In this episode, I’m talking with my friend and fellow coach Jill Freestone about Eve. Throughout time, Eve has been almost vilified for her choice to eat the fruit. Let’s change those thoughts today and really look at who Eve was and what we can learn from her. Jill’s perspective is so thought provoking and just feels right. You will love this one!
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I am so happy to have you here. I am really excited about my interview with my friend Jill Freestone today. I was listening a few months ago to a podcast she did on the LDS Life Coaches Podcast and she mentioned some stuff that she had read and done some work on with Eve. And I was so intrigued that I wanted to learn more and I wanted to share that with all of you.
So in celebration of the 200th episode of the Sex for Saints Podcast, we are bringing on a very important topic all about agency and choice and feelings and how Eve is a great example of all that.
Amanda: So welcome to the podcast Jill. Thanks so much for coming on.
Jill: Thank you, Amanda. I’m so honored to be with you. I love the work you’re doing.
Amanda: Can you just tell my audience a little bit about you to get started?
Jill: Well, I have been a coach for three years. We certified together years ago and I focused on anxiety and emotion coaching, helping people with big emotions like anger and anxiety and how that affects their relationships.
And I coached teens and kids nine and up and parents and helping their relationship through that.
Amanda: Awesome. And I know you’ve done a lot of work just outside of the normal mindset coaching that we got from the life coach.
Jill: Yes. I had done a lot of mindfulness and anxiety training before that. And then I continued afterwards to do a lot of work like somatic work in the body and trauma informed work and just specific on anxiety and emotions and how to work through those or like communication relationships.
I have extensive training in those kinds of things.
Amanda: For so long, I was just doing mindset coaching and I found that somatic work and that trauma informed work is so, so important, which is why I’m working on that in my new certification, because sex is definitely in the body and I need to get better at that kind of stuff with my clients to help them because I just found there was gaps. That there was knowledge that I was missing. And so in this new certification I’m doing, I’m definitely getting those gaps filled and it’s awesome.
Jill: It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it. I noticed the same thing with my anxiety. And then I found with my own personal experiences with my own mental health that I found those gaps and it was a beautiful thing to fill that in.
Amanda: Okay. So should we talk about Eve?
Jill: Let’s do it! I love Eve!
Amanda: Me too, but I want to hear all the things that you have learned, and I haven’t prepared any specific questions. We’re just going to have a conversation about this because I think it’s just so fascinating.
Jill: What I’ve found so empowering lately is that there’s women who are scholars. And who have studied these like Hebrew and Greek and, and Arabic and researched and have traveled to the sites and have done the work. Smart, inspired women. It’s really impressed.
That’s who Eve was. Eve didn’t just accidentally eat the fruit. She didn’t just do it because she was pushed by the serpent. She knew exactly what she was doing, which is I think the most interesting question my daughter asked me as I was studying this. She asked, “Do we have evidence that she actually knew? Like, are we sure? I know the right answer. There wouldn’t be agency.”
It was so fun to find a lot of the evidence.
Amanda: Okay. So what evidence is there? I want to hear more.
Jill: So, well, one is that that is who God is. That God follows the rules and the laws of agency as well. So God could just put us in this earth in a mortal body, without us consenting.
For your work, consent and choice is so huge. And the deep work of having two bodies come together like that.
Truly every moment there’s always a choice. Like you could be doing foreplay and then you could say no, you know, and like at any point you can say no, and it’s all about that.
Amanda: I guess I’d never really thought about that before that we had to consent to even having a body. Although, I mean, we know that we fought the war in heaven for the choice to come down to earth.
Jill: And that was the first consent there.
Amanda: Right. So, God is a God of laws. So there’s consent along the way, which is a great example for us to have in our sexual relationships, that there’s consent all along the way. And we can also choose to revoke that consent at any time. If our spouse is going to be disappointed or upset, that’s okay. We can still choose and use our agency.
Jill: Yeah. So there were a couple of scriptures and quotes from several of these scholars or prophets in the past that just talk about how He gave them knowledge, He gave unto man agency. They did open their eyes and their minds to the consequences. The gospel had been taught. There are several things in Moses or in Genesis that talk about God teaching them everything. And it just does not make sense, according to agency, that they didn’t completely understand what they were getting into.
Jill: So you can logic that out, but there are some things and they were literally taught by their Heavenly Parents in the Garden together. It wasn’t misinformed.
