THE ORIGIN OF MAN & ORGANIC EVOLUTION
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Table of Contents
Click on the names immediately below to go to the first article by the respective author.
Marion G. Romney
Church News, "On Darwin's Setback"
Harold B. Lee
Joseph F. Smith
Melchizedek Pr'd Manual
George Q. Cannon & Orson F. Whitney
Boyd K. Packer
Spencer W. Kimball
James E. Talmage
Chauncey C. Riddle (BYU)
B. H. Roberts
Mark E. Petersen
Robert J. Matthews (BYU)
Bruce R. McConkie
Ezra Taft Benson & Melvin Cook
Joseph Smith the Prophet
Joseph Fielding Smith
Hyrum M. Smith & Janne M Sjodahl, Doctrine & Covenants Commentary
George Albert Smith
Delbert L. Stapley
Earl C. Tingey
Gordon B. Hinckley
The First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund), "THE ORIGIN OF MAN," Improvement Era, Vol. 13, (November 1909), 75-81. (Also in Joseph Fielding Smith, Man: His Origin and Destiny, 348-355; James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:199-206.) [Emphasis added.]
Inquiries arise from time to time respecting the attitude of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints upon questions which, although not vital from a doctrinal standpoint, are closely connected with the fundamental principles of salvation. The latest inquiry of this kind that has reached us is in relation to the origin of man. It is believed that a statement of the position held by the Church upon this important subject will be timely and productive of good.
In presenting the statement that follows we are not conscious of putting forth anything essentially new; neither is it our desire so to do. Truth is what we wish to present, and trutheternal truthis fundamentally old. A restatement of the original attitude of the Church relative to this matter is all that will be attempted here. To tell the truth as God has revealed it, and commend it to the acceptance of those who need to conform their opinion thereto, is the sole purpose of this presentation.
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." In these plain and pointed words the inspired author of the book of Genesis made known to the world the truth concerning the origin of the human family. Moses, the prophet-historian, "learned," as we are told, "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," when making this important announcement, was not voicing mere opinion, a theory derived from his researches into the occult lore of that ancient people. He was speaking as the mouthpiece of God, and his solemn declaration was for all time and for all people. No subsequent revelator of the truth has contradicted the great leader and lawgiver of Israel. All who have since spoken by divine authority upon this theme have confirmed his simple and sublime proclamation. Nor could it be otherwise. Truth has but one source, and all revelations from heaven are harmonious with each other. The omnipotent Creator, the maker of heaven and earthhad shown unto Moses everything pertaining to this planet, including the facts relating to man's origin, and the authoritative pronouncement of that mighty prophet and seer to the house of Israel, and through Israel to the whole world, is couched in the simple clause: "God created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27; Moses 1:27-41).
The creation was two-foldfirstly spiritual, secondly temporal. This truth, also, Moses plainly taughtmuch more plainly than it has come down to us in the imperfect translations of the Bible that are now in use. Therein the fact of a spiritual creation, antedating the temporal creation, is strongly implied, but the proof of it is not so clear and conclusive as in other records held by the Latter-day Saints to be of equal authority with the Jewish scriptures. The partial obscurity of the latter upon the point in question is owing, no doubt, to the loss of those "plain and precious" parts of the sacred writ, which, as the Book of Mormon informs us, have been taken away from the Bible during its passage down the centuries (1 Ne 13:24-29). Some of these missing parts the Prophet Joseph Smith undertook to restore when he revised those scriptures by the spirit of revelation, the result being that more complete account of the creation which is found in the book of Moses, previously cited. Note the following passages:
[Moses 3:4-7 quoted.]
These two points being established, namely, the creation of man in the image of God, and the two-fold character of the creation, let us now inquire: What was the form of man, in the spirit and in the body, as originally created? In a general way the answer is given in the words chosen as the text of this treatise. "God created man in his own image." It is more explicitly rendered in the Book of Mormon thus: "All men were created in the beginning after mine own image" (Eth 3:15). It is the Father who is speaking. If, therefore, we can ascertain the form of the "Father of spirits," "the God of the spirits of all flesh," we shall be able to discover the form of the original man.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is "the express image" of the his Father's person (Heb 1:3). He walked the earth as a human being, as a perfect man, and said, in answer to a question put to him: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (Jn 14:9). This alone ought to solve the problem to the satisfaction of every thoughtful, reverent mind. The conclusion is irresistible, that if the Son of God be the express image (that is, likeness) of his Father's person, then his Father is in the form of man; for that was the form of the Son of God, not only during his mortal life, but before his mortal birth, and after his resurrection. It was in this form that the Father and the Son, as two personages, appeared to Joseph Smith, when, as a boy of fourteen years, he received his first vision. Then if God made manthe first manin his own image and likeness, he must have made him like unto Christ, and consequently like unto men of Christ's time and of the present day. That man was made in the image of Christ, is positively stated in the book of Moses: "And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of Mine Only Begotten created I him, male and female created I them" (Moses 2:26,27).
The Father of Jesus is our Father also. Jesus himself taught this truth, when He instructed his disciples how to pray: "Our Father which art in heaven," etc. Jesus, however, is the firstborn among all the sons of Godthe first begotten in the spirit, and the only begotten in the flesh. He is our elder brother, and we, like him, are in the image of God. All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.
"God created man in his own image." This is just as true of the spirit as it is of the body, which is only the clothing of the spirit, its complement; the two together constituting the soul. The spirit of man is in the form of man, and the spirits of all creatures are in the likeness of their bodies. This was plainly taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith (D&C 77:2).
Here is further evidence of the fact. More than seven hundred years before Moses was shown the things pertaining to this earth, another great prophet, known to us as the brother of Jared, was similarly favored by the Lord. He was even permitted to behold the spirit-body of the foreordained Savior, prior to his incarnation; and so like the body of a man was his spirit in form and appearance, that the prophet thought he was gazing upon a being of flesh and blood. He first saw the finger and then the entire body of the Lordall in the spirit. The Book of Mormon says of this wonderful manifestation:
[Ether 3:6-16 quoted.]
What more is needed to convince us that man, both in spirit and in body, is the image and likeness of God, and that God himself is in the form of man?
When the divine Being whose spirit-body the brother of Jared beheld, took upon him flesh and blood, He appeared as a man, having "body, parts and passions," like other men, though vastly superior to all others, because he was God, even the Son of God, the Word made flesh: in him "dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily." And why should He not appear as a man? That was the form of his spirit, and it must needs have an appropriate covering, a suitable tabernacle. He came into the world as He had promised to come (3 Ne 1:13), taking an infant tabernacle, and developing it gradually to the fulness of his spirit stature. He came as man had been coming for ages, and as man has continued to come ever since. Jesus, however, as shown, was the only begotten of God in the flesh.
Adam, our progenitor, "the first man," was, like Christ, a pre-existent spirit, and like Christ, he took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a "living soul." The doctrine of the pre-existence,revealed so plainly, particularly in latter days, pours a wonderful flood of light upon the otherwise mysterious problem of man's origin. It shows that man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality. It teaches that all men existed in the spirit before any man existed in the flesh, and that all who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner.
It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was "the first man of all men" (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father.
True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man.
Man, by searching, cannot find God. Never, unaided, will he discover the truth about the beginning of human life. The Lord must reveal himself, or remain unrevealed; and the same is true of the facts relating to the origin of Adam's raceGod alone can reveal them.
Some of these facts, however, are already known, and what has been made known it is our duty to receive and retain.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme. By his almighty power He organized the earth, and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist co-eternally with himself. He formed every plant that grows, and every animal that breathes, each after its own kind, spiritually and temporally"that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal, and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual." He made the tadpole and the ape, the lion and the elephant but He did not make them in his own image, nor endow them with Godlike reason and intelligence. Nevertheless, the whole animal creation will be perfected and perpetuated in the hereafter, each class in its "distinct [sic; "destined" in D&C 77:3] order or sphere," and will enjoy "eternal felicity." That fact has been made plain in this dispensation (D&C 77:3).
Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.
The First Presidency, "Mormon" View of Evolution, (Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, Charles W. Nibley), Improvement Era, 28:10901091, September, 1925.; also in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency 5:243244) "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them."
In these plain and pointed words the inspired author of the book of Genesis made known to the world the truth concerning the origin of the human family. Moses, the prophet-historian, who was "learned" we are told, "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," when making this important announcement, was not voicing a mere opinion. He was speaking as the mouthpiece of God, and his solemn declaration was for all time and all people. No subsequent revelator of the truth has contradicted the great leader and law-giver of Israel. All who have since spoken by divine authority upon this theme have confirmed his simple and sublime proclamation. Nor could it be otherwise. Truth has but one source, and all revelations from heaven are harmonious one with the other.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is "the express image" of his Fathers person (Hebr 1:3). He walked the earth as a human being, as a perfect man, and said, in answer to a question put to him: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9). This alone ought to solve the problem to the satisfaction of every thoughtful, reverent mind. It was in this form that the Father and the Son, as two distinct personages, appeared to Joseph Smith, when, as a boy of fourteen years, he received his first vision.
The Father of Jesus Christ is our Father also. Jesus himself taught this truth when he taught his disciples how to pray: "Our Father which art in heaven," etc. Jesus, however, is the first born among all the sons of Godthe first begotten in the spirit, and the only begotten in the flesh. He is our elder brother, and we, like him, are in the image of God. All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally sons and daughters of Deity.
Adam, our great progenitor, "the first man," was, like Christ, a pre-existent spirit, and, like Christ, he took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a "living soul." The doctrine of pre-existence pours wonderful flood of light upon the otherwise mysterious problem of mans origin. It shows that man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. By his Almighty power God organized the earth, and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist co-eternally with himself.
Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God,
The First Presidency (In Melvin A. and M. Garfield Cook, Science & Mormonism [SLC: Deseret Book Company, 1973], 156; in Messages of the First Presidency 4:266.) In a letter to Samuel O. Bennion, February 26, 1912, Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose stated:
But President Young went on to show that our Father Adamthat is our earthy fatherthe progenitor of the race of man, stands at the head being 'Michael the Archangel, the Ancient of Days,' and that he was not fashioned from earth life and adobe but begotten by his Father in Heaven."
Marion G. Romney (in Keith H. Meservy, "Evolution & the Origin of Adam," CES Religious Educators' Symposium, BYU, Aug. 16-18, 1979, 225.) [Emphasis added.] In view of the Church teaching the fact that each of us is a child of God both in the spirit and in the flesh, the following response of Marion G. Romney to a question on the beliefs of the General Authorities makes explicit what might readily be inferred. A student asked, "Are the General Authorities of the Church in one accord on the subject of evolution?" Elder Romney replied: "I dont suppose that any two minds in the world understand exactly alike any statement on any subject. The General Authorities of the Church are, of course, like all other men, different in their personalities. However, on the fundamentals they are in accord, and one of those fundamentals upon which they are in accord is that Adam is a son of God, that neither his spirit nor his body is a product of biological evolution which went on for millions of years on this earth."
Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1973, 133-136. [Emphasis added.] The truth I desire to emphasize today is that we mortals are in very deed the literal offspring of God. If men understood, believed, and accepted this truth and lived by it, our sick and dying society would be reformed and redeemed, and men would have peace here and now and eternal joy in the hereafter.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accept this concept as a basic doctrine of their theology. The lives of those who have given it thought enough to realize its implications are controlled by it; it gives meaning and direction to all their thoughts and deeds. This is so because they know that it is the universal law of nature in the plant, animal, and human worlds for reproducing offspring to reach in final maturity the likeness of their parents....
The theory that man is other than the offspring of God has been, and, so long as it is accepted and acted upon, will continue to be, a major factor in blocking man's spiritual growth and in corrupting his morals....
The concept that man is a beast relieves him of a sense of accountability and encourages him to adopt the fatalistic attitude of "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die"...
That man is a child of God is the most important knowledge available to mortals. Such knowledge is beyond the ken of the uninspired mind. Neither logic, science, philosophy, nor any other field of worldly learning has ever been, or ever will be, able to find it out. Those who limit their search to such learning techniques will continue to be as they have always been, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim 3:7.)
The only means by which such knowledge can be had is divine revelation. Fortunately for us, as has already been shown, it has been so revealed repeatedly from Adam until today.
Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1953, 123-126. [Emphasis added.] I would like to say just a word about my testimony of the mission of Jesus Christ. I want to go a little farther back for a moment, if I can be given guidance by the Spirit of the Lord to speak the truth accurately, and mention the great condition precedent to the efficacy of the mission of Jesus Christ. That condition precedent is the mission of Father Adam, because without the mission of Adam there would have been no need for the missionthe atonementof Jesus Christ.
I have an assignment from the First Presidency to serve on the Church publications committee. This committee is expected to read and pass upon the literature proposed for use in the study of our auxiliary organizations. It would please me immensely if, in the preparation of this literature, we could get away from using the language of those who do not believe in the mission of Adam. I have reference to words and phrases such as "primitive man," "prehistoric man," "before men learned to write," and the like. We sometimes use these terms in a way that offends my feelings; in a way which indicates to me that we get mixed up in our understanding of the mission of Adam. The connotation of these terms, as used by unbelievers, is out of harmony with our understanding of the mission of Adam.
"Adam fell that man might be." (2 Ne 2:25.) There were no pre-Adamic men in the line of Adam. The Lord said that Adam was the first man. (Moses 1:34; 3:7; D&C 84:16.) It is hard for me to get the idea of a man ahead of Adam, before the first man. The Lord also said that Adam was the first flesh (Moses 3:7) which, as I understand it, means the first mortal on the earth. I understand from a statement in the book of Moses, which was made by Enoch, that there was no death in the world before Adam. (Moses 6:48; see also 2 Ne 2:22.) ...
I understand from this that Enoch could read about Adam in a book which had been written under the tutelage of Almighty God. Thus there were no prehistoric men who could not write because men living in the days of Adam, who was the first man, wrote.
I am not a scientist. I do not profess to know anything but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and the principles of his gospel. If, however, there are some things in the strata of the earth indicating there were men before Adam, they were not the ancestors of Adam.
Adam was the son of God. He was our elder brother, not older than Jesus, but he was our brother in the same sense that Jesus was our brother, and he "fell" to earth life. He did not come up through an unbroken line of organic evolution. There had to be a fall....
I must not go into a longer discussion, but I say again that I would be very pleased if, in our teaching of the gospel, we could keep revealed truth straight in our minds and not get it confused with the ideas and theories of men, who do not believe what the Lord has revealed with respect to the fall of Adam.
Marion G. Romney, BYU, 30 May 1957, 14-15 (Rel. 231 syllabus, BYU, 92.) ... examine the conclusions of science as to the origin of man to see, if in harmony with God's revealed truth, they account for his deathless state. If not, then they do not persuade me to believe in Christ and therefore, according to Mormon [Moroni 7:14-19], are not of God.
"On Darwin's Setback," Church News, April 7, 1973, 16 (editorial). [Emphasis added.] Some weeks ago these editorials reported the action of the California State Board of Education in relegating the Darwinian concept to its place as only a speculative theory.
Recently in another vote of that board the action was confirmed. School children of that state will be told that Darwinism is not an established fact, it is merely a speculative theory.
Science teachers who are members of the church have written to the Church News editor expressing their views on the matter, and have suggested that although it is not known HOW life was created by the Lord, He may have used the Darwinian proposal as the means.
Are they justified in teaching such a thing? Is not that idea as speculative as Darwin's original theory? Is it any better founded? Dare church teachers introduce such a thought in their classes? Must they not stay with the scriptures?
Harold B. Lee, Ensign, December 1972, 2 (First Presidency Message). [Emphasis added.] I was somewhat sorrowed recently to hear someone, a sister who comes from a church family, ask, "What about the pre-Adamic people?" Here was someone who I thought was fully grounded in the faith.
I asked, "What about the pre-Adamic people?"
