39) FACT OF EVOLUTION: Is organic evolution, more recently coined macroevolution, an established fact? Has science proven evolution to be true? Are all credible scientists evolutionists?

Commentary

Author: James F. Stoddard III and L. Hannah Stoddard

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It has become fashionable over the last fifty or so years to refer to evolution as an established fact. This cry has become even more intense in recent years. Many, even at Church schools declare that the debate has ended, the scriptures and prophets have been found wanting and evolution has triumphed. This is one such example:

In LDS-oriented email discussion lists, blogs and other online forums, and even in some LDS scholarly writings, it is not at all unusual to see vigorous debates about evolution, the age of the earth, or what various LDS general authorities have said pro or con on these topics. I must confess that I find these discussions to be rather tiresome at this point in time. I think it is high time we accepted natural processes such as evolution as the means by which the creation was performed and moved on. . . . Here is why. Once one could reasonably argue that there are uncertainties in geological dating, or that there are many “missing links” in the fossil record, or that the fundamental mechanisms of heredity and evolution are not known.But now things are different. 1

Statements such as the above are very common and are becoming the norm. Is the debate truly over? Has revelation been proven to be in error? First we must define some basic terms and place them in relation with scriptural language. The terms microevolution and macroevolution are modern terms. They were coined by a Russian entomologist in 1927, came into the English speaking world in 1937 and have gone through revisions through the years.Currently some scientists feel that they should be discarded entirely.Generally speaking, microevolution is used to describe small changes that can be seen over time when a living organism adapts to its environment.Macroevolution on the other hand, deals with large changes as in the change from one animal kind to another kind.The majority of claimed evidence for evolution is really evidence for small change.

The problem here, is that there is no debate over small change.Creationists, the word of God and prophets have always supported adaptation.In fact, typically those subscribing to the Creationist view believe that change occurs far more quickly than do those supporting Darwinism.For instance, prophets of God have taught that there was probably only one kind of dog on the ark, and that one dog kind is responsible for the various varieties that we see today.Science also fits well with this. Please see Noah’s Flood: Washing Away Millions of Years.The scriptural account does not contradict the beeks of birds changing size, the color of butterflies changing, or a wolf being bred through many generations to be a poodle.The issue rather is that the word of God proclaims and prophets testify that one kind cannot, according to the laws of God, change into another kind.It is what is termed macroevolution that contradicts scripture and the word of prophets.Most statements coming from the Lord’s mouthpieces denouncing evolution were made prior to the word microevolution coming into vogue.Therefore, when the statements made by most of the Brethren denouncing evolution were made, the term microevolution was not in use.Again, Joseph Fielding Smith and others believed in adaptation.They also understood domestic breeding and the changes that occur in the wild over time.The contradiction is in the fundamental principles of Darwinism and NeoDarwinism.These principles are often stated much like this:

  1. All life originated and diversified through chance
  2. All organisms are descended from a single common ancestor in the distant past
  3. An unguided process of natural selection has the power to produce fundamentally new forms of life through random mutations
  4. Uniformitarianism or the principle that the present is the key to the past should be used in understanding the earth and all things in the universe
  5. There is no purpose or design in the universe

Each of these points is completely counter to the word of God as is demonstrated repeatedly in this FAQ compilation.So again the question, has the word of God beenproven to be in error?Is the case closed?

Despite all the rhetoric, the above stated principles of NeoDarwinism have not been proven to be true.In fact, there is great debate among scientists.Many are not aware that a document critical of NeoDarwinism and evolution has been signed by more than 700 scientists, all with PhDs. This is a link to the statement and a downloadable document of the signatures. A new documentary video came out in 2008, Expelled, which discusses the reasons for why more scientists have not come out against Darwinism.Scientists are losing their jobs and being silenced for sharing evidence that contradicts the agnostic claims of the current scientific establishment in the United States and elsewhere. Additionally, we have provided other products on this site that support the Word of God as found in scriptures and prophetic writings.Even if there was not one scientist in the world who supported the scriptural word, however, it would not matter.Truth is truth, whether anyone believes in it or not.President Spencer W. Kimball bore this prophetic and timely witness:

