Adam did not commit sin in eating the fruit for God had decreed that he should eat and fall. . . . That he should die was the saying of the Lord, therefore the Lord appointed us to fall and also redeemed us. . . . (Joseph Smith).
Just why the Lord would say to Adam that he forbade him to partake of the fruit of that tree is not made clear in the Bible account, but in the original as it comes to us in the book of Moses it is made definitely clear. It is that the Lord said to Adam that if he wished to remain as he was in the garden, then he was not to eat the fruit, but if he desired to eat it and partake of death he was at liberty to do so. So really it was not in the true sense a transgression of a divine commandment. Adam made the wise decision, in fact the only decision that he could make.
It was the divine plan from the very beginning that man should be placed on the earth and be subject to mortal conditions and pass through a probationary state as explained in the Book of Mormon where he and his posterity would be subject to all mortal conditions. – Joseph Fielding Smith, “Was the Fall of Adam Necessary?” Improvement Era, Apr. 1962, p. 231
I’m very, very grateful that in the Book of Mormon, and I think elsewhere in our scriptures, the fall of Adam has not been called a sin. It wasn’t a sin. . . . It wasn’t a shameful fall. What did Adam do? The very thing the Lord wanted him to do, and I hate to hear anybody call it a sin, for it wasn’t a sin. Did Adam sin when he partook of the forbidden fruit? I say to you, no, he did not!
. . . Now this is the way I interpret that. [Moses 3:16-17] The Lord said to Adam, here is the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it you will die. – Joseph Fielding Smith, “Fall – Atonement – Resurrection – Sacrament,” address given at Salt Lake Institute of Religion Fireside, Jan. 14, 1961.
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. And when I kneel in prayer, I feel to thank Mother Eve, for 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. . . . – Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, Oct 1967, pp. 121-122
It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Nephi 2:25).
Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall — Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, Nov. 1993, p. 73.
Adam and Eve could have avoided all [the wickedness of the world] if they stayed in the garden, but in pursuit of eternal progress they chose to leave for two reasons: family and knowledge. They would not have had children and they could not have become like the gods, knowing good from evil. And against all of those other very attractive and very accommodating and very pleasant reasons to stay in the garden, they left to have a family and gain knowledge and pass that knowledge on to their family. – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “That Our Children May Know…,” Speeches, Aug. 25, 1981, p. 157
When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Arch-angel, the Ancient of Days. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:150
The Father frequently came to visit his son Adam, and talked and walked with him; and the children of Adam were more or less acquainted with him, and the things that pertain to God and to heaven were as familiar among mankind in the first ages of their existence on the earth as these mountains are to our mountain boys. – Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 104
And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him; I have set thee to be at the head – a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 10:355
We all belong to the races which have sprung from Father Adam and Mother Eve; and every son and daughter of that God we serve, who organized this earth and millions of others, and who holds them in existence by law. – Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 105
The Devil had truth in his mouth as well as lies when he came to Mother Eve. Said he, “If you will eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will see as God sees.” That was just as true as anything that ever was spoken on the face of the earth. She did eat, her eyes were opened, and she saw good and evil. – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:70
Some may regret that our first parents sinned. This is nonsense. If we had been there, and they had not sinned, we should have sinned. I will not blame Adam or Eve. Why? Because it was necessary that sin should enter the world. – Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 103
God’s plan in relation to man was that he should fall, and having fallen and obtained a knowledge of good and evil, (which knowledge he could not have obtained without placing himself in that position), then it became necessary that he should know concerning the atonement and redemption which should be brought about through the mediation of Jesus Christ. – Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p. 51