She replied, "Well, aren't there evidences that people preceded the Adamic period of the earth?"
I said, "Have you forgotten the scriptures that says, And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also.... " (Moses 3:7.) I asked, "Do you believe that?"
She wondered about the creation because she had read the theories of the scientists, and the question that she was really asking was: How do you reconcile science with religion? The answer must be, If science is not true, you cannot reconcile truth with error....
President Joseph F. Smith said (Gospel Doctrine, pg. 38): "Our young people are diligent students. They reach out for truth and knowledge with commendable zeal, and in so doing they must necessarily adopt for temporary use, the theories of men. As long, however, as they recognize them as scaffolding useful for research purposes, there can be no special harm in them. It is when these theories are settled upon as basic truth that trouble appears, and the searcher then stands in grave danger of being led hopelessly from the right way."
Harold B. Lee, private letter on official Church letterhead stationery, THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, 47 EAST SOUTH TEMPLE STREET, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH 84111, HAROLD B. LEE, PRESIDENT, to an unnamed member of the Church. (President Lee sent the letter that he composed to President Marion G. Romney to obtain his feelings about his letter. President Romneys hand written reply said on his own monogrammed memo stationery , I think this letter is well written. It will be helpful to ___ and his friends. The letter is dated October 2, 1973. This is written a few months before President Lees death. The compiler obtained a copy of this letter in the course of his employment in the Church Office Building during 1973 and 1974 as a Research Analyst in which the compiler collected and filed into a file cabinet database letters which had been composed by the Brethren.)
I have a few moments to respond to your letter of recent date in which you express some concern about some contradictory information as to the position we should take with regard to the doctrine of evolution.
This, as you know, has been long a bone of contention so serious that in the earlier years when Darwins theory first was enunciated, a number of professors at the Brigham Young University were released because of their unwillingness to teach the theory and then counter by delivering the true doctrines of the gospel.
Apparently the thing that confused you was that these who have contended have shown you a copy of a letter which was signed by President David O. McKay in which he disavowed the church having taken any official position on the subject of organic evolution. And, furthermore, that in that note to Professor William Lee Stokes, he declared that the book, Man, His Origin and Destiny [by President Joseph Fielding Smith] was not published by the church and is not approved by the church.
There is a little bit of history that I should tell you about. One summer some years ago, I was assigned to deliver a day by day set of lessons to all the seminary students [teachers?] and some of the institute teachers of the church, which proved to be a very demanding assignment. I went down each morning and met with all of these teachers. President Joseph Fielding Smiths book had just come off the press and I assigned as a part of the course, the reading of this book and writing a dissertation not less than 2500 words on the subject What Your Appraisal Is of the Value of This Book to a High School Senior or a College Student. This caused quite a consternation among the teachers, some of whom wanted to write a very critical analysis of the book and were fearful of doing so lest I would downgrade them in the course. This was not at all my intent, it was merely to have them respond critically if they wished, and I so told President Smith that I was inviting criticism and he said that was alright.
Some of these brethren who were critical of the book came directly to President McKay and represented to him that I had used President Joseph Fielding Smiths book as a text for my lectures at the BYU. He called President Ernest Wilkinson in to express his criticism that I had done so, and President Wilkinson told him that that was not true, that he, President Wilkinson, had sat in on most of the lectures that I had given and I did not use the book as a text, it was merely an assigned reading outside of the lessons.
It was undoubtedly the undue pressure of some of these dissidents, one of which was his own son, who was a professor at the University of Utah, that induced him to write this brief and to them a satisfying but to you a disturbing note, which poured water over their wheel and tended to lessen the influence of President Joseph Fielding Smiths book.
When your letter came to our attention, President Marion G. Romney told me of a conference address which he had delivered at the April conference in 1953, where he spoke directly to this subject of the fall of Adam, or the fall of man, as it is spoken of, and then brought forth scriptures to support the position of the church with respect to the advent of man upon the earth, etc.
At the conclusion of his talk, President Romney said that President David O. McKay had congratulated him and had written a brief note, a copy of which I am attaching hereto, in which he congratulated President Romney and then said, I congratulate you for your excellent contribution during the conference and express gratitude for your remarks as well as your fine spirit, and I assure you that I agreed heartily in every instance. President Romney thought if you had this statement from President David O. McKay, signed by himself, to counter this other statement which has been so confusing, that that should be sufficient for you to understand that President McKay had made this other statement probably because of a compromising position he had been in due to the circumstances as I have explained them.
I might add one further thought. Just after this book of President Joseph Fielding Smiths was printed, I had a young student of science from the University of Utah who came from a family who lived in my stake, come in with several books and wanted to argue against statements made in President [Joseph] Fielding Smiths book. I said to him, Now Brother ___. (his name was Dr. ___.) I havent had the opportunity of delving deeply into science, but I want to tell you an experience that Mark E. Petersen and I had when we organized the new Kansas City Stake. In our interview we had a man who was considered as a bishop of one of the wards who was a teacher of anatomy in the Kansas City University, which was a dental school. Of course this made it necessary for us to examine very carefully his faith as contrasted with his teaching of the evolutionary theory which of course would be taught in connection with the subject of anatomy. After we had discussed this, I asked him if he had read Brother Smiths book. He smiled and said, Yes, I have, and it was the most difficult book I have ever read. But, he said, I want to tell you that in my opinion this is the finest book that the church has ever produced for men who were teachers in the field of science. And I endorse what President Smith has said entirely so.
I said to this young Dr. ____, I wish you would write to this professor of science, who is much older and more experienced than you, in Kansas City, and have him respond to your questions.
A few weeks later this young man came back in a humble spirit and said, Well I need nothing more to quiet my concerns, when a man of his experience can say what he said, thats enough for me.
Now if I were you, Brother ____, I would not be discouraged. This is a contention which has gone on and will continue to the end of time I suppose, and until the scientists get nearer and nearer to the doctrines of the Church, there will still be contention, but remember this, that truth can never be composed with the errors of men. Just know that the gospel is true and that these are the theories of men which you as a student must learn if you want to pass the courses you are taking.
With kindest personal regards and trusting this letter will be sufficient to set the matter right in your mind I am, Very sincerely yours, Harold B. Lee.
Joseph F. Smith, delivered Dec 7, 1913 at Mesa, AZ, Deseret Evening News, Dec. 27, 1913, Sec. 3, page 7. I know that God is a being with body, parts and passions and that His Son, Jesus Christ, grew and developed into manhood the same as you or I, as likewise did God, His Father, grow and develop to the Supreme Being that He now is. Man was born of woman; Christ, the Savior, was born of woman, and God, the Father, was born of woman. Adam, our earthly parent, was also born of woman into this world, the same as Jesus and you and I.
Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 25, 62. God was and is our Father, and his children were begotten in the flesh of his own image and likeness, male and female....
God originated and designed all things, and all are his children. We are born into the world as his offspring; endowed with the same attributes. The children of men have sprung from the Almighty, whether the world is willing to acknowledge it or not. He is the Father of our spirits. He is the originator of our earthly tabernacles.
Melchizedek Priesthood Manual, 1980-81, 36. [Emphasis added.] Luke 3:38. What does this verse reveal about the origin of Adams physical body? "As to the manner in which Adam was placed on the earth, the First Presidency of the Church ... has given us this plain statement: He took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a "living soul."... All who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner. "
George Q. Cannon, Millennial Star, 23:654, 12 Oct 1861. He [Brigham Young] unmistakably declares man's origins to be altogether of a celestial characterthat not only is his spirit of heavenly descent, but his bodily organization, toothat the latter is not taken from the lower animals, but from the original celestial body of the great Father of humanity.
George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth 2:1. Men may acquire extensive information and learning but unless accompanied by faith in and fear of God such acquirements are not so profitable unto the as they might be. A knowledge of the truth as revealed by the Lord furnishes men who obtain it a sure foundation on which to stand; it is also a standard by which all man-made systems, theories and opinions can be measured.
A most excellent illustration of its value for this purpose can be found in judging what is known as the Darwinian theory. According to this theory, man has gradually ascended, through a process of evolution covering ages of time, from some low form of animal life; he stands today as the product of a long period of development….
But to the Latter-day Saints who understand the principles of truth, it is the greatest absurdity and folly to state that man has been evolved from an inferior form of animal life, and has progressed step by step through the ages until he has reached his present stage of development. They do not need to spend any time to examine such a proposition for they know better.
God has revealed in these last days, as well as in former times, that He is the Father of mankind, that we are descended from Him, that He "created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;male and female created he them." (Gen 1:27.) The theories of all the philosophers in the world, however cunningly framed or speciously argued, cannot shake the faith of a man or woman of God in this immutable truth.… He who fears God and receives the truths He reveals can safely trust them; he can test men's opinions and systems by them without a doubt as to the result. Building upon these truths, he can go on from knowledge to knowledge until he enters into possession of a fullness.… He [the fool (Psa 14:1; 53:1)] seeks no light from heaven. He gropes in search of it by his own wisdom. He builds theories and systems of philosophy which only exhibit his own folly. Calling himself wise, and proud of his acquirements, he fails to recognize the truths of heaven and measures Divinity by his miserable little yardstick.
Man by his own wisdom cannot know God. To know Him man must go to Him in the way he has appointed, or he cannot find him. (June 11, 1888, MS 50:371–72)
Orson F. Whitney, "Divine Mission of the Savior," Course of Study for the Quorums of the Priesthood, 1910, 35, 37. Man is, in the most literal sense, a child of God. This is not only true of the spirit of man, but of his body also....
One of the important points about this topic is
to learn, if possible, how Adam obtained his body of flesh and
bones. There would seem to be but one natural and reasonable
explanation, and that is, that Adam obtained his body in the same
way Christ obtained his -- and just as all men obtain theirs --
namely, by being born of woman.
Boyd K. Packer, General Conference Address, Ensign, Nov. 1984, 66-69. [Emphasis added.] I desire to share a few thoughts about a basic doctrine of the Church... What may be obscure in the scriptures can be made plain through the gift of the Holy Ghost. We can have as full an understanding of spiritual things as we are willing to earn.
And I add one more conviction: there is an adversary who has his own channels of spiritual communication. He confuses the careless and prompts those who serve him to devise deceptive, counterfeit doctrine, carefully contrived to appear genuine.
I mention this because now, as always, there are self-appointed spokesmen who scoff at what we believe and misrepresent what we teach....
The doctrine I wish to discuss concerns the nature of man and of God....
We are the children of God. That doctrine is not hidden away in an obscure verse. It is taught over and over again in scripture. These clear examples are from the Bible: [Ps 82:6 and Acts 17:29 quoted.] ...
No lesson is more manifest in nature than that all living things do as the Lord commanded in the Creation. They reproduce "after their own kind." (See Moses 2:12,24.) They follow the pattern of their parentage. Everyone knows that; every four-year-old knows that! A bird will not become an animal nor a fish. A mammal will not beget reptiles, nor "do men gather figs of thistles." (Matt. 7:16.)
In the countless billions of opportunities in the reproduction of living things, one kind does not beget another. If a species ever does cross, the offspring generally cannot reproduce. The pattern for all life is the pattern of the parentage.
This is demonstrated in so many obvious ways, even an ordinary mind should understand it. Surely no one with reverence for God could believe that His children evolved from slime or from reptiles. (Although one can easily imagine that those who accept the theory of evolution dont show much enthusiasm for genealogical research!) The theory of evolution, and it is a theory, will have an entirely different dimension when the workings of God in creation are fully revealed.
Since every living thing follows the pattern of its parentage, are we to suppose that God had some other strange pattern in mind for His offspring? Surely we, His children, are not, in the language of science, a different species than He is?
What is in error, then, when we use the term Godhood to describe the ultimate destiny of mankind? We may now be young in our progressionjuvenile, even infantile, compared with Him. Nevertheless, in the eternities to come, if we are worthy, we may be like unto Him, enter His presence, "see as [we] are seen, and know as [we] are known," and receive a "fulness." (D&C 76:94.)
This doctrine is not at variance with the scriptures. Nevertheless, it is easy to understand why some Christians reject it, because it introduces the possibility that man may achieve Godhood....
There are those who mock our beliefs in the most uncharitable ways. And we will bear what they do with long-suffering, for it does not change truth. And in their own way they move our work along a little faster. We will send our missionaries abroad to teach that we are the literal sons and daughters of God....
I bear solemn witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh; that He is our Redeemer, our Savior; that God is our Father. This we know through the gift of the Holy Ghost. And I humbly but resolutely affirm that we will not, we cannot, stray from this doctrine. On this fundamental truth we will never yield.
Boyd K. Packer, "The Law and the Light," Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, 30 October 1988. Those who defend opposing views on the origin of man use the same words but sometimes attach very different meanings to them. I will define some words in the hope that you will understand what I mean....
The point of my presentation is this: There are moral and spiritual laws pertaining to values, good and evil, right and wrong; laws as constant, precise, and valid as those which govern the physical universe.
If there is a crucial point of divergence between views on the origin of man, it is whether law governs both the physical or temporal and the moral or spiritual in the universe.
If you reject the premise that unchangeable law governs both, I shall have great difficulty communicating my view as to how man came to be.
I am counting on Latter-day Saints agreeing that laws governing spiritual things were irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of the earth. (D&C 130:20.)
More often it is students of the physical universe who fail to accept moral and spiritual law as valid and authoritative because such laws are not measured by methods they have been accustomed to use in their studies. Physical or natural laws are generally more visible and therefore much easier to demonstrate.
These students tend to gather endless examples of the effects of natural law to support their theory on the origin of man. But all of their examples put togethercompelling or not, true or not, whether they prove natural laws or notcannot disprove the existence of moral and spiritual laws. To study mankind and his beginnings by analyzing his physical body and environment only, is to study but half of him. Regardless of how much physical truth is discovered, it is but half the truth....
The many similarities between the human body and the physical bodies of animals do not, in my mind, confirm a common ancestor. Not at all! It confirms the sovereignty of physical laws. If a hip joint in a human body is of the same design as that in animals, it simply means that the ball and socket conforms to physical laws which govern space, stress, strength, motion, and articulation. If you want articulation, that design works in the flesh and bone of either man or animal, or for that matter in machines.
It is on the premise that law controls both the moral and spiritual, and the physical natures of man that I have established my conviction on his origin. All laws, even those devised by man, are established under the assumption that violation carries penalties. If man is no more than a highly specialized animal, there are substantial questions as to whether moral laws can apply to him. If there is no moral law, there is no sin. The New Testament makes that clear, (see Rom 5:13; Heb 10:26; 1 Jn 3:4) and Lehi said: [2 Ne 2:13 quoted]....
The comprehension of man as no more than a specialized animal cannot help but affect how one behaves. A conviction that man did evolve from animals fosters the mentality that man is not responsible for moral conduct. Animals are controlled to a very large extent by physical urges. Promiscuity is a common pattern in the reproduction of animals. In many subtle ways, the perception that man is an animal and likewise controlled by urges invites that kind of behavior so apparent in society today. A self-image in which we regard ourselves as children of God sponsors one kind of behavior. A conclusion which equates man to animals fosters another kind of behavior entirely.
Consequences of which spring from that single false premise account for much of what society now suffers. I do not speak in theoretical terms; it matters very much in practical ways. The word abortion should suffice as an example....
Many Church members are entirely unaware that fundamental doctrines cannot co-exist with a belief that man evolved from lower forms of life. From the scriptures I will briefly review fundamental doctrines on the creation, the fall, and the atonement. Before doing so, let me tell you how I feel about you who study or teach or work in the fields of science. I envy your opportunity to work in fields of scientific discovery: anthropology, paleontology, geology, physics, biology, physiology, chemistry, medicine, engineering and many others. Just think of the opportunity to study the laws of the physical universe and harness the power inherent in obeying them for the good of mankind. It gives me feelings of wonder, of reverence. No Latter-day Saint should be hesitant to pursue any true science as a career, a hobby, an interest, or to accept any truth established through those means of discovery. Nor need one become a scientist at the expense of being a Latter-day Saint of faith and spiritual maturity.
