2 Corinthians 11:3-4; “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
Long before I became a Christian I was invited to attend a church service by a friend of mine in Las Vegas. Both of our husbands were away fighting in the first Gulf War in Iraq (it was November 1990) and we were both expecting babies before the husbands were slated to come back. At the end of a very long explanation from my friend on why I should attend church with her because I was bringing another life into the world, I relented – with conditions. I wanted to sit at the back of the congregation so I could get up and leave in a hurry if I didn’t like what they had to say.
We got settled into the back row of pews at the base chapel, the minister dressed in a white robe with purple edging walked up to the pulpit and the entire congregation stood up and in unison began reciting a prayer for God to forgive them because they were all sinners going to hell. For those of you who are Methodist forgive my not so eloquent portrayal of the prayer recited at the beginning of some services.
I sat in horrified silence as the all too judgmental part of me came to fruition. My friend looked down at me as she continued reciting the prayer and I kept shaking my head no. As she sat back down to ask me what was wrong I began telling her in an un-hushed tone of voice that I was not a sinner and how dare this God of hers assume such a thing. I was still yammering on as the congregation went silent and they heard me proclaim again that I wasn’t a sinner in need of Jesus’ redeeming blood.
I’m not sure how many people were looking at us as they sat down and I stood up still talking (read not whispering) and walked out of the service. My friend decided to stay and we finished our conversation in private the next day.
Fast forward to 1993. I had been saved for a handful of months and finally the Mormon fog of confusion began dissipating from my head. I had obviously known I needed a redeemer to forgive me of my sins, but outside of that generic understanding I couldn’t articulate anything else about our/my need for a Savior.
That was until one week my Sunday school teacher began teaching on the sins of major players in the Bible. The lessons were focused on Adam, Abraham, and David and the people we read about in the New Testament. Memories of my prideful behavior not only in Vegas, but all through my life came rushing back to me as I learned what the spilled blood of Christ actually meant.
Effects of Adam and Eve’s Fall
When Adam and Eve sinned the effects were immediate and sharp. They became separated from God which meant there was no communion or fellowship with Him and their beloved relationship with the Father was immediately broken.
Being kicked out of the Garden of Eden where there was no sin had its price. The couple would start the chain of humanity on earth outside the presence of God. Their actions affected every single person who’s ever lived and who will live from now till the end of time.
Romans 5:12; “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.”
Since that time all of creation groans (Romans 8:22) being subject to death because of Adam and Eve’s choices.
Because God is a righteous and just God He demands a payment for the sin we commit against Him. That payment came from the requirement of shedding blood in animal sacrifices. These provided a temporary covering of sins, but keep in mind it didn’t take the sin away. The animals also served as a picture of being sinless. They had done no wrong, yet they suffered the consequence of our sins.
Not just any animal was sufficient to be sacrificed. The animal had to be a firstborn (Exodus 12:5), free of blemishes (Leviticus 22:24), the person who offered his animal had to give an animal he owned that was of significant value to him personally and then he had to kill it (Leviticus 1:2-5a).
Life is in the Blood
In scripture we see how Leviticus 17:11 is the central verse of the Old Testament that explains the significance of blood in the sacrificial system. This was a pivotal teaching in the Law that pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Another sacrifice performed on the Day of Atonement is seen with the high priest who took two male goats for a sin offering. One goat would be sacrificed as a sin offering for all of Israel (Leviticus 16:15 and the other goat was set free in the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22).
This ritual showed two key teaching elements for the Israelites. The goat offered for the sin offering provided the Israelites forgiveness of their sin and the other goat showed the removal of sin. The goat that was set free was never seen or known again, providing the picture that when God forgives our sin He remembers it no more.
All of this is a picture of what Jesus did. He served not just as an example of obedience for us in His daily life, but more importantly He took our sin upon Him while hanging on God’s altar, the cross. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He was the perfect Lamb slain for our sins as John the Baptist proclaimed – John 1:29. He sacrificed His life for us as the perfect Lamb because as it says in Hebrews 10:3-4 bulls and goats could never really take away sins.
Jesus’ life was spent when His blood was spilled. His blood was spilled to serve as the payment for our sins so at this point we’re well beyond the realm of performing good works, regardless of what the LDS Church tries to push upon the unsuspecting.
Hiding from God
Just as God performed the first sacrifice in the Garden of Eden to cover the naked bodies of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21), He also selflessly gave us the last sacrifice in His Son Jesus – 1 Timothy 2:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21.
One has to wonder why Mormons would wear aprons replicating the fall of man in their temple ceremonies and then be buried in them. The apron signifies many things so let’s take a quick look at Genesis 3:10 –
“And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Adam heard God’s voice so he hid.
Why would he hide if he’d always been in a close relationship with God up to that point?
Adam says he was afraid.
Why was he afraid when he knows God loves him?
