The Creation and the Fall
According to the beliefs of Mormonism, God created this world for us, as is recorded in the Bible (Genesis 1–2). He then created our bodies “in [His] image, after [His] likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The first man and woman were Adam and Eve who were placed in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and in so doing, fell from grace. The Fall according to Mormon doctrine, was a positive step, and an integral part of God’s plan, which Mormons call the Plan of Salvation. The Lord gave Adam and Eve two conflicting commandments (1. to multiply and replenish the earth, and 2. to avoid eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil). God gave Adam and Eve conflicting commandments to guarantee their “agency,” or freedom to choose. Until they partook of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were unable to procreate. The Book of Mormon declares:
Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25, pg. 59).
Jesus Christ atoned for Adam and Eve’s sin, and all children are born innocent and pure. Because of this, Mormons do not believe in “original sin,” but that we will only be punished for our own sins, unless we repent.
Mormons believe that when we are born, a veil is placed over our minds that prevents us from remembering what happened in the premortal life (see Isaiah 25:7). This is so that we can be tested according to our faith and our desires for good. The Book of Mormon teaches:
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death [ … ] which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead (Alma 12:24, pg 239).
This life is a time to learn and grow. We need to learn to distinguish between good and evil and to make wise choices. We must also develop talents and grow in godly attributes like love, faith, charity, hope, patience, endurance, and love (see 2 Peter 1:2-9). During this time we must also repent of our sins and mistakes and try to do better. Mormons often refer to this as enduring to the end.
We must also perform those ordinances which God has commanded. This includes baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and partaking of the emblems of Christ’s death and resurrection, which Mormons call the sacrament. Other churches refer to this as the Eucharist.
During this life we are also expected to marry and raise righteous families and serve others around us. We should share the good news about Jesus Christ with friends and family so that they, too, can rejoice with us.