Thursday, February 25, 2010

Whoa! Woe! Whoa!

The slope led to a precipice and now we seem in free-fall. Is there a dangling bungee we can seize before impact?! By too many accounts (and déjà vu), it shall not be supplied by our lawyers and our judges.

Consider the “American” continent, circa 82 B.C.:
And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges. … Now the object of these lawyers was to get gain; and they got gain according to their employ (Book of Mormon Alma 10:27, 32).
Consider Palestine, circa 30’s A.D.:
Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And he [Jesus] said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. … Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered (New Testament Luke 11:45-52).
I do not fault all lawyers and judges for some are truly casting bungees after us as fast as they can, but two recent events highlighting unbelievable tragedies of injustice and exculpation come to mind.

2010—February 19:1

Jay S. Bybee and John Yoo, former Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) lawyers and authors of the infamous torture memos, were exonerated of professional misconduct (and its severe consequences) by a finding of “poor judgment.” That lesser finding by DOJ Associate Deputy AG David Margolis was against the recommendation of his very own Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). The Margolis decision is long and legalistic as it searchs for exoneration and lesser accountability. Margolis finds excuse in a veritable Jack Baur 24/7 justification replay of “context,” “necessity,” and “defense of others”! An incredible Pandora’s folly in a world where context, necessity, and self-defense/defense of others will forever rationalize torture and forever goad the terrorizing foe into greater resolve—both sides engaged in an endless competitive race to “do unto them before they do unto us”!

And how strange that U.S. SERE-training2 (based on much maligned torture techniques of totalitarian regimes and mad “scientists”) should become the model for our “enhancements.”3 How ironic that inhumane torments that extracted false confessions from American POWs have been crafted into tortures for “extracting truth” by 21st century “freedom fighters”! How “collateral” the nearly 100 detainee deaths4 in a system asserting that “no lasting mental [or physical] harm results from the use of the proposed procedures?!”5 And how, in the name of integrity, did we legalese ourselves around THIS!
18 U.S.C. Section 2340 (1) makes it a criminal offense for any person "outside of the United States [to] commit or attempt to commit torture." Section 2340(1) defines torture as:
an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control. [As quoted in the Bybee memo, p. 9.]
What do these contortions and exonerations say to the world? Where is the rule of law? Where truth and justice?6 Where was the Moran Report of 1943 on “Truth Extraction”?7 What is the state now of a revered Constitution?8
And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, ... (Doctrine and Covenants Section 98:5-11, emphasis added).
A finding of “poor judgment” to excuse “legalese-ing” of this magnitude and consequence is, in my view, a great American tragedy in a growing accumulation of them (See Memo ... ).

2010—January 21:9

CITIZENS UNITED, APPELLANT v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: a decision of crafted rationality in a 5/4 split by the supreme judges of the land—a decision freeing corporate wealth to freely speak from general funds. A decision massaged to appear as championing freedom, but in practicality and power deeply corrosive to representative democracy.

“Terrible judgment” is the essential analysis of Justice John Paul Stevens10 in his lengthy dissenting opinion. Considering the magnitude of this decision, it is worth the read, especially the dissenting opinion. Here are two excerpts from Justice Stevens:
“We have repeatedly sustained legislation aimed at ‘the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.’” (p. 49)
"At bottom, the Court’s [majority] opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics." (p. 90)
Thus, whoa! woe! whoa! to the course of our affairs—where nothing seems to mean what it is meant to mean—from Clinton’s “it depends on what the meaning of is, IS;” to “torture” memos; to “poor” justifications; to free-speech rights for multinational corporations (aka, legal-fictions) in American politics and elections.

How déjà vu the Orwellian Ministries of Truth and Justice! How invasive and powerful the voice of mammon!

