Original Sin

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paints a confusing picture of whether or not Adam and Eve
sinned in the Garden of Eden.

Let's examine some contradictory teachings. Images are found here and here.

Joseph F. Smith said, "He [mankind] dies in consequence of the sin of Adam" (Teachings of Presidents of the 
Church - Joseph F. Smith, chapter 10: Jesus Christ Redeems All Mankind from Temporal Death, chapter 10, 
p. 89, online, image, local copy).

Then Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth LDS president, said, "I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, 
nor do I accuse Adam of a sin
… This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin ... for it was something 
that Adam and Eve had to do
" (Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 13).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, "It is proper and according to the scriptural pattern to speak of the transgression 
of Adam, but not the sin of Adam
" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 804).

If you study the Pearl of Great Price, both Adam and Eve glorify God for their transgression (see Moses 
5:10-11).

Then you have this teaching calling Adam and Eve's transgression a sin:

"His ransom for Adam’s original transgression so that no member of the human family is held responsible 
for that sin ... while all members of the human family are freely given a reprieve from Adam’s sin through no 
effort of their own, they are not given a reprieve from their own sins unless they pledge faith in Christ ... and 
press forward in faithful endurance the remainder of life’s journey
" (Ensign, "The Atonement of Christ", March 
2008, p. 35, subheading "The Gifts of Christ’s Atonement", image, online)

Then you have another LDS teaching where young students are taught Adam and Eve did not sin:

"The decision of Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was not a sin, as it is sometimes considered by other 
Christian churches. It was a transgression - an act that was formally prohibited but not inherently wrong
" (see 
Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 98; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73) (Preparing For Exaltation: 
Teacher's Manual - Lesson 3 - The Fall of Adam and Eve, image, image).

Then you have another LDS teaching which says  Adam and Eve did sin:

"It anticipated the need for a Savior to win the victory over death, atone for the sin of Adam, which brought 
death, and provide the means whereby men, through repentance, may receive forgiveness for personal sins 
and be readmitted into the presence of God
" (Ensign, "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ", November 1979, online,
local copy). 

"God was willing that his Beloved Son should take upon himself the responsibility of that mission, namely, to 
atone for the sin of Adam and Eve which brought about the fall, and, also, that mankind might receive 
forgiveness for their individual sins, provided they would keep the commandments upon which salvation and 
exaltation were based
" (Ensign, "A Testimony of Christ", November 1974, online, local copy).

Then you have another LDS teaching where Adam and Eve did not sin:

"The majority … [of Christians] maintain that every child born into this world is tainted with ‘original sin,’ or 
partakes of Adam’s transgression in his birth. The second Article of Faith contradicts this foolish and erroneous 
doctrine." "The act that produced the Fall was not a sin"
(Liahona, "The Fulness of the Gospel - The Fall of 
Adam and Eve", June 2006, pages 8-9, online, local copy).

Then you have another LDS teaching where Adam and Eve did sin:

"With the eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve became mortal, sin entered, blood formed in their 
bodies, and death became a part of life
. (Bible Dictionary, 2006, "Fall of Adam", local copy. The LDS Church 
removed this part in her current version).

Then you have another LDS teaching where Adam and Eve did not sin:

"Joseph Smith taught that it was not a sin, because God had decreed it."  "I never speak of the part 
Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but 
not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!
” (Ensign, "The Great Plan of 
Happiness", November 1993, online, local copy).

Then you have yet other teachings indicating that Adam and Eve sinned:

"Now, my sisters, I am speaking from my point of view, and my point of view is that Christ was divinely 
appointed and sent into the world to relieve mankind of sin through repentance; to relieve mankind from 
the death which came upon them by the sin of the first man. I believe it with all my soul
" (Gospel Doctrine, 
President Joseph F. Smith, page 528).

"Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father. He is our Creator. He is our Teacher. He is 
our Savior. His atonement paid for the sin of Adam and won victory over death, assuring resurrection and 
immortality for all men
." (Ensign, "What Think Ye of Christ?", November 1988, onlinelocal copy).

Quite possibly, the most authoritative source is the Doctrines of Salvation.

"All men are redeemed from the effects of Adam's transgression both with respect to the death of the body 
and inherited sin
(Articles of Faith, page 87). The topic of original sin is more fully discussed on pages 
474, 475, 476, and 477). Adam's disobedience is considered the 'original sin'. Adam's posterity inherited 
the resultant ills. Despite the biblical teaching that God only cursed the ground and Satan, LDS teaching is
that all mankind was also cursed by Adam's transgression.

Latter-day Saints must really get confused when they look at all these contradictory Mormon teachings.

In the end, LDS theology all boils down to this - the Mormon Heavenly Father really wanted Adam and Eve 
to disobey Him so that He could give them great blessings (as Gospel Principles refers to on page 33). 
Strangely enough, Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21 says that all blessings are predicated on obedience.

Is this really a foolish doctrine or do Latter-day Saints have difficulty in believing even what the Book of
Mormon teaches?

Every child born into this world is tainted with Adam's transgression. "The fall had brought upon all mankind 
a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was 
expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death" (Alma 42:9). Even the child who dies 
in infancy needs to be reclaimed from this cut off state through the atonement of Christ.

Moroni 8:8 says, "little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse 
of Adam is taken from them in me, and it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done 
away in me". Little children are said to have the curse of Adam. This curse is removed through the atonement 
of Christ.  Even adults are cursed in this way.

The Bible, in Romans chapter 5, teaches that Adam sinned. "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the 
world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (verse 12). Little 
children die because they have this stain of sin.

"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude 
of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come" (verse 14). Adam's transgression is 
called sin.

"For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be 
made righteous” (verse 19). Adam's disobedience made us sinners.

Another LDS training guide tries to define what Original Sin is, but it seems to say what it is not instead of
what it is.

"Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, all people live in a fallen condition, separated from God and subject to 
physical death. However, we are not condemned by what many call the original sin. In other words, we are not 
accountable for Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "We believe that 
men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression" (
True to the Faith, 2004, pp. 
110-111).

Original sin is the first sin of Adam.  We are condemned by the sin of Adam because we are fallen because 
of what he did.

According to LDS teachings, humans who die a mortal death (due to Adam's sin) are punished forever 
were it not for the free gift of Christ's resurrection to unite their body and spirit.  See the section on 
Mercy and Justice
for an in-depth explanation. Some screen prints are included in the Sin of Adam.

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