Adam and his wife, Eve, were the first people Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, placed on the newly created earth. Adam’s name means many, for all who have ever lived upon the earth, or who will live upon the earth, are the children of this great and intelligent man. Eve was the first mother of the human family, and her name means mother of all living.
Adam and Eve were happy in their beautiful home in the Garden of Eden, for they had been given everything they could want for food and for pleasure. They knew nothing of evil, for their world was all good.
Often in the cool of early evening the Lord would walk and talk with them, and their happiness was complete. He told them that everything had been made for them to enjoy except one tree—the tree of knowledge of good and evil—and that they should neither touch nor eat the fruit of that tree, for if they did, they would be punished. Adam promised that they would not disobey this commandment.
But one day Satan tempted Eve and Adam, and they disobeyed the Lord and ate the fruit that had been forbidden. This act is known as “Adam’s transgression.” And when they had eaten, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and became mortals as we are. And the Lord told them that someday they would die.
No longer did Adam and Eve have the great blessing of walking and talking with the Lord. Their life became very different in their new world outside of the Garden of Eden. They had to work hard to plow the fields and grow crops so that they could provide food for themselves and their children.
One day Adam and Eve again heard the voice of the Lord commanding them to offer sacrifices to Him. Our first earthly parents were happy to hear from the Lord again. They obeyed His commandment and built an altar and made offerings as they had been told. And together they worshiped the Lord.
After many days an angel of the Lord appeared to Adam and asked him why he offered sacrifices to the Lord.
“I don’t know,” Adam answered, “except the Lord commanded me.”
The angel explained that the sacrifices were to remind Adam and Eve that someday Jesus Christ would come to earth and make it possible for all men to live again after death and to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. The angel also told Adam that he should repent of his sins and be baptized, that Adam and his family should keep all the commandments given to them, and that they should pray forever to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ.
Adam was baptized and his heart was filled with joy. He exclaimed, “Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life shall I have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.”
Adam told Eve all that the angel had made known to him. And Adam and Eve rejoiced together and blessed the name of God, and they made all these things known to their sons and daughters.
If you were a Blackfoot Indian boy whose name was Lazy Boy, you would probably sign your name by drawing a stick figure lying down. If your name was Many Tail Feathers, you would sign your name by drawing four feathers in a row.
If you were an Indian warrior and wore a feather in your hair that had one notch in it, that would mean you had been brave in battle with an enemy. If you wore a split feather, it would show you had been wounded.
Many Indian tribes believed in kachinas. The kachinas were thought to be powerful gods who granted men the right to wear masks and represent the kachinas in dances of prayer.
The Pueblo tribes believed that the first kachinas were real children who were lost while trying to cross a stream. Somehow these children were mysteriously changed into beautiful spirits and lived happily ever after under the Whispering Waters of the Sacred Lake.
Even today some Indian tribes make kachina dolls. These dolls have different faces or masks, costumes, and coloring. They are associated with nature, especially with rain, clouds, and the growing of corn. They are supposed to bring good luck.
Very few white men have ever seen a sand painting ceremony. This strange and lovely way of writing was done only on serious occasions. The ancient tribes of southern California made sand paintings to celebrate the day a boy became a man.
Navajo Indians made similar sand paintings for different reasons. They believed that pictures written this way had power to heal the sick. Their sand paintings were always carefully destroyed after use.
This is how the Pointe Indians recite the 23rd Psalm:
The Great Father above, the Shepherd Chief is. I am His, and with Him I want not. He throws out to me a rope, and the name of the rope is love. With it He draws me to where the grass is green and the water not dangerous, and I eat and lie down and am satisfied.
Sometime—it may be soon, it may be a long time—He will draw me into a valley. It is dark there, but I will be afraid not, for it is between those mountains the Shepherd Chief will meet me, and the hunger I have had in my heart all through this life will be satisfied. Sometimes my heart is very weak and falls down, but He lifts me into a good road.
His name is Wonderful. Sometimes He makes the love-rope a whip, but afterwards He gives me a staff to lean upon. He spreads a table before me with all kinds of food.
He puts His hands upon my head, and all the tired is gone. My cup He fills till it runs over.
What I tell is true. I lie not. These roads that are away ahead will stay with me through this life, and afterwards I will go to live in the Big Tepee and sit down there with the Shepherd Chief forever.