This page is a part of a three section paper. The sections include:
This compilation of quotes by LDS Apostles on the flood is, to our knowledge, the most exhaustive one yet compiled. While the Church has no official stand point on whether the flood was global or not, many of its leaders have expressed their views. We have attempted to be unbiased by including quotes from all sides of the argument, yet we are sure that some bias has shown through. We encourage everyone to form his or her own opinions. We simply provide this page to help people follow the "majority of the twelve" (see Joseph Smith quoted in Young Woman's Journal, XVII (December 1906), pp. 542-543.; Truman G. Madsen, Joseph Smith the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989], 39.; Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997])
Table of Contents
- Joseph Smith
- Parley P. Pratt
- Brigham Young
- George Q. Cannon
- Orson Pratt
- Jedediah M. Grant
- John Taylor
- Wilford Woodruff
- Joseph F. Smith
- Orson F. Whitney
- Anthony W. Ivins
- George Albert Smith
- John A. Widtsoe
- Joseph Fielding Smith
- Harold B. Lee
- J. Reuben Clark
- Mark E. Petersen
- Spencer W. Kimball
- Bruce R. McConkie
- Ezra Taft Benson
- Howard W. Hunter
- Neal A. Maxwell
Now, what I am after is the knowledge of God, and I take my own course to obtain it. What are we to understand by this in the last days?
In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and he has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days: but before it should take place, Elijah should first come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc.
(Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 60.)
The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Genesis 1:26, 27, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in this day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 157.)
Every man lives for himself. Adam was made to open the way of the world, and for dressing the garden. Noah was born to save seed of everything when the earth was washed of its wickedness by the flood; and the Son of God came into the world to redeem it from the fall. But except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men's religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God, without being born of water and the Spirit. He may receive a glory like unto the moon, (i.e. of which the light of the moon is typical), or a star, (i.e. of which the light of the stars is typical), but he can never come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, unless he becomes as a little child, and is taught by the Spirit of God.
(Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 90.)
And when a neighboring realm petitioned to join the union of liberty's sons, my voice would be, Come—yea, come, Texas; come Mexico, come Canada; and come, all the world: let us be brethren, let us be one great family, and let there be a universal peace. Abolish the cruel custom of prisons (except certain cases), penitentiaries, court-martials for desertion; and let reason and friendship reign over the ruins of ignorance and barbarity; yea, I would, as the universal friend of man, open the prisons, open the eyes, open the ears, and open the hearts of all people, to behold and enjoy freedom—unadulterated freedom; and God who once cleansed the violence of the earth with a flood, whose Son laid down his life for the salvation of all his Father gave him out of the world, and who has promised that he will come and purify the world again with fire in the last days, should be supplicated by me for the good of all people. With the highest esteem, I am a friend of virtue and of the people,
(Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 324.)
The next great, grand Patriarch [after Enoch] who held the keys of the Priesthood was Lamech. "And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years and begat a son, and he called his name Noah, saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord has cursed." (See Genesis 5:28-29.) The Priesthood continued from Lamech to Noah: "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them and behold I will destroy them with the earth." (Genesis 6:13.)
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 171.)
Parley P. Pratt
There is one grand division to be kept constantly in view in the study of prophecy, namely, the distinction between the past and the future. The reader should be careful to ascertain what portion has been fulfilled, and what remains to be fulfilled; always remembering Peter's rule of interpretation will apply to both. Now, if we should find in our researches that every prophecy which has been fulfilled to the present year has been literally fulfilled, then it follows of necessity that every prophecy which is yet future will not fail of a literal fulfillment. Let us commence with the days of Noah. "And, behold, I even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die."
In the verses which follow the above, the Lord commands Noah to enter the Ark, and take with him animals of every kind, etc. And in the 22nd verse it is written, "Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he." It was well for Noah that he was not well versed in the spiritualizing systems of modern divinity; for, under their benighted influence, he would never have believed that so marvelous a prophecy would have had a literal meaning and accomplishment. No, he would have been told that the flood meant a spiritual flood, and the Ark, a spiritual Ark, and the moment he thought otherwise, he would have been set down for a fanatic, knave, or fool; but it was so, that he was just simple enough to believe the prophecy literally. Here then, is a fair sample of foreknowledge; for all the world who did not possess it, perished by the flood.
(Parley P. Pratt, A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 14.)
Having reviewed some of the works of the great Head—the President or First Teacher in the school of Theology, we will still continue the historic illustrations of this wonderful science, as developed and exemplified by the most eminent students and professors of the same.
By this science Adam obtained from his Father, the promise of the eternal dominion over the planet on which he was placed.
By this science Enoch overcame death, and ascended to a higher sphere of immortality and eternal life, without even being separated from his fleshly tabernacle.
By this science Noah foretold the flood, prepared to meet the event, and, with his family, survived the same, and became the greatest landed proprietor since Adam.
(Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology/A Voice of Warning [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965], 15.)
Brethren and sisters, I wish you to continue in your ways of welldoing [sic]; I desire that your minds may be opened more and more to see and understand things as they are. This earth, in its present condition and situation, is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon.
(Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 83.)
In the beginning, after this earth was prepared for man, the Lord commenced his work upon what is now called the American continent, where the Garden of Eden was made. In the days of Noah, in the days of the floating of the ark, he took the people to another part of the earth: the earth was divided, and there he set up his kingdom. Did they receive his kingdom? No; they rejected it. Afterwards he called a man, and ordained him, and showed to him the inhabitants of the whole earth, and gave to him a promise that his offspring should be the people of God. He spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their children, as his covenant people. The Jews rejected Jesus Christ, who came to redeem the world. They cried—"Crucify him, crucify him! Let his blood be upon us and upon our children!" God has removed the kingdom from Jerusalem again to Zion, and here he will wind up the scene. Righteousness will go forth, and the wickedness upon the earth will be swept from it. Will I prophesy evil? No; let us prophesy good. But the justice and mercy of God must have their demands. Let everything have its place and its just due, both the good and the evil; and we will not curse the wicked, for they are already cursed; the wrath of the Almighty does not slumber upon their track; their condition is lamentable. They flourish like a green bay tree, and may so flourish for a few days; but they will become withered and dried and prepared to be cast into the fire, while the kingdom of God will stand; and if we do not remain faithful, others will take our places.
(Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 196.)
Did you ever hear the story of an old man that came to Noah when he was building the ark? "What, Mr. Noah, are you still at the ark? You are a veritable old fool, building an ark far away from any water! How are you going to float it?" "Wait a little while, and I will show you: by-and-by the Lord will break up the might deep and send forth the waters and drown the wicked." "Oh, you are a fool, Noah! You had better build a good house, and plant and till the earth. I am going home," &c. "Go on," said Noah; "by-and-by you will learn that I am right." They waited year after year, and by-and-by the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the rain began to descend. The old man came along, and Noah said to him, "What do you think now, neighbour?" "Oh, this is only a shower; it looks like clearing up; it will soon be over." In a short time the old man came again, wading in water to his knees, when Noah said, "Well, what do you think now?" "Oh, it will soon clear away." He came again, and that time he was paddling along in water up to his neck, and said, "Won't you take me in, Noah?" "I have got my load; all who have received tickets are aboard, and those who have not tickets cannot come aboard. What do you think of it now, old man, is it only a little shower?" Then it was not, "Damn old Noah!" but they were crying, "Oh, Mr. Noah, take us in." By-and-by it will be, "Mr. Smith, won't you have a little compassion on us?" "No," Joseph will say; "you would not take a ticket when I offered it to you by my brethren; you refused my tickets, and said it was 'nothing but a shower, we guess it will pass off.'" According to the words of the Saviour, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man."
(Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 230.)
The earth, the Lord says, abides its creation; it has been baptized with water, and will, in the future, be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, to be prepared to go back into the celestial presence of God, with all things that dwell upon it which have, like the earth, abided the law of their creation. Taking this view of the matter, it may be asked why we build temples. We build temples because there is not a house on the face of the whole earth that has been reared to God's name, which will in anywise compare with his character, and that he can consistently call his house. There are places on the earth where the Lord can come and dwell, if he pleases. They may be found on the tops of high mountains, or in some cavern or places where sinful man has never marked the soil with his polluted feet.
(Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 10: 252.)
The Lord has said that He will never again destroy the world by a flood. What will the next great catastrophe be? It will be fire: He will cleanse the earth as by fire, and will purify and make it holy, and prepare it for the habitation of His Saints. But in doing this, which will be accomplished by the united labors of His Saints under His direction, He has not told us to build an ark; He has not told us to go out of Sodom, as He did Lot and his family; neither has He told us to go down into Egypt or to come out of Egypt. What has He told us? He has told us, and it is recorded in the revelations contained in the New Testament, that in the latter days He would send His angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth. That angel has flown, the Gospel is delivered, the kingdom is established, and Zion has to be built up.
(Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 13: 314.)
George Q. Cannon
Think of it, Adam living nearly a thousand years! What progress he would make in the knowledge of earthly things, even supposing he started out ignorant! So with the others, until the earth was filled with knowledge. But men corrupted themselves and fell into darkness and sin, and became so wicked that God, in order that wickedness might not destroy His purposes, had to send a flood to wipe them out, excepting a few.
(George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 10.)
Enoch walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years, and the Bible says he was not for God took him. If he walked with God that length of time, he must have known something about Him, and about the heavens, and about the organization of the earth, and something about what is called science now, geological as well as astronomical. Our revelations tell us that not only he but his city was translated. They were all taken, with the exception of Methuselah, who was left on the earth, because the promise had been made to him that through him one should arise who should be the progenitor of a new world. This proved to be Noah, his grandson. After that the earth waxed worse and worse until the flood was sent and destroyed the world.
(George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 10.)
As it was in the days of Noah. The inhabitants of the earth did this in the days of Noah. They did not believe there would be any flood. They went on enjoying themselves in their way, notwithstanding the message that Noah delivered to them. But still the flood came, and the hardened nations were drowned, and the earth was cleansed from their presence.
(George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 38.)
Wicked to be destroyed by fire. I expect that before Satan is fully bound the wicked will be destroyed. You are familiar with the history which the Book of Mormon gives of that period. There was a great destruction among the people. The Lord visited them in a most terrible manner. Dreadful calamities fell upon them, and the wicked were literally wiped out, just as much as the antediluvian world was wiped out by the flood. That wicked generation was completely extirpated, and those only were left who were righteous.
