(by Dennis B. Horne)
President Joseph Fielding Smith, (President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles and Counselor in the First Presidency), General Conference talk, October 1967:
My dear brethren and sisters, I made a few notes and thought I would present them here on this occasion, but I have changed my mind after what we have heard, and I hope the Lord will help me.
The singing of the choir has called my attention to the fact that there is a divine Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. 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, says in the margin, speaking of Adam's fall, "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, as we have just heard in the song this choir has sung. It is the Savior who stands between mankind and our Heavenly Father. We don't pray to God, except through the Son. 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. 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. So the commentators made a great mistake when they put in the Bible at the top of page 3, as I think it is (it may not be the same page in every Bible), the statement "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 fullness 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 fullness 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 do what the scriptures [footnote] say—a "shameful thing," which it wasn't—or 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 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 fullness of celestial glory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.