Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No death before the fall taught by Wilford Woodruff

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff  is the 2006 Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society manual.  In Chapter 8: "Understanding Death and Resurrection," we will be studying the doctrine of no death before the fall as taught by Wilford Woodruff.

"We acknowledge that through Adam all have died, that death through the fall must pass upon the whole human family, also upon the beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and all the works of God, as far as this earth is concerned." (Italics added.)

The above sentence is taken from a talk President Woodruff gave as an Apostle in 1882.  However, the current First Presidency and Twelve have approved including it in a "gospel reference book" as the teachings of a President of the Church.  The Introduction to the Wilford Woodruff manual states:

"The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have established the Teachings of Presidents of the Church series to help you deepen your understanding of the restored gospel and draw closer to the Lord through the teachings of latter-day prophets.  As the Church adds volumes to this series, you will build a collection of gospel reference books for your home." (Italics added.)

A reference book is "a book, such as a dictionary or encyclopedia, to which one can refer for authoritative information." (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000.)

Several previous posts on this blog have demonstrated that the doctrine of no death before the fall has established itself among Church leaders.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, for example, held the apostolic keys for more than 60 years and was the Church's tenth Prophet.  During his entire ministry, Joseph Fielding Smith taught that there was no death before the fall.  Click here to read 42 such statements made in seven different decades (1910s through 1970s).  Notice that four are quoted from his three volume set Doctrines of Salvation which was approved by the First Presidency and the Twelve as a meetinghouse library resource for priesthood leaders, teachers, and the general membership.  Notice also that ten were published after he became President of the Church and the last one was published by his First Presidency.

President Harold B. Lee, the Church's eleventh Prophet, taught this doctrine as an Apostle in 1954 when he spoke to the Seminary and Institute teachers of the Church about the "Fall of Man." But, as is the case now with Wilford Woodruff, President Lee's teachings on that occasion have since been published by the Church as the teachings of a President of the Church (see also here).

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