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Title: Joseph Smith as Scientist - A Contribution to Mormon Philosophy
Author: Widtsoe, John Andreas, 1872-1952
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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John A. Widtsoe, A. M., Ph. D.


by John A. Widtsoe.


In the life of every person, who receives a higher education, in or
out of schools, there is a time when there seems to be opposition
between science and religion; between man-made and God-made knowledge.
The struggle for reconciliation between the contending forces is not
an easy one. It cuts deep into the soul and usually leaves scars that
ache while life endures. There are thousands of young people in the
Church to-day, and hundreds of thousands throughout the world, who are
struggling to set themselves right with the God above and the world
about them. It is for these young people, primarily, that the
following chapters have been written.

This volume is based on the conviction that there is no real
difference between science and religion. The great, fundamental laws
of the Universe are foundation stones in religion as well as in
science. The principle that matter is indestructible belongs as much
to theology as to geology. The theology which rests upon the few basic
laws of nature is unshakable; and the great theology of the future
will be such a one.

"Mormonism" teaches and has taught from the beginning that all
knowledge must be included in the true theology. Because of its
comprehensive philosophy, "Mormonism" will survive all religious
disturbances and become the system of religious faith which all men
may accept without yielding the least part of the knowledge of nature
as discovered in the laboratories or in the fields. The splendid
conceptions of "Mormonism" concerning man and nature, and man's place
in nature are among the strongest testimonies of the divine nature of
the work founded by Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

This little volume does not pretend to be a complete treatment of
"Mormon" philosophy; it is only a small contribution to the subject.
There is room for elaboration and extension in this field for many
generations to come. The attempt has been made to sketch, briefly, the
relation of "Mormonism" to some features of modern scientific
philosophy, and to show that not only do "Mormonism" and science
harmonize; but that "Mormonism" is abreast of the most modern of the
established views of science, and that it has held them many years--in
some cases before science adopted them. The only excuse for the scant
treatment of such an important subject is that it is as extensive as
the duties of a busy life would allow. In the future, the subject may
be given a fuller treatment.

Some readers may urge that "the testimony of the Spirit," which has
been the final refuge of so many Christians, has received little
consideration in the following chapters. This is due to the avowed
purpose of the work to harmonize science and religion, on the basis of
accepted science. "Mormonism" is deeply and rationally spiritual; the
discussion in this volume is confined to one phase of Gospel

The majority of the following chapters were originally published in
the _Improvement Era_ for 1903-1904 as a series of articles bearing
the main title of this book. These articles are here republished with
occasonal changes and additions. The new chapters have been cast into
the same form as the original articles. The publication as independent
articles will explain the apparent lack of connection between the
chapters in this book. The statements of scientific facts have been
compared very carefully with standard authorities. However, in
popularizing science there is always the danger that the
simplification may suggest ideas that are not wholly accurate. Those
who have tried this kind of work will understand and pardon such
errors as may appear. However, corrections are invited.

My thanks are due and cheerfully given the management of the
_Improvement Era_ for the help and encouragement given. I am under
especial obligations to Elder Edward H. Anderson, the associate editor
of the _Era_, to whose efforts it is largely due that this volume has
seen the light of day. I desire to render my thanks also to the
committee appointed by the First Presidency to read the manuscript,
Elders George Albert Smith, Edward H. Anderson and Joseph F. Smith,

This volume has been written in behalf of "Mormonism." May God speed
the truth!



  Chapter I. Joseph's Mission and Language


  Chapter II. The Indestructibility of Matter
  Chapter III. The Indestructibility of Energy
  Chapter IV. The Universal Ether
  Chapter V. The Reign of Law


  Chapter VI. The New Astronomy
  Chapter VII. Geological Time
  Chapter VIII. Organized Intelligence


  Chapter VIV. Faith
  Chapter X. Repentance
  Chapter XI. Baptism
  Chapter XII. The Gift of the Holy Ghost
  Chapter XIII. The Word of Wisdom


  Chapter XIV. The Law of Evolution
  Chapter XV. The Plan of Salvation


  Chapter XVI. The Sixth Sense


  Chapter XVII. The Nature of God


  Chapter XVIII. Joseph Smith's Education
  Chapter XVIV. A Summary Restatement
  Chapter XX. Concluding Thoughts


  Chapter XXI. The Testimony of the Soil


Chapter I.


[Sidenote: Scientific discussions not to be expected in the Prophet's

The mission of Joseph Smith was of a spiritual nature; and therefore,
it is not to be expected that the discussion of scientific matters
will be found in the Prophet's writings. The revelations given to the
Prophet deal almost exclusively with the elucidation of so-called
religious doctrines, and with such difficulties as arose from time to
time in the organization of the Church. It is only, as it appears to
us, in an incidental way that other matters, not strictly of a
religious nature, are mentioned in the revelations. However, the
Church teaches that all human knowledge and all the laws of nature are
part of its religious system; but that some principles are of more
importance than others in man's progress to eternal salvation.[A]
While on the one hand, therefore, it cannot reasonably be expected
that Joseph Smith should deal in his writings with any subject
peculiar to natural science, yet, on the other hand, it should not
surprise any student to find that the Prophet at times considered
matters that do not come under the ordinary definition of religion,
especially if they in any way may be connected with the laws of
religion. Statements of scientific detail should not be looked for in
Joseph Smith's writings, though these are not wholly wanting; but
rather, we should expect to find general views of the relations of the
forces of the universe.

[Footnote A: "And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as
they were and as they are to come."--Doctrine and Covenants, 93:24.

"Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be
instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the
law of the Gospel, in all things that pertain unto the Kingdom of God,
that are expedient for you to understand;

"Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth;
things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly
come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the
wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are
on the land, and a knowledge also of countries and kingdoms,

"That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to
magnify the calling, whereunto I have called you, and the mission with
which I have commissioned you."--Doctrine and Covenants, 88:78-80.

"And verily, I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten
to translate my Scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and
of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this
for the salvation of Zion."--Doctrine and Covenants, 93:53.

"It (theology) is the science of all other sciences and useful arts,
being in fact the very foundation from which they emanate. It includes
philosophy, astronomy, history, mathematics, geography, languages, the
science of letters, and blends the knowledge of all matters of fact,
in every branch of art and research.......All that is useful, great
and good, all that is calculated to sustain, comfort, instruct, edify,
purify, refine or exalt intelligences, originated by this science, and
this science alone, all other sciences being but branches growing out
of this, the root."--Pratt, Key to Theology, chap. 1.]

[Sidenote: Man must not expect direct revelation in matters that he
can solve for himself.]

It is not in harmony with the Gospel spirit that God, except in
special cases, should reveal things that man by the aid of his natural
powers may gain for himself. The Lord spoke to the Prophet as
follows:--"Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I
would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask
me; but, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your
mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will
cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel
that it is right."[A] Such a doctrine makes it unreasonable to look to
the Prophet's work for a gratuitous mass of scientific or other
details, which will relieve man of the labor of searching out for
himself nature's laws. So well established is this principle that in
all probability many of the deepest truths contained in the writings
of Joseph Smith will not be clearly understood, even by his followers,
until, by the laborious methods of mortality, the same truths are
established. It is even so with the principles to be discussed in the
following papers. They were stated seventy years ago, yet it is only
recently that the Latter-day Saints have begun to realize that they
are identical with recently developed scientific truths; and the world
of science is not yet aware of it. However, whenever such harmony is
observed, it testifies of the divine inspiration of the humble,
unlearned boy prophet of the nineteenth century.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants 9:7, 8.]

[Sidenote: The absence of the language, details and methods of science
in the Prophet's writings proves him unfamiliar with the written
science of his day.]

The Prophet Joseph does not use the language of science; which is
additional proof that he did not know the science of his day. This may
be urged as an objection to the assertion that he understood
fundamental scientific truths, but the error of this view is easily
comprehended when it is recalled that the language of science is made
by men, and varies very often from age to age, and from country to
country. Besides, the God who spoke to Joseph Smith, says, "These
commandments were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the
manner of their language, that they might come to understanding."[A]
If God had spoken the special language of science, the unlearned
Joseph Smith would not, perhaps, have understood. Every wise man
explains that which he knows in the language of those to whom he is
speaking, and the facts and theories of science can be quite easily
expressed in the language of the common man. It is needless to expect
scientific phraselogy in the writings of Joseph Smith.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants 1:24.]

Scientific details are almost wholly wanting in the writings of Joseph
Smith. Had the Prophet known the science of his day, his detailed
knowledge would have been incorporated somehow in his writings. The
almost complete absence of such scientific detail as would in all
probability have been used, had the Prophet known of it, is additional
testimony that he did not get his information from books.

Finally, another important fact must be mentioned. Men in all ages
have speculated about the things of the universe, and have invented
all kinds of theories to explain natural phenomena. In all cases,
however, these theories have been supported by experimental evidence,
or else they have been proposed simply as personal opinions. Joseph
Smith, on the contrary, laid no claim to experimental data to support
the theories which he proposed, nor did he say that they were simply
personal opinions, but he repeatedly asserted that God had revealed
the truths to him, and that they could not, therefore, be false. If
doctrines resting upon such a claim can be shown to be true, it is
additional testimony of the truth of the Prophet's work.

[Sidenote: Purpose of the following chapters.]

In the following chapters it will be shown, by a series of
comparisons, that, in 1833, or soon thereafter, the teachings of
Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, were in full harmony with the most
advanced scientific thought of today, and that he anticipated the
world of science in the statement of fundamental facts and theories of
physics, chemistry, astronomy and biology.


Chapter II.


[Sidenote: Until recent days many believed that matter could be
created or destroyed.]

It was believed by the philosophers of ancient and mediaeval times,
especially by those devoted to the study of alchemy, that it was
possible through mystical powers, often of a supernatural order, to
annihilate matter or to create it from nothing. Men with such powers
transcended all known laws of nature, and became objects of fear,
often of worship to the masses of mankind. Naturally enough, the
systems of religion became colored with the philosophical doctrines of
the times; and it was held to be a fundamental religious truth that
God created the world from nothing. Certainly, God could do what his
creatures, the magicians, were able to do--that part of the reasoning
was sound.

In support of this doctrine, attention was called to some of the
experiences of daily life. A piece of coal placed in a stove, in a
short time disappear--it is annihilated. From the clear air of a
summer's day raindrops start--created out of nothing. A fragment of
gold placed in contact with sufficiently strong acids, disappears--it
is destroyed.

[Sidenote: Matter is eternal, its form only can be changed.]

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, facts and laws of chemistry
were discovered, which enabled scientists to follow in great detail
the changes, visible or invisible, to which matter in its various
forms is subject. Then it was shown that the coal placed in a stove
unites with a portion of the air entering through the drafts, and
becomes an invisible gas, but that, were this gas collected as it
issues from the chimney, it would be found to contain a weight of the
elements of the coal just equal to the weight of the coal used. In a
similar manner it was shown that the raindrops are formed from the
water found in the air, as an invisible vapor. The gold dissolved in
the acid, may be wholly recovered so that every particle is accounted
for. Numerous investigations on this subject were made by the most
skillful experimenters of the age, all of which showed that it is
absolutely impossible to create or destroy the smallest particle of
matter; that the most man can do is to change the form in which matter

After this truth had been demonstrated, it was a necessary conclusion
that matter is eternal, and that the quantity of matter in the
universe cannot be diminished nor increased. This great
generalization, known as the law of the Persistence of Matter or Mass,
is the foundation stone of modern science. It began to find general
acceptance among men about the time of Joseph Smith's birth, though
many religious sects still hold that God, as the Supreme Ruler, is
able at will to create matter from nothing. The establishment of this
law marked also the final downfall of alchemy and other kindred occult

[Sidenote: Mormonism teaches that all things are material.]

No doctrine taught by Joseph Smith is better understood by his
followers than that matter in its elementary condition is eternal, and
that it can neither be increased nor diminished. As early as May,
1833, the Prophet declared that "the elements are eternal,"[A] and in
a sermon delivered in April, 1844, he said "Element had an existence
from the time God had. The pure principles of element are principles
which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized,
but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end."[B]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 93:33.]

[Footnote B: The Contributor, Vol. 4, p. 257.]

It is thus evident that from the beginning of his work, Joseph Smith
was in perfect harmony with the fundamental doctrine of science; and
far in advance of the religious sects of the world, which are, even at
this time, slowly accepting the doctrine of the persistence of matter
in a spiritual as well as in a material sense.

Mormonism has frequently been charged with accepting the doctrine of
materialism. In one sense, the followers of Joseph Smith plead yes to
this charge. In Mormon theology there is no place for immateralism;
i.e. for a God, spirits and angels that are not material. Spirit is
only a refined form of matter. It is beyond the mind of man to
conceive of an immaterial thing. On the other hand, Joseph Smith did
not teach that the kind of tangible matter, which impresses our mortal
senses, is the kind of matter which is associated with heavenly
beings. The distinction between the matter known to man and the spirit
matter is very great; but no greater than is the difference between
the matter of the known elements and that of the universal ether which
forms one of the accepted dogmas of science.

Science knows phenomena only as they are associated with matter;
Mormonism does the same.

Chapter III.


[Sidenote: All forms of energy may be converted into each other.
Energy can not be destroyed.]

It is only when matter is in motion, or in the possession of energy,
that it is able to impress our senses. The law of the
indestructibility and convertibility of energy, is of equal
fundamental value with that of the indestructibility of matter. A
great variety of forces exist in nature, as, for instance,
gravitation, electricity, chemical affinity, heat and light. These
forces may all be made to do work. Energy, in fact, may be defined as
the power of doing work. In early days these forces were supposed to
be distinct and not convertible, one into the other, just as gold and
silver, with our present knowledge, are distinct and not convertible
into other elements.

In the early part of the nineteenth century students of light and heat
began to demonstrate that these two natural forces were different
manifestations of one universal medium. This in turn led to the
thought that possibly these forces, instead of being absolutely
distinct, could be converted one into the other. This idea was
confirmed in various experimental ways. Sir Humphrey Davy, about the
end of the eighteenth century, rubbed together two pieces of ice until
they were nearly melted. Precautions had been taken that no heat could
be abstracted from the outside by the ice. The only tenable conclusion
was that the energy expended in rubbing, had been converted into heat,
which had melted the ice. About the same time, Count Rumford, a
distinguished American, was superintending the boring of a cannon at
the arsenal at Munich, and was forcibly struck with the heating of the
iron due to this process. He, like Davy, believed that the energy of
the boring instruments had been converted into the heat.[A]

[Footnote A: The Conservation of Heat--Stewart, pp. 38, 39.]

From 1843 to 1849, Dr. Joule of Manchester, England, published the
results of experiments on the relation between mechanical energy and
heat. Dr. Joule attached a fixed weight to a string which was passed
over a pulley, while the other end was connected with paddles moving
in water. As the weight descended, the paddles were caused to revolve;
and it was observed that, as the weight fell and the paddles revolved,
the water became warmer and warmer. Dr. Joule found further that for
each foot of fall, the same amount of heat energy was given to the
water. In fact, he determined that when a pound weight falls seven
hundred and seventy two feet it gives out energy enough to raise the
temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.[A] This
experiment, frequently repeated, gave the same result and established
largely the law of the convertibility of energy.

[Footnote A: The Conservation of Energy--Stewart, pp. 44, 45. Recent
Advances in Physical Science--Tait, pp. 63, 65.]

About the same time, it was shown that light can be converted into
heat; and later it was proved that electricity may be changed into
heat or light. In all these cases it was found that the amount of
energy changed was exactly equal to the amount of energy produced.

Thus, by countless experiments, it was finally determined that energy
is indestructible; that, when any form of energy disappears, it
reappears immediately in another form. This is the law of the
persistence of force or energy. In more recent days, it has been
suggested that all known forces are variations of a great universal
force, which may or may not be known. The very nature of force or
energy is not understood. In the language of Spencer, "By the
persistence of force, we really mean the persistence of some cause
which transcends our knowledge and conception."[A]

[Footnote A: First Principles, Spencer, 4th ed., p. 200.]

It need hardly be explained that energy cannot exist independently of
matter; and that the law of the persistence of matter is necessary for
the existence of the law of persistence of force.

[Sidenote: Universal intelligence, comparable to universal energy is
indestructible, according to Joseph Smith.]

Joseph Smith was not a scientist; and he made no pretense of solving
the scientific questions of this day. The discussion relative to the
convertibility of various forms of energy was in all probability not
known to him. Still, in his writings is found a doctrine which in all
respects resembles that of the conservation of energy.

Joseph Smith taught, and the Church now teaches, that all space is
filled with a subtle, though material substance of wonderful
properties, by which all natural phenomena are controlled. This
substance is known as the Holy Spirit. Its most important
characteristic is intelligence. "Its inherent properties embrace all
the attributes of intelligence."[A] The property of intelligence is to
the Holy Spirit what energy is to the gross material of our senses.

[Footnote A: Key to Theology, P. P. Pratt, 5th ed., p. 40.]

In one of the generally accepted works of the Church, the energy of
nature is actually said to be the workings of the Holy Spirit. The
passage reads as follows: "Man observes a universal energy in
nature--organization and disorganization succeed each other--the
thunders roll through the heavens; the earth trembles and becomes
broken by earthquakes; fires consume cities and forests; the waters
accumulate, flow over their usual bounds, and cause destruction of
life and property; the worlds perform their revolutions in space with
a velocity and power incomprehensible to man, and he, covered with a
veil of darkness, calls this universal energy, God, when it is the
workings of his Spirit, the obedient agent of his power, the
wonder-working and life-giving principle in all nature."[A]

[Footnote A: Compendium, Richards and Little, 3rd ed., p. 150.]

In short, the writings of the Church clearly indicate that the various
forces of nature, the energy of nature, are only manifestations of the
great, pervading force of intelligence. We do not understand the real
nature of intelligence any better than we understand the true nature
of energy. We only know that by energy or intelligence gross matter is
brought within reach of our senses.

Intelligence or energy was declared by Joseph Smith in May, 1833, to
be eternal: "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or
made, neither indeed can be."[A] In the sermon already referred to the
Prophet said, "The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither
will it have an end."

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 93:29.]

These quotations, and many others to which attention might be called,
show clearly that Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the energy of
the universe can in nowise be increased or diminished, though, it may
manifest itself in various forms.

The great Latter-day prophet is thus shown to be in harmony with the
second fundamental law of science. It is not a valid objection to this
conclusion to say that Joseph Smith did not use the accepted terms of
science. Words stand only for ideas; the ideas are essential. The
nomenclature of a science is often different in different lands, and
is often changed as knowledge grows.

It is hardly correct to say that he was in harmony with the law; the
law as stated by the world of science was rather in harmony with him.
Let it be observed that Joseph Smith enunciated the principle of the
conservation of the energy, or intelligence as he called it, of the
universe, in May, 1833, ten years before Dr. Joule published his
famous papers on energy relations, and fifteen or twenty years before
the doctrine was clearly understood and generally accepted by the
learned of the world. Let it be also remembered that the unlearned boy
from the backwoods of New York state, taught with the conviction of
absolute certainty that the doctrine was true, for God had revealed it
to him.

If God did not reveal it to him, where did he learn it, and whence
came the courage to teach it as an eternal truth?

Chapter IV.


[Sidenote: The modern theory of light was established only about the
year 1830.]

The nature of light has been in every age a fascinating subject for
study and reflection. Descartes, the French mathematician and
philosopher, advanced the hypothesis that light consists of small
particles emitted by luminous bodies, and that the sensation of light
is produced by the impact of these particles upon the retina of the
eye. Soon after this emission or corpuscular theory had been proposed,
Hooke, an English investigator of great note, stated publicly that the
phenomena of light, as he had observed them, led him to the belief
that the nature of light could best be explained on the assumption
that light was a kind of undulation or wave in some unknown medium,
and that the sensation of light was. produced when these waves struck
upon the retina of the eye. This new hypothesis, known as the theory
of undulations, after the great Isaac Newton had declared himself in
favor of the corpuscular theory, was finally adjudged by the majority
of students to be erroneous.

About the year 1800, more than a century after the days of Descartes,
Hooke and Newton, an English physician, Dr. Thomas Young, who had long
experimented on the nature of light, asserted that the emission theory
could not explain many of the best known phenomena of light. Dr. Young
further claimed that correct explanations could be made only by the
theory of waves of undulation of an etherial medium diffused through
space, and presented numerous experimental evidences in favor of this
view. This revival of the old theory of undulation met at first with
violent opposition from many of the greatest scientific minds of the
day. Sometime after Dr. Young's publication, a French army officer,
Augustine Fresnel, undertook the study of the nature of light, and
arrived, almost independently, at the conclusion stated by Dr. Young.
Later, other investigators discovered light phenomena which could be
explained only on the undulatory hypothesis, and so, little by little,
the new theory gained ground and adherents.

Still, even as late as 1827, the astronomer Herschel published a
treatise on light, in which he appeared to hold the real merit of the
theory of undulations in grave doubt.[A] Likewise, the Imperial
Academy at St. Petersburg, in 1826, proposed a prize for the best
attempt to relieve the undulatory theory of light of some of the main
objections against it.[B] It was several years later before the great
majority of the scientific world accepted the theory of undulations as
the correct explanation of the phenomena of light.

[Footnote A: History of the Inductive Sciences, Whewell, 3rd edition,
Vol. II, p. 114.]

[Footnote B: Loc. cit., 117.]

[Sidenote: A subtle substance, the ether, fills all space.]

In brief, this theory assumes that a very attenuated, but very
elastic, substance, called the ether, fills all space, and is found
surrounding the ultimate particles of matter. Thus, the pores of wood,
soil, lead, gold and the human body, are filled with the ether. It is
quite impossible by any known process to obtain a portion of space
free from it. A luminous body is one in which the ultimate particles
of matter, the atoms or molecules, are moving very rapidly, and thus
causing disturbances in the ether, similar to the disturbances in
quiet water when a rock is thrown into it; and, like the water wave,
proceeding from the point of disturbance, so the ether waves radiate
from the luminous body into space. When a wave strikes the retina of
the eye, the sensation of light is produced. This new-found ether was
soon used for the explanation of other natural phenomena.

[Sidenote: Light, heat, electricity and other forces are forms of
ether motion.]

The nature of heat had long been discussed when the world of science
decided in favor of the undulatory theory of light. One school held
that the sensation of heat was caused by the cannonading of heat
particles by the heated body; the other school, with few adherents,
insisted that heat was simply a form of motion of the ether already
adopted in the theory of light. The later discoveries of science
proved with considerable certainty that the undulatory theory of heat
is right, but it was well towards the middle of the last century
before the emission theory of heat lost its ground. In fact,
Dr.Whewell, in the third edition of his classic book on the _History
of Inductive Sciences_, published in 1859, says that the undulatory
theory of heat "has not by any means received full confirmation;"[A]
and Dr. John Tyndall, in a book published in 1880, says, that the
emission theory "held its ground until quite recently among the
chemists of our own day."[B] Today, the evidences of modern science
are overwhelmingly in favor of the undulatory theory of heat.

[Footnote A: Vol. II, p. 184.]

[Footnote B: Heat, A Mode of Motion, Tyndall, 6th ed., p. 38.]

The wonderful developments of the last century, in electricity and
magnetism, led to much speculation concerning the nature of the subtle
electrical and magnetic forces. The most popular theories for many
years were those that presupposed various electrical and magnetic
fluids, which could be collected, conducted, dispersed and otherwise
controlled. In 1867, the eminent English mathematician, Clerk Maxwell,
proposed the theory that electrical and magnetic phenomena were simply
peculiar motions of the ether, bearing definite relationship to light
waves. Later researches, one result of which is the now famous
Roentgen or X-rays, have tended to confirm Maxwell's theory. A recent
text-book on physics, of unquestioned authority,[A] states that the
ether theory of electricity and magnetism is now susceptible of direct
demonstration; and another eminent authority frankly states that "when
we explain the nature of electricity, we explain it by a motion of the
luminiferous ether."[B]

[Footnote A: Lehrbuch der Physik, Riecke, (1896), 2ter Band, p. 315.]

[Footnote B: Popular Lectures and Addresses, Kelvin (1891) Vol. 1,
page 334.]

Other recent discoveries have hinted at the possibility of matter
itself being only the result of peculiar forms of this all-pervading
substance, the luminiferous ether. The properties of the element
radium, and other radioactive elements, as at present understood,
suggest the possibility of a better understanding of the nature of the
ether, and of its relation to the world of phenomena.

[Sidenote: The existence of the ether is a certainty of science.]

