The following is a selection from the journal of L. John Nuttall, secretary to Brigham Young. In this journal entry, dated 7 February 1877, Nuttall summarizes portions of the first lecture at the veil, composed by Young for inclusion with the first official script of the endowment.
L. John Nuttall:
In the creation, the Gods entered into an agreement about forming this earth and putting Michael, or Adam, upon it.
These things of which I have been speaking are what are termed the mysteries of godliness, but they will enable you to understand the expression of Jesus, made while in Jerusalem: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
We were once acquainted with the Gods and lived with them, but we had the privilege of taking upon us flesh, that the spirit might have a house to dwell in. We did so, and forgot all, and came into the world not recollecting anything which we had previously learned.
We have heard a great deal about Adam and Eve: how they were formed, etc. Some think he was made like an adobe, and the Lord breathed into him the breath of life; for we read, “From dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Well, he was made of the dust of the earth, but not of this earth. He was made just the same way you and I are made, but on another earth.
Adam was an immortal being when he came on this earth. He had lived on an earth similar to ours; he had received the priesthood and the keys thereof, and had been faithful in all things, and gained his resurrection and his exaltation, and was crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives, and was numbered with the Gods (for such he became through his faithfulness), and had begotten all the spirits that were to come to this earth. And Eve our common mother, who is the mother of all living, bore those spirits in the celestial world.
And when this earth was organized by Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael (who is Adam, our common father), Adam and Eve had the privilege to continue the work of progression. Consequently they came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. And when Adam and those that assisted him had completed this kingdom, our earth, he came to it and slept, and forgot all, and became like an infant child.
It is said by Moses the historian that the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and took from his side a rib, and formed the woman that Adam called Eve. This should be interpreted that the man Adam, like all other men, had the seed within him to propagate his species; but not the woman. She conceives the seed, but she does not produce it; consequently she was taken from the side, or bowels, of her father. This explains the mystery of Moses’s dark sayings in regard to Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve, when they were placed on this earth, were immortal beings with flesh, bones, and sinews. But upon partaking of the fruits of the earth, while in the garden and cultivating the ground, their bodies became changed from immortal to mortal beings, with the blood coursing through their veins as the action of life.
Adam was not under transgression until after he partook of the forbidden fruit; that was necessary that they might be together, that man might be. The woman was found in transgression, not the man.
Now in the law of sacrifice we have the promise of a Savior; and man had the privilege and showed forth his obedience by offering of the first fruits of the earth and the firstlings of the flocks–this as a showing that Jesus would come and shed his blood.
Father Adam’s oldest son, Jesus the Savior, who is the heir of the family, is Father Adam’s first begotten in the spirit world and the only begotten according to the flesh (as it is written), Adam in his divinity having gone back into the spirit world and come in the spirit to Mary, and she conceived. For when Adam and Eve got through with their work in this earth, they did not lay their bodies down in the dust but returned to the spirit world, from whence they came.(1)
[For readability’s sake, the journal entries are broken into smaller paragraphs, have standardized spelling and punctuation, and have corrected grammatical infelicities. A transcript of the unedited journal entry can be found in David John Buerger’s The Mysteries of Godliness, pp. 111-112.]
I have rather heavily edited this last paragraph for clarity’s sake. The original, as transcribed by Buerger, reads:
Father Adam’s oldest son (Jesus the Saviour) who is the heir of the family, is father Adam’s first begotten in the spirit world, who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written. (In his divinity he having gone back into the spirit world, and came in the spirit to Mary and she conceived, for when Adam and Eve got through with their work in this earth, they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit world from whence they came.)