Why would Mormons wear the same thing Adam did when he was hiding? Is the Mormon trying to hide from God?
Hiding from the Truth
When Mormons say that Jesus died on the cross to be an example of obedience for us their message masks the true story. The reason they’ve done this is because they can’t accept the devastating news they’re sinners in need of a redeemer.
Performing good works was only part of the Mosaic Law and performing good works never was a blueprint for covering or atoning for our sins. Good works and obedience was in addition to giving sacrifices to pay for our sin.
The other two issues we encounter in Mormonism are the ideas that man can’t be saved while in their sin, but from them. This leads to the unending quest of being perfect and serves as a gross misinterpretation of Matthew 5:48 –
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Believing you can be perfect because Jesus was perfect is a false hope that will never be achieved. Jesus was sinless because He’s God and Mormons will never accept that. It reminds me of that old picture of the hamster on his wheel – he’s going nowhere fast.
They also believe that Jesus’ atonement was payment for Adam’s sin and was merely the gateway for us to be obedient and try to be perfect so we can earn our own salvation. Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t intended to pay for the sins of each individual man.
Articles of Faith: 2; “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”
Mormonism also teaches that if Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned they wouldn’t have had children. I’ve spent countless hours with Mormon missionaries showing them from the Bible that God told them to be fruitful and multiply before they sinned, but in the eyes of the Mormon this couldn’t have been possible without “transgressing” the laws of God. See Moses 5:10-11 below.
When we don’t have a solid understanding of who we are as the creation, nothing else in the Bible will fall into place. The acceptance of our hearts being inherently evil and that we’re in need of a Redeemer is central to God’s message to us throughout His word. The Fall was not a blessing and death is never part of God’s plan for His creation as death is the absolute worst scenario for any of us.
As we can see in Paul’s exhortation in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, we aren’t to be imitators of Eve, rather we’re to have our eyes open to the truth when the deceiver comes along trying to trick us into believing another Jesus.
Pray for those lost in this web of lies so they can know Jesus like we as believers know Him!
With Love in Christ;
The following quotes are just a few examples of what Mormon leaders have taught and what their adherents believe –
2 Nephi 2:25; “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy”.
Alma 11:37; “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.”
Moses 5:10-11; “Blessed be the name of God, for because of my [Adam’s] transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God 11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient”.
Articles of Faith, pg 59; “Adam found himself in a position that made it impossible for him to obey both of the specific commandments given by the Lord. He and his wife had been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. Adam had not yet fallen to the state of mortality, but Eve already had; and in such dissimilar conditions the two could not remain together, and therefore could not fulfil the divine requirement as to procreation.” – James Talmage
Articles of Faith, pg 430; “…redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the gospel, and a life of good works.” – James E. Talmage
Best of Lowell Bennion: Selected Writings 1928-1988: pg 96; “Latter-day Saints hold quite a different concept of the Fall from this traditional point of view briefly described above. In our belief, the “fall of man” was not a misfortune. God’s plan did not go awry in the beginning. Adam was not a sinner who plunged mankind into a depraved and utterly helpless condition.”
Discourses of Brigham Young, pg 50; “We are the sons and daughters of celestial Beings, and the germ of the Deity dwells within us. When our spirits took possession of these tabernacles, they were as pure as the angels of God, wherefore total depravity cannot be a true doctrine. 10:192.”
Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pg 233; “I will say, they were ordained of God to do what they did, and it was therefore expected that they would eat of the forbidden fruit in order that man might know both good and evil by passing through this school of experience which this life affords us.”
Doctrines of Salvation 1:114; “The fall of man came as a blessing in disguise…I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin….It is true, the Lord warned Adam and Eve that to partake of the fruit they would transgress a law, and this happened. But it is not always a sin to transgress a law.” – Joseph F. Smith
Doctrines of Salvation 1:115; “DEATH FULFILLS MERCIFUL PLAN OF GOD. We have partaken of the benefits, and of the things that are not called benefits-if there are any such-coming out of the fall of Adam. The fall of Adam brought to pass all of the vicissitudes of mortality. It brought pain. It brought sorrow. It brought death; but we must not lose sight of the fact that it brought blessings also, as spoken of in these scriptures. It brought the blessing of knowledge and understanding and mortal life.” – Joseph Fielding Smith
Doctrines of Salvation 1:121; “By many he has been severely criticized because of his fall, but Latter-day Saints, through modern revelation, have learned that such was necessary in order that man should have his agency and, through the various vicissitudes he has to pass, receive a knowledge of both good and evil, without which it would be impossible for him to gain the exaltation prepared for him.” – Joseph Fielding Smith
Encyclopedia of Mormoniam, pg 1089; “The Fall was part of God’s plan for mankind and came as no surprise. “All things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things” (2 Ne. 2:24). Latter-day Saints affirm that Adam and Eve were actual beings, the first parents, and that the Fall was a literal event both in time and place. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith explained, “If Adam did not fall, there was no Christ, because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is based on the Fall of Adam” (DS 1:120). Elder James E. Talmage wrote, “It has become a common practice with mankind to heap reproaches on the progenitors of the family, and to picture the supposedly blessed state in which we would be living but for the fall; whereas our first parents are entitled to our deepest gratitude for their legacy to posterity” (AF, p. 70).”