“The Gods organized the earth of materials at hand, over which they had control and power.This truth is absolute.A million educated folk might speculate and determine in their minds that the earth came into being by chance. The truth remains.The earth was made by the Gods…opinions do not change that.The Godsorganized and gave life to manandplaced him on the earth.This is absolute. It cannot be disproved.A million brilliant minds might conjecture otherwise, but it is still true.” 2

President Joseph Fielding Smith also testified that the judgements and speculations being made on earth are of no matter.There is an eternal judge and court being held in the heavens:

“. . . so they guess that once many millions of years ago, life must have come on the earth spontaneously.They have no proof, they can discover no proof, and before any court where justice is dispensed and evidence is required, their case would have to be thrown out of court.In all seriousness, their case has been thrown out of court before the Just Judge who rules both on earth and in the heavens; and the day is not far distant when the advocates of this pernicious doctrine will have to answer for the countless souls they have blinded by their craftiness and turned away from worshiping the Living God!” 3

It is very curious the lengths that pseudo-science will take attempting to prove that all things came about by chance without a divine Creator.They search the world over, spending many billions of dollars for shreds of supposed evidence.This relentless search was observed by President Joseph Fielding Smith.

I repeat that if the doctrine of organic evolution were based in truth, there would be no need to search the world over for the remains of “missing links.”The world would be full of them.They would be walking our streets, and as William Jennings Bryan has said, the hypothesis of evolution “would find support on every foot of the earth’s surface.”As it is, the advocates of this pernicious theory go to the most ridiculous lengths and resort to the most absurd conclusions based on imaginary discoveries and fables.They are possessed with imaginary minds and when the facts fail them, as the facts always do, they can create species and groups and supply missing parts which in their imaginations disappeared millions of years ago. 4

This frantic search was even observed with contempt by ancient prophets. Paul in the New Testament observing our day stated:

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 5

Moroni making a similar observation of our day noted:

Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts . . . .O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?. . .“Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?” But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man. 6

These scriptures clearly testify of the truth, but can the scriptures be trusted?Can we rely upon the scriptural word, or is religion evolving as some have proposed.In closing, President Joseph Fielding Smith testified:

“So far as the philosophy and wisdom of the world are concerned, they mean nothing unless they conform to the revealed word of God. Any doctrine, whether it comes in the name of religion, science, philosophy, or whatever it may be, if it is in conflict with the revealed word of the Lord, will fail. It may appear plausible. It may put before you in language that appeals and which you may not be able to answer. It may appear to be established by evidence that you cannot controvert, but all you need to do is to abide you time. Time will level all things. You will find that every doctrine, every principle, no matter how universally believed, if it is not in accord with the divine word of the Lord to his servants, will perish. Nor is it necessary for us to try to stretch the word of the Lord, in a vain attempt to make it conform to these theories and teachings. The word of the Lord shall not pass away unfulfilled , but these false doctrines and theories will all fail. Truth and only truth, will remain when all else has perished. The Lord has said, “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” 7

Prophetic Statements

The First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund)

Our religion is not hostile to real science. That which is demonstrated, we accept with joy; but vain philosophy, human theory and mere speculations of men, we do not accept nor do we adopt anything contrary to divine revelation or to good common sense. But everything that tends to right conduct, that harmonizes with sound morality and increases faith in Deity, finds favor with us no matter where it may be found. 8

Joseph Fielding Smith

#1: I repeat that if the doctrine of organic evolution were based in truth, there would be no need to search the world over for the remains of “missing links.” The world would be full of them. They would be walking our streets, and as William Jennings Bryan has said, the hypothesis of evolution “would find support on every foot of the earth’s surface.” As it is, the advocates of this pernicious theory go to the most ridiculous lengths and resort to the most absurd conclusions based on imaginary discoveries and fables. They are possessed with imaginary minds and when the facts fail them, as the facts always do, they can create species and groups and supply missing parts which in their imaginations disappeared millions of years ago.

