Location of Garden of Eden

Answers to Gospel Questions 2:95 lists a question from a member of the Church and the answer that is given by Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of the LDS Church, son of the sixth president of the LDS Church, Joseph F. Smith.  In this particular “Q & A” I found his answer so unbelievable that I had to share it with you.

“I have a friend who is interested enough in the doctrines of the Church to ask many questions. From someone she obtained the information that we believe that the Garden of Eden was in the state of Missouri, and she asked me about it. I had always understood this to be what we believe and I told her so. She wanted to know how we explain what is in the Bible, where it tells about the river in the garden which divided into four more, the Pison, Gison, Hiddekel, and Euphrates. We know where the Euphrates is today, and the Bible map shows that the land of Havilah is located in Ethiopia. Could you please explain our views?”

The first thing that struck me as odd with this volume of work is why the members are writing to Church officials to ask why there are discrepancies and how to explain them to non-members.  It’s like they are asking their leaders how to lie.  And why doesn’t she open her Bible to find out the truth for herself?

Answer: The rivers spoken of in Genesis and in the Book of Moses are rivers that existed when all the waters of the earth were in one place. If all the waters were in one place, then obviously all the land was in one place. This was before the days of the flood. In Genesis we read:

And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear: and it was so. (Genesis 1:9. See also D. & C. 133:22-24.)

Tell me, if all the waters of the earth were in one place, how could there be any rivers?  I understand the land mass hadn’t been divided yet, but how could all the waters be in one place? 

According to the revelations of the Lord, Noah and his family in the Ark sailed… from some place evidently in what is known now as America, and landed at Ararat thousands of miles away…Without any question a considerable distance separated the point where the Ark commenced the journey and where it landed…The land surface was in the process of division into continents. The rivers mentioned in Genesis were rivers that existed in the garden of Eden long before the land was divided into continents and islands. (Genesis 7:11.)

The only part that is reasonably truthful is that the Ark landed at Ararat.  The Bible does not disclose the place where the ark landed.  This subject wasn’t even part of the question and they’re adding more lies to the lie they’ve already told.  Let’s read on to see what else they have to say:

NATURAL TO NAME PLACES AFTER FAMILIAR LOCATIONS  It would be the most natural thing in the world for Noah, after he arrived at his destiny in Ararat, to give names to rivers and to country, similar to the names with which he was familiar when his journey in the Ark commenced. It is the custom even today for explorers to name countries and rivers after familiar points and streams in their native countries. We are informed that there are great ancient river beds buried in the land of Missouri. Therefore the River Euphrates in Asia took the name naturally.

????  This explanation is based on “customs” and presumptions.  There is no historical or biblical proof this took place.

Remember also that not too many centuries after Noah landed at Ararat, the entire land surface of the earth was changed and divided, and what had previously been one grand continent, was broken up into many continents and islands. So it is impossible for us today to know exactly what changes were made in that world catastrophe. (Ibid., 10:25.)

It’s interesting to note the Church in this particular case (Gen. 10:25) relies on the Bible to be translated correctly…

Of course we rely definitely on the word of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In one of the revelations given to the Church, May 19, 1838, the Lord said, speaking of a certain point in Missouri known as Spring Hill, in Daviess County:

ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. (D. & C. 116. See also Sec. 78:15.)

Of course there is nothing in the Bible that speaks of this, not to mention that Adam is never referred to as the Ancient of Days.  That term belongs to Jesus (He is our judge who sits on the Throne of Judgment Dan. 7:9) ready for that great and dreadful day.  The above teaching from Joseph Smith is a false prophecy.

We also read in Section 107: Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with he residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.

And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.

Nowhere in the Bible does it mention that Seth, Enos, Cainan or any of the others held the priesthood.  Secondly, I thought Adam was the Ancient of Days according to Smith; now he’s Michael the prince, the archangel?

Notice how far off the subject matter this fellow goes when answering this woman’s question:

And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.

And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. (Ibid., 107:53-56.)


There is no difficulty when we understand the truth, that is, that while these rivers carry the same names, they are not the same rivers which were in the Garden of Eden.”

Wow, after all the filler words, we finally got to the bottom line and an explanation.  Mind you, their explanation is a false prophecy, but whew, look at all the other “stuff” mixed in to confuse the reader! 

And then to let the reader know that only those “who know the truth” understand what they’re saying.  I remember those types of comments while being Mormon.  The one thing I clearly “thought I understood”:  I was stupid.