That the present knowledge of the world of science compels a faith in
an all-pervading substance, of marvelous properties, and of intimate
relationship to all forms of energy, is shown by the following
quotations from Lord Kelvin, who is generally regarded as the world's
greatest physicist: "The luminferous ether, that is the only substance
we are confident of in dynamics. One thing we are sure of, and that is
the reality and substantiality of the luminiferous ether." "What can
this luminiferous ether be? It is something that the planets move
through with the greatest ease. It permeates our air; it is nearly in
the same condition, so far as our means of judging are concerned, in
our air and in the interplanetary space." "You may regard the
existence of the luminiferous ether as a reality of science." "It is
matter prodigiously less dense than air--of such density as not to
produce the slightest resistance to any body going through it."[A]

[Footnote A: Kelvin's Lectures, Vol. 1, pp. 317, 334, 336, 354.]

The theory of the ether is one of the most helpful assumptions of
modern science. By its aid the laws of energy have been revealed.
There is at the present time no grander or more fundamental doctrine
in science than that of the ether. The nature of the ether is, of
course, far from being clearly understood, but every discovery in
science demonstrates that the hypothetical ether stands for an
important reality of nature. Together with the doctrines of the
indestructibility of matter and energy, the doctrine of the ether
welds and explains all the physical phenomena of the universe.

Joseph Smith, in a revelation received on December 27, 1832, wrote:

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught space is filled with a substance
comparable to the ether of science.]

"The light which now shineth, which giveth you light, is through him
who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth
your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of
God to fill the immensity of space. The light which is in all things:
which is the law by which all things are governed: even the power of

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, section 88:11-13.]

This quotation gives undoubted evidence of the prophet's belief that
space is filled with some substance which bears important relations to
all natural phenomena. The word substance is used advisedly; for in
various places in the writings of Joseph Smith, light, used as above
in a general sense, means spirit,[A] and "all spirit is matter, but it
is more fine and pure."[B]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 84:45.]

[Footnote B: Ibid, 131:7.]

True, the passage above quoted does not furnish detailed explanation
of the Prophet's view concerning the substance filling all space, but
it must be remembered that it is simply an incidental paragraph in a
chapter of religious instruction. True, also, the Prophet goes farther
than some modern scientists, when he says that this universal
substance bears a controlling relation to all things; yet, when it is
recalled that eminent, sober students have suggested that the facts of
science make it possible to believe that matter itself is simply a
phenomenon of the universal ether, the statement of the "Mormon"
prophet seems very reasonable. The paragraph already quoted is not an
accidental arrangement of words suggesting an idea not intended by the
prophet, for in other places, he presents the idea of an omnipresent
substance binding all things together. For instance, in speaking of
the controlling power of the universe he says:

"He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all
things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all
things, and is through all things, and is round about all things."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid, 88:41.]

That Joseph Smith does not here have in mind an omnipresent God, is
proved by the emphatic doctrine that God is personal and cannot be
everywhere present.[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid, 130:22.]

Lest it be thought that the words are forced, for argument's sake, to
give the desired meaning, it may be well to examine the views of some
of the persons to whom the Prophet explained in detail the meanings of
the statements in the revelations which he claimed to have received
from God.

Parley P. Pratt, who, as a member of the first quorum of apostles, had
every opportunity of obtaining the Prophet's views on any subject,
wrote in considerable fullness on the subject of the Holy Spirit, or
the light of truth:

"As the mind passes the boundaries of the visible world, and enters
upon the confines of the more refined and subtle elements, it finds
itself associated with certain substances in themselves invisible to
our gross organs, but clearly manifested to our intellect by their
tangible operations and effects." "The purest, most refined and subtle
of all these substances--is that substance called the Holy Spirit."
"It is omnipresent." "It is in its less refined particles, the
physical light which reflects from the sun, moon and stars, and other
substances; and by reflection on the eye makes visible the truths of
the outward world."[A]

[Footnote A: Key to Theology, 5th ed., pp. 38-41.]

Elder C. W. Penrose, an accepted writer on Mormon doctrine, writes,
"It is by His Holy Spirit, which permeates all things, and is the life
and light of all things, that Deity is everywhere present. * * By that
agency God sees and knows and governs all things."[A]

[Footnote A: Rays of Living Light, No. 2, p. 3.]

Such quotations, from the men intimately associated or acquainted with
the early history of the Church, prove that Joseph Smith taught in
clearness the doctrine that a subtle form of matter, call it ether or
Holy Spirit, pervades all space; that all phenomena of nature,
including, specifically, heat, light and electricity, are definitely
connected with this substance. He taught much else concerning this
substance which science will soon discover, but which lies without the
province of this paper to discuss.

By the doctrine of the ether, it is made evident all the happenings in
the universe are indelibly inscribed upon the record of nature. A word
is spoken. The air movements that it causes disturbs the ether. The
ether waves radiate into space and can never die. Anywhere, with the
proper instrument, one of the waves may be captured, and the spoken
word read. That is the simple method of wireless telegraphy. It is
thus that all our actions shall be known on the last great day. By the
ether, or the Holy Spirit as named by the Prophet, God holds all
things in His keeping. His intelligent will radiates into space, to
touch whomsoever it desires. He who is tuned aright can read the
message, flashed across the ether ocean, by the Almighty. Thus, also,
God, who is a person, filling only a portion of space is, by His power
carried by the ether, everywhere present.

The ether of science though material is essentially different from the
matter composing the elements. So, also, in Mormon theology, is the
Holy Spirit different from the grosser elements. In science there is a
vast distinction between the world of the elements, and that of the
ether; in theology, there is an equally great difference between the
spiritual and material worlds. Though the theology of Joseph Smith
insists that immaterialism is an absurdity, yet it permits no
overlapping of the earthly and the spiritual.

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith stated the existence of a universe-filling
substance before science had generally accepted it.]

It must not be overlooked that the broad statement of this doctrine
was made by Joseph Smith, at least as early as 1832, at a time when
the explanation of light phenomena on the hypothesis of a universal
ether was just beginning to find currency among learned men; and many
years before the same hypothesis was accepted in explaining the
phenomena of heat and electricity.

The idea of an influence pervading the universe is not of itself new.
Poets and philosophers of all ages have suggested it in a vague,
hesitating manner, without connecting it with the phenomena of nature,
but burdening it with the greatest absurdity of religion or
philosophy, that of immaterialism. Joseph Smith said the doctrine had
been taught him by God, and gave it to the world unhesitatingly and
rationally. The men of science, to whom Joseph Smith appears only as
an imposter, and who know nothing of his writings, have later
discovered the truth for themselves, and incorporated it in their
books of learning.

Had Joseph Smith been the clever imposter that some claim he was, he
probably would not have dealt in any way with the theories of the
material world, at least would not have claimed revelations laying
down physical laws; had he been the stupid fool, others tell us he
was, his mind would not have worried itself with the fundamental
problems of nature.

However that may be, it is certain that Joseph Smith, in the broad and
rational statement of the existence of an omnipresent, material though
subtle substance, anticipated the workers in science. In view of that
fact, it is not improbable that at some future time, when science
shall have gained a wider view, the historian of the physical sciences
will say that Joseph Smith, the clear-sighted, first stated correctly
the fundamental physical doctrine of the universal ether.

Chapter V.


In the seventh book of the _Republic of Plato_[A] occurs the following

[Footnote A: Golden Treasury edition, pp. 235, 236.]

[Sidenote: The realities of nature are known by their effects.]

"Imagine a number of men living in an underground cavernous chamber,
with an entrance open to the light, extending along the entire length
of the cavern, in which they have been confined, from childhood, with
their legs and necks so shackled, that they are obliged to sit still
and look straight forward, because their chains render it impossible
for them to turn their heads round; and imagine a bright fire burning
some way off, above and behind them, and an elevated roadway passing
between the fire and the prisoners, with a low wall built along it,
like the screens which conjurers put up in front of their audiences,
and above which they exhibit their wonders. Also figure to yourself a
number of persons walking behind the wall, and carrying with them
statues of men and images of other animals, wrought in wood and stone
and all kinds of materials, together with various other articles,
which overtop the wall; and, as you might expect, let some of the
passers-by be talking, and the others silent.

"Let me ask whether persons so confined could have seen anything of
themselves or of each other, beyond the shadows thrown by the fire
upon the part of the cavern facing them? And is not their knowledge of
the things carried past them equally limited? And if they were able to
converse with one another, would they not be in the habit of giving
names to the objects which they saw before them? If their prison house
returned an echo from the part facing them, whenever one of the
passers-by opened his lips, to what could they refer the voice, if not
to the shadow which was passing? Surely such person would hold the
shadows of those manufactured articles to be the only realities."

With reference to our absolute knowledge of the phenomena of nature,
this splendid comparison is as correct today as it was in the days of
Plato, about 400 B. C.; we are only as prisoners in a great cave,
watching shadows of passing objects thrown upon the cavern wall, and
reflecting upon the real natures of the things whose shadows we see.
We know things only by their effects; the essential nature of matter,
ether and energy is far from our understanding.

[Sidenote: The progress of science rests on the law of cause and

In early and mediaeval times, the recognition of the fact that nature
in its ultimate form is unknowable, led to many harmful superstitions.
Chief among the fallacies of the early ages was the belief that God at
will could, and did, cause various phenomena to appear in nature,
which were contrary to all human experience. As observed in chapter 4,
a class of men arose who claimed to be in possession of knowledge
which made them also able, at will, to cause various supernatural
manifestations. Thus arose the occult sciences, so called,--alchemy,
astrology, magic, witchcraft, and all other similar abominations of
the intellect. Such beliefs made the logical study of nature
superfluous, for any apparent regularity or law in nature might at any
time be overturned by a person in possession of a formula of the black
art or a properly treated broomstick.

While such ideas prevailed among the majority of men, the rational
study of science could make little progress. In the march of the ages
as the ideas of men were classified, it began to be understood that
the claims of the devotees of the mystical arts not only could not be
substantiated but were in direct opposition to the known operations of
nature. It became clear to the truthseekers, that in nature a given
cause, acting upon any given object, providing all surrounding
conditions be left unchanged, will always produce the same effect.
Thus, coal of a certain quality, brought to a high temperature in the
presence of air, will burn and produce heat; a stick held in water at
the right angle will appear crooked; iron kept in contact with
moisture and air, at the right temperature, will be changed into rust;
sunlight passed through a glass prism will be broken into rainbow
colors; ordinary plants placed in a dark cellar will languish and die.
No matter how often trials are made, the above results are obtained;
and today it is safe to assert that in the material world no relation
of cause and effect, once established, has failed to reappear at the
will of the investigator. As this principle of the constancy in the
relations between cause and effect was established, the element of
chance in natural phenomena, with its attendant arts of magic, had to
disappear. It is now well understood by intelligent persons that the
law of order controls all the elements of nature.

It is true that the cause of any given effect may, itself, be the
effect of other causes, and that the first cause of daily phenomena is
not and probably cannot be understood. It is also true that very
seldom is the mind able to comprehend why certain causes, save the
simpler ones, should produce certain effects. In that respect we are
again nothing more than Plato's cave prisoners, seeing the shadows of
ultimate realities. However, the recognition of the principle of the
invariable relation between cause and effect was a great onward stride
in the intellectual development of the world.

[Sidenote: Laws of nature are man's simplest expression of many
related facts.]

Now, as men began to investigate nature with her forces, according to
the new light, numerous relations of the forces were discovered--in
number far beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Then it was
found necessary to group all facts of a similar nature, and invent, if
possible, some means by which the properties of the whole group might
be stated in language so simple as to reach the understanding. Thus
came the laws of nature.

For instance, men from earliest times observed the heavenly bodies and
the regularity of their motions. Theories of the universe were
invented which should harmonize with the known facts. As new facts
were discovered, the theories had to be changed and extended. First it
was believed that the earth was fixed in mid-space, and sun and stars
were daily carried around it. Hipparchus improved this theory by
placing the earth not exactly in the center of the sun's circle.
Ptolemy, three hundred years later, considered that the sun and moon
move in circles, yearly, around the earth, and the other planets in
circles, whose centers again described circles round the earth.
Copernicus simplified the whole system by teaching that the earth
rotated around its axis, and around the sun. Keppler next showed that
the earth moved around the sun in certain curves termed ellipses.
Finally, Newton hit upon the wide-embracing law of gravitation, which
unifies all the known facts of astronomy.[A] All the earlier laws were
correct, so far as they included all the knowledge of the age in which
they were proposed, but were insufficient to include the new

[Footnote A: See The Grammar of Science, Pearson, pp. 117, 118.]

Laws of nature are, therefore, man's simplest and most comprehensive
expression of his knowledge of certain groups of natural phenomena.
They are man-made, and subject to change as knowledge grows; but, as
they change, they approach or should approach more and more nearly to
the perfect law. Modern science is built upon the assumption that the
relations between cause and effect are invariable, and that these
relations may be grouped to form great natural laws, which express the
modes by which the forces of the universe manifest themselves.

[Sidenote: A miracle is a law not understood.]

In this matter, science is frankly humble, and acknowledges that the
region of the unknown is far greater than that of the known. Forces,
relations and laws may exist as yet unknown to the world of science,
which, used by a human or superhuman being, might to all appearances
change well-established relations of known forces. That would be a
miracle; but a miracle simply means a phenomenon not understood, in
its cause and effect relations. It must also be admitted that men
possess no absolute certainty that though certain forces, brought into
a certain conjunction a thousand times, have produced the same effect,
they will continue to do so. Should a variation occur, however, that
also must be ascribed to an inherent property of the forces or
conditions, or the existence of a law not understood.[A] There can be
no chance in the operations of nature. This is a universe of law and

[Footnote A: The Credentials of Science, the Warrant of Faith, Cooke,
pp. 169, 170.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught the invariable relation of cause and

Were it not for the sake of the completeness of the argument running
through these chapters, it would be unnecessary to call attention to
the fact that Joseph Smith in a very high degree held views similar to
those taught by science relative to cause and effect, and the reign of

From the beginning of his career, the Prophet insisted upon order, or
system, as the first law in the religion or system of philosophy which
he founded.[A] Moreover, the order which he taught was of an
unchangeable nature, corresponding to the invariable relation between
cause and effect. He wrote, "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in
heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings
are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by
obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."[B] No text book in
science has a clearer or more positive statement than this, of the
fact that like causes have like effects, like actions like results.
The eternal nature of natural law is further emphasized as follows:

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 28:13; 132; 8.]

[Footnote B: Doctrine and Covenants, 130:20, 21.]

"If there be bounds set to the heavens, or to the seas: or to the dry
land, or to the sun, moon or stars; all the times of their
revolutions; all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the
days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws,
and set times, shall be revealed, in the days of the dispensation of
the fullness of times, according to that which was ordained in the
midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other Gods before this
world was."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 121:30-32.]

Those who may be inclined to believe that this doctrine was taught in
a spiritual sense only, should recall that Joseph Smith taught also
that spirit is only a pure form of matter,[A] so that the principles
of the material world must have their counterparts in the spiritual
world. Besides, in the last quotation reference is made to such
material bodies as sun, moon, and stars. In other places, special
mention is made of the fact that the material universe is controlled
by law. For instance:

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 131:7.]

"All kingdoms have a law given: and there are many kingdoms; * * * *
and unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are
certain bounds also and conditions. * * * * And again, verily I say
unto you, he hath given a law unto all things by which they move in
their times and their seasons; and their courses are fixed; even the
courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and
all the planets."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 88:36-33, 42, 43.]

This also is a clear, concise statement of law and its nature, which
is not excelled by the definitions of science. There can be no doubt
from these quotations, as from many others that might be made, that
Joseph Smith based his teachings upon the recognition that law
pervades the universe, and that none can transcend law. In the
material world or in the domain of ether or spirit, like causes
produced like effects--the reign of law is supreme.

[Sidenote: "The law also maketh you free."]

Certainly the claim cannot be made that Joseph Smith anticipated the
world of science in the recognition of this important principle; but
it is a source of marvel that he should so clearly recognize and state
it, at a time when many religious sects and philosophical creeds chose
to assume that natural laws could be set aside easily by mystical
methods that might be acquired by anyone. In some respects, the
scientific test of the divine inspiration of Joseph Smith lies here.
Ignorant and superstitious as his enemies say he was, the mystical
would have attracted him greatly, and he would have played for his own
interest upon the superstitious fears of his followers. Instead, he
taught doctrines absolutely free from mysticism, and built a system of
religion in which the invariable relation of cause and effect is the
cornerstone. Instead of priding himself, to his disciples, upon his
superiority to the laws of nature, he taught distinctly that "the law
also maketh you free."[A] Herein he recognized another great
principle--that freedom consists in the adaptation to law, not in the
opposition to it.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 98:8.]

However, whatever else the Prophet Joseph Smith was, he most certainly
was in full harmony with the scientific principle that the universe is
controlled by law.


Chapter VI.


[Sidenote: The laws of the motions of the heavenly bodies have been
learned very slowly.]

From the dawn of written history, when the first men, watching through
the nights, observed the regular motions of the moon and stars,
humanity has been striving to obtain a correct understanding of the
relation of the earth to the. First it was believed that the sun,
moon, and stars revolved in circles around the earth (which for a time
was supposed to be flat instead of spherical). The great Greek
philosopher, Hipparchus, after observing the movements of the heavenly
bodies, suggested that the earth was not exactly in the middle of the
circles. Three hundred years later, Ptolemy discovered a number of
facts concerning the movements of the sun, moon and planets, which
were unknown to Hipparchus, and which led him to suggest that the sun
and moon move in circles around the earth, but that the planets move
around the earth in circles, whose centres again move around the
earth. This somewhat complex theory explained very well what was known
of astronomy in the days of the ancients. In fact, the views of
Ptolemy were quite generally accepted for 1300 years.

About 1500, A. D., Copernicus, a Dutch astronomer, having still more
facts in his possession than had Ptolemy, concluded that the simplest
manner in which the apparent movements of the sun, moon, and planets
could be explained, was to assume that the sun is the center of the
planetary system, and that the earth, with the moon and planets,
revolves according to definite laws around the sun. This theory,
supported by numerous confirmatory observations, was generally
accepted by astronomers, and really did explain very simply and
clearly many of the facts of planetary motion.

Fifty years after the death of Copernicus, the celebrated astronomer,
Kepler, proposed extensions and improvements of the Copernican
doctrine, which made the theory that the planets revolve about the sun
more probable than ever before. He suggested first that the planets
move around the sun in closed curves, resembling flattened circles,
and known as ellipses. By assuming this to be true, and assisted by
other discoveries, he was also able to state the times required by the
planets for their revolutions around the sun, and the velocity of
their motions at different times of the year. Later investigations
have proved the great laws proposed by Copernicus and Kepler to be
true; and from their days is dated the birth of modern astronomy.

[Sidenote: The law of gravitation is universal and explains many of
the motions of celestial bodies.]

After the laws of the motions of the planets had been determined, it
was only natural that men should ask themselves what forces were
concerned in these motions. The ancient philosophers had proposed the
idea that the sun attracts all heavenly bodies, but the suggestion had
not been accepted by the world at large. However, after the
discoveries of Kepler, the English, philosopher Newton advanced the
theory that there is in the universe an attractive force which
influences all matter, beyond the limits of known space. He further
proved that the intensity of this force varies directly with the
product of the attractive masses, and inversely, with the square of
the distances between them--that is, the greater the bodies the
greater the attraction; the greater the distance between them, the
smaller the attraction. This law of gravitation has been verified by
repeated experiments, and, taken in connection with the astronomical
theories of Copernicus and Kepler, has made celestial mechanics what
they are today.

By the aid of the law of gravitation, many astronomical predictions
have been fulfilled. Among the most famous is the following incident:

In the early part of the last century, astronomers noticed that the
motions of the planet Uranus did not agree with those derived from
calculations based upon the law of gravitation. About 1846, two
investigators, M. Leverrier, of France, and Mr. Adams of England,
stated, as their opinion, that the discordance between theory and
observation in the case of the motions of Uranus, was due to the
attraction of a planet, not yet known, and they calculated by means of
the law of gravitation, the size and orbit of the unknown planet. In
the fall of 1846, this planet was actually discovered and named
Neptune. It was found to harmonize with the predictions made by the
astronomers before its discovery.

During the days of Newton, the question was raised if the celestial
bodies outside of the solar system obey the law of gravitation. Among
the stars, there are some which are called double stars, and which
consist of two stars so near to each other that the telescope alone
can separate them to the eye. In 1803, after twenty years of
observation, William Herschel discovered that some of these couples
were revolving around each other with various angular velocities. The
son of William Herschel continued this work, and many years later, he
discovered that the laws of motion of these double stars are the same
as those that prevail in the the solar system.[A] This result
indicated not only the universality of the law of gravitation, but
also the probability that all heavenly bodies are in motion.

[Footnote A: History of the Inductive Sciences, Whewell, 3rd ed. Vol.
I, pp. 467-469.]

[Sidenote: The invention of the spectroscope laid the foundation of
the new astronomy.]

Then, early in the nineteenth century, a new method of research began
to be developed, which was destined to form a new science of
astronomy. It had long been known that white light when passed through
a glass prism is broken into a colored spectrum, with colors similar
to those observed in the rainbow. Now it was discovered that when
white light passes through vapors of certain composition, dark lines
appear in the spectrum, and that the position of the lines varies with
the chemical composition of the vapors. By the application of these
principles, it was shown, towards the middle of the last century, that
the chemical composition of the heavenly bodies may be determined.
Later,it was discovered that by noting the positions of the dark lines
in the spectrum, it could be known when a star or any heavenly body is
moving, as also the direction and amount of its motion. These
unexpected discoveries led to a study of the heavens from the
spectroscopic point of view, which has resulted in a marvelous advance
in the science of astronomy.

[Sidenote: All heavenly bodies are in motion.]

It has been determined that all heavenly bodies are in motion, and
that their velocities are great compared with our ordinary conceptions
of motion. Most of the stars move at the rate of about seven miles per
second, though some have a velocity of forty-five miles, or more, per
second. Many stars, formerly thought to be single, have been resolved
into two or more components. The rings of Saturn have been proved to
consist of small bodies revolving about the planet in obedience to
Kepler's law.[A] Clusters of stars have been found that move through
space as one body, as possible counterparts of the planetary
system.[B] It has been demonstrated, further, that the sun itself,
with its planets, is moving through space at a very rapid rate.
Professor Simon Newcomb, perhaps the greatest astronomer of the day,
says, "The sun, and the whole solar system with it, have been speeding
their way toward the star of which I speak (Alpha Lyrae) on a journey
of which we know neither the beginning nor the end. During every
clock-beat through which humanity has existed, it has moved on this
journey by an amount which we cannot specify more exactly than to say
that it is probably between five and nine miles per second. The
conclusion seems unavoidable that a number of stars are moving with a
speed such that the attraction of all the bodies of the universe could
never stop them."[C] In brief, the new astronomy holds that all
heavenly bodies are in motion, and that the planetary system is but a
small cluster of stars among the host of heaven. Further, it has
weighed the stars, measured the intensity of their light, and
determined their chemical composition, and it affirms that there are
suns in the heavens, far excelling our sun in size and lustre, though
built of approximately the same elements.

[Footnote A: See C. G. Abbott, Report of Smithsonian Institution, for
1901, pp. 153-155.]

[Footnote B: Light Science for Leisure Hours, Proctor, pp. 42-52.]

[Footnote C: The Problems of Astronomy, S. Newcomb, Science, May 21,

[Sidenote: The solar system is only one of many.]

Sir Robert Ball expresses his views as follows: "The group to which
our sun belongs is a limited one. This must be so, even though the
group included all the stars in the milky way. This unnumbered host is
still only a cluster, occupying, comparatively speaking, an
expressibly small extent in the ocean of infinite space. The
imagination will carry us further still--it will show us that our star
cluster may be but a unit in a cluster of an order still higher, so
that a yet higher possibility of movement is suggested for our

[Footnote A: The Story of the Sun, R. S. Ball, pp. 360, 361.]

Another eminent astronomer expresses the same idea briefly but
eloquently: "It is true that from the highest point of view the sun is
only one of a multitude--a single star among millions--thousands of
which, most likely, exceed him in brightness, magnitude and power. He
is only a private in the host of heaven."[A]

[Footnote A: The Sun, C. A. Young, p. 11.]

And still another student of the stars propounds the following
questions: "Does there exist a central sun of the universe? Do the
worlds of Infinitude gravitate as a hierarchy round a divine focus?
Some day the astronomers of the planets which gravitate in the light
of Hercules (towards which constellation the solar system is moving)
will see a little star appear in their sky. This will be our sun,
carrying us along in its rays; perhaps at this very moment we are
visible dust of a sidereal hurricane, in a milky way, the transformer
of our destinies. We are mere playthings in the immensity of

[Footnote A: Popular Astronomy, C. Flammarion, p. 309.]

[Sidenote: Scientists believe that heavenly bodies are inhabited by
living, thinking beings.]

It is not strange that men who have learned to look at the universe in
this lofty manner should go a step farther, beyond the actually known,
and suggest that some of these countless heavenly bodies must be
inhabited by living, thinking beings. Sober, thoughtful truthseekers,
who never advance needlessly a new theory, have suggested, in all
seriousness, that other worlds than ours are peopled. For instance,
"What sort of life, spiritual and intellectual, exists in distant
worlds? We can not for a moment suppose that our little planet is the
only one throughout the whole universe on which may be found the
fruits of civilization, warm firesides, friendship, the desire to
penetrate the mysteries of creation."[A]

[Footnote A: The Problems of Astronomy, S. Newcomb.]

Such, then, is in very general terms the view of modern astronomy with
reference to the constitution of the universe. Most of the information
upon which this view rests has been gathered during the last fifty

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught that all heavenly bodies are in

Joseph Smith was doubtlessly impressed with the beauty of the starry
heavens, and, in common with all men of poetical nature, allowed his
thoughts to wander into the immensity of space. However, he had no
known opportunity of studying the principles of astronomy, or of
becoming familiar with the astronomical questions that were agitating
the thinkers of his day. Naturally, very little is said in his
writings that bears upon the planetary and stellar constitution of the
universe; yet enough to prove that he was in perfect harmony with the
astronomical views developed since his day.

First, he believed that stellar bodies are distributed throughout
space. "And worlds without number have I created."[A] "And there are
many kingdoms; for there is no space in which there is no kingdom."[B]
He is further in harmony with modern views in that he claims that
stars may be destroyed, and new ones formed. "For, behold, there are
many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power."[C] "And as
one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall
another come."[D]

[Footnote A: Book of Moses, 1:33.]

[Footnote B: Doctrine and Covenants, 88:37.]

[Footnote C: Book of Moses, 1:35.]

[Footnote D: Doctrine and Covenants, 1:38.]

At the time that Joseph Smith wrote, there was considerable discussion
as to whether the laws of the solar system were effective with the
stars. The Prophet had no doubts on that score, for he wrote, "And
unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are
certain bounds also and conditions."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 88:38.]

Likewise, his opinions concerning the motions of celestial objects
were very definite and clear. "He hath given a law unto all things by
which they move in their times and seasons; and their courses are
fixed; even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend
the earth and all the planets. The earth rolls upon her wings, and the
sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night,
and the stars also giveth their light, as they roll upon their wings
in glory, in the midst of the power of God."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 88:43, 45.]

In another place the same thought is expressed. "The sun, moon or
stars; all the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days,
months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years,
and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 121:30, 31.]

The two revelations from which these quotations are made, were given
to the Prophet in 1832 and 1839 respectively, many years before the
fact that all celestial bodies are in motion was understood and
accepted by the world of science.

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught that the solar system is only one of
many--in advance of the astronomers of his day.]

The accepted conception that groups or clusters of stars form systems
which revolve around some one point or powerful star, was also clearly
understood by Joseph Smith, for he speaks of stars of different orders
with controlling stars for each order. "And I saw the stars that they
were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of
God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it: and the
Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the
great one is Kolob because it is near unto me--I have set this one to
govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which
thou standest."[A] That the governing star, Kolob, is not the sun is
evident, since the statement is made later in the chapter that the
Lord showed Abraham "Shinehah, which is the sun." Kolob, therefore,
must be a mighty star governing more than the solar system; and is
possibly the central sun around which the sun with its attendant
planets is revolving. The other great stars near Kolob are also
governing stars, two of which are mentioned by name Oliblish and
Enish-go-ondosh, though nothing is said of the order or stars that
they control. The reading of the third chapter of the _Book of
Abraham_ leaves complete conviction that Joseph Smith taught that the
celestial bodies are in great groups, controlled (under gravitational
influence) by large suns. In this doctrine, he anticipated the world
of science by many years.

[Footnote A: Book of Abraham, chapter 3.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught that other worlds are inhabited.]

It is perhaps less surprising to find that Joseph Smith believed that
there are other peopled worlds than ours. For instance, "The reckoning
of God's time, angel's time, prophet's time, and man's time, is
according to the planet on which they reside,"[A] which distinctly
implies that other planets are inhabited. Another passage reads, "The
angels do not reside on a planet like this earth, but they reside in
the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire."[B]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 130:4.]

[Footnote B: Loc. cit., verses 6 and 7. See also 88:61.]

While the idea that the planets and stars may be inhabited is not at
all new, yet it is interesting to note that Joseph Smith taught as an
absolute truth that such is the case. Probably no other philosopher
has gone quite that far.

These brief quotations go to show that the doctrines of the Prophet of
the Latter-day Saints are in full accord with the views that
distinguish the new astronomy. It is also to be noted that in
advancing the theories of universal motion among the stars, and of
great stars or suns governing groups of stars, he anticipated by many
years the corresponding theories of professional astronomers.

In various sermons the Prophet dealt more fully with the doctrines
here set forth and showed more strongly than is done in his doctrinal
writings, that he understood perfectly the far reaching nature of his
astronomical teachings.

Did Joseph Smith teach these truths by chance? or, did he receive
inspiration from a higher power?

Chapter VII.


[Sidenote: The history of the world written in the rocks.]

God speaks in various ways to men. The stars, the clouds, the
mountains, the grass and the soil, are all, to him who reads aright,
forms of divine revelation. Many of the noblest attributes of God may
be learned by a study of the laws according to which Omnipotent Will
directs the universe.

Nowhere is this principle more beautifuly illustrated and confirmed
than in the rocks that constitute the crust of the earth. On them is
written in simple plainness the history of the earth almost from that
beginning, when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Yet, for centuries, men saw the rocks, their forms and their
adaptations to each other, without understanding the message written
in them. Only, as the wonderful nineteenth century approached, did the
vision open, and the interpretation of the story of the rocks become

[Sidenote: Water and heat among the shaping forces of the earth.]

How the earth first came into being has not yet been clearly revealed.
From the first, however, the mighty forces which act today, have
shaped and fashioned the earth and prepared it for man's habitation.
Water, entering the tiny cracks of the rocks, and expanding as, in
winter, it changed to ice, crumbled the mighty mountans; water,
falling as rain from the clouds, washed the rock fragments into the
low-lying places to form soil; the water in mighty rivers chiseled the
earth with irresistible force, as shown by the Grand Canyon of the
Colorado. The internal heat of the earth, aided by the translocation
of material by water, produced large cracks in the earth's crust,
through which oceans of molten matter flowed and spread themselves
over the land; the same heat appeared in volcanoes, through which were
spurted liquid earth, cinders and foul gases; as the earth heat was
lost, the crust cooled, contracted and great folds appeared,
recognized as mountains, and as time went on, many of the mountains
were caused to sink and the ocean beds were brought up in their stead.
Wonderful and mighty have been the changes on the earth's surface
since the Lord began its preparation for the race of men.

[Sidenote: The geological history of the earth is in many chapters.]

In the beginning, it appears that water covered the whole earth. In
that day, the living creatures of earth dwelt in the water, and it was
the great age of fishes and other aquatic animals. Soon the first land
lifted itself timidly above the surface of the ocean, and formed
inviting places for land animals and plants. Upon the land came,
first, according to the story of the rocks, a class of animals known
as amphibians, like frogs, that could live both in water and on land.
Associated with these creatures were vast forests of low orders of
plants, that cleared the atmosphere of noxious gases, and made it fit
for higher forms of life. Then followed an age in which the
predominating animals were gigantic reptiles, a step higher than the
amphibians, but a step lower than the class of Mammals to which man
belongs. During the age of these prehistoric monsters, the earth was
yet more fully prepared for higher life. Following the age of
reptiles, came the age of mammals, which still persists, though, since
the coming of man upon the earth, the geological age has been known as
the age of man.

This rapid sketch of the geological history of the earth does very
poor justice to one of the most complete, wonderful and beautiful
stories brought to the knowledge of man. The purpose of this chapter
is not, however, to discuss the past ages of the earth.

It is, of course, readily understood that such mighty changes as those
just described, and the succession of different kinds of organic life,
could not have taken place in a few years. Vast periods of time must
of necessity have been required for the initiation, rise, domination
and final extinction of each class of animals. A year is too small a
unit of measurement in geological time; a thousand years or, better, a
million years, would more nearly answer the requirements.

[Sidenote: The earth is probably millions of years old.]

It is possible in various ways to arrive at a conception of the age of
the earth since organic life came upon it. For instance, the gorge of
the Niagara Falls was begun in comparatively recent days, yet, judging
by the rate at which the falls are now receding, it must have been at
least 31,000 years since the making of the gorge was first begun, and
it may have been nearly 400,000 years.[A] Lord Kelvin, on almost
purely physical grounds, has estimated that the earth cannot be more
than 100,000,000 years old, but that it may be near that age.[B] It
need not be said, probably, that all such calculations are very
uncertain, when the actual number of years are considered; but, all
human knowledge, based upon the present appearance of the earth and
the laws that control known phenomena, agree in indicating that the
age of the earth is very great, running in all probability into
millions of years. It must have been hundreds of thousands of years
since the first life was placed upon earth.

[Footnote A: Dana's New Text Book of Geology, p. 375.]

[Footnote B: Lectures and Addresses, vol. 2, p. 10.]

[Sidenote: The war concerning the earth's age has helped theology and

When these immense periods of time were first suggested by students of
science, a great shout of opposition arose from the camp of the
theologians. The Bible story of creation had been taken literally,
that in six days did the Lord create the heavens and the earth; and it
was held to be blasphemy to believe anything else. The new revelation,
given by God in the message of the rocks, was received as a man-made
theory, that must be crushed to earth. It must be confessed likewise
that many of the men of science, exulting in the new light, ridiculed
the story told by Moses, and claimed that it was an evidence that the
writings of Moses were not inspired, but merely man-made fables.

The war between the Mosaic and the geological record of creation
became very bitter and lasted long, and it led to a merciless
dissection and scrutiny of the first chapter of Genesis, as well as of
the evidence upon which rests the geological theory of the age of the
earth. When at last the din of the battle grew faint, and the smoke
cleared away, it was quickly perceived by the unbiased on-lookers,
that the Bible and science had both gained by the conflict. Geology
had firmly established its claim, that the earth was not made in six
days of twenty-four hours each; and the first chapter of Genesis had
been shown to be a marvelously truthful record of the great events of

[Sidenote: The word day in Genesis refers to indefinite time periods.]

Moses, in the first chapter of Genesis, enumerates the order of the
events of creation. First, light was brought to the earth and was
divided from darkness, "and the evening and the morning were the first
day." Then the firmament was established in the midst of the waters,
"and the evening and the morning were the second day." After each
group of creative events, the same expression occurs, "and the evening
and the morning were the third [fourth, fifth, and sixth] days." Those
who insisted upon the literal interpretation of the language of the
Bible maintained that the word day, as used in Genesis 1, referred to
a day of twenty-four hours, and that all the events of creation were
consummated by an all-powerful God in one hundred and forty-four
earthly hours. An examination of the original Hebrew for the use of
the word translated "day" in Genesis, revealed that it refers more
frequently to periods of time of indefinite duration.[A] When this
became clear, and the records of the rocks became better known, some
theologians suggested, that as we are told that a thousand years are
as one day to God, the day of Genesis 1 refers to periods of a
thousand years each. This did not strengthen the argument. The best
opinion of today, and it is well-nigh universal, is that the Mosaic
record refers to indefinite periods of time corresponding to the great
divisions of historical geology.

[Footnote A: Compare The Mosaic Record of Creation, A. McCaul, D. D.,
p. 213.]

Even as late as the sixties and seventies of the last century this
question was still so unsettled as to warrant the publication of books
defending the Mosaic account of creation.[A]

[Footnote A: For instance Aids to Faith, containing McCaul's most able
discussion. The Origin of the World, J. W. Dawson.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith's teachings concerning creation found in the
Book of Abraham.]

In 1830, certain visions, given to the Jewish lawgiver Moses, were
revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. These visions are now
incorporated with other matter in the Pearl of Great Price, under the
title, The Book of Moses. In chapter two of this book is found an
account of the creation, which is nearly identical with the account
found in Genesis 1. The slight variations which occur tend only to
make the meaning of the writer clearer. In this account, the
expression "and the evening and the morning were the first [etc.]
day," occurs just as it does in the Mosaic account in the Bible. In
1835, certain ancient records found in the catacombs of Egypt fell
into the hands of Joseph Smith, who found them to be some of the
writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt. The translation of these
records is also found in the Pearl of Great Price, under the title,
The Book of Abraham. In the fourth and fifth chapters of the book is
found an account of the creation according to the knowledge of
Abraham. The two accounts are essentially the same, but the Abrahamic
version is so much fuller and clearer that it illumines the obscurer
parts of the Mosaic account. We shall concern ourselves here only with
the variation in the use of the word "day."

[Sidenote: The Book of Abraham conveys the idea that the creative
periods included much time.]

In Genesis 1:5 we read, "And God called the light Day, and the
darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the
fist day." The corresponding period is discussed in the Book of
Abraham 4:5 as follows: "And the Gods called the light Day, and the
darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening
until the morning they called night; and from the morning until the
evening they called day; _and this was the first, or the beginning, of
that which they called night and day."_

It is to be noted that in Abraham's version names were given to the
intervals between evening and morning, and morning and evening; but
absolutely nothing is said about a _first_ day: the statement is
simply made, that this was the beginning of the alternating periods of
light and darkness which _they,_ the Gods, had named night and day.
According to this version, the first creative period occupied an
unknown period of time.

In Genesis 1:8 it further says: "And God called the firmament Heaven.
And the evening and the morning were the second day."

The corresponding passage in the Book of Abraham 4:8, reads, "And the
Gods called the expanse Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from
evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that
it was from morning until evening that they called day, and this was
_the second time that they called night and day."_

Here it must be noted that nothing is said about a second day. It is
said that it was the second time that _they_ called day--which leaves
the second creative period entirely indefinite so far as time limits
are concerned.

In Genesis 1:13, it reads, "and the evening and the morning were the
third day."

In Abraham 4:13, the corresponding passage reads, "And it came to pass
that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they
called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening
they called day; and it was the third time."

Here it is explicitly stated that the Gods numbered the days;
evidently, they counted the days that had passed during the third
creative period, and it was the third time that the numbering had been
done. Again, the third creative period is left indefinite, as to time

Gen. 1:19, reads, "And the evening and the morning were the fourth

Correspondingly, in Abraham 4:19, is found, "And it came to pass that
it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to
pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it
was the fourth time."

This quotation from Abraham, standing alone, would be somewhat
ambiguous, for it might indicate that it was the fourth time that the
periods between evening and morning, and morning and evening were
called night and day. In the light of previous passages, however, the
meaning of the passage becomes clear. Certainly there is nothing in
the verse to confine the fourth creative period within certain time

The fifth day in Genesis closes as does the fourth; and the fifth time
in Abraham closes as does the fourth. The remarks made concerning the
fourth creative period apply to the fifth.

Concerning the sixth creative period, Gen. 1:31, says, "And God saw
everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the
evening and the morning were the sixth day."

Of the same period Abraham says, "And the Gods said: We will do
everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they
shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from morning
until evening that they called night; and it came to pass that it was
from evening until morning that they called day; and they numbered the
sixth time."

As in the previous periods, the sixth ended by the Gods numbering the
days of the creative period; the sixth period, like those preceding,
being indeterminate as to time.

Repeated reading and study of the Abrahamic account, as revealed
through Joseph Smith, make it certain beyond doubt that the intent is
to convey the idea that the creative periods included much time, and
that, at the end of each period, the measure of night and day, was
applied to the period, in order that its length might be determined.
Whether or not the different creative periods represented days to the
mighty beings concerned in the creation, we do not know, and it
matters little to the argument of this article.[A]

[Footnote A: The writer understands the creation, reported in Abraham,
4th chapter, to be spiritual in its nature; but he also believes that
this spiritual account is a perfect picture of the actual material
creation. If chapter 4 of Abraham represents the Gods planning
creation, the measuring of time becomes easily understood. It then
means, "How long will it take to accomplish the work?" All this,
however, has no bearing upon the present argument.]

Now, then, we must remember that Joseph Smith made this translation
long before the theologians of the world had consented to admit that
the Mosaic days meant long periods of time; and long before geology
had established beyond question that immense time periods had been
consumed in the preparation of the earth for man.

Joseph Smith, the humble, unlearned, despised boy, unfamiliar with
books and the theories of men, stated with clear and simple certainty,
if his works be read with the eye of candid truth, this fundamental
truth of geological science and the Bible, long before the learned of
the world had agreed upon the same truth.[A]

[Footnote A: It may be remarked that other geological doctrines were
taught by the Prophet, that science has since confirmed. One of these
was discussed by Dr. J.E. Talmage in the Improvement Era, Vol. 7, p.

Standing alone, this fact might be called a chance coincidence, a
result of blind fate. But recalling that it is one of many similar and
even more striking facts, what shall be said, Has ever impostor dared
what Joseph Smith did? Has ever false prophet lived beyond his
generation, if his prophecies were examined? Shall we of this foremost
age accept convincing, logical truth, though it run counter to our
preconceived notions? Glorious were the visions of Joseph the Prophet;
unspeakable would be our joy, should they be given to us.

Chapter VIII.


[Sidenote: A complete philosophy must consider living beings.]

The student of the constitution of the universe must take into account
living beings. Plants, animals and men are essentially different from
the mass of matter. The rock, apparently, is the same forever; but the
plant has a beginning, and after a comparatively short existence dies.
Animals and men, likewise, begin their earthly existence; then, after
a brief life, die, or disappear from the immediate knowledge of living

Man, the highest type of living things, differs from the rock,
moreover, in that he possesses the power to exercise his will in
directing natural forces. Animals and even plants seem to possess a
similar power to a smaller degree. The rock on the hillside is pulled
downward by gravitation, but can move only if the ground is removed
from beneath it by some external force. Man, on the other hand, can
walk up or down the hill, with or against the pull of gravity.

[Sidenote: Science teaches that all phenomena may be referred to
matter and ether in motion.]

Modern science refers all phenomena to matter and motion; in other
words, to matter and force or energy. In this general sense, matter
includes the universal ether, and force includes any or all of the
forces known, or that may be known, to man.

To illustrate: the electrician develops a current of electricity,
which to the scientist is a portion of the universal ether moving in a
certain definite manner. When the vibrations of the ether are caused
to change, light, or magnetism or chemical affinity may result from
the electricity. In every case, matter is in motion. The ear perceives
a certain sound. It is produced by the movements of the air. In fact,
sounds are carried from place to place by great air waves. The heat of
the stove is due to the rapid vibration of the molecules in the iron
of the stove, which set up corresponding vibrations in the ether.

In nature no exceptions have been found to the great scientific claim
that all natural phenomena may be explained by referring them to
matter in motion.[A] Variations in the kind of matter and the kind of
motion, lead to all the variations found in the universe.

[Footnote A: Tyndall, Fragments of Science, I. chaps. I and II.]

[Sidenote: Life is a certain form of motion.]

By many it has been held that life and its phenomena transcend the
ordinary explanations of nature. Yet, those who have learned, by
laborious researches, that the fundamental ideas of the universe are
only eternal matter, eternal energy and the universe-filling medium,
the ether, find it very difficult to conceive of a special force of
life, which concerns itself solely with very limited portions of
matter, and is wholly distinct from all other natural forces.

To the student of science it seems more consistent to believe that
life is nothing more than matter in motion; that, therefore, all
matter possesses a kind of life; and that the special life possessed
by plants, animals and man, is only the highest or most complex motion
in the universe. The life of man, according to this view, is
essentially different from the life of the rock; yet both are certain
forms of the motion of matter, and may be explained ultimately by the
same fundamental conceptions of science. Certainly, such an idea is
more beautifully simple than that of a special force of life, distinct
from all other natural forces.

It is argued by those who uphold this view, that the simple forces of
nature are converted by living things into the higher forces that
characterize life. For instance, to keep the human body, with its
wonderful will and intelligence, in health, it is necessary to feed
it. The food is actually burned within the body. The heat thus
obtained gives to the man both physical and intellectual vigor. It
would really appear, therefore, that heat, which is a well known,
simple physical force, may be converted by the animal body into other
and more complex forces, or modes of motion, such as the so-called
life force.

[Sidenote: A certain organization characterizes life.]

Naturally, should science class life as the highest or most complex of
the modes of material motion, the question would arise concerning the
manner in which this conversion were made possible. The answer must be
that the ultimate particles of the matter composing the living thing
are so arranged or organized that the great natural forces may be
converted into life force. It is possible by passing heat through
certain substances to make them luminous, thus converting heat into
light; by employing a dynamo, mechanical energy may be converted into
electrical energy; by coiling a wire around a rod of soft iron,
electricity may be converted into magnetism. In short, it is well
understood in science, that by the use of the right machines one form
of energy may be changed into another. It is generally assumed, that
the human body is so organized that the forces of heat, light and
undoubtedly others, may be converted into higher forms, peculiar to
living things.[A]

[Footnote A: Compare, Fiske, Outlines of Cosmic Philiosophy, chap.
XVI. Pearson, Grammar of Science, pp. 404-407. Dolbear, Matter, Ether
and Motion, chap. XI, pp. 294-297.]

[Sidenote: Protoplasm, a highly organized body, is always associated
with life.]

To substantiate this view, it may be recalled that the fundamental
chemical individual in living thing is a very complex, unstable
substance known as protoplasm. No living cell exists without the
presence of this substance. It is far from being known well, as yet,
but enough is known to enable science to say that it is composed of
several elements, so grouped and regrouped as to transcend all present
methods of research.[A] By means of this highly organized body, it is
assumed that the ordinary forces of nature are worked over and made
suited for the needs of the phenomena of life.

[Footnote A: Pearson, Grammar of Science, p. 408.]

The existence of the complex life-characteristic substance protoplasm,
renders probable the view that living things, after all, differ from
the rest of creation only in the kind and degree of their
organization, and that life, as the word is ordinarily used, depends
upon a certain kind or organization of matter,[A] which leads to a
certain kind of motion.

[Footnote A: Tyndall, Fragments of Science. II, chaps. IV and VI.]

As to the origin of the special organization called life, science has
nothing to say. Science is helpless when she deals with the beginning
of things. The best scientific explanation of life is that it is a
very complex mode of motion occasioned by a highly complex
organization of the matter and ether of the living body.

There are still some students who prefer to believe in the existence
of a special vital force, which is not subject to the laws that govern
other forces. This view, however, is so inconsistent with the modern
understanding of the contents of the universe that it has few

[Sidenote: The modern conception of life is very recent.]

The view that life is a special organization by which the great
natural forces are focussed and concentrated, so as to accomplish the
greatest works, necessarily implies a belief in the modern laws of
nature. Since modern science is of very recent development it was
quite improbable for such a conception of life to have been held
clearly before modern times. In fact it is within the last thirty or
forty years that these views have found expression among scientific

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught the universality of life.]

As observed in chapters two and three, Joseph Smith taught that the
energy of matter or of ether is a form of intelligence. If, according
to this doctrine, matter and ether are intelligent; then life also
must reside in all matter and ether. Hence everything in the universe
is alive. Further, since all force is motion, universal motion is
universal life. The difference between rock, plant, beast and man is
in the amount and organization of its life or intelligence. For
instance, in harmony with this doctrine, the earth must possess
intelligence or life. In fact the Prophet says "the earth......shall
be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be
quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is
quickened."[A] The statement that the earth shall die and shall be
quickened again, certainly implies that the earth possess life,
though, naturally, of an order wholly different from that of men or
other higher living things.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants 88:25, 26.]

[Sidenote: Man is coexistent with God.]

It is an established "Mormon" doctrine that man is coexistent with
God. Note the following statements: "Ye were also in the beginning
with the Father." "Man was also in the beginning with God.
Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither
indeed can be."[A] "Yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more
intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before,
they shall have no end, they shall exist after for they are

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants 93:23 and 29.]

[Footnote B: Book of Abraham 3:19.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught that man is organized from matter,
spirit and intelligence.]

In the account of the Creation, given in the Book of Abraham, it is
clearly stated that the Gods organized the earth and all upon it from
available materials, and as the fitting climax to their labors they
"went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of Gods to
form him."[A] The creation of man was in part at least the
organization of individuals from eternal materials and forces. The
nature of that organization is made partly clear by the Prophet when
he says "The spirit and the body are the soul of man."[B] The spirit
here referred to may be compared to the ether of science, vibrating
with the force of intelligence, which is the first and highest of the
many forces of nature. The body, similarly, refers to the grosser
elements, also fired with the universal energy--intelligence. The word
_Soul,_ in the above quotation, means man as he is on earth and is
used as in Genesis. Man, according to this, is composed of matter; the
spirit which may be likened to ether, and energy. The organization of
man at the beginning of our earth history, was only the clothing of
the eternal spiritual man with the matter which constitutes the
perishable body. In confirmation of this view note another statement,
"For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element,
inseparably connected, receiveth a fullness of joy, and when
separated, man can not receive a fullness of joy."[C] Here also it is
taught that man is composed of matter, spirit and energy.

