Sorry about posting my article as a comment. I don't think this blog is Mac friendly. I couldn't cut and paste from Word.
With all of my research on man and his relationship with Deity, I find it harder and harder to believe in evolution. Some of the Church’s leading scholars and prophets have denounced the theory of evolution. Granted, the Brethren are entitled to their opinions, but it’s stifling to see how many of them reject the hypothesis. All of the quotes that I received from men like Bruce R. McConkie, B.H. Roberts, and Brigham Young, shut down the idea of man evolving from lower species. It is interesting to note though that there are so many Latter-Day Saints who have full faith in the theory of evolution. Most, if not all, of my Biology teachers here at B.Y.U. whole-heartedly believe in evolution. What I have noticed is that if you have the “PhD” in science behind your name, then you believe in evolution. I would be curious to know what the beliefs are of the Brethren who have PhDs and significant research background. Of course this wouldn’t lead to any concrete doctrine on whether or not evolution is real, but it would be an interesting study. Having said all this, I am not trying to disprove evolution in any way. Men are free to believe what they want. I am just presenting the information that I have come across when studying “Man’s relationship with God.” Here are a few of the quotes that I came across:“The plant is unable to advance its own tissue to the animal plane…In turn, animal matter can never become, even transitorily, part of a human body, except as the living man assimilates it, and by the vital processes of his own existence lifts, for the time being, the substance of the animal that supplies him food to the higher plane of his own existence…Through the operation of the laws obtaining in the higher kingdom man may be reached and lifted; himself he cannot save by his own unaided effort. A Redeemer and Savior of mankind is beyond all question essential. (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 27-28)”“There is not a son or daughter of Adam and Eve before me today but what is the offspring of that God we worship. He is our Heavenly Father. We are His children, Literally, Spiritually, Naturally, and in every respect. 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 the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be. (President Young’s address on Deity, vol. 1 Fred Collier’s Publishing 1999, p21-23)”On the flip side there are some quotes from the Brethren of the Church either defending, or protecting the thought provoking idea of evolution. I found a blog that has many good quotes from General Authorities and Church scholars who are sensitive to the theory of evolution. Here is the site: http://lehislibrary.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/lds-quotes-on-evolution/I will quote just a few of them to give you a taste:“When Dallin Oaks replaced Ernest Wilkinson as BYU president in August 1971, he soon learned of serious problems on campus regarding the role of evolution at the university. In his first address to the faculty in September he asked that guilty parties, particularly among members of the religion faculty, ’stop casting aspersions on [the] testimony and devotion of their colleagues’ in the sciences.”“Twenty-fours years later, during the dedication of the Eyring Science Center, Harvey Fletcher, then on the faculty of Columbia University, observed to the audience, ‘I think in most scientific societies this would be considered a most unusual thing, to dedicate to the Lord a building of science.’ But, he continued, God-fearing scientists ‘will eventually be saviors of our culture and civilization.’”“In mid-September 1977, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, with the cooperation of Religious Instruction, began offering a series of one-hour science and religion seminars…After the first two sessions, William O. Nelson, secretary to the Quorum of the Twelve, complained to Elder Benson, ‘The program is heavily weighted in favor of a pro-evolutionary approach.’ Benson shared Nelson’s memorandum with Elder Mark Petersen, who forwarded a copy to President Oaks, with the comment: ‘Some of the brethren have been very concerned about [this topic]…and, of course, hope that no evolution will be taught at the BYU under any circumstance.’ Oaks responded again that the university could not ‘ignore the theory of evolution…’” (Organic Evolution Controversy, Signature Books 1985).Perhaps the only reason why I don’t believe in evolution is because I can’t wrap my brain around the scientific evidence of genetics, geology, and biology. It is so complicated! All I can think of when someone mentions “evolution” is monkeys giving birth to humans. I feel like the only way that we could possible figure it out is if we were able to interview the “great” ones who saw it all. Men like Adam, Enoch, The Brother of Jared, Moses, Nephi, Alma, Mormon, Moroni, Joseph Smith, and of course Jesus Christ. It wouldn’t hurt to learn from Benjamin Franklin too.
To each their own, men have agency in all things. I do agree that the only way we will know the truth of the matter is the day when we can ask someone who for sure knows. Until then I don't think it's worth arguing about - only forming our own opinions.
I fully agree.
No worries about posting your blog as a comment. I thought it was well written. Understanding the mechanism of evolution is tough to do. I just watched a movie called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stein. It was really interesting, anyway on interview with a prominent evolutionary biologist stated that due to his studying of evolution he lost his faith in god and became atheist. I think that is pretty extreme. Evolution is a mechanism of change but there is so much more that we do not currently know that possibly works with evolution to cause the change. I just don’t stress about it and when it all said and done that will be a question I ask for sure.
I think it is important to clarify your definition of the word evolution. If you're denying that the fossil record indicates change over time, I would urge you to recheck your facts. However, if by not "believing in evolution" you mean that you don't necessarily agree in the mechanism proposed by Darwin that is something else entirely.As far as official Church statements, check out the infamous packet put together by BYU. The official position of the church has shifted from slightly against(?) (that's my interpretation) to entirely neutral. Anything else that you can dig up is personal opinion, not revelation and certainly not binding.
I think that church doctrine is often lost in the opinions of good church leaders. this isn't necessarily bad, but it is important to remember that just because someone said something doesn't make it equal to scripture or doctrine. Only statements given by the current(at the time given) First Presidency and signed by all three men are actual doctrine. Don't worry if the opinions, even strong ones, of others confuse you or seem to contradict. They are only opinions after all. What I do is gather as much intelligence (and I don't use this word lightly, I mean, facts, knowledge, experience, and revelation) as I can and then I apply prayer and reasoning. You may not always get a central truth answer, but I believe that you come closer and closer with time.
how nice would it be to niterview the great ones! i try to find the middle ground of the two. god works by the laws he set and evolution is part of that. at the same time there is a very distinct difference between animal and human. maybe there was some turning point? pray about it :)
Reading this post makes me think about the different conversations I've had among different people. As a biology major everybody you talk to seems to think that evolution is the only logical explanation and creationism seems ridiculous. Then at the end of the week while at church you talk to those who think that the only explanation to how we are here is by God's creation and evolution is a ridiculous notion. I normally find myself defending the other side depending on whom I am talking to, whether I am at school or church. It is just interesting how beliefs among this subject is so diverse among members. I guess it really doesn't matter to us at this moment and we will learn truth when it is necessary for us to know it.
There are many statements by Brigham Young and Bruce R. McConkie that I believe are divinely inspired, and there are some that I have a hard time believing. I guess it's up to each one of us to decide. I just wonder what we should do once we've decided. Should we be active proponents of our position, or should we try to let others form their positions uninfluenced by others? I think it's impossible to form an uninfluenced opinion, but how much should we try to influence others?
I agree that we will never know the exact answer until the second coming. I also agree that whatever authorities have said that are not in the BYU packet are simply opinion and do not and should not influence my own opinion in any way. I find it very hard to disprove evolution. I have seen to much in the natural world to deny it. There is much that evolution as done to forward modern medicine and such. but I also allow others to form their own ideas as well. I leave it in God's hands to let us know how he created this world.
I would say if you ever have any questions about the meshing religion and the theory of evolution, go talk to Dr. Duane Jeffreys on the 5th floor of the WIDB. He's one of the evolutionary biology professors, and he will be able to give you a lot of really good church sponsored material that supports and explains evolution in the light of religion. Overall, I really enjoyed the blog.