The garden of Mormonism is poetic and primal. A place of purpose – where we shed the shell of innocence, where we stretch the wings of new wisdom. There are many gardens in the Mormon narrative and perhaps the most controversial and obscure is Brigham’s, though it too is beautiful.
Speaking of our grand archetypes:
they will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles…(1)
Otherwise stated, they “became mortal by eating the fruits of the earth, which was earthy.” (2)
Brigham’s narrative is no longer favored and it fuels the critical engines of many antagonistic to Mormonism. Regardless of controversy surrounding Edenic historicity, and despite my personal belief in a disparate garden, several aspects of Brigham’s resonate. Unlike others, here the transition is gradual, not instantaneous. The more Adam and Eve take of the fruit of the earth, the more they become earthy themselves. There is also no blame, something shocking considering that Brigham’s intimacy with our Temple liturgy.
Placing oneself in the Garden is not a foreign concept to Mormonism. Perhaps we all partake of the fruit of this world and slowly emerge from the haven we come to, changed. For many, the process is swift. For others it lasts a lifetime. The fruit makes us earthy, but it is also empowering.
There are many gardens in our history. While Brigham’s garden lays in an extremity, no longer frequented, it remains a powerful iconoclasm. Mormonism is founded in the concepts of our original progenitors. Who knows where they walked?
- JD vol. 6 pg. 275
- An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, p.433