[Footnote A: Book of Abraham, 4th chap. (Note verse 27.)]

[Footnote B: Doctrine and Covenants 88:15.]

[Footnote C: Doctrine and Covenants 93:33 and 34.]

[Sidenote: Intelligence is universal.]

President Brigham Young has left an interesting paragraph that
confirms the statement that according to "Mormon" doctrine, all matter
is intelligent, and that man is superior only because of his higher
organization. "Is this earth, the air and the water, composed of
life.....?......If the earth, air and water, are composed of life is
there any intelligence in this life?....Are those particles of matter
life; if so, are they in possession of intelligence according to the
grade of their organization?......We suggest the idea that there is an
eternity of life, an eternity of organization, and an eternity of
intelligence from the highest to the lowest grade, every creature in
its order, from the Gods to the animalculae."[A]

[Footnote A: The Resurrection, p. 3. Ed. of 1884.]

[Sidenote: Spirit unaided knows matter with difficulty.]

The statement that man can receive a fullness of joy only when spirit
and element are united, is of itself a scientific doctrine of high
import. This is a world of matter; and a spiritual man, that is one
made only of the universal ether, would not be able to receive fully
the impressions that come from the contact of element with element. To
enjoy and understand this world, it is necessary for the spirit to be
clothed with matter. The ether or spirit world is not within our
immediate view; and it is probable that the material world is far away
from purely spiritual beings.

[Sidenote: God is the Master-builder.]

This whole doctrine means that God is the organizer of worlds, and all
upon them. He is not the Creator of the materials and forces of the
universe, for they are eternal; He is the master buidler who uses the
simple elements of nature for his purposes. It is also plain that,
according to "Mormon" doctrine, there is no special life force. The
intelligence residing in a stone is in quality, as far as it goes, the
same as the intelligence possessed by man. But, man is so organized
that a greater amount of intelligence, a fullness of it, centers in
him, and he is as a consequence essentially and eternally different
from the stone. President Young also said, "The life that is within us
is a part of an eternity of life, and is organized spirit, which is
clothed upon by tabernacles, thereby constituting our present being,
which is designed for the attainment of further intelligence. The
matter comprising our bodies and spirits has been organized from the
eternity of matter that fills immensity."[A]

[Footnote A: Journal of Discourses, vol. 7:285. (Brigham Young.)]

[Sidenote: A lower intelligence cannot become a higher intelligence
except by disorganization.]

This doctrine does not permit of the interpretation that a lower
intelligence, such as that of an animal, may in time become the
intelligence of a man. "It remaineth in the sphere in which I, God,
created it."[A] The horse will ever remain a horse, though the
intelligence of the animal may increase. To make any of the
constituent parts or forces of an animal, part of the intelligence of
a man, it would be necessary to disorganize the animal; to organize
the elements into a man, and thus to begin over again.

[Footnote A: Book of Moses 3:9.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith anticipated science in the modern conception
of life.]

Men, beasts and plants--those beings that possess the higher life,
differ from inanimate nature, so called, by a higher degree of
organization. That is the dogma of "Mormonism," and the doctrine of
science. About 1831 Joseph Smith gave this knowledge to the world; a
generation later, scientific men arrived independently at the same

[Sidenote: The thinkers and writers of Mormonism have taught the
foregoing doctrine of life.]

The thinkers and writers of "Mormonism" have more or less directly
taught the same doctrine. Apostle Orson Pratt believed that the body
of man, both spiritual and earthly, was composed of atoms or ultimate
particles--of the Holy Spirit for the spiritual body and material
elements for the mortal body. It has already been shown that the Holy
Spirit of "Mormonism" may be compared with the ether of science,
vibrating with the greater force of the universe--intelligence. For
instance: "The intelligent particles of a man's spirit are by their
peculiar union, but one human spirit."[A] "Several of the atoms of
this spirit exist united together in the form of a person."[B]
Undoubtedly Elder Pratt believed that the living man is simply
organized from the elements and elementary forces of the universe.

[Footnote A: Absurdities of Immaterialism, ed. 1849, p. 26.]

[Footnote B: Ibid, p. 29.]

Perhaps the best and safest exposition of the philosophy of
"Mormonism" is Parley P. Pratt's Key to Theology. In it he states
definitely that the spirit of man is organized from the elementary
Holy Spirit. "The holiest of all elements, the Holy Spirit, when
organized in individual form, and clothed upon with flesh and bones,
contains, etc."[A] That the earthly body was likewise organized is
equally plain for he says "At the commencement--the elements--were
found in a state of chaos."[B] Then man was "moulded from the earth as
a brick."[C] Again, "The spirit of man consists of an organization of
the elements of spiritual matter,"[D] which finds entrance into its
tabernacle of flesh. In another place he defines creation by asking
"What is creation? Merely organization...... The material of which
this earth was made always did exist, and it was only an organization
which took place during the time spoken of by Moses."[E]

[Footnote A: Key to Theology, 5th ed., p. 46.]

[Footnote B: Ibid, p. 49.]

[Footnote C: Ibid, p. 51.]

[Footnote D: Ibid, p. 131.]

[Footnote E: Roberts, Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pp. 278, 279.]

Numerous other authorities might be quoted to prove that the above is
the "Mormon" view.[A]

[Footnote A: See especially the Prophet Joseph Smith's Sermon,
Contributor, vol. 4, pp. 256-268.]

In this chapter the intention has not been to explain fully the
doctrines of Joseph Smith relating to the nature of man, but to call
attention to the fact that the present scientific conception of the
nature of living things is the same as that of "Mormonism." That
"Mormonism" goes farther than science, and completes the explanation,
is to the credit of the Prophet.

It must not be forgotten that in stating the doctrine that man is
organized from the eternal elements and elementary forces of the
universe, in such a way as to produce the phenomena of higher life,
Joseph Smith anticipated the workers in science by nearly a

How wonderful was this boy-prophet of "Mormonism," if all this was
orginated within his own mind! At every point of contact, the sanest
of modern philosophy finds counterpart in the theological structure of
the Gospel as taught by Joseph Smith. Is the work divine?


Chapter IX.


[Sidenote: Faith is the assurance of the existence of "things not

For the government of the individual the first principle in Mormon
theology is faith. Joseph Smith defined faith in the words of the
Apostle Paul, "Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for; the
evidence of things not seen." To this the Prophet added "From this we
learn that faith is the assurance which men have of things which they
have not seen."[A] On this principle, with this definition, many young
persons who have ventured upon the sea of unbelief have wrecked the
religion of their childhood; for, the human mind, in some stages of
its development, is disinclined to accept as knowledge anything that
can not be sensed directly.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, Lecture I, verses 8, 9.]

Nowadays, the young doubter who can not accept as the foundation of
his religion "things which he has not seen," usually turns for comfort
and future growth to the results of science. There he finds truths
upon truths, glorious in their beauty and susceptibility to direct and
unmistakeable proof; and soon he declares that in so-called natural
science, there is no need of faith, for, if a person has only advanced
far enough, every concern of science may be known through one, two or
several senses.

[Sidenote: Such faith lies at the formation of science.]

It is true that in the beginning of science no faith seems to be
required; for every statement is based on experiments and observations
that may be repeated by every student; and nothing is "taken on
trust." As the deeper parts of science are explored, however, it is
soon discovered that in science as in theology, a faith in "things
that can not be seen," is an essential requisite for progress. In
fact, the fundamental laws of the great divisions of science deal with
realities that are wholly and hopelessly beyond the reach of man's
five senses.

[Sidenote: The molecules are beyond man's direct senses.]

An exposition of the fundamental conception of chemical science will
illustrate the nature of scientific faith. A fragment of almost any
substance may easily be divided into two or three pieces by a stroke
of a hammer. Each of the pieces may be broken into smaller pieces and
this process of division continued until the powder is as fine as
dust. Still, each particle of the dust may be divided again and again,
if we only have instruments fine enough to continue the process. A
question which philosophy asked itself near its beginning was: Is it
possible to keep on dividing the dust particles forever, or is there a
particle so small that it can not be divided again? Neither science
nor abstract philosophy has yet been able to answer this question
fully. However, science has learned that if such a process of division
occurs, in course of time a particle will be obtained which is so
small that if it is divided or broken, the fragments will no longer be
of the same nature as the original substance. These smallest particles
in which the properties of the original substance inhere, are known as
_molecules._ Thus a molecule of sugar, when broken, falls into the
elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; of salt, into sodium and
chlorine and of water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The size of such a molecule can not be comprehended by the human mind;
its smallness seems infinite. The mortal eye, though aided by the most
powerful miscroscopes of modern days could not distinguish a sugar
molecule or even a pile of thousands of them; placed on the tongue,
there would be no sensation of sweetness; though it were hurled
against our body with the velocity of lightning we should not feel the
impact. To all our senses, the molecule is wholly unknown and no doubt
shall remain so while the earth is as it is. Yet, no fact is better
established than the existence of the realities that we interpret as
molecules. Their relative weights and other properties have been
securely determined. The existence of such a particle is as certain as
is the existence of the sun in the high heavens.

[Sidenote: Science teaches the composition of the directly unknowable

Not only does science teach the existence of molecules; it looks
within them and reveals their composition. For instance, a molecule of
the sugar known as glucose, and used by candy makers, is made up of
six particles of the element carbon, twelve of the element hydrogen
and six of the element oxygen. The particles of carbon in the glucose
molecule are so small that if one were divided it would no longer be
carbon; the same with the particles of hydrogen and oxygen: if divided
they would change into something else--into what is not yet known to
man. These smallest particles are called _atoms_ of the elements
charcoal, hydrogen and oxygen. If instead of an atom of carbon,
hydrogen and oxygen, we write C, H, O, the composition of a molecule
of glucose would be written C_{6}H_{12}O_{6}. These are also
indisputable facts of science. If the molecules are far beyond the
range of our senses, the atoms are of course much further removed from
the known world.

[Sidenote: Science teaches the arrangements of the atoms within the

But the chemist does not stop here. He is able to state accurately how
the invisible, unsensed atoms are arranged within the unknowable
molecule. In nature are found several glucose-like sugars, the
molecules of which contain the same numbers of carbon, hydrogen and
oxygen atoms. The varying properties of these sugars have been found
to result from the different arrangements of the atoms within the
molecules. The structure of the molecules of three of the most common
sugars are as follows:

       I                 II                  III
    H2=C-OH           H2=C-O H             H2=C-OH
       |                 |                    |
    HO-C-H           H O-C-H               HO-C H
       |                 |                    |
    HO-C-H           H O-C-H                 HC-OH
       |                 |                    |
     H-C-O-H           H C-O H               HC-OH
       |                 |                    |
    HO-C-H               C=O               HO-CH
       |                 |                    |
     H-C=O             H C=O                H-C=O

[Footnote A: Dextrose and laevulose combine to form ordinary cane or
beet sugar. Dextrose and galactose combine to form the sugar found in

Referring to the above diagrams it will be observed that although each
arrangement contains the same number of atoms, yet, because of the
difference in arrangement, they are far from being identical. In fact,
the difference in the properties of the sugars may be referred to the
arrangement of the atoms in the molecules. This truth is one of the
most splendid achievements of modern science. All the facts, here
briefly outlined, are included in the atomic hypothesis, which is the
foundation of the modern science of chemistry.

[Sidenote: Science requires a strong faith in "things not seen."]

Science asks us to believe in the existence of particles, unknowable
to our senses, the molecules; then to believe in still smaller
particles, the atoms, which make up the molecules but whose relative
weights and general properties have been determined. Here, a faith is
required in "things that can not be seen," and in the properties of
these things. True, the scientist does not pretend to describe the
atoms in detail, he does not need to do that to establish the
certainty of their existence. He looks upon them as ultimate causes of
effects that he may note with his physical senses. Does theology
require more? Does any sane man in asking us to believe in God, for
instance, attempt to describe him in detail?

The scientist goes farther than this, however, for he asks us not only
to have faith in the invisible, untasteable, unfeelable atoms, but
also in the exact manner in which these atoms are arranged within the
molecule. True, it is claimed, only, that the relative arrangement is
known, yet the faith required still leads us far beyond the simple
faith in atoms. Has any man asked us to believe that he can describe
the structure of God's dwelling? No principle taught by Joseph Smith
requires a larger faith than this.

[Sidenote: The conception of the ether requires large faith.]

Not only in chemistry are such transcendent truths required. The
fundamental conception of physics requires, if possible, a larger
faith. The explanations of modern physics rest largely upon the
doctrine of the universal ether. This ether is everywhere present,
between the molecules and atoms; in fact the things of the universe
are, as it were, suspended in the ocean of ether. This ether is so
attenuated that it fills the pores of the human body without
impressing itself upon our consciousness, yet some of its properties
indicate that its elasticity is equal to that of steel. As shown in
chapter 5, the most eminent scientists of the day declare that the
existence of this world-ether is one of the few things of which men
may be absolutely sure. Yet the ether cannot be seen, heard, tasted,
smelled or felt. To our senses it has neither weight nor substance. To
believe the existence of this ether requires a faith which is
certainly as great as the greatest faith required by Mormon theology.

Numerous other illustrations might be cited, without greatly
emphasizing the truth that the great fundamental doctrines of science
require a great faith in realities that are beyond the reach of our

[Sidenote: Faith comes slowly and naturally.]

The great foundations of science have not come as a "great wakening
light," but have come slowly, through a process of normal, guided
growth. The first experiment was made, from which a simple conclusion
was drawn; the second experiment furnished a second conclusion; the
two results combined produced a third conclusion, and so on through
thousands of experiments and conclusions, until the brilliant
conceptions of modern science were attained. In short, the scientist
works very simply by careful observation of nature, "the earth and its
fullness," and by as careful reasoning from the observed facts. The
mind builds noble structures of the materials the senses bring. The
same method may be employed in gaining faith in the principles of
theology; and the Apostle Paul tells us distinctly that the
righteousness of God is revealed from "faith to faith," and that the
eternal power of God and the Godhead and "the invisible things of Him
from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are made." The scientist, likewise, begins with the
things that are made and proceeds "from faith to faith," gaining "here
a little, and there a little," until a faith is reached which, to him
who has not followed its growth, may seem absurd in its loftiness.

[Sidenote: Science cannot progress without faith.]

Certainly, no man can progress in science unless he has faith in the
great inductions of scientific men. Faith is as indispensable for
scientific progress as for theological advancement. In both cases it
is the great principle of action.

This subject merits more extended discussion, but the exposition of
the nature of faith is outside the argument running through these
chapters. It must be sufficient to remark again that Mormonism is
strictly scientific in stating as the first principle of the guidance
of the individual, that of faith in unseen things; for that is the
basic principle for the beginner in modern science.[A]

[Footnote A: Read for a fuller exposition, We walk by Faith,
Improvement Era, Volume 3, p. 561.]

Chapter X.


The second principle for the government of the individual, according
to Mormon theology, is repentance. So commonly has this principle been
discussed from its relation to moral law that its counterpart in all
human effort has often been overlooked.

[Sidenote: Repentance follows faith.]

To repent is first to turn from old practices. Thus, he who violates
any of God's laws renders himself liable to certain punishment, but,
if he repents, and sins no more, the punishments are averted.
Naturally, such a change of heart and action can come only after faith
has been established. No man will change a habit without a
satisfactory reason. In fact, all the actions of men should be guided
by reason. Repentance then is a kind of obedience or active faith; and
is great in proportion to the degree of faith possessed by the
individual. Certainly, the repentance of no man can transcend his
faith, which includes his knowledge.

[Sidenote: Scientific repentance follows scientific faith.]

So it is in science. For centuries, wounds of the body were treated
according to certain methods, assumed to be correct; and, especially
in time of war, large numbers of the patients died. Then it was found
that low forms of life--the bacteria--infected the wounds, and caused
the high mortality. This led to the antiseptic treatment in surgery,
which destroys germ life, and leaves the wound absolutely clean. As a
consequence the mortality from flesh and other wounds has diminished
remarkably. The medical profession repented, or turned away, from its
former methods, and the reward was immediately felt. However, before
antisceptic surgery was finally and fully established, faith in the
practice had to be awakened among the members of the profession. A
chemist, making refined analysis may apply a certain factor, assumed
to be correct in his calculations, but in reality incorrect. As a
result, the determinations are wrong. When later, the correct factor
is discovered, and applied, the results of the work become correct.
Repentance from the previous error, changes the chemist's work from
wrong to right. In fact, in any department of knowledge, when it is
discovered that a law of nature has been violated, it becomes
necessary, if further progress is desired, to cease the violation.
Should a scientist persist in violation of a known law, he knows that
the consequences, great or small will certainly follow.

[Sidenote: Repentance means adopting new habits; not simply turning
from old ones.]

To repent is more than to turn from incorrect practices. It implies
also the adoption of new habits. The man who has turned from his sins,
may learn of a law, which he has never violated, yet which if obeyed,
means progress for him. If he does not follow such a law, but remains
neutral in its presence, he certainly is a sinner. To repent from such
sin, is to obey each higher law as it appears. In the spiritual life,
it is impossible for the person who desires the greatest joy to remain
passive in the presence of new principles. He must embrace them; live
them; make them his own.

Not only must the worker in science turn from scientific error; he
must also accept new science as it is discovered. When the chemist,
working with the best known analytical methods, learns that a more
rapid or more accurate method has been found, he must adopt the new
fact, in order to make the results of his work more accurate. When the
chemists of a hundred years ago learned of the atomic hypothesis, it
became necessary to adopt it, in order to insure more rapid progress
in chemistry. Those who failed to accept the new doctrine worked in
greater darkness, and made no material progress. Newton's doctrine of
gravitation opened a new method of investigating the universe. Those
who did not adopt it were soon outdistanced by their more active


In every such case, the obedience yielded to the new knowledge is a
kind of repentance. When a person, in religion or science, ceases to
break law, he ceases from active evil; when he accepts a new law, he
ceases from passive evil. No repentance can be complete which does not
cease from both active and passive evil.

[Sidenote: Repentance is active faith.]

Viewed in this manner, then, repentance is obedience to law and is
active faith. The law, before it is obeyed, must be understood--that
is, faith must precede repentance. Therefore, the obedience yielded
can increase only with the knowledge or faith of the individual. As
the Prophet Joseph Smith stated it, "No man can be saved in ignorance"
and "a person is saved no faster than he gains intelligence."

Repentance is as truly the second principle of action for individuals,
in the domain of science as of theology.

Chapter XI.


A repentant man turns from previous violation of law, and accepts
every new law that may be revealed to him. Repentance is obedience;
and the repentant person is always ready to obey righteous laws.

Baptism is one of the laws of the Kingdom of God. "Except ye repent
and be baptized ye can in nowise enter the Kingdom of God." The
repentant person must of necessity accept this law with the others
with which he may be familiar.

[Sidenote: The equivalent of baptism found in science.]

Students of science, who agree that faith and repentance have a place
in science, frequently assert that the equivalent of baptism is not
found in external nature. This claim may be proved false by examining
the nature of law.

The chemist must frequently produce the gas hydrogen. To do it, an
acid must be poured upon fragments of certain metals. In thus
producing the gas, the chemist obeys law. The astronomer who studies
the stars discovers that by using a piece of glass properly ground,
his powers of vision appear to be strengthened. He therefore prepares
such lenses for his telescopes, and thus obeys law. The surgeon uses
antisceptics in the treatment of wounds because he has learned that
such application will destroy germ life, and thus the surgeon obeys
law. The electrician has found that by winding a wire in a certain
manner around iron and rotating it near a magnet, electric currents
are set up. He builds dynamos according to such principles, and thus
shows his obedience to law.

It must be noted that the scientist does not know just _why_ acid
added to metal produces hydrogen, or _why_ a certain curved lens
brings the stars nearer; or _why_ certain chemicals destroy low forms
of life or _why_ wire wound in a certain way when rotated in the
magnetic field will produce electricity. Nature requires, without
volunteering an explanation, that to produce hydrogen, see the stars,
destroy germs and produce the electric current, certain invariable
laws must be obeyed.

Baptism is essentially of the same nature. To enter the Kingdom of
God, a person must be baptized. Just _why_ baptism should be the
ordinance that opens the door, no man knows. It undoubtedly has high
symbolic value; but the symbolism might be expressed in many other
ways. All that man can do is to obey.

[Sidenote: It is unreasonable to do only what is fully understood.]

Men say at times that they will do nothing which they do not fully
understand, and therefore they will not be baptized. It would be as
unreasonable for a man to say that because he does not fully
understand why a certain winding of the wire is necessary to produce
electricity he will not produce this wonderful natural force. All
theology and all science contain laws that must be obeyed in order to
obtain certain results, although the full reasons for the required
combinations are not understood.

He who is baptized, enters the Kingdom of God. He who throws acid on
metal enters the kingdom of hydrogen; he who grinds the lens right,
enters the kingdom of the stars; he who uses antisceptics right,
enters the kingdom of lower life, and he who winds the wire correctly,
enters the kingdom of electricity. Yielding obedience to any of these
various laws, is a form of baptism, which gives entrance to a kingdom.

[Sidenote: Baptism is obedience to law.]

The essential virtue of baptism is obedience to law. The prime value
of any natural law is attained only after obedience has been yielded
to it. Baptism is conformity to certain details in entering God's
Kingdom. Scientific baptism is conformity to certain details in
entering the kingdom of science. Only by baptism can a man attain
salvation; only by using lenses of the right curvature can a man view
the stars. Religious success does not rest in the degree to which
every law is explained; but rather in the degree to which all known
laws are obeyed. Scientific success does not rest upon the degree to
which every law is explained; but rather in the degree to which every
discovered law is obeyed and applied for man's advancement.

In science and in theology man must be content "to see through a
glass, darkly." Until the essential nature of infinitude itself shall
be understood, man must be content to learn to use unexplained laws.
Science is the great explainer, but she explains relations and not the
absolute foundations of phenomena.

After faith or knowledge has been obtained, the alpha and omega of
religious or scientific progress is obedience. The cry of universal
nature is, Obedience!

Viewed rationally, therefore, the baptism taught in theology is an
ordinance which has its counterpart in every department of science.
Joseph Smith was strcitly scientific in classing baptism as the third
great principle governing human action.

Chapter XII.


[Sidenote: The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift of intelligence.]

Baptism by water is insufficient to open the door to God's Kingdom.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost, obtained by the laying on of Hands by one
having authority, completes the ordinance. Not only Joseph Smith, but
the Savior Himself taught distinctly that to enter the Kingdom of God,
a person must be baptized by water and by fire; and the promise is
given that those are "baptized by water for the remission of sins,
shall receive the Holy Ghost."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 84:63, 64.]

Jesus, speaking to His disciples, taught that "the Comforter, which is
the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach
you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I
have said unto you."[A] This clearly implies that the promised gift is
essentially a gift of increased intelligence with the added power that
results from a more intelligent action. That this is the Mormon view
of the effect of the Gift of the Holy Ghost may be amply demonstrated
from the standard works of the Church and from the writings of the
leading interpreters of Mormon doctrine. Parley P. Pratt in the Key to
Theology says, "It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases,
enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affection
* * * *. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical
and intellectual man."[B] The Prophet Joseph Smith declared "This
first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure
intelligence. It is * * * * powerful in expanding the mind,
enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present
knowledge."[C] Concisely expressed, therefore, Joseph Smith and the
Church he restored, teach that the Gift of the Holy Ghost, is a gift
of "intelligence."

[Footnote A: John 14:26.]

[Footnote B: Key to Theology, 5th ed., pp. 101, 102.]

[Footnote C: History of the Church, Vol. III, p. 380.]

[Sidenote: Science furnishes an equivalent of the gift of the Holy

If the equivalents of faith, repentance and baptism are irrevocable
laws for the individual who studies science, the question arises, Is
there also, a scientific equivalent for the Gift of the Holy Ghost?
Even a superficial view of the matter will reveal such an equivalent.
To use again the illustrations employed in the preceding chapter, if
the chemist has obeyed natural law in producing hydrogen, that is, has
been baptized into the kingdom of hydrogen, he may by the proper use
and study of the gas obtained, add much to his knowledge. He may learn
that it is extremely light; that it forms an explosive mixture with
air; that it will destroy many vegetable colors, and will burn with an
almost invisible flame. Thus, the possession of the gas enlarges the
knowledge and develops the intelligence of the scientist. Is not this
another form of the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

The man who is baptized into the kingdom of heavenly bodies by
grinding the lenses right, is enabled to learn many new facts
concerning the nature and motions of celestial bodies; and thus
receives intelligence. He who obediently winds the wire correctly
around the iron core, may generate a current of electricity with which
many mighty works may be accomplished. Do not these men, as their
intelligences are expanded, receive a Gift of the Holy Ghost, as a
reward for their obedience to the demands of nature?