It is unnecessary to continue this phase of the subject more than to say that in all of these “finds” the wish has been father to the thought, so overly anxious have these “discoverers” been to find some connecting links between man and the lower animals that would give evidence of a common origin. These “missing links” have not been forthcoming and the plotters have been forced to resort to fraud and deception to bolster up their futile attempts to prove aSatan-inspired cause, the real purpose being to destroy faith in God.Verily the words of our Lord are true and made manifest in this last dispensation with confirmation in the actions of men: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deed should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” 9

#2: “As long as men of science ignore the light of truth and have no faith in the Divine Creator will search the hard way to find out the works of the Lord and will formulate false theories which may prove both harmful and pernicious in that they will guide their fellows who accept them away from the revealed plan leading to eternal life.” 10

#3: “Question asked of Joseph Fielding Smith: “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.”

President Smith’s Answer: 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 on 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. Some modern scientists even claim that it is a billion years old. Naturally, since I believe in modern revelation, I cannot accept these so-called scientific teachings, forI believe them to be in conflict with the simple and direct word of the Lord that has come to us by divine revelation.” 11

#4: Briefly we will consider the lower part of the bone formation. The skeleton of the lower part of the body is attached to the pelvis, a basin-shaped structure of very strong bones. These bones help to balance the body and like the ribs form a protection for certain other vital parts of the body. To the pelvis the femur, or upper bone of the leg, is attached. This bone like the bone of the upper arm is formed with a ball-shaped end that fits into a socket in the pelvis bone. This gives multiple movement of the leg as the shoulder socket does to the arm, where multiple movement is most needed, and we may be sure thatthis was no accident and not due to “emergent evolution,” a meaningless term manufactured to bolster up a faulty theory—but the intelligent work of the Divine Creator.We might imagine—yet that would be a great stretch of the imagination—that nature might have made one joint connecting two bones but the relation between bone and bone, each part being built in a definite way to serve the definite purpose, and this occurring scores of times,we are forced to the conclusion that all of this came by design and not by “emergency,” or chance.This is just too much to believe, and there is no real evidence sustaining it. We might as well say—to use a familiar comparison—that the wheels, joints and springs in a watch came by means of chance, or that the lense in a telescope just happened to grow there. It would be just as consistent! The femur, or upper leg, is joined to the fibula, or lower leg bone at the knees, and like the hand, wrist and arm, it is attached at the knee by design thus giving free movement to the leg, and this was no accident. Moreover, the lower or fibula bone is attached to the bones of the ankle and the ankle to the foot and the foot to the toes thus composing a flexible system to make walking easy. That the bones of the arm, wrist, hand and fingers correspond in large measure in their unity to the leg, ankle, foot and toes, is evidence that should be good in any court of justice thatthey did not reach that condition by any law of chance.

“These modernists, who are instructing and leading astray the people of this and other lands, reject the doctrine of the atonement of Christ; they reject the resurrection of the Son of God and consequently the resurrection of all mankind. They have discarded entirely the miracles of the scriptures and make light of the saving ordinances of the gospel which the Lord declared to be so essential to our salvation; and in the stead thereof they have accepted the theories and notions advanced by modern scientists which are evidently false, and have taken to their hearts and hugged to their bosoms the falsehoods set forth in the theories of evolution and of higher criticism of the scriptures. And why have they done this thing? Because the simple truth, which is understood by the Spirit of God and not understood and comprehended by the spirit of man, does not appeal to their reason.” 12

#5: “These theories [of organic evolution] taught in our schools should be taught only as theories for they can be nothing more. Unfortunately as previously said, they are presented by many instructors as though they were well established facts, with a positive assurance that belongs only to established truth. Between belief in God and the fact that he has directed and does direct his servants by revelation, vision, and personal visitation, and the theories based on organic evolution, there is a gulf that can never be bridged. These theories are man-made deductions but the testimony of the prophets are actual facts, attested by sufficient witnesses, according to the decree of the Almighty, and thus it becomes incumbent upon every soul unto whom these testimonies come to carefully weigh them in the spirit of humility and prayer by which the knowledge of the truth may be received, and then accepted.” 13

#6: “. . . so they guess that once many millions of years ago, life must have come on the earth spontaneously.They have no proof, they can discover no proof, and before any court where justice is dispensed and evidence is required, their case would have to be thrown out of court.In all seriousness, their case has been thrown out of court before the Just Judge who rules both on earth and in the heavens; and the day is not far distant when the advocates of this pernicious doctrine will have to answer for the countless souls they have blinded by their craftiness and turned away from worshiping the Living God!” 14