(George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 48.)
The wicked will be destroyed, according to the words of all the Prophets, and the righteous only will survive. There will be a cleansing of the earth from the wicked as great in its place as the cleansing of the earth by the flood that came in the days of Noah, though this time it will be by fire. Malachi says the day will come when the wicked shall be ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous.
(George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 70.)
Those millions of spirits who had thus committed sin and iniquity until it could be borne no longer, until the earth groaned under their wickedness, and cried aloud as with a human voice against the wickedness upon its surface of which those inhabitants had been guilty—those millions of spirits were swept off with a flood, the whole family of man was destroyed, except Noah and those seven souls who received his testimony, a part of his family, and a part only, for there were children that Noah had who rejected his testimony, and who also shared in the destruction that came upon the inhabitants of the earth. But those eight, including Noah, were the sole surviving remnant of the entire family of man. The antediluvian world numbered millions doubtless; millions were swept away from the face of the earth, and consigned to a place of torment, or to a prison. In this prison they were immured, doubtless in utter darkness—in the condition that is so expressly described by the Savior Himself, when upon the earth—in outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, a place of torment, where they were kept until the Savior Himself came in the flesh, and proclaimed unto the children of men the Gospel of life and salvation.
(George Q. Cannon in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 26: 81 - 82.)
There is a passage of Scripture that reads thus:—"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren," &c. Whom did he not foreknow? I do not think there is anybody now on the earth, or that has lived before us, or that will come after us, but what he knew. He knew who would be his anointed; he has had his eye upon them all the time, as he had upon Moses, Pharaoh, Abraham, Melchizedek, and Noah, who was a chosen vessel to build the ark and save a remnant from the flood.
A few hundred years after all these things had transpired on this Continent, and Noah and his family, the only survivors of the Flood, had been wafted away to distant lands, and had peopled a portion of Asia, the descendants of Noah undertook to build a great tower that they might make themselves a great name, instead of fulfilling the purposes of the Almighty, in spreading forth, and occupying and subduing the earth. The Lord was very much displeased with them on that occasion, because of the wickedness that existed in their midst, which was calculated to be strengthened through their unity. Hence He made a decree, according to the old Book—the Bible, that they should not dwell thus, together. He confounded their language, and swore in His wrath that they should be scattered. A portion of the people from that tower came to this Continent.
(Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 12: 339 - 341.)
For instance, when some sixteen hundred or two thousand years had passed away, from the creation, the world had become very much corrupted in the sight of God, so much so that what little history we have on the subject informs us that all flesh had corrupted its way upon the face of the earth. God gave a new commandment in that period, differing entirely from all former commandments. It was not adapted to any dispensation that had preceded it, neither would it be suitable for any future dispensation: it was intended for that particular period only. The Lord commanded his servant Noah to build an ark, according to certain rules and dimensions that he gave unto him, for, said the Lord, "I intend to destroy all flesh with a flood, except those who shall gather together into the ark which you shall build."
This was a new commandment. If there had been any sectarian preachers who then lived, and perhaps there were—for preachers who have not been sent of God seem to have been numerous in all dispensations—they would perhaps have reasoned with Noah in relation to this new revelation and commandment, and said to him, "What is the use now, of getting new revelation from God? You will not dispute, Noah, but what Enoch was saved and translated to heaven. He had enough revelation to save him, and can not we be saved in the same manner that he was, without having any new revelation communicated to us?" I mention this, because such arguments are used at the present day in reference to the new revelations which the Latter-day Saints carry forth to the world. The people say, "You believe in the Book of Mormon as a new revelation, and that God has given new commandments. Have we not enough? Were not the people who lived in the days of Enoch, Abraham, Moses and the Prophets, in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, saved? and if they had enough to save them, if we follow the instructions which they received, what is the use of obtaining another book, called the Book of Mormon, or new commandments and revelations?" This has been brought forth as an argument ever since my youth to my certain knowledge, in all countries where I have traveled and attempted to communicate to the world our ideas about new revelation. The same arguments might have been used in the days of the flood—"Enough has been given; Enoch has been saved and translated, and if we follow the revelations given to him, why may we not be saved without having any thing new?" But Noah would have answered, and very properly too, "God designs to accomplish something now that he did not accomplish in the days of Enoch, nor in the days of Abel and Seth, nor in the days of any of those ancient worthies—he intends to bring destruction on all flesh that will not repent, by overwhelming this world of ours in a flood of water. He intends to pour out his indignation and just wrath upon those who corrupt themselves in his sight; and he has provided a particular way of escape therefrom, by which you may, if you will, be saved from this judgment, and that way has to be made known by new revelation." We will pass on, however.
(Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 15: 101.)
Jesus was very merciful to the antediluvians who perished before the flood. A host who lived in those days perished in the flood and were shut up in prison; and while the body of Jesus was sleeping in the tomb his spirit went and preached to them that were disobedient in the days of Noah. They probably did not have a good opportunity in the days of Noah. There were only four persons to warn them, and they were multiplied by millions and millions in all parts of the earth, and all except Noah and his family were swept off by the flood and cast into prison, and they were kept there some two thousand years, then Jesus went to preach the Gospel to them, as it is written in the fourth chapter of the first epistle of Peter—"For, for this cause was the Gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, and live according to God in the Spirit." Now, if the Gospel was preached to those who are dead, to the old antediluvians who perished over two thousand years before Jesus was put to death, for what purpose was it preached? That they might have the same privilege of hearing and obeying the Gospel that those have who are in the flesh, and of being judged thereby. "But," says one, "they cannot obey it in the spirit world." They can in part, they can obey it so far as believing in Jesus is concerned, and repenting of their sins; for repentance and faith are both acts of the mind; but when it comes to baptism, being born of or immersed in water, they can not do it; God has ordained that men, here in the flesh, shall be baptized for those who are dead, in order that they may commemorate the death, sufferings, and burial of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that as he rose to newness of life, so may they, for whom the ordinance of baptism is administered, by those in the flesh, have a claim to a more glorious resurrection.
(Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 16: 298 - 299.)
When we read in the Book of Genesis about the rains which fell from the heavens, causing a flood of waters to deluge the earth, in fulfillment of a certain warning message which had previously been preached to the people then living, by which they were swept away and drowned, we must believe that the inspired writer who penned the words, described the event as it occurred, so far at least as the general facts are concerned, and that the flood spoken of was a literal body of water, and that it did prevail upon all portions of the earth. I do not say that the flood did prevail, at the same moment, upon all the face of the earth; but before the floods abated, every part of the solid portions of the earth that were habitable, were covered by the waters. How this was accomplished is not given by the inspired writer, but is left for us to conjecture. The Lord has a great many ways and means by which he could bring about an event of this nature. For instance, how easy it would be to drown all the inhabitants of the temperate and arctic regions, by just merely stopping the earth from rotating on its axis. Unless there should be another miracle performed to prevent the waters that are heaped up around the equatorial regions from flowing to the polar regions, they would necessarily, as the earth began to cease or rotate more slowly in its axial revolutions, cause the waters of the equatorial region to flow towards the two polar regions. It is an easy matter for a mathematician to demonstrate the depth of the waters in any part or latitude of our globe, should such an event take place or happen. The waters in receding from the great equatorial regions would cover up the great mountains on our east, and we, in this altitude, would be buried under water at least over a mile in depth. I do not say that this was the manner which the Lord took in "breaking up the fountains of the great deep." There may have been other causes unknown to us; but to say there never was such an event is something entirely unwarranted. Still, it may be said, this would not cover all the solid portion of the earth, but leave the equatorial land still further elevated above the ocean, and if all the lands of the earth were to be under water, how could that be accounted for? Very easily. Cause the earth to rotate on its axis more swiftly than what it now does, say for instance, in one-half the time—in 12 hours instead of 24—and you would bury up all the equatorial lands of our globe. How easy a matter it would be for the Lord to cause the earth to rotate more swiftly, and then again to rotate more tardily, and produce the effects ascribed to the flood.
When therefore, we read that the earth was once depopulated, except a few individuals, who were saved in the ark, why should it be thought a thing incredible that the Lord should again depopulate our globe, not by a flood, but by devouring fire.
(Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 20: 10 - 11.)
The rains descended, and the earth was covered with the flood, and we read that Noah by his testimony condemned the whole world. What! One witness? One witness alone condemned the whole world, and they perished from off the face of the earth, because one witness was sent unto them!
(Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 175 - 176.)
If you look for uniformity in man, was it when the descendants of Noah sought to build a great tower, that they might, as they thought, climb up to where their Father in Heaven lived, and thus try to defy His power, should He again bring a flood of water to deluge the earth? Was that the age, when people studied to know the purposes of a righteous God?
(Jedediah M. Grant in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 1: 342 - 343.)
Satan has tried from the beginning of the world to overturn the works of God and in some instances he has apparently succeeded admirably. He was the cause at one time of all the people of the earth being destroyed except a little seed which was saved to propagate the human species. Probably the devil would laugh pretty heartily over that, thinking that he had accomplished his purposes. However, that was not the end. It is true that the judgments of God overtook them. It is true they were destroyed by a flood in the flesh, and were shut up in prison in the spirit. But it is also true that the same Savior who is our Savior, when he was put to death in the flesh, was quickened by the spirit, and that he visited those spirits in prison opening up the door of salvation to them that they might be redeemed and come forth and accomplish certain purposes which God had designed
(John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, selected, arranged, and edited, with an introduction by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941], 99 - 100.)
We are further told concerning the firmament, that "God separated the waters that were below the firmament, from those that were above the firmament." Hence, when God destroyed the world with a flood, "He opened the windows of heaven;" when the rain ceased, he "shut the windows of heaven." Now, a word on this firmament; Where is it? "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." We find out, then, from the foregoing, that the firmament is called heaven, viz., the heaven associated with this earth; and that the firmament is the place where the birds fly, and the rain falls from heaven; and the scriptures say, that Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven. Matthew 24:30. Mark 13:26.
(John Taylor, The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1852], 38 - 39.)