2. SERE-training (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape);
3. See The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer, © 2008, p. 159-164
5. “Furthermore, although [redacted] indicated that surveys of students having completed this training are not done, he expressed confidence that the training did not cause any long-term psychological impact. He based his conclusion on the debriefing of students that is done after the training.” (Bybee Memo: Aug. 1, 2002, p. 5). . Interesting how debriefing can substitute for long-term research!
8. And how terribly ironic that members of my faith played such key roles in these tragedies. Lawyers: Jay S. Bybee and Steven G. Bradbury (Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice),; Timothy E. Flanigan, (White House Counsel’s Office), see Jane Mayer, The Dark Side … p. 50 and Re Mormon psychologists James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, see Mayer, p. 156-163. Also see,;
10. Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford in 1975.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Economics of Babylon

(Contrast to Economics of Jesus post of December 7, 2009)

As Christians, we are aware that Zion is often juxtaposed with Babylon—the first denoting the “faithful of God,”1 the second, the “mother of harlots.” 2 It’s pretty graphic imagery.
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (New Testament Revelation 17:5)

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (New Testament Revelation 18:3, emphasis added)
The latter-day Book of Mormon also sets forth the opposition:
And it came to pass that [the angel] said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 14:9-11, emphasis added).
With all the scriptural denunciations and warnings,3 it seems tragically myopic to me, WHY we have become so obsessed with the abuses and one-world agenda of socialism/communism and so cavalier about the excesses, abuses, and one-world agendas of Babylon—the whore of all the earth; the real nemesis—our corrupted capitalism.4

WHY do we denounce and soundbite all manner of “socialistic” schemas, while we romanticize, deregulate, and hype those of Babylon? Why do we continue to worship,5 at the altars of self-regulating supply and demand, global “free-markets,” and “invisible hand” loyalties when real-world dynamics debunks them all? Why in the name of prosperity and providence, do we pursue the “blessings” of increasingly unregulated finance capitalism that violate the divine fundamentals of faith, hope, and charity?

While we castigate the socialists, we frolic beneath the Trojan horse of Babylon.

Are we so blind we can’t discern a Screwtape6 substitution—a “socialist” danger God seems rather silent about, distracting from a greater one He decries in graphic language?7

What are the economic philosophies of Babylon? Are they not the same as that espoused by our corrupted capitalism? (The opposites of what God advocates?)
• Self-interest
• Survival of the fittest
• Primacy of efficiency and profit
• Competition as the genus of ingenuity, innovation, creativity, progress, profit
• Freedom from law and regulation to allow markets to self-adjust, self-regulate, and maximize profit; to be a law unto themselves8
• Grandiosity, pomp & ceremony, size, appearance, power, privileges
• You can buy (and justify) anything in this world for money.
And what does Babylon offer?
The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. (New Testament Revelation 18:12-13, emphasis added)

And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:6-8)
Is Babylon, with all her “free-markets” talk, really so free of “detested” coercions?
• Ask the foreign and/or developing nations that have been forced into the “Washington Consensus” and other conditions in order to merit World Bank or IMF loans.
• Ask corporations who have sought market share in global markets.
• Ask businesses who have joined the race to the bottom in order to compete with unethical competitors. Ask their oppressed employees.
• Ask governments who have been pressured to bailout too-big-to-fail corporations.
• Ask taxpayers who bear the costs of corporate externalizing.
• Ask politicians and elected officials about lobbyists, campaign funding, election and re-election “necessities.”
• Ask dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens; but DON’T ask concurring Chief Justice John Glover Roberts and company who don’t seem to have a clue9 that “free to,” in this case, means free to dominate, dictate, suppress, oppress, propagandize, monopolize, chill others speech, etc.10 (Citizens United)
• Ask Google about her venture into China.
• Ask John the Revelator: “And he [a beast of Babylon] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (New Testament Revelation 13:16-17, emphasis added)
What does God say about finance capital in His kingdom?
For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. (Old Testament Isaiah 52:3, emphasis added)

HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Old Testament Isaiah 55:1, emphasis added; see also Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:50 - 51)

Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 26:25, emphasis added)
And what does God say about the future of Babylon?
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (Old Testament Isaiah 13:19)

Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. 8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. (Old Testament Jeremiah 51:6-9)

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: (New Testament Revelation 18:8-10)
As Christians, we should be aware that the end of times portends a great and dreadful day of justice and judgment—a day when Babylon falls. So why are we so persistent in, not just turning a blind eye to, but participating in and promoting her corruptions, excesses, follies, and falsehoods?

