(by Dennis B. Horne)
The below October 1956 general conference address was given by Elder George Q. Morris, a now-little-known or remembered member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He first served as an Assistant to the Twelve, and then at age 80 was ordained an apostle, the oldest man to be so called and sustained in the history of the Church. That talk is followed by a BYU devotional address audio file in which Elder Morris teaches similar doctrine about the creation and destiny of righteous latter-day saints. Elder Morris was not a dynamic speaker, but still taught the truth from the scriptures, sounding much like his Quorum associates in his doctrinal views:
My dear brethren and sisters, I am entirely dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord to direct me, and pray that the same sweet spirit that has prevailed will continue with us to lead me to say that which I should say. I am very thankful to the Lord that this his Church is built on the rock of revelation, so that we are not turned about in all directions by all kinds of opinions and doctrines. But as this is our blessing, we have also an obligation to know the truth, and live the truth, and speak the truth. What a supreme blessing is truth in this distraught world.
At a meeting I recently attended where reference was made to a revelation concerning the origin and nature of man and the creation of the world, a young man came to me-a fine young faithful Latter-day Saint-and said he was so discouraged and depressed by the teachings be was receiving in college that he worried about it, and about how he could pass his examinations because he could not accept these teachings. Of course I could only tell him that he would have to hold to the truth no matter what the situation was. That is an obligation that we do have as a people. Who else has the revelations of God? What other church in the world is based upon these revelations? Having them, we must be true to them.
As the Lord built his Church upon the rock of revelation so that it would endure, I think we ourselves as individuals must stand on this same rock of revelation in our conduct, our thinking, and our lives, that we can endure; otherwise we will fall.
I hope this young man can hold to that principle, and I am concerned for all of our young people as they go into the field of higher education and meet all the ideas that are so prevalent, which are in sharp conflict with the revelations of God that we know to be true. I suppose he had been taught something about the origin of man according to the theory of organic evolution. I presume he might have been told what I remember reading in some man's writings, that we would have to look for our origin in some minute life in the ocean, perhaps, or in some amoeba-like organism- the simplest form of life. That, he said, was man's beginning.
But we know better than that. The Lord says we were in the beginning with him.
Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. (D & C 93:23, 29.)
We know beyond all doubt that we existed with God in the eternities and that we existed with him in the heavens as his sons and daughters.
And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God:—I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. (Moses 6:51.)
Now, no matter what men may think, no matter what their theories may be, we need not be disturbed in the least because we know the truth; I hope our children can be assured by their parents that they need not be disturbed because these revelations are true. Man did not come from the bottom of the ocean, but from heaven, and God is his Father. The Savior said that so beautifully to Mary:
. . . go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17.)
The Son came to the world to redeem it, to reveal unto us our Father, and to give his truth to the world; also demonstrating his origin and his coming into the world to be the same as ours. He said,
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. (Ibid., 16:28.)
This is true of us all.
In the spirit world he was perfect, the Firstborn of the Father. Our Father elevated him to the Godhead. He became the Son and was given power to create man and the earth. As declared in the Book of Mormon, he was “. . . the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth. . . .” (3 Nephi 11:14.)
What was his bodily condition before his birth into the world, while he was the Son in the Godhead, and Jehovah to the Jews, and the God of the whole world? He was a spirit dwelling in a spiritual body of refined matter in the same form as our earthly bodies. The Prophet Joseph Smith has told us that all spirit is matter. He said:
There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes. (D & C 131:7.)
The Lord Jesus Christ then, as a spirit, had a spiritual body of this pure material. When he revealed himself to the brother of Jared, he said,
Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh. (Ether 3:16.)
We were all men and women in heaven, just as we are men and women here. We were not hazy shadows. Though spirits, we had form; we had substance. The Lord said he had created man after the image of his spirit body, which was the same form in which he was to appear on earth.
. . . that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created. (D & C 77:2.)
The prophets said the Savior would come and take upon himself a tabernacle of flesh, and so he came in his spirit body and took from the earth the elements needed to obtain a tabernacle of flesh and blood. We know how he did that. We have done the same thing; and we came here in the same form as did he. As his spiritual body clothed itself in a tabernacle of flesh and blood, so has ours.
