Joseph Fielding Smith was long noted for the depth of his knowledge of the gospel and the scriptures. He served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for more than 55 years before he was sustained as a counselor in the First Presidency in October 1965 and then as Church President in 1970. In October 1967, he spoke of the blessing for mankind that is known as the Fall of Adam.
When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, he was in the presence of God our Eternal Father. He talked with the Father and the Father with him. But something happened, and it had to happen: Adam partook of certain fruit. My Bible, the King James Version, [speaks in a commentator’s note] of Adam’s Fall [as] “man’s shameful fall.” Well, it wasn’t a shameful fall at all.
Adam came here to bring mortality upon the earth, and that resulted in the shutting out from the presence of the Eternal Father of both Adam and Eve and their posterity. The Son of God comes upon the scene from that time henceforth as our Redeemer. … It is the Savior who stands between mankind and our Heavenly Father. … The Son is the mediator between mankind and the Eternal Father. You seldom hear a prayer that isn’t offered to our Heavenly Father in the name of His Beloved Son, and that’s right. Christ came into this world to represent His Father. He came into this world to teach mankind who His Father is, why we should worship Him, how we should worship Him. He performed the greatest work that was ever performed in this mortal world by the shedding of His blood, which paid a debt that mankind owes to the Eternal Father, and which debt we inherited after the Fall of Adam.
Adam did only what he had to do. He partook of that fruit for one good reason, and that was to open the door to bring you and me and everyone else into this world, for Adam and Eve could have remained in the Garden of Eden; they could have been there to this day, if Eve hadn’t done something.
One of these days, if I ever get to where I can speak to Mother Eve, I want to thank her for tempting Adam to partake of the fruit. He accepted the temptation, with the result that children came into this world. … If she hadn’t had that influence over Adam, and if Adam had done according to the commandment first given to him, they would still be in the Garden of Eden and we would not be here at all. We wouldn’t have come into this world. So the commentators made a great mistake when they put in the Bible … “man’s shameful fall.”
Well, that was what the Lord expected Adam to do, because that opened the door to mortality; and we came here into this mortal world to receive a training in mortality that we could not get anywhere else or in any other way. We came here into this world to partake of all the vicissitudes, to receive the lessons that we receive in mortality from or in a mortal world. And so we become subject to pain, to sickness. We are blessed for keeping the commandments of the Lord with all that He has given us, which, if we will follow and be true and faithful, will bring us back again into the presence of God our Eternal Father, as sons and daughters of God, entitled to the fulness of celestial glory.
That great blessing of celestial glory could never have come to us without a period of time in mortality, and so we came here in this mortal world. We are in school, the mortal school, to gain the experiences, the training, the joys, and the sufferings that we partake of, that we might be educated in all these things and be prepared, if we are faithful and true to the commandments of the Lord, to become sons and daughters of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ; and in His presence to go on to a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever, and perhaps through our faithfulness to have the opportunity of building worlds and peopling them.
Brethren and sisters, let’s thank the Lord, when we pray, for Adam. If it hadn’t been for Adam, I wouldn’t be here; you wouldn’t be here; we would be waiting in the heavens as spirits pleading for somebody … to pass through a certain condition that brought upon us mortality.
We are in the mortal life to get an experience, a training, that we couldn’t get any other way. And in order [for us] to become gods, it is necessary for us to know something about pain, about sickness, and about the other things that we partake of in this school of mortality.
So don’t let us, brethren and sisters, complain about Adam and wish he hadn’t done something that he did. I want to thank him. I am glad to have the privilege of being here and going through mortality, and if I will be true and faithful to the covenants and obligations that are upon me as a member of the Church and in the kingdom of God, I may have the privilege of coming back into the presence of the Eternal Father; and that will come to you as it will to me, sons and daughters of God entitled to the fulness of celestial glory.