When are we going to grasp that freedom is not to be without law or regulation? It is to be ringed and bounded by just and equitable laws that protect the dignity of all people from the natural man’s11 drive to power and wealth through exploitation and plunder. That has been the forever déjà vu of history. But in our time, when the natural man aggregates into a collective of other “naturals” (and into a legalized fiction,12) all devoted to bottom-line profit and the disintegration of accountability and connectedness, the recipe is perfect for maximized abomination and a proliferation of harlots. Graphic imagery, yes—over two thousand years old.

Knowing that Babylon is our greatest nemesis, why then do we not, in the words of Jeremiah, put forth every effort to heal her13—our corrupted capitalism—beginning with our own conduct and continuing as far as our influence can reach?14

1. In my view, the faithful of God are those who choose Him and seek to live according to the light they have been given; good people found amongst all nations, kindreds, tongues, and creeds. This does not mean we will not have to adjust our thoughts and actions to greater light when it is received; it means we are seeking to do the best we can with what we have been given and with where we are at.
2. And when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 14:17); Suggested reading: New Testament Revelation 18:2-24
3. Reward [Babylon] even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: (New Testament Revelation 18:6-11)
4. Yes, I am equating the present state of corrupted capitalism with Babylon. The principled concept of capitalism, in my view, is where one envisions one’s own prosperity and excess as a resource for another’s needed capital—a voluntary commitment to a “neighbor’s” hopes and to the common good. Instead, our present system has devolved into a twisted contest of unfettered power, maximized profit, unabashed arrogance, and “justified” usury, where freedom is defined as being without law or regulation and where self-focused individualists claim/demand the right to be trusted to be a law unto themselves and that their devotion to self-interest (“Trust ME”) will devolve to the common good.
5. Free-market ideology often presents itself in religious-type language and zeal. How often do our laissez-faire, libertarian ideologues manifest greater faith in markets and finance capital than in their God? Listen to the foremost advocates. Look at the edifices—often built in likeness to cathedrals and temples. Witness the justice, equity, fairness, and integrity of business practices?!
6. Strategies advocated by a senior assistant devil, Screwtape, from The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis.
7. God seems singularly unconcerned with what the poor allegedly do to the rich and far more concerned with what the rich do to the poor. (See Oct. 9, 2009 blog posting “To those afflicted with riches.”)
8. They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 1:16)
9. Or alternately, too much of a clue!
11. For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 3:19)
12. Is there any better description for a systemic legal fiction than: “...the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” New Testament Revelation 17:8)
13. Old Testament Jeremiah 51:8-9
14. There are many books to help inform oneself about ways to attempt healing our broken system. Perhaps try William Greider's One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mother Eve

In a recent Sunday class, a vigorous discussion ensued about how much Mother Eve knew when she chose to partake of the forbidden fruit; how much wisdom, insight, or memory she had of God’s plan and purposes. Perusals online reveal that the vigorous discussion is not confined to Sunday classes. The questions persist. Was Mother Eve wise? Partly wise? Deceived? Beguiled? What is the truth?

It seems the “wisdom” of the ages has tended to condemn Eve, yet latter-day revelation teaches a different view. We are shown that Mother Eve was amongst the great and mighty ones of the earth.1 Undoubtedly she was also amongst the noble and great ones that Abraham saw.2 But what more do scripture and latter-day revelation have to say about Eve? And has our current sensitivity to women’s issues and worth caused us to overcompensate for historical condemnation?3 Are we thus trying to credit Mother Eve with more than her condition in the Garden warranted? Are we trying to place her at an upper level of wisdom and enlightenment before she had the experiences that bring wisdom? How sophisticated were Adam and Eve in their understanding of possibilities and options? Let us consider three main questions.