#7: “So far as the philosophy and wisdom of the world are concerned, they mean nothing unless they conform to the revealed word of God. Any doctrine, whether it comes in the name of religion, science, philosophy, or whatever it may be, if it is in conflict with the revealed word of the Lord, will fail. It may appear plausible. It may put before you in language that appeals and which you may not be able to answer. It may appear to be established by evidence that you cannot controvert, but all you need to do is to abide you time. Time will level all things. You will find that every doctrine, every principle, no matter how universally believed, if it is not in accord with the divine word of the Lord to his servants, will perish. Nor is it necessary for us to try to stretch the word of the Lord, in a vain attempt to make it conform to these theories and teachings. The word of the Lord shall not pass away unfulfilled , but these false doctrines and theories will all fail. Truth and only truth, will remain when all else has perished. The Lord has said, “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” 15

#6: “. . . so they guess that once many millions of years ago, life must have come on the earth spontaneously.They have no proof, they can discover no proof, and before any court where justice is dispensed and evidence is required, their case would have to be thrown out of court.In all seriousness, their case has been thrown out of court before the Just Judge who rules both on earth and in the heavens; and the day is not far distant when the advocates of this pernicious doctrine will have to answer for the countless souls they have blinded by their craftiness and turned away from worshiping the Living God!” 16

#7: I repeat that if the doctrine of organic evolution were based in truth, there would be no need to search the world over for the remains of “missing links.”The world would be full of them.They would be walking our streets, and as William Jennings Bryan has said, the hypothesis of evolution “would find support on every foot of the earth’s surface.”As it is, the advocates of this pernicious theory go to the most ridiculous lengths and resort to the most absurd conclusions based on imaginary discoveries and fables.They are possessed with imaginary minds and when the facts fail them, as the facts always do, they can create species and groups and supply missing parts which in their imaginations disappeared millions of years ago. 17

Again I repeat, no man can consistently accept the doctrine of the evolutionist and also believe in the divine mission of our Redeemer. The two thoughts are in absolute conflict. You cannot harmonize them and serve both masters. 18

You cannot be a faithful member and reject the scriptures—Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price—for these are the standards of our faith. If you accept them you cannot accept organic evolution, for they are diametrically opposed. 19

From whence came man? What is his destiny? It is to me exceedingly strange that men will travel so far… and reject the truth at their door. For an answer to these questions, why not accept the statement of the One who knows? This knowledge is within the reach of all. The story is a simple one, but its grandeur is as far above the doctrine of the evolutionist as the heavens are above the depths of hell. 20

Organic evolution is the branch of evolution that deals with the development of plant and animal life. According to its teachings all plants and animals have come up through a long line of successive changes from a common ancestry.

It makes little difference whether the evolutionist decides on the amoeba or on the larvae of an ascidian for his beginning, the insuperable difficulties are just the same. It requires a vast stretch of the imagination, far beyond the realms of reason, for one to accept such a theory as this. Let us suppose for the sake of argument, that the first speck of life was an amoeba. We can suppose—for that is in keeping with the entire doctrine of organic evolution, for its entire structure is based on supposition, and cannot be based on anything else—so , we will suppose, that back several millions or billions of years—no one was there to watch the process by which this speck of life came spontaneously into existence—the amoeba suddenly appeared and multiplied, as the amoeba will do, and after millions of years, it, or one of its descendants began to develop fins, then a head and then a tail and after several more millions of years it became a fish, or a tadpole, or a brachiopod, or a trilobite, or a snail, even a worm—it makes no difference which, one guess is as good as another—and becoming tired of the water it came out upon the land, leaving its companions to develop into aquatic animals, while it dug itself in the soil and became a plant, a fern, a rose bush or a tree. Then another, discovering that the land was pleasant, also came forth from the water and became a frog, a toad, a lizard or a snake and in course of time its descendant became a tiger, a lion, a bear, an elephant, dinosaur or a little timid lamb; perhaps it took to the air as a dove, a robin, a hawk or an eagle.

