Elden Watson

April 1989

Brigham Young seldom spoke on the resurrection of the physical body, which he attributed to the fact that he did not know much about the subject. President Young always maintained that in order to understand the resurrection a man must first be resurrected and then be given the keys of the resurrection (a view which he says he obtained from the Prophet Joseph Smith). Nevertheless, when he did broach the subject, his views were both thought provoking and enlightening.

Most of Brigham Young's comments on the resurrection appear during obsequies or funeral services which, because of his position, he was frequently called upon to perform. One of the earliest recorded examples is found in the Wilford Woodruff Journal for February 23, 1848.

After having been in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young had left a small detachment to winter there and returned to Winter Quarters. On a Wednesday morning President Young was attending to some business with Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff and Joseph Young when a Brother Brown came in and requested one of them to come to his home and preach a funeral sermon for his daughter who had died. That portion of Brigham Young's funeral sermon over the remains of Sister Brown which pertains to the resurrection is reproduced here:

[23 Feb, 1848, Winter Quarters]

I am fully convinced that all our sorrows and troubles will work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal wait of glory. Hence we ought not to murmur or complain at our fate. It is true we mourn at the loss of our friends and our relatives as those with our hope, for blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth saith the spirit for they rest from their labors and if their friends are faithful their works will follow them. But what is the time of our suffering in this life in comparison with eternity? After we have spent millions of ages in eternity and we look back upon our time here and it will only look like the twinkling of an eye in comparison and so it will be in waiting for the resurrection of our bodies. It will be for a moment as it were before we shall stand in our immortal bodies. But no person can have power to raise the dead except he holds the keys of the resurrection and no man can hold the keys of the resurrection or be ordained unto that power until he has died and been raised from the dead himself, no more than a man has power to baptize a man legally and lay hands upon him for the Holy Ghost and ordain him to the office of an elder who has not been baptized or ordained himself.

Michael the archangel (Adam) holds the keys of the resurrection and after a man is raised from the dead, has an immortal body and receives an ordination to hold the keys of the resurrection from under the hands of Michael or those having authority, he then has the power to raise the dead, and not before. Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection. "He had power to lay down his life, and power to take it again." When he had lain in the grave three days an angel, some person(1) who was appointed to this work, appeared, rolled back the stone and called Jesus forth. We have power here through the priesthood to lay hands upon the sick and they recover, to cast out devils, open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf according to the faith of the children of men. It is just as easy to raise the dead for one who is ordained unto this power as it is for us to administer in the ordinances of the House of the Lord here.(2)

There was a special two day conference of the Church called on August 28th and 29th OF 1852. This is the conference in which on the 29th, section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants was first made public, and in which Orson Pratt was requested to make the first public announcement of plural marriage. On the previous day, at the close of the afternoon session of August 28th, President Young made a few interesting remarks which pertain specifically to the subject of the resurrection:

[Salt Lake Tabernacle, August 28, 1852.]

One of the greatest queries on the minds of the Saints is to understand the nature, the principle of the foundation of our existence. To say nothing about what has been, if you will follow out that which is before you, you can learn all about it. I have a notion to tell you, though I have not time to say much about it now. I will, however, just tell to you the simple story relating to the exaltation of man in the celestial kingdom of God. We will take Joseph for instance: he is faithful to his calling--has filled his mission to this earth, and sealed his testimony with his blood; he has done the work his Father gave him to do, and will soon come to the resurrection. His spirit is waiting for the resurrection of the body, which will soon be. But has he the power to resurrect that body? He has not. Who has this power? Those that have already passed through the resurrection--who have been resurrected in their time and season by some person else, and have been appointed to that authority just as you Elders have with regard to your authority to baptize.

You have not the power to baptize yourselves, neither have you power to resurrect yourselves; and you could not legally baptize a second person for the remission of sins until some person first baptized you and ordained you to this authority. So with those that hold the keys of the resurrection to resurrect the Saints. Joseph will come up in his turn, receive his body again, and continue his mission in the eternal worlds until he carries it out to perfection, with all the rest of the faithful, to be made perfect with those who have lived before, and those who shall live after; and when the work is finished, and it is offered to the Father, then they will be crowned and receive keys and powers by which they will be capable of organizing worlds. What will they organize first? Were I to tell you, I should certainly spoil all the baby resurrection(3) that Elder Hyde and others ever preached, as sure as the world.

After men have got their exaltations and their crowns--have become Gods, even the sons of God--are made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then commence the organization of tabernacles. How can they do it? Have they to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there, and he cannot do without Eve; he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children(4)

One of the easiest ways to solidify our thoughts on a particular topic is to hear someone else discuss that subject. Often a key word or phrase will make things fall into place, and sometimes even an erroneous concept will help crystallize the true concept in our own minds.

On February 19, 1853 President Young invited Edwin D. Woolley to speak in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on the resurrection and Brother Woolley delivered a lengthy discourse, freely expressing his views on the subject.(5) After his discourse President Young took the opportunity to make corrections and explanations of the ideas that Brother Woolley had presented, and in doing so left us with one of the few discourses Brigham Young ever made directly on the subject of the resurrection.:

[19 February 1853, Salt Lake Tabernacle]

I realize that it is nearly time our morning meeting should be brought to a close. I will, however, occupy a short time and express briefly what I have to communicate previous to the close of this meeting.

I wish the congregation to understand the facts in the case before us.

Bro. Woolley has told us he expected a whipping, or a lashing. The brethren know my manner of lashing them which never takes place without a cause when the brethren are chastened; or corrected in matters of doctrine, it is when they design a wrong, then they may be corrected, or chastened in all mildness.

Bro. Woolley was invited by me to preach here to day. I made this request of him for certain reasons.

I have been convinced these many years the variety in belief of doctrine that exists among this people is in the manner of expressing themselves more than in their ideas.

Bro. Woolley has made a statement today, while talking upon the resurrection, something like this, "go to the catacombs of Egypt and see the thousands of embalmed bodies that have lain for thousands of years in those solitary monuments of the dead. If they get a resurrection, their resurrected bodies will go and gaze upon the old dusty remains that are lying in an embalmed state still in those ancient catacombs." This is an incorrect idea. But who is to blame for this incorrectness? In reality he and I believe alike, if he could explain his belief in fitting language. But he does not use language calculated to convey his belief to my understanding.

For instance, he says, "you cannot embalm the immortal part." Who of the sisters do not know better than that. It is incorrect to say we cannot embalm any portion of the body, did we understand the method of embalming. Were I to ask Bro. Woolley if he believes this matter that constitutes our bodies is organized for the express purpose of being glorified in immortality, he would answer me in the affirmative. But his manner of expressing himself would give the contrary of this. The error is not so much in his belief, as for want of knowing how to place his words in the fittest way to convey his ideas.

I have wished the brethren would as freely preach their sentiments and doctrine from this stand as they preach in the ward meetings and in other places. Not more than a week since, I was told the baby resurrection doctrine was spreading among the people. It is something I do not understand. The spirit of Joseph Smith is in the bodies of their children; and some have the spirit of Hyrum; and I do not know but some would go so far as to say that the spirit of old Mother Smith had actually come into the bodies of some child before she was dead. The returning again of the spirits of the dead into the bodies of our babies is the theory of the baby resurrection.

I will now tell the people once for all, that no man lives, or ever did live that can teach a doctrine except he possesses the keys of it. I never professed to preach and understand the doctrine of the resurrection. Joseph Smith did not profess to teach it only so far as to say he believed in the doctrine of a literal resurrection of the body. He did not believe that the bones which are preserved by embalming, or in any other way, could not be resurrected. Bro. Woolley has said "when the graves are opened, no mortal eye can see any alteration upon the surface of the ground where the graves of the dead were situated." That is, the graves will not be literally opened. He then, almost in the next breath, informs us that Jesus Christ is an example, or pattern of the resurrection. In the account of his resurrection we read: "Mary Magdalene came early on the first day of the week, when it was not yet dark, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre."(6) Another apostle speaks of Mary who saw the stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre. Why should the stone at the mouth of the grave of Jesus be rolled away? That the Savior might walk out. The graves of the saints will, upon the same principle, be opened to follow the pattern, that the saints may come up out of their graves. It was necessary that the door of the sepulchre should be opened by the rolling away of the stone that the Savior might walk out, or escape from his grave. His resurrection is a perfect example, and yet Bro. Woolley says there can be no change discovered by mortal eye on the graves of the dead when they are opened.

This discrepancy is for want of a clear conception of the truth as it is, and language used in a manner not to confuse the minds of those who hear. A great many things might be said upon this subject that would be particularly edifying to the people had we time this morning. I will advance a few ideas in a brief manner.

Take Jesus Christ for an example. Do you suppose the bones of Christ decayed? No. Do you suppose that any part of his body suffered decomposition while he lay in the sepulchre? His body did not decay, and he is said to be our pattern for the resurrection. He was the first of the children of Adam who was resurrected on the earth, to die no more. No person ever received a resurrection from the dead to eternal life on this earth until after the Savior received his. As his body did not decay, neither need mine decay. Do you believe the body of Jesus Christ, that came from the womb of Mary, with its bones, sinews, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, with all the internal machinery that is common to the mortal body and with the skin to cover the whole was laid in the sepulchre to decay? You do not believe they were. Then you believe that that very identical body with all its parts unimpaired, (with the exception of the external scars) came out of the sepulchre again, clothed with immortality and eternal life. When the disciples heard of his resurrection, they came running to the sepulchre, and went down into it. Did they find his old body there still? No, it was gone, and the linen clothes that was around it was found neatly folded in one corner of the sepulchre. They did not see any portion of his body, all had sprung again into life, and the same Jesus who went about doing good and finally laid down his life to redeem man, showed to his disciples his hands and his feet, and the place where the spear entered his side, eating flesh and honeycomb before them. He is the resurrection and the life.