Amanda: It was the first Family Home Evening, the first Come Follow Me lessons taught by God Himself. How amazing is that?
Jill: Yeah. And it really discredits Eve herself to even say that. To say that wouldn’t have thought this through. Even in the temple or the stories, we don’t put time in there. We think Satan came in, she did this and then she instantly chose. There could have been a lot of time between those things. Time was different.
She had already been experiencing paradise for a long, long, long time. And she knew she was the mother of all living and that she had this thing to do: to have children and to create and move into mortality.
But she needed to want that too. Like us, we have to want children to do pregnancy, or even be willing to have sex, we have to want that.
She had a hunger for this. And I think that hunger that we’ve been given is a beautiful divine thing.
Amanda: The desires that we have.
Jill: Yes, teaching women about their desires. That is so powerful. So that Eve actually had to want sex really to even want to have children and then even the pains that can come with sex.
That’s not just a simple thing. And the pains of childbirth and all of that.
Amanda: But not just the childbirth, but as a way to bond with her husband.
Amanda: And it’s not just about having children, but it’s a way to bond the two of them together in a way that nothing else can.
Jill: That they didn’t have in the Garden.
Jill: Which is so beautiful to want that and to hunger after that. And then to really believe that they were ready to move forward. So beautiful.
So I think that something that’s interesting too, is the uncertainty that since God couldn’t use compulsion to push us into going into mortality, He doesn’t do that. God creates this earth. God doesn’t come in and correct things.
Even the weird things in the church that happened. God doesn’t fix and solve everything like that. So uncertainty needed to happen.
That’s what Satan did when he came in and tried to trick her. He gave her a lie with truth and mixed it together and tried to see if he could trick her. But she’s just so good.
Amanda: It’s what he does.
Jill: And so he saw that. But Joseph Smith’s translation said that when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant, he changed it to, it became pleasant to her eyes.
Even that word ‘became’ in Moses shows that she had a time of learning and understanding and thinking through it. Just like subtle things like that.
Or like the word beguiled. What does that actually mean? It means an intense, multilevel experience, with emotional, psychological, trauma going on.
So it’s not like just this sudden, oh, I trick you and you do it. There were so many layers of her to figure that out, and to ponder that, and I love that she used her unconscious, which is something that we really want women to step into with intimacy to really be in your body and feel like I am choosing this when I do this, but I don’t go unconscious and just play and pretend.
Amanda: Or I don’t just defer my agency to my husband.
Jill: Because I’m supposed to or whatever, but she was very connected. She was able to really actually feel and that’s what conscience means. To be in your body and perceive it through the physical sense. And so there was also this other step of, I want the body that has the uncomfortable and the comfortable emotions and the pains and the sickness, and also the excitement and the desires.
Amanda: Yes. Yes. And so much of what I talk about with my clients is going inside into that inner knowing that we have. We’ve kind of been conditioned and taught that we can’t trust ourselves and that we need to look outside of ourselves for answers, but really we have all of the answers inside of us already. We just have to be willing to go inside and look at that and trust ourselves to know that we can sift through all of that conditioning and the psychological and the trauma. We talk about all of that in my coaching program to really get ourselves and understand so we can make the best decisions for us and for our relationship, our marriage, our families, and not rely outside of us for those answers.
Jill: That’s one of the biggest things I work with my clients as well. A lot of my clients that are experiencing anxiety in particular, they have learned to just avoid all of this discomfort and they’re really avoiding conversations and they’re doing a lot of either people-pleasing or domination and just to avoid discomfort.
Amanda: But when we numb the bad, we numb the good.
Amanda: If we’re going to numb out the bad because we don’t want to be uncomfortable, then we’re also not going to experience the great things that this life has to offer.
Jill: Yeah. I talk to my clients a lot about the Garden experience and how they were in this paradise that didn’t have any of this that we have now. And it was this completely comfortable experience. And Eve got to the point that she was willing to move into what we’re experiencing now, but then my clients are suddenly in this anxiety and this tension and the stress and anger and their kids are leaving the church or whatever’s happening and they’re like, nevermind I choose Satan’s plan.
Amanda: Can I just control everything?
Jill: Must control everything and not have any choice. Cause I don’t like my kids choices or I don’t like my husband’s choices or, you know, whatever. And, and coming back to see the beauty in that and the willingness that God even is allowing it to happen.