Why go any farther? Does it not all sound extremely ridiculous? Well, so it is! Yet it is this kind of rubbish that is put forth apparently in all seriousness. Books are written about it; lectures are given in class rooms, from pulpits and platforms, and thousands of well meaning people say they believe it! Then again the question arises: Each of these animals had to have a companion, and we find ourselves in a quandary to discover just why and how both males and females came into existence, both in the animal world and among trees and other vegetation. So we find ourselves floundering in the depths of an unfathomable hypothesis about which no one has ever been able to do more than to make an uncertain guess. Others of this amoeba’s descendants became a bee, a wasp or a grasshopper, a gnat or a fly. Among these wonderful mutations there also came forth a monkey, then a baboon, a gorilla and then man!

My dear friends, cannot you see how utterly foolish it all is? Why is it that thousands of intelligent looking human beings are willing to accept these stupid teachings? Frankly it is because Satan has deceived them and they love darkness rather than the light. 21

Harold B. Lee

President Harold B. Lee was a strong supporter of Joseph Fielding Smith’s bookMan, His Origin and Destiny.President Lee also taught the following in a First Presidency Message as the President of the Church:

“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 scripture 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….’ ” 22[ 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.” 23

Spencer W. Kimball

“The Gods organized the earth of materials at hand, over which they had control and power.This truth is absolute.A million educated folk might speculate and determine in their minds that the earth came into beingby chance.The truth remains.The earth was made by the Gods…opinions do not change that.The Godsorganized and gave life to manandplacedhim on the earth.This is absolute.It cannot be disproved.A million brilliant minds might conjecture otherwise, but it is still true.” 24

Ezra Taft Benson

#1: “I know one noble father who reviews with his children regularly what they have been taught, and if they have been taught any falsehoods; then the children and the father together research out the truth…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 Smith’s excellent rebuttal in his bookMan, His Origin and Destiny.” 25

#2: “We have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ.Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoodsin socialism,organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, and so forth.” 26

Gordon B. Hinckley

“When I was a college student there were many discussions on the question of organic evolution. I took classes in geology and biology and heard the whole story of Darwinism as it was then taught. I wondered about it. I thought much about it.But I did not let it sway me, for I read what the scriptures said about our origins and our relationship to God.” 27

Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist

William Bradshaw

#1: “Evolution stands on very secure ground.The hard data supporting it are numerous and varied.It is no less a satisfying and compelling explanation for the diversity of living things than is the notion of gravity for explaining the behavior of falling objects.. . . It is true that there is debate and there are differences of opinion, but not about whether or not evolution occurred.There is agreement on the fact of evolution; the differences focus on how it took place.It is the mechanism of the process that is under scrutiny.The recent reinvestigation of evolutionary mechanisms has revitalized the field, and the vigorous exchange between scientists with different points of view is seen as very healthy and a necessary part of the process for arriving at a clearer understanding of the process.” 28

#2: “And that is the simple essence of science.No idea is sacred.No statement is the ultimate truth.It is in the very nature of things that precious few ideas put forth to date in science have entirely withstood the test of time.Evolutionis one.So is the idea that the world is round.

This simple prediction—that there is one grand pattern of similarity linking up all life—doesn’tproveevolution.But the failure of scientists todisproveevolution over the past two hundred years of comparative biological research means that evolution really is one of the few grand ideas of biology that has stood the test of time.The basic notion of evolution is thoroughly scientific in the strictest sense of the word, and as such is as highly corroborated and at least as powerful as the notion of gravity or the idea that the earth is round, spins on its axis, and revolves around the sun.” 29 30

David H. Bailey

In LDS-oriented email discussion lists, blogs and other online forums, and even in some LDS scholarly writings, it is not at all unusual to see vigorous debates about evolution, the age of the earth, or what various LDS general authorities have said pro or con on these topics.I must confess that I find these discussions to be rather tiresome at this pointin time.I think it is high time we accepted natural processes such as evolution as the means by which the creation was performed and moved on.. . .Here is why.Once one could reasonably argue that there are uncertainties in geological dating, or that there are many “missing links” in the fossil record, or that the fundamental mechanisms of heredity and evolution are not known.But now things are different. 31

Scripture

Romans 1:21–23
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

Mormon 8:35–9:17
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shownyouuntome, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts . . . .Oyepollutions,yehypocrites,yeteachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why haveyepolluted the holychurchofGod?. . .“Who shall say that it was not a miraclethat by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?”But behold, I will show unto you a God ofmiracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same Godwho created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.Behold, he created Adam, and byAdamcame thefallof man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came theredemptionof man.”

