Was the Garden of Eden Really in Missouri?

I simply cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked about the unique Mormon belief that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri–usually by members of the Church, wanting to know whether they really have to believe that and, if so, how one is to defend such an idea. I’ve seen the question at least four times this calendar year, most recently just yesterday. My preference when such a question keeps coming up is to refer people to an already existing resource, but I’m not aware of such a resource on this particular issue. So I’m going to try to create one to which I can direct future questioners, and I am soliciting your help in fleshing out my quick thoughts on the subject below.

First, we must distinguish the Garden of Eden from Adam-ondi-Ahman, located at Spring Hill in Daviess Coiunty, Missouri. It is common for the Saints to confuse this location with the Garden of Eden, but it is not the same thing. This was the location where, according to Mormon thought, Adam convened his posterity to address them prior to his death, and where he shall return prior to the Second Coming. Mormon pilgrims used to pick up stones as souvenirs from the very altar where they supposed Adam offered sacrifices at this location. A poem by the name Adam-ondi-Ahman was printed in the 1835 Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate, which was turned into a hymn, one that resides in our hymnals to this very day. (Linguistic speculation on the meaning of Adam-ondi-Ahman is on topic for this post.)

Since the more prominenat and “official” discussion of Adam in Missouri has related to Adam-ondi-Ahman, some Saints have tried to argue that Joseph made no such claim about the location of the Garden. But this strikes me as a non-starter. For instance, Wilford Woodruff in his journal for 30 March 1873 recorded:

Again Presdet Young said Joseph the Prophet told me that the garden of Eden was in Jackson Co Missouri, & when Adam was driven out of the garden of Eden He went about 40 miles to the Place which we Named Adam Ondi Ahman, & there built an Altar of Stone & offered Sacrifize. That Altar remains to this day. I saw it as Adam left it as did many others, & through all the revolutions of the world that Altar had not been disturbed.

There are other such informal reminiscences. It seems abundantly clear that Joseph taught that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, presumably somewhere in Jackson County. [I've often wondered whether the Missouri tourism agency couldn't somehow make some hay with this claim.] This identification of the location has been recognized by such later Church authorities as Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie.

An obvious difficulty arises with this identification: how are we to get Adam’s posterity from Missouri to the cradle of civilization in the Middle East? The possibilities seem to be as follows (please add to this list if you can):

1. Many Mormons have conceived of the world as at one time being a single land mass, a Pangea, that was only divided in the days of Peleg (Gen. 10:25). I remember assuming this myself when I was a missionary. But this division most likely is not referring to plate techtonics or continental drift, but rather is anticipaing the division of languages described in the next chapter. The name Peleg derives from the verb palag, to separate or divide, which is used in Psalm 55:9 in respect of a division of languages.

2. Another option is to have Noah simply float from Missouri to Ararat by virtue of a universal flood. This was a common perspective among early Church leaders. For instance, Orson Pratt opined:

It was on this land where both Noah built his ark, which was blown by the winds of Heaven away to the east, and landed on Ararat.

(JD 12:338). Of course, many modern Mormons (like myself) reject the idea of a universal flood, so this explanation is problematic for them.

3. There is also a limited flood-type variant of the above explanation. According to this view, Noah built his ark and went down the Mississippi River valley (Widtsoe), or he built his ark on the east coast of the United States. This is sort of the inverse of the migrations described in the BoM.

4. Another possibility is that this migration didn’t involve a boat at all, but that Adam’s posterity simply walked to the Middle East. If the Americas could be populated by foot traffic over the land bridge from Asia, then in principle the flow of migratory traffic could have gone the other way.

5. Finally, one could view this situation more from a mythological or symbolic perspective. Putting the Garden of Eden smack in the center of the (northern) New World was a way to sacralize the land. Sure, the Old World was awash in religious history, but the New World too had a sacred history of which it could be proud (some would see the BoM as another example of sacralizing the New World, making it also God’s land and people).

Many of our inerrantist critics are rather smug when they make fun of this uniquely Mormon idea. But if the Garden wasn’t in Missouri, where was it? The key verses for this question are Gen. 2:10-14, which describe the rivers of Paradise (the following is from the NET):

2:10 Now a river flows from Eden to water the orchard, and from there it divides into four headstreams. 2:11 The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 2:12 (The gold of that land is pure; pearls and lapis lazuli are also there). 2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through the entire land of Cush. 2:14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

It is true that we are familiar with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, so it seems a reasonable assumption that the Garden (called an Orchard in the NET) must have been somewhere in Mesopotamia. But this description does not accord with the physical geography of the rivers; it describes four rivers flowing from a common source.

So some argue that the Garden must have been in what today is eastern Turkey, for it is in those mountaiins that the Tigris and Euphrates have their source (even if it is not actually a common source as the text describes). Others think the text got it backwards somehow, and meant to describe a common confluence, referring to where the Tigris and Euphrates flow together at the head waters of the Persian Gulf. Others have argued for Iran. Some have argued that the location of the Garden is now underwater by virtue of the flood and cannot be assigned to any known location on dry earth. Others note that the names Tigris and Euphrates could be secondarily assigned to the rivers we are familiar with (just because there is a town in Illinois named “Paris,” it doesn’t follow that the Eiffel Tower is located there), which means the Garden could be almost anywhere. Some have argued the Garden must have been in Africa, the true cradle of human emergence. Arguments have been made for Australia, and even the North Pole. Some theologians believe the Garden was not terrestrial at all, but a part of heaven.

There is a Jewish tradition that the Garden was actually in Jerusalem. There is a spring of water there known as the Gihon, one of the unidentified rivers of Paradise. Ezekiel 28:13 says “You were in Eden, the garden of God,” and then parallels that in the next verse with “you were on the holy mountain of God,” generally understood as the temple mount. (In our own tradition, there is a profound connection between Eden and the temple, so we certainly have sympathy with this insight.)

It seems to me that, if it is permissible for Jewish tradition to assign the location of the Garden to Jerusalem, it ought to be permissible for Mormon tradition to assign the location of the Garden to Missouri.