Science is seeking; science is discovery. Man finds joy in discovery. If all things were known, man's creativity would be stifled. There could be no further discovery, no growth, nothing to decideno agency.
All things not only are not known but must not be so convincingly clear as to eliminate the need for faith. That would nullify agency and defeat the purpose of the plan of salvation. Tests of faith are growing experiences. We all have unanswered questions. Seeking and questioning, periods of doubt, in an effort to find answers, are part of the process of discovery. The kind of doubt which is spiritually dangerous does not relate to questions so much as to answers. For that and other reasons, it is my conviction that a full knowledge of the origin of man must await further discovery, further revelation....
Know this: Knowledge of the physical universe and of the laws which govern it is cumulative. Thus each generation builds upon and expands the knowledge gained from discoveries of the past. Contributions to scientific and practical knowledge are gathered from one generation to the next. As greater light and knowledge are discovered, tentative theories of the past are replaced.
Unlike knowledge of the physical universe, the moral knowledge of each generation begins where the previous generation began rather than where they left off. For example, the remedy for an infection in the physical body has changed dramatically over the centuries; the remedy for infidelity, not at all. Morality is not so easily conveyed from one generation to the next. It is acquired more from example, ideally in the home.
This apparent imbalance in accumulating knowledge can easily contribute to a spirit of arrogance in students of the physical world, especially in so-called intellectuals. They may feel they have inherited the larger and more valuable legacy of knowledge. The Book of Mormon warns of [2 Ne 9:28-29 quoted; 2 Ne 9:42; 28:15; Alma 32:23; D&C 58:10 referred to.]
For generations, the clergy of the Christian churches (including ours) have been labeled as bumbling and naive because they rejected the theory of evolution and believed in a separate creation of man. Those who have only the Bible, have just enough in the Old and New Testaments about men as the children of God, about law and sin, to enforce their belief that man is accountable for his conduct, that accountability requires a special status, a separate creation.
Confronted by the sophisticated arguments of articulate scientists with impressive visual evidence to support the theory of organic evolution, the clergy could but quote scriptures or testify of inner feelings. This meant little or nothing to the scientist.
Do not despise those who over the years defended these doctrines in spite of intellectual mocking. Do not belittle their efforts. However foolish they may have appeared to some, there is substance to the position they have defended. I say, God bless them!...
Do not mortgage your testimony for an unproved theory on how man was created. Have faith in the revelations; leave man in the place the revelations have put him!...
The scriptures us the words "organize" and "form" when discussing the creation. (Abr 4:1,12,15,25,30.) The earth was created or formed of imperishable substance for the revelations tell us that "the elements are eternal" (D&C 93:33). Matter already existed, but it was "without form and void." (See Gen 1:2 and Moses 2:2.) That word "beginning" applies only if "create" is defined as "form" or "organize." There was no beginning and there shall be no end to matter. This is also said of intelligence, that spiritual part of man. "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (D&C 93:29.) We know from the revelations also that this earth is but one of an innumerable host of worlds. [Moses 1:37-38,35 quoted.] When man was created, there was no need for trial and error, for chance....
Many who perceive organic evolution to be law rather than theory do not realize they forsake the atonement in the process....
What is physical interconnects with the spiritual; what is spiritual, or eternal, or moral, resonates with the physical. We respond in our very soul to the order in the universe. How we respect those interconnections will have profound effect upon our happiness or sorrow. In support of this, I will quote from one who must be regarded as an expert witness of the subject. It was written in the later years of his life:
"I have said," our writer proceeds, "that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost any taste for pictures or music.Music generally set me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did...."
Our witness continues speaking:
"This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, one which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organized or better constituted than mine, would not I suppose have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature."
To repeat, "The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature."
That remarkable confession is from the autobiography of Charles Darwin, who conceived the theory of organic evolution. (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Colline, St. James Place, London, 1958, pg. 138f.)
There are too many interconnections uniting the physical and the spiritual in man to suppose that they came at random or by chancenot in a billion years or a billion times a billion years! It is against the law! What law? The law of common sense!
Now in conclusion: It is my conviction that to the degree the theory of evolution asserts that man is the product of an evolutionary process, the offspring of animalsit is false!
What application the evolutionary theory has to animals gives me no concern. That is another question entirely, one to be pursued by science. But remember, the scriptures speak of the spirit in animals and other living things, and of each multiplying after its own kind. (D&C 77:2; 2 Ne 2:22; Moses 3:9; Abr 4:11-12,24.)
And, I am sorry to say, the so-called theistic evolution, the theory that God used an evolutionary process to prepare a physical body for the spirit of man, is equally false. I say I am sorry because I know it is a view commonly held by good and thoughtful people who search for an acceptable resolution to an apparent conflict between the theory of evolution and the doctrines of the gospel....
When the First Presidency speaks, we can safely accept their word.
"And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
"But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest. (D&C 124:45-46). [See also D&C 1:14,19,38.]
Twice the First Presidency has declared the position of the Church on organic evolution. The first, a statement published in 1909 entitled The Origin of Man [the first article in this collection] was signed by Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund. (The Improvement Era, November 1909:75-81.) The other, entitled "Mormon" View of Evolution, signed by Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, was published in 1925 (The Improvement Era, September 1925:1090-91). It follows very closely the first statement, indeed quotes directly from it.
The doctrines in both of them are consistent and have not changed....
Statements have been made by other presidents of the Church and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles which corroborate these official declarations by the First Presidency.
I should take note of one letter signed by a president of the Church addressed to a private individual which includes a sentence, which taken out of context reads, "On the subject of organic evolution the Church has officially taken no position." For some reason the addressee passed this letter about. For years it has appeared each time this subject is debated. Letters to individuals are not the channel for announcing the policy of the Church. For several important reasons, this letter itself is not a declaration of the position of the Church, as some have misinterpreted it to be. Do not anchor your position on this major issue to that one sentence! It is in conflict with the two official declarations, each signed by all members of the presidency. Remember the revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants, "Every decision made by ... (the First Presidency) must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member ... must be agreed to its decisions.... Unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were righteous and holy men." (D&C 107:27,29.) ...
How old is the earth? I do not know! But I do know that matter is eternal. How long a time has man been upon the earth? I do not know! But I do know that man did not evolve from animals. Both questions have to do with time. Time is a medium for measurement, perhaps no more than that. Occasionally I wonder if time exists at all. Quantum physicists are now beginning to say strange things like that. "Time" comes from the word "tempus"; so do temporal and temporary. The revelations say that the day will come when "there shall be time no longer" (Rev 10:6; D&C 84:100). In any case, they say "time only is measured unto men." (Alma 40:8.) ...
All the answers as to how man was created have not been discovered by scientists; neither has God revealed them, but he has promised that he will reveal them. [D&C 101:32-34 quoted.]
When confronted by evidence in the rocks below, rely on the witness of the heavens above.... I said I would give six reasons for my conviction. I listed only five. The sixth is personal revelation.
Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, October 1983, 22. When we understand the doctrine of premortal life, then things fit together and make sense.
We then know that little boys and little girls are not monkeys, nor are their parents, nor were theirs, to the very beginning generation. We are the children of God, created in his image. Our child-parent relationship to God is clear. The purpose for the creation of this earth is clear.
Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1975, 140. [Emphasis added.] He [Spencer W. Kimball] stressed that the creation was not an experiment. "There were no guesses, no trial and error."
Ibid., p. 80. When was that [the beginning of time]? I guess we would say when Adam was placed on the earth.
Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 5. Our spirit matter was eternal and co-existent with God, but it was organized into spirit bodies by our Heavenly Father.
John Taylor, The Mediation and Atonement, 164-165. These principles do not change, as represented by evolutionists of the Darwinian school, but the primitive organisms of all living beings exist in the same form as when they first received their impress from their Maker.... and if we take man, he is said to have been made in the image of God, for the simple reason that he is a son of God.... in whose likeness, we are told, he is made. He did not originate from a chaotic mass of matter, moving or inert, but came forth possessing, in an embryonic state, all the faculties and powers of a God. And when he shall be perfected, and have progressed to maturity, he will be like his Fathera God; being indeed His offspring. As the horse, the ox, the sheep, and every living creature, including man, propagates its own species and perpetuates its own kind, so does God perpetuate His.
James E. Talmage, Church News, Nov. 21, 1931, 8 (in Meservy, p. 224). I do not regard Adam as related tocertainly not as descended fromthe Neanderthal, the Cro-Magnon, the Peking or the Piltdown [!] man. Adam came as divinely created, created and empowered, and stands as the patriarchal head of his posterityposterity, who, if true to the laws of God are heirs to the Priesthood and to the glories of eternal lives.
James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1916, 7376. ... There are men in the world who have set themselves up against the God of Israel, men who have undertaken to measure arms with the Almighty, and to pit their wisdom against the eternal wisdom of God, men who have undertaken to construe, or rather to misconstrue, the holy Scripture, and to declare to the people that these writings do not mean what they say. Beware of them, Latter-day Saints. Stand we firm and steadfast by the revealed word of God and on the words of instruction that are given us from time to time by those whom we sustain before the Lord as his representatives in our midst; and should there come a question of issue between the opinions of men and the word of revelation, I say, as said the apostle, Paul, of old, in his written address to the Saints of Rome: Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar. Men have made themselves liars before God because they have undertaken to question and even to deny his word.
... Scientists, psychologists, students of the human mind, have undertaken to analyze and dissect this strange organism Mormonism, and they have said it arose from delusion; that it has sprung from the seed of deception; that it is the offspring of bigotry and fanaticism; and the man whom we call a prophet of the last days, through whom we say the gospel has been restored and the Church re-established, was an epileptic; and consequently, according to the laws of heredity, which they have diagrammed and set forth in orderly array, the delusion could not persist beyond the third generation, for such would be contrary to formulated law. The world took comfort in that assurance, for it was given by those in whom the people had confidence; but what see we? Under this vast dome here today, are hundreds of the fourth and many of the fifth generation. Yea, let God be true, though every man be a liar.
... When I see how often the theories and conceptions of men have gone astray, have fallen short of the truth, yea, have even contradicted the truth directly, I am thankful in my heart that we have an iron rod to which we can clingthe rod of certainty, the rod of revealed truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomes all truth, but it distinguishes most carefully between fact and theory, between premises and deductions; and it is willing to leave some questions in abeyance until the Lord in his wisdom shall see fit to speak more plainly.
As the result of the combined labors of men I learn that man is but the developed offspring of the beast; and yet I read that God created man in his own image, after his likeness; and again, I stand on the word of God, though it be in contradiction to the theories of men. This spirit of misconstruction, this attempt to explain away the sure word of prophecy, the indisputable word of revelation, is manifest even among our own people. There are those who would juggle with the predictions of the Lord's prophets.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:217-218. [Emphasis added.] Thus you may continue and trace the human family back to Adam and Eve, and ask, "are we of the same species with Adam and Eve?" Yes, every person acknowledges this; this comes within the scope of our understanding.
But when we arrive at that point, a vail [sic] is dropt, and our knowledge is cut off. Were it not so, you could trace back your history to the Father of our spirits in the eternal world. He is a being of the species as ourselves; He lives as we do, except the difference that we are earthly, and He is heavenly. He has been earthly, and is of precisely the same species of being that we are....
Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually begat the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with Him. Then He commenced the work of creating earthly tabernacles, precisely as He had been created in this flesh Himself, by partaking of the coarse material that was organized and composed this earth, until His system was charged with it, consequently the tabernacles of His children were organized from the coarse materials of this earth.
When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me.
Brigham Young, quoted by George Q. Cannon in Millennial Star, Vol. 23, No. 41, October 12, 1861, 654. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. From the fruits of the earth the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession.
After men have got their exaltations and their crownshave become Gods, even the sons of Godare made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit, and that is the first of their operations with regard to organising a world. Power is then given to them to organise the elements, and then commence the organising of tabetrnacles. How can they do it? Have they to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there, and he cannot do without Eve: he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children.
Brigham Young, JD 7:285-286. [Emphasis added.] When people have secured to themselves eternal life, they are where they can understand the true character of their Father and God, and the object of the creation, fall, and redemption of man after the creation of this world. These points have ever been subjects for speculation with all classes of believers, and are subjects of much interest to those who entertain a deep anxiety to know how to secure to themselves eternal life....
Shall I say that the seeds of vegetables were planted here by the Characters that framed and built this worldthat the seeds of every plant composing the vegetable kingdom were brought from another world? This would be news to many of you. Who brought them here? It matters little to us whether it was John, James, William, Adam, or Bartholomew who brought them; but it was some Being who had power to frame this earth with its seas, valleys, mountains, and rivers, and cause it to teem with vegetables and animal life.
Here let me state to all philosophers of every class upon the earth, When you tell me that father Adam was made as we make adobes from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle words devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell.
Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. The offspring of Adam and Eve are commanded to take the rude elements, and, by the knowledge God has given, to convert them into everything required ...
Brigham Young, JD 9:283. [Emphasis added.] Man is the offspring of God.... We are as much the children of this great Being as we are the children of our mortal progenitors. We are flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone, and the same fluid that circulates in our bodies, called blood, once circulated in His veins as it does in ours. As the seeds of grains, vegetables and fruits produce their kind, so man is in the image of God.
Brigham Young, JD 11:122. [Emphasis added.] Numerous are the scriptures which I might bring to bear upon the subject of the personality of God. I shall not take time to quote them on this occasion, but will content myself by quoting two passages in the 1st chapter of Genesis, 26th and 27th verses. [Quoted.]
I believe that the declaration made in these two scriptures is literally true. God has made His children like Himself to stand erect, and has endowed them with intelligence and power and dominion over all His works and given them the same attributes which He Himself possesses.
He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that will ever be.
Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 222; JD 13:310. [Emphasis added.] They [the scriptures] testify of the Savior, of his doctrines and requirements, and of the ordinances of his house; the plan of salvation is there portrayed, and any person who follows its dictation may redeem himself from the thraldom of sin, and know by the spirit, that Jesus is the Christ. All who will take this course will know by revelation that God is our Father; they will understand the relationship they hold to him and to their fellow-beings. The world may in vain ask the question, "Who are we?" But the Gospel tells us that we are the sons and daughters of God whom we serve. Some say, "We are the children of Adam and Eve." So we are, and they are the children of our Heavenly Father. We are all the children of Adam and Eve, and they are the offspring of him who dwells in the heavens, the highest Intelligence that dwells anywhere that we have any knowledge of.
Brigham Young, JD 15:137. And when our spirits receive our bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body.
Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 283. And the fact that we receive this Comforter, the Holy Ghost, is proof that the spirit in warring with the flesh has overcome, and by continuing in this state of victory over our sinful bodies we become the sons and daughters of God. Christ having made us free, and whoever the Son makes free is free indeed. Having fought the good fight we then shall be prepared to lay our bodies down to rest to await the morning of the resurrection when they will come forth and be reunited with the spirits, the faithful, as it is said, receiving crowns, glory, immortality and eternal lives, even a fulness with the Father, when Jesus shall present His work to the Father, saying, "Father, here is the work thou gavest me to do." Then will they become Gods, even the sons of God; then will they become eternal fathers, eternal mothers, eternal sons and eternal daughters; being eternal in their organization they go from glory to glory, from power to power; they will ever cease to increase and to multiply, worlds without end. When they receive their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and God. (Journal of Discourses 18:259.)
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:319. He was the person who brought the animals and the seeds from other planets to this world, and brought a wife with him and stayed here. You may read and believe what you please as to what is found written in the Bible. Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not from the dust of this earth. He was made as you and I are made, and no person was ever made upon any other principle.
