The Missionaries will Teach...
The first of God's children to come to earth were Adam and
Eve. God created Adam and Eve in His image with bodies of
flesh and bones and placed them in the Garden of Eden.
While they were in the Garden, they were in God's presence and could
live forever. They lived lives of innocence, and God took care
God gave agency to Adam and Eve, and commanded them not to eat of
the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If they
obeyed this commandment, they could forever remain in the presence
of God in the garden, but they wouldn't be able to progress by
experiencing opposition. While in the garden, they couldn't
experience joy because they could not experience sorrow and pain.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of
good and evil. They disobeyed God and ate the forbidden
fruit. This action had several consequences, and this chain of
events is collectively known as "the Fall." Ironically, the
Fall was an essential part of God's plan. Eating of the forbidden
fruit caused the following events to occur:
- God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden and out of the
presence of God (Being separated from the presence of God is known
as spiritual death).
- Adam and Eve became subject to disease and suffering.
- They became subject to physical death, which is the separation
of the body and the spirit.
- They could learn and progress.
- They could have children.
- Their children would be born into this same fallen state.
This made it possible for all of God's children to come to earth,
be tested, and obtain physical bodies. This process is
necessary in order to progress and become like God.
Some Additional Thoughts...
Joseph Smith was fascinated with the story of Adam and Eve and
received multiple revelations expounding upon it. Brigham
Young had even more ideas beyond the revelations of Joseph
Just as the missionaries will hesitate to tell you everything
they know about this doctrine, the church will hesitate to repeat
everything that past prophets and apostles have authoritatively said
about this doctrine. There are several possible reason for
this. Some of the doctrines they've taught are uncomfortable,
strange and contradict the conceptions that non-Mormon Christians
have of Adam and Eve. Furthermore, they just don't seem relevant to
helping us understand our purposes in life. It could be argued that
these deeper doctrines constitute doctrinal meat, and since
investigators are presumably mere babes in the gospel, they must
embrace the basic doctrinal milk before they are ready for the
meat. Perhaps the biggest reason is that many of details of
these doctrines just aren't plausible from what science has revealed
about the history of life on earth, and repeating them just make the
church and its prophets seem provincial.
One troubling aspect of this doctrine is reconciling the
commandments of God with the actions needed to forward God's
plan. Mormonism enthusiastically pronounces that the Fall was
an essential part of the plan of salvation and that partaking the
fruit was the right thing to do, "We and all mankind are forever
blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of
the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise
enough to do likewise" (Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy amid Change,” Ensign,
Nov. 1993, 33). The paradox is why did God command Adam
and Eve not to act wisely? Many people have speculations about this,
but in general they fail to resolve the paradox.
Another troubling aspect is the concept that modern, bona
fide prophets and scriptures have unambiguously and
authoritatively taught doctrine that clearly contradicts proven
scientific principles. Specifically, The Book of Mormon
teaches the following:
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have
fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all
things which were created must have remained in the same state in
which they were after they were created; and they must have
remained forever, and had no end. (2
Modern prophets and apostles have consistently interpreted this
to mean that before Adam fell, nothing died--people didn't
die, nor did animals, plants, or any other biological entity on the
planet. Everything was in a state of perpetual and
undying perfection; God created a world that precluded death, and
this did not change until the Fall, which happened about 6,000 years
ago. Clearly if this is true, God did not employ anything
resembling biological evolution in the creation of life on this
planet, and science is tremendously mistaken about the most
scrutinized, robust, and fundamental scientific principle known.
of Adam The Bible Dictionary of the Official Scriptures of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explains that "Before
the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood. There was
no sin, no death, and no children among any of the earthly
creations. 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. Adam became the “first flesh” upon the earth
(Moses 3: 7), meaning that he and Eve were the first to become
mortal. After Adam fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal.
Adam’s fall brought both physical and spiritual death into the world
upon all mankind."
The Fall of Adam and Organic Evolution from the
LDS Home Schooling in California website. This site does a
good job of explaining Mormonism's orthodox position on evolution:
"One of the questions that often comes up when deciding on science
curriculum is, "How do evolution and dinosaurs fit into the gospel
plan?" While we don't know all the answers, there are a few things
we do know. Before the fall of Adam, all living things lived
in the state they were created - meaning that Adam and Eve and all
of creation may have lived in the Garden of Eden for millions or
billions of years (we don't know) - but we do know that during that
time there was no birth and no death. Consequently, creatures could
not have been evolving in any way."
Is Evolution Compatible with Mormon Doctrine?
(Answer: "Quite simply, no, it is not.") A site written by a
faithful Mormon which teaches the orthodox position: "All created
things were in a paradisiacal state--a state in which there was no
corruption, no aging, decay, pain, sickness, or death." (Joseph
Evolution and Mormonism: A site written by a
faithful Mormon which tries to reconcile Mormonism and Evolution
(this is representative of the kinds of things you'd hear at BYU's
I Have a Question: In a September 1987
Ensign article, BYU geology professor Morris S. Petersen
addresses the question, "Do we know how the earth’s history as
indicated from fossils fits with the earth’s history as the
scriptures present it?"