I have several people who are in phase transitions and and they’re seeing that wow, God leaves this mess, this thing, and that thing. And like, yeah. God’s even willing to keep honoring agency because it’s so important. It’s fundamental to everything.
Amanda: I always talk about with my clients that agency is so fundamental to everything that we have. I don’t think that God has a lot of mind drama. I think He’s very intentional about how He thinks about everything, how He feels about everything, how He acts. With everything. And if it is our job to progress and to become like Him, then we have to get out of autopilot and become very intentional with everything as well.
Jill: Yeah, definitely. And I think being willing to actually feel like we said early on, to feel the emotion, like get in your body and feel the discomfort and the pressing pounding in the heart and the pressure in the chest and the shoulders that are coming down. We spend so much time just processing emotions on my calls of just helping people be more comfortable in their body.
I recently had a client that we would coach about so many issues and they all kept coming back to her unwillingness to feel, and her belief that these emotions were so bad. I shouldn’t feel resentment towards my parents. I shouldn’t be angry about this. And just all of those feelings that these were bad. And now she says that the problems that she came to me for coaching on, all this anxiety about all this stuff, they’re just kind of fixing themselves when she believes that these emotions themselves are okay. And she just moves through them and gains knowledge from these emotions.
And I really think that’s something that Eve understood that those experiences, those emotions, aren’t going to be horrible for me. They’re going to be hard to go through for sure. Going to be hard and challenging, but I don’t need to be afraid of that in the moment. And yes, I’m not saying it won’t be scary and hard and terrible and hard, but, but just when you believe that it’s something that’s, that’s worth going through. That’s the choice. And so in every moment I feel like we can just pause and have our own Garden moment. Can I be like Eve and return and pause and be in my body and check my own intuition and believe that I have the ability to choose right now. I always have that ability to choose. Am I willing to just feel this emotion right now? Am I willing to evaluate my thoughts and my perceptions of this or what from my past is affecting this? Am I willing to do that instead of feeling that outside sources are forcing me or I have to get somebody else’s help to do it? Or avoid in them?
Amanda: So I have so many clients who are not experiencing much pleasure and not having orgasms…
Jill: They’ve not been into their body.
Amanda: They’re not into their body. And they’re also because they’re avoiding anything uncomfortable, that they don’t want to, they don’t want to experience the discomfort of things. So I always tell them that I’m going to push you, that’s my job as your coach, to push you into this place where you’re uncomfortable for the sake of growth. I’m not going to push you to a point where you’re not feeling safe. Like safety is important, but push you into the uncomfortable because when we can get there, then we can also experience the pleasure.
Jill: So beautiful. Yeah. It really makes me think of how the atonement, a lot of people think it’s to save us from pain and to make it all go away, but it’s actually to help us to go through the situations. It’s along the way, literally to help you through an emotion or to help you through physical pain or how to heal your resistance of emotions. When we actually believe that the atonement can help us with something like that or how to grow and learn through a process of moving through emotions, that’s this deeper belief of the benefit of emotions instead of just stop and feel it and move on, you know? There’s a lot of deep spiritual work as well. Like how you can come and pull Christ into your emotional work. That’s truly becoming like Heavenly Mother. She knows how to access her inner wisdom and how to feel.
Amanda: I love what you said about having our own Garden moments, because I think that’s such a beautiful picture of how we need to look at these uncomfortable and hard situations in our lives, really tuning into ourself, using our agency, feeling all the emotions, using the atonement through that. We know that Christ was there to support Adam and Eve in those moments, just like He is for us as we go through these really, really hard things.
And sometimes I think a lot of people feel like this sexuality and spirituality can’t co-exist…
Jill: Sex is so sacred and spiritual.
Amanda: It is, but they don’t understand how sometimes it, how it can be. And so we’re talking about, bring them in, pray about your sexuality and how you can experience some of this. Let them be part of this process with you and just see how closely they connect. Because in my experience, they’re totally intermingled.
Jill: Yeah. That’s beautiful. And just asking yourself how else can allow this to become more sacred that way. How can I bring that in?
Amanda: Yeah. I think because of what Satan has done with sexuality and how he cheapens it, that’s what we’re seeing instead of seeing how spiritual and how connecting it is to not only our eternal companion, our spouse, but also to our Heavenly Parents and the Savior.