That through this faith Enoch saw the days of the coming of the Son of Man in the flesh, and by it he obtained a covenant from the Lord that after Noah's day He would never again cover the earth by a flood, and obtained an unalterable decree that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations while the earth should stand.
(John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1882], 80.)
Look again at the time that Noah came from the ark, after he and his household were saved from the flood that drowned the world; they were the only ones that were righteous. When Noah and his family had seen the dreadful wreck, the awful calamity, the heart-rending scenes of distress and anguish, trouble and death, that overwhelmed the world—with all this staring them in the face, how soon his posterity departed from correct principles, and bowed their necks to the power of the adversary; how soon was the weakness of human nature made manifest! Consider the trouble, afflictions, war, and bloodshed that have come in consequence of all this, the fostering of evil passions in the human heart, and giving way to every kind of iniquity, being led captive by the devil at his will, until nation has been arrayed against nation, kingdom against kingdom, power against power, and authority against authority. Witness the human beings that have been slain, and the human carcasses that have been left to rot upon the battlefields; all this has been in consequence of not adhering to what is righteous, true, and holy.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 1: 371.)
By and by we find the people departing from the principles of truth, from the laws of the Gospel, repudiating the fear of God, grieving his Holy Spirit and incurring his displeasure. Then a flood came and the inhabitants of the world, with the exception of a very few, were swept from it, after the Gospel had been preached to all who then lived and all had had an opportunity to believe in and obey it. A few of them did so and lived in the fear of God, and, according to the revelations which we have, they were translated and caught up, they had a separate existence from those who lived upon the earth, and occupied the position of translated beings and were necessarily governed by other laws than the denizens of the earth. This was one peculiarity of the dispensation before the flood. Then came the flood, which many people, unacquainted with things as they existed in the bosom of God and with his purposes and designs, consider was a great cruelty, an act of tyranny, evincing a spirit of outrage and oppression upon the inhabitants of the world. Sceptics reason in this manner sometimes, the only reason of their caviling being that they do not understand God or his laws and designs in relation to the earth and the inhabitants that live upon it, and being ignorant of these things they are not competent judges as to the fitness of things generally, and the course pursued by the Almighty in relation to the inhabitants of the earth, hence they arrive at all kinds of foolish conclusions. The fact is there were certain ideas connected with the destruction of the world that were good, proper and merciful. Mankind had committed unto them certain powers, among which was the power to perpetuate their own species, of which they could not according to the laws of nature be deprived while living. And they had a certain agency of their own, which they could act upon, and the people who were destroyed in the flood had departed from the laws of God. Man has a dual being, not only a body or mortal tabernacle, but a spirit, and that spirit existed before he came here; and if men before the flood had been allowed to go on in their iniquities and if, with every thought and imagination of their hearts, which were all unlawful and evil, they had been allowed to perpetuate that kind of existence, of course God would have had very little to do with the operations of the earth and the inhabitants thereof, it would therefore have been unjust to the spirits created by our Father in the eternal worlds to force them to come and inhabit the degenerated bodies which they must have received from such characters as the generation drowned in the flood; and hence God took away their agency by destroying them from the face of the earth, because they were prostituting their powers to an improper use and not only injuring themselves by defying the law of God, but also inflicting an evil upon unborn generations by perverting their own existence and by their powers of procreation entailing misery upon millions of spirits that had a just right to look for protection from their Father. The Almighty therefore took this awful method to redress this aggravated wrong and he had a right to do it. Why, our stockraisers act upon that principle a good deal. I was talking to one of them a little while ago who had a large flock of sheep, and he told me that he had got some better stock, and was going to kill off the poor ones in order that he might raise only good stock and a better breed than he then had. I suppose that God had as much right to do this as sheep raisers and cattle raisers have, and thus by cutting off that wicked generation from the earth he deprived them of the privilege of propagating their own species. And what then? Oh, they were all damned. No, they were not quite, yes they were in part and partly not. God understands all these things and manages matters according to the counsel of his will, and hence he provided a way whereby the people who were then drowned, who would not listen to God's law and who had departed entirely from the precepts of Jehova [sic], might hereafter have a chance of obeying the laws of life and salvation. Well, were they not all tee-totally doomed to go and be roasted in flames forever and ever. Not quite; for we read that Jesus, when he was put to death in the flesh, was quickened in the spirit, by which he went and preached to the spirits in prison that sometime were disobedient in the days of Noah, when once the long-suffering of God waited upon them in those days. Hence we see that instead of being eternally damned, Jesus went to preach the Gospel of life and salvation to those whom God, in the days of Noah, swept off by the flood, in order that he might introduce another state of things, and try to raise up a people who would listen to his laws and obey his precepts.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 206.)
I find in tracing out the scriptures, that from the beginning there have existed two powers—the powers of light and the powers of darkness; that both these things existed in the heavens before they came here, that the powers of darkness were cast out, and thus became the devil and his angels. This antagonism, then, existed before, and it is necessary it should exist. It is necessary men should be tried and purged and purified and made perfect through suffering. And hence we find men in the different ages that have passed through trials and afflictions of every kind, and they had to learn to put their faith in God, and in God alone. Such was the wickedness and corruptions of men in the early ages that it was necessary that God should sweep the face of the earth by a flood, in order that men might be deprived of their power to do evil.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 20: 305 - 307.)
. I have heard men talk about the cruelty of God, just like some foolish people talk about their fathers. Who knows anything about God? Did you ever see him? Some think it was very cruel in him to destroy the world at the flood. How do they know but that it was the greatest boon he could confer upon that wicked people? How do they know but that it was one of the richest blessings he could pour out upon their heads in sweeping them off the earth and sending them into another existence and then shutting them up in prison after that. How do you know? Certainly you do not know that it is not the case.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 17 - 18.)
And Enoch and his brethren prophesied unto the people about the calamities that should overtake them, that the world was to be destroyed by a flood; and there were provisions made for the continuance of the human family, and it was made known to Methuselah that his seed should be the medium through which should be perpetuated the human family upon the earth. And Methuselah was so very desirous to have this thing fulfilled that Noah, his grandson, who was the son of Lamech, was ordained by Methuselah when he was ten years old.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 243.)
But, let me ask, what did the Lord do before He sent the flood? He sent Noah among them as a preacher of righteousness; He sent Enoch; He sent many Elders among the people, and they prophesied to them that unless they repented, judgment would overtake them; that God would overwhelm the earth with a flood and destroy the inhabitants thereof—that is, those who would not listen to the Gospel of the Son of God; for the Son of God was in existence then, not personally on earth, but existed in the spirit, and the promise to them was that He should come and atone for the sins of the world. They were taught these things, but they rejected them, that is the great majority of them did so.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 292.)
Enoch preached the Gospel to the people, and so did hundreds of Elders as they are doing to-day; and they gathered the people together and built up a Zion to the Lord, and when Enoch was not, but was caught up, Enoch's city was not, but was caught up, and there were certain things associated therewith that are very peculiar. Why were they taken away from the earth? Because of the corruptions of men, because of the wickedness of men, because mankind had forsaken God, and become as broken cisterns that could hold no water, because they were not fulfilling the measure of their creation, and because it was not proper that they should live and perpetuate a race that was so corrupt and abominable. But before this was done, the righteous, the virtuous, the honorable, the pure, the upright were gathered together, and taught and instructed in the things of God. And what came next? Why, the destruction of the world. It was overflowed, we read, by the flood. What! And all the people destroyed? Yes, except a very few, according to the statements we have.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 26: 35 - 36.)
This may appear strange to some. But in regard to the flood, the laws governing hydraulics, as we understand them, were not strictly carried out on that occasion. Speaking of the flood we read:
"And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventh day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."
What was done? "The windows of heaven were opened," and the immense bodies of waters that exist in the upper firmament were let down, or as it is expressed, "the windows of heaven were opened." What else? "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up." You have got a Brigham Young Academy here. I would like to give the professors and pupils of that establishment a problem to solve, and that is—How they could manage to get enough water out of the seas, and out of the oceans, and out of the rivers, and out of the clouds, to cover the tops of these mountains and fifteen cubits above, and let that spread all over the earth? I would like to know by what known law the immersion of the globe could be accomplished. It is explained here in a few words: "The windows of heaven were opened"—that is, the waters that exist throughout the space surrounding the earth from whence come these clouds from which the rain descends. That was one cause. Another cause was "the fountains of the great deep were broken up"—that is something beyond the oceans, something outside of the seas, some reservoirs of which we have no knowledge, were made to contribute to this event, and the waters were let loose by the hand and by the power of God; for God said He would bring a flood upon the earth and He brought it, but He had to let loose the fountains of the great deep, and pour out the waters from there, and when the flood commenced to subside, we are told "that the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained, and the waters returned from off the earth." Where did they go to? From whence they came. Now, I will show you something else on the back of that. Some people talk very philosophically about tidal waves coming along. But the question is—How could you get a tidal wave out of the Pacific ocean, say, to cover the Sierra Nevadas? But the Bible does not tell us it was a tidal wave. It simply tells us that "all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." That is, the earth was immersed. It was a period of baptism.
(John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 26: 75.)
For one hundred and twenty years he warned the inhabitants of the earth of the coming flood; but all that he could save were the members of his own family, some eight souls. The flood came, and all the inhabitants of the earth, save those who had entered the ark, were drowned. Their spirits were shut up in prison in the spirit world, and they remained there until after the death of Jesus Christ; and while His body lay in the tomb three and a half days He went and preached to those spirits in prison, where they had been shut up for thousands of years.
(Wilford Wordruff in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 238.)
Joseph F. Smith
In various dispensations there are various differences in regard to certain requirements of the Gospel. For instance, in the day of Noah, when he preached the Gospel to the antediluvian world, he was given a special commandment, to build an ark, that in case the people would reject him and the message sent unto them, that himself and all who believed on him might be saved from the destruction that awaited them. In this dispensation there is a principle or commandment peculiar to it. What is that? It is the gathering the people unto one place. The gathering of this people is as necessary to be observed by believers, as faith, repentance, baptism, or any other ordinance. It is an essential part of the Gospel of this dispensation, as much so, as the necessity of building an ark by Noah, for his deliverance, was a part of the Gospel of his dispensation. Then the world was destroyed by a flood, now it is to be destroyed by war, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, storms, and tempests, the sea rolling beyond its bounds, malarious [sic] vapors, vermin, disease, and by fire and the lightnings of God's wrath poured out for destruction upon Babylon.