Chauncey C. Riddle, Ensign, September 1975, 83. [Emphasis added.] So we are persecuted for personal revelation in a world that prides itself on "hard" evidence, on objectivity, on the strength of consensus. As a philosopher of knowledge, I can only shake my head. For now I know and can prove that there is no such thing as evidence apart from a matrix of presuppositions, that objectivity is at best consensus, and that consensus is often but a public relations job.
Orson Pratt (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Journal of Discourses Digest, 348-356). [Emphasis added.] All things with which we are acquainted, pertaining to this earth of ours, are subject to change; not only man, so far as his temporal body is concerned, but the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea, and every living thing with which we are acquaintedall are subject to pain and distress and finally die and pass away; death seems to have universal dominion in our creation.
It certainly is a curious world; it certainly does not look like a world constructed in such a manner as to produce eternal happiness; and it would be very far from the truth, I think, for any being at the present time to pronounce it very good everything seems to show us that goodness, in a great degree, has fled from this creation....
Why is it that this creation is so constructed? And why is it that death reigns universally over all living earthly beings? Did the great Author of creation construct this little globe of ours subject to all these changes, which are calculated to produce sorrow and death among the beings that inhabit it? Was this the original condition of our creation? I answer, No; it was not so constructed. But how was it made in the beginning? All things that were made pertaining to this earth were pronounced very good. (Gen 1:31.) Where there is pain, where there is sickness, where there is sorrow, and where there is death, this saying cannot be understood in its literal sense; things cannot be very good where something very evil reigns and has universal dominion.
We are, therefore, constrained to believe that in the first formation of our globe, as far as the Mosaic history gives us information, everything was perfect in its formation; that there was nothing in the air, or in the waters, or in the solid elements, that was calculated to produce misery, wretchedness, unhappiness, or death, in the way that it was then organized ... immortality reigned in every department of creation; hence it was pronounced very good....
Man, when he was first placed upon this earth, was an immortal being, capable of eternal endurance; his flesh and bones, as well as his spirit, were immortal and eternal in their nature; and it was just so with all the inferior creationthe lion, the leopard, the kid, and the cow; it was so with the feathered tribes of creation, as well as those that swim in the vast ocean of waters; all were immortal and eternal in their nature (2 Ne 2:22); and the earth itself, as a living being, was immortal and eternal in its nature....
But how can it be proved that man was an immortal being? We will refer to what the Apostle Paul has written upon this subject; he says that by one man came death; and he tells us how it came; it was by the transgression of one individual that death was introduced here. (Rom 6:12-19; 1 Cor 15:21-22.)
But did the transgression bring in all these diseases and this sorrow, this misery and wretchedness, over the face of this creation? Is it by the transgression of one person that the very heavens are to vanish away as smoke and the earth is to wax old like a garment? Yes, it is by the transgression of one; and if it had not been for his transgression, the earth never would have been subject to death. Why? Because the works of the Lord are so constructed as to exist forever; and if death had come in without a cause, and destroyed the earth, and laid waste the material heavens, and produced a general and utter overthrow and ruin in this fair creation, then the works of the Lord would have ceased to endure according to the promise, being imperfect in their construction and consequently not very good....
Adam was appointed lord of this creation, a great governor, swaying the scepter of power over the whole earth. When the governor, the person who was placed to reign over this fair creation, had transgressed, all in his dominions had to feel the effects of it, the same as a father or a mother who transgresses certain laws, frequently transmits the effects thereof to the latest generations.
Orson Pratt, Nov 12, 1876, JD 18:293-294. [Emphasis added.] Before the earth was rolled into existence we were his sons and daughters. Those of his children who prove themselves during this probation worthy of exaltation in his presence, will beget other children, and, precisely according to the same principles, they too will become fathers of spirits, as he is the Father of our spirits; and thus the works of God are one eternal roundcreation, glorification, and exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
How many transformations this earth had before it received its present form of creation, I do not know. Geologists pretend to say that this earth must have existed many millions of years, and this assertion is generally made by men who do not believe in God or the Bible, to disprove the history of the creation of the world, as given by the Prophet Moses. We will go further than geologists dare to go, and say that the materials of which the earth is composed are eternal, they will never have an end....
How many transformations this earth passed through before the one spoken of by Moses, I do not know, neither do I particularly care. If it had gone through millions on millions of transformations, it is nothing to us. We are willing, for the sake of argument, to admit that the materials themselves are as old as geologists dare to say they are; but then, that does not destroy the idea of a God, that does not destroy the idea of a great Creator, who, according to certain fix and unalterable laws, brought these materials, from time to time, into a certain organization, and then by his power completed the worlds that were thus made, by placing thereon intelligent and animated beings, capable of thinking and having an existence; and then again, for various reasons, he destroys their earthly existence, until finally he exalts them from their former condition, and makes them celestial in their nature.
This is the destiny of this globe of ours; it will eventually attain a state or organization that will no more be destroyed. When? After God has fulfilled and accomplished his purposes, after it has rested from wickedness one thousand years, during which time Satan will not have power to tempt the children of men, during which time the faithful will reign, as kings and priests on the earth in their resurrected bodies, when, too, the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven will be in possession of the Saints of the Most High; not only in the possession of those who are mortal Saints, but also in the possession of those who are immortal Saints, appearing as they will in their resurrected bodies, rising up as rulers, as kings and priests, upon the face of our globe.
B. H. Roberts in Keith H. Meservy, "Evolution & the Origin of Adam," Church Educational System Religious Educators Symposium, BYU, 1979, 224-225. [Emphasis added.] Elder B. H. Roberts, who is recognized by many as an erudite writer in the Church, explicitly expressed his disbelief in evolution. "The claims of evolution ... are contrary to all experience so far as mans knowledge extends. The great law of nature is that every plant, herb, fish, beast and man produces it kind." (The Gospel, An Exposition of Its First Principles & Man's Relationship to Deity, 8th ed. [SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1946], 282.) If scientists can show that the earliest strata of the earth have the simplest forms and the latest the most complex, "until it [the earth was] crowned with the presence of manall that may be allowed. But that this gradation of animal and vegetable life owes its existence to the process of evolution is denied." The Gospel, 282.) But what about the evidence for prehistoric man, or pre-Adamic races? Scientists "have hung the heaviest weights on the slenderest of threads; and I am inclined to the opinion that Adam was the progenitor of all the races of men whose remains have yet been found." (Ibid., 283-84.) He concluded that Adam was "brought forth by the natural laws of procreation ... in some other world" (Ibid., 280.) and was a "son of God" (Luke 3:38 [Moses 6:22]). He noted that "one other objection" could be "urged against the theory of evolution ... it is contrary to the revelations of God.... the revelations which speak of the atonement of Jesus Christ.... if the hypothesis of evolution be true, if a man is only a product evolved from lower forms of life, better still producing better ... then it is evident that there has been no fall, such as the revelations of God speak of; and if there was no fall, there was no occasion for a Redeemer to make atonement for man ... then the mission of Jesus Christ was a myth, the coinage of idle brains." (Ibid., 266.) He concluded that the Christian religion can be harmonized with evolution "on the same principle that the lion and the lamb harmonize, or lie down togetherthe lion eats the lamb" (Ibid., 267).
B. H. Roberts, Church News, 19 Sep 1936, 8. "Man has descended from God: in fact, he is of the same race as the Gods. His descent has not been from a lower form of life, but from the Highest Form of Life; in other words, man is, in the most literal sense, a child of God. This is not only true of the spirit of man, but of his body also. There never was a time, probably, in all the eternities of the past, when there was not men or children of God. This world is only one of many worlds which have been created by the Father through His Only Begotten." (B. H. Roberts, "The Creation of Man," Course of Study for Priests, 1910.)
Mark E. Petersen, Speeches of the Year, BYU, Sept. 2, 1973, 246-251. [Emphasis added.] There has developed in recent years what almost amounts to a cult in certain fields. This is a cult which also points the finger of scorn at believers and would seek to make us ashamed of our faith. It is one which would have us reject the doctrine of a special creation and accept the unproven but time-worn theory that all life evolved from lower forms, that worms and microbes were our ancestors, and not God. It teaches that God is not our father, but that our first progenitors were microscopic forms which came into existence spontaneously, without cause, without reason, and without purpose. According to this theory of primordial life, man at one time developed from an ancestor which, as one writer described him, was "a hairy, four-legged beast which had a tail and pointed ears and lived in trees." I ask you, which requires more faith, to believe that God is our father, or that some monkey-like ape gave us birth? And which would you rather have as your father, a creeping ape or Almighty God?
Our religion tells us that God is our Father. Some so-called intellectuals who point the finger at religion have become so domineering in their attitude toward those who do not believe their ghastly theories that they assume an attitude almost approaching tyranny. In some circles it has become persecution. So severe it is among some that one researcher, Dr. Thomas Dwight, was led so say,
The tyranny in the matter of evolution is overwhelming to a degree of which no outsider has any idea. How very few leaders in the field of science dare to tell the truth as to the state of their own minds. How many of them feel themselves forced in public to do lip service to a cult that they do not believe in.
... It's a very interesting thing to read in section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants some further information on this same subject.... We learn from this section that in heaven beasts and fowls and creeping things exist as spirits. Then the scripture goes on: "That which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual" (D&C 77:2). So you see, the body matches the spirit, and the spirit was made in the preexistence, so that the body thats made here fits the spirit that was made in the preexistence. Then notice this next part of this little section: "the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast and every other creature which God has created" (D&C 77:2). Isnt that a marvelous and an interesting scripture? Lots of people dont read that, but this is one of the most significant things in the Doctrine and Covenants, in my humble opinion. So in heaven God created the spirits of all forms of life as they appear in mortality, the mortal form being in the likeness of the spirit, with mankind being Gods own offspring, his literal children, having the full capability of becoming like him.
... Man, then, was always man, because he was made that way in the preexistence. Cows were always cows and horses were always horses, because they were made that way in the preexistence, when first they were made as spirits before they were tabernacled in flesh, since all things were made spiritually before they were temporally in the earth. Then trees were always trees, corn was always corn, cats were always cats, because they were made that way in the preexistence....
You believe in our Articles of Faith. One of them says, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adams transgression." Do you believe there was an Adam, described in the scripture as the first man? Do you believe there was such a thing as Adams transgression, sometimes called the Fall? Now I ask you, can you believe in Adam and in Darwinian evolution at the same time? Our religion teaches that there was no death in the world before the Fall. Do you believe that? And if you do, how can you accept Darwinism, which says there was death before Adamor before the first human being, as some will accept it? This then becomes one of the great hurdles for LDS anthropologists, doesn't it?
According to our doctrine, the fall of Adam and the process of death are inseparable. Death and Adam are inseparable; death and the resurrection are inseparable; the fall of Adam and the atonement of Christ are inseparable; Adam and Christ are inseparable. If there was no Adam, there was no fall. If there was no fall of Adam there was no atonement by Christ. If there was no atonement by Christ our religion is in vain, for if there was no Adam, there was no Christ either. If there is no Christ, where are we? Are you ready to reject your inspired religion, your faith in God and Christ, to accept a questionable philosophy that may be thrust upon you by some unbelieving, even atheistic, professor of an unproved hypothesis? This is certainly a case in point where we must do as Joshua of old said, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Josh 24:15).
Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! (SLC: Bookcraft, 1990) 188-189, 193-194. I believe that Adam's physical body was the offspring of God, literally (Moses 6:22); that he was begotten as a baby with a physical body not subject to death, in a world without sin or blood; and that he grew to manhood in that condition and then became mortal through his own actions. I believe that Adam's physical body was begotten by our immortal celestial Father and an immortal celestial Mother, and thus not into a condition of mortality, a condition which would have precluded Jesus from being the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh (D&C 93:11)flesh meaning mortality. Jesus physical body was also begotten of the same celestial Father but through a mortal woman and hence into mortality.
Commenting on Luke 3:38 ("Adam, which was the son of God"), Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: "This statement, found also in Moses 6:22, has a deep and profound significance and also means what it says. Father Adam came, as indicated, to this sphere, gaining a immortal body, because death had not yet entered the world. (2 Ne 2:22.) Jesus, on the other hand, was the Only Begotten in the flesh, meaning into a world of mortality where death already reigned." [Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 1:95.]
Evolution would place Adams body as the offspring of animals, each generation having gradually evolved and improved in structure and in intelligence until a creature came into being that was more man-like than animal-like. This seems to me such a time-wasting process. We know that God can beget children: he is the Father of Jesus body and has also begotten innumerable spirit children in his own likeness and image. Why would the Father resort to animal evolution to bring his very own family into the new world that he had created, rather than he and the heavenly mother doing it in just one generation by begetting Adam themselves? Surely we would not deny the heavenly parents the privilege of begetting their own children. If our heavenly parents were but spirits only, there might be some cause for expecting they would need an alternate way to produce Adam's body. But since they are tangible resurrected beings of flesh and bone, there seems to be no necessity to resort to the animals to produce bodies for Adam and Eve....
For the foregoing reasons, all of them taken from the teachings of the scriptures and the Brethren, I see the theory of organic evolution as contrary to the nature of God, insulting to the original status of man, and a subtle attack upon the mission of Jesus Christ. It may not seem so at first glance, but in terms of doctrine the theory of organic evolution is a concept that, if believed, would undercut the entire plan of salvation and our faith in the divinity and accomplishments of the Messiah. There must be a simple, straightforward way to make this situation evident to honest believers who espouse so-called theistic evolution, believers who may not realize they harbor a philosophy that is not only contradictory but also destructive. I do not think it is harmless. The end result is disaster, because the tenets of organic evolution are contrary to the plan of God.
In review then, what are the universal truths that are given to us in the scriptures that would have bearing on this subject? First, there is an eternal, perfect plan. Accepting this concept enables us to see the larger picture and prepares our minds against any false doctrine. This is especially so when one accepts the whole plan, with all of its parts extending from the premortal existence to the final judgment. To pick and choose, to alter and adapt, are not acceptable intellectual options when one is dealing with the plan of redemption. In other words, we should not "monkey" with the plan of salvation. The provisions of the plan are not negotiable.
Second, there is order in Gods plan; there are certain fixed principles that were in place before the world was formed. Therefore, the plan does not change. This concept can be another major stabilizing influence in our gospel studies.
Third, what sin is and how it got into the world are moral issues. If a person accepts organic evolution as the explanation for the origin of man on this earth, it seems he has to reject the explanation for the origin of sin that is given in every one of the standard works. Because of the moral implications of such a course, it seems to me that most "believers" would not be eager to do this.
We are able to turn to the scriptures for a statement of the principles related to man's origin, but in some ways, with regard to this particular matter, we who live today are in a situation more critical than that of any other people. The high degree of scientific progress today, the sophisticated methods of gaining knowledge and formulating hypotheses, and the current advances in tests and measurements have all tended toward more complex hypotheses about mans origin than those with which Lehi, Jacob, Abinadi, Alma, or even Joseph Smith had to deal. Matters are complicated also because the scientific method is regarded so highly in our society.
Therefore, we have to diligently search to understand the revelations well enough to find adequate explanations. The doctrinal framework has been given to us in the scriptures and by the prophets of this dispensation for our guidance and use. It takes considerable effort to comprehend it, but if we ignore it, we are left to our own limited understanding. We cannot be content with a mediocre acquaintance with the plan of God. What we are challenged to do is to find a way, a simple way, to put the doctrinal issues so clearly before our hearers that those with faith in the revelations and in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ will not unwittingly forsake the faith of our fathersor of Elijah, Enoch, Nephi, and Joseph Smithin order to try to be in harmony with what the world accepts.