With regard to embalmed bodies I will remark. If by embalming the body is preserved from utter decay, or any part of it, until the time of its resurrection, it will again be renewed and spring into life immortal. After the power of the resurrection has visited the ancient catacombs of Egypt, those dusty mummies will not be there 'though the filthy rags that covered them, and other relics of the ancients may occupy the place where their bodies lay.

If by the power of God Christ could take up his body that was mutilated with wounds, and afterwards lay three days in the sepulchre, the same power can cause those mammoth sepulchers of the dead in Egypt, where everlasting solitude reigns, to teem with life, and motion. He can break the bands of death and set the prisoners free. The same comparison will hold good in the case of those who have moldered into dust. The task is no greater to call the solid earth to open, and bring forth from the ashes of the sleeping dead bodies filled with immortality. It is as easy for the resurrection power of the Almighty to resurrect the dead to immortality, as to preserve the immortal part of man from dissolution.

What is the immortal part of man? It is taught you from this stand every Sabbath. It is the native element organized to become eternal, after it has passed through certain ordeals, obtained a resurrection and has become glorified to change no more. The bodies that we expect to obtain a resurrection is corruptible. They are composed to be decomposed. This will particularly apply to the flesh, and not to the spirit that tenants it. Men may believe alike, and endeavor to teach alike, but my counsel to all is, meddle not with doctrine you do not understand. This counsel is necessary, for just as quick as some are in a prayer meeting, a quorum meeting, or a circle meeting they can expound (whether truly or untruly I do not say) the marvelous mysteries pertaining to the Gods in eternity. Were I to ask the bro. I heard the other evening teaching in his circle meeting, to preach the same mass of nonsense in this stand, would he do it? No. And what I say of him will apply to many others. They teach such things in their private meetings, and to their wives, and neighbors; and then it is passing from one to the other like an undercurrent through the community. If these doctrines are good, if they are true, then why not teach them here?

I thank Bro. Woolley for telling his mind this morning. We can see clearly at the first glance that, if Jesus is a pattern of the resurrection, the graves of the dead will be opened as literally as the stone was rolled from the door of the Savior's sepulchre. I can believe that the component parts of our bodies composed of their respective particles, when prepared for the resurrection, will be brought together again, and receive a literal resurrection from the literally opened grave, as easily as I can believe the body of Jesus Christ was resurrected, and the stone literally rolled away from the door of his sepulchre.

I have no scolding to do, but I do wish that men, who are fond of telling what wonderful knowledge they have obtained from the Almighty, would be as plain as Brother Woolley has been, and tell it from this stand to the people.

I tell you again what I have often told you in times past, and what every man will tell you who stands before the people to preach the truth: unless a man is full of the visions of eternity he has no business to meddle with matters that pertain to eternity. I wish you to pay particular attention to this, and practice the principle throughout your lives. You can teach things which you believe, but teach them as matters of your individual belief, and not as things acknowledged by this people as a church, and forming a part of their religious faith. Every man must be responsible for his own belief, inasmuch as it cannot be substantiated by the principles and doctrines of the church of God. A belief in a certain principle is one thing, and to know it is true, is another.

It appears inconstant to me, to believe that Jesus Christ is a perfect example of the resurrection, and then straight way declare that no person can be resurrected as he was. I understand that every person that receives a resurrection, will receive it as the Savior did, though their bodies should sleep in the dust for thousands of years, or only for a few days. A time will come when the people will be resurrected as quick as lightening. These times and seasons, and the method by which this will be brought about by the Almighty is known to himself. We have nothing to do with that. It will be enough for us to obtain our resurrection; and we shall get the resurrection we live for. If we prepare our bodies for an inheritance in a celestial kingdom, they will be quickened by a celestial glory, and of it receive a fullness.

I will notice another idea touching the Holy Ghost begetting the Son of God.

Who was it that spoke from the heaven and said "This is my beloved Son, hear him,"? Was it God the Father? It was. The Apostles bear testimony that such a voice was actually heard. This is my beloved son, and if it is true the Holy Ghost begat him I would add, which was begotten by one of my neighbors, hear ye him. Who was the Savior begotten by? O, by his Father or his brother, or some other person. So the Holy Ghost begetting the Savior looks to me. It makes me think of a story I heard in a dramatical performance once, that a certain individual was born of one of his Aunts, but he had no mother. It appears as reasonable to me to say a cousin or a fellow laborer of the Savior's begat him, as to say the Holy Ghost begat him. Who did beget him? His Father, and his father is our God, and the Father of our spirits, and he is the framer of the body, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .(7) Now to say that the Son of God was begotten by the Holy Ghost, is to say the Holy Ghost is God the Father, which is inconsistent, and contrary to all the revelations of God both modern and ancient.

I silenced this erroneous doctrine a year ago last fall conference it was I think, when a dispute arose among some of our best Elders, as to who was the Father of the Son of man pertaining to the flesh. Some contended it was the Holy Ghost; and some that it was Eloheim. When I spoke upon it in this stand before a conference of Elders, I cautioned them when they laid their hands upon the people for the gift of the Holy Ghost, according to the instructions of the Savior; to be very careful how they laid hands upon young women, for if it begat a child in the days of the Virgin Mary, it is just as liable to beget children in these days. It has all the power in this day that it had then, it has lost none.

As to the resurrection I frankly confess I do not know how the particles which form the new body are brought together, any more than I can tell how the same soil can produce grass, flowers, and trees from their simple seeds. What has been written, and what the Lord is disposed to reveal touching this doctrine is all I ever professed to know. A man has no business with it in particular until he shall receive the keys of it. He has as much business with it as the world has with the gospel we preach. They say Joseph Smith was an imposter, and spurn every ordinance of the Gospel. At the same time they are bold to affirm they have the oracles of divine truth, and can administer in the ordinances of God's house. Notwithstanding this, they do not know enough to know what they affirm is true. Why is it so? Because they have not the keys that unlock the truths of the gospel, therefore they cannot teach it.

To explain my views with regard to little children losing anything by dying in infancy I will ask a simple question. I will simplify it as much as I can, therefore I will direct my question to the little boys in the congregation. Did you ever own that knife? "No sir, I never saw it before." Why did you lose it then? "I never did lose it, for I never possessed it." The boy's answers are an answer to Bro. Woolley's question whether little children lose anything by dying in infancy. It is impossible for a person to lose a thing they never possessed. If a person never possessed a farm or a good house in his lifetime, he could not say he had lost a house or a farm. So is it with children who die young. They do not meet with any loss in the next world by an early death in this. They meet with death, if that can be considered a loss. It may be said, "but they do not live long enough to gain that knowledge, and experience and do that good in the flesh, that they could if they lived till they were 50 years of age, is it therefore not a loss because they have not had an opportunity of gaining that they might have had?" Could you converse with a child who has died when 5 years of age, and ask him if he has lost anything by his death, he would say "no." But, little child, are you not sorry you did not live on earth longer to gain blessings you have not obtained through your early death?" "I am not sorry," would be the reply, "because the Lord Jesus Christ has provided that for me which I could have obtained if I had lived on the earth to the full age of man." Why is this? The power of the enemy is so great upon the earth, which is experienced with such determined force upon mortal men, and upon all corruptible things, he had power to destroy the body of the child, the spirit he could not destroy, but it returned to God who gave it. The Lord, in order to give every person an opportunity to obtain the fullness of salvation, has made this wise provision for children, and thwarted the wicked intent of the destroyer. Little children can, after death, increase in all the wisdom, power, glory, gifts, and blessings that pertain to the Celestial Kingdom. Take for example two children, and suppose one of them dies 50 years before the resurrection, and the other lives to the resurrection; when they come together after the resurrection,--when they meet in the eternal world, one will have learned as much as the other, though one died at 5 years old, and the other at fifty five.

Bro. Woolley is for having them all raised from the dead in the prime of life, or at 33 years old, the age of the Savior when he was crucified. They will all be like in size, and all appear the same age. Bro. Woolley is a small man in stature, I thought of the comparison there would be if Bro. Hunter should stand by his side, Bro. Hunter being a large corpulent man. The difference would be more pleasing to the eye than if they were exactly alike. Suppose the inhabitants of the eternal world should change from two to fifteen feet. What matters that. There used to be giants on the earth, and some of these descendants exist; if they obtain a resurrection will they not come up as they were laid down? Yes, just as the Savior did. Will they be the same size of the Savior? It is no matter about that, but they will obtain a resurrection. You will see the child(8) of three, four, and five years old, possessing all the intelligence of the angels of God. Could you not enjoy the society of such interesting beings? It is the intelligence in them that makes them capable of enjoyment and duration. Resurrected bodies will be as diversified as the bodies are of mortal flesh, for variety, beauty, and extension, and to supply that, that will please the eye, the ear, and the other senses of the body throughout all the eternities we may live in. I will not complain that my body is not larger, or if it had been a few inches taller I would not have complained. The height of my body, or its extension in width will make no difference to my enjoyments and blessings in the eternal worlds.