Comments

  1. I have nothing to add regarding the Missouri location, but regarding the biblical location, it is clearly meant to envisage the center of the earth. That 4 rivers are mentioned, two associated with Mesopotamia and one with Jerusalem (I am aware of an argument that Pishon, the 4th river, is associated with the Nile), is not particularly problematic because, being at the center of the world, all civilization, knowledge, and people originate from Eden. Thus it is symbolically appropriate to have all the major known rivers (and all those associated with the major known civilizations) flowing from the source of all.

    As to an actual location, that is terribly hard to judge. I am of an opinion that the nature of the Biblical text at this point makes it impossible to know.

  2. I like John’s idea of putting Eden at the center of the World, as this captures what I think Joseph was doing. I’m with you, Kevin, that literalistic approaches to creation myths are overly problematic. That said, the Deseret News published an interesting article on September 26, 1888 (pg. 582, or pg. 2 at the UU archive) that I have been trying without success to corroborate:

    A CORROBORATIVE DISCOVERY

    A short time ago the Washington Post made a remarkable statement regarding the location of the Garden of Eden. It announced that Dr. Campbell, of Versailles had lately discovered that it was on this continent, and near where St. Louis now stands. That gentleman, according to the Post, asserted that the Mississippi River is the Euphrates of Scripture, and that the Bible furnishes evidence of the correctness of his conclusions.

    It is probable that Dr. Campbell is not aware of the fact that he is not the discoverer of what he now announces, the Prophet Joseph Smith having many years ago stated that the Garden of Eden was located in what is now known as the State of Missouri. The Prophet also pointed out the precise spot where Adam offered sacrifice to the Lord, and where, as the great patriarchal head of the race, he blessed his children previous to his departure from the earth. That sacred spot in Missouri was designated by the Prophet as Adam-ondi-Ahman, the meaning of which is—the land where Adam dwelt.

    Joseph Smith obtained his information of these facts by direct revelation, while Dr. Campbell doubtless reached his conclusions in reference to the Garden of Eden and the Euphrates by ordinary research.

  3. Some theologians believe the Garden was not terrestrial at all, but a part of heaven.

    I’m with that crowd.

    It seems to me that, if it is permissible for Jewish tradition to assign the location of the Garden to Jerusalem, it ought to be permissible for Mormon tradition to assign the location of the Garden to Missouri.

    Amen. (At least as far as it works with my above comment — ie to give some leeway for the tradition.)

  4. Kevin: I am going outside to cut my grass. You can rule out my yard as the Garden of Eden.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    John C., I’m partial to that understanding as well. Many people feel the four rivers are, in addition to the Tigris and Euprates, the Nile and the Ganges; in other words, the four great rivers of the then known world. A kind of axis mundi or umbilicum mundi, the navel of the world. And seeing the Garden in Missouri seems like a kind of modern updating of that idea for those living in the New World.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    What about the meaning of Adam-ondi-Ahman? Stapley’s quote gives it as “the land where Adam dwelt,” and I think BRM had it as something like “the land of God where Adam dwelt.”

    The Adam is obviously the name Adam (Hebrew ‘adam), and I take it that the word Ahman is the name of God in the purported Adamic language. Any thoughts on the derivation of ondi and how the string of words works together?

    (If this were Hebrew, it could be what is called a construct chain: “Adam of ondi of God,” whatever ondi might mean.)

  7. Nick Literski says:

    Don’t worry about this question. Give it a few years, and the public relations department of the LDS church will release a statement saying that “it has never been the doctrine of the church that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri,” although “certain early members may have speculated” of such a thing.

    If they can toss the “Jesus was married” teachings in such a manner, you can be sure this one will go by the wayside.

  8. Greg Smith says:

    Other sources reporting that Joseph taught this can be found here:

    * Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:235;

    * “Joseph the Prophet, told me that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. When Adam was driven out he went to the place we now call Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri. There he built an altar and offered sacrifices” – Brigham Young, cited by Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors (1964), 481, (Also stuff on page 545–46, though I don’t have the text in front of me.)

    * “I have never been in Jackson County, now it is a pleasant thing to think of and to know where the garden of Eden was. Did you ever think of it? I do not think many do, for in Jackson County was the garden of Eden. Joseph has declared this and I am as much bound to believe that as to believe that Joseph was a prophet of God” – Brigham Young, Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 15 Mar. 1857

    These have been repeatedly cited in the Ensign, as a quick search will confirm. Most recent was 1998.

    Seems Brigham was the major source for this, reporting Joseph.

    Greg

  9. Julie M. Smith says:

    Thanks for this post.

    ‘But this description does not accord with the physical geography of the rivers; it describes four rivers flowing from a common source.”

    I’m not competent to evaluate this claim, but one solution that I have heard to this is that in an ice age situation, there would have been four riverheads in the area, and that you can actually see the dry riverbeds on satellite images.

  10. Julie,
    Are you referring to the Missouri or the Near Eastern location?

  11. Ditto, #1 & #3.

    I absolutely LOVE the fact that Joseph was audacious enough to move the center of the known world to the center of his own world – bringing Adam and the fall and the atonement to his people, if you will, especially given the theology of the temple. Has anyone considered the implications of Pres. Hicnkley’s small temple building vision to this discussion – where Eden now can be within a few hours of the majority of the Church?

  12. Reminder to self to spell-check more carefully, especially with names.

  13. Robert Boylan says:

    I am not sure if this will help at all, but I once posed John Tvedtnes a question based on this. As he is a well-respected LDS scholar and apologist, and a friend of Kevin Barney, perhaps this might add some food for thought.

    [Tvedtnes]
    Joseph Smith taught that Adam gathered his posterity at Adam-ondi-Ahman in northern
    Missouri prior to his death. The Lord instructed him to build a temple and gather the Saints in Zion, but I have seen no evidence that the prophet believed that the city would be built on the site of the garden of Eden. The garden could be located
    anywhere, even at a great disance from Missouri. The meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman took place when Adam was 927 years old; by then, he could have walked aound th orld.

    [Me with a follow up]

    Thanks for the reply. How would this effect a limited flood? After all, wouldn’t this mean that Noah built the ship in the New World and would have been transported to the ancient Middle East? For the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon
    peoples absorbed Mesoamerican natives, there would really be need for a very limited flood.