Jill: Yeah. And I think I have noticed over time too, this is my 25th year of marriage, that it has completely changed the depth of it. When you finally get to a place that you completely have become vulnerable with a partner, completely giving up all inhibitions and complete safety. They know you so well that they could hurt you more than anyone could so easily that you have that level of deep trust. Then sex becomes whole much better.
So much better and so much more spiritual and powerful. What adjectives would help me describe this?
Amanda: It really is transcendent. When you get into those really heightened states of arousal, you truly can connect with each other and with God in ways that I never have before..
Jill: And I’ve found that it’s gotten deeper through the years as we have more and more mental work and emotional work to heal our own baggage. It becomes greater just envisioning that possibility. I think for me, that’s another example choosing to do that work and choosing the vulnerability because that’s what you choose when we choose to leave the Garden is complete vulnerability and that’s what the nakedness represented. It wasn’t that they didn’t have clothes on. It was that they were vulnerable to everything now.
Amanda: Yes. Well, and I mean, you they chose fig leaves to cover themselves, which in the elements, fig leaves aren’t going to do a whole lot. But then the Lord had a sacrifice for representing Him to cover them with skins, a physical representation of the atonement and how that is what helps us in those vulnerable moments. That is the strength that we draw on.
Jill: Yes, the atonement was a covering and strengthening…
Amanda: In the Hebrew forms, it literally can often mean a new breath, a new life.
I work with my clients a lot on breathing. Breathing so much. Right. And it’s literally a new breath as they have this covering to help them go through those vulnerable moments.
Jill: I love how I teach my clients that they didn’t know how to breathe before.
Amanda: I literally have a client right now who is working with a doctor because she holds her breath. And it causes tension in her body in ways so that she can’t let go. She can’t surrender.
Jill: She wouldn’t be able the orgasm or even want to probably, she probably couldn’t even have sex.
Amanda: I mean, it’s been more of a duty than something she wants.
So much of that comes when we, and that’s another thing with the emotions is when we don’t feel our emotions and close that whole cycle of being willing to go all the way through it, we hold them in our body and it creates tension and numbness. And that inhibits what we can do sexually. And so much more.
Jill: There’s so many layers that I’ve done my own work. It was fun in the beginning, you know, the honeymoon, but then like every five or 10 years as I did more and more work to completely surrender. So I think those words like surrender and vulnerability, just powerful.
And I think that’s something too, that Adam and Eve, they outgrew the paradise and they were done with that. We don’t know how long that was, but that’s something that we get to realize too. There’s things in our life that we kind of outgrow and we move forward.
Are you familiar with Fowler’s stages of faith, and that progression that we take and it’s not that it’s good or bad, or you’re better with someone who is at a lower stage of faith or something. There was the Garden. And then there’s this other time. There’s appropriate times for that. And it’s kind of like the sin or the transgression that we talk about. God was telling them it’s not okay to eat this right now, but He wasn’t telling them it’s never okay. It’s kind of like we tell a kid like don’t ever put your hand on the hot stove or don’t ever go in the road alone, but that doesn’t mean as they get older and they have more knowledge and that the time is right, that then that rule doesn’t apply to them anymore.
Amanda: Well, it’s the same with sex, right? You have all of these feelings and stuff and it’s not that they’re bad, they’re actually really good, but there is an appropriate time to use them. Right. I wish we would teach it that way in church and stuff, that these are not bad things that they have to suppress. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just not the right time.
Jill: Yeah. That’s why sex is not a sin. It’s a timing thing. Same with the fruit. It was a timing thing.
It was not time until she had the education. Same with sex. You’ve got to have a full education to even enjoy it or physically be able to do it, but also for it to be sacred.
So when they had outgrown that and were ready to move forward, it was their own inner knowing, her first, that she knew personally now it’s time. That’s how every moment we connect with our body to know, is it time for this to change?
And then that’s why it’s called a transgression too. The Hebrew words for all these ones are really beautiful, but that it’s to move. It’s just the process of moving from one place to another and moving forward. That it’s not like you did something wrong.
Have you studied the ‘help meet’ words and ezer kenegdo?
Amanda: A little bit, but please.
Jill: Because that’s something that I think is so important that if your clients, I just thinking of your clientele, if they’re at all feeling, especially with some of the phrasing we get in the church with preside, and that unequal partnership phrasing. We have an equal partnership marriage, but that word kind of makes it just doesn’t make sense.
