Original sin is a concept stemming from the event when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and were cast out from the Garden of Eden and from the presence of God. After partaking of the fruit they became mortal with a body of flesh and bones. Original sin is a belief that because our first parents “sinned,” we are also tainted with the same sin.
The second Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” Therefore, we are not condemned because of the fall or shortcoming of Adam and Eve. It is also important to note that in this statement, the word “transgression” is used and not the word “sin.” In order to consider a violation a sin, someone must have the knowledge on the difference between right and wrong. In the second Book of Nephi chapter 2 verse 23 of the Book of Mormon, we read, “And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.” In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were in a state of innocence and did not have the knowledge of right or wrong; therefore, when they ate of the forbidden fruit, they did not sin. However, they did violate a prohibition. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained, “Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited.”
Because of this transgression, Adam and Eve became mortal and they had the ability to multiply and have children. In this state, they no longer lived in innocence because they already had knowledge of right and wrong. They also became subject to sorrow and joy, pain and suffering, even death.
Moreover, it is a joyful knowledge that the Atonement of Jesus Christ already paid the price for the transgression of our first parents. This is a hopeful assurance that through our faithfulness, we can all come back to the presence of God. Adam and Eve are part of a grand plan and without their transgression, we would not be able to experience life on this earth.