    [Tvedtnes again]

    Noah need not have lived in the Americas. By his time, people could have spread over various parts of the earth. As for the flood, there are problems with the Bible chronology. The Massoretic Hebrew text, from which the King James Bible was translated, has the flood around 2500 BC. But the Greek Septuagint, translated in
    the 3rd or 2nd century AD from the then-extant Hebrew text, places it around 3100 BC, as do Josephus and some other early chronographies.

  14. Jonathan Green says:

    But Kevin, all medieval Christians agreed that while Jerusalem was the center of world, Paradise was in the utmost East, approximately where Kamchatka is today. Just slightly to the east of Gog and Magog, who were trapped behind the Caucusus.

    I’ve been in Paris, Illinois, by the way.

  15. Rob Osborn says:

    If people wish not to think of biblical events such as a universal flood as reality then why do they speculate then that there could actually be a garden of Eden?

    The key to the whole issue really is whether or not the flood in Noahs day really happened. If the flood really happened then we can also say that the garden of Eden is reality. But we cannot say that the flood never happened on a universal level and also say that the garden of Eden is reality seeing as both are based on faith.

    The flood in Noahs day totally destroyed the earth that then was (2 Peter 3:5-6). The lands that made up the early Eden would have been catastophically been destroyed in the flood. In fact in Missouri, we find evidence that the land topography resembles a land of uplift of watery laid sediments where millions of living things met their death just as we find that to be the case everywhere on the world today- evidence that the flood really happened. What we do not have evidence for though is whether or not Moses really existed as a real character or if Noah really even existed. For that matter we have no sure evidence that Adam and Eve were real characters or even if God exists. But you see, that is where faith comes in. Through faith we can say that both the garden of Eden and the flood were both actual events and places in our history of the earth. But to say one was real and the other wasn’t is to lack real faith.

    As for Adam-ondi-Ahmen, I have heard that it means literally Adam-to-God, or the place where Adam talks with God. Present day Adam-ondi-Ahmen is probably not the same location of the original one but merely the place where Adam will come and speak again in God’s behalf to his posterity.

  16. Nick, if you would like, we can just keep that comment and add it automatically to every post to save you the trouble, if you would like.

    Rob, as faith requires that the object be true, then a universal flood isn’t a matter of it.

  17. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    When it comes to questions like these (limited flood, Missouri-Eden, etc.) I usually respond to those asking that I whole-heartedly believe in the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. I would be fine with the idea that Eden was part of heaven, in Jerusalem, or even Missouri—because the location doesn’t impact on the fact that the Fall happened (whatever the details were).

    As for saying that “one was real and the other wasn’t is to lack real faith”, I would respond that I have full faith in the actuality of the Fall, and that, since the Fall was an event it had to occur in a place; but the necessity of a world-wide flood doesn’t seem important to me. Of course, beyond the reality of a God-guided creation, a human-caused Fall, and an infinite Atonement, there isn’t much that I find in the Bible to be historically necessary.

  18. Kevin Christensen says:

    From Black Elk Speaks, John G. Neihardt (New York, Pocket Books, 1972)

    “Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about me was the whole hoop of the world. (fn. “Black Elk said the mountain he stood upon was Harney Peak in the Black Hills. “But anywhere is the center of the world,” he added.) And while I stood there, I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight, and as starlight, and in the center grew one flowing tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.”

    This has several interesting resonances with Nephi’s vision, and with the Pearl of Great Price accounts of Moses. Interesting to think about some of the interesting nuances in Moses, where is says “adam is many” and “each land was called earth.”

    Kevin Christensen
    Bethel Park, PA

  19. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 16 Ouch!….although I was thinking along those same lines. Such cynicism, Nick. I suppose I’d feel the same way if my experience were the same as yours, though.

  20. Julie M. Smith says:

    John C.,

    Mid east.

  21. An interesting site for those who enjoy geography is 13 Possible Sites for the Garden of Eden.

    Etymology of the word “Adam-Ondi-Ahman” has long fascinated me. In the early days of the Church, it was written “Adam-on-Diahman” and often shortened to the affectionate “Diahman.”

    Oliver B. Huntington wrote:

    “Adam’s Altar, which was mentioned, I have visited many times. I sat upon the wall of stone and reflected upon the scenes that had taken place thousands of years ago right where I was. There were the rocks that Father Adam used…. My father’s house stood about two hundred and fifty yards from that altar, on the bottom land of Grand River, in the valley of Adam-on-Diahman.” (Juvenile Instructor, Nov. 15, 1895, p. 700-701)

    When we lived in Missouri we obtained a handwritten journal of Joseph McGee, a contemporary of Joseph Smith who lived in Missouri. In his reminiscences he writes:

    “The Mormon town in Daviess Co. was on Grand River, about 2 miles due South of the now flourishing town of Jamison on what is now known as the Maj. McDonald farm. It was called Adam-on-di-ah-mon-for short called Diammon. It was so named from the fact that the Prophet Joseph Smith, professed to have received a Revelation from Heaven directing him to the spot where the remains of Old Father Adam were interred, commanding him to build a town at the place & to name the town Adam-on-di-ah-mon which being interpreted means the grave of the first man Adam.”

    Answers.com contains this paragraph:

    The term Adam-ondi-Ahman has been speculatively translated as the “Valley of God, where Adam dwelt” (by Orson Pratt), “The valley of God in which Adam blessed his children” (by LDS historian John Corrill), “Adam’s grave” (by Community of Christ historian Herman C. Smith), or “Adam with God,” because in scriptures by Joseph Smith, Jr., the term Son Ahman is said to refer to Jesus. (LDS D&C 78:20.) The term Ahman, therefore, is popularly interpreted to mean “God”.

    I agree with Kevin’s comment #6 but would be tempted to combine di and ahman into something approximating “Land of God.” (Diahman). Since I like to speculate that the Adamic language might be related to Hebrew, I wonder how closely the fragment “on” compares in Hebrew to “hear” or “bless” or “dwell” or “grave/bury.”

    Adam is heard on the Land of God
    Adam gives blessings on the Land of God
    Adam dwells on the Land of God
    Adam buried on the Land of God

    alternately, with “ondi” as a single word:

    Adam hears God
    Adam gives blessings of God
    Adam dwells with God
    Adam buried of God

    This last sort of fits the construction Kevin postulated above.

