(by Dennis B. Horne)
Elder McConkie’s son Joseph Fielding McConkie (a now-deceased former religion professor at BYU), wrote this about his father:
Nothing made Bruce McConkie less popular in the academic community than his open objection to the theory of evolution as an answer to the question of man's origin. His 1982 article "Christ and the Creation," published in the Ensign and written at the request of the First Presidency, details some of the major scriptural conflicts between the theory of evolution and the scriptures. The publication of this article was preceded by a powerful speech entitled "The Three Pillars of Eternity," delivered in 1981 at a Brigham Young University devotional. In that address he illustrated the incompatibility of the theory of organic evolution and the doctrine of the Fall.
Handwritten notes among his papers indicate he intended either to speak or to write more forcibly on this matter than he had. "Evolution," one note reads, "is not a science; it is a religion. It is not an objective analysis of what is found in a test tube; it does not involve experiments that all researchers can duplicate. It is, rather, a mass of theoretical postulates by which its devotees seek to explain the origin and destiny of man without reference to revelation."
As a preacher of the gospel, he felt obligated to question the tenets of evolution and did so, knowing he would be labeled a bigot for having done so. He noted that in true science, no offense is taken when someone attacks a tenet, because facts stand on their own. (The Bruce R. McConkie Story: Reflections of a Son, chap. 16)
Joseph McConkie spoke pure truth about how his father would be viewed by various groups. Since the age of the internet, the abuse and criticism heaped upon Elder McConkie by both members and nonmembers alike has only intensified; they do not like his scriptural teachings that refute their scientific theories.
Another son, Mark McConkie, also deceased, wrote this introduction to his father’s doctrinal teachings on this subject, in a compilation he prepared titled Doctrines of the Restoration:
The Three Pillars of Eternity: Creation, Fall, and Atonement
Introduction to Part III
In this section Elder McConkie focuses on three interrelated doctrines—the doctrine of the Creation, the doctrine of the Fall, and the doctrine of the Atonement—each one of which must be properly understood in order to understand the others; indeed, so interdependent and so intertwined are these three doctrines that they become one. Their importance cannot be overstated; Elder McConkie calls them the "three pillars of eternity," the three pillars which uphold and sustain life, and upon which the entire plan of salvation rests. Because of the events here considered, everything that is, or that ever will be, has meaning.
This particular analysis is a helpful contribution to the literature of the Restoration for two overriding reasons. First, Elder McConkie adds a number of insights which have escaped our general notice: that the very reason the Lord spends so much scriptural effort to help us to understand the Creation is to enable us to understand the Atonement; that the length of the creative days has not been revealed; that we have no reason to suppose the creative days were of equal length; that we have been given only as much information on the Creation as our understanding and faith will permit; that in some future day the full account (as contained in the sealed portions of the Book of Mormon) will be given us; that the whole earth was Eden, and that Adam and Eve lived in a garden located "eastward in Eden" (Gen. 2:8); that the expression, "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" is figurative (and he points out its meaning); and that the doctrine of the Creation provides important understandings with regard to the theories of men as to the earth's origin and also with regard to other scriptural occurrences such as Noah's experience with the Flood.
Second, and equally important, Elder McConkie's analysis is scriptural, avoiding the foundations of speculation and guesswork, or the effort to harmonize the scientific and worldly accounts of the Creation with what the Lord has revealed, which so often characterize the writings which deal with the Creation, the Fall, and even the Atonement. For this reason, this section is a myth-breaker, couched in the testimony that the things of God—things such as the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement—are known, understood, and meaningful only to those who come to understand them by the power of the Holy Ghost, a power accessed through the scriptures, not through scientific textbooks and theories, however useful and insightful they are in their own sphere.
In analyzing the Fall and its effects on mankind (chapter 11), Elder McConkie reviews its impacts, points to the differences existing in the pre—and post-Fall earth, and then offers a case study ("Eve and the Fall") in which mother Eve is offered as a pattern through which we understand not only God's purposes with regard to the earth as a whole, but also to us as individuals. As Eve shares with Adam in all his greatness, so do husbands and wives today; his glory is her glory, and his reward hers. In their case, as in that of all mankind, "neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" ( 1 Cor. 11:11 ).
Eve is important not only because of the doctrinal insights we gain from her, and not only because of the eternally important role she played in introducing the Fall and all the blessings that flow therefrom, but also in that she is the perfect role model and example, in her relationship to Adam, for all men and women in their own marital and family ties.
