We are taught about the value and importance of womanhood in the environment in which Eve is brought to Adam. That setting is described in the words “deep sleep.” Eve is brought to Adam while he is in a deep sleep. Here is the critical phrase: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam” (Genesis 2:21). I think far too often we read the scriptures so literally that we miss the greater power that can be found in them when we allow the figurative meanings to have equal time. We have the idea that Adam is asleep in the same way that we sleep each night, and he wakes up and there she is. We might obtain additional insight by looking at the other times in the Bible that this phrase is used. Each time the phrase “deep sleep” is used in other scriptures, the individual described is fully awake—they are not asleep, but in a revelatory state. It is used of Abraham when he receives a very important revelation about his posterity (see Genesis 15:12). It is used twice in Daniel when he is receiving knowledge and visions and communication. During this exchange he is speaking and God is speaking to him (see Daniel 8:18; 10:9). That is the truer meaning of deep sleep. I don’t like the word trance, but there are similarities. I like the expression “deep sleep” much more, but we need to be careful of a too-literal reading. Perhaps two other experiences may provide additional insight.
Joseph Smith used an interesting phrase to describe his state after the First Vision: “When I came to myself” (JS–H 1:20). That is a telling phrase worth pondering. He had been in communication with the Father and the Son and the surroundings faded away, in a manner of speaking. The environment was different for this critical revelation. What was important was what was being communicated to Joseph Smith and the normal setting was enhanced or changed by the Spirit. “When I came to myself,” Joseph wrote—or we might say, putting that phrase into Old Testament words, “When I came out of a deep sleep.”
Notice Paul’s words when he described a vision he received of the celestial kingdom: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)” (2 Corinthians 12:2). When we read the phrase “deep sleep” we must think of these types of experiences. Eve is brought to Adam when he is in a revelatory, removed-from-this-world state. If you think about it, the holiest, most sacred spot on earth is a sealing room in a temple, where men and women are bound and united. They’re united in an environment of “deep sleep.” What a powerful statement about the nature of women and of marriage.