hearkened unto . . . thy wife and, hast eaten of the fruit.”

IMO, the entire chapter should be mandatory reading just because I think it gives a way of looking at things that's different from what I generally hear.

Further, unless you believe that the biology of reproduction changed significantly when Adam and Eve fell1, you have no choice but to acknowledge that said biology offers no choice but for pregnancy and birth to be as they are, and therefore, these cannot be a punishment except for the simple fact that mortality is the punishment of the fall (though "punishment" isn't used in describing these events, so I think that may be an erroneous assumption).  The nature of pregnancy and birth is simply a consequence of mortal biology.

1Really, how does one rationally come up with this?  "Well, God's original plan had it painless, but then Eve made him mad, so he decided to vent his anger on all women."  How does one believe that God is so petty and arbitrarily cruel?  The mechanics of the female body would have to be very different for it to be painless.  "We could have had a pouch and given birth to underdeveloped babies - like kangaroos."  Or whatever.  If one believes that our bodies and spirits look alike (as the D&C teaches), then the female body hasn't changed significantly in the fall, therefore...

1 hour ago, BradenH said:

endure monthly menstruation

Is "endure" really the right word?  (And this question is coming from a woman who has not and will not have children in mortality, so I could argue that for me, it's been a pointless nuisance, but I still think "endure" is a bit overblown.  Yes, for some women it's worse then others, still, we're talking about a universal description here.)

OK, so I had to go see the dictionary definition, and I find it slightly ironic in light of the question (emphasis mine): "suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently."

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4 hours ago, BradenH said:

As I was talking about the gospel to some friends of mine in a different christian denomination, we somehow got onto the topic of "Eve's curse" and they told me that God punished Eve for partaking of the fruit by making her endure monthly menstruation. Keeping in mind Article of Faith 2, is this compatible with LDS beliefs? What is the LDS stance on the subject? Is it open-theology?

First, if you look carefully at the scriptures you will note that the word "curse" is used in relation to Satan and Adam, but not with Eve.  While there is pain associated with childbirth, it is not a curse to bring children into the world.

Second, Jeffrey M Bradshaw in his book on The Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve, p. 268, has some interesting thing to say on the subject: 

Quote

I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve could not bear children.Now Eve is told that as part of the repeated blessings of motherhood she must also undergo the recurrent pain incident to each childbirth. Sailhamer reminds us, however, that these birth pangs “are not merely a reminder of the… Fall; they are as well a sign of impending joy: ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.’” These blessings of Redemption will come through the “seed of the woman,” namely Jesus Christ.

In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. President Spencer W. Kimball wrote: “I wonder if those who translated the Bible might have used the term ‘distress’ instead of ‘sorrow.’ It
would mean much the same, except I think there is great gladness in most Latter-day Saint homes when there is to be a child there.”510 In fact, the Hebrew verb used here and in verse 23 “means pain or hurt rather than grief.”511 According to Sarna: “Intense pain in childbearing is unique to the human species and generally unknown to other female mammals.” Faulconer observes: “Knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil, the knowledge that brings mortality, makes pain possible. Pain naturally accompanies all creation and is at least possible in all relation.”

Of the terms chosen to represent Adam and Eve’s suffering, Cassuto further observes: “Apparently we have here a play upon words with reference to es [= tree]: it was with respect to es that the man and woman sinned, and it was with esebb [= pain] and issabbon [= toil, suffering] that they were punished… The very fact that Scripture does not employ here the  usual phrases found in connection with the suffering of childbirth… proves that it was some specific intention… that these words were selected.” The same term for sorrow recurs when Noah is “pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the
heart.”

Unlike the consequences described for the serpent and the man, no “curse” is mentioned in connection with what is said to the woman.

Third, I believe that the "sorrows" of Eve is also tied to the curse of Satan: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

To me, the nurturing instinct in women makes then acutely tuned into the emotions, particularly the negative emotions, of their children. Their children's pain is their pain. If so, then the suffering of their children resulting from battling and sometime succumbing to the temptations of Satan (the bruised heel) can be quite sorrowful to mothers, if not more sorrowful than birth pains.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Interesting observation on the word "curse" - Satan is cursed. The ground is cursed for Adam's sake.  But neither Adam nor Eve is cursed - they just get the consequences of the fall (which I think they consciously chose, regardless of whether they fully understood what it would be like).