Supporting Statements

Boyd K. Packer

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! 32

Many Church members are entirely unaware that fundamental doctrines cannot co-exist with a belief that man evolved from lower forms of life….

If man is but an animal, then logic favors freedom without accountability or consequence. Had man evolved from animals, there could have been no fall, no law broken, no penalty, no need for a mediator.

The ordinance of baptism would be an empty gesture since it is for a remission of sins. Many who perceive organic evolution to be law rather than theory do not realize they forsake the Atonement in the process…. If the theory of evolution applies to man, there was no Fall and therefore no need for an atonement, nor a gospel of redemption, nor a redeemer. 33.

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?

Try as you may, you cannot harmonize the theories of men with the inspired words that say:

“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And 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.

“And they [meaning Adam and Eve] would have had no children; wherefore 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.

“But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.” [2 Ne. 2:22–26]

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 Lord’s 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 man, all forms of life, and the earth itself. 34

Russel M. Nelson

“How were we made? By whom? And why?Through the ages, some without scriptural understanding have tried to explain our existence by pretentious words such as ex nihilo (out of nothing). Others have deduced that, because of certain similarities between different forms of life, there has been an organic evolution from one form to another. Many of these have concluded that the universe began as a “big bang” that eventually resulted in the creation of our planet and life upon it.

To me, such theories are unbelievable! Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary? It is unthinkable! Even if it could be argued to be within a remote realm of possibility, such a dictionary could certainly not heal its own torn pages or renew its own worn corners or reproduce its own subsequent editions!

We are children of God, created by him and formed in his image. At least 55 verses of scripture attest to our divine creation. I have selected one to represent all the verses that convey the same conclusion:

“The Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness. …

“So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them” 35

I believe all of those scriptures that pertain to the creation of man. The decision to believe is a spiritual one, not made solely by an understanding of things physical, for we read that “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” 36

It is incumbent upon each informed and spiritually attuned person to help overcome such foolishness of men who would deny divine creation or think that man simply evolved. By the Spirit, we perceive the truer and more believable wisdom of God.” 37

Mark E. Peterson

A week ago a young man told me about the trial that came to him in school. Some of the teachings he received from an instructor who had no faith appeared to have weakened the faith of this young man. I am always sorry when I hear about teachers in our public schools who try to destroy the faith of our young people. It always grieves me to hear of instances like this. . . .

I appeal to our young folk to realize that true science is not anti-religion, and that there is no unity among the scientists with respect to many things now being taught by some instructors who interpret them to mean that there is no God. Science has never come to a unity of understanding on that point, young people, so do not be disturbed by the godless teachings you may get in the classroom. I would like you to know that some of the great scientists, many of them, in fact, are devoted believers in God, and some of them have declared that atheism has no place among the true scientists.

I tell you there is nothing outmoded about faith in God, and when you go to school, you do not need to believe everything that is told you by these faithless men, whether in philosophy or science classes. You do not need to accept their evidence alone. And if you are disturbed by their persistence in teaching you these false things, just ask yourself the question: Which is the greater scientist, your instructor or Dr. Robert A. Millikan? Ask yourself, who is the greater scholar, your instructor or Lord Kelvin? Ask yourself, who is the greater authority, your instructor or Dr. Arthur H. Compton, or some of the other scientists who give the lie to the teachings of these men who say there is no God.

I shall never forget when I was in a sociology class I saw the professor, a short, bald-headed, bewhiskered man stand there in front of our class and actually defy us to believe in God. He defied us to believe in a special creation or that man is a child of God. I have always understood that it was against the law to discuss religion in the schools. But these men apparently claim academic privilege of some kind academic freedom, I think they call it in taking the right to destroy the very faith which the law prohibits us from teaching in the public schools. And when they do it, I think they are in violation of the spirit of the law, just as much as if they were teaching religion. Young people, remember the great men of the world believe in God.

