(by Dennis B. Horne)
“To one who has high spirituality,
faith in the gospel and in the doctrines of the Church
supersedes scientific theories and the philosophies of men.”
—Elder Harold B. Lee
I have realized for a long time the need of spiritual protection,
protection in the teachings that we give to our young people in our
organizations, to save them from the false doctrines and teachings of the world.
—President Joseph Fielding Smith
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.
—Elder Mark E. Petersen
Those standards will and must be upheld.
The largest block of the tithing funds spent at BYU goes for teaching salaries.
We cannot justify spending the widow’s mite on one
who will not observe either the letter or the spirit
of the contract he or she has signed. . . .
We expect no more of anyone than that you live up to the contract you have signed.
We will accept no less of you.
—President Boyd K. Packer
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!
—President Boyd K. Packer
When members of the Church, especially those employed by Brigham Young University, teach false doctrine about the origin of man, they should expect to be called out publicly and refuted. BYU Studies Quarterly, a normally sound and mostly orthodox journal, has chosen, under the leadership of Steven Harper, to publish an issue promoting evolution, in opposition to Church doctrine. This is being done with the assistance of Ben Spackman, who also assists BYU biology department instructors with manipulating beginning biology students into the erroneous belief that the Church has no settled doctrine on the origin of man. It is a sad and sorry thing to see people who normally work in favor of the Church and kingdom of God, reverse themselves because they have foolishly bought into the false philosophies of the world and scientific theories.
I do not know why the school administration lets them get away with this (perhaps a lack of sufficient oversight or knowledge?). When a similar problem with science professors promoting macro evolution (and other false doctrines like higher biblical criticism) occurred in the early 1900s, the First Presidency directed the school administration to fire them—even if it meant that BYU itself might be dissolved. The firings took place and BYU survived and flourished. Perhaps such measures are again justified today.
[Note: January 2021 was the date when the BYUSQ number on evolution was slated
to be issued, but did not materialize. Neither did April, so we are left
to surmise that is
has been further postponed or perhaps even (hopefully) cancelled. Be
that as it may, these blogs remain as relevant as ever and I hope as
many BYU Students and church members as possible find and read them.]
[Note: January 2021 was the date when the BYUSQ number on evolution was slated to be issued, but did not materialize. Neither did April, so we are left to surmise that is has been further postponed or perhaps even (hopefully) cancelled. Be that as it may, these blogs remain as relevant as ever and I hope as many BYU Students and church members as possible find and read them.]
BYU Does Not Correct or Lead the Church
Church doctrine regarding the origin of man is the same now as it was then (1908-11). Today the peril is not as great because those who believe God created mankind/Adam & Eve using evolution over billions or millions of years are a minority at BYU, yet the danger of their poisoning the minds of students is still ever-present. How many students have left BYU believing evolution to the point of losing faith in God and His Church I cannot say, but I would not want the horrific responsibility for challenging or diminishing or destroying the students’ faith that Steven Peck and Ben Spackman and Steven Harper and Terryl Givens and other faculty have taken on themselves. (Givens actively supports evolution from the wings but is not in the biology department; he does his damage from NAMI.)
In the 55 (give or take a couple) blogs that will follow, the Brethren, meaning church leaders (apostles and prophets and a few others) have figuratively taken these mistaken scientists (including the BYU Biology Department) and academics out behind the woodshed and tanned their hides. These BYU faculty wouldn’t need to take such a beating from the prophets if they just wouldn’t put the philosophies of men over the gospel. But whether for reasons of ego or a need to coddle (or cuddle with) the world and be of it, they do. After considerable research I can find almost nothing to support these foolish BYU claims that God used evolution to create Adam and Eve, while the scriptures and scores of prophets have spoken against those views. I wouldn’t want to be one of these BYU biologists that promotes theistic evolution at the final judgment.
I have not read the April 2021 issue of BYUSQ simply because I prepared these blogs during the year before it was issued, but I did have the call for papers and further explanations made by Spackman as to what kinds of pieces they were looking for, and it wasn’t good; in fact it made me ill. That Harper and Spackman and Peck and these (tithing-paid) faculty biologists could declare the apostles wrong and themselves right is tragic and saddening. Therefore, within this caveat, wherein certain content of the journal might be in harmony with the true teachings of the church on the origin of man, fine and good. However, wherein its content is contrary to those teachings (and I imagine the bulk of it will be) I say, shame on them! Loyalty and gospel truths are so much more important than seeing your name in print. In response and refutation of BYUs teachings and efforts, I have prepared some 55 or so blogs that will run most every other day for around four months.
