Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

“Why did the Lord command Adam and Eve to multiply in the Garden of Eden when they could not have children before the fall? This is especially confusing when we have such scriptures as 1 Nephi 3:7, which states ‘… the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.’”

Answer/ Daniel H. Ludlow

One important point to consider in this question is whether or not Adam and Eve could have had children while they were in the Garden of Eden. The scriptures do not say Adam and Eve could not have children; they say Adam and Eve would not have had children if they had remained in a state of innocence, not knowing good from evil.

For example, note the words of Lehi in explaining the situation of Adam and Eve before the fall: “And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.” (2 Ne. 2:23. Italics added.) This scripture seems to indicate that Adam and Eve were physically capable of having children in the Garden of Eden (thus they could have had children), but so long as they remained in their state of innocence, they never would have had children. Remember that Adam and Eve were so innocent in the Garden of Eden they didn’t even realize they were naked!

Sometimes it helps to understand a religious question if we ask ourselves, How else could our Heavenly Father have done this? For example, how else could our Heavenly Father have brought about the necessary conditions that resulted from the fall of Adam and Eve? Following are four possibilities, and the only acceptable one is the one followed by the Lord:

1. What if the Lord had created the world in such a way that evil and sin would have been here from the beginning? In this case, God would be responsible for all sin and evil.

2. What if God had created the world in such a way that we never could commit any sin? In other words, what if he had never given us any law? It is true that in such a condition we never could have broken a law (committed sin), and thus there would have been no evil, no pain, or no disease. But if there is no possibility for sin and for the punishment and misery that accompany it, then there is no possibility for good and for the blessings and joy that follow obedience to law. None of us would want that type of world.

3. What if God had created a world where he would give us law (the opportunity of choice) but would not give us free agency (the freedom of choice)? How could there be any real growth in this situation? What development is there if we do things only because we have to do them? Also, how could a just God hold us responsible for our acts if we had no choice in the matter?

4. The other major possibility is the one the Lord followed. He created a world that was without sin or evil, and he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in a state of innocence. He then gave law (the opportunity of choice) to Adam and Eve, and he also gave them their free agency (the freedom of choice). Then, and this is a very important point, he did not hold Adam and Eve responsible for any transgression they committed in their state of innocence.

God knew before the earth was ever created that it would be necessary for Adam and Eve to fall so they “would have seed.” Thus, even before the earth was created, Jesus Christ had agreed that he would pay the penalty required by the law of justice for the transgression of the law that resulted in the fall of Adam and Eve. The scriptures refer to the Savior as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), and they indicate that Jesus Christ had agreed to bring about the atonement before the earth was ever created (1 Pet. 1:19–20; Eph. 1:4; Moses 5:57; D&C 121:32; Mosiah 18:13; Ether 3:14).

The second part of the question states, in essence, “Why didn’t the Lord prepare the way for Adam and Eve to keep the commandment to multiply?”

The answer to this question is that the Lord did prepare the way.

In this dispensation the Lord has revealed through Joseph Smith additional information concerning the status of Adam and Eve both before and after the fall. In fact, the Lord restored to the Prophet the words of Adam and Eve to each other after they had been driven from the Garden of Eden and had been taught by an angel that Jesus Christ would atone for their transgression unconditionally and also would atone for their own personal sins upon the condition of their repentance.

“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” (Moses 5:10–11. Italics added.)

Director of Instructional Materials for the Church

“What is the Hosanna Shout?”

Answer/ Reed Durham

On March 27, 1836, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, and at the close of the dedicatory services the pattern for giving the Hosanna Shout was given. The Prophet Joseph wrote: “President Rigdon then made a few appropriate closing remarks, and a short prayer, at the close of which we sealed the proceedings of the day by shouting hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb, three times sealing it each time with amen, amen, and amen.” (Documentary History of the Church vol. 2, pp. 427–8.) This pattern of “hosanna,” to “God and the Lamb,” and “amen” repeated three times formed the basic pattern of the Hosanna Shout throughout all of Church history to the present. From time to time some modifications were made upon the basic pattern, such as striking the right hand into the palm of the left hand at the end of each word, which was done on the occasion of the reorganization of the First Presidency with President Brigham Young on December 27, 1847. (“Journal of Norton Jacob,” Journal History, September 5, 1848, p. 4.) On another occasion the Church members stood up on their feet while giving the shout (Millennial Star, vol. 24, p. 758); clapped hands while shouting; added the words “forever and ever, worlds without end” after the regular words “God and the Lamb” (B. H. Roberts, Life of John Taylor, p. 365); and often, especially since 1893, the Saints waved white handkerchiefs while shouting (James E. Talmage, House of the Lord, p. 150; Conference Report, April 1930, pp. 21–22). Often after the shout the congregation or choirs sang a song (“America,” “The Spirit of God,” or the Evan Stephen “Hosanna Anthem.”) But with these different modifications made from time to time during Church history, the basic pattern, repeated three times while waving white handkerchiefs, has persisted until the present.