  22. On Gen. 2:10-14, the four rivers of Eden, attempts to try and place the Garden of Eden in a literal Geographical setting using the river names is impossible as the rivers are rivers contemporary to Moses, not Adam, and are clearly nowhere near each other. The only sensible reading is that Moses’ intent (note the lengthy detail on the rivers and their lands is entirely omitted in the PofGP Abraham account, suggesting an author-specific commentary) is to portray the Garden as miraculously well-watered and on the absolute most choice ground imaginable. The four rivers watering Eden are likened to the four most abundant rivers know to him, notably rivers that never run dry even in summer, which drain the four corners of the earth for the benefit of Eden, and come from bountifully blessed lands. That Moses would go to such great detail to describe these rivers can only make sense if he is being emphatic in his description of the Garden. To support this reading, note the well-watered condition of Eden is used as a prominent Millennial era covenant blessing in Isa. 51:3 and Isa. 58:11.

  23. I cover this in a chapter on ideas about sacred location and ancestral graves. I’ll try to finish the book up, which will have reasonable references. BY is not the source. The belief was widespread and noted even, at some level, by outsiders. no time to post references now, but HCK, WP, JCB, and others as I recall make mention. Buck’s on Eden is a reasonable contextualization, and there’s some convoluted work by Josiah Priest on this. I personally see the appropriation of Eden as an attempt to locate the new kingdom on the ground sanctified by the remains of Adam. As noted, the low stone wall found was both identified as an altar and a grave.

    also, don’t forget that great meeting in adam-ondi-ahman was Adam’s deathbed farewell.

  24. and KEP suggests the identity of A-o-A and Eden, written by WWP with at least some oversight from JSJ.

  25. Costanza says:

    Your book sounds interesting. When is it coming out Sam? Who is your publisher?

  26. Costanza says:

    Just to add another reference, Wilford Woodruff noted in this journal that “Jackson County is the garden of Eden Joseph has declaired [sic] this & I am as much bound to believe it as much as I am to believe Joseph is a prophet of God.” Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833-1898, Typescript, 9 Volumes (Salt Lake: Signature Books, 1983), entry for 15 March 1857, 5:33.

  27. I’ll caveat this first by saying this whole discussion is fun, but so full of unknowns it remains for now and likely until the next life nothing but sheer speculation. That aside…

    Regarding a possible meaning of “Ondi”. If indeed that is correct to assume as a single word (i.e., “Adam-Ondi-Ahman” as opposed to “Adam-On-Diahman”), then it strikes me as quite close to the Arabic “3ind” (three consonant root being 3-n-d, or ‘ayn-nuun-daal). The 3 is a common online Arabic symbol referring to the letter ‘Ayn, also found in Hebrew, and at least in Arabic sounding something like the guttural sound you might make when clearing your throat but before you actually spit or hack :) In Egyptian dialect (I’m sure it morphs different ways in other dialects) it ends up being pronounced roughly “Ond”.

    3ind simply means “at, near, by, with, on (of place, time and possession); upon” and a laundry list of other less-relevant extensions of the word. In Egyptian it’s become something equivalent of the verb “to have” as well, but also retains its locational usage. One might for example ask “Where is the city of St Louis?” and get a reply of “3ind nahr al-Mississippi” (“on the Misssissippi River”.

    I’ve heard as well (in an old BYU Pearl of Great Price class I believe) that “Ahman” is supposedly God’s name in the Adamic language. So I’ve always thought a literal translation of “Adam at the place of God” seemed perfectly reasonable and in line with some of the old early-Saints’ comments on its meaning from Joseph Smith. Could the reality actually be something totally unrelated to Semitic languages and completely different? Sure. But this strikes me as reasonable a conjecture as anyone could make for the time being.

    On such issues as this (and many weightier but still ultimately not crucial ones) there is a quote from C.S. Lewis’ preface to the Screwtape Letters that encapsulates my thinking:

    “I believe this not in the sense that it is part of my creed, but in the sense that it is one of my opinions. My religion would not be in ruins if this opinion were shown to be false. Till that happens-and proofs of a negative are hard to come by-I shall retain it. It seems to me to explain a good many facts. It agrees with the plain sense of Scripture, the tradition of Christendom, and the beliefs of most men at most times. And it conflicts with nothing that any of the sciences has shown to be true.” Ok, maybe I replace Christendom with Mormondom and the beliefs of most men with common sense, but same idea.

  28. I guess it makes the whole question moot and renders speculation and comment useless, but I believe Adam and Eve, the Garden, the Flood, and all to be mainly symbolic. Mythic archetypes exist because they resonate with us, so they actually may have happened one time or many. I’m not ruling it out. But I don’t find it important to know where, or when, or how many times. The truth that’s there for us to learn is contained in the story itself, I believe, and not in the historical events or setting.

  29. My grandfather was a convert to the Church from Missouri and he had a strong testimony that the Garden of Eden indeed was in Missouri. Perhaps that was from a spiritual witness, perhaps it was the nostalgia of someone from a verdant land who found himself living in the the arid high desert in Utah. Of course this is only of use to myself and my siblings and cousins but I’m willing to stand on my family tradition on that one.

  30. Having just recently visited Adam-ondi-Ahman, I can’t help but wonder how “official” the Church considers teachings that locate the Garden of Eden in America. None of the explanatory plaques at the location make any mention of the Garden of Eden, of Adam, or of any past or future meetings in the area. For the most part, they only speak of the location’s significance in early Church history (which is admittedly more difficult to establish without making mention of Adam or the Second Coming).

    Part of me suspects that this is the work of the PR Department, as the whole “Garden of Eden in Missouri” thing may sound rather odd to non-Mormons. But then, the plaques do mention Joseph’s discovery of a Nephite altar on Tower Hill, which is probably equally hard to swallow. Also, I imagine that the vast, vast majority of visitors to Adam-ondi-Ahman are faithful Mormons who are already familiar with the lore surrounding the location, so it seems pointless to neglect mentioning Adam’s alleged meeting with his posterity there, unless of course such teachings are being shelved.

    And that just might be what’s happening. I mean, the recent “Approaching Mormon Doctrine” press statement at lds.org classifies Joseph’s locating of the Garden of Eden in Missouri as a fringe doctrine, at best.