(Joseph F. Smith in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 19: 193.)
The gathering of this people is as necessary to be observed by believers, as faith, repentance, baptism, or any other ordinance. It is an essential part of the gospel of this dispensation, as much so as the necessity of building an ark by Noah, for his deliverance, was a part of the gospel of his dispensation. Then the world was destroyed by a flood, now it is to be destroyed by war, pestilence, famine, earthquake, storms and tempest, the sea rolling beyond its bounds, malarious vapors, vermin, disease and by fire and the lightnings of God's wrath poured out for destruction upon Babylon. The cry of the angel unto the righteous of this dispensation is, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Revelation 18:4.)
(Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 104.)
There is no other means of salvation revealed or given to the children of men except that offered by the Son of God, and those who reject this, whether before or after they have received it in part, cannot be saved, because they rejected the means of their redemption and salvation. Not so with those to whom Christ went to deliver the gospel when his body lay in the tomb; they were disobedient to the message of Noah, which was a warning to them to repent or they should be destroyed by a flood. We are not told to what extent the gospel of Christ, in its fulness, was proclaimed to them, but are left to suppose that the message of Noah was not the fulness of the gospel, but a cry of repentance from sin that they might escape destruction by the flood. They hardened their hearts against Noah's message, and would not receive it, and were punished for this disobedience in their destruction by the flood; thus in part paying the penalties for their disobedience; but not having received the light they could not be condemned as those spoken of in II Nephi 9, who had all the commandments of God given unto them.
(Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 437.)
Orson F. Whitney
Earth's Baptism of Fire.—The deluge that destroyed the wicked "with the earth" (that is, with water, representing the earth) and which God covenanted with Noah never to repeat, is to be paralleled by another deluge, in which the wicked will be consumed by fire from heaven; and as unexpectedly as came the watery flood in which our planet was once immersed, will come the fiery baptism that is destined to cleanse it from all unrighteousness and prepare it for celestial glory.
A Second Adam.—Noah, who is Gabriel, and stands next to Adam, or Michael, in the priesthood, typifies the great patriarch, in that through him and his immediate family—eight souls in all—Earth was repeopled after the flood. Hence Noah is sometimes called "the second Adam."
(Orson F. Whitney, Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 107.)
Anthony W. Ivins
As before stated the Navajos are among the most intelligent of the native tribes that the writer has labored among. While not as far advanced in civilization as the Mexicans were at the time of the conquest, they are fully equal to them in natural intelligence and courage.
When the writer first visited these Indians in 1875, the following was related by them:
"A long time ago a flood of water covered the entire land. One man and his family were saved by going to the top of the San Francisco peak, the highest mountain in their country. With the man went up a pair of all the animals and birds. With the exception of those on the peak all of the people were drowned, and turned into fishes. The turkey gobbler was a very proud bird. As the water neared the top of the mountain he declared that he would go no further. He went down to the edge of the water, spread his tail, strutted and gobbled to hold back the flood. The muddy water covered the end of his tail feathers and held him fast. As he was about to be engulfed the Great Spirit sent a wave which tore him free from the mud and he hurried to the top of the peak to his mate. Had it not been for the intervention of the Great Spirit he would have perished and the wild turkeys which abound in the mountains would have become extinct."
A Navajo will not eat a fish, it is the spirit of his ancestors who perished in the Great Flood. He will not eat the flesh of the turkey because he was a vain and disobedient bird. As the Navajo father tells this story to his children, he says: "My son, avoid pride; remember the turkey—never strut, never gobble. Make few friends, but be true to those you have. Do not reach conclusions hastily, but when your mind is made up act quickly."
When Gil Gonzales effected the conquest of Central America his first effort, as usual, was to convert the king to the religion of the King of Spain. Nicaragua said to him:
"You know so much of the making of the earth and its maker, tell me of the great flood—will there ever be another? Whither goes the spirit of man when it leaves the body? Does the Pope never die? Is the King of Spain mortal? Why do the Christians so love gold?"
Bancroft, in his "Native Races of the Pacific States" says:
"Connected with the great flood of water there is a Mexican tradition analogous to the story of Noah and his ark. The following has been usually accepted as the ordinary version of this myth:
"In Atonatiuh, the age of water, a great flood covered the face of the earth and the inhabitants thereof were turned into fishes. Only one man and one woman escaped, saving themselves in the hollow trunk of a bald cyprus. On the water abating they grounded their ark on the peak of Choluacan, the Ararat of Mexico."
In Michoacan the Indians tell us that a great flood covered the earth, and that Tezpe with his wife and children and a collection of animals and seeds were saved in a spacious vessel which Tezpe constructed. When the waters began to subside, Tezpe sent out a vulture that it might go to and fro on the earth and bring him word when dry land began to appear.
"But the vulture feasted upon the carcasses that were strewn in every part, and did not return. Then Tezpe sent out other birds and the humming bird returned with a green leaf in its beak, and Tezpe knew that dry land had appeared, and landed his ark on the mountain of Choluacan."
The Tlascaltecs, Zapotecs, Mistecs, and the people of Michoacan all have traditions of the Deluge. To quote all the references made by Bancroft to the flood would fill a volume.
(Anthony W. Ivins, Relationship of Mormonism and Freemasonry 219 - 220.)
George Albert Smith
By reading the Old Testament we learn that for a long period of time after Adam came, the people, exercising their agency, determined to have their own way and followed after the teachings of the adversary until they were too wicked to live. The flood came and only those were left who had been obedient and had sought to do the Lord's will. Abraham tells us of the destruction by fire of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness.
Why was it necessary for the flood to come? Why did the Lord permit the cities of the plains to be destroyed by fire? It was because the people would not take advantage of their opportunities. They were not only wasting their lives here upon the earth but were also bringing into the world another generation which would follow their bad example. In both cases, it seems to me, our Heavenly Father in his wisdom and mercy cleansed the earth by the flood and cleared the way for a righteous people to dwell here if they would. The cities of the plains were burned that their wickedness might not continue to jeopardize other communities and children as yet unborn.
(George Albert Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 4.)
Men and women in their sins continued sinful and failed to listen to the warning voice of a prophet of God, and the result was that the Lord could do nothing with them until they were repentant. He saw the futility of working with them because they were wilfully [sic] in the hands of the adversary, and so he covered the earth with a great flood, gathering just a little handful of people to re-people the earth, because it was necessary that good men and good women should transmit to posterity the virtues that they inherited when they were created in the spirit world.
(George Albert Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 20.)
In the days of Noah, when he went about warning the people, I presume there are many who ignored his teachings, who disregarded him as a servant of God, but he was sent by the Father, and the instructions that he gave the people were binding upon them; and our Father in Heaven, in his own due time, fulfilled the promises of his prophet. All who were saved from the flood were those who listened to Noah.
(George Albert Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 59.)
John A. Widtsoe
Did the Flood Cover the Highest Mountains of Earth?
This question, really of insignificant importance, is a good example of man-made objections to the sacred character of the Bible, and therefore to faith.
The coming of the flood and its extent and duration, are described in the seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis. The account states that "the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were tinder the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." (Gen. 7:19-20)
A cubit, an ancient and well-known measure of length, is the distance from a man's elbow to the end of his middle finger. The Egyptians fixed the length of a cubit as 20.61 of our inches; the Greeks, 18:25 inches; the Romans, 17.4 inches; the Hebrews, 17.58 inches; and the English, 18 inches. The variation is small, from eighteen to less than twenty-one inches.
If we employ the largest of these values, 20.61 inches, fifteen cubits would be something less than twenty-six-feet. This, then, was the depth of the flood, according to Genesis.
The suggestion has been made that the flood filled every hollow and valley until the earth was a great sphere of water covering the highest mountain peaks twenty-six feet deep, Mount Ararat, seventeen thousand feet high, "upon the mountains" of which the ark rested, would according to this view have been completely under water. It is doubtful whether the water in the sky and all the oceans would suffice to cover the earth so completely.
Another suggestion is that the earth at that time was so flat that a depth of water of twenty-six feet would cover the highest hill. There is no existing evidence of this supposition; and Mount Ararat did exist then according to the record.
It has also been suggested that a blanket of water twenty-six feet thick lay up and down the sides of every hill, mountain, and valley. This would seem to be in defiance of the law of gravity, though under a long-continued, furious rainfall such a layer, not too thick, might roll down every slope.
The fact remains that the exact nature of the flood is not known. We set up assumptions, based upon our best knowledge, but can go no further. We should remember that when inspired writers deal with historical incidents they relate that which they have seen or that which may have been told them, unless indeed the past is opened to them by revelation.
The details in the story of the flood are undoubtedly drawn from the experiences of the writer. Under a downpour of rain, likened to the opening of the heavens, a destructive torrent twenty-six feet deep or deeper would easily be formed. The writer of Genesis made a faithful report of the facts known to him concerning the flood. In other localities the depth of the water might have been more or less. In fact, the details of the flood are not known to us.
Latter-day Saints know, through modern revelation, that the Garden of Eden was on the North American continent and that Adam and Eve began their conquest of the earth in the upper part of what is now the state of Missouri. It seems very probable that the children of our first earthly parents moved down along the fertile, pleasant lands of the Mississippi valley. The great floods that have often occurred there make the description in Genesis seem very reasonable indeed. And if the historian saw the flood there, it is not unlikely that the waters covered the highest points or peaks, for there the mountains are but hills.
Great floods have visited the earth. That has been amply proved. For example, Professor C. Leonard Woolley, studying through excavations the ancient history of Mesopotamia has found indisputable evidences of a flood in the neighborhood of Abraham s ancestral city of Ur. Whether that flood is the great flood of Genesis is not certain, for we do not know whether at that time the children of Adam had spread from their original home in what is now America into the lands now denominated Asia. (Woolley, The Sumerians)
Latter-day Saints look upon the earth as a living organism, one which is gloriously filling "the measure of its creation." They look upon the flood as a baptism of the earth, symbolizing a cleansing of the impurities of the past, and the beginning of a new life. This has been repeatedly taught by the leaders of the Church. The deluge was an immersion of the earth in water (D. & C. 88:25; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1:274; Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 603; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 1:331).