Probably never before have believers in the scriptures had as great a need as they do now to grasp the iron rod of Lehi's dream to guide them through the subtle mists of darkness lest they wander in strange paths and become lost (see 1 Ne 8:19-21,24,30). On scientific grounds, I cannot effectively answer the evolutionist, whether he be in or out of the Church; but I can see what the theological and moral issues are, and I can see that the theory of evolution is deeply entrenched in almost every discipline and field of study in which modern man is engaged. It is a very popular philosophy, but it is capable of eroding mens faith because it undercuts what God has revealed about the doctrine of Christ. The erosive effect of this theory are subtle, and it may not appear harmful to many at first. However, because of evolutions inherent opposition to the mission of the Messiah, it may possibly be that in connection with this subject, more than with any other, everyone must eventually and individually answer Pilates question, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Mt 27:22.)
Bruce R. McConkie, BYU, June 1, 1980. [Emphasis added.] I have sought and do now seek that guidance and enlightenment which comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I desire to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost so that my words will be true and wise and proper. When any of us speaks by the power of the Spirit, we say what the Lord wants said, or, better, what he would say if he were here in person.
I want to state temperately and accurately the doctrinal principles involved and to say them in a way that will not leave room for doubt or for question. I shall speak on some matters that some may consider to be controversial, though they ought not to be. They are things on which we ought to be united, and to the extent we are all guided and enlightened from on high we will be. If we are so unitedand there will be no disagreement among those who believe and understand the revealed wordwe will progress and advance and grow in the things of the Spirit ...
Now let me list some axioms (I guess in academic circles we call these caveats):
Please note that knowledge is gained by obedience. It comes by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. In the ultimate and full sense it comes only by revelation from the Holy Ghost. There are some things a sinful man does not and cannot know. The Lords people are promised: "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moro 10:5.) But if they do not seek the Spirit, if they do not accept the revelations God has given, if they cannot distinguish between the revealed word and the theories of men, they have no promise of gaining a fulness of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost....
Heresy two concerns itself with the relationship between organic evolution and revealed religion and asks the question whether they can be harmonized.
There are those who believe that the theory of organic evolution runs counter to the plain and explicit principles set forth in the Holy Scriptures as these have been interpreted and taught by Joseph Smith and his associates. There are others who think that evolution is the system used by the Lord to form plant and animal life and to place man on earth.
May I say that all truth is in agreement, that true religion and true science bear the same witness, and that in the true and full sense, true science is part of true religion. But may I also raise some questions of a serious nature. Is there any way to harmonize the false religions of the dark ages with the truths of science as they have now been discovered? Is there any way to harmonize the revealed religion that has come to us with the theoretical postulates of Darwinism and the diverse speculations descending therefrom?
Should we accept the famous document of the First Presidency, issued in the days of President Joseph F. Smith and entitled, "The Origin of Man," as meaning exactly what it says? Is it the doctrine of the gospel that Adam stood next to Christ in power and might and intelligence before the foundations of the world were laid; that Adam was placed on this earth as an immortal being; that there was no death in the world for him or for any form of life until after the Fall; that the Fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world; that this temporal death passed upon all forms of life, upon man and animal and fish and fowl and plant life; that Christ came to ransom man and all forms of life from the effects of the temporal death brought into the world through the Fall, and in the case of man from a spiritual death also; and that this ransom includes a resurrection for man and for all forms of life?
Can you harmonize these things with the evolutionary postulate that death has always existed and that the various forms of life have evolved from preceding forms over astronomically long periods of time? Can you harmonize the theories of men with the inspired words that say: [2 Ne 2:22-26 quoted.]
These are questions to which all of us should find answers. Every person must choose for himself what he will believe. I recommend that all of you study and ponder and pray and seek light and knowledge in these and in all fields.
I believe that the atonement of Christ is the great and eternal foundation upon which revealed religion rests. I believe that no man can be saved unless he believes that our Lords atoning sacrifice brings immortality to all and eternal life to those who believe and obey, and no man can believe in the atonement unless he accepts both the divine Sonship of Christ and the fall of Adam.
My reasoning causes me to conclude that if death has always prevailed in the world, then there was no fall of Adam that brought death to all forms of life; that if Adam did not fall, there is no need for an atonement; that if there was no atonement, there is no salvation, no resurrection, and no eternal life; and that if there was no atonement, there is nothing in all of the glorious promises that the Lord has given us. I believe that the fall affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself, and that the atonement affects all forms of life, and earth itself.
Bruce R. McConkie, "Foolishness of Teaching," BYU, (SLC: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981)] If we labor at it and if we struggle, the Spirit will be given by the prayer of faith. If we do our part we will improve and grow in the things of the Spirit until we get to a position where we can, being in tune, say what the Lord wants said. That is what is expected of us. And that is foolishness in the eyes of the world, in the disciplines of science, and sociology, and so on. But it is the foolishness of God, and the foolishness of God which is wiser than men is what brings salvation.
Let me say just a word about false doctrine. We are supposed to teach. Pitfalls we are supposed to avoid are the teaching of false doctrine; teaching ethics in preference to doctrine; compromising our doctrines with the philosophies of the world; entertaining rather than teaching, and using games and gimmicks rather than sound doctrine, coddling students, as President Clark expressed it.
We ought to judge everything by gospel standards, not the reverse. Do not take a scientific principle, so-called, and try to make the gospel conform to it. Take the gospel for what it is, and, insofar as you can, make other things conform to it, and if they do not conform to it, forget them. Forget them; do not worry. They will vanish away eventually. In the true sense of the word, the gospel embraces all truth. And everything that is true is going to conform to the principles that God has revealed.
"O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!" (2 Ne 28:15).
I shall repeat the portion of that that deals with teaching. "Those who preach false doctrines,... wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!" (2 Ne 28:15).
I want to say something about this. That scripture is talking about people who have a form of godliness, as Paul expressed it, but who deny the power thereof (see 2 Tim 3:5). And the Lord quoted Paul in the First Vision, using his very language. He is talking about those people of whom Paul said: They are "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7)....
You talk about teaching false doctrine and being damned. Here is a list of false doctrines that if someone teaches he will be damned. And there is not one of these that I have ever known to be taught in the Church, but I am giving you the list for a perspective because of what will follow. Teach that God is a Spirit, the sectarian trinity. Teach that salvation comes by grace alone, without works. Teach original guilt, or birth sin, as they express it. Teach infant baptism. Teach predestination. Teach that revelation and gifts and miracles have ceased. Teach the Adam-God theory. (That does apply in the Church.) Teach that we should practice plural marriage today. Now any of those are doctrines that damn. They are what I just read about from that chapter 28 of 2 Nephi.
Now here are some doctrines that weaken faith and may damn. It depends on how inured a person gets to them, and how much emphasis he puts on them, and how much the doctrine begins to govern the affairs of his life. Evolution is one of them. Somebody can get so wrapped up in so-called organic evolution that he ends up not believing in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. Such a course leads to damnation.
Somebody can teach that God is progressing in knowledge. And if he begins to believe it, and emphasizes it unduly, and it becomes a ruling thing in his life, then, as the Lectures on Faith say, it is not possible for him to have faith unto life and salvation. He is required to believe, in the Prophets language, that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, that he has all power and he knows all things.
If you teach a doctrine that there is a second chance for salvation, you may lose your soul. You will, if you believe that doctrine to the point that you do not live right and if you go on the assumption that someday you will have the opportunity for salvation even though you did not keep the commandments here.
And so it is with the paradisiacal creation, with progression from one degree of glory to another, with figuring out what the beasts in the book of Revelation are about, or the mysteries in any field. If you get talking about the fact that the sons of perdition are not resurrected, or where the ten tribes are, or if you make a mistake on the true doctrine of the gathering of Israel, or some of the events incident to the Second Coming, or millennial events and the like.
Now I am not saying that those doctrines will damn in the sense that the first list that I read will, but they may. They certainly will lead people astray, and they will keep you from perfecting the kind of faith that will enable you to do good and work righteousness and perform miracles. I do not get very troubled about an honest and a sincere person who makes a mistake in doctrine, provided that it is a mistake of the intellect or a mistake of understanding, and provided it is not on a great basic and fundamental principle. If he makes a mistake on the atoning sacrifice of Christ, he will go down to destruction. But if he errs in a lesser wayin a nonmalignant way if you willhe can still straighten himself out without too much trouble.
Bruce R. McConkie, "The Bible: A Sealed Book" (CES Symposium publication, c. 1981), 1, 2, 6. [Emphasis added.] As of now, the world is not ready to receive these truths [from the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon]. For one thing, these added doctrines will completely destroy the whole theory of organic evolution as it is now almost universally taught in the halls of academia. For another, they will set forth an entirely different concept and time frame of the creation, both of this earth and all forms of life and of the sidereal heavens themselves, than is postulated in all the theories of men. And sadly, there are those who, if forced to make a choice at this time, would select Darwin over Deity....
"The Origin of Man," by the First Presidency of the Church. (See Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 4:200-206; see also 4:199.) This inspired writing sets forth the official position of the Church on the origin of man and therefore impinges on the evolutionary fantasies of biologists and their fellow travelers. As might be expected, it arouses great animosity among intellectuals whose testimonies are more ethereal than real....
The everlasting gospel; the eternal priesthood; the identical ordinances of salvation and exaltation; the never-varying doctrines of salvation; the same Church and kingdom; the keys of the kingdom, which alone can seal men up unto eternal lifeall these have always been the same in all ages; and it shall be so everlastingly on this earth and all earths to all eternity. These things we know by latter-day revelation.
Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:95-96; Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., 681. [Emphasis added.] Is there a conflict between science and religion? The answer to this basic query depends entirely upon what is meant by and accepted as science and as religion. It is common to say there is no such conflict, meaning between true science and true religionfor one truth never conflicts with another, no matter what fields or categories the truths are put in for purposes of study. But there most certainly is a conflict between science and religion, if by science is meant (for instance) the theoretical guesses and postulates of some organic evolutionists, or if by religion is meant the false creeds and dogmas of the sectarian and pagan worlds. "Oppositions of science falsely so called" were causing people to err "concerning the faith" even in the days of Paul. (1 Tim 6:20-21.)
There is, of course, no conflict between revealed religion as it has been restored in our day and those scientific realities which have been established as ultimate truth. The mental quagmires in which many students struggle result from the acceptance of unproven scientific theories as ultimate facts, which brings the student to the necessity of rejecting conflicting truths of revealed religion. If, for example, a student accepts the untrue theory that death has been present on the earth for scores of thousands or millions of years, he must reject the revealed truth that there was no death either for man or animals or plants or any form of life until some 6000 years ago when Adam fell.
As a matter of fact, from the eternal perspective, true science is part of the gospel itself; in its broadest signification the gospel embraces all truth. When the full blessings of the millennium are poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants, pseudo-science and pseudo-religion will be swept aside, and all supposed conflicts between science and religion will vanish away.
Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:366. [RE: 2 Pet 3:4.] All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation] In this simple statement is summarized one of the basic reasons why the wisdom of men cannot interpret the events of creation, redemption, and salvation. The reason: It is false to assume that all things have always been the same. For instance: When the Lord created this earth, it was in a terrestrial state, an Edenic state, a paradisiacal state; death had not then entered the world. Ada;m and Eve and all created things were in an immortal state. The begetting of offspring had not yet begun. (Moses 5:11.) Then came the fall. And [2 Ne 2:22-25 quoted] In due course, when Christ reigns personally upon the earth, then the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. (Tenth Article of Faith.) That is, it will return to its terrestrial, Edenic, or paradisiacal state; it will be the new heaven and new earth of which Peter is about to speak. None of these eternal verities are known to or understood by the scientists of the world or the uninspired teachers among men. Without them how can they possibly understand the true import and meaning of the doctrine of the Second Coming of the Son of Man?
6. The world overflowed with water] A literal, universal flood!
7. The heaven and the earth, which are now] This present planet (surrounded by the atmospheric heavens) in its fallen state, its telestial state, a state where carnality and evil can and do dwell upon its face.
Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, June 1982, 9. The Lord expects us to believe and understand the true doctrine of the Creationthe creations of this earth, of man, and of all forms of life. Indeed, as we shall see, an understanding of the doctrine of creation is essential to salvation. Unless and until we gain a true view of the creation of all things we cannot hope to gain that fulness of eternal reward which otherwise would be ours.
God himself, the Father of us all, ordained and established a plan of salvation whereby his spirit children might advance and progress and become like him. It is the gospel of God, the plan of Eternal Elohim, the system that saves and exalts, and it consists of three things. These three are the very pillars of eternity itself. They are the most important events that ever have or ever will occur in all eternity. They are the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.
Before we can even begin to understand the temporal creation of all things, we must know how and in what manner these three eternal veritiesthe Creation, the Fall, and the Atonementare inseparably woven together to form one plan of salvation. No one of them stands alone; each of them ties into the other two; and without a knowledge of all of them, it is not possible to know the truth about any one of them....
Mortality and procreation and death all had their beginnings with the Fall....
And be it also remembered that the Fall was made possible because an infinite Creator, in the primeval day, made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall. This fall involved a change of status. All things were so created that they could fall or change, and thus was introduced the type and kind of existence needed to put into operation all the terms and conditions of the Father's eternal plan of salvation.
This first temporal creation of all things, as we shall see, was paradisiacal in nature. In the primeval and Edenic day all forms of life lived in a higher and different state than now prevails. The coming fall would take them downward and forward and onward. Death and procreation had yet to enter the world. That death would be Adams gift to man, and, then, the gift of God would be eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thus, existence came from God; death came by Adam; and immortality and eternal life come through Christ....
Our analysis properly begins with the frank recital that our knowledge about the Creation is limited. We do not know the how and why and when of all things. Our finite limitations are such that we could not comprehend them if they were revealed to us in all their glory, fulness, and perfection. What has been revealed is that portion of the Lord's eternal word which we must believe and understand if we are to envision the truth about the Fall and the Atonement and thus become heirs of salvation. This is all we are obligated to know in our day.
In a future day the Lord will expect more of his Saints in this regard than he does of us. "When the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things," our latter-day revelations tell us"Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof." (D&C 101:32-33.) Pending that Millennial day it is our responsibility to believe and accept that portion of the truth about the Creation that has been dispensed to us in our dispensation....
Thus we learn that the initial creation was paradisiacal; death and mortality had not yet entered the world. There was no mortal flesh upon the earth for any form of life. The Creation was past, but mortality as we know it lay ahead. All things had been created in a state of paradisiacal immortality....
The physical body of Adam is made from the dust of this earth, the very earth to which the Gods came down to form him. His "spirit" enters his body, as Abraham expresses it. (See Abr 5:7.) Man becomes a living, immortal soul; body and spirit are joined together. He has been created "spiritually," as all things were because there is as yet no mortality. Then comes the Fall; Adam falls; mortality and procreation and death commence. Fallen man is mortal; he has mortal flesh; he is "the first [mortal] flesh upon the earth." And the effects of his fall pass upon all created things. They fall in that they too become mortal. Death enters the world; mortality reigns; procreation commences; and the Lords great and eternal purposes roll onward.
Thus, "all things" were created as spirit entities in heaven; then "all things" were created in a paradisiacal state upon the earth; that is, "spiritually were they created," for there was as yet no death. They had spiritual bodies made of the elements of the earth as distinguished from the mortal bodies they would receive after the Fall when death would enter the scheme of things. Natural bodies are subject to the natural death; spiritual bodies, being paradisiacal in nature, are not subject to death. Hence the need for a fall and the mortality and death that grows out of it....
There is no evolving from one species to another in any of this....
These revealed verities about the creation of all things run counter to many of the speculations and theoretical postulates of the world. They are, however, what the inspired word sets forth, and we are duty bound to accept them.
Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 98ff.) False Doctrines about the Fall. Heresies Concerning Adam and the Fall. It is not generally recognized how far man may go astray if he does not understand the true doctrine about Adam and the fall. The fall of man is one of the great foundations upon which salvation rests. Unless and until it is placed in its proper relationship to all things, almost unbelievable heresies will rise to plague and curse mankind. From among the many that have so risen, and as a means of dramatizing the need to learn the truth about Adam and his fall, we shall now list several of the current heresies. It should be noted that these heresies, though often formally espoused by the same church or group of believers, disagree with and contradict each other, as one would expect the case to be in the realms of error.
Heresy 1: There is no Christian God, no Adam in the sense of his being created as the first man, and no Christ in the sense of Jesus being the Son of God.
Commentary: This is the atheistic, agnostic, worldly view held by hosts of people who assume the creation came chance and that life developed through evolutionary processes. It prevails among many who worship at the altars of science, and who espouse that godless communism which calls religion the opiate of the people. Such unbelievers pretend to find no need for divine guidance and intervention in the lives of men.
Heresy 2: There is no such thing as a fall of Adam and an atonement of Christ.
Commentary: This is the view of all pagan and heathen people who have no knowledge of the true God and the plan of salvation he ordained and established. It is, for instance, the false Islamic view. Their Koran teaches that there is no God but Allah and that he had no need for a son. Allah, it says, has but to speak and his will is done. It considers Jesus to be in the same class as Moses or one of the prophets, denies the doctrine of the divine Sonship, and claims to know nothing about the fall of man.
Heresy 3: Organic evolution is the process whereby all life on earth came into being, and man, as now constituted, is the end product of this process.
Commentary: This is the false view of many self-designated scientists. The tendency among them is to present Darwinian theories as established realities. These theories postulate the evolvement of all forms of life from lower orders over astronomically long periods of time. They assume death has always been present and that there never was a fall, and they make no provision for a plan of redemption and a resurrection of all forms of life.
Heresy 4: Evolution is the process God used to create all forms of life except Adam, who came by special creation; or Adam was the end product of an evolutionary system used by the Lord for his own purposes.
Commentary: These false notions, together with whatever variations of them happen to be in vogue at any given time, are simply an attempt, on the part of those whose faith falls short of the divine standard, to harmonize the specious theories of men with the revelations of the Lord. They pledge a superficial allegiance to religious truth and allow for a form of divine worship without forsaking the theories of men. They, of necessity, assume that death has always existed on earth, that it did not have its beginning with the fall of Adam, and that there must be some other explanation for all the revelations which say that the atonement ransoms man from the effects of the fall. When those who espouse this view talk of a fall and an atonement, they falsely assume such applies only to man rather than to the earth and all forms of life, as the scriptures attest.
Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 166. There is no power in falsehood. No one can have faith unto life and salvation in a god who is believed to be a spirit nothingness, or in a doctrine that denies the resurrection, or in a philosophy that postulates mans evolutionary evolvement from lower forms of life, or in anything that is not true.
Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 380. We were his children first in the premortal life, and we are his children here again in this mortal sphere.
Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 647ff. Man is the offspring of God; he it is that was created in the image of his Maker; he is the one for whom the whole plan of salvation was established. Man may become as his Maker, attain exaltation, inherit eternal life, and be a god in his own right. It is man for whom the earth and all forms of life were created; all else, this earth and every form of life on the face thereof, is to serve man, the crowning creature of God's creating.
What interest have we, then, in the earth and life on its face? Simply this: If man is to understand himself and the processes by which he is saved, he must know his relationship to Deity, to the earth, and to other forms of life. He must understand the overall purposes of the Great Creator and know why the earth and all life came into being as they first were, as they now are, and as they yet shall be. He must know how to use created things to work out his salvation. Hence the revealed word relative to an Edenic earth, a fallen earth, a renewed earth, and finally a celestial earth.
This earth, as with man and all forms of life, was first created spiritually. Thereafter came the temporal creationthe paradisiacal or Edenic creation, the creation of the earth and man and all forms of life as they were before the fall. In that day there was no mortality and no procreation, not for man nor for any form of life. All things were created in a state of paradisiacal immortality. Adam and Eve were on earth in bodies of flesh and bones; their spirits had entered the tabernacles of clay created for them from the dust of the earth; they were living souls. But without the fall, "they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin." And without the fall, "all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end." (2 Ne 2:22-23.)
In that Edenic day, the earth and all life were pronounced very good by the Creator. There was no disease or evil or death. Life was destined to go on forever. The lion ate straw like the ox, and the wolf and the lamb were friends. Light and life and peace and immortality reigned in every department of creation. Such was life on the Edenic earth, on the temporal earth that had been created in a paradisiacal state. The earth was in a terrestrial state; it was temporal and earthy, and neither spiritual nor celestial.
Then came the fall. Mortality was born; procreation began; disease and death and sorrow covered the earth. The probationary estate had its beginning. Having sinned, man was no longer innocent; he could now feel joy, for he knew misery, and he could do good, for he knew sin. The earth and man and all forms of life fell to a telestial statethe state that now is; the state in which there are high mountains and pleasant valleys; in which there are arid deserts and salty wastelands; in which there are thorns and thistles and briars and noxious weeds to overrun the crops of the earth.
It cannot be renewedbecoming again paradisiacal and terrestrialunless it once possessed those very states.
... of the continents becoming one land as they were in the day before they were divided; of the ice flowing down from the polar regions ...
Ezra Taft Benson, Church News, 21 May 1988,.4. (See also Ensign, May 1975, 63-65.) Social, ethical, cultural, or educational converts will not survive under the heat of the day unless their taproots go down to the fulness of the gospel which the Book of Mormon contains.... Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book [of Mormon] to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, rationalism, organic evolution, humanism, etc.
Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1970, 21-23. As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if they have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.
Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality....
The tenth plank in Karl Marxs Manifesto for destroying our kind of civilization advocated the establishment of "free education for all children in public schools." There were several reasons why Marx wanted government to run the schools. Dr. A. A. Hodge pointed out one of them when he said, "It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be ."
President Joseph Fielding Smith has stated that in public schools you cannot get a textbook, anywhere that he knows of, on the "ologies" that doesn't contain nonsense. (Take Heed To Yourselves, pg. 32.) ...
If your children are taught untruths on evolution in the public schools or even in our Church schools, provide them with a copy of President Joseph Fielding Smiths excellent rebuttal in his book Man, His Origin and Destiny.
Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, 26,27. More recently one of our Church educators published what he purports to be a history of the Church's stand on the question of organic evolution. His thesis challenges the integrity of a prophet of God. He suggests that Joseph Fielding Smith published his work Man:His Origin and Destiny against the counsel of the First Presidency and his own brethren. This writers interpretation is not only inaccurate, but it runs counter to the testimony of Elder Mark E. Petersen, who wrote this foreword to President Smiths book, a book I would encourage all of you to read:
"Some of us (members of the Council of the Twelve) urged (Elder Joseph Fielding Smith) to write a book on the creation of the world and the origin of man ... The present volume is the result. It is a most remarkable presentation of material from both sources (science and religion) under discussion. It will fill a great need in the Church, and will be particularly invaluable to students who have become confused by the misapplication of information derived from scientific experimentation." (Foreword, Man: His Origin and Destiny, Deseret Book, 1954.)
... When one understands that the author to whom I allude is an exponent for the theory of organic evolution, his motive in disparaging President Joseph Fielding Smith becomes apparent. To hold to a private opinion on such matters is one thing, but when one undertakes to publish his views to discredit the work of a prophet, it is a very serious matter. It is also apparent to all who have the Spirit of God in them that Joseph Fielding Smiths writings will stand the test of time.
Melvin A. Cook, Professor of Metallurgy, University of Utah. (An Introduction to Joseph Fielding Smiths book Man His Origin & Destiny.) Theory plays an important role in all arts and sciences (1) by providing a means for the unification and classification of available knowledge, and (2) by suggesting and prescribing the design of experimental studies that will broaden the scope of knowledge. Failure to accomplish either of these objectives necessitates modifications in the theory or substitution of an alternate one. For this reason the basic concepts are continually undergoing change in a healthy and forward-moving science. We are living in a world of great endeavor and achievement in which the scientific or objective application of theory, whether true or simply the best that can be devised to represent as faithfully as possible all known facts, has an important place. Unfortunately, owing to the strong desire of scientists to display their brilliance and ingenuity, there is a tendency for theory to become the objective instead of the means to the end. Theory then not only loses its real value, but actually becomes a stumbling block to progress. Its inventor and disciples become so engrossed in the theory that they lose sight of its fundamental purpose, the quest for truth. This condition was shockingly illustrated in my presence at a meeting of scientists when one of great renown met a factual objection with the statement, I am more concerned with the elegance of the theory than the truth of it.
One need not look far into science to discover it consists too generally of a maze of facts and theory so closely interwoven that even the most learned and honorable scientist (to say nothing of the intellectually dishonest one or the novice) may have difficulty in distinguishing readily between truth and theory. While this weakness of science is serious enough in fields which are not closely related to the primary purposes of mortality, in the fields more closely related, the difficulties of discerning fact and theory may well prove disastrous. This is particularly true as regards the development of spirituality in those who place science foremost.
The principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ provide faithful members of the Church with wonderful and inspiring principles of truth directly applicable in distinguishing between fundamental truth and error in all fields of arts and science. This application requires a clear recognition of the pre-eminence of the Gospel and its eternal scientists of which the author of this book [Man His Origin & Destiny] stands high among the great ones in mortality. The paramount key to this important application of eternal science is that every principle of the baser sciences must square with the revealed truths.
Few fields of science come into such direct conflict with the revealed scriptures as the palaeo-scienceshistorical geology, palaeoethnology, palaeontology, and palaeogeography. The factual or experimental components of these sciences have contributed much to our knowledge and culture, and their scientists are indispensable in practical applications dealing with the structural and dynamic features of the earths crust, the discovery of valuable minerals and the evaluation of natural resources, and description and classification of plants and animals. With the author of this book [Joseph Fielding Smith], I believe that much of the theoretical structure of these sciences is incorrect because it is not only in disagreement with the scriptures but is in direct opposition to them. Moreover, I believe that when these sciences are denuded of their theoretical superstructure, they are not found to conflict with the revealed truths of the scriptures. For those who have the patience to await the great event, when the final chapters of theory in these and other sciences are written, I am confident that they also will square with the pre-eminent science of our Savior. The great challenge thus confronts the scientist with faith in divine revelation to attempt each in his own field to write his theories to include not only the facts of direct experimental observation but also those generally more significant ones revealed by the Omnipotent Scientist, the Creator of the world and Savior of mankind.
Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 198. It is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle.
Joseph Smith, Teachings, 56. ... the voice of reason, the language of inspiration, and the Spirit of the living God, our Creator, teaches us, as we hold the record of truth in our hands, that this [that mortality is the only life] is not the case, that this is not so; for, the heavens declare the glory of a God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork; and a moments reflection is sufficient to teach every man of common intelligence, that all these are not the mere production of chance, nor could they be supported by any power less than an Almighty hand; and He that can mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God's own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand wherever he can see it; and when once discovered, it will not only receive an acknowledgment, but an obedience to all its heavenly precepts.
Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, comp. A. F. Ehat & L. W. Cook, 60,61. This earth was organized and formed out of other planets which were broken up and remodelled and made into the one on which we live.6 The elements are eternal. [William Clayton's Private Book.]
Next Subject was -- Did the Lord God make the Earth out of Nothing; By D.17 say he God did not make the earth out of Nothing; for it is contrary to a Rashanall [rational] mind & Reason. that a something could be Brought from a Nothing; also it is contry to the principle & Means by witch God does work; for instance; when God formed man, he made him of something; the Dust of the Earth, & he allways took a something to afect a something Else; oft he takes man to scorge his fellow man, or watter to Destroy manor fire to Destroy Man or angels for istance the angel that went forth & Destroyed a hundred thousand one knigt Joseph Smith said to D Ells, & to the Congregation that he for a length of time, thought on phreknoleagee [phrenology]18; & that he had a Revelation. the Lord Rebuking him sharply in Crediting such a thing; & further said there was No Reality in such a science But was the works of the Devil; he also said the Lord had told him that Bro. Law 19 would Do well, he would Go & preach the Gospel he also said as for his own knowledge the Earth was made out of sumthing for it was impossible for a sumthing to be made out of Nothing fire, air, & watter are Eternal Existant principles which are the Composition of which the Earth-has been Composed; also Earth has been organized out of portions of other Globes that has ben Disorganized; in tistimony that this Earth was Not the first of Gods work; he quoted a passage from the testament where Jesus said all things that he had saw the Father Do he had done & that he done Nothing But what he saw the Father do John the 5th [verse 19] 20 he also said in testimony of the situation the saints in the presence of God. that they had flesh & bones & that was the agreement in Eternity to come here & take on them tabernacles & the Differance Between us & Satin in that Respect is that he fell & had Not opertunity to Come in the flesh& that he allways is striving to get others as miserable as himself 21[McIntire Minute Book]
6 The William P. McIntire account of this discourse indicates that the subject of ex nihilo creation was one of the major topics of discussion during this inaugural lyceum meeting. Joseph Smith had previously discussed this subject ...
17 Dr. Josiah Ells came to Nauvoo in 1840. He was one of a company, under the command of Charles C. Rich, that attempted to rescue the Prophet Joseph Smith from his Dixon, Illinois, arrest in June 1843.
18 Many Saints have had an attraction to phrenologythe alleged analysis of character and mental faculties by studying the form of the skull ... Unfortunately, members of the Church have been unaware of the revelation to Joseph Smith on this pseudoscience, and have misinterpreted his indifference toward the practice.
19 William Law (1809-92) was baptized in Upper Canada in 1836 and two weeks after this discourse was appointed by revelation (D&C 124:91) a counselor to Joseph Smith in the First Presidency. Rejecting certain of the Prophets teachings (particularly plural marriage), Law left the Church in 1844. The revelation referred to also confirms the Prophet's announcement that William Law should go on a mission (D&C 124:88).
20 Unlike the William Clayton account of this discourse, the McIntire account shows how Joseph Smith used John 5:19 to shift from a discussion of the creation of the earth to a discussion of the nature of God.
21 2 Nephi 2:18,27.
Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 373. If Abraham reasoned thus - If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly. Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.
I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning.
Joseph Smith, Benjamin F.
Johnson, Letters to Gibbs, 1903 in E. Dale LeBaron, (1967), pp.
340-341. [The Prophet Joseph Smith] taught us that God was the
great head of human procreation--was really and truly the father
of both our spirits and our bodies.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:101-103. This is from one of the discourses of Brigham Young: "We are all the children of Adam and Eve, and they are the offspring of Him who dwells in the heavens, the Highest Intelligence that dwells anywhere that we have any knowledge of...."
GOD: FIRST OF THE HUMAN FAMILY. Let me comment first upon the expression that God is the "first of the human family." This same doctrine was taught by Joseph Smith. It is a fundamental doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the teachings of Joseph Smith, he beheld the Father and the Son in his glorious vision, and he taught that each had a body of flesh and bones. He has expressed it in these words: [D&C 130:22 quoted.]
He also taught that, literally, God is our Father; than men are of the same race--the race called humans; and that God, the Progenitor, or Creator, is the Father of the human race....
Ibid., Answers to Gospel Questions 5:7. From the revelations of the Lord we learn that there was no death in this world before the transgression of Adam and Eve.
Ibid., 112ff. "Since reading your book, Man: His Origin and Destiny, I have been troubled by your difference in view of organic evolution and the age of man and the teachings of some of our most outstanding scientists who maintain that scientific evidence prove the earth and man to be much older than you claim. Your statements are contrary to what I have been taught and believe."
If what I have written is in criticism of the present theories in relation to organic evolution and the age of man upon the earth, in which you believe, then I can readily see why you disagree with what I have taught.
I will state frankly and positively that I am opposed to the present biological theories and the doctrine that man has been of the earth for millions of years. I am opposed to the present teachings in relation to the age of the earth which declare that the earth is millions of years old. Naturally, since I believe in modern revelation, I cannot accept these so-called scientific teachings, for I believe them to be in conflict with the simple and direct word of the Lord that has come to us by divine revelation.
