Book of Moses Commentary Part II: The First Two Laws

As soon as Adam and Eve had been cast out of the Garden of Eden, Moses 5:1-4 tells us, they set about the work of providing for their temporal needs according to the order given by God, started raising a family, and called on God. 

Verse 5 says that God responded to their prayers by giving them commandments, to which the text explicitly goes out of its way to inform us that Adam was obedient

Immediately after stressing Adam’s obedience to the commandments (presumably, yes, all of them), verse 6 begins the well known story of Adam being visited by an angel who teaches Adam the meaning of his ritual sacrifices.

I find it intriguing that the Book of Moses mentions that very early after the Fall, Adam is described as learning obedience, quickly followed by learning sacrifice.  Note that the footnotes to verse 5 direct us to the Topical Guide entry for “obedience,” and the footnotes for verse 6 lead to the entry for “sacrifice.”

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Recommended Reading: 2001: A Space Odyssey

20011Although I was first exposed to Kubrick’s classic film in high school, I was too sleepy/ dumb/ apathetic to pay much attention.  Despite that, I was pretty familiar with it, if only because of the ubiquitous references to it in pop culture (I can remember at least a few just from Sesame Street). 

A few years ago, I found myself planning for the last day of summer school, where I would spend the first half of the day reviewing and then administering a final exam, and the second half of the day grading it and filling out paperwork.  As the students would obviously be done with the course itself after the exam, an extraneous activity was needed to fill the time while I worked.  (Technically, administrations are supposed to have us give the exam and grade it during the second half of the last day, while we’re simultaneously supposed to continue doing regular class work with them–an expectation so impossibly ridiculous that nobody anywhere has ever tried to enforce it).

Not being a fan of time-wasting movies, I wanted something calm and cerebral for them to try.  Remembering 2001, I checked it out of the library.  As long and slow as it is, (and as much as I was trying to focus on my work, which I mercifully finished earlier than I’d expected to), I was dazzled by it, by all of it: the visuals, the music, the ambition of the story’s epic scope.  How could such a simple and simply-told movie be so fantastically overwhelming? 

Since then, this has been a landmark of art in my mind.  Thus it’s not surprising that, eventually, I’d read Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, which he wrote at the same time as he and Kubrick wrote the screenplay. 

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