When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the earth fell, and all things thereon became mortal and corruptible. Physical death and spiritual death (separation from God) were introduced. But the Lord did not leave Adam and Eve comfortless. Line upon line, Adam was taught the Plan of Salvation and gospel truth until he became the great prophet Mormons call “the Ancient of Days,” into whose hands were committed all the keys and authority of all dispensations of time, which he will turn over to Christ when He comes to reign on earth.
In the Pearl of Great Price, we learn some valuable things about Adam and Eve as they began the family of man.
#1. Cain and Abel were not their first children.
And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.
“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 Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord. And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering; But unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not respect. Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
The Prophet Joseph Smithsaid, “By faith in this atonement or plan of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission; and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts. Certainly, the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins” ( Teachings, p. 58).
Some friends of other faiths have seen artwork in Mormon visitors’ centers depicting Adam and Eve offering sheaves from their harvest on the altar, and they have claimed that this proves that they were offering a sacrifice to Satan. This is untrue. As harvests progressed, the Lord required a first portion of the increase of His children, as is exemplified in the law of tithing. An acceptable sacrifice is whatever the Lord requires. In the case of Cain and Abel, the Lord required an animal sacrifice.
These scriptures show that Cain made covenants with Satan before he murdered his brother. Mormons call these Satanic covenants “secret combinations.” They are essentially the foundation of secret brotherhoods, wherein people can murder to get gain, and assume that their associates are sworn to secrecy. Groups appear in the Book of Mormon history who were taught these secret combinations by Satan himself. During one period they were called “Gadianton Robbers,” after Gadianton, one of their leaders. They committed acts of rapine and violence and sought to overthrow those governments who guaranteed the freedom of the people. In the end, it was these groups who destroyed the Nephites, who had once lived for about 200 years in an almost utopian state according to the gospel of Christ. The Book of Mormon, therefore, is the record of a fallen people, speaking to us today to warn us of these same dangers: