Matt Slick and the Fall of Adam

I imagine the majority of people who search for information on the church go to Google and type in “Mormons” or “Mormonism.” A Google Search on “Mormonism” today brings up the Wikipedia entry before it brings up the official website of the Church. The Church has a paid entry under “Mormons” so a search there brings up our site first and it is highlighted.

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

On that same first page of Google searches for “Mormons” or “Mormonism” you will find the site for CARM – The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. If you haven’t heard or read about Matt Slick before, then you aren’t a regular visitor to Christian Apologetics websites. Although many have done so, I’m not sure if I would characterize the site as particularly Anti-Mormon.

While Mr. Slick is clear that he opposes Mormonism, he does not seem to be rabid or vitriolic in his writings. As he says, “I can’t speak for all who oppose Mormonism, but I have no grudge against it at all. I was never a Mormon and no Mormon injured me in the past. They are nice people. The problem isn’t with them. It is with what they teach. It simply isn’t Christian.”

In other words, his material seems palatable to the intellect, does not seem to be written for shock value or to offend and may be worth considering. Let’s face it, the man has gone to a lot of trouble and effort in his writings on Mormonism. The focus of his site is not particularly the LDS Church, but it does comprise a large portion of the activity there. Mr Slick is based in Idaho.

The challenge from Mr. Slick

On his page, “Are you a Mormon?” Mr. Slick offers a rambling explanation to members of the Church as to why he feels we are wrong. He suggests that we hold Joseph Smith in higher esteem than we hold the Savior, and that our understanding of the role of the Redeemer is flawed. He quotes the eighth article of faith and announces that it is the source of our problem, that we have allowed non-biblical teachings to creep into our church.

Obviously, Mr. Slick has missed the main focus of our message, that we believe in a “Restored Christianity.” This is such an age-old complaint from mainstream Christian religionists that I am surprised he uses this argument here. If he wants to hold an intelligent dialog with Mormons, he needs to focus on the concept of modern revelation. Instead he closes with this observation:

“It is interesting to note that in Mormon theology it was a blessing for Adam to have transgressed God’s word so that his eyes could be opened. Both Adam and Eve specifically pointed to their transgression as a blessing. But the Mormon will say that it was the transgression that allowed the seed to come, the knowledge of good and evil, and the truth of redemption. My point is simple, the fall, the sin of rebellion is celebrated in Mormonism. I thought only the ungodly celebrate sin.”

Why the fall was a good thing

This is the fourth time in the past week that I have had the opportunity to refer to 2 Nephi chapter 2 starting with a wonderful essay from my fellow LDS blogger, S. Faux on Mormon Insights. I have used it in a previous blog post, in a home teaching visit and in Bishopric meeting this morning. Mr. Faux is correct. With the focus on agency, the fall and redemption, 2 Nephi chapter 2 is indeed the core of the Book of Mormon.

I am constantly amazed when I have discussions with my Christian friends about the fall of Adam that they view it is as a bad thing. Don’t they get it? If it weren’t for the fall, we would not be here! I guess having grown up with doctrines like this found in the Book of Mormon, I have been so blessed to understand this basic doctrine as found in verses 22 and 23.

22 And now, behold, 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.
23 And they would have had no achildren; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no bjoy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no csin.
Summary and conclusion

I’m not trying to call Mr. Slick out on this one. I’m just trying to point out that yes, we do indeed celebrate the fall of Adam as being a major part of the theology of salvation. Were it not for the fall, there would be no need for redemption. How can he imply that it was not necessary and not the central focus to accomplishing the purposes of God? I am so grateful for the fall of Adam.

Mr. Slick obviously does not understand the doctrines of salvation. Perhaps a reading of Bruce R. McConkie’s talk on The Three Pillars of Eternity would be helpful. Even better, if he can handle it, is Elder McConkie’s last talk, The Purifying Power of Gethsemane, in which he ties together the fall, the atonement and the resurrection. If there were no fall, we would not be here.

We have so much more to offer you, Mr. Slick. Your website is impressive. You have gathered a lot of material and written a lot of essays about our faith. But you have missed the central theme of Mormonism – a more complete understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the plan of Salvation. This all came about because a boy went into the woods to pray after reading the Bible.