It would be possible to carry the comparisons into every scientific
action without strengthening the argument. In science, if a person has
faith, repentance and is baptized, that is obeys, he will receive
added intelligence, which is the equivalent of the Gift of the Holy
Ghost as taught in theology. The four fundamental laws for the
guidance of the individual are identical in Mormon theology, and in
modern science.

Just why the laying on of hands should be necessary to complete the
ordinance of baptism is not known, any more than the reasons are known
for the results that follow the numberless relations that may be
established by mortal man. However, the dogma of the Gift of the Holy
Ghost, is logically the fourth step in attaining scientific salvation.

Thus, each of the minor laws of Mormonsim might be investigated, and
be shown to have a scientific counterpart. For the purpose of this
volume, however, a more extended consideration of the laws governing
the actions of the individual, is unnecessary.

Chapter XIII.


It has already been remarked that the nature of the mission of Joseph
Smith made it unlikely that references to scientific matters, and much
less to isolated scientific facts, obtainable by proper methods of
experimentation should be found in the writings of the Prophet.
Nevertheless, in a revelation given March 8, 1883, statements are made
that can now be connected with facts of science, not generally or not
at all known, at the time the revelation was received.

"Inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, it is
not good, * * * strong drinks are not for the belly but for the
washing of your bodies."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 89:5, 7.]

[Sidenote: The doctrine that alcohol is injurious to man is

At the time this was written, many persons believed that the use of
alcoholic drinks was injurious to human health; but more, especially
among the uneducated classes, held quite the opposite opinion. Since
that day, the question concerning the value of alcohol in any form has
been greatly agitated, and much new light has been obtained. This is
not the place to examine this famous controversy, but a few quotations
from authoritative books, which are not controversial in their nature,
will show the coincidence between the position of science, and the
doctrine of Joseph Smith, in respect to this matter.

The _United States Dispensatory_ (17th ed.) speaks of the medicinal
properties of alcohol as follows, "It is irritant even to the skin,
and much more so to the delicate organs; hence, the various abdominal
inflammations that are so frequent in habitual drunkards. A single
dose of it, if large enough, may produce death. The nervous symptoms
caused by alcohol show that it has a very powerful and direct
influence upon the nerve-centers. The arterial pressure and the
pulse-rate are both increased by moderate doses of alcohol, by a
direct influence upon the heart itself. * * * Taken habitually in
excess, alcohol produces the most deplorable results, and is a very
common cause of fatal maladies."[A]

[Footnote A: Page 129, art., Alcohol Ethylicum.]

Dr. W. Gilman Thompson in his authoritative book on _Practical
Dietetics,_ speaking of the constant use of alcoholic beverages, says,
"The use of alcohol in any shape is wholly unnecessary for the use of
the human organism in health. * * * * The lifelong use of alcohol in
moderation does not necessarily shorten life or induce disease in some
persons, while in others it undoubtedly produces gradual and permanent
changes which tend to weaken vital organs so that the resistance of
the body to disease is materially impaired. * * * * Many persons
should be particularly warned against the use of alcohol. * * * *
Although alcohol is such a strong force-producer and heat-generator,
its effect in this direction is very soon counter-balanced by its
stronger influence in lowering the general tone of the nervous system
and in producing positive degeneration in the tissues."[A]

[Footnote A: Pages 206, 207.]

The recent newspaper statements that alcohol has been shown to be a
food are based on a complete misunderstanding. The experiments
demonstrated that alcohol is burned within the body--which is the
simplest manner in which the body can rid itself of the alcohol.

No more authoritative opinions on this subject can be found than those
contained in the two volumes from which quotations have been made--and
the strongest opinions are not quoted. In spite of the isolated claims
made for alcohol, the fact remains that the knowledge of the world
indicates that alcohol is a poison to the human system; that it is not
"for the belly." However, the value of the external use of alcohol,
for various purposes, has never been denied. On the contrary almost
every up to date practitioner recommends the external use of alcohol,
as for instance after baths for lowering the temperature of fever
patients. In this matter, then, Joseph Smith was in perfect harmony
with the latest results of science. It is strange that he, unlearned
as he was, should have stated what is now known as truth, so clearly
and simply, yet so emphatically, more than seventy years ago, before
the main experiments on the effect of alcohol on the human organsim
had been made.

[Sidenote: The doctrine that tobacco is injurious to man is

"And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is
not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to
be used with judgment and skill."[A] Although tobacco has been used
for several centuries by civilized man, the real cause of the effect
which it has upon the human body was not understood until the early
part of the last century. In 1809, a chemist separated from tobacco an
active principle, in an impure state, some of the properties of which
he observed. In 1822, two other chemists succeeded in isolating the
same principle, in a pure condition, and found it to be a colorless,
oily liquid, of which two to eight per cent is found in all tobacco.
This substance has been called nicotine; later investigations have
shown it to be one of the most active poisons known. Tobacco owes its
activity entirely to this poison."[B]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 89:8.]

[Footnote B: Wormley, Micro-chemistry of Poisons, 2nd ed., pp. 434,

The intensely poisonous nature of nicotine is illustrated by a number
of cases on record. One drop placed on the tongue of a cat caused
immediate prostration, and death in seventy-eight seconds. A smaller
drop was placed on the tongue of another cat, which resulted in death
after two minutes and a half. A third cat to which a similar quantity
had been administered was dead after seventy-five seconds. A man who
was accustomed to smoking took a chew of tobacco, and after a quarter
of an hour accidently swallowed the mass. An hour later he became
unconscious and died. In another case, in which an ounce of tobacco
had been swallowed, death resulted in seven hours. In still another
case, one ounce of tobacco was boiled in water, and the solution drunk
as an remedy for constipation. The patient died in three quarters of
an hour.[A] These, and numerous other cases, illustrate the intensely
poisonous nature of tobacco. The evil effects of the repeated use of
small amounts of tobacco, in smoking or chewing are also well

[Footnote A: Ibid, pp. 436, 437.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith probably did not know the poisonous nature of
tobacco in 1833.]

It was in 1828, about five years before Joseph Smith's doctrine with
respect to tobacco was given, that nicotine was obtained in a pure
state. Many years later the chemists and physiologists learned to
understand the dangerous nature of the tobacco poison. It does not
seem probable that Joseph Smith had heard of the discovery of nicotine
in 1833; the discovery was announced in a German scientific journal,
and in those days of few newspapers, scientific news, even of public
interest, was not made generally known as quickly as is the case
today. In fact, Hyrum Smith, the brother of the Prophet, on May 29,
1842, delivered a sermon upon the Word of Wisdom in which he says,
"Tobacco is a nauseous, stinking, abominable thing;"[A] but nothing
worse, thus basing his main objection to it on the revealed word of
the Lord. Had Joseph and his associates been familiar with the
isolation of nicotine and its properties, they would undoubtedly have
mentioned it in sermons especially directed against the use of
tobacco. In any case, at a time when it was but vaguely known that
tobacco contained a poisonous principle, it would have been extremely
hazardous for the reputation of an impostor to have claimed a
revelation from God, stating distinctly the injurious effects of

[Footnote A: The Contributor, vol. iv., p. 13; Improvement Era, Vol.
4. pp. 943-9.]

It should also be noted that Joseph Smith says that when tobacco is
used for bruises and all sick cattle, it should be used with judgment
and skill, thus impressing caution even in the external application of
the herb. This is fully borne out by facts, for it has been found that
"the external application of tobacco to abraded surfaces, and even to
the healthy skin, has been attended with violent symptoms, and even

[Footnote A: Wormley, Micro-chemistry of Poisons, p. 436.]

In the matter of the chemistry and physiological action of tobacco,
then, the Prophet, in 1833, was in full accord with the best knowledge
of 1908. In the emphasis of his doctrine, he even anticipated the
world of science.

"And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 89:9.]

[Sidenote: The doctrine that tea and coffee are injurious to man is

When this statement was made, in 1833, the meaning of the expression
hot drinks was not clearly understood. Many believed that the only
meaning of the above statement was that drinks that are hot enough to
burn the mouth should not be used. Others, however, claimed for the
doctrine a deeper meaning. To settle the difficulty, appeal was made
to Joseph Smith who explained that tea, coffee and similar drinks were
meant by the expression hot drinks. From that time on, the Church has
taught that tea and coffee should not be used by mankind.[A]

[Footnote A: See The Contributor, vol. iv. p. 13; Improvement Era, vol
4, pp. 943-9.]

In the year 1821, several chemists isolated from coffee a bitter
principle, of peculiar properties, which was named caffein. In 1827,
the same substance was found to occur in tea. Numerous analysis show
that there are between one and two per cent of caffein in coffee, and
between three and six percent in tea. Later investigations have shown
that caffein belongs to the vegetable poisons, and that its poisonous
action is very strong.

Among the medical properties of caffein are the following, "in doses
of three to five grains, it produces a peculiar wakefulness--after a
dose of twelve grains, it produces intense physical restlessness and
mental anxiety. Upon the muscles it acts as a powerful poison--it is
used in medicines as a brain and heart stimulant."[A] Fatal cases of
poisoning are also on record.

[Footnote A: U. S. Dispensatory, 17th ed., pp. 278 and 279.]

Caffein is not in any sense a food, but, as a stimulant, must be
classed with tobacco, opium and other similar substances. Owing to its
action on the heart and circulation, the body becomes heated, and in
that sense a solution of caffein is a "hot drink." The use of tea and
coffee in health is now generally condemned by the best informed
persons in and out of the medical profession. Dr. W. Gilman Thompson
says, "The continuance of the practice of drinking coffee to keep
awake soon results in forming a coffee or tea habit, in which the
individual becomes a slave to the beverage. * * * Muscular tremors are
developed, with nervousness, anxiety, dread of impending evil,
palpitation, heartburn, dyspepsia and insomnia. * * * It produces
great irritability of the whole nervous system and one may even
overexcite the mind."[A] While it is true that one cup of coffee or
tea does not contain enough caffein to injure the system, yet the
continual taking of these small doses results in a weakening of the
whole system, that frequently leads to premature death.

[Footnote A: Practical Dietetics, p. 199.]

The U. S. Consular and Trade Report for January, 1906,[A] warns
against the use of coffee in the following words, "The important
connection between consumption of coffee and epilepsy which deserves
to be known everywhere, serves as a warning to be extremely careful
with coffee made of beans containing caffein, and at any rate,
children should be deprived of it entirely, otherwise their health
will be exposed to great danger."

[Footnote A: Page 249.]

Besides caffein, both tea and coffee contain an astringent known as
tannic acid. In coffee this substance is present only in small
quantity, but in tea from four to twelve per cent occurs. Tannic acid
is the substance found in oak bark, and has the property of making
animal tissues hard--that is, makes leather of them. The habitual tea
drinker subjects the delicate lining of the stomach and intestines to
the action of this powerful drug.

Without going into further details, it is readily seen that the
teachings of Joseph Smith, in 1833, in relation to the value of tea
and coffee in human drinks, harmonizes with the knowledge of today.
Moreover, he was in advance, in the certainty of his expressions, of
the scientists of his day. It is true that caffein had been found in
coffee and tea a few years before the revelation of 1833, but the
physiological action of the drug was not known until many years
afterwards. Besides, as in the case of tobacco, the Church leaders in
speaking against the use of tea and coffee did not mention the
poisonous principle that had recently been discovered in them; thus
revealing their ignorance of the matter.

[Sidenote: The doctrines regarding the values of herbs and fruits
harmonize with recent scientific truths.]

"And again, * * * all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the
constitution, nature, and use of man. Every herb in the season
thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used
with prudence and thanksgiving."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants 89:10, 11.]

This doctrine, which seems self-evident now, also evidences the divine
inspiration of the Prophet Joseph. At the time this revelation was
given, food chemistry was not understood; and, in fact, it was not
until about 1860, that the basis upon which rests our knowledge of
food chemistry, was firmly established. We now know that every plant
contains four great classes of compounds: mineral substances, fats,
sugars and starches, and protein, or the flesh-forming elements. We
further know that no plant can live and grow without containing these
groups of nutrients. It is also well understood that these substances
are necessary for the food of the animal body, and that animal tissues
are, themselves, composed of these groups, though in different
proportions. In short, it has long been an established fact of science
that any plant that does not contain a poisonous principle, may by
proper cooking be used as a food for man.

When Joseph Smith wrote, this was a daring suggestion to make, for
there was absolutely no fact aside from popular experience, upon which
to base the conclusion. The qualifying phrase, "all wholesome herbs,"
undoubtedly refers to the existence of classes of plants like coffee,
tea, tobacco, etc., which contain some special principle injurious to
the health.

[Sidenote: The doctrine concerning the use of meats is scientific.]

"Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord,
have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they
are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should
not be used only in times of winter, or of cold, or of famine."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 89:12, 13.]

The breadth of this doctrine lies in the fact that it is not
absolutely forbidden to eat meat, as in all probability a fanatic,
guided by his own wisdom, might have done; yet it must be observed,
the implication is clear that it is possible for man to live without
meat. Vegetarianism had been taught and practiced long before the days
of Joseph Smith; but there had been no direct, positive proof that
plants contain all the substances necessary for the sustenance of
life. As stated above, it is now known that every class of nutritive
substance found in meat is also found in plants. This is in full
harmony with the implied meaning of Joseph Smith in the statement
regarding the abstaining from meat.

[Sidenote: The distinction between the values of grains is also

"All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the
staff of life. * * * All grain is good for the food of man, as also
the fruit of the vine, that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the
ground or above the ground. Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for
the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine,
and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals,
and for mild drinks, as also other grain."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 89:14, 16 and 17.]

The first part of this teaching, that all grain can be used by man and
beast, corresponds to the earlier statement that all wholesome plants
may be used by man. The latter part respecting the best grain for
certain classes of animals, is of a different nature and merits
special consideration. As already mentioned, all plants and plant
parts contain four great groups of nutritive substances. The relative
proportions of these grains are different in different plants or plant
parts. For instance, wheat contains about 71.9 per cent of starch and
sugar; corn, 70.2 per cent; oats, 59.7 per cent; rye, 72.5 per cent;
and barley, 69.8 per cent. Wheat contains about 11.9 per cent of
protein or the flesh-forming elements; corn, 11.4 per cent; oats, 11.8
per cent; rye, 10.6 per cent; and barley 12.4 per cent.[A] It has
further been demonstrated that a man or beast doing heavy work,
requires a larger proportion of starch and sugar in his dietary than
does one which has less work to do. Likewise, different classes of
animals require different proportions of the various nutrients, not
only through life but at the various periods of their lives. This
principle has been recognized so fully that during the last
thirty-five or forty years the attention of experimenters has been
directed toward the elucidation of laws which would make known the
best combinations of foods for the various classes of farm animals, as
well as for man. It must also be remarked that recent discoveries in
science are showing more deep-seated differences in the composition of
grains, than those here mentioned, as also corresponding differences
in various classes of animals. Science will soon throw more light on
this subject, and in all probability will confirm the views of Joseph
Smith, with respect to the grain best adapted to certain animals.

[Footnote A: The Feeding of Animals, Jordan, p. 424.]

A thoughtful reading of the above quotation clearly shows that Joseph
Smith recognized the fundamental truth of food chemistry; namely, that
while all plants contain the elements necessary for animal growth, yet
the proportions of these elements are so different as to make some
plants better adapted than others to a certain class of animals. That
the "Mormon" prophet should have enunciated this principle from twenty
to thirty years in advance of the scientific world, must excite wonder
in the breast of any person, be he follower or opponent of Joseph

The discussion of the important statements made in section 89 of the
book of _Doctrine and Covenants,_ might be elaborated into a volume.
The merest outline has been given here. The physiological teachings of
the prophet concerning work, cleanliness and sleep, might also be
considered with profit.

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith anticipated the world of science in the word
of wisdom.]

To summarize the contents of this chapter: Joseph Smith clearly
recognized and taught the physiological value of alcohol, tobacco,
anticipated the tea and coffee, at a time when scientific world of
science discoveries were just beginning to reveal the active
principles of these commodities. The probability is that he knew
nothing of what the world of science was doing in this direction, at
the time the doctrine was taught. Joseph Smith clearly recognized and
taught the fundamental truths of food chemistry, and the food relation
of vegetable products to man, nearly a generation before scientists
had arrived at the same doctrine. Whence came his knowledge?


Chapter XIV.


[Sidenote: Whence? Where?]

To every intelligence the question concerning the purpose of all
things must at some time present itself. Every philosophical system
has for its ultimate problem the origin and the destiny of the
universe. Whence? Where?--the queries which arise before every human
soul, and which have stimulated the truth-seekers of every age in
their wearisome task of searching out nature's laws. Intelligent man
cannot rest satisfied with the recognition of the forces at work in
the universe, and the nature of their actions; he must know, also, the
resultant of the interaction of the forces, or how the whole universe
is affected by them; in short, man seeks the law of laws, by the
operation of which, things have become what they are, and by which
their destiny is controlled. This law when once discovered, is the
foundation of religion as well as of science, and will explain all

[Sidenote: The only rational philosophy is based on science.]

It was well toward the beginning of the last century before
philosophical doctrines rose above mere speculation, and were based
upon the actual observation of phenomena. As the scientific method of
gathering facts and reasoning from them became established, it was
observed that in all probability the great laws of nature were
themselves controlled by some greater law. While many attempts have
been made to formulate this law, yet it must be confessed, frankly,
that only the faintest outline of it is possesesd by the world of

The sanest of modern philosophers, and the one who most completely
attempted to follow the method of science in philosophical writings,
was Herbert Spencer. Early in his life, he set himself the task of
constructing a system of philosophy which should be built upon man's
reliable knowledge of nature. A long life permitted him to realize
this ambition. Though his works are filled with conclusions which
cannot be accepted by most men, yet the facts used in his reasoning
are authentic. By the world at large, the philosophy of Herbert
Spencer is considered the only philosophy that harmonizes with the
knowledge of today.

[Sidenote: All things are continually changing.--This is the
foundation of evolution.]

After having discussed, with considerable fullness, the elements of
natural phenomena, such as space, time, matter, motion and force, Mr.
Spencer concludes that all evidence agrees in showing that "every
object, no less than the aggregate of objects, undergoes from instant
to instant some alteration of state."[A] That is to say that while the
universe is one of system and order, no object remains exactly as it
is, but changes every instant of time.

[Footnote A: First Principles, p. 287.]

In two directions only can this ceaseless change affect an object; it
either becomes more complex or more simple; it moves forward or
backward; it grows or decays. In the words of Spencer, "All things are
growing or decaying, accumulating matter or wearing away, integrating
or disintegrating."[A] This, then, is the greatest known fundamental
law of the universe, and of all things in it--that nothing stands
still, but either progresses (evolution), or retrogrades
(dissolution). Now, it has been found that under normal conditions all
things undergo a process of evolution; that is, become more complex,
or advance.[B] This, in its essence, is the law of evolution, about
which so much has been said during the last fifty years. Undoubtedly,
this law is correct, and in harmony with the known facts of the
universe. It certainly throws a flood of light upon the phenomena of
nature; though of itself, it tells little of the force behind it, in
obedience to which it operates.

[Footnote A: Loc. cit., p. 292.]

[Footnote B: Loc. cit., p. 337.]

Spencer himself most clearly realized the insufficiency of the law of
evolution alone, for he asks, "May we seek for some all-pervading
principle which underlies this all pervading process!"[A] and proceeds
to search out this "all-pervading principle" which at last he
determines to be the persistence of force--the operation of the
universal, indestructible, incomprehensible force, which appears as
gravitation, light, heat, electricity, magnetism, chemical affinity
and in other forms.[B]

[Footnote A: First Principles, p. 408.]

[Footnote B: Loc. cit., p. 494.]

[Sidenote: Evolution does not admit a final death.]

A natural question now is, Is there any limit to the changes undergone
by matter, and which we designate as evolution? "Will they go on
forever? or will there be an end to them?"[A] As far as our knowledge
goes, there is an end to all things, a death which is the greatest
known change, and as far as human experience goes, all things tend
toward a death-like state of rest. That this rest is permanent is not
possible under law of evolution; for it teaches that an ulterior
process initiates a new life; that there are alternate eras of
evolution and dissolution. "And thus there is suggested the conception
of a past during which there have been successive evolutions analogous
to that which is now going on; and a future during which successive
other such evolutions may go on ever the same in principle but never
the same in concrete result."[B] This is practically the same as
admitting eternal growth.

[Footnote A: Loc. cit., p. 496.]

[Footnote B: Loc. cit., p. 550.]

The final conclusion is that "we can no longer contemplate the visible
creation as having a definite beginning or end, or as being isolated.
It becomes unified with all existence before and after; and the force
which the universe presents falls into the same category with space
and time, as admitting of no limitation in thought."[A]

[Footnote A: Loc. cit., p. 564.]

[Sidenote: Spirit and matter are alike.]

It is interesting to note the conclusion concerning spirit and matter,
to which Mr. Spencer is led by the law of evolution. "The materialist
and spiritualist controversy is a mere war of words, in which the
disputants are equally absurd--each thinking that he understands that
which it is impossible for any man to understand. Though the relation
of subject and object renders necessary to us these antithetical
conceptions of spirit and matter; the one is no less than the other to
be regarded as but a sign of the Unknown Reality which underlies

[Footnote A: First Principles, pp. 570 and 572.]

While the law of evolution, as formulated by Spencer and accepted by
the majority of modern thinkers, is the nearest approach to the truth
possessed by the world of science, yet there is no disposition on the
part of the writer to defend the numerous absurdities into which
Spencer and his followers have fallen when reasoning upon special

[Sidenote: Evolution and natural selection do not necessarily go

Many years before Mr. Spencer's day, it had been suggested, vaguely,
that advancement seemed to be the great law of nature. Students of
botany and zoology were especially struck by this fact, for they
observed how animals and plants could be made to change and improve
under favorable conditions, by the intervention of man's protection.
In 1859, Mr. Charles Darwin published a theory to account for such
variation, in which he assumed that there is a tendency on the part of
all organisms to adapt themselves to their surroundings, and to change
their characteristics, if necessary, in this attempt. He further
showed that in the struggle for existence among animals and plants,
the individual best fitted for its environment usually survives. These
facts, Mr. Darwin thought, led to a process of natural selection, by
which, through long ages, deep changes were caused in the structure of
animals. In fact, Darwin held that the present-day plants and animals
have descended from extinct and very different ancestors.[A] The
experiences of daily life bear out the assertion that organic forms
may be changed greatly--witness the breeding of stock and crops,
practiced by all intelligent farmers--and all in all the theory seemed
so simple that numerous biologists immediately adopted it, and began
to generalize upon it. Having once accepted the principle that the
present-day species have descended from very unlike ancestors, it was
easy to assume that all organic nature had descended from one common
stock. It was claimed that man, in a distant past, was a monkey; still
earlier, perhaps, a reptile; still earlier a fish, and so on. From
that earliest form, man had become what he is by a system of natural
selection. In spite of the absence of proofs, such ideas became
current among the scientists of the day. In this view was included, of
course, the law of evolution or growth, and thus, too, the law became
associated with the notion that man has descended from the lower
animals. In fact, however, the law of evolution is just as true,
whether or not Darwin's theory of natural selection be adopted.

[Footnote A: Origin of Species, p. 6.]

In justice to Darwin, it should be said that he in nowise claimed that
natural selection was alone sufficient to cause the numerous changes
in organic form and life; but, on the contrary, held that it is only
one means of modification.[A]

[Footnote A: Origin of Species, p. 6; also Darwin and After Darwin
Romanes, Vol. II. pp. 2-6.]

Professor Huxley, who, from early manhood, was an eminent and ardent
supporter of the Darwinian hypothesis frankly says, "I adopt Mr.
Darwin's hypothesis, therefore, subject to the production of proof
that physiological species may be produced by selective breeding; and
for the reason that it is the only means at present within reach of
reducing the chaos of observed facts to order."[A] After writing a
book to establish the descent of man from apes, Professor Huxley is
obliged to confess that "the fossil remains of man hitherto discovered
do not seem to take us appreciably nearer to that lower pithecoid
form, by the modification of which he has, probably, become what he

[Footnote A: Man's Place in Nature, p. 128.]

[Footnote B: Loc. cit., p. 183.]