If you have the idea that all capable and intelligent professors and scientists hold to these evolutionary doctrines, let me tell you that there are many who do not do so, and they are just as renowned and capable in their fields. I hold membership in the Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society of Great Britain. This society is largely composed of members who are opposed to the theories so prevalent in the educational world today. I have the official proceedings of this organization covering many years in which these theories are not approved. This, however, is not the matter for present consideration. I merely mention this in defense of the truth that not all the great thinkers and men of science are evolutionists and not all of them believe in these fantastic ages of the mortal earth.
I regret that modern education in this country and largely in other countries, is dominated today by men holding these views. Having said this, permit me to say that I am not going to engage in a controversy over these so-called scientific views. I think it must be admitted, after all is said, that they are only theories. It is my purpose merely to call your attention to some of the revelations from the Lord and ask you to carefully consider them, to give me your explanation and show me how you can harmonize them with your evolutionary theories. I will quote a few passages that have been accepted as doctrine by the body of the Church.
[Moses 3:7 quoted to show Adam as first man. D&C 77:6 quoted to show that the earth has a temporal or temporary fallen existence wherein time is measured for only 7000 years including the millennium. Abraham 5:13 is referred to, showing that the earth was on Kolobs time until the fall, therefore 1 "day" with God is 1000 of our years and the creation took 7 "days," or 7000 years. 2 Ne 2:22-25 quoted, showing that things would have remained in their created state with no change, there was no death for any living thing until after the fall.]
According to this [2 Ne 2:22-25]and it must have been approved by the Lord or it would not be in the Book of Mormonthere was no death of any living creature before the fall of Adam! Adams mission was to bring to pass the fall and it came upon the earth and living things throughout all nature. Anything contrary to this doctrine is diametrically opposed to the doctrines revealed to the Church! If there was any creature increasing by propagation before the fall, then throw away the Book of Mormon, deny your faith, the Book of Abraham and the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants! Our scriptures most emphatically tell us that death came through the fall, and has passed upon all creatures including the earth itself. For this earth of ours was pronounced good when the Lord finished it. It became fallen and subject to death as did all things upon its face, through the transgression of Adam.
Hyrum M. Smith & Janne M. Sjodahl, D&C Commentary, (rev. ed. by Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and Marion G. Romney), 18. He [God] preserves and governs all His creatures, and directs their actions, so that the ultimate results will serve the ends He has in view. The universe and all that it contains is sustained by His power; it would go back into chaos, if He should withdraw that power.
Hugh Nibley, "How Firm a Foundation," 13. ... the Brigham Young Academy [BYU] in Provo was founded for the explicit purpose, in his [Brigham Young's] words, of countering "the theories of Huxley, of Darwin, or of Mill and the false political economy which contends against cooperation and the United Order."
George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1925, 33; in Daniel H. Ludlow, Latter-day Prophets Speak, 5.] I am grateful in the midst of the confusion of our Fathers children there has been given to the members of this great organization a sure knowledge of the origin of man, that we came from the spirit world where our spirits were begotten by our Father in heaven, that He formed our first parents from the dust of the earth, and that their spirits were placed in their bodies, and that man came, not as some have believed, not as some have preferred to believe, from some of the lower walks of life, but our ancestors were those beings who lived in the courts of heaven. We came not from menial order of life, but our ancestor is God our Heavenly Father.
Delbert L. Stapley, BYU, May 5, 1964 (in R. Wayne Shute, His Servants Speak, 3). [Emphasis added.] The scriptures teach us that we are descended from the lineage of the Gods; therefore, we are created in their likeness and image, in both spirit and body, and we are endowed with like character traits, qualities, and powers. We are not the product of evolution from some lower organism of life as man speculates and would have us believe.
Earl C. Tingey, The Responsibility of the Teacher in a Religious Setting, Annual Opening Banquet at Ricks College (BYU-Idaho), August 28, 1997, 10 ff. President Joseph F. Smith has given us the following wonderful counsel about how we can properly teach and be in tune with the Spirit. Our young people are diligent students. They reach out after truth and knowledge with commendable zeal and in so doing they must necessarily adopt for temporary use many theories of men. As long, however, as they recognize them as scaffolding, useful for research purposes, there can be no special harm in them. It is when these theories are settled upon as basic truth that trouble appears and the searcher then stands in grave danger of being led hopelessly from the right way. Philosophic theories of life have their place and use, but they are out of their place in church schools or anywhere else when they seek to supplant the revelations of God. [Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places (SLC: Deseret Book Company, 1975), 143.
Several weeks ago, the local papers carried an article entitled, Neanderthals were not us. (Deseret News, July 11, 1997). New DNA testing of the bones of the original specimen of Neanderthals found in Germany in 1856 has led to the conclusion that human lineage did not originate from Neanderthal lineage. The new findings conclude that Neanderthals are a distinct species that contributed nothing to the modern human gene.
In Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, he said, If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.
A recent review of a book written by Michael Behe, entitled Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, challenges Darwinism's fundamental premise that life evolved from simple organisms. The reviewer's conclusion:
Modern evolutionary theory, applying Darwin's own test, flunks spectacularly at the molecular level. Rather, everywhere we look inside the cell, evidence is staring scientists in the face that suggest the systems were directly designed by an intelligent agent. To Darwin, the cell was a black boxits inner workings were utterly mysterious to him. Now, the black box has been opened up and we know how it works. Applying Darwin's test to the ultra-complex world of molecular machinery and cellular systems that have been discovered over the past 40 years, we can say that Darwin's theory has absolutely broken down. (Tom Woodward, Meeting Darwin's Wager, Christianity Today, Apr 28, 1997, 15-21.)
What did we just read from Joseph F. Smith regarding the theories of men versus basic truth? As long as students recognize the theories of men as scaffolding, useful for research, but not a substitute for basic truths, there can be no special harm in studying the theories of men.
Gordon B. Hinckley, Four Imperatives for Religious Educators (SLC: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978), 2. I believe in evolution, not organic evolution, as it is called, but in the evolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul of man. I believe in improvement.
THE ORIGIN OF MAN & ORGANIC EVOLUTIONSecular Supplement
Basic Assumptions of Evolution as a source of life.
Keith S. Thomson, "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist 70 (Sep/Oct 1982):529. Today we are less confident and the whole subject is in the most exciting ferment. Evolution is ... nagged from within by the troubling complexities [where is parsimony?] of genetic and developmental mechanisms and new questions about the central mysteryspeciation itself." (Professor of biology and dean of the graduate school at Yale University.)
Derek Ager, "Fossil Frustrations," New Scientist 100 (Nov 10, 1983):425. No paleontologist worthy of the name would ever date fossils by the strata in which they are found.... Ever since William Smith at the beginning of the 19th century, fossils have been and still are the best and most accurate method of dating and correlating rocks in which they occur. (Head of the Geology Department at Swansea University, Wales, and past president of the British Geological Association.)
O. H. Schindewolf, "Comments on Some Stratigraphic Terms," American Journal of Science 255 (Jun 1957):394. The only chronometric scale applicable in geologic history for the stratigraphic classification of rocks and for dating geologic events exactly is furnished by the fossils. Owing to the irreversibility of evolution, they offer an unambiguous time-scale for relative age determinations and for world-wide correlations of rocks. (Europes foremost paleontologist.)
Hollis D. Hedberg, "The Stratigraphic Panorama," Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 72 (Apr 1961):499. Merely in their role as distinctive rock constituents, fossils have furnished, through their record of the evolution of life on this planet, an amazingly effective key to the relative positioning of strata in widely separated regions and from continent to continent. (Presidential address at the societys annual meeting.)
Henry M. Morris, The Long War Against God, 27. ... even though the fossil record is interpreted in terms of evolution, there is no evidence of evolution in the fossils themselves, for they all fit neatly into families, orders, phyla, and other categories of the same classification system used for present-day plants and animals, and these are not evolving! Of course, there are many extinctions revealed in the fossils (e.g., the dinosaurs), but extinction is the polar opposite of evolution! In fact, there have been thousands of species extinctions during human history, but no new species evolved. Evolution seems to be going in the wrong direction!
The most significant feature about the fossil record is the utter absence of any true evolutionary transitional forms. Leading paleontologist S. M. Stanley, of John Hopkins, writes: "The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphological transition." [Steven M. Stanley, Macroevolution: Pattern and Process (San Francisco: W.M. Freeman, 1979), pg. 39.] He adds elsewhere: "Evolution happens rapidly in small, localized populations, so were not likely to see it in the fossil record." [Steven M. Stanley, "Resetting the Evolutionary Timetable." Interview by Neil A. Campbell, Bioscience 36 (Dec 1986):725.]
James H. Shea, "Twelve Fallacies of Uniformitarianism," Geology 10 (Sep 1982):456. ... much of Lyell's uniformitarianism, specifically his ideas on identity of ancient and modern causes, gradualism, and constancy of rate, has been explicitly refuted by the definitive modern sources as well as by an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that, as substantive theories, his ideas on these matters were simply wrong. [Editor of the Journal of Geological Education]
National Review, 19 Nov 1990, 13. Scientific American intended to hire Forrest Mims III to write a regular column on the mechanics of various modern contraptions, Mr. Mims's specialty for twenty years. What changed these plans was the discovery by editors of the journal that Mr. Mims is a Christian who does not entirely subscribe to the theories of evolution. These theories have nothing to do with what Mr. Mims would have been writing about, but they have the status of unshakable dogmas, verities to be revered rather than debated. "I would be against having such a person writing a column," one scientist told the New York Times, "because at the base, this philosophy could enter everything one does in science. And creationists are not doing science." True, religion isnt science, but neither is science religion. Evolution is a very plausible and illuminating theory, but it is nevertheless a theory, not a dogma. Those who would make it one are themselves not "doing science" either. Science requires more humility than that.
Alberta Report, February 3, 1997, "Letters to the Editors." An Evolutionist Recants. RE: "The End of Evolution" (re: an article in the Alberta Report December 23, 1996). Colin G. Atkins quoting Dr. Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History. Dr. Patterson says, and I quote ... "One of the reasons I started taking this anti-evolutionary view, or let's call it a non-evolutionary view, last year I had a sudden realization for over 20 years I had thought I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for 20 years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That's quite a shock to learn that one can be misled so long. Either there was something wrong with me or there was something wrong with the theory of evolution. Naturally, I knew there was nothing wrong with me, so for the last few weeks I've tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: Can you tell me anything about evolution, any one thing, that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminary in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists and all I got there for a long time was silence. Eventually one person said ... I do know one thing ... It ought not to be taught in high school. "
Here we have a leading evolutionist working among the greatest collection of fossils in the world for 20 years, and he admits he doesnt know one thing about evolution. Surely, with no evidence, evolution should be discarded and replaced by the are more obvious special creation by God. [?]
Church News, His Word Is Vindicated, September 11, 1971, 16. .. For a time it was thought that species changed from one to another. This was supposed to be concrete evidence that Genesis was false.
But then came the discovery of genes, and that theory changed. Genes were found to be the preservers of the species, so that corn was always corn, wheat was always wheat cats were always cats, and cows were always cows. And we might add, humans were always humans.
Writing in Evidences of God in an Expanding Universe, Dr. Gerald T. Den Hartog, former research specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says that progress has been made in obtaining biotypes WITHIN species, but adds: basically the plant species remain the same through the ages, regardless of selective processes, changes in climate and environment or persistent and widespread attacks by biological enemies. The Creator's mandate in Genesis 1 is being carried out to this very day.
Then he adds, Plant species have remained relatively unchanged over thousands of years. All X-ray and other studies indicate that there is no change in species. Plants reproduce after their kind UNFAILINGLY.
Dr. Walter Edward Lammerts, University of California geneticist, writing in the same book said, The science of genetics offers no evidence for belief in the two most basic assumptions of Charles Darwin.
Nancy Pearcey, Aren't They Human Embryos?, World, 7 October 2000, 17. They are, of course. But stem-cell research supporters persist in the discredited evolutionary argument that the embryonic life is something less than human. Supporters of the Clinton administration's new rules permitting federally funded research on embryonic stem cells have hailed the changes as a victory for science. But the science that some offer is outdated, discredited, and even dangerous.
Stem cells are typically taken from fetuses killed by abortions; others are obtained by destroying extra embryos left over from in vitro fertilization. Hence stem-cell research once again raises all the moral questions raised by abortion.
And once again, supporters claim the mantle of reason and science. In a recent column, Michael Kinsley dismisses moral objections as based on mere faith. By contrast, he writes, the voice of reason reveals that humans evolved originally from what was not humanand that, in a sense, we still do. In the development of the individual, Mr. Kinsley explains, something similar to evolution takes place, namely, that we each start out as something less than human, that the transformation takes place gradually.
This is a restatement of the old principle that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, the idea that the human embryo replays the steps of evolution. Nineteenth-century German biologist Ernst Haeckel, who coined the phrase, offered the now familiar illustration of embryos lined up side by side fish, reptile, bird, human.
The trouble is, the illustration was faked. His contemporaries charged Haeckel with fraud, and even today scientists note that he doctored his drawings to make the embryos appear more similar than they really are. In 1997, Science quoted a British embryologist calling Haeckel's drawings one of the most famous fakes in biology.
Yet the illustration still appears in most biology textbooks and, as a result, one sometimes hears the idea of recapitulation invoked explicitly to justify abortion. (After all, at that stage it's equivalent to a fish or a reptilean argument Haeckel himself used.) More commonly, the same idea appears in the fuzzy notion that at early stages the embryo is not fully human. Mr. Kinsley acknowledges that recapitulation has been debunked; but he still offers the fuzzy, folk version as support for stem-cell research.
The controversy over recapitulation is retold in Jonathan Wells's forthcoming Icons of Evolution, along with stories of several other well-known evidences for evolution that have been discredited. For example, everyone has seen illustrations of the evolutionary tree of life, showing how all living things supposedly arose from an original amoeba-like ancestor. There's only one problem: The fossil evidence contradicts the tree pattern.
In the fossil record, all the major groups of animals appear at about the same timewith no fossil evidence of common ancestry. This sudden appearance of life forms is called the Cambrian explosion, and paleontologists now say the pattern of life looks more like a lawn than a tree. A recent article in Scientific American was titled Uprooting the Tree of Life.
Another icon found in most textbooks is the Galapagos finches, which supposedly inspired Charles Darwin to frame his theory. Yet the finches actually refute his theory.
In the 1970s, after a drought hit the Galapagos Islands, researchers found that average beak size among the finches increased slightly (the thickness of a human thumbnail). Apparently, only larger birds could eat the tough, dry seeds that remained. This was hailed as a vivid demonstration of natural selection.
But in the early 1980s, heavy rains revived plant life on the islands, and the finch beaks returned to their original sizes. In other words, the change was merely a cyclical variation in an overall stable population. The finches provide no evidence that small changes can add up for long periods in a single direction, which is the heart of Darwin's theory.
Then there's Archaeopteryx, widely touted as the missing link between ancient reptiles and birds. Fossil evidence of true birds has been found earlier than Archaeopteryx, however, and consequently it has been demoted to an evolutionary dead-end.
Several other dino-birds have been proposed as the ancestor of modern birds, but none is widely accepted. Researchers are so desperate that some have actually presented reconstructions of dinosaurs with feathers painted oneven thought he fossil itself had no feathers at all. This comes close to outright deception.
The public deserves to know what's true and what's little more than hype, especially when it comes to a theory as influential as Darwinian evolutionand especially when that theory is used to promote an ethic that treats human life as expendable. Many of the best-known icons of evolution are outdated and discredited. Yet they continue to live on in textbooks and museum exhibitsand in moral arguments that devalue human life.