I am in emphatic agreement with what Elder Joseph Fielding Smith declared in general conference around the time the (former) BYU science and philosophy professors were recognized for what they were and fired: “I believe we ought to protest against these things.” . . . “What do I care what they teach, so far as my knowledge is concerned? I do care so far as the poisoning of the minds of the youth of Israel is concerned, and I protest against it. I have protested from this stand, and I expect to continue to protest, whether it does any good or not, at least with the desire to stir up the Latter-day Saints.”
So, over 100 years later, I join with Brother Smith in doing what I can, “whether it does any good or not,” to protest the poisoning of the minds of students with macro evolution as the method God used to create man. In these blogs I present much of what the prophets and apostles have taught on this subject, for BYU does not control the Church. As Professor Hugh Nibley himself, one of BYU’s former great scholars and loyal believers warned, “The university has dictated doctrine and policy to every church that has sponsored it, and the churches of the world have listened to its voices only for a lack of a better guide. The true Church needs no such crutch to lean on.” Well said! We do not need or want Ben Spackman and the faculty of the BYU biology department, or Steven Harper and BYUSQ, to declare false doctrines and theories about the origin of Adam and Eve to the Church; it has apostles and prophets called and authorized and empowered by the Lord to teach the true doctrines—and they have done it well for a hundred and fifty years.
Just some six months ago one of these apostles warned these very BYU people (in the words of another apostle and prophet that Elder Cook highly valued but that some BYU people don’t): “President Joseph Fielding Smith, when he was an apostle, taught that ‘while we are . . . in the world, we are not of the world in the sense that we are under any necessity to partake of . . . evil customs, . . . fashions, . . . follies, false doctrines and theories.’” And further, “It is also important to avoid substituting the philosophies of men for the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . Some assume that what they are learning should supersede the doctrine established by the hand of the Lord. Some are impressed by the complexity of scientific or intellectual learning and are embarrassed by the simplicity of the Savior’s message. The philosophies of men have often challenged faith in Jesus Christ and particularly in His Resurrection and in His Atonement.” As Elder Joseph Fielding Smith warned the church to be wary of false theories, so did Elder Cook in our day. Yet BYU flouts this counsel and would teach and correct (or ignore) the Church and Elder Cook.
What you do if you are a BYU biologist is this: first you strictly and rigidly stay with only the short packet on evolution approved by the BYU board of trustees. That allows you to eliminate from consideration literally 99 percent of what the apostles and prophets have taught about the origin of man from getting in your way. And then you look for ways to misinterpret (what the scriptures call “wrest”) that packet of First Presidency statements. If you are clever enough, you de-emphasize some things and distort others until you have it saying the opposite of what it does. Then you are on your way to fooling class after class of young and unwary BYU students. One of the great shames and shams of BYU is that they are now trying to lead out in the spread of false teachings about the origin of man to other Christian universities in America through conferences. And there isn’t a lot Brother Brigham can do about what is happening to his name from the other side of the veil. Hence the need for admonitions like Elder Cook’s.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson explained: “In some faith traditions, theologians claim equal teaching authority with the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and doctrinal matters may become a contest of opinions between them. Some rely on the ecumenical councils of the Middle Ages and their creeds. Others place primary emphasis on the reasoning of post-apostolic theologians or on biblical hermeneutics and exegesis. We value scholarship that enhances understanding, but in the Church today, just as anciently, establishing the doctrine of Christ or correcting doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows with apostolic authority.”
True Testimony vs. False
I was a little surprised to encounter this narrative from Dr. Henry Eyring (father of President Henry B. Eyring) in a book he wrote containing his reflections as a scientist. “I thought it was a good idea to get this problem out in public, so the next time I went to Sunday School General Board meeting, I got up and bore my testimony that the evidence was strongly in the direction that the world was four or five billion years old.”
Aside from the issue of an unsettled statement of the age of the earth, there is a glaring problem here with this wonderful and brilliant man’s alleged “testimony” as spoken. In context it simply does not fit the definition of what a testimony actually is. A true testimony does not come from a study of scientific evidence no matter how strongly it might lean in a certain direction. Scientific inquiry or evidence has nothing to do with testimony. A testimony is a knowledge from the Holy Spirit of God that something is true; such as that God lives and that Jesus Christ is His son and our Savior; that the Church of Jesus Christ is His only true Church; that Joseph Smith and Russell M. Nelson were and are prophets of God; that the Book of Mormon is true. As has been stated over and over again, God stands revealed or He remains forever unknown.
That kind of spiritual truth, given by spiritual means, is testimony, as a thousand scriptures and quotations from our leaders teach us. Dr. Eyring had no busines borrowing such language to make his point. He could stand and say that scientific evidence is strongly in a certain direction, but not that he had a testimony of it, for that is not what a testimony is—unless God specifically revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost that the earth was in fact four billion years old—and God did not do that. Hypothetically, if He had, then Dr. Eyring was not the one to declare such an alleged revelation to the Church—the prophet was.
Dr. Eyring did wrong and caused confusion with his pronouncement. He was at liberty to state his case in scientific terms, but not in spiritual terms of true testimony. I have read the biography of Dr. Eyring and it is a fine and interesting work, but Dr. Eyring was not a Church leader, not an apostle, and could only speak from within his profession and scientific field and not for the Church. As far as I am aware, his son (President Henry B. Eyring) has made no pronouncement on the subject of the age of the earth. I am not saying that Dr. Eyring did not have a correctly-defined testimony, for I am sure he did. He was loyal to the Brethren but he was not one of them. See here for how the church defines true testimony.
The Church is not anti-science in general even though it is rigidly anti-macro-evolution as explanation for how Adam and Eve were created. In 1909 the First Presidency issued a formal doctrinal declaration stating this fact unequivocally. Some of these biologists bend and twist that declaration and another in an effort to interpret these documents otherwise, but spiritually experienced readers understand exactly what they say. Better to read them and understand them for yourselves than to rely on Ben Spackman’s interpretation, which is false according to every church leader. He is simply dead wrong, as are BYU biologists. “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.” So declared Elder Bruce R. McConkie.
Still, so very much—the great bulk—of science is good and helpful and “true” to various extents. Right now the Church is using the marvels of engineering mechanical science to stabilize the Salt Lake Temple so that if an earthquake strikes it will remain standing unharmed. Medical science recently fixed my bad shoulder so it no longer hurts and I have full use of it again. Technology makes it so the prophet can communicate with the world instantaneously and we can watch sacrament meeting on a screen. Illnesses have been eradicated (Polio and Smallpox) and covid 19 is evidently soon to follow because of vaccines created by scientists—and on and on. We all benefit mightily from the wonders of real demonstrated, factual science, including micro evolution.
President Nelson has given a number of talks explaining the laws of science that he used in his past medical profession—yet he has also repeatedly spoken strongly against evolution, instead teaching the true doctrine of the origin of man. But some at BYU ignore or reject the teachings of our prophet. An example of President Nelson’s teachings which destroy evolution but give us sublime insights into how God created man and what state he was created in:
Question: Do you understand how the resurrection will come about? Answer: No. Nor do I comprehend fully the Creation, the Fall, or the Atonement. But their interrelationships I do understand. The creation of man in the Garden of Eden was perfect, without blood, procreation, death. The fall of Adam brought about the mortal creation through a process beyond my ability to understand. Blood circulating in the body became essential to the life of our mortal tabernacles. This body of flesh and blood allows us now to exercise agency, to suffer, and to have joy. It allows us to enter into family relationships, and ultimately, it allows us to die. The immortal creation effected by the atoning sacrifice of the Savior will allow our resurrection. Our bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortality to immortality. Then we will possess bloodless bodies of flesh and bone that will be quickened and receive life from the Spirit.