This is not the place to enter into this famous controversy. The
relation of the theory of natural selection to the law of evolution is
not established; that man and the great classes of animals and plants
have sprung from one source is far from having been proved; that the
first life came upon this earth by chance is as unthinkable as ever.
Even at the present writing, recent discoveries have been reported
which throw serious doubt upon natural selection as an all-sufficient
explanation of the wonderful variety of nature. The true scientific
position of the Darwinian hypothesis is yet to be determined.

The moderate law of evolution which claims that all normal beings are
advancing, without asserting that one form of life can pass into
another, is, however, being more and more generally accepted, for it
represents an eternal truth, of which every new discovery bears

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught the law of eternal growth--evolution.]

Were it not that the law of evolution is of such fundamental value in
the understanding of natural phenomena, it would hardly be expected
that the calling of Joseph Smith would necessitate any reference to
it. Besides, upwards of fifteen years elapsed after the martyrdom of
Joseph and Hyrum Smith before the world of science conceived the
hypothesis. One of the leading doctrines of the Church resembles the
spirit of the law of universal growth so nearly that one is forced to
believe that the great truth embodied by this doctrine is the truth
shadowed forth by the law of evolution.

The doctrine of God, as taught by Joseph Smith, is the noblest of
which the human mind can conceive. No religion ascribes to God more
perfect attributes than does that of the Latter-day Saints. Yet the
Church, asserts that God was not always what he is today. Through
countless ages he has grown towards greater perfection, and at the
present, though in comparison with humankind, he is omniscient and
omnipotent, he is still progressing. Of the beginning of God, we have
no record, save that he told his servant Abraham, "I came down in the
beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Abraham, 3:21.]

As told by Joseph Smith, in May, 1833, John the Apostle said of God,
Jesus Christ, "And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at
first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
and thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the
fulness at first."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 93:12-14.]

[Sidenote: Man will develop until he becomes like God.]

Man, likewise, is to develop until, in comparison with his present
condition, he becomes a God. For instance, in speaking of the
salvation to which all men who live correct lives shall attain, the
Prophet says, "For salvation consists in the glory, authority,
majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses;"[A] and in
another place, "Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end;
therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they
continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject
unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power."[B]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, Lectures on Faith, 7:8.]

[Footnote B: Doctrine and Covenants, 132:20.]

That this is not a sudden elevation, but a gradual growth, is evident
from many of the writings of Joseph Smith, of which the following are
illustrations. "He that receiveth light and continueth in God,
receiveth more light, and that light groweth brighter and brighter
until the perfect day."[A] "For if you keep my commandments you shall
receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father;
therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace."[B]

[Footnote A: Ibid., 50:24.]

[Footnote B: Ibid., 93:20.]

In various sermons Joseph Smith enlarged upon the universal principle
of advancement, but few of them have been preserved for us. In a
sermon delivered in April, 1844, the following sentences occur, "God
himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits
enthroned in yonder heavens. You have got to learn how to be Gods
yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods
have done before you; namely, by going from one small degree to
another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to
grace, from exaltation to exaltation."[A]

[Footnote A: Contributor, vol. 4, pp. 254 and 255.]

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith anticipated science in the statement of the
law of evolution.]

The preceding quotations suffice to show that with regard to man,
Joseph Smith taught a doctrine of evolution which in grandeur and
extent surpasses the wildest speculations of the scientific
evolutionist. Yet Joseph Smith taught this doctrine as one of eternal
truth, taught him by God. There can be no doubt that the truth behind
Spencer's law of evolution, and the doctrine taught by the "Mormon"
prophet, are the same. The great marvel is that Joseph Smith, who knew
not the philosophies of men, should have anticipated by thirty years
or more the world of science in the enunciation of the most
fundamental law of the universe of living things.

[Sidenote: Animals are subject to evolution.]

Now, it is true that Joseph Smith did not extend this law to the lower
animals; but it must be remembered that his mission on earth was to
teach a system of redemption for men. Yet, it is an interesting
observation that he taught that men and animals had a spiritual
existence, before they were placed on earth. "For I, the Lord God,
created all things of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they
were naturally upon the face of the earth. 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; for it
remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it."[A]

[Footnote A: Book of Moses, 3:5 and 9. See also Doctrine and
Covenants, 29:31, 32.]

If, in common with men, animals and plants were created spiritually,
it may not be an idle speculation that the lower forms of life will
advance, in their respective fields, as man advances in his. However,
a statement in the above quotation must not be overlooked, "It
remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it." This would
preclude any notion that by endless development a plant may become an
animal, or that one of the lower classes of animals become a high
animal, or a man. Is not this the place where, perhaps, the evolution
of science has failed? All things advance, but each order of creation
within its own sphere. There is no jumping from order to order. The
limits of these orders are yet to be found.

Spencer's belief that one period of evolution follows another[A] is
brought strongly to mind in contemplating the doctrine of Joseph Smith
that man, and other things, had first a spiritual existence, now an
earthly life, then a higher existence after death. Is not the
parallelism strong--and may it not be that here, also, the "Mormon"
prophet could have shown the learned philosopher the correct way?

[Footnote A: First Principles, p. 550.]

[Sidenote: God is the compelling power of evolution.]

Finally, one other suggestion must be made. Spencer, after a long and
involved argument, concludes (or proves as he believes) that the great
law of evolution is a necessity that follows from the law of the
persistence of force. In chapter two of this series, the scientific
conception of the persistence of force was identified with the
operations of the Holy Spirit, as taught by Joseph Smith. This Spirit
is behind all phenomena; by it as a medium, God works his will with
the things of the universe, and enables man to move on to eternal
salvation, to advance, and become a God; every law is of necessity a
result of the operation of this Spirit. Here, again, the "Mormon"
prophet anticipated the world of science; and his conceptions are
simplier and more direct than those invented by the truth-seekers, who
depended upon themselves and their own powers.

Marvelous is this view of the founder of "Mormonism." Where did he
learn in his short life, amidst sufferings and persecution such as few
men have known, the greatest mysteries of the universe!

Chapter XV.


[Sidenote: Why am I on earth?]

In the preceding chapter the law of evolution was shown to be the
cementing law of nature, which explains the destiny of man. To live is
to change, and (if the change is right) to grow. Through all the ages
to come righteous man will increase in complexity and will grow
towards a condition of greater knowledge, greater power and greater

While the great law of evolution may be quite sufficient for the
general survey, it does not explain the special conditions amidst
which organized intelligences find themselves. Man asks, Why am I on
earth? Science is silent. Up to the present time, many scientific men
have not found it necessary to postulate an intelligent force behind
the phenomena of nature, which would explain our earthly existence.

The Mormon answer to this question lies in the Mormon doctrine of the
plan of salvation. There can be no attempt to harmonize the Mormon
plan with that of science, for science has none; but, that the Mormon
plan of salvation is strictly scientific, and rests upon the
irrevocable laws of the universe can certainly be demonstrated.

[Sidenote: Perfection comes only when matter, spirit and intelligence
are associated.]

Fundamental, in the doctrines of Joseph, is the statement that all
intelligence is eternal; and that God at the best is the organizer of
the spirits of men. The ether of science has been compared with the
Holy Spirit of Mormonism. The spirit body may be likened to an ether
body of man, and is the condition of his original existence. From the
original condition, at man's spiritual birth, under the law of
evolution he has steadily grown in complexity, which means in power.

In the universe are recognized ether or spirit, force or intelligence,
and matter. Matter may act upon the ether and the ether upon matter;
but ether acts most effectively upon ether, and matter upon matter.
The original man, in whom intelligence and other forces acted through
a purely spiritual or ether body, could impress matter and be
impressed by it only in part. The man was imperfect because he did not
touch directly the world of matter, and could know only in part the
phenomena of the material world, which forms an integral part of the
universe. In the words of Joseph Smith, "Spirit and element
inseparably connected, receiveth a fullness of joy, and when
separated, man can not receive a fullness of joy."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 93:33, 34.]

For man's perfection, it then became necessary that his spiritual body
should be clothed with a material one, and that he should become as
familiar with the world of matter, as he had become with the world of
spirit. God, as the supreme intelligence, who desired all other
spirits to know and become mighty, led in the formulation of the plan,
whereby they should obtain knowledge of all the contents of the

[Sidenote: The fall of Adam necessary to perfect intelligence.]

For the purpose of perfecting the plan, a council of the Gods, or
perfected intelligences was called. It was decided to organize an
earth from available materials, and place the spirits on it, clothed
with bodies of the grosser elements. An essential function of
intelligence is free agency; and that the spirits might have the
fullest opportunity to exercise this agency in their earthly career,
they were made to forget the events of their spiritual existence. To
learn directly the nature of grossest matter, the earth bodies of
necessity were made subject to the process of the disintegration
called death.

To make possible the subjection of eternal, spiritual organized
intelligences to perishable, material structures, certain natural laws
would naturally be brought into operation. From the point of view of
the eternal spirit, it might mean the breaking of a law directed
towards eternal life; yet to secure the desired contact with matter,
the spirit was compelled to violate the law. Thus, in this earth life,
a man who desires to acquire a first hand acquaintance with magnetism
and electricity, may subject himself to all kinds of electric shocks,
that, perhaps, will affect his body injuriously; yet, for the sake of
securing the experience, he may be willing to do it. Adam, the first
man, so used natural laws that his eternal, spiritual body became
clothed upon with an earthly body, subject to death. Then in begetting
children, he was able to produce earthly bodies for the waiting

According to this doctrine, the socalled Fall of Adam was
indispensable to the evolving of organized intelligences that should
have a complete acquaintance with all nature, and a full control over
their free agencies. If laws were broken, it was done because of the
heroism of the first parents, and not because of their sinfulness.

Mormon theology does not pretend to say in what precise manner Adam
was able to secure his corruptible body; neither is science able to
answer all the "whys" suggested by recorded experiences. The doctrines
of Joseph Smith maintain, however, that the events connected with the
introduction of organized intelligences on this earth, were in full
accord with the simple laws governing the universe. That the Mormon
view of this matter, so fundamental in every system of theology, is
rational, can not be denied.

[Sidenote: The atonement was in harmony with natural law.]

However, the bodies given to the spirits continued for only a few
years; then they were disorganized in death. Adam's work had been done
well. After the death of the mortal body, the spirit was still without
a permanent body of matter, that would complete his contact with the
elements of the universe. Therefore, it was necessary to bring other
laws into operation, that would reorganize these dead material bodies
in such a way that they would no longer be subject to the forces of
disorganization, death and decay. The eternal spiritual body, united
with this eternal material body, then constituted a suitable home for
eternal intelligence, whereby it might be able, under the law of
evolution to attain the greatest conceivable knowledge and power.

The personage who directed the laws that cancelled the necessary work
of Adam, and made the corruptible body incorruptible was the Savior,
Jesus Christ. As Adam, by his personal work, made the earth career
possible for all who succeeded him; so Jesus, by His personal work,
made it possible for the spirits to possess immortal material bodies.

Conditions that may be likened to the atonement are found in science.
Suppose an electrical current, supplying a whole city with power and
light, is passing through a wire. If for any reason the wire is cut
the city becomes dark and all machines driven by the current cease
their motion. To restore the current, the ends of the broken wire must
be reunited. If a person, in his anxiety to restore the city to its
normal conditions, seizes the ends of the wire with his bare hands,
and unites them, he probably will receive the full charge of the
current in his body. Yet, as a result, the light and power will return
to the city; and one man by his action, has succeeded in doing the
work for many.

The actual method by which Jesus was enabled to make mortal bodies
immortal, is not known to us. Neither can we understand just why the
shedding of the Savior's blood was necessary for the accomplishment of
this purpose. Like the work of Adam, the exact nature of the atonement
is unknown. Still, throughout this plan of Salvation, every incident
and accomplished fact are strictly rational. There is no talk of a
God, who because of his own will, and in opposition to natural laws,
placed man on earth.

[Sidenote: Earth life is a link in man's evolution.]

The presence of organized intelligences in earth is simply a link in
the evolution of man. The plan of salvation is the method whereby the
evolution of man is furthered. The intelligence who conforms to the
Plan, at last attains salvation, which means eternal life and endless
development, directed by the free agency of an organized intelligence
clothed with an incorruptible body of spirit and matter.

Can any other system of theology produce an explanation of the
presence of man on earth, which connects earthly life with the time
before and the time after, on the basis of the accepted laws of the

Flawless seems the structure reared by the Mormon Prophet. Had he been
an imposter, human imperfection would have revealed itself

[Footnote A: It must not be assumed that in this chapter has been
given a full account of the Mormon doctrine of the Atonement. These
essays are not in any sense a full exposition of Mormon theology.]


Chapter XVI.


[Sidenote: The six senses, need help to reorganize many phenomena of

The five senses are the great gateways through which all the knowledge
in man's possession has been obtained. Examine the matter as we may,
the truth of this statement persists. By seeing, hearing, smelling,
tasting and feeling, only, is man brought into contact with external
nature and himself, and is furnished material upon which the intellect
can act. True it is, that the sense of feeling may be divided into a
number of poorly known sub-senses, of which that of touch is the best
known, but, probably, these are very nearly related, and we may still
maintain the existence of the _five_ senses of man.

Wonderful as these senses are, yet, in the presence of many natural
phenomena, they are very weak, and require help, in order that the
operations of nature may be recognized. Take, as an illustration, the
refined sense of sight. Light, coming from a distant star, is readily
recognized; the same quantity of light coming from a house, half a
mile distant, is even more distinctly sensed by the eye. In both these
cases, though the light is recognized, the sensation is not so sharply
defined as to produce a distinct image of the star or of the house. To
make the images of distant objects distinct, the telescope has been
invented; and this instrument is a most important aid to the sense of
sight. The microscope is a similar aid to the eye, by which the
lightrays coming from minute objects are so bent and arranged that the
object appears magnified, and may be sensed in its details by the eye.
The ear-trumpet is a similar device for collecting, concentrating and
defining sound waves that ordinarily would be, to the ear, a confusion
of sounds. The ear-trumpet is a mighty help to the sense of hearing.

The light which passes through the lenses of the telescope and
microscope, is the light which is ordinarily recognized by the eye.
The instruments effect no change in the light; they merely arrange the
waves so as to produce a clear and distinct outline of the objects
from which the light comes. Likewise, the sound waves entering the
ear-trumpet are in nowise changed in their essential nature, but are
simply rearranged or concentrated to produce a more definite
impression on the ear. Instruments similar to those here mentioned are
the simplest aids to man's senses.

With respect to many forces of nature, the unaided senses of man are
helpless. The subtle force of magnetism, for instance, appears
incapable of affecting directly any of the senses. A person may hold a
powerful lodestone in his hand and feel no influence different from
that coming from a piece of sandstone. A person may work near a wire
carrying a current of electricity, and, though it is well known that
peculiar conditions exist in the universal ether around such a wire,
yet, through his five senses, he may never become aware of the
existence of this current. A piece of uranium ore, as has been found
in recent years, emits various kinds of rays related to the now famous
X- or Roentgen rays, yet no indication comes directly through any of
the five senses that such is the case. In fact, men of science worked
with the ores of uranium for many years before discovering the
emission of ether waves. In the light which comes from the sun are
numerous forms of energy that do not directly affect the senses, and
therefore remained unknown for many centuries. Numerous other
illustrations might be quoted to show the existence of natural forces
that are beyond the direct recognition of man. In the great ocean of
the unknown, lie, undoubtedly, countless forces that shall never be
known by a direct action upon the senses of man.[A]

[Footnote A: The writer is aware of the beliefs held by many students
regarding the so-called touch sense, heat sense, magnetic sense,
electrical sense, spiritual sense, etc. So little is known of these
subdivisions of the sense of feeling, that they are not considered in
this popular writing. There is, moreover, no evidence that the
magnetic sense, as an example, if it exists, is a direct effect of
magnetic forces; it is as easily believed that the body somehow
converts magnetic forces, under certain circumstances, into other
forces that may be sensed by man.]

[Sidenote: The advance of knowledge requires instruments that convert
natural phenomena into intelligible forms. Thus the unknown is

As is well understood, however, even these apparently unknowable
manifestations of nature may be known, if proper aids be secured. In
every case the problem is this: To obtain some medium, be it natural
or manufactured, which transforms the unknown force into a known
force, that is capable of affecting the senses of man. The search for
such media is one of the most important labors of science. For
instance, sunlight has been known from the beginning of the human
race, and its nature has been studied by almost every generation of
thinkers. To the time of Newton, it was only white light--or little
more. Newton discovered that if a ray of white light be allowed to
fall upon a triangular prism or glass, it is dispersed or broken into
a number of colored rays known as the spectrum. All sunlight, passed
through a glass prism, produces this colored spectrum; and the colors
are arranged invariably in the same order; namely from violet through
the intermediate colors to red. By passing this spectrum through
another prism, white light is produced. Sunlight was thus proved to
consist of a number of kinds of colored light. The eye alone is
incapable of resolving white light into its elements: the glass prism
thus becomes an aid to the sense of sight, by which a new domain of
science is laid open to view.

Above the red end of the spectrum, obtained from white light, nothing
is visible, yet if a delicate thermometer be placed there, the
increase in temperature shows the presence of certain invisible heat
rays, and by moving the thermometer, it may be shown that the
invisible heat spectrum is longer than the light spectrum itself.
This, again, makes known to man a world that the five senses can
recognize only with difficulty; and in this case, the thermometer is
the necessary aid.

Even more interesting is the violet end of the spectrum. Like the red
end, it is invisible. In fact, for centuries it was believed that the
light spectrum represented the whole spectrum. During the last century
it was found that if a photographic plate be placed below the violet
end of the spectrum, it is affected by invisible light rays, which are
popularly denominated chemical rays. By placing the photographic plate
in various positions, it has been discovered that the chemical
spectrum is as long as the visible part. Since the days of Newton,
therefore, the known part of the spectrum of sunlight has been trebled
in length, and there is no certainty that all is now known concerning
the matter. In this particular, the photographic plate has become a
means of revealing an unknown world to the senses.

If a low tension current of electricity passes through a wire, it
cannot be sensed directly by man; but if a delicately adjusted
magnetic needle be placed above and parallel to such wire, the current
will turn the needle to one side and keep it there. The magnetic
needle then makes known the presence of a current of electricity which
has no appreciable effect upon any of man's five senses. Similarly,
the magnetic currents passing over the earth are not felt by man in
such a way as to be recognized, but a magnetic needle, properly
adjusted, will immediately assume an approximately north and south
direction, in obedience to the pull of the magnetic currents. In this
manner the magnetic needle, again, reveals to man the existence and
presence of forces that he cannot sense directly.

A piece of glass into which has been incorporated a small amout of the
element uranium, is an instrument which reveals many wonders of the
unsensed world. If the uranium glass be brought near the violet end of
the spectrum of sunlight, it immediately glows, because it has the
power of changing the invisible chemical rays into ordinary, white
light rays. With such an instrument, darkness can be literally changed
into light. Similarly, many of the class of rays to which belong the
X-rays, and which are dark to the eye, and do not directly affect any
of the other senses, are converted by uranium glass into visible rays.
This glass, then, becomes another means whereby the world which does
not directly affect our senses, may be made known.

The X- or Roentgen rays have been mentioned several times. It is
generally known that they have the power of passing through the body
and various other opaque bodies. The rays themselves are invisible,
both before entering and after leaving the body; moreover, they do not
affect any of the other senses of man. Were it not that the power is
possessed of changing these rays to light rays, man could know nothing
of the Roentgen rays. In fact, a screen, covered with powdered
crystals of a chemical compound known as barium platinocyanide, is
held behind the object through which the rays are passing, and the
moment they touch this substance they are changed to light rays, and
the screen glows. Or, instead, a photographic plate may be used, for
the Roentgen rays affect the materials from which these plates are
made. The screen of barium platinocyanide is, therefore, another means
for revealing the unknown world.

[Sidenote: "Tuning" to establish sympathetic vibrations is a form of
the aids for explaining the unknown.]

Such illustrations might be multiplied, but would add no strength to
the discussion. There is, however, another class of instruments which
enable the senses to recognize natural forces that do not act directly
upon the consciousness of man. If a musical note is produced on a
violin, near a piano, the piano string which is stretched or tuned
right, will give out the same note. The sound waves from the violin
penetrate the piano, and the string which is tuned to give out the
same note takes up the energy of the sound waves, and is set in
vibration, with the result that the same note is given out by the
piano. This is known as sympathetic vibrations. It is possible,
therefore, to make a piano give out any note within its range, without
any solid object touching the instrument. In the universal ether,
which surrounds and penetrates all things, are numberless waves of all
kinds, and of all vibrations. If the proper instrument be used, and
tuned aright, it is possible to separate from this tumult of waves any
desired kind or degree of wave motion, and to convert it into some
known form of energy, say electricity.

This principle is used in modern wireless telegraphy. Electric waves
are sent out by the operator with a certain rapidity. These waves
radiate into space, in all directions, and are lost, apparently, in
the confusion of myriads of other waves. Nevertheless, if the waves
are not by some chance totally destroyed, it is possible to obtain
them again, by the use of a receiving instrument which is tuned
exactly the same as that used by the operator, at the station where
the waves are sent out. A message sent from London may be received
anywhere on earth where the receiving instruments are tuned aright; at
the same time, if the peculiar note or vibration of the message is not
known, so that the receivers can not be tuned properly, the message,
though it be all about it, can never be received.

Such aids to our senses do not depend so much upon the nature of the
material, as upon the degree to which it is brought into sympathy with
the force to be recognized.

[Sidenote: With proper aids man's senses may discover the whole of

Now, though our senses are imperfect, and recognize only a small part
of the phenomena of nature, yet it is very probable that, with such
helps as have been described, nothing in nature need remain forever
unknown. The means by which the forces of nature, that cannot be
sensed directly, are brought to man's recognition may well be named,
collectively, man's sixth sense.

The progress of science depends upon the discovery of aids to man's
senses; a new and vast field is invariably opened whenever a new aid
is discovered.

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith recognized the existence of media which render
the unknown, known.]

In the works of Joseph Smith, which teach that there is no real line
of demarkation between the natural and spiritual worlds, it would be
not surprising to find recognized the scientific principle, above
discussed, that by the use of proper instruments, the world outside of
the five senses, may be brought within man's consciousness.

According to the story of Joseph Smith, he was first visited by an
angel, September 21, 1823, when the Prophet was less than eighteen
years of age. Among other things, the angel told the boy that "there
was a book deposited, written on gold plates," giving an account of
the former inhabitants of the American continent; "also, that there
were two stones in silver bows--and these stones, fastened to a
breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and
Thummim--deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of
these stones were what constituted 'Seers' in ancient or former times;
and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the
book."[A] This reference to the Urim and Thummim, and their purpose,
makes it clear that the Prophet, at the beginning of his career,
recognized (whether consciously or unconsciously we know not), the
existence of means or media by which things unknown, such as a strange
language, may be converted into forms that can reach the

[Footnote A: History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 12.]

[Sidenote: The Book of Mormon was translated by such aids--the Urim
and Thummim.]

When the actual work of translation began, the Urim and Thummim were
found indispensable, and in various places the statement is made that
the translation was made, "by means of the Urim and Thummim."[A] On
one occasion, when the Prophet, through the defection of Martin
Harris, lost a portion of the manuscript translation the Urim and
Thummim were taken from him, and the power of translation ceased. Upon
the return of the instruments the work was resumed.[B] While it is
very probable that the Prophet was required to place himself in the
proper spiritual and mental attitude, before he could use the Urim and
Thummim successfully, yet it must also be true that the stones were
essential to the work of translation.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 10:1.]

[Footnote B: History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 23.]

[Sidenote: Revelations were received by such aids.]

The Urim and Thummim were not used alone for translation, but most of
the early revelations were obtained by their means. Speaking of those
days, the Prophet usually says: "I enquired of the Lord through the
Urim and Thummim, and obtained the following."[A] The "stones in
silver bows" seemed, therefore, to have possessed the general power of
converting manifestations of the spiritual world into terms suitable
to the understanding of Joseph Smith.

[Footnote A: History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 33, 36, 45, 49 and

The doctrine of the use of the Urim and Thummim is in perfect harmony
with the established law of modern science, that special media are
necessary to bring the unknown world within the range of man's senses.
To believers in the Bible, the use of the Urim and Thummim can offer
no obstacles, and to those who possess a rational conception of
God--that he is the Master of the universe, who works his will by
natural means--it cannot be more difficult to believe that God's will
may appear through the agency of special "stones in silver bows," than
to concede that invisible ether waves, become luminous when they fall
upon a piece of uranium glass. The virtue possessed by the latter
glass is no more evident than is the virtue claimed by Joseph Smith to
be possessed by the Urim and Thummim.