I know there is a mystery, and it is couched in the ignorance of the people. It may be asked if a child of a premature birth will be resurrected? Now if it be the will of the Father that the spirit of that child drop the body, which it could not retain through some accident, weakness, or sickness of mortality which was unavoidable, and suffer it to take another, the first body will be as though it was not. On the other hand if the Father says that body shall be preserved to the spirit, so it will be.

When the spirit takes a body, a veil is dropped so that every thing the spirit knew previously is forgotten. Natural sleep is a fit illustration of this. When a person is in a sound sleep the assassin's knife might be held for hours to his throat and he be perfectly unconscious of the fact. His house might be wrapped in flames, and his children consuming, without having the least idea of what is transpiring around him. So when the spirit comes into this earthly tabernacle all is forgot, which it formerly knew, the same as a person forgets the doings of yesterday when tonight he is wrapped in deep sleep. But when we wake up in the morning we remember what we had forgotten.

When the spirit leaves the body it returns again to its spiritual home, where it is more familiar than any child is with its father's house in this city; and it is filled with intelligence, light and glory.

Now it is for the saints to get wisdom and understanding in all these things and I request my brethren to be just as honest, frank, and free as Br. Woolley has been this morning in expressing their views; though I might have lived for years and not have got his sentiments on the doctrine of the resurrection had I not asked him to state them here. I shall ask others to do the same thing.

Were I to take up the subject of the resurrection, I would preach it as far as I could by scripture and reason, but were I only to make a statement of the way I understand that subject, or any other, I would do so without bringing up my array of evidence. When speaking on that subject I generally appeal more particularly to Bro. Smith. He did say absolutely, when preaching funeral sermons, the bodies of the dead which were lying before him would come up in the resurrection. I know this is the truth by the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ to him. The mortal body is composed of the same elements of which this earth has been made, and it was organized to honor the spirit which came from the Father in heaven. If the body honors the spirit, it will, by its influence, sanctify the body and prepare it for the glory in the celestial world. When the two work unitedly together, the body yields obedience to the influence of the spirit, which the spirit purifies. In this way the body and the spirit both forming one being prepared for a glorious resurrection to be perfected in one, in spheres of endless blessedness(9)

On occasion President Young would touch the subject of the resurrection during one of his regular Sabbath day discourses at the Tabernacle. The reference was usually a side issue to the main theme of his talk and was generally quite brief. One talk in which the discussion of death and the resurrection was longer than usual was delivered on 23 March 1856 of which the following is the pertinent portion:

[March 23, 1856 - Salt Lake Tabernacle]

I will bring to your minds what I have formerly stated with regard to the spirit's entering the body. Our bodies are composed of visible, tangible matter, as you all understand, you also know that they are born into this world. They then begin to partake of the elements adapted to their organization and growth, increase to manhood, become old, decay, and pass again into the dust. Now in the first place, though I have explained this many times, what we call death is the operation of life, inherent in the matter of which the body is composed and which causes the decomposition after the spirit has left the body. Were that not the fact, the body, from which has fled the spirit, would remain to all eternity just as it was when the spirit left it, and would not decay.

What is commonly called death does not destroy the body, it only causes a separation of spirit and body, but the principle of life, inherent in the native elements, of which the body is composed, still continues with the particles of that body and causes it to decay, to dissolve itself into the elements of which it was composed, and all of which continue to have life. When the spirit given to man leaves the body, the tabernacle begins to decompose, is that death? No, death only separates the spirit and body, and a principle of life still operates in the untenanted tabernacle, but in a different way, and producing different effects from those observed while it was tenanted by the spirit. There is not a particle of element which is not filled with life, and all space is filled with element; there is no such thing as empty space, though some philosophers contend that there is.

Life in various proportions, combinations, conditions, &c., fills all matter. Is there life in a tree when it ceases to put forth leaves? You see it standing upright, and when it ceases to bear leaves and fruit you say it is dead, but that is a mistake. It still has life, but that life operates upon the tree in another way, and continues to operate until it resolves it to the native elements. It is life in another condition that begins to operate upon man, upon animal, upon vegetation, and upon minerals when we see the change termed dissolution. There is life in the material of the fleshly tabernacle, independent of the spirit given of God to undergo this probation. There is life in all matter, throughout the vast extent of all the eternities: it is in the rock, the sand, the dust, in water, air, the gases, and, in short, in every description and organization of matter, whether it be solid, liquid, or gaseous, particle operating with particle.

I have heard some philosophers argue that because no body could move without displacing other matter, therefore there must be empty space. That reasoning is nonsense to me, because eternity is, was, and will continue to be full of matter and life. We put a ship in motion on the water, and have we created an empty space? No, we have only changed the position of matter. Men and animals move upon the earth, birds and fishes cleave the elements they are organized to operate in, but do they leave a track of empty space? No, for all eternity is full of matter and life. True, element is capable of contraction and expansion but that does not by any means imply empty space. You see life in human beings and in the growing vegetation, and when that spirit of life departs, another condition of life at once begins to operate upon the organization which remains. By way of illustration I will quote one passage from the book of Job, who in his affliction was visited by several friends, and after he had concluded that they were all miserable comforters, he exclaimed, "Though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." To make this passage clearer to your comprehension, I will paraphrase it, though my spirit leave my body, and though worms destroy its present organization, yet in the morning of the resurrection I shall behold the face of my Savior, in this same tabernacle; that is my understanding of the idea so briefly expressed by Job. If you wish to know how the quoted passage reads, see Job, 19 chapter, 26 verse, King James' translation.

I have formerly spoken about the spirits overcoming the flesh; the body or flesh, is what the devil has power over. God gave Lucifer power influence, mastery, and rule, to a certain extent, to control the life pertaining to the elements composing the body, and the spirit which God places in the body becomes intimately connected with it, and is of course more or less affected by it.

Now let some of our philosophers tell us how much empty space there is, and where it is, in all the eternities that exist, or in other words, where life is not. The term death is often used to accommodate the understandings of the people, but they are in darkness upon this subject.

The spirit leaves a body, and then that body begins to pass away by another system of life. I might enlarge upon the death pertaining to this time, and the death that will be hereafter, but it is all upon the same principle, it is plain, simple, natural philosophy, and our religion is based upon it.(10)

On December 1, 1856, President Jedediah M. Grant, Second counselor to President Brigham Young passed away. His funeral services were held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Thursday, December 4, 1856. A portion of President young's remarks at the funeral services are as follows:

When the spirit leaves the tabernacle of flesh and goes into the spirit world, it has control over every evil influence with which it comes in contact, and when it takes up the body again, then the body also, with the spirit, will have control over every evil spirit that is in a tabernacle, if there is any such being, just as far as the spirit that has the Priesthood had control over evil spirits.

Perhaps you do not understand me. Take a spirit that has gone into the spirit world, does it have control over corruptible bodies? No. It can only act in the capacity of a spirit. As to the devils inhabiting these earthly bodies, it cannot control them, it only controls spirits. But when the spirit is again united to the body, that spirit and body unitedly have control over the evil bodies, those controlled by the devil and given over to the devils, if there is any such thing. Resurrected beings have control over matter as well as spirit.

Brother Grant's body which lies here is useless, is good for nothing until it is resurrected, and merely needs a place in which to rest; this spirit has not fled beyond the sun. There are millions and millions of spirits in these valleys, both good and evil. We are surrounded with more evil spirits than good ones, because more wicked than good men have died here; for instance, thousands and thousands of wicked Lamanites have laid their bodies in these valleys. The spirits of the just and unjust are here. The spirits that were cast out of heaven, which you know are recorded to have been one-third part, were thrust down to this earth, and have been here all the time, with Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, at their head.

When a good man or woman dies, the spirit does not go to the sun or the moon. I have often told you that the spirits go to God who gave them, and that he is everywhere; if God is not everywhere, will you please tell me where He is not. The moment your eyes are opened upon the spirit land, you will find yourselves in the presence of God, for as David says, "If you take the wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, He is there; and if you make your bed in hell, behold He is there."(11)

On June 12, 1859 President Brigham Young delivered the funeral sermon of his sister, Fanny. Fanny was fourteen years older than Brigham and he had great respect for her. During her funeral sermon President Young advanced one particular view that we have nowhere found expressed more clearly, concerning the differences between the capabilities of the resurrected body and those of the unresurrected spirits of the righteous dead.

Sister Fanny has been faithful: her spirit is now in the spirit world. Where do you suppose that world is? We used to think and talk a great deal about this subject, inquiring where heaven is, and where is the heaven of heavens.(12)

Let me tell you that sister Fanny cannot dwell there until she obtains her resurrection; neither can any other being. The spirit world I now refer to pertains to this earth, so far as spirits who have tabernacled or may hereafter tabernacle here are concerned.