Chapter 12 contains Elder McConkie's last public address, in which he bore a binding witness of the doctrine of Atonement—of the purifying powers of Gethsemane. It is a heaven-inspired overview of the events surrounding the atoning sacrifice. In addition, it provides a doctrinal context for interpreting those events. It is powerful because it is so scriptural, because Elder McConkie's knowledge of the truth of these events was perfect, and because the Spirit of the Lord was so powerfully manifest when it was delivered that few if any remained insensitive to the truths of which he spoke.
Such are fine introductions to his teachings by his sons, who knew their father’s doctrine as well as anyone. Below are samples of Elder McConkie’s teachings about the origin of man.
From Mormon Doctrine (second edition):
Of the several theories, postulated in one age or another to explain (without the aid of revelation) the origin of man and the various forms of life, none has taken such hold or found such widespread acceptance as the relatively modern so-called theory of organic evolution. Stated generally, this theory assumes that over long periods of times, and through a series of changes, all present living organisms or groups of organisms have acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish them. The theory assumes that all present animals and plants have their origin in other pre-existing types, the distinguishable differences being due to modifications in successive generations. One or more common origins for all forms of life are assumed.
From the day of their first announcement, these theories of organic evolution found themselves in conflict with the principles of revealed religion as such are found recorded in the scriptures and expounded by inspired teachers. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 139-151.). . .
Obviously there never will be a conflict between truths revealed in the realm of religion and those discovered by scientific research. Truth is ever in harmony with itself. But if false doctrines creep into revealed religion, these will run counter to the discovered truths of science; and if false scientific theories are postulated, these ultimately will be overthrown by the truths revealed from Him who knows all things.
Sometimes persons having a knowledge of the revealed truths of salvation and of the evolutionistic theories of the day keep these two branches of knowledge divided between separate mental compartments. Their purpose seems to be to avoid resolving the obvious conflicts which otherwise would arise. Truth, however, is truth, and ultimately every believing person must channel his mental processes so that proper choices are made as between the truths of salvation and the theories of men. Perhaps it will be profitable to list a few of the basic, revealed truths concerning the origin and destiny of man and of all life — truths which are not taken into consideration by evolutionists in their theorizing and which, in most instances, are diametrically opposed to the speculative conclusions reached by them.
1. GOD: CREATOR AND RULER OF MANY WORLDS. — While it is true that evolutionists may be divided between theistic and atheistic groups, yet most of those professing belief in God consider him to be an indefinable force, essence, or power of an incomprehensible nature. According to revelation, however, he is a personal Being, a holy and exalted Man, a glorified, resurrected Personage having a tangible body of flesh and bones, an anthropomorphic Entity, the personal Father of the spirits of all men. (D. & C. 130:22-23; Moses 6:51, 57; Abra. 3:22-24; Jos. Smith 2:16-19.)
This Person, in whose image and likeness man is created, has ordained the same plan of creation and salvation for this earth, and all the varieties of life on its face, that he has ordained with reference to the infinite number of worlds elsewhere created by him. (Moses 1; D. & C. 76:22-24.) Obviously the eternal truths concerning the nature of the true God and his creative enterprises have received no consideration in the formulation of the theory of organic evolution.
2. PRE-EXISTENCE. — Life did not originate on this earth; it was transplanted from other and older spheres. Men are the literal spirit children, spirit offspring, of the Eternal Father; they were born to him as his spirit progeny, as spirit entities having bodies made of a more pure and refined substance than that comprising these mortal tabernacles.
Further, every form of life had a spirit existence in that eternal world before it came to dwell naturally upon the face of the earth; and that prior existence, for all forms of life, was one in which the spirit entity had the exact form and likeness of its present temporal body. Animals, plants, fowls, fishes, all forms of life existed as spirit entities in pre-existence; their number, extent, variety, and form were known with exactitude before ever the foundations of this earth were laid. They were all destined to live in their time and season upon this particular globe. (Moses 3:1-9; D. & C. 77:1-2.) There was no chance whatever connected with the creative enterprises. All things were foreknown to that God who fathered man in his own image and who created all other forms of life for the benefit and blessing of man. Evolutionary speculation takes no account of any such revealed knowledge as this.
