There was an article on LDSLiving recently titled ‘5 Things Every Mormon Should Know About Mother Eve’. As I read it, it made me think of all the things I learned about Eve (and Adam) while in the Mormon Church, and how they conflict with what we learn about them in the bible.
The statements the article makes about Eve are:
“Eve was one of the “noble and great ones” in the pre-existence.”
“Eve was a partner in the Garden of Eden, not a passive or incompetent participant.”
“Prophets have had visions of Eve in the hereafter.”
“Satan did not deceive Eve.”
“God did not curse Eve after she partook of the fruit.”
As you can see by these statements Mormons hold Eve in high regard. Upon further study of her, you’ll notice they feel the need to protect her, and absolve her of any wrong doing on her part which led to sin being introduced to the world.
According to Mormon doctrine every single person who has ever lived started off as a ‘spirit child’ of God and his goddess wife. This not only includes Adam and Eve, but Jesus and Lucifer as well. Mormon prophets have taught that in this pre-earth life we lived in all us of were challenged and tested, and some of us become his rulers for his work on earth.
Abraham 3:22-23 speaks of these ‘noble and great’ spirits and the role God has for them:
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
What was so surprising to me when I first joined the Church was that I wasn’t to think of the Fall as a terrible thing, but as something that was necessary for our eternal progression. Just like the sacrifice Jesus made for sin, I was taught Adam and Eve’s ‘transgression was part of Gods plan for happiness as well.
On Mormon.org we read-
“….these events were essential pieces of God’s plan for our happiness in this life and our salvation in the next. Adam and Eve’s choice resulted in them providing physical bodies for God’s spirit children; Jesus Christ’s choice in Gethsemane and at Calvary led to His Atonement and Resurrection, the two most significant events in the history of the world.”
Another surprise for me to learn was Mormon scripture stated that it was Eve who first recognized their transgression (sin) had to take place. She understood they had to disobey God if His plan for us was going to be put in motion.
Moses 5: 11-12 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. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.
Before joining the Church, I was taught that what Adam and Eve did was a sin, however as I began studying about Mormonism I learned what they did wasn’t a sin, but a transgression.
Joseph Fielding Smith “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!” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (1954–56), 1:114–15.)
You see, Mormons don’t believe in ‘original sin’. Which is why their 2nd Article of Faith states –
“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”
Dallin H. Oaks did his best to clarify sin and transgression in this quote –
“Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall” (“The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72.)
I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to wrap my mind about what he said. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. When we disobey His commands, we are in sin! I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to understand this.
In closing, the sad and tragic thing about all this is their doctrine on the Fall makes God out to be the deceiver, and Satan the one who wanted them to know the truth.