(by Dennis B. Horne)
George F. Richards, father of Elder LeGrand Richards and a past Apostle and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote some essays in his diary (two are shared below). These are being published as part of his entire diaries by the Church Historian’s Press, a project that I eagerly applaud. For our purposes, these essays contain his views and thoughts on subjects relating to the origin of man. The writing is not the greatest so I did some very slight editing to make a few passages easier to understand. I also included his notes from a lecture he attended given by Elder B. H. Roberts:
My First Essay
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” Should read, “formed or organized.” God did not create the heaven and the earth out of nothing as many suppose; but the Gods formed, or organized them out of elements which, though they could not with the naked eye be seen, did exist. Always did and always will exist because they are eternal. We have Joseph Smith and the ancient Apostle Paul for authority upon this subject.
Every object which has ever come under our observation, is composed of some of those elements of which the heaven and earth are made; hence it is eternal and indestructible. Its form may be changed but it can not be destroyed. For instance, You may set fire to a dry log, and you see it burnt up only a handful of ashes remaining so far as you are able to see. You say the log is destroyed, but the fact is that every particle of it still exists, though its form is changed and passed from out your sight. Heat, carbon and other elements contained in the dry log, are necessary for the growth of vegetation and pass of to supply the demand for them. It matters not what means are devised to change the form of an object the same elements are emitted. For instance, “If the dry log were to lie on the ground until it decays and nothing but the handful of refuse remains to be seen, there will have been just as much heat emitted there from as in the first instance where the log is burned within a few hours time.
From the above examples it is readily seen that the same elements existing in one body may be incorporated into another body organization.
Every movement of the muscles and even the winking of the eye breaks down the particles of which our bodies are composed; These wasted particles are continually passing off through the pores of the skin and by means of our respiration; and are replaced by new matter taken from our food and the air and distributed to all parts of the body by means of the blood. Thus we see that our bodies are constantly being torn down and rebuilt with new matter, so that Physiologists reckon or estimate that the whole body is made new once in about seven years. If all the matter used in the body of a human being during his life time were to be restored what a monster man he would be. His weight would be tons. His hair would be yards in length and Nails on toes & hands correspondingly long. Infidels use this reasoning to disprove the scriptural saying that not one hair shall fall from the head unnoticed but All will be restored. Just so much of the matter used in our bodies during our life time as shall be required to make a comely & perfect body, will be restored. It is reasonable to believe that the surplus matter will go to make up the vegetation and animals necessary to make up the perfect creation. When we depart this life, our bodies decompose i.e. the elements are separated so that it matters not what becomes of the body after death. When the time comes for the re-uniting of the spirit and the body, the elements to compose the body will be brought together on the same principle as that by which Jesus turned the water into wine and fed the multitude upon three loaves and five fishes. It did not take time but was done by the twinkling of an eye. Unlike our method of making bread. We first have to have the seed wheat, prepare the soil, plant, cultivate, harvest, thresh, grind the wheat into flour and from the flour, yeast &c manufacture the bread. Jesus had control of the elements by the power of faith, the same faith as that by which the world was formed or organized. Paul—“By faith the world was made so that that which is was not made of that which doth appear.[”] When we obtain that faith we will no longer till the ground but if it be necessary for us to eat or if it be not necessary but a luxury to eat we can call together those elements necessary to produce the food our appetites crave.
There are two kinds of spirits (Jos. Smith) Tabernacled and non-tabernacled. Both kinds existed before this world was formed. God was at that time an embodied or tabernacled Spirit. We were non-tabernacled spirits. Tabernacled spirits have power over non-tabernacled spirits except when they revolt against that which comes from God, so says Jos. Smith Compendium. The Bible tells us God is a spirit and the denominations of the earth place great stress upon it but the fact is that he is a Tabernacled spirit as we are only that he is immortalized and has flesh, bone and spirit not blood as we have. We expect by passing through the same ordeals as he did to become as he is. We were not born upon the earth because there was an earth not peopled but the earth was made for us to dwell upon and as soon as it was made ready the emigration commenced from that world to this and soon after the migration from this world to the other commenced and the process has ever since continued. Before we came here we understood the plan and doubtless sang together when the corner stones of the earth, so to speak, were laid. We anticipated coming upon this earth as a mission to perform certain work necessary to be done before we could arrive at the stage or blessed condition of our God. He in his state could enjoy blessings, associations, relationships that we in our spiritual condition could not enjoy.
To attain to the glorious state that our father had attained was our aim and object. A mark set high but by so many of us lost track of in this life. In order to attain to that state of immortality we had to pass through a life like this where we could prove ourselves and the society we would choose. We are given our free agency to act as we wish and hence show what we are good bad or indifferent. We get our bodies here which by passing through death become immortalized fit to live forever. We form relations here to last for eternity and lay the foundation of our own kingdoms here-after by our posterity. We often lose sight of this most important part of our mission here and only form relationships for time thus failing in this part of our mission. We should not forget the object we had in view of coming into this life. We do not do as well as we know and are too slow in carrying out our good intentions.
He that does his duty no matter how humble is the one that has the approval of the Lord. It is not position that will save us but our daily works, not our intentions, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” The roads to apostacy: Neglect of duty, faultfinding and anything that drives from us the Spirit of the Lord.
The perfection of God & his Plan for the salvation of the Human family.
Attended a lecture given by B. H. Roberts, Subject
When we die, the spirit leaves the body. It existed before the body, It existed in the body and will exist after the body. It has parts and has a certain stature and when it enters a body that body grows till it becomes of the stature of the spirit; but the parts of which this stature or spirit rather is made is of a finer nature than that of the body See New Compendium Gems from Jos. Smith.
3 also says that we were in the spirit world when Jesus was appointed as our Savior and we sanctioned it.
When Jesus asked Job where he was when the worlds were created The reply shows that we existed before we took bodies See Job
Tracing back genealogies we find that Adam was the son of God and we being the sons of Adam must be the Sons of God.
Jesus Created worlds See Heb 2nd
God is continually creating worlds.
The Stars which we see many of them are suns, the centers of Solar Systems.
The Lord Showed Abraham that certain spirits were reserved for certain purposes and as this is the last and greatest dispensation why not some of the more noble spirits be reserved to come forth in this dispensation?
Let us work for there is no excellency without.
Seek for the Holy Ghost and that will expand the mind and bring to our knowledge hidden things, bring to our recollections things that you have forgotten.