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Book review: Book digs deeper into the Garden of Eden

By Emily Johnson

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, April 6 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

"THE TRUTH ABOUT EDEN: Understanding the Fall and our Temple Experience," by Alonzo L. Gaskill, Cedar Fort, $21.99, 272 pages (nf)

The story of the Fall has fascinated and puzzled religious scholars, followers and practitioners for centuries. The Fall of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden is couched in mystery, symbolism and confusion.

In his book, “The Truth About Eden: Understanding the Fall and our Temple Experience,” author and scholar Alonzo L. Gaskill seeks to shed new light on an oft-misunderstood part of gospel doctrine and experience.

Gaskill, a Brigham Young University associate professor in LDS Church history and doctrine, has heavily researched a potentially dense topic, but presents a clear, easy-to-digest volume. While Gaskill is quick to point out that the viewpoints are not official doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he does present carefully prepared and well-reasoned concepts and ideas.

Gaskill examines the many facets of the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden and the Creation. He offers new interpretations of the principles, symbolism and meanings to the stories followers and casual observers thought they already knew.

He draws on a meticulous variety of sources from Mormon and other religious leaders and thinkers through the ages. He presents questions perhaps people have wondered about, but perhaps hadn't considered. He augments these with research, concepts and scriptures.

"The Truth about Eden" begins with Gaskill’s thoughts on some common misconceptions related to these topics. He correlates the Creation and its relationship to the Fall, particularly in LDS temple ordinances. As well, Gaskill compares each of the authorized accounts in LDS scripture and analyzes them line upon line in interpreting and examining the meaning and symbolism.

Whether a doctrine novice or expert, this book can bring new insight and points to ponder for readers about the nature of not only Adam and Eve, but to themselves and temple worship as well.

Emily Johnson earned her master's of professional communication degree from Westminster College. After a year in Peru, she is happy to be back in Utah. She enjoys writing book reviews and profiling unique people doing interesting things.

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