We do not get our faith from science, however, and I hope you will never take the position that we must even seriously regard what science says about religion. Faith comes by revelation. No matter what science might do to promote religious faith, it can never save a man. Salvation comes through revelation and the power of God restored to men in these last days. And that revelation is available. That revelation has come. The power of God and his priesthood are now here among men and salvation comes through them.

When you go to school, you study mathematics or chemistry or some foreign language. You do not just take the teacher’s word for what is given there. When you study mathematics, you actually work out the equations and know by working them out that they are true. And when you study chemistry, you learn about the truths of that subject by actually performing the experiments that are given to you, and by performing them you discover the truth of the principles you are taught. But if you went to school all your life and did not study mathematics you would never know anything about that subject, would you? You might go to school all your life and never learn one thing about chemistry, unless you studied chemistry. And you can be in this Church all your life, and never know what this Church teaches unless you study it.

Will you not take the advice of Brother Kirkham and study your own religion? Open the pages of the Bible; read there of the hand dealings of God to man. Read there of the life of the Savior. Learn of his teachings. He actually was here on the earth, and he taught men the principles about which you have heard today and in the preceding days of this conference. 38

John A. Widtsoe

There is danger in confusing facts and theories. Let it not be held, however, that theories are in themselves objectionable. They play an important part in human progress. They are man’s best inferential explanations of existing facts. The history of theories is largely the history of the world of thought. They have been steppingstones to the discovery of truth. Only when theories have been held aloft as unchanging facts or guides to life, have they become dangerous in the search for truth.

New facts of observation as discovered either confirm or disprove a theory. When increasing knowledge confirms a theory, that theory approaches the status of an unchanging fact of nature; if such knowledge weakens the theory, the inference must be modified or abandoned. Most theories are forever changing as new truth appears. That is the main reason why one cannot build firmly and finally on a theory, and feel assured that he is on the safe road to truth….

Modern theories of the structure and origin of the earth, of the structure of matter, of heat, light, disease, population, the mind and man, are but heirs of earlier, mistaken inferences. The history of theories forms one of the most engaging chapters of human progress. No fault is found with those who propose theories, provided they base their theories on existing facts, and treat them as theories and not as facts.

The history of the theory of evolution is an excellent [example of this]. The theory of evolution, a storm center of thought for many years, has been modified until it is vastly different from its original form. Leaving aside the doctrine that all life has a common beginning, the basic idea in Darwinism was that the many life forms on the earth could be, traced back to “natural selection,” the “survival of the fittest” in the struggle for existence. Students of life in every department seized avidly upon this explanation of conditions among men and lower animals. Thousands of books and pamphlets in the fields of natural, economic, and social sciences have been based on the theory of natural selection.

During the last generation, however, facts have appeared to cast serious doubt upon the validity of the doctrine of natural selection. Recently, two books, almost epoch-making, written by men of the highest scientific standing, declare natural selection to be insufficient to explain the variety in nature. Moreover, these two notable investigators have proposed new explanations inferences from their own work and that of others, to replace the doctrine of natural selection….

Had the proponents as well as the opponents of evolution, as a whole or in part, kept in mind that they were discussing a theory, subject to frequent and fundamental change, the civilized world would have been spared much unseemly behavior.

Again the warning: Distinguish clearly between facts and the inferences from facts.

Certainly, it is a mistake to accept theories in building faith in anything, from religion to our everyday life pursuits….

The noisy babble about evolution, often disgraceful to both sides since Darwin wrote Origin of Species, has been confined almost wholly to speculations or guesses concerning the cause, methods and consequences of the law of evolution. The law itself has not been challenged. It is so with every well-established, natural phenomenon. Inferences are set up to explain observed facts. Such hypotheses or theories, which are often helpful, become dangerous when confused with the facts themselves. There are now many theories of evolution, all subject to the normal scrutiny to which all theories should be subjected; and until their probability is demonstrated, it is well to remain wary of them….

