Since the election of 2012 people have become more aware of some of the Mormon beliefs that set Latter Day Saints apart from mainstream Christians. If you google “Weird Mormon Beliefs” a plethora of sites pop up. I have read most of them, and they all list the same “weird” things. To name just a few, see below.
What I find interesting is that most of the lists of “Strange Mormon Beliefs” exclude one of the most distinguishing features of the Mormon faith: their celebration of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. That’s right, celebration! This is truly a unique Mormon idea, and certainly more intriguing than Jesus preaching in the Americas or “protective underwear.” Why? Because Christians around the world find no redeeming value in Adam and Eve’s disobedient act of eating from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” – it’s all bad to Christians! The official catechism of the Catholic church enumerates the “tragic consequences” in no uncertain terms (and Protestants are in general agreement). Here are a few taken from the Vatican website:
“After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin.”
“. . .the harmony in which [Adam and Eve] found themselves. . . is now destroyed.”
“. . .visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.”
“. . . the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.”
Now lets compare the above statements of the Catholic Church to the actual words in the Book of Mormon that speak to this issue. The below passage comes from the Second Book of Nephi, chapter 2. As you will see, there is a huge difference between the Mormon perspective and the traditional Christian perspective . Huge!
For me personally, the Mormon idea of celebrating Adam’s fall from grace holds my attention. I’m drawn to it’s allegorical message (I do not read the story literally). It says that without the knowledge of good and evil we cannot know the goodness of joy and happiness. It makes ontological sense. I get it – without pain we cannot know joy. But here is the million dollar question for those who read the story literally: Why would God – assuming he is good and cares about us – not want us to have knowledge of goodness? The idea of God wanting us naive and ignorant about what is good and what is evil suggests that God wanted us trapped forever in a childhood nursery, never knowing right from wrong, and stumbling around in the dark as diaperless toddlers. If that was God’s intention, then yes – rhetorically speaking – thank you Adam and Eve. Thank you! Because we all know what happens to people who have no knowledge of good and evil; they eventually grow up and become a danger to themselves and others, and often end up in padded cells with finger paints. Your thoughts? Are Mormons way off base with this idea? Do all humans need to first feast on the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to experience joy?