Are All Men Responsible for their own Sins?
|The second Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is often misnamed the Mormon Church) states that, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression”. Latter-day Saints (or “Mormons”) do not believe in “original sin.” There are those who believe Adam and Eve committed a grave sexual sin when they partook of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. However, Mormons believe that Adam and Eve had been married by God Himself. Therefore, their sin was not sexual in nature. Adam and Eve did transgress a commandment of God, but they had been given two conflicting commandments in the Garden of Eden: (1) not to partake of the forbidden fruit, or the fruit of the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil,” and (2) to multiply and replenish the earth. While they dwelt in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were not subject to sickness or death; the garden was a paradise in a different state of existence than the world we know. They also were unable to procreate.It seems almost unfair that the Lord gave them two conflicting commandments, wherein the only way to keep one was to break the other. But “opposition in all things” is an important part of the Plan of Salvation, since it provides a way for man to exercise agency. The ability to choose is an important and undeniable part of the plan:
Mormon doctrine teaches that the fall was necessary in the plan of life and that it is a blessing to mankind, since it was the only way for Adam and Eve to become mortal and bear children.
Because of the Fall, we are blessed to have physical bodies and to choose between good and evil, which allows each person the opportunity to gain eternal life. These privileges would not have been allowed to every mortal being if Adam and Eve had remained in the garden. In Moses 5:11 in The Pearl of Great Price, Eve explained that,
The Book of Mormon states that, each person born into mortality will be brought to a final judgment—no one is exempt from this judgment (Mormon 3:18–20). This judgment will be meted out to mortals based upon the agency each person is given in mortality so that, “every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (D&C 101:78). Mormons believe, and the scriptures reiterate, that there would be little value to free agency without accountability.
The Lord told Cain in Genesis 4:7 that, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” As it was with Cain, so it is with mortal man. We have full option whether to choose right or wrong, which is our privilege. But, with that privilege comes a consequence for every choice that is made.
Each person will be judged according to the degree of knowledge and opportunity available to him during his specific mortal probation, and upon the records kept both on earth and in heaven (Revelation 20:12). This doctrine makes allowances for the many souls who have lived on the earth who have had no knowledge of Christ or God’s commandments. The Mormon belief is that each individual will be judged according to his works, desires, and intent of the heart, and then assigned to an eternal kingdom of glory by a loving, merciful, and impartial judge, that being the Savior (Mosiah 4:6)
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