    On a side note (and I don’t mean to open a can of worms), is it even requisite that Mormons believe in a literal Garden of Eden, in Adam and Eve as literal people, or in a literal Fall? Or are we prepared to accept that the Garden drama (that’s reproduced in the PoGP and the temple) may be allegorical, at least in part?

    Just throwing this out there.

  31. Steve M,
    I believe that we do have to believe in a literal Adam and Eve and creation drama. There are covenants made there that become the pattern for later covenants and I believe that those symbolic covenants must be grounded in some reality in order to be effective. That said, there is nothing that I am aware of that compels such a view.

  32. Steve M, Many of us have expressed our belief that the Garden, Adam and Eve and the Fall are allegorical – or, as I like to repeat from my earlier years at the temple, figurative. I know of no official pronouncement stating either version as the only option, although I believe the majority of the church members don’t think about it enough to care or form an opinion other than the historical one – and I DO NOT mean that to be condescending in any way. In short, I don’t know, so I am fine with opinion.

  33. All of you should go over to New Cool Thang and vote whether you think the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden is literal or figurative!

  34. Kevin Barney says:

    I’ve only been to Adam-ondi-Ahman once in my life. A number of years ago when the FARMS Dead Sea Scroll exhibit came to Kansas City, I was asked to fly out there and “second chair” Don Parry in presenting the exhibit. We had a free afternoon, so we spent it driving to the Church history sites, which I had never seen before or since. One of the places we went to was Adam-ondi-Ahman. It was totally gorgeous; I can well understand why someone would think high thoughts about that location.

  35. costanza, I got sidelined by a 90 hrs / wk change in duties at work, but was planning to send out to academic presses soon. i’ll let people know, but I suspect we’re looking at an 18-24 mo. cycle.

  36. Regarding Shem: “He was the only man who could tell them about the location of the garden of Eden; a question, no doubt, of great curiosity and moment to those early nations, so near the flood.”

    Priest, American Antiquities, 28.

  37. Some sources worth consulting, also the BYUS “Adam-ondi-Ahman” paper by I think Matthews.

    Oliver B. Huntington, “Adam’s Altar and Tower,” Juvenile Instructor 30 (15 November 1895): 700-701; Leland H. Gentry, “The Land Question at Adam-ondi-Ahman,” BYU Studies 26 (Spring 1986): 45-56; and John H. Wittorf, “An Historical Investigation of the Ruined ‘Altars’ at Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri,” Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for Early Historic Archaeology, M. Wells Jakeman, ed., no. 113 (15 April 1969): 1-8.

  38. Interestingly, the recent Church press release, “Approaching Mormon Doctrine” said:

    Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. The mistake that public commentators often make is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center.

    I’ve wondered if maybe Joseph was conflating Adam-ondi-Ahmans. In other words, perhaps there are two Adam-ondi-Ahmans–the original one (which is who knows where) and the future one (which will be in Missouri)–just as there is an old Jerusalem and a yet-to-be New Jerusalem. I think D&C 107:53 and D&C 116 allow for such an interpretation.

  39. Nick Literski says:

    I find comments #31 and #39 more than interesting, given that I got slapped at for saying essentially the same thing. The LDS church is clearly interested in “deemphasizing” doctrines which “christians” might find odd.

  40. Thomas Parkin says:

    Nick,

    It could be because your comments have an increasingly nasty edge to them. At least it seems like that from where I’m sitting. More and more, I cringe a little when I see that you’ve posted to a thread. And that has nothing to do with your content. As you say, you only say what any number of faithful members also say.

    Also, while I think there is a PR “interest” in appearing _less strange_, to Christians and anyone else, I also think there is an augmenting interest in emphasizing core, ‘saving’ doctrines: always there, often ignored.

    ~

  41. Steve M: On a side note (and I don’t mean to open a can of worms), is it even requisite that Mormons believe in a literal Garden of Eden, in Adam and Eve as literal people, or in a literal Fall?

    Nope. Sure, it’s common; but it is not requisite.

  42. I don’t care what other issues there are with it — if you’re willing to pinpoint Kauffman Stadium as the Garden of Eden, I’m willing to believe it!

  43. Grimace says:

    “Adam-ondi-Ahmans” or “Adams-ondi-Ahman”?

    Please don’t cop-out by saying “copies of Adam-ondi-Ahman”.

  44. Grimace says:

    Rather than asking if believing a doctrine is “requisite”, shouldn’t we be asking if it it “orthodox”?

    If you don’t care about getting a recommend to go to the temple, you can pretty much believe anything and be a member of the LDS Church.

  45. Re: #39

    I’ve wondered if maybe Joseph was conflating Adam-ondi-Ahmans. In other words, perhaps there are two Adam-ondi-Ahmans–the original one (which is who knows where) and the future one (which will be in Missouri)–just as there is an old Jerusalem and a yet-to-be New Jerusalem. I think D&C 107:53 and D&C 116 allow for such an interpretation.

    This reminded me of the “two Hill Cumorahs” theory. Except I like the idea of two Adam-ondi-Ahmans a whole lot more. Really interesting thought–I’ve never thought about this possibility.

    Re: #45

    Rather than asking if believing a doctrine is “requisite”, shouldn’t we be asking if it it “orthodox”?

    If you don’t care about getting a recommend to go to the temple, you can pretty much believe anything and be a member of the LDS Church.

    Isn’t “orthodoxy” rather amorphous in the Mormon context? Beyond some fundamental beliefs (in Christ and the atonement, for instance), it seems that nailing down LDS orthodoxy is pretty difficult.

    Also, I don’t recall ever being asked about belief in a literal Garden of Eden or Adam and Eve during a temple recommend interview (so I guess that might answer my own question in comment #31).

  46. Nick Literski says:

    #41 Thomas:
    I apologize if I seem “nasty.” It’s not my intention to be nasty, though I’ll admit I have a sometimes-unwelcome habit of announcing the elephant in the room. To me, this thread really highlights what I see as a disturbing trend.