Sister Fanny was baptized for the remission of sin and received the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. She lived according to the precepts and ordinances that God has revealed through his servant the Prophet, by which men can be saved and brought back into his presence. But is her spirit in the third heavens? No. Will it go there? not until she again possesses her body. Can she see the Lord? Yes, if he unveils himself. Can she converse with angels? Yes, if they are sent to converse with her. Is she in paradise? Yes. Where do the spirits of the wicked go? To the same place or kingdom pertaining to this earth. They do not go to the depths of hell, neither can they until they become angels of devils.(13)

in order to make it perfectly clear that President Brigham Young understood and taught the role of the Savior in the resurrection, we excerpt the following statement from remarks made in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on April 1, 1860:

Jesus is the first begotten from the dead, as you will understand. Neither Enoch, Elijah, Moses, nor any other man that ever lived on earth, no matter how strictly he lived, ever obtained a resurrection until after Jesus Christ's body was called from the tomb by the angel. He was the first begotten from the dead. He is the Master of the resurrection--the first flesh that lived here after receiving the glory of the resurrection. The resurrection from the dead may also, with propriety, be called a birth. All we can do in these matters is to exclaim, O the poverty of our ideas!--of the power of our conception! But we shall learn more, and come to a better understanding.

It is for brother Mace and all others to understand that, because we believe in the ordinance of baptism, the ordinance of the sacrament is not to be done away.(14)

The following insights into his feelings about the resurrection were made by President Young in the Bowery in Salt Lake City, on July 28, 1861:

After the body and spirit are separated by death, what, pertaining to this earth, shall we receive first? The body; that is the first object of a divine affection beyond the grave. We first come in possession of the body. The spirit has overcome the body, and the body is made subject in every respect to that divine principle God has planted in the person. The spirit within is pure and holy, and goes back pure and holy to God, dwells in the spirit-world pure and holy, and , by-and-by, will have the privilege of coming and taking the body again. Some person holding the keys of the resurrection, having previously passed through that ordeal, will be delegated to resurrect our bodies, and our spirits will be there and prepared to enter into their bodies. Then, when we are prepared to receive our bodies, they are the first earthly objects that bear divinity personified in the capacity of the man. Only the body dies; the spirit is looking forth, as you read in the Bible concerning the souls or spirits of those who lay under the altar, as John saw on the Isle of Patmos, and they were crying to God to know how long it would be before they would again have their bodies. Were we turned out-of-doors, and not permitted to go into a house for six months or a year, we would look forward to the time when we could build a house and reflect, "I wish I had a good house wherein I could be free from the inclemency of the weather, as I once had."

When the body comes forth again, it will be divine, God-like, according to the capacity and ordinations of the Lord. Some are foreordained to one station, and some to another. We want a house, and when we get it and our spirits enter into it, then we can begin to look forth, for what? For our friends. We want them resurrected. Here is this friend and that friend, until by-and-by all are resurrected. And the earth is resurrected? Yes, and every lining thing on the earth that has abided the law by which it was made. Then that which you and I respect, are fond of, and love with an earthly love, will become divine, and we can then love it with that affection which it is not now worthy of.(15)

Fundamental to the views of President Young is this excerpt from a discourse delivered on February 9, 1862 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The remarks were occasioned by the discovery on January 27th of that year that a man by the name of John Baptiste, who had been hired by the Salt Lake City cemetery sexton to dig graves and bury the dead, had robbed the graves of clothing etc. of some 50 or more bodies he had buried during a two and one-half year period.

[February 9 1862, Salt Lake Tabernacle]

We are here in circumstances to bury our dead according to the order of the Priesthood. But some of our brethren die upon the ocean; they cannot be buried in a burying ground, but they are sewed up in canvas and cast into the sea, and perhaps in two minutes after they are in the bowels of the shark, yet those persons will come forth in the resurrection, and receive all the glory of which they are worthy, and be clothed upon with all the beauty of resurrected Saints, as much so as if they had been laid away in a gold or silver coffin, and in a place expressly for the burying the dead. If you think opposite to this your thoughts are in vain. "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of these (sic) things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works." If the particles of which the body is composed are distributed to the four quarters of the earth, at the sound of the trumpet, when the dead are to come forth the dust that composed their bodies, that portion which is suffered to endure, will come from the ends of the earth, and mote by mote, particle by particle, atom to atom, bone to bone, sinew to sinew, and flesh will cover them, and the same body will come forth in the resurrection, as much so as the body of Jesus came forth from the tomb.(16)

In the following remarks President Young expresses the view that husbands and wives will be perfectly compatible in the resurrection (if they come forth in the first resurrection) because of their perfection, even though they may have difficulties here. These remarks were made on October 6, 1862:

[Bowery, Salt Lake City]

I think it has been taught by some that as we lay our bodies down, they will so rise again in the resurrection with all the impediments and imperfections that they had here; and that if a wife does not love her husband in this state she cannot love him in the next. This is not so. Those who attain to the blessing of the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy, and perfect in body. Every man and woman that reaches to this unspeakable attainment will be as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God. if you can, by faithfulness in this life, obtain the right to come up in the morning of the resurrection, you need entertain no fears that the wife will be dissatisfied with her husband, or the husband with the wife; for those of the first resurrection will be free from sin and from the consequences and power of sin. This body "is sown in corruption; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." "And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."(17)

Another of Brigham Young's teachings on the resurrection is that Joseph Smith will be the president, or firstfruits of the resurrection as far as this dispensation is concerned. A good example of Brigham Young teaching this concept publicly is at the funeral sermon of Laura Pitkin which was delivered on November 18, 1866 in Salt Lake City. The pertinent excerpt follows:

Christ will not come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth as soon as Miller said he would, but it will not be many scores of years before Joseph Smith the Prophet will be in our midst in the flesh and dictate all matters appertaining to the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth, and Joseph will come long before Jesus Christ will come in the clouds of heaven. There will be no ordinance performed but what there will be some person to perform that ordinance. Joseph Smith will be the first man who will be resurrected in the last days before the coming of Christ, and I am willing to wait until the Jackson County Saints are resurrected before I am. I never had any desire to be the second resurrected. I was not the second baptized into the Church.(18)

The following interesting remarks, concerning ordinances which can be received before and after the resurrection, were made by President Young in August of 1872 in Farmington.

Now a few words to the brethren and sisters upon the doctrine and ordinances of the house of God. All who have lived on the earth according to the best light they had, and would have received the fullness of the Gospel had it been preached to them, are worthy of a glorious resurrection, and will attain to this by being administered for in the flesh by those who have the authority. All others will have a resurrection, and receive a glory, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. It is supposed by this people that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in these ordinances. This is not the case. We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world. I know you would ask what they are. I will mention one. We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection. They will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again, as many have already done and many more will. They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism, then the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins. This is one of the ordinances we can not receive here, and there are many more. We hold the authority to dispose of, alter and change the elements; but we have not received authority to organize native element to even make a spear of grass grow. We have no such ordinance here. We organize according to men in the flesh. By combining the elements and planting the seed, we cause vegetables, trees, grains &c., to come forth. We are organizing a kingdom here according to the pattern that the Lord has given for people in the flesh, but not for those who have received the resurrection, although it is a similitude. Another item: We have not the power in the flesh to create and bring forth or produce a spirit; but we have the power to produce a temporal body. the germ of this, God has placed within us. And when our spirits receive our bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body. But these keys we cannot receive in the flesh. Herein, brethren, you can perceive that we have not finished and cannot finish our work, while we live here, no more than Jesus did while he was in the flesh.(19)

In December of 1870 an article by Eliza R. Snow(20) entitled "Mortal and Immortal Elements of the Human Body," appeared in the Woman's Exponent (Vol. 2, No 13). Nothing much was said about the article when it originally appeared, but a reprint appeared in the September 1st 1875 issue, at a time when President Young was concerned about the subject of death and the resurrection because of the loss of his eldest son, Joseph A. Young, who died on August 5th in Manti, Utah. His body was shipped to Salt Lake City for burial and the funeral was held in the Beehive house. Less than three weeks later, on September 1st 1875, President George A. Smith, 1st Counsellor and close friend of Brigham Young for over 40 years, passed away. The reprint of Eliza R. Snow's article did not go unnoticed by President Young who on September 8th sent the following letter to the editor of the Woman's Exponent.



Salt Lake City,

8th Sep., 1875.

Editor Woman's Exponent:

In your issue of Sept. 1st, I notice an article written by Miss E. R. Snow, entitled "Mortal and Immortal Elements of the Human Body," re published from No. 13 Vol. 2, of your journal. The cause assigned for its reproduction in your paper is, that "Saints and strangers were so interested" in its statements, and it had been so often called for that re publication was decided upon.

I sincerely regret that this demand should have arisen; I had hoped that after its first publication it would have slept and never been awakened; but the fact of its having been so repeatedly called for places me under obligations to correct the minds of the Latter-day Saints in relation to the doctrine contained therein.

On some future occasion when I have time, I may possibly take up the article in detail, but at present shall simply say, as the Prophet Joseph Smith once told an Elder who asked his opinion of a so-called revelation he had written--"It has just one fault, and that one fault is, it is not true."


