(by Dennis B. Horne)
1950s Elder Bruce R. McConkie spent much free time going through copies of his
father-in-law’s correspondence that answered doctrinal questions. This work of
selecting and organizing these letters and papers eventually became three
published volumes of President Smith’s gospel teachings, titled Doctrines of
volumes soon became very popular and influential in the Church and many
orthodox gospel scholars readily acknowledge that they read them deeply and owe
much them. These facts are well known to most students of the gospel, at least
of the older generations. What is much less-well known is that in the year 2000
the First Presidency authorized the creation of a book (only one volume)
containing selections from the three volumes of Doctrines of Salvation.
This work was done and the resulting volume was reviewed and approved by Church
Correlation, and then published by the Church in 2001 to be given as a
Christmas present to church employees.
The Brethren kept in the approved Selections book the teachings against evolution, and those about the true origin of man:
revelations attest the truth that Adam was the first man. The Prophet corrected
the genealogy of Christ as given in Luke so that it includes this statement:
"Adam who was formed of God, and the first man upon the earth."
Presidency has given the doctrine of the Church in these words: "It is
held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the
original human was a development from lower orders of the animal creation.
These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that
Adam was 'the first man of all men,' and we are therefore in duty bound to
regard him as the primal parent of the race."
Smith has given us this statement: "Commencing with Adam, who was the
first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as the 'Ancient of Days,' or in other
words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is
said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of
all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to
whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity
unto the end.". . .
END PRODUCT OF EVOLUTION. Adam was placed here, not a wild, half-civilized
savage, but a perfectly-developed man, with wonderful intelligence, for he
helped to create this earth. He was chosen in pre-existence to be the first man
upon the earth and the father of the human race, and he will preside over his
Lord did not choose a being that had just developed from the lower forms of
life, to be a prince, an archangel, to preside over the human race forever!
Adam, as Michael, was one of the greatest intelligences in the spirit world and
he stands next to Jesus Christ. When he came upon the earth, the Lord gave him
a perfect form of government.
CELESTIAL LANGUAGE. The first man placed upon this earth was an intelligent
being, created in the image of God, possessed of wisdom and knowledge, with
power to communicate his thoughts in a language, both oral and written, which
was superior to anything to be found on the earth today. This may sound very
sweeping and dogmatic to those who hold to the other view, but it is not any
more so than their statements to the contrary. Moreover, I do not say it of
myself, but merely repeat what the Lord has said; and surely the Creator, above
all others, ought to know!
BY GOD. The first man was instructed by the best teacher man ever had, for he
was taught of God, and spoke the language of the Most High, in which angels
conversed. This language he taught to his children. It is true that he was left
to work out, through the use of his faculties, many of nature's great secrets;
but the Lord did not leave him helpless, but instructed him, and he was
inspired by the Spirit of the Lord.
REVEALED TO ADAM. The Lord gave him commandments after he was driven out of the
Garden of Eden, revealed to him the plan of salvation, and he taught his
children, and he set up a government. It was a perfect government, for Adam
listened to the counsels of the Almighty, his Father, and our Father. He taught
his children principles of divine truth and endeavored to establish them in the
knowledge and understanding of the things of the kingdom of God. . . .
then, Adam's status before the fall was:
1. He was not subject to death.
2. He was in the presence of God. He saw him just as you see
your fathers; was in his presence, and learned his language. Now if any of you
are professors from our schools of language, and have an idea that language
came as these theorists say, I am going to tell you that Adam had a perfect
language, for he was taught the language of God. That was the first language
upon this earth. So much for those theories.
3. He had no posterity.
4. He was without knowledge of good and evil. He had
knowledge, of course. He could speak. He could converse. There were many things
he could be taught and was taught; but under the conditions in which he was
living at that time it was impossible for him to visualize or understand the
power of good and evil. He did not know what pain was. He did not know what
sorrow was; and a thousand other things that have come to us in this life that
Adam did not know in the Garden of Eden and could not understand and would not
have known had he remained there. That was his status before the fall.
[Included below are quotations from President Smith’s
well-regarded work, The Restoration of All Things]
I have often wondered why these men so learned in worldly
wisdom almost universally reject all that the Lord has revealed regarding this
earth and its destiny, and the destiny of man upon the face of the earth, and
speak with such confidence in relation to their theories which are so greatly
in opposition to all that the Lord has revealed.
Life is not an accident. The earth upon which we dwell is
not an accident nor a by-product in the universe. On special occasions the Lord
has permitted his servants the prophets to see through the veil, and they have
obtained glimpses of the great work and glory of the Almighty. To Moses the
Lord said: "And worlds without number have I created; and I also created
them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only
Begotten." This remark was for the purpose of impressing upon Moses, not
only the vast extent of the universe, but to convey to his mind the purpose for
which these numerous worlds were and are created, for the Lord adds that his
great work and glory is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life
of man." No world, no matter how vast or how small it may be, has been
created as a thing of naught. Nothing has come by chance in this universe;
everything is by design. Moreover, the Lord taught Moses that earths, such as
ours, which are innumerable, have been created as habitations for his sons and
daughters, and Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon bear witness that they heard the
voice of the Almighty saying that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God
in the flesh, and "that by him and through him, and of him, the worlds are
and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters
The great change which shall come when Christ our Savior
begins his Millennial reign, is to be a restoration to the conditions which
prevailed before the fall of man. The tenth article of faith of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches us that Christ will reign personally
upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed, or restored, and receive
its paradisiacal glory when that day comes.
This new heaven and earth which will come into existence
when our Lord comes to reign, is this same earth with its heavens renewed or
restored to its primitive condition and beauty. Everything is to be brought
back as nearly as it is possible to its position as it was in the beginning.
The mountains, we are informed, are to be thrown down, the valleys are to be
exalted, and "the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was