Failing Falling

October 19, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 1:59 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Plan of Salvation,Theology

“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”

-2nd Article of Faith

“All mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual”

-Helaman 14:16

It is a common claim (see for example Bhodge’s latest excellent post at BCC) the LDS church rejects “original sin”, and rightly so, due to our second article of faith, the belief that Adam and Eve took the fall as a progressive step, and due to our belief that small children are considered not accountable, and thus innocent.

However, one claim I am uncomfortable with, from Blair’s latest post (and I should add the claim is not his, but that of Peter J. Thuesen, is that this somehow allows our faith to escape the situation of an “inherently damnable humanity”, as Hodges quotes. It is, after all, our inherent damnability which is central to the Gospel.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ occurs to reconcile our sinful nature. We sin because we have free will and are weak creatures. The very plan of salvation (come to earth via birth, get a body, be apart from God, have faith, learn to repent, progress towards being heavenly creatures) is set up so that we can progress, and we would not be able to progress without God, we were selected by him to be his children, and he made it his “work and glory” to bring us up to a higher level of existence.

So if Mormonism does not teach the fall causing inherent damnability, it is only because we have removed it as our starting point, and thus moved our personal damnation back to our eternal selves. Our “original sin” truly becomes original to us, with the sin being our inability to achieve the loving nature required of us to live with God.

This does create for us a unique solution, in that our damnation is defined as our inability to attain a certain nature through our own ability, and God’s salvation is his giving us characteristics which we can use to attain to that nature. (A body, the light of Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, covenants, the atoning help of Christ).

It also raises questions. If we are eternal, and unable to change, how does it become possible for God to make this change? I don’t really know, but I do believe.

Chapter 7 – Enduring to the End

June 11, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 10:02 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

This is the last installment in the series of the Plan of Salvation. Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

The process of becoming like Christ is called sanctification. As the Holy Ghost sanctifies us, we receive more light, knowledge, and love for others; which makes us happy because we also enjoy God’s presence in our lives. n order to be sanctified, God will ask us to sacrifice the temporary things of this world to choose the things of eternity. In order to strengthen us against the temptations we will face to cling too tightly to the things of this world, Christ has outlined, through His prophets, specific habits that focus our minds on life’s purposes and invite the Spirit into our lives. (more…)

Chapter 6 – Principles and Ordinances

June 2, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 7:44 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

Christ can’t force us to receive His gifts of life and joy. For us to be like Him and receive all that the Father has, it requires our participation. God can’t just make us become as He is because at the deepest level, we all have agency or free will, and that cannot ever be taken from us. Agency is the ability to choose who and what we will love and how we will use our power to pursue our desires. At our core, we have always existed with agency. (more…)

Chapter 5 – Atonement

May 22, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 2:29 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

Every living person is given the Light of Christ when they are born, which is also sometimes called our conscience. This light helps us know basic right from wrong. When we feel we should do something kind for someone else, and choose not to do it, we sin against this Light, which diminishes our light and defeats some of our purposes of being here. When we hurt someone else, it hurts us too and creates guilt. The largest consequence of sin is that it hurts our relationships with others to where we can’t be trusted by others and we can’t trust ourselves. In such a state, we wouldn’t be able to stand being with holy and clean beings like our Heavenly Father. Heaven is not just a place, but it is rather a society in which trust abounds; trust that my tender heart will be valued as highly as I value it. My character is defined by my trustworthiness with the needs and feelings of others.


Chapter 4 – Adam & Eve and The Fall

April 27, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 9:01 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

During the last period of creation, God created human bodies for our spirits to inhabit, and we recognize our first parents as Adam and Eve. They were two of Heavenly Father’s very valiant spirit children and they were married and lived in a beautiful place called the Garden of Eden. When they received their bodies, the veil was placed over their minds and they forgot their pre-earth life. Even though they were grown-ups, they were like children and didn’t know much about right or wrong choices. Heavenly Father and Jesus came to the Garden to teach them and gave them two commandments. The first was that they should have children and begin a family. The second was that they should eat fruit from any plant except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was their choice what to eat, but God warned them that they would die if they ate from that tree. This was the first decision they would be accountable for. In their childlike and innocent state, they hadn’t learned how to be parents yet. They had no knowledge, so they were taught a little at a time, just like children are.


Chapter 3 – The Creation

April 1, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 4:06 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

Chapter 3 – The Creation

Under Heavenly Father’s direction, Christ created and organized the earth, putting natural forces in order and making sure that all types of plants and animals would grow on it. God made this beautiful earth and all its marvelous creations for His children, where we could experience life with mortal bodies and exercise our agency (D&C 88:19, 25). Because the earth was created for God’s children to live on, it will be renewed to its paradisaical glory after Christ comes again and will be the home to those who choose righteousness and who follow Christ.

I actually do believe in evolution, so maybe that is tempering what I have to say in my paragraph. Maybe with less to say, there will be more room for illustrations. It seems a little odd to me that with so much time spent in the scriptures and in the temple about the creation, I have so little to say about it here. If you have more that you think I should add, please tell me.

As the prophets have condensed the presentation of the endowment, they haven’t trimmed down the creation that much, which makes me curious as to what insights you may have on why that may be. Why do you suppose that so much time is spent on the creation when the purpose of it is so straight-forward in the plan of salvation? Am I missing something here?

Chapter 2 – The War in Heaven

March 22, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 10:34 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

See my three earlier posts (here, here, and here) if you don’t know what this series is all about and the table of contents.

Chapter 2: The War in Heaven


Chapter 1 – Council in Heaven

March 10, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 1:47 pm   Category: Plan of Salvation

Okay, so here is the first chapter of my children’s book (to be illustrated by my wife). See my two earlier posts (here and here) if you don’t know what this series is all about and the table of contents.

Chapter 1: Council in Heaven

Before we were born on this earth, we lived as spirits with our Heavenly Father. We learned a lot as spirits and Heavenly Father told us He had a plan that would help us learn more so we could be even happier. Heavenly Father explained that He has a fullness of joy, which means He is full of love and gratitude, and that He loves being our Father.

Heavenly Father’s plan would help us all be full of joy like He is. We call His plan the Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness. Heavenly Father was a spirit like we were, but He also had a body and tremendous glory. As we learned, we were also gaining glory, and having glory made us happy, but we couldn’t receive more glory and have a more intimate relationship with our Father without coming to this world.


What are the elements of The Plan of Salvation?

March 3, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 11:51 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

In my last post I stated that the “Plan of Salvation,” as Mormons use it, provides the framework to include all the elements necessary to create a compelling worldview. (more…)