The doctrine of the common origin of life on earth is but a scientific theory, and should be viewed as such. Clear thinkers will distinguish between the general law of change or evolution accepted by all, and the special theories of evolution which, like all scientific theories, are subject to variation with the increase of knowledge. Honest thinkers will not attempt to confuse law and theory in the minds of laymen. The man, learned or unlearned, who declares the doctrine of the common origin of life on earth to be demonstrated beyond doubt, has yet to master the philosophy of science. The failure to differentiate between facts and inferences is the most grievous and the most common sin of scientists….

Latter-day Saints accept every scientific fact, but rate theories based upon the facts as human explanations of the facts, likely to change as new facts appear. They do not deny that an evolutionary process, a reflection of the gospel law of progression, may be one of the methods of the Lord’s labor in the universe. That does not mean, however, that the Almighty cannot perform other acts of will for the promotion of His plan, as, for example, the special creation of man. God is a purposeful Being; whatever is on earth or in heaven has been designed for the accomplishment of the divine purpose—the welfare of man. The spirit of man, itself intelligent, purposeful, is an eternal pre-existent being. He reaches beyond the confines of earth. He was with God before the earth was made. The theory of evolution does not explain the external man….

The theory of evolution which may contain partial truth, should be looked upon as one of the changing hypotheses of science, man’s explanation of a multitude of observed facts. It would be folly to make it the foundation of a life’s philosophy. Latter-day Saints build upon something more secure—the operation of God’s will, free and untrammelled, among the realities of the Universe. 39

Marion G. Romney

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.” (Man—A Child of God, Ensign, July 1973, p.11)


References:

  1. David H. Bailey,The LDS Church and Evolution, 27 July 2008
  2. Spencer W. Kimball, “Absolute Truth”,Ensign, September 1978, p. 3
  3. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man, His Origin and Destiny[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], pp. 160 – 161
  4. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man, His Origin and Destiny[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], pp. 156 – 157
  5. Romans 1:21–23
  6. Mormon 8:35–9:17
  7. Jospeh Fielding Smith, Conference Pamphlet, Oct. 1952, Era, Dec. 1952
  8. “Words in Season from the First Presidency,” Deseret Evening News (17 December 1910), part 1: 3
  9. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man, His Origin and Destiny[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 156 – 157
  10. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man: His Origin and Destiny, pg. 22
  11. Joseph Fielding Smith,Answers to Gospel Questions, 5: 112.
  12. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrinesof Salvation, 3:289-290.
  13. Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, p. 5
  14. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man, His Origin and Destiny[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 160 – 161
  15. Jospeh Fielding Smith, Conference Pamphlet, Oct. 1952, Era, Dec. 1952
  16. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man, His Origin and Destiny[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], pp. 160 – 161
  17. Joseph Fielding Smith,Man, His Origin and Destiny[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], pp. 156 – 157
  18. Doctrines of Salvation, 1:143
  19. Man, His Origin and Destiny, p.276
  20. Doctrines of Salvation, 1:142
  21. Man His Origin and Destiny, p.137-138
  22. Moses 3:7
  23. Harold B. Lee, “First Presidency Message: Find the Answers in the Scriptures,”Ensign, Dec. 1972, 2.
  24. Spencer W. Kimball, “Absolute Truth”,Ensign, September 1978, p. 3
  25. Ezra Taft Benson,God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, p. 227.
  26. Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 60-61.
  27. Gordon B. Hinckley,Faith: The Essence of True Religion, p. 18
  28. Biology 100 Syllabus, p. 268, BYU, 1992, William Bradshaw—Instructor
  29. Biology 100 Syllabus, BYU, 1992.William Bradshaw—Instructor.
  30. Quoted from The Monkey Business, Niles Eldredge, Washington Square Press, 1982
  31. David H. Bailey,TheLDSChurchand Evolution, 27 July 2008
  32. “The Law and the Light,” Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, 30 October 1988
  33. “The Law and the Light,” Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, 30 October 1988
  34. BYU Speeches, June 1, 1980
  35. Abraham 4:26, 27
  36. 1 Corinthians 2:14
  37. Russell M. Nelson, “The Magnificence of Man,” New Era, Oct 1987, 44,From an address delivered at Brigham Young University on March 29, 1987
  38. Mark E. Petersen, CR, April 1952, p.104-107
  39. Evidences and Reconciliations, p.28, 159

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