By partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve introduced not only physical death but also spiritual death into the world: they were immediately separated from God’s presence. He would no longer walk in their garden and have periodic face to face conversations with them. Alma said, “It was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death” (Alma 42:9).
So it’s significant that, after leaving the Garden, Adam and Eve began taking actions which reduced the distance between them and God:
And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
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 after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.Moses 5:4-6
President Russell M. Nelson referenced this passage recently as a precedent for temple worship:
Temple ordinances and covenants are ancient. The Lord instructed Adam and Eve to pray, make covenants, and offer sacrifices. Indeed, “whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples.” The standard works are replete with references to temple teachings, clothing, language, and more. Everything we believe and every promise God has made to His covenant people come together in the temple. In every age, the temple has underscored the precious truth that those who make covenants with God and keep them are children of the covenant.“The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” General Conference, October 2021, italics in original
President Nelson also referenced Nephi, who “had temple-like experiences by going ‘into the mount oft’ to pray (1 Nephi 18:3)” and who subsequently worked with his people to build an actual temple in their promised land. (See 2 Nephi 5:16).
Separation from God is an essential part of our mortal experience, but that does not mean that we should simply accept it. From the beginning of time, people have worked to reduce the distance between themselves and God. Like Adam and Eve, when we reach out to God, He will answer. We also have the opportunity to make formal covenants with Him, which further decreases the distance.
Today, I will be grateful for the opportunities God has given me to overcome my separation from Him. I will recommit to worship Him regularly in the temple in order to grow closer to Him.
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