Did Adam & Eve know good and evil?
And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat. (Pearl of Great Price Moses 4:10-12, emphasis added)
And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken; (Pearl of Great Price Moses 4:28-29, emphasis added)
If they did not know good and evil until after eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, would Eve have understood her choice as either good or evil? Perhaps her choice, in her innocence, was simply to obey a command or to disobey. Lehi tells us:
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. 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. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2:22-24, emphasis added)
Thus, if Adam and Eve were in a state of innocence, were they not in a state similar to children4 before the age of accountability—before the awareness of the knowledge of good and evil? And though children are innocent, yet are they not still capable of disobeying law or parental command and having to reap the consequence? Is this not the major distinction between sin and transgression? Is not sin to choose evil with knowledge of good and evil, and transgression to offend without knowledge?5
For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 3:11)6
Why should women feel the need to have an Eve who was wise and courageous7 in the Garden? Do not these things come through experience? And what experience did either of our first parents have of opposites: of foolishness or fear; of the awareness of dangers in a garden of peace?

And why should some disparage Eve for seeing the tree as good for food or as pleasant to the eyes, or for desiring to make her wise like her glorious Parentage? Did she not see precisely what her Father had intended her to see? Compare:
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Old Testament Genesis 2:9, emphasis added)
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Old Testament Genesis 3:6, emphasis added)
In the words of Lehi’s son, Jacob—
Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents. (Book of Mormon Jacob 4:3)
What did God impart when walking and talking with Adam & Eve in the Garden?

The general assumption seems to be that Adam and Eve walked and talked with God while in the Garden. Some have suggested that God was instructing them in gospel principles and the Plan of Salvation, but consider Pearl of Great Price, Moses, chapter 5. It deals with Adam and Eve AFTER their expulsion from the Garden where their first understanding of the atonement seems to have come “after many days” of performing blood sacrifice without knowledge.8 An angel of the Lord explained the significance and in keeping with the principle of “line upon line, precept upon precept,” the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened a little wider to the purposes of God.
And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will. 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. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. (Pearl of Great Price Moses 5:9-12, emphasis added)
Perhaps gospel principles were taught in the Garden, but without the knowledge of good and evil, how much could be comprehended? So what other vital things might God have anticipated? Would God not have thought to prepare them in language, in stewardship, in creativity, in the skills they would need to survive outside the Garden? Might not there be considerable parallel to this observation about prophets?
The Preparation of Prophets. Prophets may be foreordained to their high and holy stations, but they are seldom born prophets; much preparation and molding and experience—generally planned and programmed by the Lord himself—are needed before they become the "polished shafts" in the quiver of the Almighty. After the pattern of that Master whom they serve and represent, prophets frequently are recipients of experiences which take them from the heights of heaven to the depths of hell, or vice versa. (Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2: The Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Randall Book, 1985], 5-6.)
Thus, it appears that the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened in stages to the gospel plan and the purposes of God after their transgression. Both the scriptures and LDS temple script confirm this as they came to recognize and deal with the consequences of their choices. Is this not the pattern common to us all—line upon line, precept on precept?9

Was Mother Eve deceived/beguiled?
And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world. (Pearl of Great Price Moses 4:6)
And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman: What is this thing which thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (Pearl of Great Price Moses 4:19)
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (New Testament 2 Corinthians 11:3)
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (New Testament 1 Timothy 2:14)10
Eve was fulfilling the foreseen purposes of God by the part she took in the great drama of the fall; yet she did not partake of the forbidden fruit with that object in view, but with intent to act contrary to the divine command, being deceived by the sophistries of Satan, who also, for that matter, furthered the purposes of the Creator by tempting Eve; yet his design was to thwart the Lord's plan. (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 63.)
Some, however, have put forth that beguiled, in the context of Eve, has not a negative but a positive usage and does not necessarily mean deception.11 But if we look at other uses of “beguiled” in the scriptures,12 they all have a clear and negative connotation of deception. And for those who feel it demeans Eve to acknowledge that she might have been enticed or deceived—consider how susceptible to beguilement are the innocent who are without guile? And is it not an attribute commanded of God—to be without guile?13 Yet at the same time, while we live in this fallen world, we have this warning:
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (New Testament Matthew 10:16)
Perhaps, in view of this counsel, some have even gone so far as to cast Eve as a heroine who managed to outwit the adversary with foresight and wisdom by seeing beyond the beguiling into God’s real plan. I do not know where this alleged foresight is supported in scripture relating to Eve.14 We are her children and our wisdom and courage undoubtedly come just as hers did, line upon line, through experience, trial and error, suffering opposites and opposition, remembering, pondering, repenting, serving, forgiving, and enduring the realities of a mortal world.