Ensign, “Constancy Amid Change”, November 1993, pg 33; “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
General Conference, April 2004, “The Atonement: All for All”; “The Fall was not a disaster. It wasn’t a mistake or an accident. It was a deliberate part of the plan of salvation.” – Bruce Hafen
Introduction to the Gospel, pg 312; “Joseph Smith became a prophet and spokesman for God, a living witness of the principle of continuous revelation which characterized God’s relationship to man so continuously both in Old and New Testament times. In the restoration, man was raised to the dignity which he had formerly known both in the Hebrew and Christian scripture. Original sin and human depravity were done away with and in their place came again Jesus’ high regard for the dignity of man, the worth of every individual as a child of God, and great emphasis on man’s freedom and accompanying moral responsibility.” – Lowell L. Bennion
Journal of Discourses 10:251; “wish you to understand that sin is not an attribute in the nature of man, but it is an inversion of the attributes God has placed in him. Righteousness tends to an eternal duration of organized intelligence, while sin bringeth to pass their dissolution.” – Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, October 6, 1863
Journal of Discourses 10:312; “Some may regret that our first parents sinned. This is nonsense. If we had been there, and they had not sinned, we should have sinned. I will not blame Adam or Eve, why? Because it was necessary that sin should enter into the world; no man could ever understand the principle of exaltation without its opposite; no one could ever receive an exaltation without being acquainted with its opposite. How did Adam and Eve sin? Did they come out in direct opposition to God and to His government? No. But they transgressed a command of the Lord, and through that transgression sin came into the world. The Lord knew they would do this, and He had designed that they should.” – Brigham Young
Liahona, “Adam’s Role in Bringing Us Mortality”, January 2006, pgs 8-9;“Adam did only what he had to do. He partook of that fruit for one good reason, and that was to open the door to bring you and me and everyone else into this world, for Adam and Eve could have remained in the Garden of Eden; they could have been there to this day, if Eve hadn’t done something. One of these days, if I ever get to where I can speak to Mother Eve, I want to thank her for tempting Adam to partake of the fruit. He accepted the temptation, with the result that children came into this world. And when I kneel in prayer, I feel to thank Mother Eve, for if she hadn’t had that influence over Adam, and if Adam had done according to the commandment first given to him, they would still be in the Garden of Eden and we would not be here at all…So the commentators made a great mistake when they put in the Bible at the top of page 3, as I think it is (it may not be the same page in every Bible), the statement “Man’s shameful fall.”” – Joseph Fielding Smith
Life Beyond, pg 107; “Paraphrasing Elder James E. Talmage’s description of the creeds of Christendom, it would be difficult to have postulated more error in fewer words. We are left to wonder if, in so writing, Augustine has not indeed committed the original (doctrinal) sin! The false doctrine of original sin is thus based upon the notion that Adam and Eve’s disobedience was an act of overt rebellion against the Almighty, an attempt to usurp the knowledge available only to the Gods.” – Robert L. Millett, Joseph Fielding McConkie
Miracle of Forgiveness, pg 166; “The Lord cannot save men in their sins but only from their sins, and that only when they have shown true repentance.”
Mormon Doctrine, pg 320; “But, notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin, showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin; and also, that by him a righteous judgment might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins.” – Bruce McConkie, Apostle
New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pg 87; “Properly understood, it becomes apparent that the fall of Adam is one of the greatest blessings ever given of God to mankind. It is the way and the means whereby the spirit children of the Father go forth from their celestial home to gain mortal and then immortal bodies. And it provides the way for the experiences, tests, and trials that prepare the faithful for eternal life.” – Bruce McConkie
Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 87; “Indeed, we honor and respect Adam and Eve for their wisdom and foresight. Their lives in the Garden of Eden were blissful and pleasant; choosing to leave that behind so they and the entire human family could experience both the triumphs and travails of mortality must not have been easy. But we believe they did choose mortality, and in so doing made it possible for all of us to participate in Heavenly Father’s great, eternal plan.” – M. Russell Ballard
Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service, Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation, pg 50; “When first teaching this doctrine, do not teach everything you know about it.”
Preparing for Exaltation, Teacher’s Manual, pg 13; “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… Their choice did not come from a desire to disobey the Lord, but from a desire to gain wisdom. Because of this choice, we have the opportunity to come to earth and learn, as Adam and Eve did, how to choose good over evil. Express your gratitude for Adam and Eve and the choice they made… Encourage class members to follow Adam and Eve’s example and choose good over evil.”