Mother Eve Series Part 5: Help Meet

Part One: EvePart Two: Serpent | Part Three: Beguiled | Part Four: Transgress | Part Six: Naked

As vivacious as Eve is, I admit sometimes I experience a glitch in my desire to be like her when it comes to being a help meet. “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:18.) Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and deeply want to help him fulfill his purpose, but is that what my mission in life comes down to? Being his sidekick helper? A little rough and tumble to settle with, so I decided not to let myself put those docile pants on, and hopefully trust there was something I was missing. How could God want his daughters to be submissive and subordinate assistants? I know that’s not what my dad here on earth wants for me! There had to be more…

Well my hiccup smoothed out, and I now understand how INCREDIBLE it is to be a help meet! Help meet, help meet, help me be a help meet!!!

Remember how we had to go a ways back to understand what beguiled and transgress meant? We are all about breaking this down and piecing it together correctly over here.

First lets start with Vivian McConkie Adams’ words to helps sort out the confustion: “It seems that some of the original purpose and power of the term helpmeet has been lost through the ages. In today’s vernacular, helpmeet would seem to indicate a person of lesser stature, a subject, a subordinate. Yet a careful examination of this venerable expression yields an alto-gether different meaning. “Even with or equal to” is the meaning attributed to it by the Oxford English Dictionary. That definition adds clarity and gives us a more correct image. The original text of Genesis 2:18 is even more enlightening. According to biblical scholar David Freedman, the Hebrew word translated there into English as “help” is ezer. This word is a combination of two roots, one meaning “to rescue,” “to save,” and the other meaning “to be strong.” Just as the roots merged into one word, so did their meanings. At first ezer meant either “to save” or “to be strong,” but in time, said Freedman, ezer “was always interpreted as ‘to help,’ a mixture of both nuances. Ezer appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament.” In contrast, k’enegdo, another Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:18 to describe Eve, appears only once. Freedman pointed out that in late rabbinical commentaries k’enegdo means “equal” and stated that in his view “there is no basis for translating k’enegdo as ‘fit’ or ‘appropriate,’ as the traditional translators do when they describe the woman as a ‘fit helper.’” He concluded, “When God creates Eve . . . , His intent is that she will be—unlike the animals—‘a power (or strength) equal to him.’”4

Suppose we had all, male and female alike, been taught to understand Genesis 2:18 as something like the following: “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a companion of strength and power, who has a saving power and is equal with him.” -Eve and the Choice Made in Eden (PLEASE read this book. It’s amaaazing.)

It is an IMPRECISE TrAnSlAtIoN! Society has been dooped…just leave it to Satan to thwart the term and then misrepresent the word and all understanding relating to it.

——- I desire to be an equal companion of power and strength that has a saving power! ———–

One of the foremost of equal powers relating to Adam and Eve is the priesthood and motherhood (more here)

Elder Matthew Cowley gives us some unusual insight into the magnificence of priesthood and motherhood: “Men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls . . . and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.” (We recall an important aspect of the meaning of the words ezer k’negdo, “one who has a saving power.”)

Eve was in very deed, a Savior to man, choosing to give up her lifestyle and life, die a mortal death that mankind might be.  It was her job to save those spirits waiting to come through the veil by giving them bodies.

Consider this to be Eve’s legacy for all women, not just within the bounds of marriage and child bearing.   All daughters of Eve can be a “mother to all living”, dedicated to saving their own little corner of the world.

How is my little corner doing??

We can be companions of strength and power, and use our saving powers. I don’t think the Savior wants to be the only one saving…we too can be saviors like him!

