FairMormon is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of the doctrine, practice, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormonism and science/Death before the Fall/Statements
Statements by Church leaders and publications regarding no death before the Fall of Adam
Before the Fall, there were no sin, no death, and no children. With the eating of the “forbidden fruit,” Adam and Eve became mortal, sin entered, and death became a part of life. Adam became the “first flesh” upon the earth (Moses 3:7), meaning that he and Eve were the first to become mortal. After Adam fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal. Adam’s Fall brought both physical and spiritual death into the world upon all mankind (Hel. 14:16–17). off-site
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff
We acknowledge that through Adam all have died, that death through the fall must pass upon the whole human family, also upon the beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and all the works of God, as far as this earth is concerned. It is a law that is unchangeable and irrevocable. … The Savior himself tasted of death; He died to redeem the world; His body was laid in the tomb, but it did not see corruption; and after three days it arose from the grave and put on immortality. He was the first fruit of the resurrection. off-site
Harold B. Lee
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee
… Besides the Fall having had to do with Adam and Eve, causing a change to come over them, that change affected all human nature, all of the natural creations, all of the creation of animals, plants—all kinds of life were changed. The earth itself became subject to death. … How it took place no one can explain, and anyone who would attempt to make an explanation would be going far beyond anything the Lord has told us. But a change was wrought over the whole face of the creation, which up to that time had not been subject to death. From that time henceforth all in nature was in a state of gradual dissolution until mortal death was to come, after which there would be required a restoration in a resurrected state. … off-site
Joseph Fielding Smith
In Conference Report, April 1967, 122
When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they did not have to die. They could have been there to this day. They could have continued on for countless ages. There was no death then. But it would have been a terrific calamity if they had refrained from taking the fruit of that tree, for they would have stayed in the Garden of Eden and we would not be here; nobody would be here except Adam and Eve. So Adam and Eve partook.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith
It was appointed there that Adam our father should come to this earth and stand at the head of the whole human family. It was a part of this great plan, that he should partake of the forbidden fruit and fall, thus bringing suffering and death into the world, even for the ultimate good of his children. off-site
Guide to the Scriptures
The process by which mankind became mortal on this earth. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they became mortal, that is, subject to sin and death. Adam became the “first flesh” upon the earth (Moses 3:7). off-site