I was reading lesson six in the Gospel Principles manual for the umpteenth time (I teach the class), and I read this paragraph:
Adam and Eve called upon Heavenly Father in prayer. He spoke to them and gave them commandments, which they obeyed. An angel of the Lord came and taught Adam and Eve the plan of salvation. The Lord sent the Holy Ghost to testify of the Father and of the Son and to teach Adam and Eve the gospel. (See Moses 5:4–9.)
I don’t know why this reading was different from all the others, but it was like a horse who suddenly comes upon a rattlesnake. I froze in my reading tracks, and with eyes wide open, I said, “Now wait a minute!” I thought to myself, “Why would the Lord need to send the Holy Ghost to Adam and Eve? They lived with him for crying out loud! How long were they in the Garden in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ? If anyone should have had an accurate knowledge of God, it would have had to have been Adam and Eve.
Then, like a light clicking on in my head I got it. The Holy Ghost speaks to us spirit to spirit. This same lesson goes on to say that President Joseph Fielding Smith, one of the latter-day prophets said,
“When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66],2:151).
President Smith also said, “Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56],1:48).
So even Adam and Eve, who lived with God himself, had to have the Holy Ghost. Once they became mortal, they began to forget, just like the rest of us. The testimonies they bore to all their descendants came not because of their eye witness accounts of walking and talking with God, though I am sure it didn’t hurt, but from the absolute knowledge they had been given by the Holy Spirit. Through the witnesses they received through the Holy Ghost they were able to make statements like the following. Adam said,
Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (Moses 5:10). Because of the witness of the Holy Ghost to Eve, she said, “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).
It is the Holy Ghost who “opens” our spiritual eyes. Adam came to know in a way no mortal could possibly understand otherwise, that at some point in the future, after he died, that he would stand, in the flesh, and see God again. Eve knew absolutely that because of her choice to eat the fruit that Jesus would redeem them from their fall from grace through His atoning sacrifice, and that through her repentance she would one day have eternal life with God.
So I repeat the title of this article. Why would Adam need the Holy Ghost? The answer is because without the Holy Ghost Adam would never have come to know that Christ was his redeemer, that he would experience a glorious resurrection and be able to live with God again someday. This kind of spiritual knowledge can only be had from a spiritual witness that is so permanent that once given, we can never claim we didn’t know. This is why Moroni, in the Book of Mormon, says in Moroni 10:4-5,
4 And when ye shall receive these things (the Book of Mormon), I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
From Adam’s time to our time it has been the same. We exercise faith in God’s word and pray for confirmation, and the Holy Ghost gives us an undeniable witness of the truth. This is the pattern, and we have literally had it from day one.