3. EARTH CREATED IN A PARADISIACAL STATE. — This earth, when first it rolled forth from the Creator's hand, was in a paradisiacal or terrestrial state. This condition, which does not now prevail, will be restored when the earth is "renewed" (made new again) and receives its paradisiacal glory. (Tenth Article of Faith.)
In its primeval, edenic state all of the earth's surface was in one place (Moses 2:9); thorns, thistles, briars and noxious weeds had not yet begun to grow on it; rather, all plant and animal life was desirable, congenial, and designed to provide for man (earth's crowning inhabitant) a fruitful, peaceful garden in which to dwell. It was not a condition attained by progressive, creative evolvement from less propitious situations; it was creation in its glory, beauty, and perfection; hence, the Lord God pronounced it "very good." The fall to present conditions was to come later. (Parley P. Pratt, Voice of Warning, chapter 5.)
Bearing on this general theme that the earth was created in its glory and perfection, in a higher type of existence than it now enjoys, is the revealed fact that, as is the case with man, the earth itself is passing through a plan of salvation. It was created (the equivalent of birth); it fell to its present mortal or telestial state; it was baptized by immersion, when the universal flood swept over its entire surface (Ether 13:2-11); it will be baptized by fire (the equivalent of baptism of the Spirit) in the day when it is renewed and receives its paradisiacal glory; it will die; and finally it will be quickened (or resurrected) and become a celestial sphere. Evolutionary theories take no account of any of this.
4. TEMPORAL CREATION OF MAN AND ALL LIFE. — Adam and Eve and all forms of life, both animal and plant, were created in immortality, that is, when first placed on this earth, all forms of life were in a state of immortality. There was no death in the world; death entered after the fall. All things existed in a state of primeval innocence. If conditions had not changed, death would not have entered the picture. Instead, as the revelations express it, "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." (2 Ne. 2:22.)
The recorded teachings of many of the early brethren of the Church bear this same testimony. Orson Pratt, for instance, has left us such apt expressions as these: "When the Lord made the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, to people the atmospheric heavens, or the watery elements, these fowls and fishes were so constructed in their nature as to be capable of eternal existence. . . . Man, when he was first placed upon this earth, was an immortal being, capable of eternal endurance; his flesh and bones, as well as his spirit, were immortal and eternal in their nature; and it was just so with all the inferior creation — the lion, the leopard, the kid and the cow; it was so with the feathered tribes of creation, as well as those that swim in the vast ocean of waters; all were immortal and eternal in their nature; and the earth itself as a living being, was immortal and eternal in its nature. . . . The earth was so constructed that it was capable of existing as a living being to all eternity, with all the swarms of animals, fowls, and fishes that were first placed upon the face thereof. . . . If there had been no sin, our father Adam would at this day have been in the Garden of Eden, as bright and as blooming, as fresh and as fair, as ever, together with his lovely consort Eve, dwelling in all the beauty of youth." (Man: His Origin and Destiny, pp. 388-396.)
After this temporal creation, this creation of all forms of life in a state of immortality, the Lord God issued the decree that all created life should remain in the sphere in which it was after it was created. Further, having in mind the coming fall and consequent entrance of death and mortality into the world, the Lord in that first primeval day commanded that all forms of life, after mortality entered the picture, should bring forth posterity, each after its own kind. (Moses 2; 3.) These principles accord with the one announced by Paul that "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds." (1 Cor. 15:39.)
If the revelations are true which say that all life was created in immortality, then evolutionary theories which necessarily assume there was always death in the world are false.
5. FALL OF ADAM AND ALL THINGS. — Before the fall there was neither death nor procreation. Plants, animals, and man would have continued living forever unless a change of condition overtook them; and in their then immortal condition they could not have reproduced, each after its own kind. Death and procreation pertain to mortality, that is, to the status and type of existence attained by all forms of life subsequent to the fall.
Lehi said: "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 forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall." (2 Ne. 2:22-26.)
Eve expressed the same truth in this language: "Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient." (Moses 5:11.)
Adam's fall brought temporal (natural) and spiritual death into the world. The temporal or natural death means that body and spirit separate, the spirit going to a world of waiting spirits to await the day of the resurrection, the body returning to the dust, the primal element, from which it was taken. The effects of this fall passed upon all created things. "Adam was appointed Lord of this creation," Orson Pratt says, "a great governor, swaying the scepter of power over the whole earth. When the governor, the person who was placed to reign over this fair creation, had transgressed, all in his dominion had to feel the effects of it, the same as a father or a mother, who transgresses certain laws, frequently transmits the effects thereof to the latest generations." (Man: His Origin and Destiny, p. 395.)