Though the whole of the earth was covered with water, the depth was immaterial. When a person is baptized, it does not matter how far under the water he is brought, nor whether every part of him is at the same depth. The essential part of the symbolism is that he should be completely immersed.
So with the story of the flood. All parts of the earth were under water at the same time. In some places the layer of water might have been twenty-six feet deep or more; in others, as on sloping hillsides, it might have been only a fraction of an inch in depth. That the whole earth, however, was under water at the same time was easily possible under a terrific, long-continued downpour, such as is described ii, Genesis. The depth of the layer of water is of no consequence.
Many Bible accounts that trouble the inexperienced reader become clear and acceptable if the essential meaning of the story is sought out. To read the Bible fairly, it must be read as President Brigham Young suggested: "Do you read the scriptures, my brethren and sisters, as though you were writing them a thousand, two thousand, or five thousand years ago? Do you read them as though you stood in the place of the men who wrote them?" (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 197, 198). This is our guide. The scriptures must be read intelligently.
(John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 126.)
Adam, after his expulsion from the Garden of Eden, lived in the vicinity of the great Missouri and Mississippi rivers. As his descendants multiplied, they would naturally settle along the fertile and climatically acceptable river valleys. When the flood came in the days of Noah, the Mississippi drainage must have increased to a tremendous volume, quite in harmony with the Biblical account. Noah's ark would be floated on the mighty, rushing waters, towards the Gulf of Mexico. With favorable winds, it would cross the Atlantic to the Eastern continents. There the human race, in its second start on earth, began to multiply and fill the earth.
(John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 396.)
It seems to be well established that the earth, as a whole, is a living organism. It had a beginning; it will die or be changed, and after its purification it will be brought into greater glory as a resurrected organism. Even the symbolism of baptism was performed for the earth when the waters descended in the great flood. All this can simply mean that the earth, as well as all on it, are subject to the fundamental Great Plan, including the atonement of Jesus Christ.
(John A. Widtsoe, A Rational Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1937], 165 - 166.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Because the daughters of Noah married the sons of men contrary to the teachings of the Lord, his anger was kindled, and this offense was one cause that brought to pass the universal flood. You will see that the condition appears reversed in the Book of Moses. It was the daughters of the sons of God who were marrying the sons of men, which was displeasing unto the Lord. The fact was, as we see it revealed, that the daughters who had been born, evidently under the covenant, and were the daughters of the sons of God, that is to say of those who held the priesthood, were transgressing the commandment of the Lord and were marrying out of the Church. Thus they were cutting themselves off from the blessings of the priesthood contrary to the teachings of Noah and the will of God.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 1: 136.)
The point in your question to be considered is how were the nations benefited by the covenant made with Abraham? First let us take a view of conditions before the flood. The Lord taught Adam the gospel after he was driven out of the Garden of Eden, and the Lord commanded him to teach his children. This Adam did, but we read that Satan came among them saying: "I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish." (Moses 5:13.) Therefore in the course of about sixteen hundred years the world had become corrupt, and the Lord brought upon it the flood and cleansed it from its iniquity. With Noah and his family a new start was made, and the same commandments were given, and the people began to multiply and spread out over the earth. Like the antediluvians, they too, soon forgot the commandments of the Lord and turned to wickedness and idolatry. Therefore the Lord chose Abraham and commanded him to leave his native land and made a covenant with him that through his seed he would bless the world with the gospel.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 53.)
The rivers spoken of in Genesis and in the Book of Moses are rivers that existed when all the waters of the earth were in one place. If all the waters were in one place, then obviously all the land was in one place. This was before the days of the flood. In Genesis we read:
And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear: and it was so. (Genesis 1:9. See also D. & C. 133:22-24.)
According to the revelations of the Lord, Noah and his family in the Ark sailed during the time of the flood from some place evidently in what is known now as America, and landed at Ararat thousands of miles away. We read that it was in the seventeenth day of the second month when the great deep was broken up, and the rain was forty days. The Ark landed at Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, therefore there were five full months of travel when the Lord drove the Ark to its final destiny. Without any question a considerable distance separated the point where the Ark commenced the journey and where it landed. There can be no question to contradict the fact that during the flood great changes were made on the face of the earth. The land surface was in the process of division into continents. The rivers mentioned in Genesis were rivers that existed in the garden of Eden long before the land was divided into continents and islands. (Genesis 7:11.)
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 93.)
The second commandment of the decalogue of necessity is most emphatic. It is the duty of every man to worship the Living God. He has called upon all men everywhere to worship him. From the very beginning he has revealed his divine law to men through his servants the prophets. In the very beginning he commanded Adam to teach his children the law of the gospel. We read that Adam did so, but then came Satan and said to them: "Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God." (Moses 5:13.) Then after the earth was cleansed by water, Noah received the same commandment, but Satan came again, and it was not many years after the flood when the great majority of mankind were following Satan again, and so it has been from the beginning.
Idolatry goes back to the earliest period of human history. We know that the inhabitants of the earth were destroyed in the flood for their iniquity. When the Lord made a new start, the teachings of Noah and his sons were soon forgotten by the vast majority of mankind. The worship of idols was soon introduced and became so prevalent that the Lord called Abraham and made covenants with him and his children after him, and Israel became a chosen people. The Lord endeavored to keep them clean and righteous, and therefore cleansed the land of its iniquity including idolatry to make room for Israel. However, not all of the nations with this iniquitous practice were eliminated from the promised land, and they became a plague and a temptation to Israel.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 3: 121.)
Strange as it may seem, there is a popular view that the Garden of Eden was in the Mesopotamian Valley not many miles from Mt. Ararat where the ark landed. This view is inconsistent and contrary to the known facts as well as with the Bible. Some of these inconsistencies may be pointed out. The reason for the flood, as stated in the Bible, was to cleanse the earth of its iniquity which had become so great that the entire human family, excepting those who were saved in the ark, were destroyed. Another reason for the flood, as taught by revelation to the Church, is that the earth, like mankind, had to be baptized and purified by water. The scriptures state that the Lord opened the "fountains of the great deep" and "the windows of heaven," and caused it to rain incessantly until the entire earth was covered. The Latter-day Saints believe that this was the baptism of the earth.
THE CLEANSING OF THE EARTH BY WATER
One or two quotations are given covering this point:
The first ordinance instituted for the cleansing of the earth, was that of immersion in water; it was buried in the liquid element, and all things sinful upon the face of the earth were washed away. As it came forth from the ocean floor, like the new-born child, it was innocent; it rose to newness of life. It was its second birth from the womb of mighty waters—a new world issuing from the ruins of the old, clothed with all the innocence of this first creation. (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 1:333.)
The earth, in its present condition and situation, is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon. (President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:83.)
Just where Noah built his ark is not known, but we are informed that it floated on the flood until the mountains were covered. It must have traveled a great distance from where it was built, for it would not remain still, and it was one hundred and fifty days at least floating before it settled at Mt. Ararat, in the upper country of Armenia. Now the ark no doubt was driven by the fierce winds which accompanied the flood. Out of the country where it rested, there flowed a river; it has been given the name Euphrates, but this river does not in the least correspond to the river by that name in the Garden of Eden. It was she most natural thing for Noah or some other ancient person, to name the river after the one which they had known, but this river flows in the wrong direction.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 4: 21.)
Enoch saw in vision the kingdoms of the world and all their inhabitants down even to the end of time. The Lord told him of Noah and the flood and how he would destroy the people of the earth for their iniquity. Of these rebellious ones who rejected the truth and paid no heed to the preachings of Noah and the ancient prophets, the Lord said: "I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eyes can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 156.)
SO-CALLED SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIONS TO FLOOD. Most of our difficulties and doubts come from misunderstandings, and there is nothing, perhaps, which has been more misunderstood and ridiculed by the wise in their own learning, than the story of the flood. I am grateful that I was born with an understanding and believing heart and spirit. It is never hard for me to accept that which is written and affirmed by revelation. I am confident that the Lord is right, even where I am unable to understand the answers. In this case of the flood the answer is plain and simple.
Our brother, in denying the story of the flood, states, "There is not enough water existing in the earth and its atmosphere to flood the earth so that the mountains would all be covered."
Also, he says: "In the event of water being introduced from external space, the mass of the earth would be so altered that its astronomical constants would be altered, e.g. . time taken to revolve in its orbit, distance from the sun, etc. Such an amount of water would not evaporate in the specified time of 150 days without boiling violently, when no life could possibly exist."
EARTH SURFACE TO BE RESTORED TO PRIMITIVE STATE. My answer to all of this is that it is mere speculation. The Lord, who created the earth, certainly controls it. Why try to deny him this power? Moreover, we are taught that portions of this earth have been taken from it, such as the city of Enoch, which included the land surface as well as the people. Yet the earth has maintained its steady course, and "abideth the law" which was given to it (D. & C. 88:25.).
Then, again, the surface of the earth was not the same at the time of the flood that it is today. We are living in the great day of the restoration. In this dispensation we are informed the Lord will bring back all things to the condition in which they were before the curse came upon the earth, The earth is to be renewed or restored to its primitive beauty and condition, and when that day comes the high mountains which are seen today will be debased and the valleys exalted. This is not merely a figure of speech, but a literal condition which will prevail. I commend to you the reading of the words of Elder Parley P. Pratt in the Voice of Warning, and of President John Taylor in his Government of God, in explanation of this point (John Taylor, Government of God, pp. 106-115; Parley P. Pratt, Voice of Warning, ch. 5; Joseph Fielding Smith, Man: His Origin and Destiny, pp. 380-397.)
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 315.)
WORLD AS CORRUPT AS IN NOAH'S DAY. Our Savior promised that the days preceding his second coming will be typical of the days of the flood. A glance at the 6th chapter of Genesis will reveal the conditions of the world in the days of Noah and the flood and the reason for the cleansing by water Moses 7). This comparison is not to be taken figuratively, but literally, as it is given. The world today is corrupt and filled with violence as it was at that earlier day, for now, as then, all flesh has corrupted its way upon the earth. The Lord promised that he would never again destroy the entire world with a flood of water, but he did promise to cleanse it the second time with sword and with fire.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 20.)