It is a noteworthy fact that the Prophet does not enter into an
argument to prove the necessity of the use of the Urim and Thummim.
Only in an incidental way, as he tells the straightforward story of
his life, does he mention them; and with a simplicity that argues
strongly for his veracity, does he assume that, of course, they were
necessary and were used as he recounts. A shrewd imposter, building a
great theological structure as is the Church founded by Joseph Smith,
would have appreciated that difficult questions would be asked
concerning the seer stones, and would have attempted to surround them
with some explanation. Joseph Smith offers no defense for the use of
these instruments; neither does the scientist excuse himself for using
uranium glass, in the study of certain radiations.

[Sidenote: As the Prophet placed himself in tune with the unknown, he
became less dependent on external aids.]

The Prophet did not always receive his revelations by the assistance
of the Urim and Thummim. As he grew in experience and understanding,
he learned to bring his spirit into such an attitude that it became a
Urim and Thummim to him, and God's will was revealed without the
intervention of external means. This method is clearly, though
briefly, expressed in one of the early revelations:

    Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would
    give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me;
    but, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your
    mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I
    will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you
    shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall
    have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought,
    that cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 9:7-9.]

[Sidenote: The "testimony of the spirit" is scientific.]

The essence of this statement is that if a person will concentrate his
powers so as to come into harmony with God, truth will be revealed to
him; and is not that like the tuning of a coil of wire so that it can
take up the waves of certain lengths, that may be passing through the
ether? If an inert mass of iron can be so tuned, can anyone refuse to
believe that man, highly organized as he is, can "tune" himself to be
in harmony with the forces of the universe? The universal ether of
science is like the Holy Spirit, and the waves or energy of the ether
is like the intelligent action of that Spirit controlled by God. Heat,
light, magnetism, electricity, and the other forces, become, then,
simply various forms of God's speech, any of which may be understood,
if the proper means of interpretation is at hand.

In the Book of Mormon, the Prophet states that "When ye shall receive
these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal
Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye
shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in
Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the
Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth
of all things."[A]

[Footnote A: Moroni 10:4, 5.]

This involves the principle discussed above. By placing oneself in
harmony with the requirements of the subject in hand, the truth must
become known, even as an instrument properly tuned must feel the
influence of the ether waves with which it is in harmony.

Again, then, the conceptions of the Mormon Prophet rise to equal
heights with the best theories of the scientists. In simple phrases,
apparently unconscious of the philosophical meaning of the doctrines,
Joseph Smith recognized the various means whereby man's senses may be
enabled to seize upon and comprehend the natural forces which to man's
unaided senses must remain unknown forever.

It cannot be justly claimed that the Prophet anticipated the world of
science in the recognition of this principle, but reading his works in
the light of modern progress, it cannot be denied that he placed a
greater value upon the aids to man's senses, with respect to the
subtle forces of the universe, than did any of his contemporaries.
That acknowledgment is a wonderful tribute to the powers of an
unlearned boy.

Evidence crowds upon evidence, and testimony upon testimony, until the
opposition of logic falls away; and Joseph Smith rises above the fog
of prejudice, a mighty prophet of our God.


Chapter XVII.


[Sidenote: Nearly all thinkers believe in God or an equivalent.]

In every philosophy of the universe, the question concerning the
primary cause of the phenomena of nature always arises. Ancient and
modern philosophers, alike, have discussed the probability of the
existence of this primary cause and its properties. Plato, putting the
words into the mouth of Socrates, declares, "I do believe in the
Gods."[A] Aristotle, the greatest of early thinkers, assumed that a
God exists, from whom all other forces are derived. For example, "From
a first principle, then, of this kind--I mean, one that is involved in
the assumption of a First Mover--hath depended the Heaven and
Nature."[B] Spencer, speaking in these latter days, likewise implies
the existence of the equivalent of the God of men, thus, "If religion
and science are to be reconciled, the basis of reconciliation must be
this deepest, widest and most certain of all facts--that the Power
which the universe manifests to us is utterly inscrutable."[C]

[Footnote A: Plato, The Apology, chap. XXIV.]

[Footnote B: Aristotle, Metaphysics, chap. VII, sec. 4.]

[Footnote C: First Principles, p. 48.]

To the great majority of men, in all ages, the idea of a God or Power,
has appeared to be a necessity. Naturally, there has been a great
variety of opinions concerning the nature of God, or the great Power
behind things. Some, including the early Greek thinkers, looked upon
God as a personal being of transcendental attributes; others gave Him
a more shadowy form, and made of Him nothing more than an all
pervading spiritual essence. Still others, considering the relations
of all natural operations to the infinite power of God, identified Him
with Nature, and then, with astonishing shortsight denied His personal
existence. Thus, by degrees, arose the various theists, who accepted a
personal God with varying attributes; the pantheists, who identified
God with nature, and the atheists, who denied absolutely God, or any
equivalent. Among those who have adopted the idea of God, the chief
dispute has been largely as to His personality; to the atheists the
essential consideration has been that the laws of nature are
self-operative and need no directing force such as is implied in the
conception of a God.

[Sidenote: Science points to a force of forces.]

As modern science arose, certain conceptions became established which
were directly related to the idea of God. In obedience to the modern
tendency towards simplification, the great variety in the material
world has been referred to a few elements (nearly 80); and all the
forces of nature are now held to be modes of motion of matter or of
the one all pervading substance, the ether. The complexity of nature
is produced by new combinations of matter, ether and motion. According
to this doctrine, all the phenomena in the universe may be explained
by referring them to the action of forces upon matter and ether. There
is a limited number of elements, which, at the present, can not be
converted into each other. There is only one ether, which can probably
exist in various degrees of density. There are numerous forces, which
may be converted into each other. Thus light may be changed into heat;
heat into electricity and electricity into light again.

Scientists have long asked if there is one great universal force, of
which all other forces are merely variations. Usually, the thinkers
have agreed that the indications point to such a central force, which
by many has been identified with gravitation. Newton and many of the
men who followed him in the development of the theory of gravitation,
agreed that probably the force of gravitation is the source of all
other natural forces. Thus the doctrines of modern science point to
_one_ force from which all other forces are derived; and thus, the
complexity of nature has been simplified, by explaining it on the
assumption of this one force. Those who believe in God have claimed
that this points to one great Being as the mover behind all things;
the atheists have declared, that these scientific conceptions indicate
that there is no real necessity for a God; and many honest searchers
who have reached this closed door, have declared, "I do not know. It
may be God; it may be force. It cannot be known."

[Sidenote: "Mormonism" teaches that intelligence is the force of

"Mormonism" has harmonized science and theology in its conception of
God. As has been shown earlier in this volume, Joseph Smith taught
that the central force of the universe is intelligence. Gravitation,
heat, light, magnetism, electricity, chemical attraction, are all
various manifestations of the all-pervading force of intelligence.
This, it may be seen, is the simple theory advanced by scientists,
with the definition of the first force added.

[Sidenote: God is the greatest intelligence.]

The "Mormon" Prophet taught, further, that the individual is organized
intelligence; that the organization is the instrument whereby
intelligence may be concentrated, focussed and directed. Man is
superior to beasts because his organization permits a greater use of
the universal force of intelligence. Under the law of evolution, man's
organization will become more and more complex. That is, he will
increase in his power of using intelligence until in time, he will
develop so far that, in comparison with his present state, he will be
a God. Conversely, God, who is a superior organization, using and
directing the force of intelligence, must at one time have possessed a
simpler organization. Perhaps, at one time He was only what man is
to-day. God, in "Mormon" theology, is the greatest intelligence; it
will always remain the greatest; yet, it must of necessity, under the
inexorable laws of the universe, grow. God is in no sense the Creator
of natural forces and laws; He is the director of them.

The correct conclusion from this doctrine is that all the forces of
nature are supported by intelligent action. This leads of necessity to
order in nature. Blind forces, acting independently of intelligence,
could not have brought about the perfect order that appears everywhere
in the universe. Every atom of matter; every particle of ether is
endowed with a form of intelligence. All the attractions, repulsions
and equilibriums among natural objects are modes of expression of the
force of intelligence. The explanations of the mysteries of nature
will be greatly simplified when the "Mormon" doctrine of the position
of intelligence in universal phenomena is clearly understood by
scientific workers.

[Sidenote: Many grades of intelligence; hence, many Gods.]

Since these teachings practically imply the definition that God is a
superior intelligence evolved from a lower condition, there can be no
logical objection to the idea that there are many Gods. Yet, "Mormon"
theology acknowledges the supremacy of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob.  God transcends all human imagination. He is omniscient, and
omnipotent; for His great knowledge enables Him to direct the forces
of nature. He is full of love and mercy, because these qualities are
attributes of intelligence, which God possesses in the highest degree.
The "Mormon" idea of God, is delicate, refined, advanced and

The interesting fact about this matter is, naturally, that in this
conception of God, Joseph Smith was strictly scientific. He departed
from the notion that God is a Being foreign to nature and wholly
superior to it. Instead, he taught that God is part of nature, and
superior to it only in the sense that the electrician is superior to
the current that is transmitted along the wire. The great laws of
nature are immutable, and even God can not transcend them.

This doctrine of God was taught by Joseph Smith early in his career.
Can ignorance or disease produce such a logical climax of a scientific
system of belief? Such a conclusion would be absurd.


Chapter XVIII.


[Sidenote: Joseph Smith's early educational opportunities were very

Joseph Smith had few educational advantages during his life. His
scientific teachings do not rest upon information gained in schools or
from books. His parents fully appreciated the value of an education,
but the pioneer lives which they led, and their numerous financial
misfortunes, made it impossible for them to realize their desires for
the education of their children. The Prophet's mother writes that when
Joseph was about six years old, Hyrum, the elder brother, was sent to
an academy at Hanover, New Hampshire, and the smaller children to a
common school.[A] It is probable that throughout the wanderings of the
family, the children were given such meager schooling as was possible.
Joseph was a "remarkably quiet, well-disposed child," and his life up
to the age of fourteen was marked only by those trivial circumstances
which are common to childhood.[B]

[Footnote A: History of the Prophet by his Mother, Improvement Era,
Vol. 5, p. 166.]

[Footnote B: Ibid., p. 247.]

A few months after his fourteenth birthday, the future prophet beheld
his first vision. In his autobiography he mentions that at the time
"he was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by
his daily labor."[A] This would indicate that at this age he was
spending little or no time in school. During the time that elapsed
between his fourteenth and eighteenth years, there is nothing to show
that the boy was receiving scholastic education. The Prophet says that
he was left to all kinds of temptation, and mingled with all kinds of
society.[B] Nothing is said about the acquirement of book learning.
About the age of nineteen he writes, "As my father's worldly
circumstances were very limited, we were under the necessity of
laboring with our hands, hiring out by day's work and otherwise, as we
could get opportunity. In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an
old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal. During the time I was thus
employed, I was put to board with a Mr. Isaac Hale--it was there I
first saw my wife (his daughter), Emma Hale. On the 18th of January,
1827, [when the Prophet was a little more than twenty-one years old]
we were married, while I was yet employed in the service of Mr. Stoal.
Immediately after my marriage, I left Mr. Stoal's and went to my
father's, and farmed with him that season."[C] From his eighteenth to
his twenty-second year, then, there is evidence that he worked as an
ordinary laborer, and attended no school.

[Footnote A: History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 7.]

[Footnote B: Ibid., p. 9.]

[Footnote C: History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 16, 17.]

It seems, moreover, that Joseph Smith was not a boy to gather
information from books, for his mother says of him, when he was
eighteen years old, that "he seemed much less inclined to the perusal
of books than any of the rest of our children, but far more given to
meditation and deep study."[A] From the records extant, the conclusion
is justifiable that from his fourteenth to his twenty-second year
Joseph Smith received practically no school education, and did no
extensive reading. What he might have gathered from conversation with
others during that time is unknown to us. However, it is known that
the heavenly messengers who visited him at intervals gave him much
valuable information, which more than compensated for his poor
scholastic advantages.

[Footnote A: History of the Prophet Joseph, Improvement Era, Vol. 5,
p. 257.]

One month before his twenty-second birthday, the golden plates were
delivered to the Prophet, and the next two and a half years he was
engaged with various assistants in translating the Book of Mormon;
though at different times during this period he farmed and did other
manual labor. During this period (twenty-two to twenty-four and a half
years of age), he most certainly attended no school nor gave special
attention to worldly knowledge.

On the 6th of April, 1830, when the Prophet was twenty-four years and
four months old, the Church was organized. The life led by the Prophet
from this time to 1844, when he was assassinated, was not conducive to
the gathering of information, and quiet, deep reflection. During
almost the whole of this period his life was in danger; scores of
times he was arrested on trumped-up charges; the Church was driven
from place to place; he built at least three cities, and two temples;
organized and governed the body of the Church; taught the doctrinal
system accepted by his followers; organized the public ministry of the
Church for spreading the Gospel among all men, wrote his
autobiography; compiled the revelations given him, and made a revision
of parts of the Bible.

[Sidenote: Joseph Smith taught the importance of schools and

The mistake must not be made, however, of assuming that because the
Prophet's education had been limited, he lacked a due appreciation of
schools and scholastic attainments. On the contrary, at a very early
date in the history of the Church, schools were organized even for the
older men, that they might improve their time and make up in a manner
for the lack of opportunity during their early days. During the winter
of 1832-3, a school of the prophets was organized in Kirtland, Ohio,
and another in Independence, Missouri, at which the elders of the
Church received various instructions. In the discussion relative to
the building of temples, references to schools being held in them were
always made, and, in fact, in the fall of 1835, when a portion of the
Kirtland temple was finished, "schools were opened in the various
apartments." Many "were organized into a school for the purpose of
studying the Hebrew language."[A] The reading of Greek had previously
been begun. In these languages as well as in German, the Prophet
acquired considerable facility. His studies tended, of course, towards
the interpretation of the Bible and the explanation of Gospel truths;
though at times his investigations appeared quite foreign to his
special work, as when, in 1838, he began the methodical study of law.

[Footnote A: Autobiography of P. P. Pratt, p. 140.]

When the city of Nauvoo was chartered, a section was included,
providing for the establishment of a university, to be called the
University of the City of Nauvoo, under the direction of which should
be taught "all matters pertaining to education, from common schools up
to the highest branches of a most liberal collegiate education."[A]

[Footnote A: History of Joseph Smith, George Q. Cannon, pp. 341, 343.]

In numerous revelations did the Lord urge the Prophet and the Church
to gather information from every source, of which the following
quotations are good illustrations: "Teach ye diligently, that you may
be instructed in theory, in principle, of things both in heaven and in
the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which
are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home,
things which are abroad; the wars and perplexities of the nations, and
a knowledge also of countries and kingdoms. Seek ye out of the best
books words of wisdom; seek learning even by study."[A] "Obtain a
knowledge of history, and of countries and of kingdoms, of laws of God
and man."[B] "Study and learn and become acquainted with all good
books, and with languages, tongues and peoples."[C] "It is impossible
for a man to be saved in ignorance."[D] A more comprehensive outline
of education can hardly be imagined. The energetic manner in which the
Church has acted upon these instructions, during its whole history,
need not be recounted here.

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 88:78, 79, 118.]

[Footnote B: Ibid., 93:53.]

[Footnote C: Ibid., 90:15.]

[Footnote D: Ibid., 131:6.]

However much the Prophet sought for knowledge, even from books, in his
later life, the fact remains that the evidence in our possession
indicates that, up to the time of the organization of the Church, his
book learning was very slight, and that during the years immediately
following, his time was so fully occupied with the details of the
organization that little or no time was given to education, as
ordinarily understood. These statements are of especial importance, in
view of the fact that all the principles discussed in this volume were
enunciated before the end of the year 1833.

[Sidenote: Though the Prophet had little book learning, the spiritual
and intellectual growth was great.]

The associates of the Prophet are unanimous in saying that his
spiritual and intellectual growth was marvelous, from the time that
the work of the ministry fell upon him. He was transformed from a
humble country lad to a leader among men, whose greatness was felt by
all, whether unlearned or educated, small or great. Of himself the
Prophet said, "I am a rough stone. The sound of the hammer and chisel
was never heard on me until the Lord took me in hand. I desire the
learning and wisdom of heaven alone." Certainly, his whole history
shows that the great learning which he did manifest was acquired in a
manner very different from that followed by the majority of men.


Chapter XIX.

[Sidenote: Philosophy and its methods.]

In its broadest sense, philosophy includes all that man may know of
the universe--of himself and of the things about him. To be worthy of
its name, a system of philosophy must possess certain comprehensive,
fundamental principles, which if clearly understood, make intelligible
to the human mind any or all of the phenomena in the universe. The
simpler these foundation principles are, the greater is the system as
a philosophy. In the words of Spencer, "Philosophy is knowledge of the
highest degree of generality," or "completely unified knowledge."[A]

[Footnote A: First Principles, pp. 133 and 136.]

It is to be observed, that the great laws of nature are inferred only
from a number of lesser laws that have been gathered by man. A
generalization which is not built upon numerous confirmatory
observations, is at best an uncertain guess, which can be accepted
only when demonstrated to be correct by numerous isolated experiences.
The rational philosopher proceeds from the many to the few; he groups
and groups again, until the wide, fundamental laws have been attained.

In olden days, and at times today, this method was not pursued. A
philosopher, so called, would assume that a certain statement or idea
were true. Upon this idea an elaborate, speculative, philosophical
superstructure was reared. If by chance, and the chance usually came,
the fundamental notion were shown to be false, the whole system fell
with a crash into the domain of untruth.

It is the glory of modern science that by its methods, innumerable
facts, correct so far as present instruments and man's senses will
allow, have been gathered; and, that present day philosophy is built
upon these certain facts. The errors, if any exist, of this philosophy
lie not in the foundation stones, but in the inferences that have been
drawn from them. Modern philosophy rests upon the truths of the
universe, and not upon the wild speculations of men.

[Sidenote: The fundamental conceptions of scientific philosophy.]

The philosophy of science, which is the basis of all rational
philosophy, rests upon the doctrine of the indestructibility of
matter. Matter cannot be destroyed, and it is unthinkable that it ever
was created. True, matter may appear in various forms: the tangible
coal may escape through the chimneys as an intangible gas; water may
vanish into vapor; gold may unite with acids to form compounds
entirely unlike gold. However, the weight of the coal in the gases
passing through the chimney is the same as the weight of the coal fed
into the stove; the water vapor in the air weighs precisely as much as
the water that was in the vessel; the gold in the compound weighs the
same as the metallic gold used; in every case matter has been changed
into another form, but has not been destroyed.

Along with this fundamental principle, science holds the doctrine of
the indestructibility of energy. Matter of itself is dead and useless;
it is only when it is in motion or in the possession of energy that it
can take part in the processes of nature. Matter without energy is not
known to man; however inert it may be, it possesses some energy. The
ultimate particles of all things,--rock and plant, and beast and
man--are in motion; that is, they possess energy. The immediate source
of energy for this earth is the sun, though the ultimate source of
universal energy is not known.

Energy may appear in various forms, as light, heat, electricity,
magnetism, gravitation and mechanical motion; and each of these forms
of energy may be changed into any of the others. In every change,
however, there is no loss, but simply a change of condition. That
which men call energy, the vivifying principle of matter, is
indestructible. It has never had a beginning, and shall never have an

To the mind of man, however, a motion independent of something in
motion, is inconceivable. An ocean wave without water is nonsense. It
is equally difficult to conceive of energy which is immaterial,
passing from the sun to the earth, through empty space. There must be
something between the earth and the sun, which carries the energy.
Such reflections have led the thinkers to the belief that all space is
filled with a subtle medium, now called the ether, through which
energy passes in the form of waves. Today, few doctrines of science
are so well established as that of the universal ether. The ether is a
refined kind of matter which fills all space, and permeates all
things. It is in the table on which I write; in and through the ink;
between the ultimate particles of the glass of the ink bottle. This
earth, and all heavenly bodies, are simply suspended in the
all-and-ever-present ocean of ether. By the agency of the ether,
energy is carried from the sun to the earth, and may be carried
anywhere in space. Light, heat, electricity, magnetism and gravitation
are all various manifestations of ether motion. Many scientists
believe that this world--ether is the original matter from which the
various elements have been made.

On these three doctrines, the indestructibility of matter, the
indestructibility of energy, and the existence of the universal ether,
rest primarily the explanations of the phenomena of nature. Hand in
hand they stand, an almost perfect example of the greatness of the
human mind.

[Sidenote: "Mormonism" and science have the same fundamental laws.]

The religion founded by Joseph Smith rests upon the same or similar
laws. To the very beginner in "Mormon" theology, it is a familiar fact
that Joseph Smith taught that matter is eternal, and has not been nor
can be created. Matter is coexistent with God. God, himself, is
material, in the sense that His body is composed of a refined kind of
matter. In the fundamental laws that underlie all nature, there is
perfect harmony between science and "Mormonism". Few religions can say
as much. In most systems of theology, it is assumed that the ruling
power, God, can create matter. In "Mormon" theology he can only
organize it.

It is not quite so well understood that the doctrine of the
indestructibility of energy lies also at the foundation of "Mormon"
theology, and was taught by Joseph Smith. It was clearly comprehended
by the Prophet and his associates that intelligence is the vivifying
force of all creation--animate or inanimate--that rock and tree and
beast and man, have ascending degrees of intelligence. The
intelligence spoken of by the Prophet corresponds fully with the
energy of science.

That the Prophet did not use the word current among scientific men at
that time does not destroy the validity of this claim. Different words
have no quarrel when they mean the same.

The Prophet also taught that this intelligence fills all space, and
that it may appear in various forms, such as heat, light, and
electricity, and that it is eternal, and can neither be created nor
destroyed. These are the very qualities assigned to energy by
scientific workers. This doctrine and its coincidence with the
doctrine of science appears marvelous, when it is recalled that the
Prophet laid down these teachings in 1831, more than ten years before
they were discovered by scientists, and a generation before they were
generally accepted by the scientific world.

The Prophet did not stop with the enunciation of these two fundamental
doctrines. He declared that a refined medium, called the Holy Spirit,
fills all space, whereby intelligence is conveyed from place to place.
In the terms of Joseph Smith, the forces of nature, such as heat,
light and electricity, are simply various manifestations of the
intelligence of the Holy Spirit; in the terms of science, of the
energy of the universal ether. The parallelism is complete. The Holy
Spirit, in "Mormon" theology, corresponds with the ether of science.
This doctrine, too, was enunciated many years before the corresponding
doctrines were established among men of science.

[Sidenote: Cause and effect.]

The Prophet also taught the unchanging relation of cause and effect,
which brings the whole universe under a reign of law, and overthrows
the mysticisms of old. This doctrine was emphasized at a time when the
world was just beginning to insist upon it. He further taught clearly
the manner in which nature's laws may be discovered by man.

[Sidenote: Astronomy.]

The Prophet further taught that all the heavenly bodies are in motion;
that the solar system is but a small part of a greater and grander
whole, controlled by the same laws, and that some of these other
worlds are inhabited. These doctrines, which now form the foundation
of the new astronomy, was discovered and accepted by the world of
science after the days of Joseph Smith.

[Sidenote: Geology.]

He also held clear and modern views regarding time limits in geology,
or the prehistoric ages of the world, at a time when students were not
agreed on the subject.

[Sidenote: The individual.]

Moreover, the "Mormon" prophet declared that the living beings found
on earth were organized from the commonly occurring elements and
forces of nature in such a manner that through them the force of
intelligence might exert itself in the greatest degree. Hence the
individual is only an organized intelligence. This, too, is in perfect
harmony with the results of the latest scholarship.

[Sidenote: The laws for the individual.]

On the basis of the fundamental laws, above defined, what does science
require of its devotees? How does it affect the actions of the
individual? As in theology, the scientific worker must have faith in
the principles that have been discovered. It is not possible in one
lifetime for a man to repeat all the work of preceding workers, to
demonstrate the accuracy of their results. Much must be taken on
trust; though at any time, should it be necessary, the earlier work
may be repeated. Besides requiring faith in the principles discovered
and enunciated by others, science demands that its every worker shall
believe in things that lie far beyond the reach of man's senses.

In theology, at least in the system established by Joseph Smith, a
similar faith is required of the individual. God and angels have been
seen by very few individuals. These realities must be accepted by
faith. In the words of the Prophet Joseph, "Faith is the assurance
which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen,
and the principle of action in all intelligent beings." With respect
to the first principle of science and theology, "Mormonism" is in
entire accord with the best philosophy. The individual, whether
scientist or theologian, must base his work on faith.

The scientist who has acquired faith in a law of nature will no longer
transgress that law. He will obey it. If he establishes the faith that
a wire connected in a certain way with the electric dynamo carries a
current sufficiently strong to destroy life, he will not wantonly
seize that wire in his hands. Before this faith came to him, he
probably came near losing his life, by the careless handling of the
charged wire. To conform to the laws of nature is scientific
repentance. Faith in science or religion is a high form of
intelligence and is opposed to ignorance. Repentance is the use of
this intelligence for the benefit of man.