D. L. Cuddy, Federal Funding of Scientific Myths: Confusion on Evolution and AIDS, Human Events, 17 December 1988, 16. NASA has released a new report, Earth System Science: A Program for Global Change, which repeatedly presents evolution as a scientific fact, when the theory is actually a scientific myth.
On page 14 of the report, for example, is included the assertion that some three-and-a-half billion years ago primitive living cells evolved the process of photosynthesis and transformed the Earth's atmosphere into one dominated by free oxygen. The problem with this type of pronouncement is that even evolutionists Harry Clemmey and Nick Badham have acknowledged in Geology (March 1982) that there was oxygen in the precambrian atmosphere, which would have made it impossible for amino acids, life's basic elements, to bind together. Thus, how could any evolution have occurred?
It seems likely that a few at NASA have read molecular biologist Dr. Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, a book often advertised in Human Events and which I gave to former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett. The book details serious problems with the theory of evolution, and supports such questions as that raised by historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, who asked how the eye could simply have evolved when it had no survival value in its initial development stages (the principle of necessary immediate functionality of specialized organs).
Like NASA, the Smithsonian Institution is federally funded and has displayed a characterization of Archaeopteryx, which evolutionists have claimed is the transition from reptile to bird. That this artist's conception has been on display in the federally funded Smithsonian especially bothered the late Luther Sunderland, author of Darwin's Enigma,who gave me a copy of a letter he had received from evolutionist Colin Patterson, curator of the British Museum of Natural History (which has perhaps the greatest collection of fossils in the world), who admitted there is no scientific evidence of transitional life forms.
Dr. Paul LeMoine, an editor of L'Encyclopedie Francais, has stated that evolution is a fairy tale for adults. Yet it would seem that certain federally funded agencies have chosen to promote this scientific myth of evolution.
Sharon Begley, Science Contra Darwin: Evolution's founding father comes under new attack, Newsweek, April 8, 1985, 80-81. Ever since the famous Scopes monkey trial of 1925, at which Clarence Darrow and H. L. Mencken rained ridicule on Biblical accounts of creation, the theory of evolution has enjoyed the status of revealed truth for most of the educated public. But there are cracks in a fa┴ade. The great body of work deriving from Charles Darwin's revolutionary 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, is under increasing attackand not just from the creationists. Richard Lewontin of Harvard, a biologist of impeccably secular views, accuses Darwinists of telling Just So stories when they try to show how natural selection explains such novelties as long-necked giraffes. The editors of a new book assert that when it comes to accounting for life on earth, natural selection should be relegated here to the [explanation of] last resort.
Some critics go so far as to liken Darwinism to creationism because of its slipperiness: it does not make specific predictions about what sorts of organisms evolution will produce, they charge, and so is never vulnerable to disproof. Like creationism, Darwinian evolution can equally well explain any evolutionary history, says ichthyologist Donn Rosen of the American Museum of Natural History in New York in a recent book.. [Evolutionary Theory. Edited by J. W. Pollard, 271 pages, John Wiley. $37.95.] So heated is the debate that one Darwinian says there are times when he thinks about going into a field with more intellectual honesty: the used-car business.
Selection: The critics have taken on a formidable target, for Darwin changed the face of science forever. Without his theory, very little in biology makes sense. Evolution can explain why human embryos look like gilled fishes, why hummingbirds and gorillas both have backbones, why disease-causing bacteria have become immune to penicillin. To Darwinians, the key is natural selection. Random changes in the genes of an organism produce diversity within the species to which it belongs, something Darwin realized when he saw 13 different species of finches on the Galapagos Islands. Each had evolved a different beak shape, adapted to exploit a different flower, insect or other food. For any number of possible reasons adaptations to climate, sexual attractiveness or, like the finches, superiority in food gatheringsome members of a species are more likely to reproduce than others. Thus natural selection, once described as survival of the fittest, is now more acceptably stated as differential reproduction: different combinations of genes produce different degrees of reproductive success. Some creatures leave more offspring than others, passing on their genes to the next generations until new traits become dominant.
The new evolutionists are not seeking the complete overthrow of Darwin's theory; they accept the English naturalist's central idea that biological change, or the descent of a new species from an old one, occurs through a process called evolution. Instead, they are offering additions to or modifications of Darwin based on disciplines from thermodynamics to taxonomy. Next month adherents of the first approach will hold a conference in California on entropy and evolution. And the first issue of a quarterly journal called Cladistics, about the controversial new taxonomy of the same name, is now reaching subscribers.
One challenge to Darwin takes on the idea of gradualism the concept of evolution through the slow accumulation of genetic change. According to Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University and Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History, change is a fitful affair: species enjoy long periods of stasis punctuated by abrupt moments of changepunctuated equilibria, as their theory is now known. In his new book, Time Frames, to be published this month, Eldredge repeats his thesis that this scenario is much more the rule than the exception in the fossil record: the fossil trilobites (extinct marine arthropods) he studies, for instance, show no change at all for millions of years. But then they suddenly exhibit a striking new trait: a decrease in the number of lenses in the eye.
Random: Punctuated equilibria undermines a central premise of Darwinian evolution: the idea that many small changes in organisms over eons gradually add up to a new species. Instead, genetic changes might accumulate without affecting reproductive success, until some threshold is reached or another mechanism intervenes and a new trilobite suddenly appears. If such major change does not inevitably follow millions of years of small changes, then it becomes unpredictable, says paleontologist Steven Stanley of Johns Hopkins University. You have introduced a partly random componentand therefore weakened the theory.
Another failing of natural selection is that it ought to produce more diversity than in fact occurs. Natural selection accounts for giraffes, for instance, by explaining that creatures able to browse on tall trees out-competed short-necked brethren that had to fight many other animals for food in the bushes. But why are there no animals with wheels instead of legs? The answer, say many of Darwin's critics, can be found in embryology. Fetal development has been linked to evolution every since scientists recognized that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny: a developing embryo passes through stages that mimic the evolution of the species to which it belongs. A six-week human embryo thus resembles a fish because mammals, including humans, evolved from fish millions of years ago. Now many scientists are studying fetal development for clues to what sorts of creatures are possibleand impossible. In the case of wheeled animals, it seems, no embryological process appears capable of enlarging rotating cells, which some bacteria use to swim, into full-blown wheels.
Monarchs: Embryology might do more than shed light on what is possible: it sometimes provides a more plausible account than natural selection alone for some curious bits of evolution. For example, why do viceroy butterflies mimic the wing pattern of the unpalatable monarch? Darwinists answer that birds like to eat viceroys but not monarchs; therefore, viceroys that happened through mutation to look like monarchs were more likely to survive. But that does not answer why the viceroy evolved mimicry instead of a taste birds dislike. Embryologists have long known, however, that most butterfly-wing patterns are variations on a single theme, and that just a few gene changes produce a new pattern (which must still survive natural selection). This change is therefore more probable than the evolution of a new chemistry, which requires numerous DNA changes.
Other scientists tinker with Darwin by borrowing a page from the creationists' book. Adherents of the Biblical account sometimes ask how life could become so complex merely by natural processes, given the second law of thermodynamics, which says that systems become progressively more disordered. Surely a human brain is better organized than a primeval bacterium, they argue; therefore evolution violates physical law. Darwinians respond by noting that the law applies only to closed systems. Life, because it draws energy from the environment, is not subject to the law. But we didn't think that was good enough, says E. O. Wiley of the University of Kansas. He and Daniel Brooks of the University of British Columbia are trying to show how the second law predicts evolution. Although their theory is preliminary, they believe that the key lies in genes. When these bits of DNA replicate, they sometimes make mistakes, a source of mutations. That increases the number of possible traits. According to the second law, the greater the number of possibilities a system has, the greater its entropy, or disorder. So there is an inherent tendency for organisms to become more complex, says Wiley.
Orthodoxy: Darwin knew nothing about genes and little about fetal development, so did not suggest them as sources of or constraints on evolution. But nothing in is theory precludes their playing such a role, defenders note. Says Mark Ridley of Oxford University, I object only to being told that [the evolutionary import of embryology] ... topples some wretched orthodoxy.
Perhaps no challenge to the primacy of evolution is a virulent as one arising from a harmless-sounding question: how should organisms be grouped? Evolutionists use the familiar categories of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and so on. But a school of classification called cladistics (from the Greek clade, or branch), invented by the East German entomologist Willi Hennig 20 years ago, arranges the living world quite differently. Like traditional taxonomists, cladists group together animals with similar biochemical, morphological and other traits. But unlike evolutionists, they do not take into account which animals might share a common ancestorsomething that can be inferred from fossils but never proved. Fossils are just a bunch of bones at different time levels. [Ancestry is] something you fill in with your mind, says biologist Steve Farris of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who is also president of the three-year-old Hennig Society. Because cladists care about how many traits various groups of animals share today, not how they got that way, they are agnostic about evolution. Says Farris, You don't have to presuppose evolution to do cladistics.
Feathers: By disregarding ancestry, cladistics produces some surprises: it groups crocodiles with birds instead of lizards, for example. The reason, crocs' hearts and ankle joints resemble those of birds more than lizards, while traits that lizards and crocodiles do share, such as having four limbs or scaly skin, are too common to define a distinct group. Cladists also argue that obvious differences, such as crocs' lack of wings, are really similarities: wings are modified limbs and feathers are just a variation on scales.
Cladists' agnosticism with respect to evolution prompts some diehard Darwinians to accuse them of giving aid and comfort to the creationists. But other biologists welcome a debate that shows the true face of science. Far from being in the business of generating truth, says paleontologist Stanley, we're really only trying to approach it by successive approximations. Determining how closely their theories approximate the truth is the day-to-day business of science. Darwinian evolution may itself evolve into a form its author would scarcely recognize, but if that happens it will be because his is the standard against which all the rival theories are being measured for their resemblance to that elusive truth.
Church News, 6 November 1982, 7, re: Dr. Donald J. Spencer, (senior scientist with Aerospace Corp. and discoverer of the continuous chemical laser beam). He declared scientific clocks are completely wrong and that he accepts the creation account given in the scriptures. In his opinion, the Creator does not need to wait billions of years for evolution to produce suitable life forms when He can accomplish His work in a short time by using the resources available to Him.
The religionists have been the greater scientists. They have been ahead of the scientists who have come to agree with them except in the matter of time and the scientists' clock is all wrong. I'm convinced that compressed time is right.
George R. Hill III, Ensign, June 1993, 21. The theory of evolution as presently taught posits that higher forms of life arose gradually from lower stages of living matter. Inheritable genetic changes in offspring are assumed to be spontaneous rather than the result of arranged or directed forces external to the system.
This theory conflicts with a basic law of chemistry, the second law of thermodynamics, which states in part that it is not possible for a spontaneous process to produce a system of higher order than the system possessed at the beginning of the change.
An example of a spontaneous process is a boulder that dislodges from a mountaintop and rolls down the mountain. The only way to get the boulder back up the mountain (thereby increasing its height, or the order of the system) is for energy outside the system to be expendedsuch as someone directing the process by seeing that the rock is carried up the mountain.
One of the current explanations of the improvement in plant and animal species over time is that cosmic radiation caused genetic changes resulting in a higher order of offspring survivability than the parent possessed.
A number of years ago, a renowned biologist and geneticist told of an experiment he had directed in which grasshoppers in their various stages of growth had been subjected to radiation levels greater than that insect family had received during its existence. He said the experiment caused many genetic changes, including the loss of a foreleg, an antenna, or some other inheritable change. However, not one of those changes gave the offspring a greater viability or survivability than that of the parent.
Many Latter-day Saints recognize that the processes involved in evolution are valid. We see improved strains and varieties of plants and animals developed through judicious selection of their parents. But we would have to agree with those who understand the limitations defined in the second law of thermodynamics limitation that such changes can only occur if guided or if outside energy is available to improve the system.
We are in the very fortunate position of understanding that the Lord is in charge of the universe and that positive genetic changes can in fact occur under his direction. On the other hand, spontaneous improvements of the type hypothesized by devotees of current evolutionary theory remain an unsupported position.
Paul Recer, No Thumb Sucking: Differences in digits show birds, dinosaurs may not be cousins, Associated Press (Idaho Falls Post Register, Sunday, Oct 26, 1997, C1, C7). WashingtonA theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs may lose out by a thumb. New research shows that birds lack the embryonic thumb that dinosaurs had, suggesting it is almost impossible for the species to be closely related.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, made the discovery with a microscopic examination of stages of development in the embryos of birds. They show no vestige of a thumb that is present in primitive form in dinosaurs. We consider this to be unequivocal evidence that birds did not evolve directly from dinosaurs, said Alan Feduccia, chairman of biology at North Carolina and co-author of a study published Friday in the journal Science. He said the finding is only one piece of a growing body of evidence that disputes the long-held dinosaurs-to-birds theory.
The North Carolina findings are dismissed by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where the theory is enshrined as a part of a $30 million renovation that includes two dinosaur halls. There is a discrepancy between what the embryology tells us and what the fossils tell us, said Mark Norell, a museum scientist. But he noted: No one feature, such as the thumb, can sway things one way or the other. The museum, he said, still firmly believes that birds are living dinosaurs.
Other researchers, however, are less certain. The North Carolina work is very, very credible evidence, said John A. Ruben of Oregon State University in Corvallis. The idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs is definitely in trouble. Researchers who accept the bird-dinosaur connection, said Ruben, will have to chew this one over very carefully. Actually, I don't think there is enough evidence right now to say for sure where birds came from.
Finding the mismatched digits of birds and dinosaurs, said dinosaur expert Storrs L. Olson of Washington's Smithsonian Institution, is the end of it, as far as I am concerned. There is no way that birds and dinosaurs could be directly related.
The North Carolina study is based on the belief that animals sharing a common ancestry exhibit common features during embryonic formation. If birds are related to dinosaurs, there should be evidence in bird embryos of a thumb remnant. Relating bird embryos to the human hand, Ann C. Burke, a developmental biologist at North Carolina, said birds have only the equivalent of the forefinger, the middle finger and the third finger. To biologists, these would be known as digits two, three, and four. Dinosaurs had digits one, two, and three, with the thumb counting as one. Birds should have that it common, if, in fact, they share a common ancestry with dinosaurs, said Burke.
Norell of the American Museum of Natural History said the missing thumb does not explain a large number of other similarities that illustrate a bird-dinosaur relationship. He said there are dinosaurs that had wishbones, three-toed feet and cranial air sacks, all bird-like features. Feduccia counters that the earliest bird first lived 80 million years before the most bird-like dinosaurs cited by Norell and others. He also said dinosaurs had heavy bodies, powerful tails and small forearms, all features that would have made flight impossible.
Armin J. Hill, Dean of the College of Physical & Engineering Sciences, BYU, Some Matters To Keep in Mind When Treating Science and Religion (Provo, UT: BYU Extension Publications, April 1966), 5-6. Science has produced no evidence that at any time in the course of the development of life on earth has one kind of creature developed into another kind of creature. In fact, attempts to develop one species into another under carefully controlled laboratory conditions have succeeded about as well as the alchemist's attempts to turn lead into gold.
We have recently succeeded in developing new species of grasses, but only by the most careful manipulation of the genes which control hereditary processes. We are, therefore, a long, long way from being able to accept the glibly stated hypothesis which seem to be taken for granted that [simple life forms developed into complex life forms].
Armin J. Hill, Letters to My Missionary Son (Provo, UT: BYU Extension Publications, 1963, 2. We have been experimenting with the fruit flydrosophila melanogaster now for the equivalent of over thirty thousand years of human generations, using every known device to produce mutations. After all this, the experimenters have been forced to admit that though minor heritable variations may have been produced, the offspring is still a fruit fly.
Apparently we have here extensive proof that the scripture which says in regard to plant and animal life that each shall bear after its own kind is the statement of a fundamental law of nature.