Literary BMGD #11: Eternity of Matter

In Nephi’s final writings (2 Ne. 31, discussed in Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine lesson 11) he teaches about the “doctrine of Christ,” focusing on Christ’s baptism and redemption of the world from sin and on urging his readers to “endure to the end.”

This doctrine is the heart of the gospel, the key element of the plan of salvation and eternal progress. Which makes the following poem fit well with the lesson. I only wish that the poem also somehow mentioned baptism.

Eternity of Matter

by M. T.

Six thousand years ago, we’re told,
Deep Darkness brooded o’er the world;
All matter in confusion ran—
Unorganized, without a plan;
In all the vast expanse around
Naught of created good was found.
But lo! Jehovah’s word goes forth;
Behold, the elements are earth!
Yes from invisibles appear
A sight most beautiful fair;
This glorious earth in order stood,
And God, the Father, call’d it good.
When every thing is formed complete,
When beast and bird in praise unite,
With plants and flowers, spread far and near,
And lofty trees their branches rear;
To rule, direct, and dress the same,
From earth, is framed God’s image—man.
He strew’d a calm, delightful place
With flowers, and fruits of richest taste;
Of all these fruits, did He declare,
Thou mayest freely eat, and share;
All, save one tree, the which, the day
Thou eat’st thereof thou’lt surely die.
Man now enjoyed a paradise,
And oft, with God, talked face to face;
With all he was not satisfied;
But, tempted, ate the fruit—and died.
Thus, death was brought upon us all,
And all things curs’d thro’ Adam’s fall.
But now, what mercy doth appear?
Jesus, the Christ, to earth draws near;
He takes upon him sinful flesh,
Endures the curse of sin and death;
“Just for the unjust”—lo! he dies!
And, thus, the law he satisfies.
This is the glorious gospel plan,
Which brought salvation down to man;
And from the curse of sin restor’d,
The earth and all things to the Lord—
Who will, in His own time, restore
Creation, as it was before.
And, as the Savior burst the tomb,
To flourish in immortal bloom,
So will the resurrection’s power,
To an unchanging state, restore
The elements of which the earth,
From chaos, first was called forth.

Times and Seasons,
1 July 1841

I have not been able to determine who M. T. is (perhaps someone more familiar with the Nauvoo period can help). However, not knowing the name of authors is quite common in this period—we are often reduced to educated guesses based on who was at a location at the time and had the ability to produce a work.

But while the poem itself doesn’t have the power I would like, the ideas expressed show a solid understanding of the gospel and the doctrine of Christ.