Thus when man fell the earth fell together with all forms of life on its face. Death entered; procreation began; the probationary experiences of mortality had their start. Before this fall there was neither mortality, nor birth, nor death, nor — for that matter — did Adam so much as have blood in his veins (and the same would be true for other forms of life), for blood is an element pertaining only to mortality. (Man: His Origin and Destiny, pp. 362-365; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 76-77.)
Obviously, the whole doctrine of the fall, and all that pertains to it, is diametrically opposed to the evolutionary assumptions relative to the origin of species. . . .
7. ADAM'S PLACE IN PLAN OF SALVATION. — Father Adam was the mightiest and most intelligent spirit son of God, save Jesus (Jehovah) only, among all the pre-existent hosts destined to come to this earth. (D. & C. 78:15-16.) When there was war in heaven following Lucifer's rebellion, Adam led the armies of the righteous in casting out the rebels. (Rev. 12:7-10.) When the populating of the earth was to commence, Adam came to fill his foreordained mission and stand as the first man of all men. He was placed in the Garden of Eden, fell in due course from his state of immortality and innocence, and became the first mortal flesh on earth. (Moses 2; 3.) There were no pre-Adamites. Any assumption to the contrary runs counter to the whole plan and scheme of the Almighty in creating and peopling this earth.
As a mortal man, Adam held the priesthood, had the fulness of the gospel, heard the voice of God and saw his face, received the ministration of angels, held the keys of the kingdom, enjoyed the gifts of the Spirit, was an intelligent and wise as any man (save Jesus only) who has ever lived; and, finally, having filled the full measure of his creation, he has gone on to his exaltation and glory in all things, and he will reign as a prince and ruler over his posterity forever. He and other men of his day enjoyed abundant spiritual endowments and possessed physical bodies superior to those of any men now on earth. Many, including Adam, lived nearly a thousand years on earth. (Moses 6; D. & C. 107:40-52.)
It is vain to belittle Adam and attempt to place him but a step ahead of some lower form of creature. Revelation speaks to the contrary. And, of course, the reasoning that concerns us here is: No Adam, no fall; no fall, no atonement; no atonement, no true religion, no purpose in life. . . .
How weak and puerile the intellectuality which, knowing that the Lord's plan takes all forms of life from a pre-existent spirit state, through mortality, and on to an ultimate resurrected state of immortality, yet finds comfort in the theoretical postulates that mortal life began in the scum of the sea, as it were, and has through eons of time evolved to its present varieties and state! Do those with spiritual insight really think that the infinite Creator of worlds without number would operate in this way?
10. EVOLUTION AND SPIRITUAL THINGS IN GENERAL. — Merely to list the basic doctrines of the gospel is to point out the revealed truths which are inharmonious with the theories of organic evolution and which were to taken into account by those who postulated those theories. In addition to the considerations so far mentioned attention might be given to revelation, visions, and angelic ministrations; to miracles, signs, and gifts of the Spirit; to the enjoyment of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the faithful; to the truths comprising the plan of salvation; to the decreed judgment according to works, and the ultimate assignment of all resurrected men to kingdoms or degrees of glory hereafter.
There is no harmony between the truths of revealed religion and the theories of organic evolution.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:95-96:
Is there a conflict between science and religion? The answer to this basic query depends entirely upon what is meant by and accepted as science and as religion. It is common to say there is no such conflict, meaning between true science and true religion—for one truth never conflicts with another, no matter what fields or categories the truths are put in for purposes of study. But there most certainly is a conflict between science and religion, if by science is meant (for instance) the theoretical guesses and postulates of some organic evolutionists, or if by religion is meant the false creeds and dogmas of the sectarian and pagan worlds. “Oppositions of science falsely so called” were causing people to err “concerning the faith” even in the days of Paul. (1 Tim 6:20-21.)