So the Lord commanded Noah to build an ark into which he was to take his family and the animals of the earth to preserve seed after the flood, and all flesh that was not in the ark perished according to the Lord's decree. Of course this story is not believed by the wise and the great among the children of men, any more than was Noah's story in his day.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 39.)
So the flood was sent and the earth was cleansed from its wickedness. The Lord then appointed Noah and his sons to stand at the head of the human family. Noah, too, received the holy priesthood and taught his children the gospel.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 82.)
EARTH POPULATED RAPIDLY. If we are willing to accept the Bible record, which is confirmed by the Doctrine and Covenants, the entire civilization of the earth was destroyed in the flood except Noah and his family (Gen. 6; 7; 8; Moses 7:36-43, 51-52; 8:22-30; Alma 10:22; 3 Ne. 22:9; Ether 6:7.) Moreover, this destruction took place less than 5,000 years ago, and today the population of the earth, notwithstanding wars and destructions, is estimated at over 2,000,000,000 souls.
The population of Europe, based upon the best records available, is vastly increased over that at the time of the discovery of America; yet upon this hemisphere are to be found hundreds of millions of people, descendants of European and Asiatic ancestors who knew nothing of this land before the discovery by Columbus. The rapid increase of posterity is known to every genealogist who has traced the record of the early settlers in this western country.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 233.)
Then came the flood, and the earth was cleansed. Once more the covenants and commandments were revealed to Noah for man's government, but before his death corruption had again swept over the earth. It became necessary for the Lord to call Abraham from the land of his birth and make covenants with him and his seed after him which were to endure forever, and his descendants, the children of Jacob, became the chosen people of Israel.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 266.)
The Gospel Rejected in Days of Noah.—In the days of Noah the Gospel was universally rejected, save by Noah and his immediate family—in all eight souls. Noah had labored diligently and long to bring mankind to repentance, but without avail, "for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Moses 8:29). After the destruction of the wicked in the flood, the Gospel continued to be taught by Noah and the later patriarchs, but quite generally it was not received. Melchizedek, king of Salem, through his faithfulness, became a great high priest, and the people of the Church in his day honored him by calling the "Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God," by his name, "out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being" (Doc. and Cov. 107:4). From Melchizedek, Abraham received the Priesthood, and to Melchizedek, as the properly authorized servant of the Lord, Abraham paid tithes of all he possessed (Gen. 14:20).
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 2 - 3.)
Now, reader, contemplate the change. This scene, which was so beautiful a little while before, had now become the abode of sorrow and toil, of death and mourning; the earth groaned with its production of accursed thorns and thistles; man and beast at enmity; the serpent slily [sic] creeping away, fearing lest his head should get the deadly bruise; and man starting amid the thorny path, in fear, lest the serpent's fangs should pierce his heel; while the lamb yields his blood upon the smoking altar. Soon man begins to persecute, hate, and murder his fellow; until at length the earth is filled with violence; all flesh becomes corrupt, the powers of darkness prevail; and it repented Noah that God had made man, and it grieved him at his heart, because the Lord should come out in vengeance, and cleanse the earth by water.
How far the flood may have contributed, to produce the various changes, as to the division of the earth into broken fragments, islands and continents, mountains and valleys, we have not been informed; the change must have been considerable. But after the flood, in the days of Peleg, the earth was divided.—See Gen. 10:25,—a short history, to be sure, of so great an event; but still it will account for the mighty revolution, which rolled the sea from its own place in the north, and brought it to interpose between different portions of the earth, which were thus parted asunder, and moved into something near their present form; this, together with the earthquakes, revolutions, and commotions which have since taken place, have all contributed to reduce the face of the earth to its present state; while the great curses which have fallen upon different portions, because of the wickedness of men, will account for the the stagnant swamps, the sunken lakes, the dead seas, and great deserts.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 385.)
When the Ark was carried on the waves of the flood it was evidently no small journey and took many days, for the "waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." When Noah landed he was at Ararat. The western world was swept clean as we learn from the Book of Mormon. In the Book of Ether (13:2) we are informed that:
* * after the waters had receded from off the face off the face of this (American) land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve Him who dwell upon the face thereof.
Having been cleansed from all its iniquity this choice land was again designated as a place for a chosen people, and the Lord led the Jaredites out from the Tower of Babel across the great waters to possess it.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 250.)
The day and the hour of his coming no man knows, neither the angels in heaven, but he will come when the vast majority of mankind are the least prepared for it, and when they are denying his power, saying that he delayeth his coming. It will be a time similar in all respects to the days of Noah, when the great flood swept over the earth. We are informed that it will be in a day when knowledge is increased (Daniel), but also a day when men will be "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (Paul).
(Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 484.)
Of necessity, when that day comes there must be a great change come over the earth and all creatures upon its face. The wicked are to be consumed, for they cannot dwell here any more than they could when the Lord cleansed the earth with a flood.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, The Restoration of All Things [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 293.)
Now I believe that the world today is just as wicked, just as corrupt as it was in the days of Noah. You know the Lord said that the days preceding his second coming would be like the days of Noah, that is, "all flesh has corrupted its way upon the earth." Naturally someone will wonder why, when in the days of Noah he and his family were the only ones saved and yet today there are thousands of people who have obeyed the commandments and come into the Church from all parts of the world, that I make a statement such as this. Let me call your attention to a condition which prevailed in the days of Enoch which makes all the difference in the world. In his day the Lord gathered together all the righteous and they with Enoch were taken from the earth, and later before the flood if any repented and accepted the truth they too were caught up to the people of Enoch, so that when the time came to cleanse the earth with water, only Noah and his family remained of the righteous, and they were left that the race of mankind might be perpetuated after the flood. This we learn from the record we have obtained.
The flood was nothing more or less than the cleansing of the earth by baptism. Once again in the near future the earth will be baptized, not by water, for the Lord covenanted with Enoch that He would not again destroy the world by water, but at the coming of our Lord the earth is to receive a baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
If the Lord should do today what He did before the flood, and remove from the earth all the righteous, I am convinced that the condition would be just as bad as it was before, and that among the ungodly the wickedness is just as great as it was in the days of Noah.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Signs of the Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1952], 9 - 10.)
Now, when Christ comes, we will get a new heaven and a new earth and all of these corruptible things will be removed. They will be consumed by fire; and somebody said, "Brother Smith, do you mean to say that it is going to be literal fire?" I said, "Oh, no, it will not be literal fire any more than it was literal water that covered the earth in the flood." (To my great astonishment this has been misunderstood by some, who failed to recognize the irony of this remark. For the benefit of such I will say I do not know of any other kind of water except literal water—H20, the kind we drink, bathe in, and which makes floods and drowns people. I think fire which consumes will also be literal when it comes. J.F.S.)
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Signs of the Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1952], 38.)
Chapter 21 of Joseph Fielding Smith's book, Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 414-436 is completely on this subject, but is too long to reproduce here.
Harold B. Lee
How many races are there? Most scientists have divided humanity into five groups: The white, the black, the brown, the yellow and the red races. Others have grouped the brown, yellow and red races as "subgroups" of a single race. The scriptures have taught us that God, our Heavenly Father, is the "Father of the spirits of all men" and that when we pass from this life our spirits "whether they be good or evil, are taken home to God who gave (us) life." (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Alma 40:11.) Thus, by the teachings of the scriptures, all mankind are made one great family. Furthermore, we are given to understand that all who live in mortality, if they would perfect their genealogical research, could trace their ancestry back to Adam and Eve, our first earthly parents in the Garden of Eden, through Noah and his family, who were the only living persons on the earth after the flood. Very few researchers in the genealogical field go far in their work until they find widely separated persons of varying nationalities with the same ancestors on the genealogical chart. All of this points unmistakably to the correctness of the scriptural teachings.
(Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 161 - 162.)
Now, so often we are not given to know exact places, because since the creation of the world there have been certain devastating things happen to the earth—such as the Flood and such as the great upheavals that transpired upon this continent at the crucifixion of the Savior—so that many of these places that may have been identified to be where these great events happened have been obliterated, but we know the general area in which these things have been placed (see D&C 116 and Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1964], p. 481).
(Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 35.)
J. Reuben Clark
God watches over all. Never did he let the righteous all go to destruction. More than once his divine love and mercy intervened to save an obedient remnant:
First, Noah and his family, saved by the hand of God from the engulfing flood waters that drowned the world so that the earth might be repeopled.
Next, Moses, prophet-leader, law-giver for all peoples since born, led Israel miraculously treading the depths of the Red Sea dry-shod, then wandering for forty years in the Wilderness of Sinai, till, tested and purified, they entered the Promised Land, free and worshiping the true God.
(J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Behold the Lamb of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 125.)
Mark E. Petersen
Some Jewish scholars also have joined the parade by saying that the Bible accounts of the creation, of the Garden of Eden, of our first parents, and of the flood are all myths, with questionable parallels in the writings of other early peoples. While orthodox Jews still believe in the Torah and what it says about Adam and Eve, even they are becoming relatively fewer in number as disbelief invades the ranks of the "chosen race."
(Mark E. Petersen, Adam: Who Is He? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 1 - 2.)
Noah, who built the ark, was one of God's greatest servants, chosen before he was born as were others of the prophets. He was no eccentric, as many have supposed. Neither was he a mythical figure created only in legend. Noah was real. The flood was real. And so was the ark, as were the various species of life saved in the ark. It was all factual, fully documented in scripture, and was the doing of the Almighty.
Let no one downgrade the life and mission of this great prophet. Noah was so near perfect in his day that he literally walked and talked with God.
This telestial planet of ours was destined to pass through three great crises. Two were related to the Savior: one to his second coming, the other to the time when the earth will be celestialized. But the third—which was first in order of events—was the flood in which Noah was the central figure. His choice for this strategic position is itself a measure of the greatness of this man and of the confidence placed in him by the Almighty.
Noah cried repentance to a wicked world, warning all men that they must change their ways or die in a deluge. They paid no heed. The prophecy was fulfilled, the ark was built, the flood came, and the earth was cleansed of its filth. After the waters receded, the world was made ready for a new generation of human beings to be propagated through Noah and his sons.
(Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 1 .)
