The Second Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

When Adam was in the Garden of Eden, he made the choice to transgress against the commandment of God. In Moses 3, we read the following:

15 And I, the Lord God, took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.
16 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (emphasis added)

And then in Moses 4, the account continues,

6 And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.
7 And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said—Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.)
8 And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
9 But of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said—Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
10 And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die;
11 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
12 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat. (emphasis added)

This transgression brought mortality and death into the immortal world. It was both a physical death and a spiritual death. The physical death would eventually separate our bodies and spirits and the spiritual death would separate our spirits from our Father in Heaven. We are all subject to the consequences of Adam’s transgression. However, there are some who believe that we are all held accountable for this transgression. There are two pieces of doctrine that we believe about this.

First all, it is my understanding that God forgave Adam for his transgression against the law. The consequences had to remain in place until the law could be satisfied, which meant until the Savior broke the bands of physical death through his resurrection and brought the possibility of our immortality and eternal life (being reunited with our Father in Heaven again) through his atonement. In Moses 6:53 we read, “. . . And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.” If all people were to have this transgression held against us, it has been forgiven.

However, the important thing to realize, which is a core belief in the lds theology and my second piece of doctrine I wanted to mention, is that we believe that all mankind is accountable for their own transgressions and not for those of others. In Moses 6:54 we read, “Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.” What others do to sin against God, is never held against us personally. If this were the case, justice would not be balanced. If each of us were to be held accountable for the sins of our own parents, we might as well not try to live worthy of salvation, because there is no way for us to make restitution for someone else’s errors and therefore, we all would be lost.

Instead of placing the focus on Adam’s transgression and punishment for it, we can therefore focus on how we repent for our own sins and transgressions. With this frame of mind, we can come to the understanding that we should be grateful to Adam and Eve for their choice in the Garden of Eden. At the time, Adam and Eve were not in a state of mortality. They did not have the ability to die, and they did not have the ability to procreate. They were in a state which halted not only their own progression, but the progression of all the spirits (meaning us) who waited for their opportunity to come to earth and gain a body of flesh and blood. Because of their choice, we all have the opportunity to be here so that we can learn, grow, and progress in this life and after it. Our salvation depended on the fall of Adam. I am very grateful to Eve for making her choice and for Adam’s decision as well. I am sure that the weight of that decision was enormous and I would not have wanted it for myself, but because they made it I am living and breathing today.

We believe that we are going to be held accountable for those things that we do. There is no one else on this earth who can suffer the consequences for our sins, save Jesus Christ. He has done the work of the atonement and has paid for each and every soul who will have ever lived on this earth. It is our individual responsibility to allow that atonement to work in our lives, through complete repentance. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:29 we read, “And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.”

I am grateful that I do not have to focus on the sins of others in order to gain my salvation after this life. I don’t think I could live with the weight of the sins of my ancestors on my mind. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the temple, because it is there that I have gained a testimony of this. It is through temple work that I have learned to have great admiration and love for our first parents, Adam and Eve. I honor them for their purposes in the plan of salvation and what they have done for all mankind. I am grateful so much for my Savior and his loving sacrifice which allow me freedom from death after the resurrection and the chance to be free from my sins as well.


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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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