Countercult ministries/Watchman Fellowship/Section 4

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Response to claims in "Basics of Mormonism: Falling Upward"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Watchman Fellowship, a work by author: Timothy Oliver
Claim Evaluation
Watchman Fellowship
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Response to claims in "Basics of Mormonism: Falling Upward" by Watchman Fellowship

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Note: This section is particularly naive in its ignorance of LDS scripture and doctrine. It also completely ignores the fact that the story of Adam and Eve has a symbolic component—Adam and Eve are used as figures or symbols to teach something universal about the nature of mortal life. This is done most fully in the LDS temple ceremony, which we will not discuss in a public forum. Some of these questions are more fully answered when one considers the symbolic import of the literal aspect of the story.

Even considered on a strictly literal level, however, the critics' points are easily answered from basic LDS doctrine.

Response to claim: The authors ask, if "death is the wages of sin," and the fall of Adam and Eve "was not actually sin, then why did it introduce death into the world?"

The author(s) of Watchman Fellowship make(s) the following claim:

The authors ask, if "death is the wages of sin," and the fall of Adam and Eve "was not actually sin, then why did it introduce death into the world?"

Author's sources:
  1. Romans 6:23

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The death referred to in Romans is a spiritual death, not a physical one.

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Question: If "the wages of sin is death" as described in Romans 6:23, and the fall of Adam and Eve was a transgression rather than a sin, then why did it introduce death into the world?

The "death" that is the wages of sin is spiritual death—being outside the presence of God

"Transgression" is sometimes used in LDS discourse to distinguish a degree of moral culpability. In one context, a "transgression" violates God's law, but the guilty party is less fully responsible or aware of the moral implications: "In a general sense and in most instances the terms sin and transgression are synonymous, although the use of the term transgression lays emphasis on the violation of the law or rule involved whereas the term sin points up the willful nature of the disobedience" (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 804).

Adam and Eve and all humanity were redeemed from physical death by the atonement of Christ (2 Nephi 9:12). The "death" that is the wages of sin is spiritual death—being outside the presence of God (Alma 12:16-17).

Adam and Eve were told, however, that eating the fruit would cause them to die—the exact nature of their act is immaterial (see Genesis 2:17) and Adam and Eve understood this much (Genesis 3:2-3). Any disobedience of God's law puts us forever outside his presence—hence the absolute necessity of the atonement of Christ. Without the atonement, even those who are less responsible for their actions would have been lost (Mosiah 3:16). By the grace of Christ, however, they are saved.


Response to claim: How did the transgression of Adam and Eve "introduce sin into the world?" How were mortality and a sinful world the result of a transgression rather than a sin?

The author(s) of Watchman Fellowship make(s) the following claim:

How did the transgression of Adam and Eve "introduce sin into the world?" How were mortality and a sinful world the result of a transgression rather than a sin?

Author's sources:
  1. Romans 5:12

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

It happened that way because God told them that it would.

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Question: How did the transgression of Adam and Eve introduce sin into the world?

It happened that way because God had told them it would

Adam and Eve's actions in the garden made them subject to death and put them out of the presence of God, as He had told them it would (Genesis 2:17). It happened that way because God had told them it would, as the Bible and other LDS scripture bears witness.

When out of the presence of God, the effects of a sinful world were possible for at least three reasons:

  • out of God's presence, it was possible that "sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good" (Moses 6:55).
  • all people "know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves," therefore we became subject to the consequences of others' evil choices (Moses 6:56).
  • Satan was present, and was able to tempt us to do evil (Moses 5:13).


Response to claim: The authors claim that if the transgression of Adam and Eve were "such a blessing," then they would have not felt "guilty and afraid" when God approached them in the Garden of Eden after they committed their transgression?

The author(s) of Watchman Fellowship make(s) the following claim:

The authors claim that if the transgression of Adam and Eve were "such a blessing," then they would have not felt "guilty and afraid" when God approached them in the Garden of Eden after they committed their transgression?

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Partaking of the fruit gave Adam and Eve a knowledge of good and evil, and so their moral awareness made them feel guilty for doing wrong

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Question: If the transgression of Adam and Eve was actually a blessing for them, then why did they feel guilty and afraid when God approached them in the Garden of Eden after they committed their transgression?

Partaking of the fruit gave them knowledge of good and evil, and so their moral awareness made them feel guilty for doing wrong

  • Adam and Eve were guilty and afraid because they knew they had violated a commandment of God, and had been told the consequences of doing so. They had also not been taught the gospel or about the Plan of Salvation, and so did not know that the atonement of Christ could free them from the effects of their acts.
  • Furthermore, partaking of the fruit gave them knowledge of good and evil, and so their moral awareness made them feel guilty for doing wrong.
  • When Adam and Eve learned of the plan of salvation and repented, they did rejoice. Upon learning of Christ,
...the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will. And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. (Moses 5:9-11)


Response to claim: If the transgression of Adam and Eve resulted in physical and spiritual death, then why are we only subject to spiritual death for eternity if we do not repent?

The author(s) of Watchman Fellowship make(s) the following claim:

If the transgression of Adam and Eve resulted in physical and spiritual death, then why are we only subject to spiritual death for eternity if we do not repent? Wouldn't our sins, since we have a knowledge of good and evil and Adam did not, be more serious than his? The authors ask why we "incur a lesser penalty in eternity than Adam's (non)-sin?"

Author's sources:
  1. 2 Nephi 2:5

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

We do not suffer eternal physical death for our sins and neither does Adam, for the same reason—the Atonement of Jesus Christ:
Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. (Moses 6:53-54)

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Question: If the transgression of Adam and Eve resulted in physical and spiritual death, then why are we only subject to spiritual death for eternity if we do not repent?

We do not suffer eternal physical death for our sins and neither does Adam, for the same reason—the Atonement of Jesus Christ

We do not suffer eternal physical death for our sins and neither does Adam, for the same reason—the Atonement of Jesus Christ:

Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. (Moses 6:53-54)


Response to claim: Why were Adam and Eve "not counted transgressors before eating the forbidden fruit, for failing to multiply?" The authors ask why this did not cause the Fall to happen

The author(s) of Watchman Fellowship make(s) the following claim:

Why were Adam and Eve "not counted transgressors before eating the forbidden fruit, for failing to multiply?" The authors ask why this did not cause the Fall to happen.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

This question could be asked with equal cogency of a creedal Christian. In the LDS view, Adam and Eve would not be condemned for something they were unable to do.

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Notes