People who question whether there ever was a flood or an ark, or even whether Noah lived, come face to face with direct revelation. Modern scripture sustains the flood story. Modern scripture affirms the existence of Noah, the wickedness of the people of his day, and the determination of the Lord to wash the earth clean with a deluge.
Consider the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. It was revelation from God to Moses in Moses' day, and it was repeated as revelation from God to Joseph Smith in our day, in June 1830. To reject Noah and the flood, then, would be a rejection of the revealed word of God!
(Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 38.)
As predicted, the floods came, the ark was launched, and Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives—but none of their children—floated in safety.
Many have tried to explain that there was not enough water on earth to make the flood; others say that the mountains could not possibly have been covered. Some say the flood was strictly a local tragedy covering only a small area of the earth.
We do not argue with scientists or scholars over their defensive views. We tell the story of scripture, and scripture is the word of God, verified by modern revelation over and over again.
Since the King James Version of the Bible is so readily available, and the story of the flood is told there so clearly, as a matter of interest we quote from other translations. The Jerusalem Bible records some of the facts in a slightly different manner. In the sixth and seventh chapters of Genesis in that version of the Bible we read:
"Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that the thoughts in his heart fashioned nothing but wickedness all day long. Yahweh regretted having made man on the earth, and his heart grieved. `I will rid the earth's face of man, my own creations,' Yahweh said, `and of animals also, reptiles too, and the birds of heaven; for I regret having made them.' But Noah had found favour with Yahweh.
"This is the story of Noah:
"Noah was a good man, a man of integrity among his contemporaries, and he walked with God. Noah became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. The earth grew corrupt in God's sight, and filled with violence. God contemplated the earth; it was corrupt, for corrupt were the ways of all flesh on the earth.
"God said to Noah, `The end has come for all things of flesh; I have decided this, because the earth is full of violence of man's making, and I will efface them from the earth. Make yourself an ark out of resinous wood. Make it with reeds and line it with pitch inside and out. This is how to make it: the length of the ark is to be three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark . . . put the door of the ark high up in the side, and make a first, second and third deck.
"`For my part I mean to bring a flood, and send the waters over the earth, to destroy all flesh on it, every living creature under heaven; everything on earth shall perish. But I will establish my Covenant with you, and you must go on board the ark, yourself, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives along with you. From all living creatures, from all flesh, you must take two of each kind aboard the ark, to save their lives with yours; they must be a male and a female. Of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of reptile on the ground, two must go with you so that their lives may be saved. For your part provide yourself with eatables of all kinds, and lay in a store of them, to serve as food for yourself and them.' Noah did this; he did all that God had ordered him.
"Yahweh said to Noah, `Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone among this generation do I see as a good man in my judgment. Of all the clean animals you must take seven of each kind, both male and female; of the unclean animals you must take two, a male and its female (and of the birds of heaven also, seven of each kind, both male and female), to propagate their kind over the whole earth. For in seven days' time I mean to make it rain on the earth for forty days and nights, and I will rid the earth of every living thing that I made.' Noah did all that Yahweh ordered.
"Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters appeared on the earth.
"Noah with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives boarded the ark to escape the waters of the flood. (Of the clean animals and the animals that are not clean, of the birds and all that crawls on the ground, two of each kind boarded the ark with Noah, a male and a female, according to the order God gave Noah.) Seven days later the waters of the flood appeared on the earth.
"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, and on the seventeenth day of that month, that very day all the springs of the great deep broke through, and the sluices of heaven opened. It rained on the earth for forty days and forty nights.
"That very day Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth boarded the ark, with Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons, and with them wild beasts of every kind, cattle of every kind, reptiles of every kind that crawls on the earth, birds of every kind, all that flies, everything with wings. One pair of all that is flesh and has the breath of life boarded the ark with Noah; and so there went in a male and a female of every creature that is flesh, just as God had ordered him.
"And Yahweh closed the door behind Noah.
"The flood lasted forty days on the earth. The waters swelled, lifting the ark until it was raised above the earth. The waters rose and swelled greatly on the earth. After a hundred and fifty days the waters fell, and in the seventh month, the earth so that all the highest mountains under the whole of heaven were submerged. The waters rose fifteen cubits higher, submerging the mountains. And so all things of flesh perished that moved on the earth, birds, cattle, wild beasts, everything that swarms on the earth, and every man. Everything with the breath of life in its nostrils died, everything on dry land. Yahweh destroyed every living thing on the face of the earth, man and animals, reptiles, and the birds of heaven. He rid the earth of them, so that only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters rose on the earth for a hundred and fifty days."
No mention is made that human beings lived in all parts of the earth. Seemingly they lived in communities in one general area, as in the days of Enoch. But that is not to say that the whole planet was not covered with water in the flood. The record says the whole earth, "all under the whole of heaven," was submerged.
(Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 47.)
Critics of the "flood story" raise many objections. Among them are:
1. The ark was too small to hold all the animal species in the world.
2. Noah could not physically have rounded up creatures from every part of the earth.
3. Noah could not have carried enough food to last during the months when the flood was in progress.
4. The stench from all the animals would have been unbearable.
And so they go on.
We must realize that we do not have the full account of the flood and the ark and its inhabitants. The few hundred words in the Bible on the entire life of Noah are sketchy at most. One thing we must remember is that God was at the helm—and He is a God of miracles!
Other things He has done on earth have seemed to be impossible when judged from the human point of view, and because of this, critics have condemned certain scriptural records, called them myths, and at best put them in the category of legend.
A few cases in point:
The taking of the city of Enoch, with all its people, into heaven is a miracle that few people, especially Bible critics, are willing to accept. Yet it was so. That entire city was taken into heaven. Enoch looked down upon the earth from his high vantage point and could see what was going on—this by the gift and power of God. That city will return to earth again—before the Millennium—as one event in connection with the second coming of Christ. And the people will come with it, and they will meet others here on earth and rejoice with them. (Moses 7:62-64.)
Do we believe it? Is this any less a miracle than the flood? Is it harder to believe? Yet it is all true. The scriptures verify the city of Enoch account over and over.
When the Savior identified himself to the Prophet Joseph Smith, he said: "I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me. I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them." (D&C 38:3-4.)
Incidents such as this and the flood are beyond the understanding of "the spirit of man." This is another case in point to illustrate what the Apostle Paul meant when he said:
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:11-14.)
One of the greatest undertakings of all time was the departure of the Twelve Tribes of Israel from Egypt, a multitude of people with all their flocks and herds. We emphasize the flocks and herds in this instance. Everyone must understand, and certainly western range people know full well, how slowly cattle and sheep move along a highway.
Tourists know about this, too. They have been caught on the public roads of western states and had to wait for seemingly interminable periods while the slow-moving animals went by, some of them stopping to graze by the roadside, others going off in different directions and having to be brought back by cowboys or herders' dogs.
In the book of Numbers it is reported that the Israelites had with them 337,000 head of sheep and 36,000 head of cattle. And yet they moved faster than Pharaoh's army! How could it be? Only by a miracle! Did not God go with them by day and by night? How were all these people—and all these animals—able to move so quickly? Who can explain it? God worked it out. It was a miracle.
In the Book of Mormon we read that when the people of Limhi fled by night from their Lamanite captors, they took their flocks and herds with them, as did the people of Moses. But the fast-moving armies of the Lamanites could not catch up to them. Wasn't that a miracle?
When Alma's followers fled from the wicked King Noah, what happened? They took their flocks and herds, but they still out-distanced the speeding soldiers pursuing them. "The Lord did strengthen them," the Book of Mormon says, "that the people of king Noah could not overtake them to destroy them. And they fled eight days' journey into the wilderness." (Mosiah 23:2-3.) How do we explain that? Again it was a miracle.
The flood of Noah's time was strictly God's affair. He arranged it, he turned loose the waters upon the earth, and when the time came, he recalled the waters so that the land was dry in an incredibly short time.
The eighth Article of Faith says that we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. All the translations tell the story of the flood in essentially the same manner. All the translations say that the waters went well over the tops of the highest mountains. All the translations declare without any reservation that the flood was universal and that it covered the whole earth. Shall we not believe the Bible account, especially since it is supported fully by modern revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith and by the Book of Mormon, which was translated from ancient records by the Prophet, using the Urim and Thummim?
If God moved mountains when Enoch commanded it, and if He held back the waters of the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to cross over, and if by the command of Joshua the Jordan River was stopped in its course, could not the Lord have helped the people of Moses, Limhi, and Alma to travel faster than a pursuing army? After all, He created the entire earth!
Didn't Elijah and Elisha stay the waters of the Jordan River in their time? Did they do it by their own power? Didn't Joshua "stop the sun" to lengthen out the day while he finished the battle? Did he do it by his own power? Could any mortal man have done such a thing?
Could the plagues Moses called down upon Pharaoh in his effort to free the Israelites have been other than miracles?
God's work has included mighty natural processes at various times in the history of the world. Noah's deluge was one of them. The flood had a far greater purpose than merely to wipe out Noah's neighbors. God baptized the earth! He would not baptize a portion of it any more than we would be satisfied with a partial immersion if we were baptizing some person. He baptized Adam by a miracle, when there was no one there to perform the ordinance. And now He baptized the earth by His own almighty power, for His own purposes, and the destruction of the wicked was only incidental thereto. And He will yet baptize it with fire, according to the baptismal pattern for us all. (Matt. 3:11; 3 Ne. 19:13.)
Why baptize the earth?
The earth is a living thing. Is there not great significance in the scriptural references to the earth? While Enoch and the Lord discussed the wickedness of men, "it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?
"And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah?
"And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying: I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods." (Moses 7:48-50.)
Note these words coming out of the bowels of the earth: "When will my Creator sanctify me that I may rest and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?" Is that allegory? Would God deal in allegory in circumstances like these? Was not the voice real?
How are men cleansed of their sins? By baptism, and not only by water, but also by fire and the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist explained: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." (Matt. 3:11.)
The Savior spoke of this to the Nephites when He said:
"I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
"And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
"Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin. Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." (3 Ne. 9:18-22.)
Should not the earth—a living thing—be similarly sanctified? It was baptized with water in the flood. Eventually it will be baptized with fire, thus becoming cleansed and sanctified, to be made into a celestial sphere as the eternal home for the righteous. The Lord has told us: "The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ's." (D&C 130:8-9.)
