Everyone Has a Story…

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl, they were in the right place at the right time, the circumstances were right, and they fell in love. Such is a formula for the greatest love stories throughout history. A quote my dear Monica enjoys repeating, “Everyone has a story,” brings to mind the need to listen intently to the stories that swirl around us all. Our stories help promote understanding, especially when we are allowed to know beyond the simple facts of a matter. Misunderstanding comes when focused only upon one or a few elements to determine how things really were. In most cases such as these, they really were not. When going beyond the cold facts, allowing warmth and reasoned empathy to enter into the character of what is being related, the story may drift from exactness, but prevail to a more truthful understanding of events. Such I think can be found in the story of Adam and Eve, the world’s oldest love story.

“Adam and Eve Kneeling at an Altar” by Del Parson

Everybody has heard the story. Following the creation of the world and all things in it, on the sixth day we read, “‘God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’” (Genesis 1:26-28).

As the scriptures relate, after Adam was created from the dust of the earth, having life and thus his spirit breathed into him, God the Father and His Son Jehovah counseled together. “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). They caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and took a rib from his side, and after closing up the wound, from that rib they made a woman. She was called Eve, the mother of all living, and presented her to Adam. The story of love began.

Now, Adam and Eve were brought together and married by the gift and authority of God, and given two very specific commandments. One commandment, as mentioned above, was to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Eve and Adam were to become the mother and father of all the children of God ever born to this world.

The other commandment was in regards to a choice they had to make between living innocent in the peaceful garden, or to truly live as they were meant to be, father and mother of all generations in a hard and often unforgiving world. We read, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’” (Genesis 2:15-17). This was a choice they had to make for themselves, agency, to take personal responsibility and to bless all the children of God with the opportunity to live, receive bodies, and become more like Heavenly Father, or to remain immortal in innocence, unable to bless their posterity with life. They chose the plan set forth from the beginning.

“Leaving Eden” by Annie Henrie Nader. A painting depicting Eve taking the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

Satan, he who had rebelled in the pre-mortal realm, “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3), but he was allowed to tempt the young couple. The Serpent appeared in order to persuade them to partake of the fruit, thinking to beguile them, but in essence fooling himself into believing that destroying the immortal paradise of Eden would disrupt the plan of God. He was mistaken.

When Satan approached Adam to persuade him to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam would not hear it. He rightly intended to obey all of God’s commandments. Satan then turned to Eve. He attempted to charm her using reason to get her to aspire for greater knowledge, good and evil. Wisdom prevailed and she saw through his lies to true reason, partaking of the fruit, and then persuading her beloved husband Adam to do the same. Eve helped her loving husband to understand that without her he would be alone and never able to fulfill God’s plan to multiply and replenish the earth. Adam saw in the eyes of his beloved and knew the path that he must take, partake, accept responsibility, and fill the earth with life.

And thus their story of love began. For the love of children we are all evidence of their love for one another, and for their Heavenly Father. Adam and Eve, a true story of love, for the ages.

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl. Someone that they knew and trusted well, set them up for a blind date. Each had known of the other, but in the flesh they had never spoken. After their moment of first meeting, it was just the two of them, getting to know one another, just the two of them, and somewhere in the journey they fell in love. Our children, Monica’s and mine, are evidence of our love for one another, and for our Heavenly Father. Danny and Monica, a true story of love, for the ages.

Everyone Has a Story — Monica Maleksalehi and Danny Malcolm on our blind date, May 17, 1985.

As Monica likes to say, “Everyone has a story.” May our stories be told with the facts of their truthfulness, but heard with the empathy to understand that there is much that lies between pivotal events and the heartfelt motivations that bring them to be. “Adam [and Eve] fell that men might be; and men [and women] are, that [we] might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). My heart is filled with gratitude for dear Mother Eve for her strength, sensitivity and courage to draw the fruit to her lips, and to Father Adam for listening and following his beloved wife in wisdom, that we might be, that life and love might come into the world. I am ever grateful for this story of love, not sin, and our Savior who redeems us from the fall, conquering the death that resulted. “And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth” (Moses 5:2). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

“Adam and Eve Teaching Their Children” by Del Parson

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.