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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Sin of Adam

Last week in my Ask a Mormon series I began talking about the core beliefs of my Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I shared with you the First Article of Faith and what it means to me.  If you didn't read that post, you can read it here.

This week I want to continue in that vein and discuss with you the Second Article of Faith.

"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." Second Article of Faith
This Article of Faith is one that may be a bit different from the beliefs of many Christian denominations.  We believe that children are born innocent and perfect.  That is, we do not believe in Original Sin--the belief that because Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit each of us is born imperfect. 

This  belief leads to a few practices that are very different from many Christian denominations.  One such difference is that we do not practice infant baptism.  A prophet in ancient America recorded it this way in the Book of Mormon,

"For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law.  For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such, baptism availeth nothing."  Moroni 8:22
Our belief is that children are perfect, and therefore do not need to repent or be baptized.  To me, it is inconceivable that a 6 month old baby could be thought to know right from wrong.  And if he doesn't know right from wrong, how could he repent?  And if he can't repent, why does he need to be baptized for the remission of sins?

Because of this belief children in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are baptized when they reach the age of accountability--in other words--when they are old enough to be expected to know right from wrong.  The Church has stated that that age is 8 years old. 

We believe that because of the fall of Adam and Eve sin and death entered the world, but that it was a necessary part of God's plan, because we came to this earth to learn, grow and make the decisions that will lead us back to God.  There must be opposition in all things, good and evil. 

However, we do not believe that we are automatically sinful at birth because Adam made a choice.  We are sinful when we reach the age that we know right from wrong and we choose wrong (and we all choose wrong!).  Therefore, we believe we will be punished for our own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

This, I believe, is one of the greatest reasons that our Heavenly Father placed us in families.  It is our responsibility as parents to take the time when our children are young to teach them right from wrong.  To direct and guide them while they are innocent so when they are old enough to choose right from wrong, that they will choose correctly. 

Question: How important is it to teach and guide children when they are young to make correct decisions?

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Also, please visit the Ask a Mormon page of this blog and submit any questions you have about Mormons, our beliefs, culture.  I'd be happy to try to answer them!

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