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11 hours ago, BradenH said:

As I was talking about the gospel to some friends of mine in a different christian denomination, we somehow got onto the topic of "Eve's curse" and they told me that God punished Eve for partaking of the fruit by making her endure monthly menstruation. Keeping in mind Article of Faith 2, is this compatible with LDS beliefs? What is the LDS stance on the subject? Is it open-theology?

I don't see how any of that aligns with this: https://www.lds.org/topics/fall-of-adam?lang=eng

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Honestly, the whole thing sounds like a holdout from the good ol' days when we thought that women coudn't be as smart as men, because too much of their blood was diverted from their brains to their woman parts.  

Just bring 'em some chocolate and stop trying to tell them God made them that way because it's eve's fault.  I mean, can there be any less useful thing someone could possibly say?

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

Honestly, the whole thing sounds like a holdout from the good ol' days when we thought that women coudn't be as smart as men, because too much of their blood was diverted from their brains to their woman parts.  

I hadn't heard that there is a causal relationship between smart and blood to those parts. Hmmm ... blood flow.  Now that I think on it my wife did remark that I became smarter after my prostatectomy. Not sure the trade-off was a positive thing though. 

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15 hours ago, BradenH said:

As I was talking about the gospel to some friends of mine in a different christian denomination, we somehow got onto the topic of "Eve's curse" and they told me that God punished Eve for partaking of the fruit by making her endure monthly menstruation. Keeping in mind Article of Faith 2, is this compatible with LDS beliefs? What is the LDS stance on the subject? Is it open-theology?

 i know there is the belief that God makes mankind in His own image.  And i agree with this.

Though i also read something recently that i found very interesting.  It was that it's equally true that mankind attempts to "make" God in the image of their own beliefs.  Like we experience things, and we create narratives that explain what we've experienced.  And for religious people, they have to incorporate God into every part of their narrative.

Like 200 years ago, let's say a mother had a child who died shortly after birth.  The woman's pastor said it was evidence of God's striking her down for [insert-your-discretion-of-choice].  He commanded her to repent.  Or if you go 350 years back, maybe they burned her as a witch somewhere around Salem.  And now, we look back on that, and we'd say it was just because the doctor didn't understand the nature of germs.  Or any one of a number of other examples.  

And i think ideas like the one you've mentioned spring from that.  You have a Christian sect who blames Eve for the fall.  Easy to see how they might have come to that conclusion based on the Bible.   So they create narratives that justify this.  And a very useful narrative is that God would punishing her for her sin.  And something as universally experienced/suffered by women as menstruation seems to fit the bill nicely.  They assign to God an action that justifies their own beliefs.  No such narrative required in Mormonism, because they actually tend to view Eve's decision to partake of the fruit as being a good one.  But every religion's got some doozies.  Most engage in some intriguing mental gymnastics that culminate with assigning an attribute to God to explain their beliefs, and others just ask that faith be applied in this particular situation.  And almost all of them leverage, with the best of intentions, fear of hell and damnation (which seem very valid biblical concepts) or personal/social rejection as reasons people should view God, and themselves, in ways consistent with the narrative that the group has created, even if it doesn't feel right to them.  

And yes, i'm completely guilty of everything i've noted above.

Anyways, narrative may or may not be true - but i think our experiences shape our beliefs much more than our beliefs shape our experiences.

i just realized i wasted a lot of time describing confirmation bias in a super obscure and roundabout way......sigh......

Edited by lostinwater
Proofreading, tried to make clearer

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17 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Addressing the broader concept that men (and women) are punished for their own sins and not for those of another:  That is absolutely accurate.  But people also frequently suffer for the sins of others--not as a matter of punishment; but as a result of simple cause-and-effect.  (Think of crime victims, or babies born fetally exposed to alcohol or drugs.)

As to menstruation:  I'm not going there.  :P   But as to the weaknesses of mortality generally:  We certainly are subject to the effects of Adam's fall, even though those effects are not intended as punishments.  

Ah I like that. It' part of our mortality, not a God-given curse that could have possibly not been imposed. 

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Eve's Curse
A nine-line explanation, told in palindromes

"Madam, I'm Adam."
"...Eve..."
"I man am, o Woman!" "...Am I?..."
"No, hon."
"Ow! O!"
"Er, eh...sí...'Tîa Rosa' -- so...r...a...it is here?"
"'Tis if I sit!"
"Do ol' BS! 'Tis -- it's blood!"
"...Dammit! I'm mad!"

Edited by Vort
Four lines didn't capture the drama

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12 hours ago, lostinwater said:

 i know there is the belief that God makes mankind in His own image.  And i agree with this.

