Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Made to Fit by Dennis Gaunt

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God . . . the family is central to

the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

God, the greatest designer and engineer of all, does not work by chance or by

accident. He works according to a divine plan, a celestial schematic that is designed to

bring happiness to His children. This plan involves each of us gaining a physical body

and learning to exercise agency properly by keeping His commandments. We chose to

come to this life in order that we might progress and become like Him, and that includes

marriage and families. “Simply summarized,” as Elder Russell M. Nelson taught, “the

earth was created that families might be.” (1)

The word “create” itself means “to organize”, to bring order out of chaos, to make

sense out of senselessness. (2)   The Creation was and is literally the process of combining

and organizing otherwise separate things to make them greater than the sum of their

parts. When God gets involved, things get organized and make much more sense than if

they were left to themselves. This principle applies not only on a planetary scale, but on a

personal one as well. The creation of man and woman was, therefore, not an accident, but

an absolutely essential element of the Creator’s plan.

And so it was, that following the organization of this earth, complete with lights,

atmosphere, land, water, plants and animals, “God created man in his own image”

(Genesis 1:27) and placed him in the Garden of Eden.

One of the very first things Adam did while he was in the Garden was to name all

the animals. The Lord brought them to Adam and asked him what they would be called.

As this wildlife parade continued, I have to imagine that Adam began to notice two

important things. The first thing he must have noticed was that God was bringing each of

these animals in pairs. He would bring in two lions, for instance, and Adam noticed that

one lion was a bit bigger than the other, and had a bushy mane. The other lion was a little

smaller, a little more petite, and—if it was anything like how the comic strip The Far

Side imagined things like this—she was wearing lipstick, pearls, and little horn-rimmed

The second thing Adam began to notice was that none of these animals looked

like him. They were not part of his species. “But for Adam, there was not found an help

meet for him” (Moses 3:20). So shortly after the last two zebras went trotting happily

away, I imagine that Adam looked around and asked, “Is that it? What about me? Where

is my companion? Where is the other part of my species?”

The Lord, of course, had all this in mind and under control “And I, the Lord God,

said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that man should be alone; wherefore,

I will make an help meet for him” (Moses 3:18). Thus, God embarked on what President

Gordon B. Hinckley referred to as the crowning act of divinity—the creation of woman. (3)

The words “help meet” to describe the creation of Eve are highly instructive. The

Hebrew word that “help” is translated from means to aid, to support, to surround, to

envelop, to protect. Women, by their divine nature, do exactly those things, from being

an aid and support to their husbands to quite literally surrounding, enveloping, and

protecting children during pregnancy. These traits apply in a much broader sense as well

to the family and home. To be a woman, it seems to me, is to be a protector in every

divine sense of the word.

“Meet” also has important connotations. It means to fulfill or satisfy a need. It is

something that is necessary, required, or essential—all of which speak to the glory of

women and their divine natures. But my favorite definition comes from the Middle

English root of the word—which William Tyndale, the English translator of the Bible

would have chosen to use—and means “made to fit.” Men and women were created as

complementary opposites, designed to fill one another’s physical, emotional, and

spiritual needs and, quite literally and in a very sacred sense, made to fit one another.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the Proclamation on the Family

says, “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed

only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

Which brings us to one of the most touching moments ever recorded in scripture.

Following the creation of Eve, God brings her to Adam, the same as He had done with

every other living thing. But this time, Adam looks at her and says, “This I know now is

bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Moses 3:23, emphasis added).

In other words, Adam is saying, “I know her. I recognize her. She looks like me. She is part of my race and my species. She and I belong together.” Finally, after witnessing that seemingly endless parade of happily paired-up animals, Adam is no longer alone. And with Eve at his side, the two can now begin their journey of progression according to God’s plan.

As with every other aspect of the Creation, God has gotten involved and has

brought together two separate elements—a man and a woman—and combined them and

organized them into something greater than the sum of their parts, something greater than

they could ever be alone, a synergy of the highest order: a family.

In the October 1993 General Conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer told the

following parable, which I believe beautifully illustrates all these ideas:

“Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told,

would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within

the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the

precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob

him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be

replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it

to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

“The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to

unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the

safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He

was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He

had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

“In due time, there came a woman into the vault. She, too, held a key. It was

noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to

learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

“They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as

instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the

treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for

his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most

precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance.

They rejoiced for, as promised, it replenished itself.

“With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children;

each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

“Perhaps some few of their posterity would not find a companion who possessed

the complementary key, or one worthy and willing to keep the covenants relating to the

treasure. Nevertheless, if they kept the commandments, they would not be denied even

“Because some tempted them to misuse their treasure, they were careful to teach

their children about keys and covenants.

“There came, in due time, among their posterity some few who were deceived

or jealous or selfish because one was given two keys and another only one. ‘Why,’ the

selfish ones reasoned, ‘cannot the treasure be mine alone to use as I desire?’

“Some tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key.

Perhaps, they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed

to them. Their reshaped keys were useless, and their inheritance was lost.

“Those who received the treasure with gratitude and obeyed the laws concerning

it knew joy without bounds through time and all eternity.”

Dennis Gaunt is a guy who loves the scriptures, and has for as long as he can remember. He served in the New Zealand Auckland mission, studied history and English literature at the University of Utah, and currently teaches institute in the Salt Lake area. He and his wife, Natalie, have been married for eleven wonderful years, and she keeps him out of trouble on a daily basis. He is a Deseret Book author ofBad Guys of the Book of Mormon, Feeding Consuela (a talk on CD), and an e-book called Beware of Dogs: Seriously. He enjoys photography, playing the guitar, cooking, and really lame sci-fi movies--the cheesier, the better!

{References: 1 - Russell M. Nelson, Hope In Our Hearts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009), 54.
2 - See Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding
Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 350–52.
3 - See Gordon B. Hinckley [need title], Ensign, November 1995, ?}

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  1. It's always fun to hear the gospel from a man's point of view...

  2. I have never heard that key analogy, but I really like it. It's great to be able to share a key ring.

  3. I really liked the parable by Boyd K. Packer

  4. This post is just what I needed. I have friends, members of the church, who seem to believe women are suppressed by Gospel Standards. They read the story of the creation and think, "Help Meet? Why am I the side kick?" But if you look at the Hebrew meaning, it does not mean second best at all!

  5. That was wonderful. As someone who has made a life-study out of gospel symbols in procreation I have never understood the story of Adam and Eve in the garden the way I do after reading this post.

  6. I like this analogy. We have different responsibilities but it takes husband and wife together to achieve the treasure.

  7. Thanks for the wonderful post. I love the story about the keys.

  8. I love the story about the keys. Thanks for sharing.

  9. This was some good stuff. I love Elder Packer. My husband served in the same mission as you, and probably at least in the same decade, but was Mandarin speaking. Thanks for the post.

  10. How beautiful that we were made to work together towards a common goal.

  11. the saddest moment is the moment when a couple, who should have had both keys, realize that altho the keys fit, there's more work to be done and one might not want to do the work. I am grateful I found a man who had the key and kept the covenants