The Pearl of Great Price is a small volume of scripture, about sixty pages, used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are sometimes called Mormons. It contains a variety of scriptures, both ancient and modern, that shed light on the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Book of Moses is a translated document teaching us essential information revealed to the Prophet Moses concerning Jesus Christ. In Moses1:39, Jesus Christ plainly revealed the purpose of His life and ministry:
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Everything else in the gospel is centered around this one powerful truth. It is the overall purpose of the Savior’s life and our response to it is the key to our eternal future.
Chapter 5 reveals that Adam and Eve knew about Jesus Christ. His mission had been a part of the plan of salvation before the earth was created, and the fullness of the gospel was taught to the first family. After leaving the Garden of Eden, Adam was commanded to sacrifice the firstling of the flock. He was later asked why he did it and he admitted he didn’t know. He was simply doing it because God had told him to, a statement which reveals Adam’s great desire to obey God, without needing to understand first. The angel explained that it was being done in similitude of the atonement of Jesus Christ. He was, from that day on, to do it in the name of Jesus Christ and to repent and to pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ. That day, the Holy Ghost fell on Adam, enabling him to hear the following words:
I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will (verse 8). We also learn that Eve had a testimony of Jesus Christ and of the gospel. She understood that although she and Adam had transgressed, this transgression made the plan of salvation possible because they were unable to have children until they left the Garden. Had they not had children, she and Adam would have had a peaceful and eternal life, but they would have had it alone and no one else could have come to Earth. Mormons are among the few who honor Eve for having the wisdom to choose correctly between two conflicting doctrines. She understood that the Plan of Salvation, and specifically the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, would allow everyone to overcome the negative impact of that choice. Mormons believe God does not punish people for the sins of others, which would certainly be unfair. Those who accept the atonement of Jesus Christ can be forgiven of their sins. Children who die before age eight do not require the atonement, since they are incapable of sinning, lacking the maturity to fully understand the consequences of their choices. They are automatically returned to God’s presence.
Chapter 6 in the same book gives us further understanding of this concept. Moses learns that mankind fell due to the decision Adam made in the Garden of Eden, but that this allowed mankind to come forth. He learned that Satan has worked hard to convince people there is no need to obey God or to repent.
He learned that Adam was told:
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
Adam wondered why he had to be baptized. The Lord told him he had been forgiven for his transgression in the Garden and that for this reason, no one else would be held accountable for it, either. However, children grow up and are subject to sin, and therefore they need to repent. No unclean thing can dwell in God’s presence and baptism and repentance are the ways to become clean and therefore worthy of being with God.
The Pearl of Great Price teaches many essential lessons about the Savior, but its powerful testimony of the atonement’s saving power is the most important.