In "Mormonism" the second principle of action for the individual is
repentance. If faith in God has been attained and his laws have been
made clear, the believer will no longer violate those laws; he will
obey them. That is repentance. Not by a jot or tittle does this kind
of repentance differ from the repentance taught by science. True,
science does not _speak_ of repentance, but it _thinks_ it. In the
matter of the great principle of repentance, governing the action of
workers in science or theology, "Mormonism" is eminently sane and
philosophical. Faith does not compel men to repent; but it is a
necessary precedent. The man who does not repent in science or
theology, after he has acquired faith, renders himself liable to
injury and retards his own progress.

In the system of theology taught by Joseph Smith, baptism is the third
great principle to be obeyed by the individual; that is, unless
baptism follows faith and repentance it is impossible to enter the
kingdom of God. In science there is a counterpart of baptism which is
the third principle of scientific progress.

A man who has attained faith in electricity resolves to refrain from
violating any of the laws of electricity. If he desires to produce a
current of electricity, he winds a wire around a piece of iron, and
revolves the coil in the field of a magnet, and the current is
produced. If the wire has not been wound in a certain definite manner,
and has not been placed in the proper relation to the magnet, no
current can be produced. The scientist may rail and object that it is
all nonsense to insist that the work be done just so to produce the
current. Nature is inexorable. The man to enter the kingdom of the
electric current must yield obedience to the order of nature; he must
receive a scientific baptism.

The baptism taught by the theology of Joseph Smith is nothing more
than obedience to law. Just why it is necessary to be buried in the
water to enter the Church, perhaps no man fully knows. Nor does any
one know just _why_ the wire must be wound, just so, to produce the
current of electricity. Of one thing every thinker may be certain,
that the essential principle of baptism is as necessary in science as
in theology. In this matter also, then, Joseph the Prophet is
eminently philosophical.

The fourth principle in "Mormon" theology teaches that after baptism,
the gift of the Holy Ghost is conferred which enlightens the mind,
clears the intelligence, and brings man nearer the presence of God. So
also in science, to the man who obeys the law of nature, come greater
power and intelligence, to him who winds the wire right, the electric
current comes, with all its latent powers. Thus is the Holy Ghost
conferred in science; and thus, also, in a more subtle and greater
degree is it conferred in the Church. The dogma of Joseph Smith and
the teachings of science harmonize perfectly in the examination of the
fourth fundamental principle of the philosophy governing the

[Sidenote: Evolution.]

It is becoming fairly well demonstrated that the ceaseless changes and
transformations in nature cause a greater and greater complexity in
nature. This, in other words, means that the earth and all on it are
developing and progressing. According to Darwin and his followers, man
and animals advance. Only those who progress, persist; those who
retrograde, die. Creation as a whole grows and develops, and must of
necessity do so. By this law, the purpose of the earth and the
universe is explained to be endless growth. The law of evolution is
the great cementing law of science. Even so, in the philosophy of
Joseph Smith, the doctrine is taught that all things advance; that man
shall continue to advance, in intelligence, and all pertaining to it,
until he shall become as God is now. Meanwhile, our God will also
increase in his fulness, and ever be a God to us. Through this
doctrine, all the principles of the Gospel are made coherent. All the
requirements of man have in view his eternal growth. Man's presence
here on earth is simply that he may better learn to understand the
nature of gross matter, and thus to develop and progress more

It is remarkable that Joseph Smith taught the law of evolution as an
eternal truth, twenty or more years before Darwin published his views.

[Sidenote: God.]

Above the law of laws is the force of forces--or the central force of
the universe. Science has little to say of God. It is content to
accept the laws of nature as they are found. Yet, at times, in some
branches of science, a knowledge of the beginning of things is
desired. Usually science answers, "I do not know;" but it nevertheless
affirms that there must be a central force, unknown and unnamed, to
which the manifestations of all other forces may be referred. Science,
which is essentially orderly, is chaotic when the question of the
beginning of things is raised. The "Mormon" Prophet left no such
weakness in his philosophy. He, too, realized the necessity of a
controlling universal force. This he named God. God is an organized,
material being, filled with the form of energy known as intelligence.
"The glory of God is intelligence." All other forces of nature may be
converted into intelligence; and from intelligence all other forces
may be obtained; God is the center of these forces, and their
directing power. Because of this centralization, nature is orderly.
Natural laws are not, as supposed by some philosophers, accidental
relations of phenomena, observed and recorded by man. The force of
intelligence controls all phenomena; there is mind behind the
operations of nature. God, himself a part of nature, is not the
creator of nature, but the organizer and director of it. What a
beautifully reasonable climax that is to the wonderful philosophy of
Joseph the Prophet!

The intelligence of God is organized; therein lies his individuality
and life. Man is organized intelligence; therein lies his life.
Through obedience to law, intelligence grows; by the violation of law,
which is sin, it decays. It is the degree of organized intelligence
that ultimately distinguishes one man from other men; men from beasts,
beasts from plants, and plants from rocks. Since intelligence, as
defined by Joseph Smith, corresponds with the main form of energy of
the universe, the doctrine of God, and all other beings, and of life,
finds expression in terms of energy. That is exactly what science

[Sidenote: Theology and science agree.]

Is it any wonder that workers in science, who have been taught the
doctrine of an immaterial God who is able to create something from
nothing, and to transcend all laws of nature, depart from the faith of
their childhood? Truth is truth forever. Scientific truth cannot be
theological lie. To the sane mind, theology and philosophy must
harmonize. They have the common ground of truth on which to meet.

Thus, on every hand, from the highest to the lowest, from the force of
forces and the law of laws to the fundamental laws governing the
operations of the universe, and the actions of the individual, the
philosophy of the "Mormon" Prophet is consistently referred back to
matter, energy and law. In its completeness, it transcends the
philosophy of science. Wherever the doctrines of "Mormonism" and
science meet, they agree. No discord has yet been found between them.
Science is daily confirming the truth of the universe--embracing
philosophy of the unlearned founder of "Mormonism."

Back of the revelations of the greatness of the Prophet's knowledge
that come to all who enter upon such a discussion, stands the eminent
fact that "Mormon" philosophy is plain, simple, and easily understood.
There is no need and no room for mysteries in the teachings of Joseph
the Prophet. Similarly, the philosophy of men, based upon nature, is
essentially simple, and easily understood. Only untruth needs to hide
itself in mysteries.

One hundred years have passed since Joseph, honored and chosen of God,
entered the school of life. Face to face with God, Joseph learned the
Gospel, planned before the foundations of the world were laid, and he
taught it to a careless world. It is not Joseph Smith's philosophy;
but God's code of fundamental laws, which the world is laboriously
deciphering in the beautifully written pages of nature. Is it any
wonder that the philosophy is perfect?

Of simple brilliancy must have been the mind of the Prophet which was
able to discover in the forgotten corners of thought the priceless
gems of controlling, universal truth.

Chapter XX.


It has been shown in the preceding chapters that Joseph Smith
recognized and stated the fundamental laws of all science, the
fundamental principles of physical and biological science and
astronomy, together with a great number of scientific facts, and made
these statements usually in advance of workers in science.

It is a surprising fact that a young man of twenty-eight, who had had
no educational advantages of schooling, or reading, or society, should
state clearly and correctly known laws of science; but it is marvelous
that he should state fundamental laws that the workers in science did
not discover until many years later. Every honest man, be he friend or
enemy, must marvel, and ask, "Whence did this man derive his

Was he a man of lively imagination who guessed shrewdly? If so, he was
the shrewdest guesser the world has known. All that he said has come
true; his bitterest enemies have been unable to prove incorrect
statements of facts. Their attacks have always been on the origin of
the work, on its ethical ideals (which are largely personal opinions),
and on the probability that Joseph Smith was the real founder of
"Mormonism"--thus tacitly admitting the greatness of the work. Had he
been a guesser, simply, he would have failed somewhere, and thus
revealed his weakness. But let any man show one error in the inspired
writings of Joseph Smith, even when he dealt with matters which lay
far outside of his daily mission. Though thousands of persons have
felt impelled to war against "Mormonism," no such error has been
found. All human logic denies that he was a guesser.

Did he receive his knowledge from well educated persons, who kept
themselves in the background? No documentary evidence has been found
to substantiate such a view. Primarily, it is unlikely that men of
intelligence and education would hide behind an ignorant boy, from the
time he was fourteen until his death at thirty-nine years of age.
There was nothing to gain by it; the prophet never had more wealth
than just enough to live on; the pleasure that his power over his
followers gave him, was more than offset by the ceaseless persecution
which followed him. Besides, nearly all the fairly well educated men
who joined the Church in the early days were given prominent positions
in the Church, yet it is known that they were instructed or chastised
by the youthful prophet whenever occasion required, as were those of
no or little education. Joseph Smith was always greater than any of
his followers. But above all, no educated man would have been able to
tell Joseph, by means of his education, of things not yet known. The
idea that Joseph Smith was only a dummy for clever heads is not

Since ordinary means were beyond his power, how did he acquire his
knowledge? How was he able to look into the future, and reveal its
secrets? "Ah," says a new philosopher, "I have it, he was epileptic,
and had trances, during which his visions appeared;" and the
philosopher proceeds to write a book proving his theory to be
correct.[A] What a pitiful attempt to push the question into the
region of the unknown; and at the same time, what a splendid
acknowledgment of the fact that the life and labors of Joseph Smith
transcend ordinary human explanations! Do epileptics, in their
phantasms, see orderly systems of truth, which are carried into effect
in their days of health and sanity? Does the epileptic see the truth
that shall be revealed in the coming ages, and teach it with a stately
soberness of language which admits of no uncertainty? If so, then
might the race well long for the time when the great gift of
healthful, reasoning imagination shall be exchanged for the ghastly
disease of epilepsy. Folly of follies! The life, writings and works of
Joseph Smith are healthy, above all else; no trace of physical, or
mental, or spiritual disease can be found in them. His teachings are
given as eternal truths revealed by the God of nature; and they rise
loftily above the vague theorizings of the investigator, or the
uncertain gibberish of the diseased intellect. Clearness, reason,
logic in method and execution, characterize the teachings and works of
Joseph Smith. Have such qualities ever indicated disease?

[Footnote A: The Founder of Mormonism. Riley.]

To the person who can rise above his prejudices, and confess to
himself that he is not able to explain in the manner of men how Joseph
Smith came by his knowledge of ideas, men and things, comes the strong
conviction that the "Mormon" prophet was inspired by a mightier power
than men possess; and if that conviction is followed by a prayerful
desire to know what that power is, the testimony will be given that
from God, the Controller of the universe, known by various men under
divers names, did Joseph Smith receive, directly, the truths which
fill the pages of his published writings, and direct the lives of his

God spoke to Joseph, and gave him the revelations necessary for
building his kingdom in the last days. Little more than was necessary
did the Lord reveal, but occasionally, for the comfort of the prophet
and his associates, truths were given which hinted of the glorious
order of the universe. May it not be, also, that the Lord showed
Joseph many truths, similar to those touched upon in these papers, in
order that later generations might have additional testimonies of the
divinity of the latter-day work? Under the influence of the Holy
Spirit, the boy Joseph grew into a man, whose mind was filled with the
great vision of the contents and the destiny of the universe,
including the future lot of mankind. No man has had a nobler education
than that received by Joseph Smith.

When the historian of future days shall review the history of the
growth of science, and shall judge men by the record that they have
left behind them, he will place Joseph Smith as the greatest
philosopher of science of the nineteenth century, and possibly of the
twentieth. Then will men reverently speak of that mighty mind and
clear vision, which, inspired by the God of heaven, saw, as in an open
book, the truths which men have later developed, through ceaseless
labor and countless vigils. Then shall the thinkers of the future
speak of him as Joseph, the clearsighted.

Knowledge, concentrated into wisdom, is the end of existence. To those
who live according to God's law, knowledge will come easily. It will
continue to come to his people, until it shall be the most intelligent
among the nations. The Lord has said it.

"How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the
heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the
Missouri River in its decreed course, or turn it up stream, as to
hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the
heads of the Latter-day Saints."[A]

[Footnote A: Doctrine and Covenants, 121:33.]


Chapter XXI.



"--the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken,
and left like a wilderness."--_Isaiah, xxvii:_ 10.

It is a fact, which has impressed itself upon all readers of history,
that countries which have been the homes of the most powerful and
cultured nations, are now great stretches of the veriest desert. No
country teaches this truth better than the extensive valley of the
Mesopotamia which looms giant-like in the dawn of history. Upon its
plains and highlands, the great nations of antiquity acted the
tragedies of their existence; like the schoolboys' snowman, they rose,
with vast proportions, in a day, and fell ere the setting of the next
sun. In this district, advanced and retreated with wonderful
precision, as it appears to us so many ages removed from the time of
action, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians and the Assyrians; here the
Medes and Persians achieved the victories that made them famous, and
here came all the great generals of old to crown their successes. A
hundred populous cities clustered, in the lower part of the valley,
around Babylon the great, the most marvelous city of any past age; a
hundred cities were in the upper half, with Nineveh, also magnificent
and great, as their center. From Mesopotamia come evidences of
art--painting, sculpture, music, literature and architecture--the
indication of a higher civilization. Still, today, even the sites of
many of the great cities are lost, and Mesopotamia is a stretch of
barren land.

To the west of Mesopotamia is the valley containing the promised land
of Palestine--it, also, has fallen from its former splendor, and is a
desert compared with the days of its greatest prosperity. Still
further west and south lies the land of Egypt, in the valley of the
Nile. It was the fostermother of science, and the shaker of empires.
It has fallen likewise; and a blight has come upon the soil, until it
bears the appearance of a sandy waste. Over the sites of other famous
nations of antiquity, in Europe and Asia, hovers, today, the spirit of

The same story is told on the American continent. Peru, the land of
the Incas, once populous, powerful, wealthy, is today largely a
wilderness. Mexico, the Aztec home, is now a vast desert, in spite of
the evidence, through the discovered ruins of mighty cities and
gigantic temples, that it was once the home of a strong people.
Central America tells a similar story. It seems to be a general fact
that wherever a large people lived formerly, there, today, a desert
often occurs.

However, these countries are deserts only because human effort is no
longer applied to them; by proper treatment the lands would again be
raised to the flourishing condition that prevailed in their prosperous
days. Intrinsically the soils are extremely fertile, but are dry and
require the application of water to make the fertility suitable for
the use of crops. The soils of Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Peru and
Mexico, raise crops of wonderful yields when properly irrigated; and
there is abundant proof that in former days irrigation was practiced
in these countries on a scale far larger than in Utah or in any other
country of the present day.

Many of the old irrigation canals of Babylon still exist, and prove
the magnitude of the practice, there, of the art of irrigation. The
old historians, also, agree in explaining the ingenious devices by
which whole rivers were turned from their courses to flow over the
soil. In Egypt, likewise, irrigation was more commonly practiced in
the past than it is today; though even now a large portion of the soil
of that country is made to yield crops by the artificial application
of water. In Peru, Central America, and Mexico, the irrigation canals
that remain from prehistoric days are even more wonderful as feats of
engineering and as evidences of a populous and enlightened condition
of the country than the massive temples and extensive cities that are
also found. In the construction of these canals every precaution,
apparently, was taken to have the water applied to the lands in the
right manner, and to reduce the loss to a minimum. In some places
immense canals remain, that are tiled for miles, on sides and bottom,
in order to render them watertight, and thus prevent any loss by

Instead of saying, then, that the countries where most great nations
have lived are now deserts, we may as well say that most great nations
have lived in countries where irrigation was necessary; in fact, that
history indicates that a dense population, and high culture, usually
go hand in hand with a soil that thirsts for water. What can science,
the great explainer, say on this subject?


"Science moves, but slowly, slowly, moving on from point to
point."--_Locksley Hall_.

A plant feeds in two ways--by its leaves, and by its roots. The leaves
feed from the air; the roots from the soil. In the air is found a
colorless, heavy gas, known as carbon dioxide, which is made up partly
of the element of carbon, or charcoal. When an animal or a plant is
burned at a low heat, it first chars, showing the presence of
charcoal; then if the burning be continued, it disappears, with the
exception of the ash, as the gas, carbon dioxide. Since animal and
vegetable matters are constantly being burned upon the earth's
surface, naturally the air contains a perceptible quantity of carbon
dioxide. The leaves of a living plant, waving back and forth, draw
into themselves the carbon dioxide with which they come into contact,
and there break it up and take the carbon away from it. The carbon
thus obtained by the leaves is built into the many ingredients of a
plant, and carried to the parts that are in greatest need. The plant
is able to do this by virtue of the peculiar properties of the green
coloring matter in all its leaves, leaf green; which acts, however,
only in the presence of bright sunlight. Since one-half or more of the
dry matter of a plant is carbon, the importance of the
leaf-air-feeding of a plant may be understood.

The water which a plant contains and the incombustible portions, the
mineral matters or ash, are taken directly from the soil by means of
the roots. The old idea that vegetable mould and other corbonaceous
matters are also taken from the soil by the roots has been shown to be
erroneous. The mineral portions of a plant are of the highest value to
the life of the plant--without them, in fact, it languishes and dies.
If a soil on which a plant is growing contains, for instance, no iron,
the leaves become pale, soon white, and finally they lose the power of
appropriating carbon from the air. If potash is absent from the soil,
the plants growing upon it will develop in an imperfect manner and
finally die. It has been found by careful experiment that seven
mineral substances must be found in every soil, if it shall support
the life of plants, namely: (1) Potash; (2) lime; (3) magnesia; (4)
oxide of iron or iron rust; (5) sulphuric acid or oil of vitriol; (6,
phosophoric acid, and (7) nitric acid or aqua fortis. The fertility of
any soil or soil district is determined by the quantity of these
indispensable ash ingredients contained by it.

All soils are produced by the breaking down of the mountains under the
influence of weathering. The broken down rock is washed into the
hollows and lowlands by the rains and floods of melted snow, and there
forms soil. Soil may, therefore, be defined, in a general way, as
pulverized rock. Nearly all rocks contain the elements above
enumerated as being essential to a plant's life; and nearly every soil
will, consequently, be in possession of them. Rocks, however, in being
subjected to the action of weathering, undergo other changes than mere
pulverization. The potash, lime and other plant foods held by a rock
are in an insoluble condition, and can not be taken up with any ease
by the plant roots. As the rock is pulverized in the process of
weathering, it is also made more soluble, and the juices of the plant
roots can then absorb the needed foods with greater facility. This
process of making the soil more soluble, continues while time lasts,
and every year will find the soil more soluble than the year before,
if there are no opposing actions. Therefore, the fertility of a soil
is determined not only by the quantity of plant food it contains, but
also by the condition of solubility the soil constituents are in.

According to the facts above given, it would be fair to infer that a
soil becomes more fertile with every year that passes. This would be
the case were it not for opposing tendencies. First, the crops grown
upon a soil remove considerable quantities of mineral plant food. This
alone would not seriously affect the fertility of a soil did not other
forces act in conjunction with it. The most important cause of
lowering the fertility of soils is the loss of plant food due to
drainage. In districts of abundant rainfall, as, for instance, the
Eastern United States, sufficient rain falls to soak the soil
thoroughly and to drain through and go off as drainage water. The
water, in passing through the soil, will dissolve, as far as it can,
the soluble ingredients, including the plant foods, and carry them
away into the rivers and finally into the ocean. This action,
continued for many years, will rob the soil to feed the ocean; in
fact, the saltness of the ocean is due, largely, to the substances
washed out of the soils. Most of the poor soils of the world have been
rendered infertile in this way. If, on the other hand, only a small
quantity of rain falls upon the soil--an amount sufficient to soak the
soil without draining through--the water will gradually be evaporated
back into the air, and there will be no loss of plant food. In such a
district the soils, if they are treated right, become richer year by
year, even though subjected to tillage, if the tillage be according to
our best knowledge.

In every rainless district, or in every district where the rainfall is
so slight as to render irrigation necessary, the soils would be
expected to be richer than in a place of abundant rainfall. Leaving
out of consideration differences due to local conditions, this has
been verified by the study of soils from many parts of the world. The
soils of an arid district contain more soluble plant food than those
of a humid district, and, with proper treatment, will not only raise
larger crops, but remain fertile much longer. They will also bear
harsher treatment, closer cultivation, and are in every respect
superior to the water-washed soils of a humid country. A recent study
of the soils of Utah has shown that the fertility of our soils is
exceedingly high, and that they will endure long and close
cultivation; that is, that because of the peculiar climatic conditions
of the State, they can support bountifully a large population.

Several years ago Dr. E. W. Hilgard, an eminent student of climate and
soils, threw out the suggestion that upon the facts just discussed
rests the explanation of the historical datum that the great nations
of antiquity on this and on other continents sought for the abodes the
rainless, arid stretches of the world. A large, active population,
which does not depend on other peoples for its support, must of
necessity possess the most fertile lands, which are found only in
districts of limited rainfall. In the whole history of the world, the
great granaries of the world have been located on the arid stretches;
and on our continent, the great West, largely arid, is becoming the
source of the food staples of the nation. Utah is the heart of the
arid region of North America; her soils are heavy with wealth of plant
food. If the time comes that her valleys be filled with people,
crowding in from the nations of the earth, her soils, responding to
the better treatment which science is developing day by day, will
display their strength, and feed the world, should the demand be made.


"Therefore will I make solitary places to bud and blossom, and to
bring forth in abundance, saith the Lord."--_Doctrine and Covenants_.

Sixty years ago the facts of plant feeding, as just outlined, were
practically unknown. The erroneous ideas of the preceding century
still held full sway. In 1840 Liebig published his treatise on
agricultural chemistry which threw a faint light on the relation of
the plant and the soil. During the twenty years following, the
indispensable nature of some of the plant foods was ascertained; and
it is only within the last ten or fifteen years that the superiority
of arid districts over humid ones, for the purpose of supporting man,
has been demonstrated. Even today it is a new light which has not been
fully received.

In 1842 Joseph the Prophet wrote: "I prophesied that the saints would
continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky
Mountains * * * and some of you will live to go and assist in making
settlements and build cities and see the saints become a mighty people
in the midst of the Rocky Mountains." Why did Joseph Smith speak of
the Rocky Mountains as a gathering place for his people? Was it simply
because the place was far off and offered, apparently, good security?
If so, he builded better than he knew. But what prompted Brigham Young
to plant his cane by the shore of an alkali lake and say, Here we
shall remain? That certainly was not for security only. Perhaps he was
tired of wandering? Though he may have been so, yet he was not the man
to give up when near something better. Perhaps he thought the valley
fair, and the blue mountains may have rested his eyes? If that was the
motive of settlement, he, too, builded better than he knew. Certainly
it is that these two men who historically hold the responsibility for
bringing the Latter-day Saints here, did not know, by the world's
learning, that the valleys of Utah are filled with the richest soil,
waiting only to yield manifold to the husbandman; for the world did
not yet know, and had no means for predicting it. These men were not
scientists. They had no laboratories in which, by long hours, over
long drawn fires, and among a hundred fumes, to draw out for
themselves the law of the fertility of arid soils, which has but
recently become the property of modern science. It is not likely that
the records of a lost learning, unknown today, taught them this fact.
Though they had had such records, they were unlettered men, and the
ancient tongues would have been dead indeed to them, had they
attempted an interpretation by their own efforts. Why then, did they
bring the people here? Was it a chance move? A blind effort, acting
out the desperation that comes from long persecution? If an element of
chance entered into the location in the valleys of Utah, it was akin
to wisdom.

_And it was wisdom_ of the highest kind; at which the world ever
stands in reverent wonder; inspiration from the living God. The logic
that science, itself, applies to facts in the deduction of its laws,
makes it impossible to believe that the settlement of the pioneers in
the Salt Lake Valley was a chance move. Nothing, from the point of
view of human wisdom, encouraged the pioneers to remain in Utah--they
were in the center of a desert; the leaders were urged by many of the
company to go on, for there were fairer climes to the west or the
south, or on the islands of the sea. But the leaders were possessed of
a wisdom higher than that of men, and founded an empire on the wastes
of the Great American Desert.

Now, let every reader of this paper consider these wonderful facts: Of
the vast possibilities of agriculture in Utah being the same with
those of the countries where the great nations of the world have
lived; of a people, claiming that the nations shall in the future flee
to it for safety, making its home in a place which possesses the
capabilities of supporting the nations; and of the choice of that
country when it was named a desert; when science, the world's
knowledge, did not dream of the fertility of that desert any more than
it was able to give a correct explanation of the fertility of the
valley of Mesopotamia: and every honest heart will recognize the
unseen hand of the God of Israel, guiding the people of God to the
destined land.

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