Source: Letter from M. L. Davis. Also found in History of the Church, 4:78-80
The Words of Joseph Smith: Page 33
This is from a private letter that Davis wrote to his wife which was later published in the New York Enquirer, in which he describes hearing “Joe Smith, the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine.” He says that Joseph Smith said:
“I believe that God is eternal. That He had no beginning, and can have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or end. I believe that the soul is eternal; and had no beginning; it can have no end. Here he entered into some explanations, which were so brief that I could not perfectly comprehend him. But the idea seemed to be that the soul of man, the spirit, had existed from eternity in the bosom of Divinity; and so far as he was intelligible to me, must ultimately return from whence it came. He said very little of rewards and punishments; but one conclusion, from what he did say, was irresistible—he contended throughout, that everything which had a beginning must have an ending; and consequently if the punishment of man commenced in the next world, it must, according to his logic and belief have an end.”
Why I Picked this Quote?
When I read this quote from Joseph Smith in the full, original context of the letter in which he was described as saying it, the Spirit of God bore witness to me in an unforgettable way the eternal truth that things which have a beginning must have an ending and, conversely, things without beginning can have no end. I love the parallelism and completeness of those statements and they seem to fit perfectly in the principle of atonement.
Joseph seems to be further saying that our souls, like God’s, “had no beginning” and thus he “can have no end.” A similar doctrine is put forth in D&C 93: 29 in relation to mankind. “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” Each of us, male and female, are, at our core, individuals that were not created and cannot be created because we, like God, are eternal. We have always existed and always will exist. What a beautiful and mind-blowing doctrine.