According to Mormon teachings, to achieve salvation and exaltation, I must embrace the following chain of doctrinal beliefs. Each link of this chain is connected to form a belief in Mormonism…break one of the chains….and Mormonism falls as a false religion…
I must believe Joseph Smith restored Christ’s true church. For me to believe Joseph Smith restored Christ’s true church, I must believe there was a need for such a restoration. To believe in the need for a restoration, I must believe in the great apostasy. For me to believe in the great apostasy, I must believe a Christ established his church. To believe in a Christ I must believe in the atonement. To believe the atonement, I must believe in the fall of Adam. For me to believe in the fall of Adam I must believe the Adam and Eve story is a literal historical fact, and finally I must believe in the Creation of the earth by a God who was once a man. According to D&C 77, this chain of event happened 6,000 years ago, prior to that there was no death on this earth.
Russell M. Nelson summed up this fundamental linkage of beliefs (October 1996 conference talk entitled “The Atonement”, published in the November 1996 Ensign beginning on page 33) by stating:"The Creation required the Fall. The Fall required the Atonement. The Atonement enabled the purpose of the Creation to be accomplished. Eternal life, made possible by the Atonement, is the supreme purpose of the Creation. To phrase that statement in its negative form, if families were not sealed in holy temples, the whole earth would be utterly wasted.
The purposes of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement all converge on the sacred work done in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The earth was created and the Church was restored to make possible the sealing of wife to husband, children to parents, families to progenitors, worlds without end.This is the great latter-day work of which we are a part. That is why we have missionaries; that is why we have temples—to bring the fullest blessings of the Atonement to faithful children of God."
For the Mormon church to be what it claims to be and to be the conduit to salvation and exaltation the story of Adam and Eve must have literally taken place, and for me to accept the story of Adam and Eve as a literal historic fact I must:
1) Discard and disregard ALL historical, anthropological, archeological, and paleontological discoveries, research and records that describe, reference, or refer to the existence of humans prior to 4,000 BCE. (Adam was the first human.)
2) Discard and disregard ALL biological and paleontological discoveries, research and records that describe, reference, and refer to or imply that life forms died prior to 4,000 BCE. (There was no death prior to the fall of Adam.)
3) Accept as fact that prior to 4,000 BCE the planet Earth resided in the vicinity of a distant celestial body named Kolob and that around that time the planet Earth moved away from Kolob (as a result of the fall of Adam) and settled into its current solar orbit.
I cannot accept or embrace these premises. The story of Adam and Eve, therefore, is just that, a story – another creation myth, a metaphor, a parable. With that said this doctrinal chain fails at its weakest link.
If there was no Adam there was no fall of Adam, and without the fall of Adam there was no need for an atonement. If there was no need for an atonement, there was no need for a Christ. If there was no need for a Christ then there was no need to establish an authoritative church of Christ, and if there was no authorized church of Christ there was no great apostasy. Without such an apostasy there was no need for a restoration. If there was no need for a restoration then Joseph Smith was a fraud.
For me the show is over. Somebody turn out the lights and lock the door. Elvis has left the building.