Boundless Space and the Eternity of Matter Explained

By Charles W. Penrose

The Priesthood had no beginning, and will never have an end.  As we are told in the scripture – it is “without father or mother, without beginning of days or end of years;”  it always existed.  The individual, the organized person, may have had a beginning, but that spirit of which and by which they were organized never had a beginning.

There never was a first world or man; there will never be a last.  We cannot grasp that in its fulness, but we can understand a little of it by comparing it with other things.  For instance, we will take space.  This tabernacle contains so much space, bounded by the walls of the building; but go outside of these walls and space is there.  Go to the farthest bounds of this Territory, space is there.  Go to the ends of the earth, if you can find them, and there is space beyond.  Mount upwards to the stars; go to the sun, pass above the sun to the two worlds that govern it, that we read about in the Book of Abraham, go even unto Kolob, the nearest to the throne of God, and there is just as much space beyond as that which you have left.  There is no outside to space – no beginning, no end.

Thus there is boundless space, and we cannot fully comprehend it, yet we must admit that it exists without limit.  So travel where we will, there we find space, and also inexhaustible material.  And the elements, whether they be spiritual or what we call natural – they never had a beginning – the primal particles never had a beginning.  They have been organized in different shapes; the organism had a beginning; but the elements or atoms of which it is composed never had.  You may burn this book, but every atom of which the book was composed, every particle of substance that entered into its composition, still exists; they are indestructible.  When you go right down to the primary elements, they never had a beginning, they will never end.  For in their primal condition they are not “created”.  They did not come from nothing; they were organized into different forms, but the elementary parts of matter as well as of spirit, using ordinary terms, never had a beginning, and never will have an end.

Now, here are some things you can understand to some extent, that are beginning-less and endless.  It is the same with duration.  Duration never had a beginning, and it will never have an end.  We measure portions of time, but time itself cannot be counted.  Go back as far as we can think, and there was just as much time or duration before that period as since, and think as much as we can down the stream of time there is just as much ahead.  There is no limit to duration, no beginning, no end.  Thus there are boundless space, an infinity of substance, and endless duration.  The elements of that eternal spirit which exists in and through and round about all things, and is the law by which all things are governed, never had a beginning and will never have an end.  There was no beginning and there will be no end to its operations.  There is no beginning to the works of God, and there will be no end.  Therefore there was never a first world or being, neither will there be a last one.

[Elder Charles W. Penrose, Journal of Discourses, Volume 26, page 27-28]

[Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, November 16, 1884]

Remission of Sins Comes By The Holy Ghost, Not By Baptism

The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know

BY PRESIDENT BOYD K. PACKER

Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

From an address given on June 24, 2003, at a seminar for new mission presidents, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah.

 

Joseph Smith said: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost.Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (History of the Church, 5:499).

To prepare people for baptism without teaching about the gift of the Holy Ghost is like a sacrament meeting where only the bread is blessed and passed. They would receive but half.

When parents are teaching their children and when missionaries are teaching investigators, preparing them for baptism by water, they must also think of the gift of the Holy Ghost—baptism by fire. Think of it as one sentence. First comes the baptism of water and then the baptism of fire.

Someone may ask the missionaries, “How are things going?” or “Are you teaching anyone?”

The missionaries automatically answer, “Yes, we have a family preparing for baptism and confirmation, for receiving the Holy Ghost.”

Or a father and mother might say to a child, “When you are eight years old, you will be ready to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.”

I repeat, to be baptized and to receive the Holy Ghost—link those two together.

Joseph Smith said, “The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use; they are necessarily and inseparably connected” (History of the Church, 6:316).

Nephi explains clearly what happens after baptism and confirmation and the reception of the Holy Ghost: “Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water [which is a symbolic witness of repentance]; and then cometh [the promise of cleansing for] a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost” (2 Nephi 31:17).

We sometimes speak of baptism for the remission of sins. The remission, if you will read the scriptures carefully, comes through the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

Missionaries sometimes think they are only to do half the work; they are to teach and then baptize by water, and that concludes their work. In many cases the other half, the teaching about the baptism of fire, never really gets done. Put the two together so that you almost forbid yourself to say “baptism” without saying “confirmation”—that is baptism of the water and confirmation and the conferring of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Get that idea in your mind with those two fixed together so tightly that, as one, it becomes part of you. Then we will not have the first half done, as is often the case at present, and the other half left undone.

Missionaries—and parents as well—are to teach both halves: “Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins [and the] Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4). Make it one sentence. Fix it in the front of your minds so that when you say one, you say the other, and when you think one, you think the other. Then you will begin to feeland understand, and the promptings will come.

Callings extended from the Spirit World to the Living

From the Journal of Discourses, as related by Wilford Woodruff.

