The LDS Articles of Faith, Part XII

Article II Punishment for Sin

The second LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe that men must be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.” Notice what Adam did is called a “transgression” and not a sin. The tenth LDS Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith said, “I never speak of the part Eve took in the fall as a sin nor do I accuse Adam of a sin…It is not always a sin to transgress a law” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. I, p. 114). But I John 3:4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Joseph Fielding Smith also said on page 115 of the same book, “When he (Adam) ate (the forbidden fruit), he became subject to death, and therefore he became mortal. This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin in the strict sense, for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do. I am sure that neither Adam nor Eve looked upon it as a sin.” If they didn’t look at it as a sin why did Adam and Eve sew fig leaves together as a covering for their nakedness, and hide from the Lord God (Gen. 3:7-8)? Those are strange actions by Adam and Eve if they didn’t think they had sinned! Why did God curse the serpent to crawl on his belly, and curse the ground to produce thorns and thistles? Why did He make men work and sweat for food and women sorrow in bearing children? And why did the Lord expel Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden? (Gen. 3:14-19, 23-24). God’s response was very severe if no sin was involved! But Joseph Fielding Smith said on page 113 of the same book, “When Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord passed a sentence upon him. Some people have looked upon that sentence as being a dreadful thing. It was not; it was a blessing."


Romans 5:12-21 says that sin entered the world through one man (Adam). Rom. 5:14 says, “Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” That verse says what Adam did was both a sin and a transgression! I John 3:4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law,” so whether it is called a “transgression” or a “sin,” it is a sin! But LDS Apostle John A. Widtsoe said on page 195 of Evidences and Reconciliations, “In the true (LDS) gospel of Jesus Christ there is no original sin” (the sin by Adam). On pages 192-193 of the same book Widtsoe said, “After their expulsion from Eden into the earth as it is, Adam exults, ‘Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.’ And Eve seemed almost jubilant, ‘Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth to all the obedient’ (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:10-11). These were not words of sinners or repentant sinners. This was spoken by people who had met and accepted a great challenge, with which, as they imply, God was pleased.” That is what LDS scripture says, but the Bible does not! If there was no “original sin,” as Widtsoe said, and Adam and Eve were happy about their “transgression” and God was pleased with it, then the punishment for “Adam’s transgression mentioned in the second LDS Article of Faith is meaningless! The Bible doesn’t say that anyone but Adam will be punished for what he did and almost no one believes that they will be punished for Adam’s sin. So, that LDS Article of Faith is arguing with a straw man. We inherited a sinful nature from Adam, but we are responsible for our own sins. Rom. 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That is why WE need a Savior, and so does Adam!

LDS Apostle LeGrand Richards said on page 102 of A Marvelous Work and A Wonder, “Jesus Christ redeemed all from the fall; he paid the price; he offered himself as a ransom; he atoned for Adam’s sin, leaving us responsible for our own sins.” Notice that Richards referred to Adam’s “transgression” as a “sin” so, there is inconsistency in what LDS teach. But Richards said that Jesus Christ redeemed “all” from the fall but he only atoned for Adam’s sin leaving us responsible for our own sins. So, HOW did he redeem all from the fall? Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth LDS Prophet said in Doctrines of Salvation, vol. I, p.134, “Salvation is twofold: General—that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ—and Individual—that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the (LDS) gospel.” LDS Apostle Stephen L. Richards explained, “There will be a General Salvation for all in the sense in which the term is generally used, but salvation, meaning resurrection, is not exaltation” (Contributions of Joseph Smith, p. 5). LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie also said, “All men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part, meaning they are resurrected” (What the Mormons Think of Christ, p. 28). So, in Mormonism, General Salvation through Christ comes to all mankind as resurrection regardless of a belief in Christ in this life. But Individual Salvation is earned by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the (LDS) gospel. But that is NOT Biblical salvation as Ephesians 2:4-10 shows.


In explaining the second Article of Faith, LDS Apostle, James Talmage wrote in his book The Articles of Faith on page 61, “The false doctrine that the punishment to be visited upon erring souls is endless, that every sentence for sin is of interminable duration, must be regarded as one of the most pernicious results of misapprehension of scripture…in no instance is there justification for the inference that the individual sinner will have to suffer the wrath of offended justice forever and ever…Justice must have her due; but when the ‘uttermost farthing’ is paid, the prison doors shall open and the captive be free.” Talmage then quoted Doctrine and Covenants 19:4-12. Verses 6-7 and 10-12 say, “Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again it is written eternal damnation… For behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore, Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.” So, LDS believe that eternal punishment refers to the name of the punishment not the duration of it. That is not a Biblical doctrine.

On page 65 of The Articles of Faith, Talmage said Eve ate the forbidden fruit and “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. On the other hand, Adam would be disobeying another commandment by yielding to Eve’s request. He deliberately and wisely decided to stand by the first and greater commandment.” Does God really give commandments that force mankind to disobey one in order to keep the other? What kind of God is that? It certainly is not the God of the Bible!

and it deals with atonement and salvation.