    When I was an active member of the LDS church, I was a voracious student of church history and doctrine. I spent literally thousand of hours absorbed in the topic. I knew my religion, and frankly, I treasured the things that made it different from mainstream christianity. You might say this was a double-edged sword, though. It also sensitized me to the distinctions between the Mormonism of Joseph Smith and modern LDS-ism. It’s fair to say I was borderline fundamentalist, but I could never resolve the issue of priesthood authority, so I never went in that direction.

    Particularly over the last, say, ten years, I saw a great deal of theological drift. Some of it was a matter of new converts not being instructed beyond the missionary discussions (to the point that they would vigorously and publicly argue against earlier teachings, simply because they’d never heard them). You might say this was to be expected, since the church boasted 4 million members when I joined, and over 12 when I left.

    Then I saw this phenomenon spread. Segments of the Endowment were scrapped, including drastic near-elimination of the washing & anointing ordinances. BYU religion professors began publishing materials which argued directly against the teachings of earlier prophets and apostles—not because new revelation corrected those teachings, but because of such things as questions raised by The Da Vinci Code. A public relations statement followed the same repudiation (though a bit milder in tone), when the Da Vinci Code movie came out, raising the ire of some christians.

    This trend was all the more visible in my own ward. When I went to church meetings, my bishop (a rather influential administrator in the church’s temple department) browbeat members into participating in the local protestant “passion play,” to the point that it was dominated by LDS members—yet it taught a protestant version of Jesus, which contradicted Mormon doctrine on a variety of points. (Mind you, even the local catholic church stood aloof from these “ecumenical” activities, politely explaining that their children needed to learn Catholicism!) In fact, I often sat in sacrament meeting, realizing that aside from an occasional mention of Joseph Smith and obedience to priesthood authority, I wasn’t hearing anything that I couldn’t have heard down the street, in some other church.

    As I have participated in the bloggernacle, I’ve seen the effects of this trend. I’ve seen newly-minted BYU alumni argue that the King Follett Discourse shouldn’t be relied upon for doctrine, because it’s “unreliably recorded” and “we can’t know what Joseph Smith really meant.” I can’t help but wonder if they’re getting such theories from the same BYU professors who argue that we shouldn’t believe Jesus was married, because “we imitate him–he doesn’t imitate us!” (Literally one of their statements.)

    It was this “mainstreaming” of LDS-ism which began my frustration, and eventually resulted in my leaving the LDS church. (Yes, the fact that I was gay was also a big part of my leaving, but had I not lost so much confidence in the modern church, I frankly would have continued to be closeted and married, just as I had for many years.) Some are comfortable placing unquestionable trust in current leadership, confident that any and all changes were and are directly ordered by deity. I simply couldn’t continue to do that, given what I observed.

    I suppose that to many, this will seem as just another lengthy rant from a supposed “anti-Mormon,” best ignored by those who are more enlightened. I apologize if I offended others by giving voice to my frustration in #7 above. For the rest of you, perhaps this gives you a little idea of where I’m coming from.

  47. In fact in Missouri, we find evidence that the land topography resembles a land of uplift of watery laid sediments where millions of living things met their death just as we find that to be the case everywhere on the world today- evidence that the flood really happened.

    No. Just, no. I don’t even know where to begin. You make my head hurt. Yes, the rocks in Missouri are sedimentary, but they took millions of years to form and are in no way evidence for a biblical flood. Sorry Rob.

    I’m definitely in the GOE is allegorical/off-world, but I do think it’s kind of cool the earliest primates evidently evolved in the Southeastern US.

  48. camp! I forgot the word camp! See, see how my head hurts–I can’t even write coherently!

  49. I like the direction this is going… keep up the opinions and experience on orthodox/requisite beliefs. Brigham says,”Joseph has declared this and I am as much bound to believe that as to believe that Joseph was a prophet of God.” We can’t and don’t believe everything every prophet says… I’m having a hard time making the leap from Bloggernacle discussions to real-life church discussions about the concept of ‘when is a prophet speaking as a prophet.’

  50. MikeInWeHo says:

    Thanks for that mini autobiography, Nick. Do you have your own blog? My own story is very different, but that’s for another forum.

    Sorry your head almost exploded, Kristine N. Responding to creationism-oriented types has a tendency to do that, which is why I steer clear.

    Question for y’all: What do you estimate is the percentage of current, active LDS who believe in a literal Noah’s flood (in the traditional sense we all understand)?

  51. Nick Literski says:

    MikeInWeHo:
    No, I don’t run my own blog. I’m reading that as a subtle indication that you thought my post was inappropriate. If it was, I apologize. My only intention was to explain where I was coming from in terms of this discussion thread.

    As for the percentage of current, active LDS who believe in a literal Noah’s flood? I’m betting it’s over 90%. The bloggerncale, by itself, would not be a representative sample.

  52. May I make a suggestion that we NOT speculate as to percentages about anything? We belong to a church that allows for widely divergent opinions on matters like this – and that believes in progressing line-upon-line, grace-by-grace. Let’s accept that for everyone, realizing that we just might be on the other side of the fulcrum than we think on any given question.

  53. Nick, I would bet that MikeInWeHo was genuine in inquiring about your blog. But I should let him answer for himself.

  54. MikeInWeHo says:

    I don’t think I have the capacity for subtlety. Seriously Nick, I think it’s really cool you’re in here and wanted to see if there is some side-channel to communicate. That’s all.

  55. Segments of the Endowment were scrapped, including drastic near-elimination of the washing & anointing ordinances.

    Nick–I was really sad about that change too. I asked for an explanation for the changes and was told they were to accommodate cultures that prohibit physical contact. I wondered if the cultures in question were here in the states, though of course there’s no way to find out.

  56. Nick Literski says:

    Thanks, MikeInWeHo. I had recently seen a blog rebuke of someone else, telling them “take it to your own blog,” so I think I read you with the wrong colored glasses. :-) You can always feel free to e-mail me if you like, abraxas_bear@comcast.net .

  57. Nick, I came across some of your writings many years ago and I always liked your take on things. I recognized your name when I started blogging this past year. As a *somewhat older* person, I too lament the many idiosyncratic doctrines we used to embrace 20 or so years ago that have fallen by the wayside. I think that Adam-ondi-ahman may be one of those which will soon be unfamiliar to the coming generation.

