Mormonism’s teaching of the significance of the Fall is very confusing and even shocking to Christians. Mormons view it as a good thing. “Adam voluntarily, and with full knowledge of the consequences, partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that men might be. … For his service we owe Adam an immeasurable debt of gratitude” (Marion G. Romney, quoted in Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 20).
The key phrase in this quote is “that men might be.” Mormons believe Adam and Eve *could not have children unless they became mortal by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil*. Having children is what the phrase “that men might be” refers to. "In addition to introducing physical and spiritual death, [the Fall] gave us the opportunity to be born on the earth and to learn and progress (True to the Faith, p. 57).
Mormons believe God gave Adam and Eve two conflicting commands: 1) to be fruitful and multiply and 2) not to eat the fruit. He did this in order to test their agency – to see if they would choose the right. Mormons think they conflict because, as stated above, they believe Adam and Eve could not have children unless they ate from the tree.
Mormons further believe Adam and Eve choose correctly by eating the fruit. Only by doing so, they state, could Adam and Eve keep the command to be fruitful and multiply. This is taught especially in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 2:22-25). “If we correctly understand the role of Adam and Eve, we will realize that those who have labeled them sinners responsible for the universal depravity of the human family are misguided. The truth is that Adam and Eve opened the door for us to come into mortality, a step essential to our eternal progress” (Doctrine of the Gospel Manual, p.19).
Biblical Christianity teaches that the Fall was the worst catastrophe in the history of the world. It brought death into the world (Romans 5: 12-19) and resulted in the total corruption of mankind (Romans 3:10-12).