The Mormon Creation according to Joseph Smith
“In the beginning God created the heaven and earth … ” is the first sentence in the Bible. And one to which Joseph Smith, prophet and seer of the Mormon Church, has given his own peculiar interpretation.
Joseph Smith by unknown painter circa 1842
To comprehend the Mormon version of Creation, one has to first understand their teaching on God. The Heavenly Father, according to Joseph Smith, is the literal father of our spirits. Together with his many spirit wives (our Heavenly Mothers) he has propagated millions of little spirit babies which live in the Spirit Kingdom (pre-existing) awaiting their birth into human bodies here on Earth. One of the firstborn spirit children was Jesus and to Him was given the responsibility of redeeming mankind. Another spirit child of Heavenly Father, Lucifer, wanted this responsibility for himself, but the Council of the Gods rejected Lucifer’s plan after which he rebelled and became Satan. So, in Mormon theology, we have many gods—Elohim our Heavenly Father, the Gods of the Council and Jehovah, one of the firstborn spirits, also known as Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind.
In regard to Creation, Joseph Smith taught that all matter is eternal—without beginning or end. Therefore, the Earth was not created by God, but merely ‘organized’ from existing elements.1
Smith also claimed that Elohim, our Heavenly Father, was the supervisor of Creation (not actually involved) and that Jehovah (or Jesus) together with many helpers from the spirit kingdom, acted under direction to organize the existing elements into the Adamic world. It is interesting to note that these helpers supposedly included such worthy spirits as: Michael (who later became Adam), Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, James, John and of course, Joseph Smith—all the “noble and great” worthy ones of Mormonism.2
Mormon writings such as the Book of Moses and Doctrine and Covenants also teach in several places that this earth was not the first of the Lord’s creations—apparently, He is supposed to have organized many worlds similarly—all for the purpose of inhabitation by His many spirit children. In Moses 1:35, it is acknowledged that the order of creative events as revealed to Joseph Smith and Moses only pertain to this earth, and no knowledge of other creations is available.
A spirit earth
Joseph Smith taught that the earth was first a ‘spirit earth’ and was then clothed with tangible physical elements. He taught that after the Fall, the earth fell from its terrestrial form to a ‘telestial’ form—condition destined to continue for 6,000 years. After its baptism of fire, the earth is supposed to be renewed and receive its terrestrial glory for the space of the millennium then it will die and be resurrected to attain its sanctified, immortal and eternal state of celestial glory.3
In the secret temple rituals practiced daily all over the world in Mormon Temples, one of the first important ‘endowment ceremonies’ consists of a play enacted before the candidates which is called ‘The Creation’. In this ceremony, Elohim is seen talking to Jehovah and Michael and He instructs them to “go down and organize yonder matter into a world like unto the other worlds that we have heretofore formed”. This instruction is repeated three times until the earth is completed much as described in the first chapter of Genesis. When the time comes to create man, Elohim causes a sleep to come over the spirit Michael and when he awakens, he is Adam, the first man. Elohim and Jehovah converse and agree it is not good for man to be alone and so Eve is also created.
Satan: as hero
In the next scene, Lucifer enters the picture and begins to play a most prominent role that continues through most of the Temple ceremony. As Lucifer begins to lead Adam and Eve astray, Elohim appears and rebukes him for tempting Eve and it is interesting to note that Lucifer is permitted to argue and contend with Elohim for quite some time before being ordered to depart. Another interesting point is that Lucifer states that he has merely done to Adam and Eve what has been done many times before on other worlds—making him somewhat of a ‘hero’ for assisting in the Fall. This is in keeping with the Mormon teaching that Adam’s fall was pre-ordained and very necessary to enable the procreation of mankind and physical birth of all the little spirit children waiting patiently for a chance at earthly existence. This is one of the first subtle indications of Satan’s pre-eminence in Mormon theology later in the ‘Lone and Dreary World’ ceremony, Adam calls out ‘O God, hear the words of my mouth’ three times, only to have Lucifer answer and enact another little play totally ridiculing the role of Christianity in the world.
In the Biblical account of creation, the serpent is only mentioned in a few verses of Genesis and is thoroughly rebuked by God with the words “upon thy belly shalt thou go and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life”. Joseph Smith’s teachings and ‘revelations’ on Creation differ drastically from the Biblical account.
References and notes
- Galbraith, R.C. , Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Co, Salt Lake City, pp. 350-352, 1938. Return to text.
- Smith, J.F., Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret Book Co, Salt Lake City, pp. 74-75, 1954. Return to text.
- McConkie, B.R., Mormon Doctrine, Deseret Book Co, Salt Lake City, p. 211, 1958. Return to text.
Hi there and thank you CMI.
I love my messages, my magazines and books you create.
How can one be so bli........well of course my Bible tells me in 1 Cor.2.
How strange it is that with the written word in our hands someone can say that we can't know the truth, poor dears. My bible is wonderful and I'm so happy that all that I ever need to know is right there in it and CMI comes along and shows me the beauty in the science of it.
My heart breaks for folks who refuse to accept Gods word and yet so easily slip into the terrible lies that some fellow "prophesied" years ago. I stand in awe at his reason as to why any one can be so blind..oops there goes 2 Cor. again.
