1942 — The Signs of the Times

In 1942, when Joseph Fielding Smith's book The Signs of the Times was published, Heber J. Grant was still President of the Church. In this book, Elder Smith explained the doctrine of no death before the fall as follows:

"When I have the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt and John Taylor and others all on my side, I think I have some pretty good company, and I would rather have that company than this uncertain company that has an idea that things began way back millions, no, billions of years ago in the sea and have developed to what they are now. Here's a statement from President Brigham Young.

"Testimony of Brigham Young

" 'Who placed the dark stain of sin upon this fair creation?'

"Now, before I read any more, do you get a thought there, that we had a fair creation before the blot of sin was placed upon it? That was in his mind, was it not?

" 'Who placed the dark stain of sin upon this fair creation? Man. Who but man shall remove the foul blot, and restore all things to their primeval purity and innocence?'

"What did he mean by 'primeval purity'? Did not he have reference to what I have read to you, what the Lord said, that everything was good? Now to continue the quotation:

" '... Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, with prophets, apostles, and saints, ancient and modern, are here to help man in the great work of sanctifying himself and the earth for final glorification in his paradisiacal state. All of this will be accomplished through the laws of the Holy Priesthood. ... How did Adam and Eve sin? Did they come out in direct opposition to God and His government? No! But they transgressed the command of the Lord and through that transgression sin came into the world.

" ' The Lord knew they would do this, and He had designed that they should. Then came the curse upon the fruit, upon the vegetables, and upon our mother earth, and it came upon the creeping things, upon the grain in the field, the fish in the sea, and upon all things pertaining to this earth, through man's transgression.' Discourses 157-8.

"Now, that's President Brigham Young, so do not go off and condemn me for repeating it. I have been condemned for saying that sort of thing, and that's why I am going to fortify myself by letting someone else say it.

"Franklin D. Richards' Testimony

"Now in our little Compendium I read:

" ' The word atonement signifies deliverance through an offering of a ransom from the penalty of a broken law. The sense is expressed in Job 33:34, "Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom." As affected by Jesus Christ, it signifies the deliverance through His death and resurrection, of the earth and everything pertaining to it, from the power which death had obtained over them through the transgression of Adam.'

"These brethren declare that not only Adam but the earth and everything upon it partook of the fall through man's transgression. So said President Brigham Young. So says Franklin D. Richards, who compiled this little book.

"Death Would Not Have Entered

"Now, here again from President Young:

" ' It is very true had not sin entered the world and opposition been introduced death would not have entered. From that time to this death, opposition, selfishness, malice, anger, pride, darkness, and wickedness of every description that could be confronted by the children of men as they have multiplied and spread abroad on the earth have increased.' J. of D. 1:234-5.

"President John Taylor

"I am going to quote from Parley P. Pratt, but I am not going to take it from Parley P. Pratt's writings for this good reason. I am going to quote what Parley P. Pratt said from a little work prepared by President John Taylor called 'The Government of God,' and when he was writing it he said Parley P. Pratt stated this so much better than he could, so he just took what Parley P. Pratt said and put it in the body of his book. So that is a testimony from both of them.

" ' Now, restoration signifies a bringing back, and must refer to something which existed before, for if it did not exist before, it could not be restored. . . '
"Will anybody dispute that? How can you restore something that did not exist before?

" ' Now we can never understand precisely what is meant by restoration, unless we understand what is lost or taken away. For instance, when we offer to restore anything to a man, it is as much as to say he once had it and had lost it and we propose to replace it, or put him in possession of that which he once had; therefore, when a prophet speaks of restoration of all things, he means that all things have undergone a change and are to be again restored to their primitive order even as they first existed.'

"Now that's perfectly clear, is it not?

"Creation as It Was

"First, then, it becomes necessary for us to take a view of creation as it rolled in purity from the hands of the Creator; and if we can discover the true state in which it then existed and understand the changes that have taken place since, then we shall be able to understand what is to be restored; and thus our minds being prepared, we shall be looking for the very things which will come and shall be in no danger of lifting our puny arm in ignorance to oppose the things of God....

"Let me refer you to the Tenth Article of Faith. We have accepted these Articles of Faith as doctrine. 'We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes, that Zion will be built upon this—(the American) continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.'

"Paradisiacal Glory to Be Restored

"Now, how is it going to be renewed if it is not going to be brought back to some condition which one time prevailed? The earth is to be renewed and is to receive its paradisiacal glory. Somebody may be thinking right now that the Prophet had reference to the celestialized earth when he wrote that article, for this earth is going to be celestialized, but that is not what the Prophet had reference to in the Tenth Article of Faith. The earth, to be renewed, is to be restored to something that was, not to something which is yet to come which never was before. This earth never has been glorified as a celestial body. It is going to be restored to the condition which prevailed in the beginning, and it will not receive its resurrection and celestial body until after the millennium."