“If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted”
Part II of the episode discusses Cain and Abel in literary and historical perspective, then introduces some ancient traditions about Enoch
Part III examines the theology of this story, returns to the assigned reading with an analytical lens, and then tackles the tradition of black skin as the mark of Cain and its recent official renunciation.
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Class Reading: Moses 5:16-41; 6:26-63; and 7:13, 17-21, 23-47, 68-69; 1 John 3:11, 17-18; 2 Nephi 2:25–27
Additional Reading: Moses 5:42-55; 6:10-23; and 7:14-16, 59-64
Other Reading: Genesis 4:1–16
Jody, Jenni, Timothy, and Jeff continue the discussion.
You can access the Annotated Reading here (or PDF)
You can access the Lesson Notes here (or PDF)
Lesson Part 2
0:00 Intro and Framing
1:13 Cain and Abel via Genesis Account
Discussion Part 2
31:41 Cain and Abel: Theological and Ethical Problems
36:00 Do we need Satan?
Discussion Part 3
38:25 Cain in the LDS tradition
49:30 Scientific Explanation of Race
53:04 Human Capacity for Evil
The Church’s official statement on race and the priesthood
Terryl and Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps
Eugene England, The Weeping God of Mormonism
Armand Mauss, Dispelling the Curse of Cain
Sunstone article documenting several teachings regarding Cain and race
Thanks to James Estrada for his postproduction work, and to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.
Mike Maxwell says:
I really enjoyed the study notes on this one. The unique character of our Mormon “weeping God” and “mourning earth” are two ideas that we tend to take for granted in Mormonism but are so unique to western religion. I love the treatment you gave them and I hope they can become more a part of the dialogue among the Latter-day Saints.
I had a chuckle hearing the the Mormon Doctrine Cast System comments, which did not recall having read in Mormon Doctrine. I came to the conclusion some time ago that, Elder McConkie is a bit like the “SNL drunk uncle” of Mormonism — we love him but continue to learn that loud opinionated pronouncements based on a relatively narrow worldview do not weather the test of time very well. To me, he is a lesson that certainty and passion are not the best ingredients in our recipe to find truth.
A comment regarding the Cain and Abel story. Assuming that we can never know if it literally happened, and, instead, we accept it as a story with a lesson. As I listened to the podcast, I noticed that the Cain vs. Abel story seemed very similar to the Lucifer vs. Jesus pre-existence story. That Jesus’ sacrifice/offering was acceptable, while Lucifer’s was rejected. That Lucifer successfully murders the mortal Jesus like Cain murders Abel. And, that Cain is cast out, just as Lucifer is cast out.
Perphaps the purposes of the Garden of Eden story and the Cain and Abel story are to teach and to remind us of the pre-existence (Garden of Eden) and (the selection of a Savior (Cain vs. Abel).