There is, of course, no conflict between revealed religion as it has been restored in our day and those scientific realities which have been established as ultimate truth. The mental quagmires in which many students struggle result from the acceptance of unproven scientific theories as ultimate facts, which brings the student to the necessity of rejecting conflicting truths of revealed religion. If, for example, a student accepts the untrue theory that death has been present on the earth for scores of thousands or millions of years, he must reject the revealed truth that there was no death either for man or animals or plants or any form of life until some 6000 years ago when Adam fell. As a matter of fact, from the eternal perspective, true science is
part of the gospel itself; in its broadest signification the gospel embraces all truth. When the full blessings of the millennium are poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants, pseudo-science and
pseudo-religion will be swept aside, and all supposed conflicts between science and religion will vanish away.
From The Promised Messiah (page 62):
In a passage of great doctrinal worth and of surpassing literary beauty, Isaiah speaks of the Lord Jehovah, "the Holy One of Israel," who is Christ, as man's "Maker." "I have made the earth, and created man upon it," says he who is the Son of God. "I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded." (Isa. 45:9-12.) And once again we have the creation of man ascribed, seemingly, to the Son of God.
However, from other sacred sources we know that Jehovah-Christ, assisted by "many of the noble and great ones" (Abr. 3:22), of whom Michael is but the illustration, did in fact create the earth and all forms of plant and animal life on the face thereof. But when it came to placing man on earth, there was a change in Creators. That is, the Father himself became personally involved. All things were created by the Son, using the power delegated by the Father, except man. In the spirit and again in the flesh, man was created by the Father. There was no delegation of authority where the crowning creature of creation was concerned.
"I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God," says the great Elohim. "By mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth." (Moses 2:1.) That is, God did all these things by and through his Son. Then of the planned and proposed creation of mortal man, the inspired record says: "And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so." (Moses 2:26.) But when the plan becomes a reality and the proposal an accomplished fact, then the record personalizes the occurrence and centers it in the Supreme Head. "And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them." (Moses 2:27.) That is, God himself, personally, created man, although he continued to honor the Son in that the creature of his creating came forth in the image of both the Father and the Son, as necessarily must have been the case because they were in the image of each other.
Excerpts from an Ensign article, “Christ and the Creation”:
And be it also remembered that the Fall was made possible because an infinite Creator, in the primeval day, made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall. This fall involved a change of status. All things were so created that they could fall or change, and thus was introduced the type and kind of existence needed to put into operation all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation.
This first temporal creation of all things, as we shall see, was paradisiacal in nature. In the primeval and Edenic day all forms of life lived in a higher and different state than now prevails. The coming fall would take them downward and forward and onward. Death and procreation had yet to enter the world. That death would be Adam’s gift to man, and, then, the gift of God would be eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. . . .
Thus, existence came from God; death came by Adam; and immortality and eternal life come through Christ. And thus, in Lehi’s precise and eloquent language, all men are in “a state of probation” because of the Fall. And “if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.” He was then in a state of physical immortality; meaning he would have lived forever because there was as yet no death. “And they [our first parents] would have had no children”; they would have been denied the experiences of a mortal probation and a mortal death; and it is out of these two things—out of death and the tests of mortality—that eternal life comes. But—thanks be to God—“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.” (2 Ne. 2:21–26.) . . .
At this point we must insert a statement from our tenth article of faith: “We believe … that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”[A of F 1:10] That is to say, when the earth was first created it was in a paradisiacal state, an Edenic state, a state in which there was no death. And when the Lord comes again, and the Millennial era is ushered in, the earth will return to its paradisiacal state and be renewed. It will be made new again; it will become a new heaven and a new earth whereon dwelleth righteousness. In that day, “there shall be no sorrow because there is no death” as we know it. (D&C 101:29.)
Thus we learn that the initial creation was paradisiacal; death and mortality had not yet entered the world. There was no mortal flesh upon the earth for any form of life. The Creation was past, but mortality as we know it lay ahead. All things had been created in a state of paradisiacal immortality. It was of this day that Lehi said: “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.” (2 Ne. 2:22.) If there is no death, all things of necessity must continue to live everlastingly and without end.
Continuing the divine commentary about the Creation, we read: “And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.” (Moses 3:7.) How filled with meaning are these words! The physical body of Adam is made from the dust of this earth, the very earth to which the Gods came down to form him. His “spirit” enters his body, as Abraham expresses it. (See Abr. 5:7.) Man becomes a living, immortal soul; body and spirit are joined together. He has been created “spiritually,” as all things were because there is as yet no mortality. Then comes the Fall; Adam falls; mortality and procreation and death commence. Fallen man is mortal; he has mortal flesh; he is “the first flesh upon the earth.” And the effects of his fall pass upon all created things. They fall in that they too become mortal. Death enters the world; mortality reigns; procreation commences; and the Lord’s great and eternal purposes roll onward.