When the Lord gave the revelation found in D&C 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, He made this further explanation: "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, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it." (D&C 88:25-26.)
Let us recognize the miracles of God. Let us see Him walk in his glory as He performs them.
Think of the natural upheavals that will precede and accompany the second coming of Christ. They will be God's miracles: Mountains will topple. Valleys will be raised. Seas will heave beyond their bounds. Earthquakes will cause the earth to reel as a drunkard. An overflowing scourge will come. Tempests will rage. The city of Enoch will return. And for the coming of the Ten Tribes from the land of the north, a highway will be cast up out of the sea.
Miracles? Doesn't God exercise His infinite strength to bring about His own purposes at His own time? With all His divine power, sufficient even to form the galaxies out in space, was He not able to eliminate the animal odors in the ark? If He could feed three million Israelites on manna and quail for forty years, would He not be able to provide food in the ark for 150 days? Who knows how many species of life there were in Noah's day? Who knows whether those now living existed then? Who knows if animal life was actually scattered over the whole earth then? Obviously human life was pretty much confined to a limited area. Was animal life also? It was after the flood that the scriptures say life was scattered over the whole earth. Who knows?
Who knows many things? Why not admit that we do not possess all knowledge, not even a detailed account of the deluge, and give God credit for having the intelligence to accomplish what He had in mind?
Since He had the power to create the earth in the first place, with all its oceans, underground lakes, fountains, and wells, in addition to the rain clouds in the skies, was He not able to control the elements and cause a flood if He wanted to? Is anything too hard for the Lord?
The flood was a miracle. The episode of the animals and other life taken aboard the ark was another miracle. The rise of the waters out of the depths of the earth and the downpour from the skies were God's doing. And so was the subsequent receding of the waters. The deluge covered the earth and the waters receded just as God planned it all. And it was truly a miracle.
(Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 58-65.)
Great as men are in their calculations and research, however, and wide as is their exploration with microscopes, telescopes, and the spade of the archaeologist, their deductions are not always correct. One of the admirable attributes of great scientific men is their willingness to discard old hypotheses when new truth is found. It is a mark of progress. There are still deductions and unproven theories that are subject to serious question. Particularly are these ideas questionable when they invade the Lord's domain, such as the Creation, the flood of Noah's day, life after death, and even the resurrection.
Latter-day Saints do seek knowledge. We strongly advocate study, research, and education; but we cannot agree with misguided conclusions that defy the scriptures and seem to refute revelation. Revelation is real! Revelation is sure!
The testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that—God does live!
Jesus of Nazareth lives! He is the divine Son of God, and our Redeemer.
Creation came about by divine means as set forth in the holy scriptures.
There was a flood. It was a miracle that worldly men do not as yet understand.
There was an ark, and there was a mighty prophet named Noah.
God has spoken in our day, and through modern revelation we know many things that research cannot discover.
We know that God lives because our modern prophets have seen Him.
We know that Jesus Christ lives because our modern prophets have seen Him also and have communed with Him, face to face, as one man speaks to another.
We know that God created all things because he has revealed this fact to our modern prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr.
For the same reason, we know there was a flood.
And we know by modern revelation that Noah, builder of the ark, was a mighty being in the pre-earth world, second only to Adam, or Michael, and third in the priesthood line from the Lord Jesus Christ. He was Gabriel, who announced the forthcoming birth of the Savior of the world. Did he not then, in fact, introduce the Christian era?
And God—is He not a mighty miracle worker, far exceeding the feeble comprehension of man?
(Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 92 - 93.)
Spencer W. Kimball
Knowledge is not merely the equations of algebra, the theorems of geometry, or the miracles of space. It is the knowledge as recorded in Hebrews by which "the worlds were framed by the word of God"; by which "Enoch was translated that he should not see death"; by which Noah, with a knowledge no other human had, built an ark on dry land and saved a race by taking seed through the flood. (See Hebrews 11:3, 5, 7.)
(Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 275.)
This ascendancy of the natural man, this rejection of God's call to repentance, has caused the destruction of entire civilizations. In the early generations it is true that those who were sufficiently righteous followed Enoch to a translated life; but only eight, Noah and sons and their four wives, were preserved later through the great flood, all others being drowned. In their debauchery, the unrepentant Babylonians lost their kingdom, and the individuals of the nation placed their souls in serious jeopardy when they did not repent. Likewise Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities of the plain, were destroyed. They had their chance also to repent but ignored the warning voices of the prophets who came to them.
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], .)
"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:37.).. As it [the Flood] was a real drowning, there will be a real burning at this next great event when the end of the world comes, and the wicked will be burned. And, of course, we know that that is possible now. We did not know that when I was a child, that the earth could burn. We thought only material ordinarily considered combustible could be burned, but we find that everything can burn and melt. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki we know that bombs can start a great conflagration, and other things can melt with fervent heat. And so the time is coming. I do not know when it will be. I only hope that when the examination is put on the blackboard, we will all be able to answer the questions satisfactorily.
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 441.)
Bruce R. McConkie
In the days of Noah came the flood, a universal flood, a flood that immersed the earth and destroyed men and beasts. We suppose that at this time the continents and islands were divided, with the division becoming complete in the days of Peleg.
(Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 356.)
We have seen that this was the case before the flood when the earth was cleansed by water, and now we see it in our day when the earth will soon be cleansed by fire.
(Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 367.)
Enoch and Noah each presided over a gospel dispensation in his day. In both cases their powers and keys came down from Adam but their ministries involved works of such magnitude and import that they were in constant communion with that Lord whose gospel they proclaimed. Under the direction of Enoch, the ancient saints built a City of Holiness and were all translated and taken up into heaven without tasting death. Noah's ministry involved the building of the ark, the universal flood, and the repeopling of the earth with his seed.
(Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 136.)
Jesus said: "Iniquity shall abound." (JS-M 1:30.) How could it be otherwise? Without the gospel to guide them, men are easily led into Lucifer's sheepcote. It is because men "changed the truth of God into a lie," by forsaking the gospel, apostatizing from the truth, and turning from the light to darkness, that "God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts." (Romans 1:24-25.) Since the day of Noah, when all but eight souls were swept off the earth by a flood, there has never been such a day of wickedness and evil as now exists. It is a sign of the times, and it will so continue, in a worsening degree, until every corruptible thing is consumed by the brightness of His coming.
(Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 624.)
Ezra Taft Benson
Let me ask, do we need a true prophet of the Lord on the earth today? Did the people in Noah's day need a prophet to warn them spiritually and temporally? Had a man refused to follow Noah, would he have been saved from the flood? Yet the Bible tells us that in the last days in which we live, the wickedness of the people will become comparable to the wickedness of the people in Noah's day when God cleansed the earth by flood. Do you think we need a prophet today to warn us and prepare us for the cleansing that God promised will come, this time by fire?
(Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 160.)
When will all these calamities strike? We do not know the exact time, but it appears that it may be in the not-too-distant future. Those who are prepared now have the continuing blessings of early obedience, and they are ready. Noah built his ark before the flood came, and he and his family survived. Those who waited to act until after the flood began were too late.
(Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 272.)
For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head-even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. That is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God.
(Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 104 - 105.)
Howard W. Hunter
The Old Testament unfolds the story of the creation of the earth and mankind by God. Should we now disregard this account and modernize the creation according to the theories of the modernists? Can we say there was no Garden of Eden or an Adam and Eve? Because modernists now declare the story of the flood is unreasonable and impossible, should we disbelieve the account of Noah and the flood as related in the Old Testament?
Let us examine what the Master said when the disciples came to him as he sat on the Mount of Olives. They asked him to tell them of the time of his coming and of the end of the world. Jesus answered: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:36-39.)
In this statement the Master confirmed the story of the flood without modernizing it. Can we accept some of the statements of the Lord as being true and at the same time reject others as being false?
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, and they discussed the matter of the death of her brother and the resurrection. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." (John 11:25.)
Both of these statements, the one regarding Noah and the fact of the flood and the one in which he declared himself to be the resurrection and the life, were made by the Lord. How can we believe one and not the other? How can we modernize the story of the flood, or refer to it as a myth, and yet cling to the truth of the other? How can we modernize the Bible and still have it be a guiding light to us and a vital influence in our beliefs?
There are those who declare it is old-fashioned to believe in the Bible. Is it old-fashioned to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God? Is it old-fashioned to believe in his atoning sacrifice and the resurrection? If it is, I declare myself to be old-fashioned and the Church to be old-fashioned. In great simplicity, the Master taught the principles of life eternal and lessons that bring happiness to those with the faith to believe.
It doesn't seem reasonable to assume the necessity of modernizing these teachings of the Master. His message concerned principles that are eternal. Following these principles, millions of persons have found rich religious experiences in their lives. People of today's world are seeking a meaningful purpose in life, and thousands are seeking a religious experience that is meaningful. Can such an experience be found in meditation only, or by a séance? Can a meaningful experience be found in trips with drugs or in love-ins? Such an attempt is to go through the back, the side door, or over the wall, not through the way pointed out by the Lord.
(Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 23.)
The Bible has been the subject of attack by modernists. It is said by some that science refuses to support the authenticity of such Biblical accounts as the creation of the world, placing life upon the earth, Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, the flood, and many other happenings in the Old and New Testaments. What is claimed to be superior knowledge in this day of enlightenment causes some men to look upon these accounts as fables. Because of this, can believers in Christ repudiate them? In an attempt to regain the confidence of communicants who have ceased to believe, many liberal churches have abandoned one doctrine after another, even to the extent of failing to stand by the doctrine of the existence of a personal God. They no longer uphold as a reality the resurrection of the crucified Savior, and the doctrine of the atoning sacrifice has lost its credibility. Under such circumstances, how can organized religion maintain its place as a stabilizing influence in society?
In this day of increased knowledge, higher thought, and a modernization of the old, the simple has been overlooked and the profound sought after. The basic, simple, fundamental truths of the gospel are being ignored.
(Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 179.)
Neal A. Maxwell
It is likewise a grave error to underestimate secularism's dulling, desensitizing influence on traditional values. Jesus Himself compared the "business as usual" days of Noah and Lot with our own last days:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they;
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:2630.)
(Neal A. Maxwell, If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 14.)