President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(21)

Three days earlier, on September 5th 1875, during the funeral services of President George A. Smith, President Young made an oblique reference to the Eliza R. Snow article. The closing paragraph of President Young's funeral sermon was as follows:

I will say, further, it would have been my delight, had I been able and had time, to take up the subject of the resurrection, and speak to this people upon it. But suffice it for me to say at this time, that the very body that lies there in that coffin is the body that will be raised at the first resurrection, and will come forth; yes, brother George A. Smith; and we will see him in the flesh just as we have seen him while associating with him here; only he will be made pure, holy and immortal. And when we are made pure we shall associate together. The very flesh and the very bones, and the component parts that comprise the body of brother George A. Smith, now lying before us, will come forth in the resurrection, which this book (the Bible) teaches, this book (the Book of Mormon) teaches, and this book (the Doctrine and Covenants) teaches, from beginning to end, wherever they speak on the subject of the resurrection. So much have I to say to the Latter-day Saints and to the good upon the face of the whole earth, the pure in heart, the honest, the upright, the noble, the virtuous. I say, God bless you. I bless you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and say, blessings attend you, henceforth, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.(22)

On September 8th, a letter was addressed to President B. Young by Elder John Taylor, expressing Br. Taylor's views of the concepts expressed in the Eliza R. Snow article. It is evident from the context that Elder Taylor's letter was written at President Young's request, so the views expressed by Brother Taylor are not independent. Elder Taylor's letter was published on the same page of the Deseret News as Brigham Young's letter to the editor of the Women's Exponent quoted above:



Salt Lake City,

Sept. 13, 1875.


My Dear Brother--In accordance with your wish, I beg leave to present the following views of an article in the Woman's Exponent of Sept. 1, 1875, and bearing the signature of Miss Eliza R. Snow, entitled, "Mortal and Immortal Elements of the Human Body."

Permit me here, Sir, to premise that I regret exceedingly being under the necessity of differing from my dear Sister Eliza Snow, whom I have always esteemed, and do now consider to be one of the most upright, intelligent, honorable and exemplary ladies in the world; but as it is principle that we are all after, and one of the great fundamental truths of heaven is involved, I am sure that she, in common with all lovers of truth, will excuse me for the freedom I have taken with her expressed and published views. We have always been taught that Jesus holds the keys of the resurrection, and, as there are principles involved that concern all the inhabitants of the world that have lived, or do live, it is important that we do not make mistakes on so grave a matter.

In the above named article we are told that "we are in possession of a very important and beautiful principle, which pours a flood of light into the mind," &c. And again, "But, thanks be to God for the key which solves the mystery." Every organized human body, independent of the spirit (which is a separate organization), is composed of two distinct grades or classes of matter, and in such mutual combination as to serve the purposes of this lower existence. I beg here, Sir, to refer you to the article, and will say, that if God had given a revelation, presented a key unfolding the mysteries of the resurrection, I would bow in humble submission; but I know of no such principle, nor key; nor do I believe that any such has been revealed, for which I have the most satisfactory reasons. In the first place, I ought to have known, in common with my brethren, if such a principle had been revealed; and again, it is in conflict with all the revelations and teachings we have had on this subject.

On reading the article the following thoughts occurred to me- -what did the spirit obtain by taking a body? Was it not a body of flesh and bones and blood? Did man ever possess any other kind of body? Paul says, "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." 1 Cor. xv, 45. "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven." Was the Lord's body different from ours? He was born of a virgin, and passed through all the phases of birth, childhood, and manhood; he ate and drank and slept; he lived and died as man, and as man was resurrected; he ate after his resurrection. "They gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honey comb. And he took it and did eat before them." Luke xxiv, 42-3. He also said to his disciples, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." Ver. 39,40. "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side." John xx, 27. Was not this the same body? Were there "two distinct grades or classes of matter" here, as stated in that article?

We are again told, "The graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many." Matt. xxvii, 52-3. These resurrected bodies also appeared to many and were known by them. There was no "precious germ of an immortal tabernacle," as stated in that article, but a tabernacle complete; seen, known, felt, moving, speaking and eating, at least with Jesus. What of Jesus' tabernacle? We are told that he was "anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows." We are also told that "if the same spirit dwell in you that raised up Christ from the dead, it shall also quicken your mortal body." Did Jesus and will man have a glorified body? Yes; but that certainly did not rest in the grave. Is there, as stated, "a precious germ," or spiritual body separate and distinct from the above? If so, does it die, and where is it? Does it partake of the elements of nature? Is there anything earthly that is not "gross, divisible and transferable?" If not, can any matter be eliminated from this gross material, which is not subject to nature's laws? If these "substances are borrowed," as stated, "for probationary use," where is the substance that is not borrowed? Of what is it composed, and where does it exist? We are, indeed, told that the pure substance, the germ of an immortal tabernacle, "sleeps in mother earth in accordance with celestial law." I again ask, where is that germ and where that law? It is a beautiful theory, pleasing and poetic. Is it true? If these questions cannot be answered satisfactorily, should it be published?

Brother Joseph Smith said in Nauvoo, referring to a tomb that he had built there, that when he "arose from his tomb he expected to strike hands with his father, mother and brothers, those who would be there and rise into life with him."

Ezekiel tells us that he saw bone come to his bone and sinew and flesh come upon them, and the skin cover them. Ezek. xxxvii. Paul says, "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." What is the natural body? The body of flesh and bones and blood, that died and was buried. What is the spiritual body? The same body with flesh and bones and spirit, the spirit occupying the place of blood. I have heard President Joseph Smith say that spirit would occupy the place of blood. Hence, "The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." 1 Cor. xv. 45. The same body arises with all its component parts; but spirit takes the part of blood. Blood was the life of the natural body, as Moses says, "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." Gen. ix,4. "I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood." Lev. xvii. 10.

There is also another principle mentioned by Paul, viz., the Holy Ghost. "If the same spirit dwell in you that raised up Christ from the dead, IT shall also quicken your mortal bodies." Your what? Your mortal bodies. These bodies that have been susceptible of all the infirmities and weakness of humanity. We are told that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor corruption inherit incorruption." But we are not told that flesh and spirit cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul says, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God." 1 Cor. vi, 19. Again, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Cor., iii, 16. Now if that spirit dwells in our bodies and quickens them as it did the body of Jesus, here is a principle for us to reflect upon. But we must remember that it is our mortal body that is quickened by it, and not, as stated, "the precious germ of an immortal tabernacle." Brother Joseph Smith taught, "You can tell the difference between spirits and resurrected bodies by the touch. You cannot feel a spirit, you can a resurrected body." Again, "A spirit hath not flesh and bone, as ye see me have." Luke xxiv, 39.

But again Paul says, "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds." 1 Cor. xv. 39.

Joseph Smith taught the same doctrine as that of Paul, and stated that " The flesh of man cannot enter into, be united with, or compose the component parts of the flesh of sheep, cattle, geese or any other kind of flesh; but that the elements of man's body remain distinct from that of every other body." I have heard you, sir, state the same thing and say that "the component parts of man's body can never be destroyed; and that the body will always retain its identity." This is strictly in accordance with other laws of nature, in regard to many mineral substances, which retain their separate identity; such for instance as gold, silver, copper, iron and other minerals, all of which retain their separate parts and identity, and all of which can be separated, by a chemical process, from any one of the other. I am inclined to think that Sister Eliza has drawn her ideas from the above stated doctrine of Prest. Joseph Smith; which doctrine we can all acquiesce in, but not in that which is super added.

The Holy Ghost, above alluded to, dwells in the body of man, and when the power of God is manifested by Jesus Christ, who is, "the resurrection and the life," the whole body is quickened, as by a magnetic fire and bursts forth into newness of life, as stated in the Book of Mormon--"The paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh."2 Nephi, chap. vi, par. 5 [2 Ne 9:13]

What have we to do with the theories of men in regard to the reorganization and resurrection of the body? If God has decreed it, and we have faith in it, will not that do? Yet some of Nature's laws exhibit a very striking analogy. A steam engine is a beautiful machine, and possesses great power either stationary or as a locomotive, but its power depends upon the power or action of steam; the engine without the steam could accomplish nothing, nor could the steam without the engine. The body of man living is a magnificent piece of machinery, the most perfect of God's creation, and is made in His own image. His body, however, without the spirit, is dead and inanimate. The body dead possesses bones, muscles, veins, arteries, nerves and all its component parts; but, like the engine without steam, so the body without the spirit is inert, powerless and dead. If when in action any part of the steam engine is disorganized, it loses its force and power; so does the body when deranged or deceased; but the engine is still the same. Sometimes the body is more fleshy and robust than at other times; but it is still the same body, and does not lose its identity. The iron, brass, etc., of which the engine is composed may be decomposed, but not destroyed; those same properties could again be united by chemical action; not indeed the same form without remanipulation, but the body, being under other and higher laws than we comprehend, laws associated with and governing the principles of life, can be reorganized. These laws, though strictly scientific, are beyond our comprehension and baffle our ideas, which are framed from a very imperfect knowledge of some of the first and most common principles of natural law. Hence it is said, "No man knows the things of God, but by the Spirit of God." [cf. 1 Cor 2:11] "Great s the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh." [cf. 1 Tim 3:16] Who can explain the mystery of the formation of a shrub, a flower, or even a blade of grass? Yet these are natural things. What of man, the noblest work of God, in his organization, birth, growth, life, death and futurity; his body and spirit; his past present and future? What human philosophy can solve this problem? What is meant by "the gross, volatile matter" of the body or earth? Is there any matter connected with man, beast, bird, fowl, fish, insect, tree, shrub or plant; with animal or vegetable life, or any matter of which the earth, air or water is composed, that is not indestructible and eternal? When "the elements shall melt with fervent heat," will there be any part destroyed? Not one particle. If this be true in relation to the earth, why not in relation to the body of man? Why should the decomposition and changes incident to mortality render impossible their rearrangement, reconstruction and reorganization? A man can take one of the finest metals--gold, and by chemical action reduce it to a very fine powder, and blow it away and cause it to be mixed and absorbed by another matter; he can, by another process, gather, separate, and restore that gold to its previous solidity and fineness. Cannot God do as much with matter as man, with his limited capacity? We are cited very correctly to a higher law, whereby Jesus turned water into wine, "through the agency of chemical laws of a higher order than those taught in the schools," by the concentration of elements, independent of the process of the growth of grapes and their manipulation into wine. Could not the same science and power gather the original elements of man's body and, by a chemical, cohesive, and attractive power, cause atom to cohere and unite with atom, part with part; bone unite with its bone, and sinews come upon them; and they be covered with flesh and skin, and stand up, as Ezekiel saw them, "a living army?" If one can be accomplished by a superior chemistry, why not the other? Or, in Scriptural terms, "I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves. * * * And ye shall know that I AM THE LORD. * * * And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord." Ezek. xxxii, 12-