  58. At lds.org in the News media section under “Understanding Mormon Doctrine” it says, “Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.” Since I believe in a God directed evolution and believe the entire creation story is a figurative, I found it reasuring that, at least according the the Church’s official website, I may not be going to Hell for not believing the Garden of Eden was in Missouri.

  59. Jonathan N says:

    I’m wondering why we have to assume there could only be one Garden of Eden, anyway. Just as there may have been more than one flood (of which we have the account of Noah’s only), and we have the accounts of only one prophetic legacy in our scriptures, even though there have been many throughout history, why couldn’t there have been more than one Garden of Eden?

  60. Going all the way back to the last two paragraphs of the original post and #1 & #3: If the original intent of locating Eden was to place it at the center of the known world, and if the primary intent of the restoration was to re-position the temple and its version of the Gospel at the center of our worship (which I believe has been stated in one way or another by every modern Prophet and, indirectly, by Lord in the First Vision), and if Pres. Hinckley’s vision is to place temples as close to the center of each member’s conveniently travel-able world as possible, and if a major intent of the temple is to help each participant experience Eden and its consequences and promises – I think all questions of actual original location (including whether or not there was an actual original location) fade into relative insignificance. Eden now is less than two hours from my house, and I absolutely love that concept.

  61. If there was an Adam and Eve, which I doubt, they would have been from Africa, not white Americans from Jackson County, Missouri. It just shows how Joseph Smith was trying to make people feel special. It is really hilarious when you think about it, and quite racist and elitist if you ask me. Just shows you how Joseph made things up as he went along. Yes, and of course the plaque that mentions the Nephite altar that Joseph Smith found is mentioned in History of the Church 3:35. It looks like that pretty much kills the Limited Mesoamerican Geography theory, along with Zelph and the Hill Cumorah in upstate, NY being the same one as referenced in the Book of Mormon.

  62. Zelph: white Americans?

    No one said anything about them being white or American. Maybe you could let us in on the evidence for your unsupported conclusion that Adam and Eve would have been “from Africa.”

    Your other conclusions similarly don’t follow from the issues you mention. Care to try again? With a little coherence this time?

  63. Sterling says:

    Kevin,

    Sometimes you smell like you’re becoming a Sunstone Mormon. :-)

  64. “I too lament the many idiosyncratic doctrines we used to embrace 20 or so years ago that have fallen by the wayside. I think that Adam-ondi-ahman may be one of those which will soon be unfamiliar to the coming generation.”

    Although I too lament the slow movement of the LDS church toward mainstream Christianity (probably starting at the time of the Manifesto) I have to say I am much more comfortable where the Church is now than I was in the dogmatic days of Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie. I find it liberating to know that I won’t be reprimanded or made to feel less Mormon for believing in evolution or for not believing the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, in the curse of Cain, plural marriage in heaven, men on the moon, the pre-earth life as presented in Saturday’s Warrior, or any of the other “doctrines” that I find impossible to believe. While I share the concern that a watered down Mormonism may be emerging, I also celebrate the movement I’ve felt toward allowing members to make up their own minds about unimportant doctrines (like the exact location of the Garden of Eden). I hope this leads to more thoughtfulness and diversity of belief in the Church rather than it becoming just another “church down the street.” I’m also not too worried about us losing our uniqueness. As long as we don’t abandon the Book of Mormon, the Word of Wisdom, or our magic underwear (whether they be one or 2 piece), people will always think we’re weird. And that make me feel good.

  65. MCQ, You know exactly what I mean by “white American”. Until I see a black, hispanic or Asian Adam and Ever in the temple endowment, it is implied by the Mormon church that Adam and Eve were white and delightsome. Just shows you how racial overtones still exist in the current organization. By “American”, I mean that according to Mormon doctrine, The garden of eden was in Jackson County, Missouri, on the continent of America. It just shows you how rediculous it is when you say that Adam and Eve were white Americans from Missouri. It is really just a way for people in Joseph Smith’s time to feel like they were living somewhere very special and sacred, as if America is a special land that is different and set apart from the rest of the world. That is a pretty self-absorbed and self-fulfilling position.

    The first humans came from Africa, not from Missouri as Joseph Smith claimed. This is backed up with countless evidence in all differen scientific fields. They have found archaeology, anthropology, and have even linked DNA back to Africa over 150,000 years ago.

  66. It’s late; I’m tired; no tact left.

    Zelph, Please read all of the comments in a thread before putting your foot in your mouth so publicly.

  67. The first humans came from Africa, not from Missouri as Joseph Smith claimed. This is backed up with countless evidence in all differen scientific fields. They have found archaeology, anthropology, and have even linked DNA back to Africa over 150,000 years ago.

    Zelph, so you’re saying that all this “archaeology, anthropology, and DNA” stuff has determined that the Garden of Eden was in Africa?

  68. Some Protestants thought Eden was on a comet in the early nineteenth century. Missouri seems a bit more reasonable than a comet.

  69. Steve Evans says:

    zelph, you don’t believe it; fine. Per your site, you don’t believe much/any of what the Church says. Fine. Are you really so bored that you have nothing better to do than act as a troll on a site for believing members? Move on, man.

  70. kc (#65)
    Great comment. I must agree.

  71. MCQ (68)- I don’t think there ever was a garden of eden, I mean it has talking animals for crying out loud. I am saying if there was a garden of eden, it was not in Jackson county Missouri as Joseph Smith taught.

    I know what you are thinking about the talking snake. It is metaphorical, right? Well who is to say what is literal and what is symbol? If the talking snake is not to be taken literal, why stop there? How about the tree? or the garden, or Adam and Eve? If the snake is not literal, then who says anything else has to be literal?

  72. Steve Evans says:

    Zelph, see my comment #70. strike two.

  73. Steve, can we assign strike three for obviously not having read most of the comments?

  74. Thom Duncan says:

    Since we’re involved in stretching the plain word of previous revelations beyond their clear meaning, let’s go a step further and ask ourselves, “Why can’t the whole Adam and Eve story be considered as symbolic?” Immediately, all other questions are answered: We don’t have to try and find the place becuase it never really existed. We don’t have to wonder why serpents could talk, because it’s symbolic. We don’t have to stress out over what race Adam and Eve were. The mystery as to whether Adam and Eve had belly-buttoncs can go the way of all flesh.