“I have felt of late as if our brethren on the other side of the veil had held a council, and that they had said to this one, and that one, “Cease thy work on earth, come hence, we need help,” and they have called this man and that man.  It has appeared so to me in seeing the many men who have been called from our midst lately.

Perhaps I may be permitted to relate a circumstance with which I am acquainted in relation to Bishop Roskelley, of Smithfield, Cache Valley.  On one occasion he was taken very sick – near to death’s door.  While he lay in this condition, President Peter Maughan, who was dead, came to him and said: “Brother Roskelley, we held a council on the other side of the veil.  I have had a great deal to do, and I have the privilege of coming here to appoint one man to come and help.  I have had three names given to me in council, and you are one of them.  I want to inquire into your circumstances.”  The Bishop told him what he had to do, and they conversed together as one man would converse with another.  President Maughan then said to him: “I think I will not call you.  I think you are wanted here more than perhaps one of the others.”  Bishop Roskelley got well from that hour.

Very soon after, the second man was taken sick, but not being able to exercise sufficient faith, Bishop Roskelley did not go to him. By and by, this man recovered, and on meeting Bishop Roskelley he said: “Brother Maughan came to me the other night and told me he was sent to call one man from the ward,” and he named two men as had been done to Brother Roskelley.  A few days afterwards the third man was taken sick and died.  Now, I name this to show a principle.  They have work on the other side of the veil, and they call them.”

(JD, 22:334)

Joseph Smith Visited by Book of Mormon and Bible Prophets

Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith

BY ROBERT J. WOODFORD

Moroni revealed the initial information to the Prophet Joseph, but many angels revealed additional things to him before he received the plates. (See Journal of Discourses, 14:140.) Orson Pratt recalled in later years that these angels were Book of Mormon personalities to whom Joseph spoke face to face. (See Journal of Discourses, 13:66.) Elder Pratt also said they came to instruct Joseph concerning the work he was to perform, and that Moroni gave him “much instruction.” 4

Others among Joseph Smith’s close associates add intriguing details. Wilford Woodruff said that Joseph was taught by “angels from heaven, by the voice of God, and by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses, 16:35.) Orson Spencer wrote how “at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life.” 5

Early chroniclers record other visits of the Savior. For example, Zebedee Coltrin, speaking to the School of the Prophets of the Salt Lake Stake—which included President John Taylor and other general authorities—said that the Savior had appeared during a meeting two or three weeks after the organization of the original School of the Prophets in Kirtland. He passed through the room without speaking, and Joseph Smith identified the holy visitor: “That is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.” 9

Elder John Taylor also identified “Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent” as visitors. (Journal of Discourses, 17:374.) Speaking at Ephraim, Utah, in 1879, Elder Taylor said the Nephite twelve disciples also came to Joseph.

“The principles which he had, placed him in communication with the Lord, and not only with the Lord, but with the ancient apostles and prophets; such men, for instance, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Jesus and the Father, and the apostles that lived on this continent as well as those who lived on the Asiatic continent. He seemed to be as familiar with these people as we are one with another.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:94.)

In a later talk at the Fourteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, Elder Taylor added:

“The Angel Moroni came to him and revealed to him the Book of Mormon. … And then came Nephi, one of the ancient prophets, that had lived upon this continent, who had an interest in the welfare of the people that he had lived amongst in those days. …

“Again who more likely than Mormon and Nephi, and some of those prophets who had ministered to the people upon this continent, under the influence of the same Gospel, to operate again as its representatives?” (Journal of Discourses, 21:161, 163.)

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” 10

Ensign, August 197

4.

Journal of Discourses, 15:185; “Early Church History,” The Historical Record 5 (January 1886): 2.

  1.   5.

    Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sixth ed. (Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1891), p. 27.

  2. 9. Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake Stake, 3 Oct. 1883, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, p. 59.

    1.   10.

      Orson Pratt to John Christensen, 11 Mar. 1876, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

The “Song of Solomon” is Biblical Trash

Elder Bruce R. McConkie offered his opinion about the worth of some of the books of the Bible:

In the Old Testament, Genesis is the book of books – a divine account whose worth cannot be measured.  Exodus and Deuteronomy are also of surpassing worth.  Numbers, Joshua, Judges, the Samuels, the Kings, and the Chronicles are all essential history.  Leviticus has no especial application to us.  Ruth and Esther are lovely stories.  The Psalms contain marvelous poetry and the portions that are messianic and that speak of the last days and the Second Coming are of great import.  Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations are interesting books; Job is for people who like the book of Job; and the Song of Solomon is biblical trash – it is not inspired writing.  …all the rest of the prophets – Isaiah above them all – each in his place and order set forth the doctrinal and prophetic word that must be studied in depth.

(“The Bible – A Sealed Book,” Church Education Symposium, BYU, 17 August 1984)