Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 4:11-12

11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

This is very powerful imagery that God evokes: the earth’s mouth having to receive the blood of an innocent, and thereafter refusing to yield its increase to the one who was responsible. God speaks of the earth as a sentient being, capable of taking offense and returning a consequence.

What we do to this earth matters. Our actions works their way into its soil and change its behavior. If nature seem chaotic and violent, might it not be because it is ruled by violent and evil stewards? How might the forces of nature change if all mankind suddenly gave up any violent disposition? Joseph Smith once counseled that ‘men must become harmless, before the brute creation.’ Perhaps if we achieved peace with all our fellowmen then the earth would be willing to have peace with us, too. Then, at last, the lion might lie down with the lamb.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 3:4-5

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 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.

Every temptation comes with the promise of gain. Take the money and you can buy the things you want. Tell the lie and you’ll get out of trouble. View the pornography and you will have a rush of pleasure. Shout at the child and they will stop doing the thing that annoys you.

In short: eat the fruit and you will gain. And why do we give in? Because there is a truth to all of these statements. Immediate gratification does come about by committing sin. It really works!

Of course we have also been warned of painful side-effects accompanying each of these vices. After the rush of gratification comes the lack of self-respect, the shame, the addiction, the broken relationships, the decline of health, the sense of being fractured, the feeling of being cursed. And it is against these consequences that Satan lies, just as it was the consequence he was dismissive of to Eve: “Ye shall not surely die.”

When asked why we sin, most of us say it was because we thought we could get away with it, which is another way of saying we believed Satan and thought we could slip past the consequences. We thought that if we were fast enough or clever enough we could take the gratification of sin while dodging all the pain. We assumed the promised shame was only put upon us by stodgy priests and parents, and if we just didn’t care about them we wouldn’t feel bad about it. But as each of us has learned, it doesn’t really work that way. The pain is already hidden within the pleasure, you cannot bite the fruit without consuming both.

Individual Trials- Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden
Life is difficult, even without trials. For trials are moments given by divinity to test us, but even in their absence there still remains a world that is unfair and consequences for our wrongs. As Jesus put it, there yet remains “labour” and being “heavy laden.”
People speak of how they are hesitant to give themselves to Christ, because then all manner of trouble will come to them. But I’ve seen the shambles that we make from a life without Christ, the trouble is already here.

Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
The only question, then, is which hardship would you rather endure? Consequences or trials? Consequences that are the retribution for your failings, or trials that are the crucible for your success? Hardship comes either way, so would you rather face it alone, or with a companion? Would you rather suffer your brokenness, or suffer the purification that makes you whole? Trials are never easy, but they are always better.

Trial Before Blessing, Pleasure Before Anguish- Exodus 32:1, Deuteronomy 8:2, Ecclesiastes 8:11

And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.


When the people saw that Moses delayed…[they] said…Up, make us gods
The LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart
After the Israelites were led out of Egypt they struggled to maintain faith in God’s ability to protect and provide. At a time where patience was required, they instead sought the immediate gratification of a new god. Eventually they were given a test of forty years, and from the passage above we learn the purpose of it was prove whether they would remain faithful for a period so long.
Where many of us fall from our faith is during the waiting, because frankly most of us initially only do good for the hope of receiving a reward. If there is a delay on that reward, though, our true motivations eventually reveal themselves.

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Similarly, many of us initially avoid evil only for the fear of receiving a punishment. If there is a delay on that punishment, though, our true desires eventually reveal themselves as well.
We are wheat and tares, indistinguishable in our infancy and still deciding what we are ultimately going to be. We are trying to learn how to do good things simply because they are good, never mind if we receive a reward right away. And we are trying to learn how to avoid evil things simply because they are evil, never mind if we feel their consequences right away.
If every good and evil act showed their consequences immediately, then we would never define our core selves, we would become dumb creatures of habit. It is only in the waiting that the core self is revealed.

A word of caution: some have interpreted passages like these to suggest that some of us have an evil core self and others a good core self. I want to take a moment to refute that notion entirely. All of us are good at our core. Tomorrow I’ll explain why this misconception arises, and why it is a misconception.

Trial Before Blessing, Pleasure Before Anguish- Question

I don’t remember exactly how and when the thought occurred to me, but one day I was recognizing a pattern in this world where it seems that blessings seemed to always be tucked behind some sort of trial. Conversely, it always seems that vice provides immediate gratification, but then with anguish tucked behind that.

Suddenly it seemed crystal clear to me why we are all so predisposed to making mistakes. Our temporal nature in which we are only ever conscious of the “now” will always tip the scales towards choosing immediate pleasure over immediate trial. Thus to “deny yourself and take up your cross” will always be an effort that goes against the grain. Furthermore, because there is a delay before consequence, there is always an element of faith required in one’s actions: faith in the eventual outcome be it good or bad.

I find these notions very intriguing and I’d like to explore them more. I want to examine if and how the scriptures support this theory, what further truths might be gleaned from it, and ways to therefore bolster one’s resolve to face their trials with the promise of blessings to come. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Does this ring true to you? Anything you would add or change to the theory?