Thus, “all things” were created as spirit entities in heaven; then “all things” were created in a paradisiacal state upon the earth; that is, “spiritually were they created,” for there was as yet no death. They had spiritual bodies made of the elements of the earth as distinguished from the mortal bodies they would receive after the Fall when death would enter the scheme of things. Natural bodies are subject to the natural death; spiritual bodies, being paradisiacal in nature, are not subject to death. Hence the need for a fall and the mortality and death that grows out of it.
Thus, as the interpolative exposition in the divine word explains, “I, the Lord God, planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there I put the man whom I had formed.” (Moses 3:8.) Adam, our father, dwelt in the Garden of Eden. He was the first man of all men in the day of his creation, and he became the first flesh of all flesh through the Fall. Because of the Fall “all things” changed from their spiritual state to a natural state. And thus we read: “And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. For it was spiritual in the day that I created it.” (Moses 3:9; italics added.)
There is no evolving from one species to another in any of this. The account is speaking of “every tree” and of “all things.” Considering them as one collective unit, the account continues: “It remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it, yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good for food.” (Moses 3:9.) . . .
Moses 4 gives the actual account of the Fall. Adam and Eve partake of the forbidden fruit and the earth is cursed and begins to bring forth thorns and thistles; that is, the earth falls to its present natural state. Eve is identified as “the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26); and she and Adam begin to have “sons and daughters” (Moses 5:3).
Thus, man is created in such a way that he can fall. He falls and brings mortality and procreation and death into being so that he can be redeemed by the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he is ransomed from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the Fall of Adam so that he can have immortality and eternal life. The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement are bound together as one.
These revealed verities about the creation of all things run counter to many of the speculations and theoretical postulates of the world. They are, however, what the inspired word sets forth, and we are duty bound to accept them.
…Do I believe in the fall of Adam?
There is no salvation in a system of religion that rejects the doctrine of the Fall or that assumes man is the end product of evolution and so was not subject to a fall.
True believers know that this earth and man and all forms of life were created in an Edenic, or paradisiacal, state in which there was no mortality, no procreation, no death.
In that primeval day Adam and Eve were “in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.” (2 Ne. 2:23.)
But in the providences of the Lord, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Ne. 2:25.)
By his fall, Adam introduced temporal and spiritual death into the world and caused this earth life to become a probationary estate.
Unpublished address, “A Convert Called Peter”:
The more we believe the greater is the desire of our conversion. The two false doctrines that do more to keep some of the Latter-day Saints from perfecting their faith and gaining full conversion are:
First, the theories of organic evolution that postulate that all forms of life evolved from some one-celled ancestor, created as it were out of nothingness, in some primordial swamp. Twisted notions that this is the way God placed life and man on earth are as false as the out and out claims that there is no God, and that all life and creation came by chance.
Second, the theory espoused by some of our intellectuals, who supposing they know more than the Lord, and who, contrary to the scriptures and to the plain, blunt, and unequivocal declarations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, believe that God is a student Deity who is progressing in knowledge and will never come to an understanding of all truth.
Though we have testimonies and believe to a degree. I wonder if some of our views, adopted from the wisdom of the world, are not as much an abomination in his sight as are the creeds he condemned in the First Vision.
In April of 1985, Elder McConkie gave his final General Conference address. The spiritual power that attended this talk has gone down as a hallmark in Conference history. Thousands upon thousands of Latter-day Saints were moved and edified by what they heard and felt. At Elder McConkie’s funeral a few weeks later, most of the Apostles who spoke referenced the power of the testimony he bore on that occasion. His son wrote: “few who were present or within the sound of his voice have forgotten the Spirit and power that attended Elder McConkie’s valedictory address.” Following Elder McConkie’s final remarks, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘Thank you, Brother McConkie, for your eloquent and moving testimony given under difficult circumstances.’” He further said: “When he was called on that Saturday morning, the sixth of April, the Spirit took over, and one of the most powerful talks ever given in the Tabernacle was delivered.” Another commentator, former BYU religious professor Robert L. Millet, has likewise written: “I believe Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s last address, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” delivered at the April 1985 general conference, was the beginning of that blessed trend [becoming more Christ-centered/Atonement-centered as a church]. I am persuaded that it is one of those very few public addresses that literally ‘rocked the Church,’ meaning, it so impacted those who then heard or saw the address, as well as millions who have since heard or read it, that we as a people will never be the same.”
