Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teaching Children About Adam and Eve

I've been making felt pieces as a fun way to teach my toddler scripture stories and gospel principles. As I was pondering on what stories I should teach him I realized that there is NO more important story for him to understand, and understand well, than the story of Adam and Eve.

My little boy needs to know this story up, down, inside, and outside as soon as possible. He is going to grow up in a world that will do everything it can to confuse him about the nature of gender, the family, and men and women's sacred roles. The Adam and Eve story is the key to understanding who we are, what we are here to do, and where we are going. I don't think it is any coincidence that it one of the most repeated story in the LDS church. Once we understand that story... we understand everything.

As I was making the pieces for him I was struck again by how much beautiful symbolism there is in the Adam and Eve story.

First, out of tradition (I'm not really sure whose), I made the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge red and the fruit on the Tree of Life white. I realized that the red symbolizes the choice to become mortal, our blood and the blood that will have to be sacrificed for us. The white represents our clean and exalted state, having passed through mortality and become clean from the blood and sins of the world.

Also, I made Adam and Eve the same size. This was based off a vision Joseph Smith and Zebedee Coltrin had in which they saw a vision of Adam and Eve:
"The heavens gradually opened, and they saw a golden throne, on a circular foundation, something like a light house, and on the throne were two aged personages, having white hair, and clothed in white garments. They were the two most beautiful and perfect specimens of mankind he ever saw. Joseph said, "They are our first parents, Adam and Eve." Adam was a large, broad-shouldered man, and Eve as a woman, was as large in proportion." (Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 11, 1883.)

I love the symbolism of Adam and Eve not only being spiritual equals, but also physical equals. So here is my rendition of the most "perfect specimen" of womankind, as large in proportion as her husband.

Then I made their fig leaves. Hee... hee...

And after some deliberation I made their clothing exactly the same. I debated about making Eve's outfit more "feminine" and maybe making Adam bare chested. Then I realized that the garment God made for them, symbolically Christ's atonement, is exactly the same for men and for women. The atonement's covering is the same no matter if you are male or female.

Poor Adam... his fig leaf is a bit too big. I might have to fix that one of these days.

When God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden they would have been the same stature, the man wouldn't have been bigger than the woman, and they would have been wearing the exact same coverings. They were equals in every sense. True, they had been given different responsibilities on this earth, but they were equals before God and before each other in every sense of the word.

From the moment my little boy and girl can form coherent sentences (which is getting pretty soon for my two-year-old) I want them to understand this story. I want them to know, deep down in their soul, that even though men and women are different they are equals before God. I want them to understand their divine roles and to know that God is no respecter of persons, male or female. I want them to treat themselves and those of the opposite sex with equal respect, love and faith.

Too ambitious?

I don't think so.

Here's what my two-year-old re-created for me the other day. He especially likes to point to the trees and yell, "Don't Eat It!" to Adam and Eve when they are put in the garden.

I think he is getting the idea.

How have you taught your children the Adam and Eve story?


  1. hi!

    awesome lesson and felt board!

    Just thinking that in proportion doesn't mean same size... It sounds more like a ratio. Like comparing per capita. Like adam was fit and broad and eve was too but "as a woman" was large in "proportion"

  2. Kjrsten,

    Interesting point. I hadn't thought of it like that. You know, in all honesty I don't think we will be able to know for sure unless we get to meet her... which I am VERY much looking forward to someday. Still, I think it is a nice thought to think about Eve being a "plus sized" woman and still the most "perfect specimen" of womankind.

  3. I love this SO MUCH!!

    In fact, I loved it so much, I made one of my own :) and I'm planning on making more pieces for various Bible/BoM stories...

    So THANKYOU *AGAIN* for the inspiration!


  4. As a woman who has struggled with body image myself but come to grips with it and embraced the new Health at every size movement - I love to think that Eve was a large woman - a full beautiful body capable of bearing many children. There is beauty in that and it touched my heart.