14. But why should we feel ourselves called upon to answer all the fancied objections of an assumed philosophy, in many instances false; to solve its incoherent problems, or unravel its incongruous enigmas? I do not feel myself called upon to admit that all the elements composing the human body pass through all the changes assumed by what is termed "a worldly-wise philosophy;" nor that the principal component, constituent parts of the human body "feed the cow, the sheep and the goose;" nor do I believe the statement that "we can trace the same identical matter, divided and sub-divided." Who can trace it? This is mere assertion. That the blood and certain gasses emanate from the body and fertilize the earth would not be denied; but that the component parts of the body do this remains to be proven. If gold, silver and other metals can be eliminated from the earth, and other metals by chemical process, why not all the component parts of the body by the Spirit and power of God? Job evidently believed in the resurrection of his own body in its entirety. He said, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." Job. xix, 26-7. Eaten by worms, he would still be resuscitated and see his Redeemer with his own eyes. Jesus says, "I am the resurrection, and the life." John xi, 25. "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth." John v, 28-29. Paul says that "God giveth * * to every seed his own body." 1 Cor. xv, 38. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them." Rev. xx, 13. If the same body be not resurrected it cannot be a resurrection, but a new creation. The Prophet Amulek, in the Book of Mormon, is very plain on this subject; he says, "The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form: both limb and joint shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body." Alma, chap. viii, par. 10 [Alma 11:43-44]. Alma says, "The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost, but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame." Alma, chap. xix, par. 7 [Alma 40:23]. Again we read--"Then shall the Jews look upon me and say, What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them, These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Doc. and Cov., sec. xv, par. 9 [D&C 45:51-52]. See also Zech. xii, 20 and Rev. i, 7. There we see that Jesus will again shew his wounds, in his resurrected body, the same body and the same wounds that he received at his death; his wounded body. And again, "For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again a spiritual body; they who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened." Doc. and Cov., sec. vii, par. 6 [D&C 88:27-28]. And then at the final consummation we are told that, "All things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fullness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; and not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand." Doc. and Cov., sec. x. par. 6 [D&C 29:24-25].

All revelation gives striking evidence of the same body, in its entirety coming forth, not as a germ, but in its likeness, fullness, form, parts and personality.

The above, my dear sir, is respectfully submitted, in which I hope I have not done injustice to our esteemed Sister, Eliza Snow.

I remain your Brother,

Very respectfully,


Apparently President Young still did not consider the topic sufficiently understood by the Latter-day Saints, because by October Conference he had prepared a short discourse which he had read to the conference by President George Q. Cannon. The discourse was read as the first discourse in the morning session on Friday, October 8, 1875 (the third day of conference). It should be noted that the discourse was prepared by President Young in written form and hence we may conclude that it is free of slips of the tongue or inadvertent departures from the main topic that are occasionally found in extemporaneous discourses. The excellent collection of scriptural references on the resurrection at the conclusion of the discourse were made by Brigham Young and are a part of the original document.

[October 8, 1875, Salt Lake Tabernacle]

I wish to present to the Latter-day Saints the doctrine of the resurrection in its true light. To satisfy the philosophy of my own mind in regard to this doctrine I shall be under the necessity of commencing with the works of God as we find them in the beginning, or rather the beginning of the history we have of the earth. We admit the history that Moses gives of the creation or organization of this earth, as stated in his writings, to be correct. The philosophy of my mind, with all the experience I have gained by observation and knowledge of facts, tells me that there is nothing made, formed or fashioned without a Being to make, form or fashion the same. Then my own reasoning teaches me that myself as a mechanic, with all others upon this earth, and those also who dwell in the heavens, when we commence any work of mechanism have an object in the same. God had an object in view when he framed this earth and placed vegetation and all creatures upon it, and man was brought here for the high object of an increase of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, glory and honor--each and every person, creature or thing in its own order and time, that all may harmonize together and receive this glory and honor. The particles that compose the earth were brought together for a certain purpose by its great Author. This purpose was, and still is, to bring this earth and all things upon it into a higher state of glory and intelligence. In the beginning there were laws given by which all nature was to be governed or controlled. It is true that man transgresses these laws, and would change them if he had the power to do so. But there are laws which he cannot disturb, and which operate regardless of man's actions. Among these is the law which pertains to the resurrection of the body of man and also to the resurrection of the earth; for this earth has to undergo a great change, or, in other words, has to be resurrected.

Abel, the martyr, was the first man of whose death we have any account. He brought his offering to the Lord and was accepted. This proves that he was a righteous man, and by his righteousness he so far sanctified the particles of this earth that comprised the component parts of his body that they became entitled to a glorious resurrection, which he undoubtedly obtained when Jesus arose. If Abel had been eaten by dogs or lions, the component parts of his body never could have gone to compose the component parts of any other bodies. Why? Because the laws which govern the elements would not permit this to be done.

The question may be asked, Do not the particles that compose man's body, when returned to mother earth, go to make or compose other bodies? No, they do not. Some philosophers have asserted that the human body changes every seven or ten years. This is not correct; for it never changes; that is, the substances of which it is composed do not pass off and other particles of matter come and take their place. Neither can the particles which have comprised the bodies of men become parts of the bodies of other men, or of beasts, fowls, fish, insects or vegetables. They are governed by a divine law, and though they may pass from the knowledge of the scientific world, that divine law still holds and governs and controls them. Man's body may be buried in the ocean, it may be eaten by wild beasts, or it may be burned to ashes, and they be scattered to the four winds, yet the particles of which it is composed will not be incorporated into any form of vegetable or animal life to become a component part of their structure. Are they gross, tangible, and, in their organized capacity, subject to decay and change? Yes, and if buried in the earth, they undergo decomposition and return to mother earth; but it is no matter how minute the particles are, they are watched over and will be preserved until the resurrection, and at the sound of the trumpet of God every particle of our physical structures necessary to make our tabernacles perfect will be assembled, to be rejoined with the spirit, every man in his order. Not one particle will be lost.

I have a few questions to ask the philosophical world, those especially who are well skilled in chemistry: Is this earth, the air and the water composed of life, or do they or any portion of them, consist of inanimate matter, or of that that has no life in itself? Another question: If the earth, air and water are composed of life, is there any intelligence in this life? The philosopher may take his own time to answer these questions, and when he has satisfied himself he may ask himself again: Are those particles of matter life; if so, are they in possession of intelligence according to the grade of their organization? As far as we are concerned 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 animalcule. Bear in mind, you who are believers in the resurrection or in the works of God, that man has sought out many inventions and has striven hard to learn the mysteries of God and godliness by his worldly wisdom, yet there are many things which science with all its tests cannot find out. Matter may be divided into an infinitude of atoms until they pass beyond the power of the microscope to discover them, and the most skillful chemist who dwells upon the earth knows not whither they go. My position is, and which I declare to the Latter-day Saints, it is beyond the power of man, without revelation from God, with all his science to know whether these particles that compose our bodies go into other creatures to form the component parts of their bodies, or whether they merely pass into the already organized body to resuscitate it and contribute to its sustenance. I declare to the Latter-day Saints, and to all living upon the earth who have intelligence to understand, that the particles that comprise the component parts of our bodies will never enter into other bodies to form the elements of their bodies; but these very identical particles that now compose our bodies will be resurrected and come together by the power of the trump of God and will be re-united to form the body--excepting the blood, which will not be necessary to our existence in an immortal state--and then be prepared to receive the spirit, preparatory to their exaltation. Query: Would not the particles that compose the body of our Savior, according to their intelligence, oppose the idea of becoming a part of any other body but his? Again: Would not the Saints, who are faithful in magnifying the priesthood of the Son of God, object to the particles which now compose their bodies, and which they have sanctified through obedience to that priesthood, entering into and forming parts of other bodies than their own--bodies which their spirits had not possessed and of which they knew nothing in this life?

Although some may think that the substances of which our bodies are composed are borrowed for our use during this mortal existence, it is not so, neither will they be thrown off at death never to be restored; and though in the resurrection, the bodies of the righteous will be raised immortal and free from all corruption they will be none the less tangible or perceptible to the touch of those who are permitted to handle them. The question may be asked: Will the bodies of those who do not observe the laws of God, and which are not sanctified by obedience to them, come forth in the resurrection? Undoubtedly they will; but not at the same time nor to the same glory that they do who observe the laws of God.