Though i also read something recently that i found very interesting.  It was that it's equally true that mankind attempts to "make" God in the image of their own beliefs.  Like we experience things, and we create narratives that explain what we've experienced.  And for religious people, they have to incorporate God into every part of their narrative.

Like 200 years ago, let's say a mother had a child who died shortly after birth.  The woman's pastor said it was evidence of God's striking her down for [insert-your-discretion-of-choice].  He commanded her to repent.  Or if you go 350 years back, maybe they burned her as a witch somewhere around Salem.  And now, we look back on that, and we'd say it was just because the doctor didn't understand the nature of germs.  Or any one of a number of other examples.  

And i think ideas like the one you've mentioned spring from that.  You have a Christian sect who blames Eve for the fall.  Easy to see how they might have come to that conclusion based on the Bible.   So they create narratives that justify this.  And a very useful narrative is that God would punishing her for her sin.  And something as universally experienced/suffered by women as menstruation seems to fit the bill nicely.  They assign to God an action that justifies their own beliefs.  No such narrative required in Mormonism, because they actually tend to view Eve's decision to partake of the fruit as being a good one.  But every religion's got some doozies.  Most engage in some intriguing mental gymnastics that culminate with assigning an attribute to God to explain their beliefs, and others just ask that faith be applied in this particular situation.  And almost all of them leverage, with the best of intentions, fear of hell and damnation (which seem very valid biblical concepts) or personal/social rejection as reasons people should view God, and themselves, in ways consistent with the narrative that the group has created, even if it doesn't feel right to them.  

And yes, i'm completely guilty of everything i've noted above.

Anyways, narrative may or may not be true - but i think our experiences shape our beliefs much more than our beliefs shape our experiences.

i just realized i wasted a lot of time describing confirmation bias in a super obscure and roundabout way......sigh......

Certain beliefs regarding the Garden narrative may be a product of, or are subject to confirmation bias, However, there is a growing body of scientific work suggesting that the narrative, itself, is "extracted from patterns of observable behavior over thousands and thousands of years." 

May I suggest Dr. Jordan B Peterson's profound and fascinating lecture series on "The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories."

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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BradenH,

I know I am not the source you are looking for but maybe I can help a bit. Do you take the Bible literally?  If yes then it appears Eve was "punished" for eating and enticing Adam to also eat of non-authorized fruit/food. Having to carry a baby for approx. 9 months and then having to push said baby out of your body sounds horrific and painful. Not to mention the body prep that occurs monthly and the pain associated with it. Quite a fitting punishment for a disobedient child and ALL of her daughters to follow her. OR, God was planning on having females carry the babies the entire time and told this woman-child that, that was her punishment to help her understand what she did was contrary to what He had commanded. Once her mind was opened to receiving a greater understanding of knowledge then she could begin learning life lessons. Decisions have consequences. Who knows when God would have given them access to the tree but they took the privilege without authorization and were promptly removed from The Lord's Garden. 

Hope this Helps 😄

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41 minutes ago, Overwatch said:

BradenH,

I know I am not the source you are looking for but maybe I can help a bit. Do you take the Bible literally?  If yes then it appears Eve was "punished" for eating and enticing Adam to also eat of non-authorized fruit/food. Having to carry a baby for approx. 9 months and then having to push said baby out of your body sounds horrific and painful. Not to mention the body prep that occurs monthly and the pain associated with it. Quite a fitting punishment for a disobedient child and ALL of her daughters to follow her. OR, God was planning on having females carry the babies the entire time and told this woman-child that, that was her punishment to help her understand what she did was contrary to what He had commanded. Once her mind was opened to receiving a greater understanding of knowledge then she could begin learning life lessons. Decisions have consequences. Who knows when God would have given them access to the tree but they took the privilege without authorization and were promptly removed from The Lord's Garden. 

Hope this Helps 😄

I find the notion that the pains of childbirth are a "fitting punishment," rather than a natural part of mortal existence,  to be more than a little revolting in a number of ways, not the least of which is linking the most sacred processes on earth (the creation and delivery of human life) with the seemingly sadistic consequences of presumed evil.

But, that may just be me.

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

 

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I always interpreted the curse as just a ramification of entering the mortal world.  Adam is cursed with having to work and sweat for his food, and Eve will have kids and suffer in child birth.  So, they both are booted from a life of luxury.  So is it really a punishment or just a natural ramification of their new state?

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