Such is the deep regard many hold for Elder McConkie’s final public teachings and testimony. Yet, if we are to believe the theistic theory of evolution, that God directed the creation of Adam and Eve from the animal kingdom (apes or what-have-you)—Elder McConkie paused in his final message to the Church, cast aside the power of the Holy Spirit accompanying his words, and for a few moments taught this false doctrine—“In Eden we will see all things created in a paradisiacal state—without death, without procreation, without probationary experiences. We will come to know that such a creation, now unknown to man, was the only way to provide for the Fall. We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth. Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world. And because of transgression a probationary estate of trial and testing will begin.”
Once finished teaching this anti-evolution false doctrine to the Church, he then resumed the truthful part of his final testimony and the Holy Spirit returned until the finish.
Obviously such a view of what happened is the most abject and absurd nonsense, but is necessary for latter-day saints evolutionists to theorize in order to propose that God created Adam and Eve by evolutionary processes from lower, animal, forms of life. “Their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory” in the garden of Eden, and their becoming “the first mortal flesh on earth” simply doesn’t square with any theory of any standard brand of evolution, theistic, atheistic, or whatever. Further, nobody sitting on the stand stopped Elder McConkie from teaching and testifying about the garden of Eden and Adam and Eve as he did, even though President Hinckley and senior members of the Twelve sat right behind him as he spoke. Instead of clarifying Elder McConkie’s doctrine, President Hinckley soberly commended his address, as we have noted. And since the day it was given, many other apostles have commended Elder McConkie’s powerful and true address. He died some two weeks or so later.
From Elder McConkie’s last-written book, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith:
Heresy 1: There is no Christian God, no Adam in the sense of his being created as the first man, and no Christ in the sense of Jesus being the Son of God.
Commentary: This is the atheistic, agnostic, worldly view held by hosts of people who assume the creation came by chance and that life developed through evolutionary processes. It prevails among many who worship at the altars of science, and who espouse that godless communism which calls religion the opiate of the people. Such unbelievers pretend to find no need for divine guidance and intervention in the lives of men. . . .
Heresy 3: Organic evolution is the process whereby all life on earth came into being, and man, as now constituted, is the end product of this process.
Commentary: This is the false view of many self-designated scientists. The tendency among them is to present Darwinian theories as established realities. These theories postulate the evolvement of all forms of life from lower orders over astronomically long periods of time. They assume death has always been present and that there never was a fall, and they make no provision for a plan of redemption and a resurrection of all forms of life.
Heresy 4: Evolution is the process God used to create all forms of life except Adam, who came by special creation; or Adam was the end product of an evolutionary system used by the Lord for his own purposes.
Commentary: These false notions, together with whatever variations of them happen to be in vogue at any given time, are simply an attempt, on the part of those whose faith falls short of the divine standard, to harmonize the specious theories of men with the revelations of the Lord. They pledge a superficial allegiance to religious truth and allow for a form of divine worship without forsaking the theories of men. They, of necessity, assume that death has always existed on earth, that it did not have its beginning with the fall of Adam, and that there must be some other explanation for all the revelations which say that the atonement ransoms man from the effects of the fall. When those who espouse this view talk of a fall and an atonement, they falsely assume such applies only to man rather than to the earth and all forms of life, as the scriptures attest.
In the ultimate and final sense of the word, the Father is the Creator of all things. That he used the Son and others to perform many of the creative acts, delegating to them his creative powers, does not make these others creators in their own right, independent of him. He is the source of all creative power, and he simply chooses others to act for him in many of his creative enterprises. But there are two creative events that are his and his alone. First, he is the Father of all spirits, Christ's included; none were fathered or created by anyone else. Second, he is the Creator of the physical body of man. Though Jehovah and Michael and many of the noble and great ones played their assigned roles in the various creative events, yet when it came time to place man on earth, the Lord God himself performed the creative acts. "I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them." (Moses 2:27.)
Elder McConkie spoke and wrote a lot more about evolution and the creation of man than is excerpted and sampled here, but these are some highlights.