The earth, also, abideth the law and filleth the measure of its creation, and though it shall die, it shall be resurrected in glory, a sanctified creation, suitable for the residence of celestial beings. The elements will be burned and purified, and be renewed, but not one atom of the earth's organism will be lost; for that which is governed by law shall be preserved by law. And for every thing which our God has created He has prescribed laws. There is nothing so minute as to escape his notice, there is no creation so immense as to transcend the bounds of his power; all are alike subject to the operation of his decrees. He called matter from chaos and created the earth, and the heavens are studded with planets, the glorious workmanship of his hands. He has hung those mighty orbs in space, and their courses are fixed;. And by the exercise of his power the original elements which have formed the bodies of men will be brought forth in the resurrection--bone to bone, sinew to sinew, flesh to flesh, not one hair shall be lost--and all this in obedience to law, that the substances which have formed the tabernacles of men, or of beasts, or of fowls, or of fish, shall not be intermingled or lost; but shall all be restored to their own places though they may have been swallowed up in the depths of the sea or been scattered to the four winds of heaven.

To illustrate these facts connected with the resurrection of the body, we will quote from the revelations which the Lord has given to his children:


The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O, Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you; and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, Son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold,they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened our graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.--Exek. vii, 1-14.


For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.--Job xix, 25, 26, 27.


And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.--Daniel xii, 2.


Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.--Luke xx, 37. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, why are ye troubled; and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.--Luke xxiv, 36-43.


But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.--John xx, 24-27. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.--John v, 25, 28 and 29. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.--Revelation xx, 6, 13.


And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.--Mat. xxvii, 52,53.


For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.--Philippians iii, 20, 21. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.--Romans viii, 11.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death we shall also in the likeness of his resurrection.--Romans vi, 4, 5.

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.--1 Cor. xv, 16, 23, 35-39, 42-44.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.--1 Thess. iv, 14-16.


And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death, that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection. But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ: he is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death. Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.--Book of Mosiah, chap. viii, par. 9 [Mos 16:7-10].


For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord; wherefore it must needs be an infinite atonement; save it should be an infinite atonement, this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man, must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

O the wisdom of God! his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more, our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.

And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of israel, this death of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave. And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.

O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh; save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect. --2nd Book of Nephi, chap. vi., pars. 2, 5 [2Ne 9:6-8, 11-13].


For behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works. Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death: and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death; the spirit and the body shall be re-united again in its perfect form: both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. Now this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not be so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but all things shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body.--Book of Alma, chap. viii, par. 10 [Alma 11:41-44].


But this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery, until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be re-united, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works; yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things of which have been spoken by the mouths of the prophets. The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea even a hair of the head shall not be lost, but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.--Book of Alma, chap. xix, par. 7 [Alma 40:21-23].


For behold, he [Jesus] surely must die, that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him, and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord; yea, behold this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death.--Book of Heleman, chap. v, par. 6 [Heleman 14:15-16].


And it came to pass that he [Jesus] said unto Nephi, bring forth the record which ye have kept. And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said, verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me, that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them, was it not so? And his disciples answered him and said, yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled. And Jesus said unto them, how be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many, and did minister unto them? And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written. And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.--Book of Nephi, chap. x, par. 3 [3 Ne 23:7-13].


And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awoke by the power of God, when the trump shall sound: and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.--Book of Mormon, chap. iv, par. 6 [Mormon 9:13].



Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. And the spirit and the body is the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul; and the redemption of the soul is through him who quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. Therefore it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory: for after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father; that bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.

And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law. Wherefore it shall be sanctified; yea, not withstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it; for notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again a spiritual body; they who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.

And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled; and the Saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened, and be caught up to meet him. And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth; for their graves shall be opened, and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven: they are Christ's, the first fruits: they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him: and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.--Sec vii, pars. 4, 6 and 27 [D&C 88:14-20, 25-28, 95-98].

For a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth, yea even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.

And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, for all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fullness thereof, both man and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; and not one hair neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.

But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth; yea, even all.--Sec. x, pars. 3, 6 and 7 [D&C 29:13, 23-26,].

For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations, Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again. --Sec. xiv, par. 5 [D&C 43:18].

But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud; wherefore if ye have slept in peace, blessed are you, for as you now behold me, and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth. --Sec. xv, par. 7 [D&C 45:45-46].

Yea, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth, when the Lord shall come, and old things shall pass away, and all things become new, they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after, and shall receive an inheritance before the Lord, in the holy city; and he that liveth when the Lord shall come, and has kept the faith, blessed is he; nevertheless it is appointed to him to die at the age of man; wherefore children shall grow up until they become old, old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, wherefore for this cause preached the apostles unto the world the resurrection of the dead.--Sec. xx, par. 13 [D&C 63:49-52].



And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying, Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. [Moses 5:10]


And righteousness will I send down out of heaven: and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of my Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men. [Moses 7:62a]


As concerning the resurrection, I will merely say that all men will come forth from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young; there will not be "added one cubit to their stature," neither taken from it; all will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies and not blood.--March 20, 1842; History of Joseph Smith. [TPJS 199-200]

There are two kind of beings in heaven, viz.: angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones. For instance, Jesus said, "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have." 2nd. The spirits of just men made perfect--they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory. When a messenger comes, saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand, and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel, he will do so, and you will feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect, he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear. Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message. If it be the Devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands, he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything: you may therefore detect him. These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.--Thursday, February 9, 1843; History of Joseph Smith. [D&C 129]

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection; and if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation 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.

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also: but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him.--Sunday, April 2, 1843; History of Joseph Smith. [D&C 130:18-23]

To a remark of Elder O. Pratt's, that a man's body changes every seven years, Prest. Joseph Smith replied: There is no fundamental principle belonging to a human system that ever goes into another in this world or in the world to come: I care not what the theories of men are. We have the testimony that God will raise us up, and he has the power to do it. If any one supposes that any part of our bodies, that is, the fundamental parts thereof, ever goes into another body, he is mistaken.--Friday, April 7, 1843; History of Joseph Smith. [HC 5:339]

Speaking of eternal duration of matter, I said--There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes. We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified, we shall see that it is all matter.--Wednesday, May 17, 1843; History of Joseph Smith. [TPJS 301-302]

As the father hath power in himself, so hath the Son power in himself, to lay down his life and take it again, so he has a body of his own. The Son doeth what he hath seen the Father do; then the Father hath some day laid down his life and taken it again; so he has a body of his own, each one will be in his own body; and yet the sectarian world believe the body of the Son is stuffed into the Father's.

Gods have an ascendancy over the angels, who are ministering servants. In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels; others are raised to become Gods.--Sunday, June 11, 1843; History of Joseph Smith. [TPJS 312](24)

The present study is not intended to be an exhaustive review of Brigham Young's concept of the resurrection, but the reader should by now have good feeling for his views. It would not be amiss at this point to add an excerpt from a little known discourse of Brigham Young's on what things will be like after the resurrection. In this conference address, President Young strongly implies that the portion of the discourse quoted here is more than just his opinion, and suggests that it is in fact a revelation:

[April 6, 1854; Salt Lake Tabernacle]

If you want to know it, I will tell you the truth, and you may call it a revelation or anything else you please. When you go into the celestial kingdom, you will have your resurrected bodies, and you will gather around you your families, and friends, and be associated with them there, as here. We are now mortal; there we shall be immortal; this difference will exist, and it is all the difference. Mortality is a perfect similitude, pattern, or emblem of the celestial kingdom, only the one is mortal life, and the other is life in immortality. Can you who own extensive farms work them with your own hands? No; but you have to hire help. Ask the woman who has thirty or forty of a family under her care, if she with her own hands, can do the work necessary to be done in such a family. She cannot do it without procuring help; she obtains servants to assist her. The extensive farmer has around him his associates, who are not capable of themselves of gathering around them property so as to be independent, so they are dependent on the man who knows how to direct, and increase from the elements the riches of this life, and he hires them, and pays them their wages, to help him do the work necessary to improve every foot of his farm or inheritance. You will find the same thing in the celestial world, among the kingdoms of our Father in heaven.

You will find millions of the inhabitants of the earth there who are not capable of being crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. Those who are faithful in putting out their talents to usury, will receive an increase according to their diligence. But shall we say that all are capable of becoming lords, and kings, and of being crowned with crowns of glory, and receiving kingdoms, and powers, and exaltations, and thrones? No, we do not; for they will be no more capable of it than they are of enjoying the riches of eternity here, and of properly applying them in this mortality, were they put in their possession, which would be the sure means of their destruction. They would not know what to do with such extensive riches. You may put that down as revelation, and have brother George [A. Smith] write it.(25)


Original article, by Eliza R. Snow

[Objected to by Brigham Young]









The subject of the resurrection of the dead, although of inexpressible interest to all of the human family, is very little understood by man in the flesh, and will not be explained until he who holds the keys pertaining to it for this dispensation, shall develop its principles.

