The Second Article of Faith

July 25, 2011

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

In line with divine justice, all men and women must be held accountable for their personal actions, and not the actions of other individuals, including Adam. That isn’t to say we are not affected by the actions of others. People are indeed blessed or made to suffer, to certain degrees, by the actions of others. Our standing before God, however, is independent of outside forces and is based on what we have done with our circumstances. The spirit of God withdraws when we turn away from Him and our access to the atonement is cut off. Without the atonement, we cannot progress toward God. That is a natural consequence of our actions, and such consequences were ones that God wished for us to avoid.

See also:

The Fall of Adam and Eve

The Original Sin

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5 Responses to “The Second Article of Faith”

  1. Cindy

    You said, “Our standing before God, however, is independent of outside forces and is based on what we have done with our circumstances.” So are yo saying that our standing before God, or the place of our ultimate eternity (telestial, terrestrial or celestial) is based on our response to the circumstances created by our sinfulness?  I’m not sure I understand…

  2. Bus Gillespie

    The Articles of Faith which Joseph Smith wrote were an attempt to show how the LDS church differed from many of the accepted beliefs of the day.  The second is a classic example in saying that Mormons do not accept the concept of the original sin doctrine accepted by the Catholics, Episcopalian, and several others.  The statement also excludes the need for infant baptism.

  3. cindy

    So we can only experience the Holy Spirit when we are free of sin?  Our only hope of a happy judgment  before God is if we overcome sin? Do you believe these church teachings as well?
    “Salvation comes by obedience to the whole law of the whole gospel.
    Joseph Smith said: ‘Any person who is exalted to the highest
    mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.’ Thus, a man may be damned for a single sin”
    “We also have to forsake the sin and never to repeat it not even in our minds. …In order to remain forgiven we must never commit the sin again”

  4. Jodie


    We learn from Helaman 4:24 that “…the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples”.  However, the extent from which the influence of the Holy Ghost leaves us is harder to quantify.  I’ve noticed in my own life that I feel worse when I do something wrong and know better than when I make an honest mistake like by simply forgetting.

    As for your other two questions, the short answer is yes we believe those teachings.  However, one of the beauties of the atonement is the opportunity for God to offer mercy to us based on our knowledge and conscientious efforts to repent.  2nd Nephi 9:25-27 says,

    25 “Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.

     26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delievered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.

     27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!”

    I know that God loves us and that He wants to help us achieve ultimate happiness by developing our characters to become like Him.  Perfection of our characters may not come in this life, but the commandments give us direction on what we should do.

  5. cindy

    Hi Jodie,
    So if the requirement is that we keep the commandments in order to avoid condemnation, how many commandments must we keep?