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What is the Latter-day Saint view on the “forbidden fruit”?

TitleWhat is the Latter-day Saint view on the “forbidden fruit”?
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsVan Orden, Bruce A.
Issue Number2
Date PublishedFebruary 1994
KeywordsAdam (Prophet); Eve; Fall of Adam; Marriage; Sexual Sin

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It is widely taught in the world that when Adam and Eve “partook of the forbidden fruit,” they committed sexual sin. What is the Latter-day Saint view on the “forbidden fruit”?

Bruce A. Van Orden, associate professor of Church history, Brigham Young University. Adam and Eve were not guilty of committing sexual sin of any kind in the Garden of Eden. Both before their eyes were open (Moses 4:13) and when they partook of the forbidden fruit, they were already married. In 1835 when the Prophet Joseph Smith began performing marriages, he declared that “marriage was an institution of heaven, instituted in the garden of Eden.” (History of the Church, 2:320; emphasis added.) Elder Joseph Fielding Smith also explained, “The transgression of Adam did not involve sex sin as some falsely believe and teach. Adam and Eve were married by the Lord while they were yet immortal beings in the Garden of Eden and before death entered the world.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954, 1:114–15.)

The most immediate effect of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was becoming mortal, becoming subject to death. Soon, Adam and Eve also suffered spiritual death; they were cast out of the presence of God and out of the Garden of Eden. Perhaps the forbidden fruit contained elements that changed Adam’s and Eve’s bodies from being immortal to mortal. As Latter-day Saints, we believe that Adam and Eve partook of actual fruit. Joseph Fielding Smith also explained, “This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin in the strict sense, for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:115.)