BYU and Evolution
I have no problem (and neither should anyone else) with BYU teaching evolution per se for scientific courses. They simply must in order to remain an accredited institution of higher learning in today’s messed-up, secular humanist academic world, where agnosticism and atheism rule universities throughout the U.S. and the world. But there is a vast difference between teaching the theory of macro-evolution as an unproven hypothesis (which it is), and teaching it as truth or fact (which it is not and never will be), and especially of teaching students that the scriptures and church leaders believe it or have no position on the origin of man. This is where the poisoning of students’ minds comes in. (see blogs 3 & 4 about teaching evolution in church schools for further examination and condemnation of this serious problem.)
In this blog series I am largely avoiding defining organic evolution. Scientific definitions change; scientists often define terms differently than others or they disagree among themselves and getting too involved with such a definition could bog down this lengthy blog series before it even gets started. So I will only quote the basic definition I found in Wikipedia, that anyone can find and understand and explore further as they like. The Wikipedia explanation: “Highly energetic chemistry is thought to have produced a self-replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago, and half a billion years later the last common ancestor of all life existed. The current scientific consensus is that the complex biochemistry that makes up life came from simpler chemical reactions. The beginning of life may have included self-replicating molecules such as RNA and the assembly of simple cells.” And, “All organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool.”
I don’t know but I suppose BYU biologist’s might try to modify that by saying God set the chemical reaction to working to get that one cell organism alive and dividing, or, that He simply created the first polliwog or worm-like beginning….thing….whatever. But theoretically I suppose Jehovah and Michael watched over the worm and guided its development until it became Adam and Eve 500 million years later (they having nothing else to do). And that is how Adam and Eve’s physical bodies were created. How any church member that has read the scriptures and/or been to the temple can buy this fairytale is beyond me, but many who love the acclaim of the world do. Suffice it to say, most of the time, when evolution is referenced in these blogs and quotes, they are talking about false theories of how Adam and Eve were created. (Some alleged Latter-day Saints are even saying there were no actual historical living Adam and Eve!)
A BYU biology professor defines and promotes evolution
Since BYU’s Steven Peck, of his own accord, went loud and public with his beliefs about evolution as it relates to the origin of man, I now let him speak for himself in explaining what he and his BYU associates believe:
“That our bodies are descended from apes is scientifically beyond dispute. I find great comfort in this. We have evolved. Our ancestors emerged from Lucy or something like her. Our physical genealogy has a rich heritage, passing through primitive, worm-like ancestors, through bony fish, to thick-bodied amphibians, to therapsid reptiles, on to ratty mammals, to primates, apes, and finally a kind of ape that started increasing in cunning, in intelligence, in its ability to run and throw, and in its capacity to reason and use language. . . . The scientific evidence for evolution is overwhelmingly clear. One would have to claim that science is largely uninformative as a way of knowing truth to hold onto the claim that evolution has not been established scientifically. If you don’t believe in evolution, you don’t believe in science. It is that simple.” What rot.
How strongly the prophets and apostles disagree with his theories of men!
Over the last several years, the following headlines have appeared in media outlet websites; whether you click the links and read the stories is your choice, but the headlines say it all:
“BYU professor: Man evolved from apes”
“Mormons need not shy away from evolution, says BYU biologist”
“Why Mormons Should Embrace Evolution: BYU Biology Professor Steven Peck”
“The Church and BYU: An Evolution – of Evolution”
“Steven Peck and Terryl Givens: ‘The God Who Marvels’”
Sophistry at work
Some clever manipulation is at work in this quotation:
BYU Biology Professor Steven Peck:
For example, in 1954, before the many important scientific findings of the last sixty years had been made, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
“This brings us to the discussion of what I believe to be the most pernicious doctrine ever entering the mind of man: The theory that man evolved from the lower forms of life. For its source we must go beyond the activities and research of mortal man
to the author of evil, who has been an enemy of truth from the beginning before the Earth was formed.”
I believe that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf had statements such as these in mind
when he said in 2013: “[T]o be perfectly frank, there have been times when members
or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes.”
Decades after Elder Smith’s statement was published, Evenson and Jeffrey assembled a valuable, up-to-date collection of authoritative statements on evolution made by leaders of the Church. A study of these statements will reveal that the Church has never had an official stance on organic evolution.