Although we cannot penetrate the cloud of obscurity which envelops this subject; knowing, as we do, that death is certain, it is natural that we should inquire in the depths of our souls, What and where is our future? Shall the spirit and body again be united? Who, that does not altogether ignore the idea of a resurrection of the body, but experiences at times, a bewilderment of thought concerning it?

Realizing that, in accordance with established laws of nature, the substances which now compose these bodies of ours, will, after death, become identified parts of innumerable other human bodies, also be incorporated into the bodies of beasts, insects, fowls &c. and through them bequeathed to others; the question naturally arises, "How can they be again restored to us? And, if restored to us, from what source will the deficiency be supplied to other bodies?"

This is a problem which neither the rules of science nor the wisdom of man, unaided by revelation, can solve--a problem which infidelity very plausibly applies as a settled refutation to the doctrine of the resurrection--one in which the worldly wise philosopher finds a palpable inconsistency, and one which in the face of sound reason amounts to the impossibility of a reorganization of a human body: for what reflecting mind does not see that the laws of nature which apply to the decomposition of the elements which constitute the living body, preclude a possibility of the same material being restored, at one and the same time, to all bodies of which it has comprised component parts in millions of instances, at different times; and, believing God to be a consistent Being, and acting in accordance with eternal, unchanging laws, and admitting that these laws are harmonious--that the higher operate in consonance with, and are never antagonistic to those of a lower order, is it a matter of surprise that thinking people of a highly intelligent class, in many instances, yield to infidelity and adopt the humiliating conclusion that the resurrection is only a phantom of the brain: while others, with little or no reflection, content themselves by admitting that, "with God all things are possible," without questioning in what manner, or by what means the result will be effected.

His communications to, and the dealings of God with man, so far as they are made known to us, are characterized as those of an intelligent Being conversing and dealing with intelligent beings of the same order, but in a vastly lower state of development.

In His works, order is every where strikingly apparent, and we find law, or rather codes of law regulating and governing, not only every department of life, but also every grade and variety of matter. From the smallest speck that glitters and dances in the bright sunshine, to the glowing galaxy above us, representing system on system of worlds in the mighty distance, order is everywhere manifest. Each department, whether of life or inanimate matter, is governed by laws particularly adapted to the peculiarities of its own identity, and in regular gradation from the smallest atom and the most diminutive animalcule to the highest intelligences above; and all, whether assigned to different localities or intermingling in countless varieties--all operating in harmony, and not interfering with, or trespassing on each other.

Just so far as those laws are developed to our understandings we pronounce them natural principles; and what, with us constitutes a miracle, is nothing more nor less than our ignorance of the process or law by which the result is produced: for instance, when our Savior in Cana of Galilee, changed water into wine, it is evident that he manufactured the wine through the agency of chemical laws of a higher order than those taught in the schools, hence the people were filled with astonishment, for to them, the performance was a miracle, they probably being as ignorant of the laws through which the result was obtained, as we now are concerning the resurrection of the dead.

In relation to the objections urged against the reorganizing of the human body, we are in possession of a very important and beautiful principle which pours a flood of light into the mind--obviates a heretofore insurmountable difficulty, and disarms infidelity of its strongest plea against the resurrection, and puts impossibility to silence.

By this we are instructed that the resurrection of the body is independent of all gross, divisible and transferable matter, and this removes every rational objection against the reunion of body and spirit, based on the incontrovertible laws of nature pertaining to the decomposition of the body, and the subsequent transformations and reproductions of the material of which it was composed. These are substances borrowed for this probationary use--to subserve the necessities of this mortal existence--to render us tangible to gross tangibility, and for which, after death, our bodies will have no further use.

As soon as the spirit leaves the body, and frequently before, nature's great work of decomposition commences, and continues till every particle of gross, volatile matter is disengaged and natural laws of affinity passes into other forms, combining with other substances through an affinitude of changes; and co-operating in an endless variety of reproductions: as, for instance, the grass that grows over the grave incorporates a portion of the gross substance escaping from the decaying body beneath: the cow, the sheep and the goose devour the grass which, through the natural laws of nourishment produces flesh--

people eat the flesh of the cow, sheep and goose, and thus we may trace the same identical matter, perhaps divided and sub-divided into infinitesimal particles and passing into every form of human, brutal, insect, vegetable and atmospheric existence--going onward from generation to generation.

But thanks to God for the key which solves the mystery. Every organized human body, independent of the spirit, (which is a separate organization) is composed of two distinct classes or grades of matter, and in such mutual combination as to subserve the purposes of this lower existence. One is gross, volatile--subject to change and decay through a precarious union of earth, air, fire and water--tangible to mortal sight and touch, and subject to all the laws of decomposition. The other is pure, invisible, intangible and capable of resisting every law of infraction or dissolubility. This, when the spirit leaves the body, remains INTACT--never being incorporated with other bodies or substances. This is the precious material that will be resurrected in perfect form, and compose the immortal tabernacle of the immortal spirit.

It is well understood that resurrected beings are invisible to these gross organs of sight except when they are quickened by immortal vision--that if the dead were brought forth within viewing distance of us, we should not see them. Why not? The resurrected body being composed of this pure material, can only be seen by organs of sight formed of the same pure matter, unclogged with gross substances.

While the gross portion is disorganizing and reorganizing, being perpetually changing and in motion--while the disembodied spirit is associating in the world above; the pure substance, the precious germ of an immortal tabernacle, the jewel's casket, quietly sleeps in the bosom of mother Earth, awaiting the eternal mandate, which, in accordance with the higher code, the celestial law, shall reunite it with the joyous spirit filled with eternal intelligence, no more to be separated.

The Earth also, combines in its present organization, both of the above mentioned classes of elements; and, as well as man, will yet experience a process of purification before it can become the habitation and everlasting inheritance of resurrected, immortal, embodied intelligences. "The elements shall melt with fervent heat." After having passed the purifying ordeal of fire, and having been cleansed from all combustible and volatile properties, the earth will pass from its present orbit, to the position among the creations of God, from which it has fallen in consequence of man's transgression; and then will that prediction of our Savior be fully realized--"The meek shall inherit the earth."

Woman's Exponent 2:99

December 1, 1873







Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. [Acts 2:22-24, 30-32]

But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. [Acts 3:14-15, 25-26]

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. [Acts 4:10-11]

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. [Acts 5:29-30]

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the Children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem, whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. [Acts 10:34-41]

And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. [Acts 13:29-37]

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. [Acts 17:29-31]


He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. [Romans 4:20-25]

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. [Romans 8:10-11]

Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [Romans 10:6-9]


Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? [I Cor. 6:1315]

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [I Cor 15:12-20]


For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. [II Cor. 4:11-14]


Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. [Galatians 1:1-5]


Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 1:15-20]


Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. [Colossians 2:8-12]


And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. [I Thes. 1:6-10]


Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times to you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. [I Peter 1:18-21]


1. The scriptures leave us no doubt as to the identity of the individual who resurrected the Lord Jesus Christ. As Brigham Young said, it had to be someone who had been resurrected himself, and "there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it." (D&C 130:5) Christ was the firstfruits of the resurrection, therefore the only man who had been resurrected who belonged to this earth was God the Father. Scriptures substantiating this view are numerous and explicit, and for convenience of the reader they have been included at the end of this document as Appendix B.

2. Wilford Woodruff Journal 3:323-324. 23 Feb, 1848, Winter Quarters.

3. In Pottawatmie County, Iowa in 1847, Elder Orson Hyde preached a sermon which contained false doctrine on the resurrection. He apologized, publicly and frequently, but President Young never let him live it down and referred to it on occasion the remainder of his life. For more detail on the topic of the falsity see pages 7-8 herein.

4. Journal of Discourses 6:275. Salt Lake Tabernacle, August 28, 1852

5. I have been unable to locate a copy of the Edwin D. Woolley discourse.

6. John 20:14

7. The deletion is a brief allusion to Adam-God which is distracting from the topic of the resurrection being presented here, and probably the main reason this particular sermon was not published earlier.

8. Although the body cannot change in the grave and hence individuals who died as children will resurrect with the physical stature of children, this does not imply that they will retain that stature throughout eternity. After the resurrection those with bodies of children will grow to match the stature of their spirit. This topic is treated by B. H. Roberts in History of the Church 4:556-557 and footnote.

9. Watson, Elden J. ed. Brigham Young Addresses Volume 2, 19 Feb. 1853.

10. Journal of Discourses 2:276-278. March 23, 1856.

11. Journal of Discourses 4:133-134. December 4, 1856.

12. On this subject, President Brigham Young said "Shall I tell you where God lives? The place of his habitation is in the center of his kingdoms." Watson, Elden J. ed. Brigham Young Addresses Volume 2, 23 June 1850.

13. Journal of Discourses 7:173-174. June 12, 1859.

14. Journal of Discourses 8:260. April 1, 1860.

15. Journal of Discourses 9:139-140. July 28, 1861

16. Journal of Discourses 9:193. February 9 1862

17. Journal of Discourses 10:24. October 6, 1862

18. Watson, Elden J. ed., Brigham Young Addresses Volume 5, 18 Nov. 1866.

19. Journal of Discourses 15:136-138. August 24, 1872.

20. The Eliza R. Snow article appears in full as Appendix A.

21. Deseret News Weekly 24:529.

22. Deseret News Weekly 24:505.

23. Deseret News Weekly 24:529.

24. Deseret News Weekly 24:581.

25. Deseret News Weekly 4:42.