So I suppose we have to do as we are told to do by our Father in Heaven.......GO and make disciples (Matt:28-18-20.) God bless you all as Jesus said I am the way, the truth AND the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me. (John 14:6)
While I am a follower of Christ of long standing (as measured in the flesh :-) I am an ex-Atheist and after much seeking of truth an ex-evolutionist.
My ardent advice and recommendation to all people (theist and atheist alike) is to seek that which is TRUE for I know this will always lead them to Christ and away from that which is false and illusion.
Pilate asked of Jesus "what is truth?" But he made the foolish mistake of not waiting for a reply. The truth is - truth is nothing less mysterious ( and yet nothing more mysterious) than ... Reality. That which is true is that which is real. And what is reality except everything that is beyond our ability to change no matter what we would like to believe.
Try substituting real and reality for true and truth next time you read the Bible. If nothing else you will find it does not change what is written one iota but it may make some things clearer and more understandable.
To our Mormon visitor I add my welcome. I did read the Book of Mormon in my journey to Christ but it was a long time ago and much is forgotten. But the thing to remember always is that the most important question we must always ask is not if what somebody else believes is true or not but is what WE believe true or not?
A truth seeker is an uncompromising realist and tests all things against reality. For instance JESUS is recorded as declared emphatically that in Heaven there is no marrying (remember the question about the 7 brothers). That Mormonism teaches that there is marriage in heaven is also a reality.
The reality/truth therefore is you can believe the RECORDED words of Jesus OR you can believe the words of Mormonism BUT you cannot believe both of them together because they declare different realities. The same applies to evolution v creation.
Book of Wisdom 11 Chapter 1: So beware of uttering frivolous complaints, restrain your tongue from finding fault; even what is said in secret has repercussions, and a lying mouth deals death to the soul. A Catch 22?
I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I have truly enjoyed the efforts of Creation Ministries. But I guess no one can get it all right. To know the truthfulness of the glorious restoration of Christ's church all one need do is read the Book of Mormon, which we will send free to anyone that asks. There's a reason the Mormons you know are good people; Jesus said judge a tree by its fruits, we try our best to follow him. Our ministers are not paid, our missionaries pay their own way. This says a lot about Christ, whom we love above life itself, and a lot about us, and a great deal about the power of the restored doctrines!
I'm pleased you enjoy our ministry efforts which likewise are focused on pointing people to Christ. I'd encourage you to continue reading the thousands of articles we have produced. I recommend this article for a point of reference on what is considered part of the canon of Scripture: http://creation.com/the-authority-of-scripture
When the veil is over the eyes it's easy to understand Paul's statement in Romans 3:10-11 that none seek after GOD. Our challenge is to be informed and engaging and help people think so that by the grace of God some might be saved.
What's always interested me is that Joseph Smith supposedly received his "revelation" from an angel of God. But even demons masquerade as angels, and can even warp the bible to mean something else. Try James 4:1-6
"Sola Scriptura" The Bible And the Bible only. There is were all our faith comes from.
Of course scientific discoveries help to have a better view of the workmanship of God but it can never take the place of the Bible, let alone a false prophet.
I work for a small swimming pool company in Texas. we have 8 employees 5 of whom are Mormons, including the owner. They are wonderful people and have become valued friends. thank you so much for articles like this that give us tools we can use to witness to them.
I am blessed by the comment from LW in Australia because it revealed my own spiritual pride which has frequently prevented me from lovingly and patiently presenting "THE TRUTH" to people with errant beliefs without coming off like I am better than them in some way. This is an area of my own witness that I must pray to have corrected.
Without a doubt it is important that mature, faithful witnesses for Christ (THE TRUTH) lovingly try to help return lost and imprisoned people to the Lord ("the way, the truth' and the life").
I love the comment made by LW from Australia! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!
It never ceases to amaze me how people follow blindly man but ignore God. All religions require support from man to reach eternal life. That should be a RED FLAG. After careful observation, general research and personal accounts, there is no question in my mind that God is real and the bible is inerrant, leaving no room for evolutionary claims of creation. If my salvation is based on some sinner than how would I even begin to select which sinner? What happens when he dies? Jesus is the only balance to mans existence.
Wow that is intense. Do all Mormons know of these teachings? They seem to think their beliefs are in line with Christianity, only somehow more enlightened.
My husband and I became a Mormons as a result of contact with two elders when we were young.
With very little bible knowledge, we were easily persuaded by their assertion that the bible had been corrupted over the centuries, thus the need for the book of Mormon and other scriptures which took precedence. (Another incidence of, 'has God said?')
We did our endowments at the temple, where a film was shown rather than a play. Interestingly when Satan tempts Eve he was portrayed as a minister of religion wearing a clerical collar.
It was another two elders who instigated my leaving Mormonism when they quoted John 8:32 to me, 'the truth shall set you free'. The Holy Spirit used that verse, and it teased me for months as I felt anything but free.
After seven years we left Mormonism through the faithful witness of Christians who challenged and befriended us without disrespecting us. You don't win converts with comments like, 'how could you be so stupid?'
So now we know the Son and are free indeed!