The blatant sophistry with using that quotation from Brother Uchtdorf is that it could likewise be applied to anything that Steven Peck (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t like, that a past church leader has said. It is being abused as a catch-all quote. Peck is making it responsible for something it was not meant to cover. Many, many church leaders have spoken out strongly against macro-evolution and taught the true doctrine of the origin of man; therefore we rhetorically ask—is Mr. Peck right and all the apostles wrong? He thinks so, but as President Spencer W. Kimball desired, “May the voices of the Lord’s servants prevail. . . .”
Does the Church have an Official Position on Evolution?
As we have noted, Spackman, Peck, and many others are employing clever sophistry with their contention that the Church has no official position on evolution. Let us pause a moment to consider this question: hypothetically, how exactly could the Church take such a position? If the Church took a formal written stand, within 10 or 25 or 50 years, that position would be obsolete to some degree simply because the science of evolution will have changed to some unknown degree. In 50 years, Spackman, Harper, Givens, Peck, and all of the BYU biologists (and most of those of the world) will be dead (or retired, gumming their evolved applesauce). And their successors will have come up with what they will then believe is better and truer evolutionary science, effectively wiping out and replacing much of what is believed now. (I actually had one of these named people inform me that he was right and an apostle was wrong; it made me ill.) As a practical matter, the Lord’s church simply cannot and should not keep an eye on these scientist’s ever-changing views and take a position on them all, especially when consensus (past, present, and future) is absent. (We do not worry about micro-evolution, which is not an issue needing attention.)
However—let all know that it is so!—the Church has taken an unmistakable official position, at least twice, on the doctrine of the “origin of man” that also refutes macro-evolution. The Church has left no question on its position, even if evolutionists purposefully or accidentally misinterpret its formally stated position. (If evolutionists are poor readers that is their problem. The vast majority of the Church can read and understand the Church’s position on the origin of man, especially given how lengthy the First Presidency documents are.)
Former BYU Religion Professor Joseph Fielding McConkie phrased the issue thusly and well:
In telling the story of the Creation, for instance, teachers are commonly challenged with the question, “Does the Church have an official position on the theory of evolution?” The answer is no, it does not. On the other hand, and this is certainly very important in such a discussion, the Church does have an official position on the doctrine of the origin of man. The way questions are framed is very important. On the one hand, the Church is not in the business of evaluating scientific theories; on the other, it is in the business of teaching that all humankind are the offspring of divine parents and thus not the product of an evolutionary process. The knowledge that we obtain in the temple, knowledge required for us to enter into the presence of the Lord, and the ordinances performed there do not permit the notion that our blood line traces to animals.
So we see the sophistry of the phraseology of the BYU biologists talking about an “official” position on “evolution” instead of on the “origin of man,” to get around their insurmountable problems.
Professor Hugh Nibley taught, “The words of the prophets cannot be held to the tentative and defective tests that men have devised for them. Science, philosophy, and common sense all have a right to their day in court. But the last word does not lie with them. Every time men in their wisdom have come forth with the last word, other words have promptly followed. The last word is a testimony of the gospel that comes only by direct revelation. Our Father in heaven speaks it, and if it were in perfect agreement with the science of today, it would surely be out of line with the science of tomorrow. Let us not, therefore, seek to hold God to the learned opinions of the moment when he speaks the language of eternity.
Since science’s definition of what constitutes a species has and will again change (evolve), in this blog series the definition of “species” will simply be that explained in the scriptures, as “kind.” It is often used in wording such as “after its own kind.” This definition allows for some micro-evolution, which I notice that church leaders also allow for. And it also allows for the diversity of the natural world around us, within bounds the Lord has set. But it does not allow for horses to become cows or for cats to become dogs—or for an ameba or worm to evolve over millions or billions of years into human beings (Adam and Eve)—truly poisonous doctrine. Wikipedia says: “A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behavior or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined.” Basically, this says that we have a species when its offspring is fertile and can reproduce and propagate indefinitely—except for all the “other ways of defining species. . . .” So in these blogs a “kind” is a species since that is what the scriptures teach.
Some readers may be surprised to learn that scientists do not define “theory” like everyone else does. They view theories as virtual facts/truths. Again from Wikipedia: “The meaning of the term scientific theory (often contracted to theory for brevity) as used in the disciplines of science is significantly different from the common vernacular usage of theory. In everyday speech, theory can imply an explanation that represents an unsubstantiated and speculative guess, whereas in science it describes an explanation that has been tested and widely accepted as valid.” This means that scientists themselves, as compared to everyone else, are talking about two different things and are therefore misunderstanding one another badly. Church leaders are generally defining “theory” as an “hypothesis” or “supposition”—and not as the scientists define it. To them a theory really is a theory and is not accepted as valid.
