“To Reclaim Men from This Fallen State”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

This is what we call the fall of man. Adam, and thus all of us as his children, were freed from whatever “original guilt” might once have been as a result of Adam’s transgression (see Moses 6:53-54). But what of our own fall?

Gerald N. Lund has written:

“If we know good from evil and then sin (which, according to Paul, all men do), then we must talk about a second fall. This is not the fall of Adam. This is one’s own personal fall.

This fall, which our own, not Adam’s, transgression brings about, requires redemption as surely as mankind needed redemption from the consequences of Adam’s fall.

We’ll term this the ’fall of me.’ … Now, since we have no one to blame for this except ourselves, our redemption becomes conditional upon our actions. This is what Lehi meant [2 Nephi 2:7] when he said that the sacrifice that the Messiah offered to satisfy the ends of the law is viable only for those with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (Jesus Christ, Key to the Plan of Salvation, p. 95.)

“This Fallen State, Which Man Had Brought Upon Himself”

Adam brought the fallen condition, mortality, through partaking of the forbidden fruit. All men and women are subject to this condition. All. Jehovah spoke to Adam: “Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good” (Moses 6:55).

Robert L. Millet has written: “No, of course we do not believe, with Calvin, in the moral depravity of men and women. No, we do not believe, with Luther, that man, because of his carnality and depravity, does not, even have the power to choose good over evil. And we do not believe that children are born in sin, that they inherit the so-called sin of Adam either through sexual union or by birth.

Rather, children are conceived in sin: meaning first, that they are conceived into a world of sin, and second, that conception is the vehicle by which the effects of the Fall (not the original transgression, which God has forgiven) are transmitted to Adam’s posterity. To say that we are not punished for the transgression is not to say that we are not subject to and affected by it… . Adam’s fallen nature is passed on to his children and thereby from generation to generation.

Thus sin is implanted in man’s nature at conception, just as death is implanted at the same time. Both of these- death and sin- are present only in seed form at conception, and therefore a child is neither dead nor sinful when born.

Death and sin do, however, come to pass as a result of man’s nature as he grows up. Sin comes naturally, just as does death.” (Life in Christ, pp. 24-25.)

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3