We study all the words about partnership and equality. There’s a lot in the scriptures that talk about making sure that Adam and Eve were equal from the beginning, both created. Heavenly Mother and Eve, Heavenly Father and Adam. They were equally created, but then the word help meet got mistranslated.
There’s a quote from the Washington post about this. That the story of Eve in the book of Genesis has had a more profoundly negative impact on women throughout the history of time than any other. So much of how the world chose to malign her and even say she’s horrible and messed up. And she brought sin and, and she brought pain into the world and it’s all because of her. And so then women are aren’t smart and they’re lesser than. And so then it created this top-down where men are better than women. There’s a lot of prejudice that comes straight from that. And willingness to say women should be seen and not heard. There’s a lot of bad that came of that. And even with the term help meet a lot have thought that that means she’s less than him. She’s there just to help him.
But when you go to the Hebrew, the word ezer kenegdo, it actually means to rescue, to save, to be strong. And the kenegdo part is a fit helper equal to… And a better translation if you put that all together, basically, and this as a Lynn and Beverly Campbell idea, I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power equal to him, or I will make him a companion of strength and power who has a saving power that is equal with him.
And the word ezer is only used in the Old Testament with reference to Christ and Eve. That word is a very sacred word that is used with the saving power, with Christ. And just if we can go back and get the original translations and see what that meant is that they are to be with an equal partner. That was the original definition of a partnership marriage.
Amanda: And we totally messed it up. I think that’s why I have such problems with the narrative that we also have around Heavenly Mother. That she’s some lesser thing that can’t be talked about and cast to be hidden away.
No! She is equal to Him in every single way. The work that I do, I feel Her so strongly all the time that She wants these things for Her daughters.
Jill: She wants women to enjoy and to have power and to enjoy desire. Like it’s a wonderful thing.
Amanda: Like those desires were given to these women by their Heavenly Parents for a reason.
Jill: Some people use the excuse of the rib too. Don’t get tripped up on that. The rib wasn’t that she was less than and taken from him, but it was that it was partnership at that level, at his side instead of top down and also understanding that it wasn’t literal either too. Because we could get really tripped up about that.
It’s just another symbol of equality too. And there’s actually a couple of different Creation stories. And some of the Creation stories say that Adam was first and Eve was second and others say they were together. It’s really fun to look at.
Even Genesis 1 and 2 are different and Moses is different. And if you pick another other, which there’s just a lot, again, that is not fully restored and what feels true is what I come back to. That intuition. Does this feel like the God that I have known personally? The God that I’ve gotten to know, does this feel like Jesus, who I know.
And the same story with Heavenly Mother, like saying, well, that doesn’t fit. I know they are an equal partnership. And so anything else does not feel true and right.
Amanda: I get a lot of women who have been so conditioned that anything sexual or anything, they immediately feel that it isn’t true. That doesn’t feel right.
Jill: That’s true. If you have some kind of preconditioned or trauma against it, you have to work through that until you can actually trust your intuition and feel safe in your body and know what truth is even.
Amanda: Right. Martha Beck talks about going towards the warm and I love that because when you’re doing that, what feels warm to you?
So these women, their husbands are approaching them for sex and what does it feel warm to say no, and to shut it down. Does that feel warm or does that feel cold and shutting things down.
Jill: Yeah, that’s resistance and refusal and avoidance…
Amanda: And it feels uncomfortable. And going towards, it feels uncomfortable to which one is going to help you grow and change.
Jill: They it is again, willing to be uncomfortable. I love that. Let’s go to the warm.
Amanda: It is warm when I go towards what’s true.
Jill: Well, it’s like, exercise is very uncomfortable, but you get hot and sweaty and you’re feeling those muscles hurt, but that is growth.
Amanda: Oh, Jill, I love this conversation so much. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. I think that’s going to be so amazing for everybody to hear these great conversations where we’re going to have to bring it back on later.
Jill: It’s a delight. We have so much fun.
Amanda: Yes, we do. Yeah, there was like 30 minutes of talking before we hit record.
So. All right. Well, why don’t you tell everybody where they can find you so that if they want to reach out to you? Then they can find you.
Jill: Okay. So my website’s easy. It’s just my name, www.jillfreestone.com and I’m on Instagram: @jillfreestonecoaching is my handle. I’ve guested on several podcasts and you can find those on my website as well if you want to hear more from me.
Amanda: Awesome. Thanks so much, Jill.
Jill: Thank you.