Today, the shout is conducted at temple dedications and at solemn assemblies. However, in the past several other occasions and events were honored with the congregational Hosanna Shout:

1. At the close of the famous Sidney Rigdon Salt Sermon at Missouri in 1838

2. By the twelve before leaving for their missions to England, 1838

3. Upon arrival on English soil, Brigham Young and the rest of the Twelve with him, April 6, 1840

4. At a secret council of fifty meeting in Nauvoo, March 11, 1844, and April 11, 1844

5. At the laying of the capstone of the Nauvoo Temple, May 24, 1845

6. Upon entering the Salt Lake Valley for the first time

7. At several general conferences—April 11, 1852; October 6, 1862; April 9, 1882

8. At a 24th of July celebration in Brigham City—July 24, 1875

9. Occasionally, at a ward or stake conference

When the proper occasion arises for this spiritious congregational shout of praise and rejoicing (and it is now used only on rather special occasions), when the spirit guides the proper ecclesiastical authority, and when the congregation has been properly tutored and instructed in the sacredness and pattern of it, the Hosanna Shout is one of the most dramatic and impressive ceremonies in the Church.

“It is impossible to stand unmoved on such an occasion. It seems to fill the prairies or woodland, mountain wilderness or tabernacle, with mighty waves of sound; and the shout of men going into battle cannot be more stirring. It gives wonderful vent to religious emotions and is followed by a feeling of reverential awe—a sense of oneness of God.” (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 317.) The word hosanna as we know it originated from two Hebrew words found in Psalm 118:25, and roughly means “Save us, we beseech thee.” [Ps. 118:25] (See also 2 Sam. 14:4; Ps. 20:9.) This psalm was recited by one of the priests every day during the procession around the altar during the seven-day holiday called the Feast of Tabernacles, when the people were commanded to “rejoice before the Lord. …” (Lev. 23:40). On the seventh day it was sung seven times, and when the priest reached verses 25 and 26, the trumpet sounded and all the people waved their branches of palms, myrtles, and willows (their lulab), and shouted the Hosanna many times. In fact, this seventh day of the feast was called the Great Hosanna. The Feast of Tabernacles was a season of great rejoicing for the Jewish people, and hence the Hosanna, though supplicatory at first, came to be equated with rejoicing. It was apparently used in this way in the New Testament.

The Hosanna became an acclamation of the multitude on the occasion of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It occurs six times in the Gospels. It is used alone in Mark 11:9 and John 12:13; it is twice followed by the dative “to the Son of David” in Matthew 21:9, 15 [Matt. 21:9, 15]; and it is used twice with the phrase “in the highest” in Matthew 21:9 [Matt 21:9] and in Mark 11:10. The element of rejoicing and praise even in an ejaculation or shout was present on this occasion as was the lulab or waving of branches or leaves.

The earliest actual use of the Hosanna Shout in the Church is not known. But it was most likely used from the very beginning. Indeed, the Lord commanded its use even before the Church was officially organized.

In March 1830 the Prophet received a revelation for Martin Harris in which the Lord commanded him to preach the gospel “even with a loud voice, with a sound of rejoicing, crying—Hosanna, hosanna, blessed be the name of the Lord God!” (D&C 19:37.) On several other occasions in the beginning years of the Church, the Lord commanded the use of the Hosanna Shout (D&C 36:3; D&C 39:19), and it is known that it was practiced. (Millennial Star, vol. 26, p. 504.) But in 1836 with the completing of the Kirtland Temple, the Hosanna Shout became well established in the Church. The Lord gave specific instructions pertaining to it for priesthood and general Church practice. (D&C 109:79–80; Documentary History of the Church vol. 2, pp. 381–92.)

Director of the Institute of Religion University of Utah