The Garden of Eden holds a place of significance in Mormon belief about God’s plan of salvation for his children.

Plan of Salvation

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church, believe all human beings are children of God who once lived in heaven with Him prior to the creation of the earth. Because He is a loving Heavenly Father, He organized a plan for the growth and eternal salvation of His children. The Family: A Proclamation to the World, issued by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ, summarizes God’s plan:

“In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.”1

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden MormonAdam and Eve, the first of God’s children to be sent to earth, were placed in the paradisaical Garden of Eden, where they lived in the presence of God in a state of innocence and immortality. Adam and Eve were commanded to care for the Garden and were told they could eat any fruit of any tree except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because they would lose their innocence and be subject to death if they ate it. The serpent—Lucifer or Satan—hoped to destroy God’s plan by tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Latter-day Saints believe that Eve remembered God’s commandment to have a family. They believe Latter-day revelation that Eve’s name, given to her by Adam, meant the “mother of all living,” which signifies that Adam also remembered God’s commandment to procreate.2

After Adam and Eve ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden them to eat (see Genesis 2:17), they were removed from the Garden, their state of innocence ended, and they were prohibited from re-entering  (see Genesis 3:24). Members of the Church of Jesus Christ believe a passage of scripture in the Book of Mormon summarizes the blessings and necessity of the fall of Adam and his removal from the idyllic Garden:

If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin (2 Nephi 2:22–23).

Latter-day Saints believe Adam and Eve’s choice to eat the forbidden fruit furthered God’s plan for his children to progress, even though it meant they would temporarily leave the presence of God.

Leaving the Garden also meant that Adam and Eve could have a family, which was also part of God’s plan. (See Genesis 1:28.) Latter-day revelation indicates that Adam and Eve knew they were blessed after leaving the Garden:

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 5:10–11).

The fall of Adam also made the atonement of Jesus Christ necessary, which was also part of God’s plan. (See 2 Nephi 2:26.)

Premortal, Mortal, Post-Mortal State of the Garden of Eden

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ believe that the Garden of Eden was part of God’s plan that he presented to his children in their pre-mortal life. They believe that the Garden was located on the North American Continent, where the City of Zion, also known as the New Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.4

Resources:

1. The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
2. See Moses 4:26 in the Pearl of Great Price, part of the canon of scripture in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
3. See Doctrine and Covenants 84:2–5; Journal of Discourses, 10:235.
4. See Articles of Faith 1:10

This article was written by Paula Hicken, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Portrait photo of Paula Hicken.Paula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism

About paulah
Paula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

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