While researching Church history for my last post over at Mormon Matters, I came across an interesting tidbit regarding our Mother Eve.
Early Church member Zebedee Coltrin tells a story about an experience he had with the Prophet Joseph while traveling to a conference in New Portage, Ohio. At one point, Joseph, with a far off look in his eyes, took Brother Coltrin and Oliver Cowdery by the arms and set out on a stroll. Coming to a scenic spot, Joseph suggested, "Let us pray." After each prayed in turn they lay down on their backs, the two men leaning against Joseph's outstretched arms. "Now brethren, we will see some visions," Joseph promised.
"The heavens gradually opened, and they saw a golden throne, on a circular foundation, something like a light house, and on the throne were two aged personages, having white hair, and clothed in white garments. They were the two most beautiful and perfect specimens of mankind he ever saw. Joseph said, "They are our first parents, Adam and Eve." Adam was a large, broad-shouldered man, and Eve as a woman, was as large in proportion." (Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 11, 1883.)
For some strange reason, I just get a kick out of Eve being described as "large." And she was the most beautiful and perfect specimen of a woman he had ever seen. In our society we women are always trying to be small, small, small! We exercise and diet zealously, but not in an effort to be strong--we want to be skinny and tiny.
In this post I decided to include some paintings of Adam and Eve from the great masters of the late 1400's and early 1500's to illustrate their conceptions of a proportional Eve. (They are nude, so I included them after the break. If you don't want to see them, don't scroll down!) It's interesting to see that Eve is not a small woman in these works. In many of the paintings, she is the same height as Adam. And you can easily see that she would wear a larger jeans size than he!
Notice that the Masolino da Panicale Eve is every bit as tall, large, and strong as the Adam figure. The Gustav Klimt comes from a later time period, but I include it here because I like how he portrays his Eve as particularly lush and rounded. I think this is a very attractive image of the female body. It is a much more natural shape for a woman than that of the flat-stomached, ab-crunching, magazine cover body that is held up as the ideal shape for women today. (see left)
I'd like to take the editors of Vogue and Cosmo by the hand into a shaded grove, lie them down on my arms, and say to them, "Now girls, we will see some visions." Then we'd marvel at the beauty of the plus-sized Mother Eve.