I believe her experience is also a foreshadowing for us. Consider:
NOT BEYOND TEMPTATION: One thing other I would like to mention for a moment, and that is—I hope that none of you will feel that your children are beyond the reach of temptation or transgression. The more firmly you feel that, the greater the danger to your family. No one is safe from the wiles and the persuasions of Satan. He reached Adam and Eve before mortality came. He reached into the family of Adam, and Adam's family produced the first murderer. All down through history he has reached into the families and to the persons of those who are in high and responsible positions. Satan reached David, a man after the Lord's own heart, who committed the great sin which he committed; the great Solomon, and stole his heart away. And in modern times we have too many illustrations of where children of our leaders do not live just as we would wish. So I beg of you do not assume, my dear brothers and sisters, that your children are beyond the reach of Satan, but always go forward, always conduct your family life, always be parents, fathers and mothers acting on the fact that Satan stands at the elbow of your dear one to lead him astray. Never forget that, my brothers and sisters. (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1951, Second Day—Morning Meeting 59.)
Eve, in all her innocence, was a being of great intelligence. She was amongst the “mighty and great ones.”15 She obviously had an enquiring mind. She desired to be like her glorious Father—and what trusting, innocent child with kind and loving parents does not strive to imitate all they do?16 To be innocent is not to be stupid. How have we come to consider innocence a mark of shame when applied to Eve? Innocence is often filled with questions. With desires to know more. To experience more. To do things beyond capacity. To take wing into the unknown.

We can thank our God for Mother Eve—for her innocence, for her enquiring mind, and for the wisdom and courage she acquired, line upon line, in suffering the opposites and oppositions of a fallen world.17 Like her, we too can come to know, line upon line, precept upon precept “the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient [including the repentant].”

1. Among the great and mighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous were Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of all, And our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 138:38-39)
2. Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 3:22)
3. Disclosure: I am a single woman of 60 years, and have at times felt an overcompensation through excessive courtesies and the pedestalizing of women, while at the same time, finding my voice and opinion, too often, discounted because of gender.
4. A state clearly stated in the LDS Temple endowment script.
5. Note however that a contrary argument could be made from various scriptures, e.g. Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:27, 46.
6. See also: For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, … (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:26)
7. I find it hard to understand such attributions to Eve’s state of innocence; or to use the word “courage” to describe an act of disobedience to God. However, I am aware of those attributions by some of the brethren, but wonder if “wisdom and courage” are used more in terms of hindsight. Do we not sometimes look back on actions or decisions and say: “That was a wise thing I did; or “That was a courageous thing”; when at the time, we were just doing the best we could in circumstances that had more import for our future than we knew at the time?
8. And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore. (Pearl of Great Price Moses 5:5-8, emphasis added)
9. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Old Testament Isaiah 28:10; see also vs. 13, 30; Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 28:30; Doctrine &Covenants 98:12; 128:21)
10. Note however, that both God and Adam repeatedly refer to “transgression” in reference to Adam’s partaking of the fruit. This may sometimes be a reflection of the plural usage of Adam, but in other instances the singular thy or my modifies it. (see Pearl of Great Price Moses 5:10; 6:53)
11. Particularly Beverly Campbell, see (accessed Jan. 24 & 25, 2010). Concept #9.
12. The second instance being Jacob’s use of it: “And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?” (Old Testament Genesis 29:25). Beguile is also used three times in the Book of Mormon to describe Satan’s interaction with our first parents. “… that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 16:3; See also, 2 Nephi 9:9 and Ether 8:25)
13. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—(Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:41-42, emphasis added; see also 124:20, 97)
14. Do we really suppose that the veil of forgetfulness was not drawn for her and Adam, particularly when they did not know about the Plan of Redemption until many days after their expulsion from the Garden (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:6-13), and when they did not have knowledge of good and evil?
15. Doctrine and Covenants Section 138:38-39
16.However, when awareness of the world's enticements begins to encroach upon innocence, the desire to imitate honorable parents sometimes goes astray.
17. And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2:15)