As a consequence, there is a little (on-purpose or innocent) manipulation and fooling of people going on. If a scientist teaches a student the “theory” of evolution and then later informs them that theories are valid scientific facts or truths, they may have already won the argument at the expense of truth.
Elder Harold B. Lee said: “When I mention these things, may I then call attention to the danger of teaching these things that are speculative or theories as though they were facts. All through these years as religious teachers, we have deplored the fact that the scientist is prone to do just that—he is trying to cram into the intellects of his students the theories that have changed even in our lifetime from what they originally were and are evolving even today, and yet some teachers of science teach these theories as though they were facts instead of saying that they are but theories.” How well said!
And from Elder James E. Talmage: “Evolution is true so far as it means development, and progress, and advancement in all the works of God; but many of the vagaries that have been made to do duty under that name are so vague as to be unacceptable to the scientific mind. At best, the conception of the development of man’s body from the lower forms through evolutionary processes has been but a theory, an unproved hypothesis. Theories may be regarded as the scaffolding upon which the builder stands while placing the blocks of truth in position. It is a grave error to mistake the scaffolding for the wall, the flimsy and temporary structure for the stable and permanent. The scaffolding serves but a passing purpose, important though it be, and is removed as soon as the walls of that part of the edifice of knowledge have been constructed. Theories have their purpose and are indispensable, but they must never be mistaken for demonstrated facts.” And, “The Holy Scriptures should not be discredited by theories of men; they cannot be discredited by fact and truth. Within the Gospel of Jesus Christ there is room and place for every truth thus far learned by man, or yet to be made known. The Gospel is not behind the times, on the contrary it is up-to-date and ever shall be.”
President Joseph F. Smith agreed with him: “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.”
A Timely Reminder from the Sperry Symposium
I thought it more than interesting, perhaps even inspired, that when the BYU Sperry Symposium Committee recently re-stated and clarified their symposium’s purpose, they used this language: “While the modeling of proper methodologies for studying the scriptures is expected in Sperry papers [submissions for presentation consideration], such papers are not the place for promoting academic issues in order to further academic conversations. Sperry papers are expected to educate by explaining and contextualizing issues, but are not the place to present theory as fact.” Well said.
To summarize their restatement, acceptable and presentable articles will be sound, based in the scriptures, avoid promoting private positions, and must not present theories (like evolution) as facts and truth. This describes well what BYUSQ and the BYU biology department faculty are seeking to do: present scientific theories (evolution) as demonstrated fact and truth. If such were to become the case, the tiny BYU tail would wag the entire Church dog. It has been a long time since church doctrine received such an attack from a minority (of misled people) at BYU.
It seems every time a general authority speaks at a BYU devotional, they are obligated to issue warnings, cautions, and corrections to some BYU faculty. In 2020 we saw President Oaks, President Ballard, and Elder Cook do that, and (in early December 2020) Elder Scott Whiting of the Seventy. Some BYU students and faculty are becoming misled activists for their false causes, like LGBT issues, promotion of evolution, so-called racial justice, etc. In some cases they are letting go of the iron rod, dropping the fruit of the tree of life, and taking up residence in the great and spacious building or walking forbidden paths, and are trying to get others to follow them. In this case—the case of promoting a false scientific theory as truth—we have (evidently) otherwise good people poisoning their students and readers. How sad! You just can’t paint a black stripe down a skunk and call it a black cat—it still smells terrible.
BYU is the most culpable organization for pushing theistic evolution as truth instead of as an unsettled hypothesis; a philosophy of the world, simply because they are paid by tithing, by the consecrated widow’s mite. Yet any other Latter-day Saint-oriented organization that promotes various evolutionary theories as truth or fact (even Interpreter and FAIR) are also in error and at fault, for the prophets have spoken clearly and strongly against it.
A Little Repetition
There will be a certain small amount of repetition of quotations from apostles and prophets in this very long blog series since some quotations apply to more than one subject, or are found in a particular church leader’s quotation blog and also in a subject blog.