But wait, before we get all hyped up about how tremendous our powers can be, what about that little scripture about how the guy also gets to rule over the woman? I’ve needed some clarification with this before I can go ride off into the sunset to save my corner of the world…

In her talk, Glorious Mother Eve, Vivian sheds some light: “The teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints correct the idea that Eve was wicked, and the cause of all mankind’s woes.  Modern revelation also corrects the false premise that women’s traditional submission to men could be considered a fair punishment for Eve and all her daughters.    “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Moses 4:22). Some men will interpret this verse as God’s permission to disregard a woman’s wisdom and to force her desires to his. President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that Adam’s “ruling over” Eve really means “to responsibly provide for, to protect, to strengthen and shield [his] wife.” That sounds to me like more of a Christ-like role.  The greatest of all came to serve, not to be served.  (See Mark 10:44-45) Like Adam, if men hearken carefully to the counsel of women, they may come to know, like Adam came to know, that women possess a certain kind of wisdom and power that men need.  President Harold B. Lee said – “The purest form of revelation is the intuition of a righteous woman”.  I do not mean to imply that women are better than men or should dump on men.  Men and women are of equal importance to our Heavenly Father and to His plan.  We were created to support and to complement each other.  Men tend to side with the law of justice (think about Adam’s adherence to the commandments in the Garden of Eden) while women look more to the law of mercy (think of Eve saying, “But what about the children?”). Both are necessary.” When I read that I imagined a man and woman running into battle, with the man powerfully fighting forward and shielding his wife so she can use her finesse elf skills with bow and arrow to take out the wicked. They are a strong team with more than one ability in combat. Okay so something like that, but maybe not so literal…

Furthermore, the original Hebrew meaning of mashal (rule) is “to have” or “to have dominion,” but it also means “to liken,” “to resemble,” and “to become like.” “This intimates that Adam’s ruling meant he presided only under principles of unity and equality, and that he was to strive to “resemble” the virtues of Eve and thus “become like” her.” (James T. Summerhays, “The Wisdom and Intelligence of Eve”)

President Spencer W. Kimball quipped: “We have heard of men who have said to their wives, ‘I hold the priesthood and you’ve got to do what I say.’ Such a man should be tried for his membership.”

It is as if God is saying here, “Sorry, Adam, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to place you at the head of the woman, which of course means you are the servant of the woman and a doulos—a slave to the woman.” In fact, Christ goes on to give the same concept about his own station in life: “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people” (Mark 10:45; NIV).

President Kimball then took some exception with modern interpretations of the wording in Genesis: “I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family.”

But of course even the softer meaning of mashal and President Kimball’s phrase “presides over his wife” can be taken the wrong way. “Presides over” implies leadership, and the world’s understanding of leadership is dead wrong and diametrically opposed to Christ’s concept of leadership. As he so often does, Christ turns our natural understanding on its head. Somehow it’s a hard concept to grasp—that God wants us to be divine rulers through serving.

When James and John request if they can be greatest among the disciples in the kingdom of heaven, Christ tells them that they do not comprehend what they are asking. He explains true greatness and true leadership: “Jesus called his disciples and said to them, You know that those who are recognized as rulers among the gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors act like tyrants over them. That is not the way it should be among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to everyone” (Mark 10:42-45; NIV).

When men are given a priesthood stewardship to preside, they might suppose that they have authority over others. They view it has the world has taught them. But scripture implies that they should “suppose” nothing: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen” (D&C 121:39-40). Likewise, it seems few men understand the true pattern associated with the name of Eve. The few men I do know that understand, I will happily let them rule any day!

“Because the men preside over the Church and over the family, they are to serve and in many ways to slave for the women. Like Adam, they are to hearken carefully to the counsel of women, for they will come to know, like Adam came to know, that women possesses a certain kind of wisdom and power that men need in order to gain eternal life.

“Men, try it-put yourself in the lower position as Christ said. Hang on her words. Treat her like a subject would his queen. You will find that, though it may not seem intuitive, such a path will in reality give you a place of greater honor and greater equality with her. This is the pattern Christ set out; this is the pattern of the Adam and Eve story.” (The Wisdom and Intelligence of Eve”, Summerhays)

Adam was given a companion of strength and power with a saving power who was equal to him. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: [She] was among the noble and great in preexistence.  She ranked in spiritual stature, in faith and devotion, in conformity to eternal law with Michael” (“Eve and the Fall,” 68, 67).

I strive to be worthy of being a divine help meet like Eve.

I pray all the Adams can be divine rulers by serving their Eve, and others.

They Meet Together. Emily Shay Illustration.

They Meet Together.
Emily Shay Illustration.

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