The Interpreter Foundation sponsored a conference on November 9, 2013, entitled “Science & Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth & Man” in Provo, Utah. It was filmed. Videos of each of the presentations are now available for free viewing on The Interpreter Foundation’s YouTube channel, or at MormonInterpreter.com. They are also embedded below. [Read more…]
One of the criticisms often leveled at the Church and the restored gospel, and even more broadly at Christianity in general, is that it is “behind the times” with regards to science. Critics point to past teachings that coincide with creation, evolution, genetics and DNA, archaeology, paleontology, geology, neurology, and other areas to show how “out of touch” and “out of date” the Church is in these areas. These criticisms are even pointed toward teachings we find in the temple, particularly those regarding the creation of the Earth and of mankind. Some have lost their faith over what they view as the “incompatibilities” of modern science and the gospel. This need not be. [Read more…]
For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth… And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. (Moses 3:5, 9)
I have written a couple articles in recent weeks about some of my first impressions on subjects that are sometimes seen as dividing points between Church “doctrine” and scientific discovery. These subjects were the age of the Earth, which I thought could reasonably be found to be billions of years old and therefore agree with the findings of science while not contradicting the doctrines of the gospel or the teachings of the Church. The other subject was death before the Fall, which I also thought could reasonably be found that there has been life and death on the Earth for billions of years and therefore concur with the findings of science while not contradicting the doctrines of the gospel or the teachings of the Church. In both cases, the subjects can be in harmony both with science and our religion. Those posts were only the beginning of some of my first thoughts on these matters, are not comprehensive or exhaustive. Likewise here I will try to give some first thoughts on evolution, perhaps the most hotly debated subject with regards to science and the Church, and religion in general. [Read more…]
This is a follow-up to “The Age of the Earth” post, although I suppose that one was really laying the groundwork for this one. This is where everything comes to a head (like the one shown here). Was there death before the Fall of Adam and Eve? It is a very delicate question, because there are very strong feelings on many sides of the issue, some of which may have tremendous gospel implications as well. So here we will tread lightly, and attempt to not make any dogmatic conclusions. I’m not sure I have any besides. These are simply some first impressions on the subject. Because that is the case, we will ask more questions here than we attempt to answer in any substantial way.
This is a point of presumed doctrine in LDS belief that causes consternation for many members. Similar to the age of the Earth question, it causes cognitive dissonance for some, insofar that some even lose their faith in the Church, and even leave the Church. I perceive that this should not be. There are answers, even if preliminary, to most of these difficult questions. It should also be noted that questions such as these are not necessarily central to the gospel, nor to our salvation, but they do affect some people’s ability to function in the Church because of the cognitive dissonance it causes them.
The belief, as I introduced above, is that there was no death before the Fall of Adam and Eve. No death, period. On the other hand, the world and its legions of scientists of all stripes inform us that there were dinosaurs, dating back 230 million years, with bones scattered in all parts of the world (one of the largest caches is located right here in Vernal, Utah). There were trilobites, perhaps the most common fossil, dating back 526 million years (again, one of the richest quarries is just west of Delta, Utah, where you can actually “farm” for trilobites to take home.) There were ancient forests, plant life, zooplankton, and algae, dating back millions of year, which helped give us the crude oil that powers much of our world today. There are even bones of hominids that used stone tools that most scientists concur died a couple million years ago. Indeed, there are even bones of anatomically modern humans that have been dated to up to 200,000 years old (see the image above). [Read more…]
I recently came across an issue that has troubled some members of the Church. It is simply that some scriptures and the words of some Church leaders seem to indicate that the Earth is only about 6000-7000 years old, and that there was no death before the Fall of Adam and Eve. This causes significant cognitive dissonance for some because it seems clear from geologic and biologic evidences that the Earth has been around for much longer than that, with birth and death throughout. Because of the conflict between these two thoughts, it has caused some to even lose their faith and leave the Church. Let’s explore these issues some more and see if there is a reasonably plausible solution or reconciliation of these views. [Read more…]