What Mormons Believe About Original Sin

Are we Punished for the Fall of Adam and Eve?

Adam and Eve and apple
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Original sin is the belief that because Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit of the tree everyone born is tainted by Adam and Eve's sin. This is called the fall.

For most Christian religions, it follows that, if we are born tainted by original sin, then everyone must be baptized as quickly as possible. This belief results in infant baptism.

The notion of original sin is rejected by LDS members (Mormons) and their faith.

 The second Article of Faith of the Church states:

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

It is important to understand the difference between transgression and sin. Understanding this difference helps clarify what the second Article of Faith means by transgression.

In essence, you have to know the difference between right and wrong, otherwise it is called a transgression. At the time of the fall, Adam and Eve could not understand the difference, so were incapable of committing sin. They transgressed, they did not sin.

Scripture Clarifies What Adam and Eve Did

In the Book of Mormon, and through other modern day revelation, we know that:

  • While in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were in a state of innocence.
  • They could not have children.
  • They could not fulfill God's first commandment to be fruitful and multiply unless they transgressed God's second commandment not to eat of the fruit.
  • Having children is good, and necessary, to God's plan.
  • Eating of the fruit was not an evil thing, in and of itself.

Results Of the Fall Had to be Healed

Partaking of the forbidden fruit was not without consequences. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Even and were commanded to work for the rest of their lives.

The fall caused them to become mortal; they then had the ability to have children. Also, they could finally experience both sorrow and joy, because they understood right from wrong.

They were required to teach their children right from wrong as well. In due course, at the age of accountability, they were baptized.

This transition to mortality and expulsion from the Garden caused physical death and spiritual death on earth. Becoming mortal resulted in their eventually dying, physical death. Not being able to walk and talk with God anymore caused spiritual death.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ healed both of these conditions.

The Atonement and the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost was sent to Adam and Eve after their expulsion from the Garden. Through Him and His influence, Heavenly Father was able to communicate with Adam and Eve and they could receive guidance and inspiration via the Spirit.

Jesus Christ's Atonement overcame the results of the fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ paid that price for all sins and transgressions by His suffering. His resurrection, where his body and spirit were rejoined for eternity, healed the effects of physical death. We can all be resurrected now.

After Christ's resurrection and final ascension into heaven, He sent the Holy Ghost to earth again to overcome spiritual death.

Again, people on earth could receive Heavenly Father's guidance through the spirit.

Not Having Original Sin Means Infant Baptism is Not Needed

Since Mormons do not believe in original sin it follows that babies do not need to be baptized. They are alive in Christ. This is clear in both scripture and counsel.

Also, we will not be punished for the sins of our parents, children, spouses, siblings or others. We will only be punished for our own sins.

We will have to suffer for our own sins unless we repent. If we repent, we are completely cleansed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Baptism in the LDS (Mormon) Church takes place after age 8, which is the age of accountability. No one is baptized before this.

People are only capable of sinning when they know right from wrong, not before.

Updated by Krista Cook.