As he stood before Pilate to be judged, Pilate said, “Behold the man.” When he calmed the wind and the waves, the people said, “What manner of man is this, that the sea and the wind obey him?” So he was a man, as we are men. He was also Deity, because of his perfection, and because his Father had by divine investiture raised him to that position. While he was in the earth, he was still he who had created the earth, as he was also when he submitted to apostate priests and a pagan Roman governor to be judged and to be crucified.
So what manner of creatures are we? His Father was our Father. The offspring is like the parent. You cannot change that law. In the book of Moses, speaking of the Father, it says:
. . . in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. (Moses 6:57.)
Now these are the truths concerning ourselves. Let us realize who we are and what we are and how we should live. And when we meet these teachings opposed to God's word that come to us and our children, let us know what they are. They are nothing but the opinions of men. Think how fantastic that a man, who is a son of God, should deny God and insist that he came from a low form of life up through the shapes of lower animals to the image of God. How preposterous that is! But our concept is based on the principle that the Apostle Paul laid down. The first verse in the Bible says that the earth was created by God, and the first chapter, that God created man in his own image. All through the scriptures it is proclaimed that man is a son of God.
When men do not believe the truth, what is left for them to believe? Nothing but delusion and fallacy and error! So Paul said:
. . . they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thes. 2:10-11.)
When our children are told about the “missing link” or the “prehistoric man” what can we say? In the light of the revealed word of God, what are we to conclude? The Lord Jesus Christ who created man and the earth has, from the creation, declared that we all originated in heaven. His teachings are that we were perfectly organized beings with spiritual bodies similar in form to our mortal bodies, but of finer material; that we were sons and daughters of God and came to the earth in these spirit bodies patterned after the spirit body of the Lord Jesus Christ; that we each took from the earth a body of flesh and blood to tabernacle our spirit body, as did he; that we were men and women with spirit (material) bodies, in the same form as these we now have, long before this earth was ever formed; that in the eternities past men like us with bodies of flesh and blood have lived in worlds like ours, many of which have passed away, and that others have been created for men like us to inhabit-
And worlds without number have I created, . . .
And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come. . .
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:33, 38, 39.)
This being true, man did not originate here in spirit or body. Man in a body of flesh and blood has lived through the eternities. How foolish to look for the origin of the human body in this world at this late time. The theory that man came into his present form through a process of evolutions is untrue—a mere delusion. This being the case and so declared by the divine Creator of all these worlds, our own included, it must follow that there never was a “missing link” on the earth. There never was a “prehistoric man,” in the sense that he was part man and part something else. No such creature ever existed in this or any other world. He or it exists only in the minds of men who refuse the truth and have a theory of their own that is utterly false—contrary to the revealed word of God. Such an idea could come only after rejecting God's word. That creature which men visualize in their minds because of their false theory, they draw in pictures and they model in clay and say that such a thing once existed upon the earth. There never did exist such a creature in the earth, or out of the earth. God sent man as a perfect being, his offspring in his image, with a material (spiritual) body in the same form as we are now, to be born on the earth, to obtain a tabernacle of flesh and have an earth existence. We are all pre-earth men, but not one a “prehistoric man.” The earth did not originate man. “The Man”—”the Son of Man”—created the earth and all that is in it.
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest. (Ibid., 2:1.)
God help us to live consistent with this great truth. I bear my humble witness that this is true; that this is the living Church of God restored to the earth, based upon revelation, and that revelation is operative now and will continue so; that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Living God, who associated with God and heavenly beings and was taught by them during many years; and I bear witness that the keys of the Holy Priesthood, the power for the salvation of the human family, abides in the President of this Church today, and that no man can bypass this Church and find salvation. No man can bypass Joseph Smith and receive salvation. God honors his servants. I bear this humble witness in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The next year Elder Morris spoke in the same vein, teaching the true doctrine of the creation of man at a BYU devotional, “A Foundation of Revealed Truth,” June 24, 1957; audio file only available:
Also, listen to this other later BYU devotional speech given by Elder Morris: