The Ensign has had a feature almost monthly this year called ‘The Fullness of the Gospel’. It is described as ‘A series examining doctrines unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’. I am thrilled at this direction for the Ensign, and in my simple way would like to promote this series with another review.
This month’s doctrine is the fall of Adam and Eve.
One of the primary doctrinal understanding we have is that the fall was a necessary step in Heavenly Father’s plan. Without the fall there would have been no death, no posterity, and no progress (see the best chapter in scripture 2 Nephi 2).
An interesting aspect that this article brings out is the teaching of Joseph Fielding Smith that partaking of the forbidden fruit was not a sin, but a transgression. The article then gives an explanation be Dallin H. Oaks. His explanation includes the idea that certain things are crimes because they are inherently wrong – murder for example. And that other things are crimes only because they are prohibited. He suggests that the act that produced the fall was not inherently wrong, but prohibited and thus a transgression and not a sin. Interesting idea and distinction. Perhaps a future post in there somewhere.
Of course another primary doctrine regarding the fall is our rejection of original sin. There are certainly effects of the fall that we inherit, but the second article of faith declares that we will be punished for our own sins, not for Adam’s transgression. This leads to our understanding that little children are alive in Christ (Moroni 8) and have no need of repentance or baptism.
Again, I am grateful for modern day revelation that leads to such great understanding. These ideas may seem basic and simple to many seasoned members of the church, but they are truly revelutionary ideas that help us gain a great understanding.