Those who don’t like to read and ponder the teachings of apostles and prophets will likely not get very far with the massive amount of quotations from Church leaders in these many blogs that correctly teach the doctrine of the origin of man and warn against BYU’s evolution teachings. The few instances where evolutionists try to argue for some room for evolution in a few apostles teachings are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of their clear and strong and unmistakable teachings against evolution as the means employed to create mankind. It must be a hundred or a thousand to one. A case just can’t be made that the Church believes God used evolution to create Adam and Eve; not if you believe the scriptures and the prophets anyway.
 Conference Report, October 1942, 72.
 Originally the BYUSQ evolution issue was slated for January, but got postponed. Now the presumption is that it will be issued in April 2021. [Note: January 2021 was the date when the BYUSQ number on evolution was slated to be issued, but did not materialize. Neither did April, so we are left to surmise that is has been further postponed or perhaps even (hopefully) cancelled. Be that as it may, these blogs remain as relevant as ever and I hope as many BYU Students and church members as possible find and read them.]
 Spackman’s methods are sophistry. He recommends subjects for contributors to write about that are of themselves false; sort of like a newspaper repeating headlines for a month and then taking a poll and finding out they persuaded most of their readers. In Spackman’s case, he has stacked the deck in his pro-evolution favor. Here are some examples: “misconceptions about evolution (e.g., “the Second Law of Thermodynamics disproves evolution”); ; . . how evidence of evolution does not necessarily threaten a gospel perspective. . . . President McKay’s acceptance of evolution, introspection of our inherited interpretive assumptions, how prophetic knowledge works. . . .” These are his own false assertions and if someone expects to have their contribution accepted, they will meet HIS thinking or be left out.
 I notice that I am not the only one who thinks parts of BYU have lost their way. They allow the students to protest and otherwise participate in LGBT activism (pro-gay); they publish unorthodox doctrine out of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute that is attached to the Religion Department; their honor code office is a joke that doesn’t know how to follow the prophet without being ordered to do so; and then these pro-evolution conferences and classes that promote false doctrine. I hate to point anyone to the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune, but see this article: https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/03/26/is-byu-getting-too/
 Hugh Nibley Correspondence, July 29, 1960.
 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.”
 “Twenty Questions,” An Evening with Elder Russell M. Nelson; Address to CES Religious Educators, 13 September 1985, 6.
 Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998), 212-13.
 Nibley, The World and the Prophets, 134.
Count me in as an opponent of evolution and as a supporter of man's godly heritage. Keep up the good work.
I've also followed with great interest your bio/histories of Matthew Cowley, Glen Rudd, and others with ties to New Nealand, having served there as a young missionary in the early 70's. Kudo's great job.
Thanks Steven, I am glad my efforts are appreciated.Delete
Anonymous, see my forthcoming blog #7 for thorough consideration of this unattributed statement in the church's youth magazine.Delete
There are also many quotations from prophets and apostles to the effect that our doctrine fits well with scientific knowledge and can benefit from it. You have a very long article here but I don't see where you contradict those views. I don't try to tell the Lord how he should have gotten the whole thing accomplished, and the prophets don't either. Since there is physical evidence that the Lord used biological processes over long periods of time, no harm can possibly be done by crediting it in the same (tentative) way that any all scientific hypotheses are credited. It's also hard to understand why all your citations of prophetic statements are from so many years ago. What have the Brethren said lately?ReplyDelete
Re: quotations about benefiting from scientific knowledge. Yes there are and I acknowledged the benefits of (non-evolutionary) science myself in this blog. Perhaps you didn't read close enough. The difference is between evolutionary (false) science and other kinds.
Re: Anyone telling the Lord what to do. It is the other way around. The Lord has revealed His true doctrine to the prophets/apostles who have passed those truths on to us. Harm is done by crediting the false theories of men that contradict the scriptures.
Re: Current vs. past statements. You must have missed the current statements from Pres. Nelson and Elder Cook.
As an fyi there are 54 more blogs coming out, every other day, that will contain many many quotations on the subject of the origin of man, both past and more recent. So you will get to read all the authoritative scriptures and quotations you want that explain the true doctrine of the origin of man.