    Personally, I find much to admire in the story when viewed symbolically than I do when viewed literally. With the former point of view, I can spend more time thinking about, for instance, what it might mean that Eve was created from Adam’s rib rather then (I believe) missing the point and trying to explain how such an operation could have occurred.

    Brigham Young, in referring to the creation as generally understood among Christians, as “Baby Stories.” That comment gives us precendent to reconsider the entire story in a new light, setting aside the limited literalistism for its more engaging symbolism. (A problem we also have when we read or write books about the geography of the Book of Mormon: aren’t we missing the point of the whole book?

  75. Thom Duncan says:

    Referring to comment number 70 by Steve Evans: This is my first post to this sight, but I don’t see anywhere where it says one must be a believing member to post.

  76. Thom, we don’t have a written policy. Do we need one? As you say, this is your first comment. I didn’t say that you needed to be a believing member to post a comment, did I? Zelph was acting as a troll, and we reserve the right to provide warnings and ban as we see fit. I think you’ll get a sense of what BCC is about by reading a few posts and comments. The only people that get banned or disciplined represent major incongruities.

  77. Kristine,
    what do you mean, “…but I do think it’s kind of cool the earliest primates evidently evolved in the Southeastern US.”? i assume that was sarcastic, but don’t quite know…

    boredinvernal,
    I would think that issues like this are even more spoken about than not now. maybe it is because of my young (30) age, but I hear A LOT more now w/ the web than I ever did before.

  78. Susan (McNeely) Roddy says:

    Thank you for the above information. My parents grew up in Jameson, Daviess County, Missouri. When I was a child, I had heard of a legend that Adam was buried somewhere close to Jameson. My grandfather took me to the site called, Adam-ondi-Ahman, which was supposed to contain Adam’s burial site. I have been searching for confirmation of this belief for several years.

    As a child, all I remember seeing was a pile of stones, presumably the altar described in your articles. Later a motel was built to accommodate the Mormans who took a yearly pilgrimage to this site. Today I am told the city of Jameson is populated mostly by Mormans who want to be close to the site of the Garden of Eden because they believe this is where Christ will return.

    I don’t know if this is the site of Adam’s burial or if Missouri (Daviess County) was the biblical Garden of Eden, and frankly, I don’t care. What is important is that Christ WILL return in glory to claim his own. Where or when this will happen is a mystery that only God knows.

    Thank you again for clarifying my questions.

  79. Will Schryver says:

    This is my first ever post on BCC. I have perused threads from time to time over the past year or so, but I have never seen fit to comment on anything. But today I copied this thread to a word doc and downloaded it to my handheld and then took it to church with me. I am currently the ward organist, and so, between the sacrament hymn and the closing hymn I hid behind the organ in the choir seats and read through much of the thread. (I hope the YW presidency isn’t overly offended that I only paid partial attention to what they had to say during their talks!)

    In any event, I feel motivated to add my comment to the many that have been made.

    I’m a little chagrined by some of the comments that tended to denigrate those who continue to believe in literalist interpretations of the scriptures; those who cling to a seemingly unsophisticated belief in such things as a real Adam and Eve, a real Noah who built an ark, a real worldwide flood, a real garden of Eden that was actually located in Jackson County, a real altar allegedly built by Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman, etc., etc.

    I can’t say that I know that these things should be viewed as literal. I can appreciate why many have come to view them as merely figurative, or as byproducts of an era that did not have the knowledge necessary to distinguish the literal from the mythic. I can understand how and why many otherwise faithful members of the Church have found ways to reconcile the precepts of organic evolution with LDS doctrine.

    Nick Literski is probably correct, however, in suggesting that an overwhelming majority of LDS still views these things from a literalist stance. Uncorrupted by the rationalizations of the “bloggernacle,” they continue on their path quite comfortable with their traditional liturgy; confident that its precepts provide the definitive answers to their questions.

    Are they foolish in believing such things? I wouldn’t be so quick to say so. Despite my own recognition of how the consensus beliefs of our scientific culture can be reconciled with my own understanding of LDS doctrines, I am not always convinced that it is all so cut and dried. I accept that science is probably correct in terms of its explanations for the earth, its creation, common descent, etc. But I also have some cause to entertain a sliver of doubt about many of these things that are supposedly “proven beyond doubt.”

    Most of all, I detect a disturbing trend among the so-called “intellectuals” among us: a tendency to automatically dismiss anything in the way of traditional LDS doctrine that would require some fabulous manifestation of supernatural power. Everything must necessarily be explained within the parameters of 21st century scientific knowledge. There can be no parting of the Red Sea, no mountains moved or rivers turned by Enoch, no City of Zion physically removed from the earth, no Jordan River miraculously dammed upstream from the children of Israel as they crossed over.

    We’ve become so obsessed with appearing “normal” and “rational” to the rest of the world that we have painted ourselves into a corner where not only are there no more miracles, but there never were any.

    Well, perhaps so. But even as I find ways to reconcile my faith to what appears to be scientific fact, I also am quite confident that the day will come when we will discover that God did indeed have great power, that He granted it to prophets, that He used it in bringing to pass bona fide miraculous events, and that many things that we have come to dismiss as scientifically impossible did in fact occur precisely as the scriptures describe them.

    I, for one, am still inclined to believe that if God has ceased to be a God of miracles, it is because we have dwindled in disbelief and know not the God in whom we should trust.

  80. Will, thanks for the comment. Too be fair, I think it is unfair to make blanket statements. I don’t think I know anybody like what you describe. I don’t believe in a worldwide flood, but I believe in miracles, evolution and an historical Adam. I think most people will have more nuanced views.

  81. William Schryver says:

    J.,

    I appreciate your reply. And I’m certain that most people do have more nuanced views. Nevertheless, my exposure to the unique dynamic of the so-called “bloggernacle” over the course of the past two years or so has too often left me with a hollow sense of mourning for the fact that far too many LDS are reaching the point where their God seems no longer capable of authentic miracles. That said, I certainly don’t mean to cast a blanket condemnation. It is not entirely warranted, but unfortunately it covers more people than I wish it did. We’ve all become a little too jaded by the world in which we live.

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