(by Dennis B. Horne)
material is presented to help readers decide for themselves if the Lord allows
His Prophets and Apostles to continually mislead the church by teaching false
doctrine on the origin of man, instead of the true doctrine of the BYU
biologists teaching evolution. We must ask ourselves if the doctrine of the
origin of man—the origin of Adam and Eve—is to be taught to the Church by the
BYU Biology Department and BYUSQ, or if it comes via Church leaders that
hold the keys of the Kingdom.
But first I quote from comments I noticed on the liberal-dissident blog “By Common Consent” when evolution was being discussed:
“With all due respect to Russell Nelson as a human being – I suspect he knows very little (as do most people) about evolutionary biology. His ignorance is most apparent with that “explosion in a printing shop” comment. That’s not an uncommon argument from creationists and ID folks. It makes absolutely no sense and displays a lack of knowledge of the natural and life sciences. Now, it is perfectly fine if Nelson and company want to have those views, but to stand up at the pulpit or pen an article in the Ensign as a leader of the church bears the weight of authority when, frankly, they do not have the authority to speak on those topics.”
“I’ve had wonderful personal experiences with Church leaders on a spiritual plane that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but at the same time I don’t expect them to be experts in science.”
That goal is shared by worthy
servants of the Master, who would not speak ill of the Lord’s anointed nor
provoke contention over teachings declared by ancient or living prophets.
Certainly no faithful follower of
God would promote any cause even remotely related to religion if rooted in
controversy, because contention is not of the Lord.
Surely a stalwart would not lend
his or her good name to periodicals, programs, or forums that feature offenders
who do sow “discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:19; see also Prov. 6:14.)
Such agitators unfortunately
fulfill long-foretold prophecy: they “take counsel together, against the Lord,
and against his anointed.” (Ps. 2:2.) . . .
Of course the authorities are
human. But to them God has entrusted the keys to His divine work. And He holds
us accountable for our responses to the teachings of His servants.
President Harold B.
Now, when the Lord says to us in
Doctrine and Covenants 21 that we should accept the words and commandments of
the prophets as if from his own mouth in patience and faith, suppose he speaks
on the matter of politics and he blasts something in which you have a strong
feeling. Perhaps you are ardent in the Republican party, and he speaks
scathingly about it and it ruffles your feathers. Perhaps you’re running for Congress. Perhaps you are running for the state legislature
or for county attorney on the Democratic ticket, and he slices out against the
Democratic party. Perhaps he talks
boldly about a subject of science, and you say, “what does he know about
science?” or, “what does he know about philosophy?”
In talking about this subject in an
address to a similar audience of seminary teachers, President Clark made this
“I call your attention to the fact
that there is no limitation to the matters to be covered by the scriptures on
which the Lord speaks. Having read just
what I have read you from the 21st Section and having in mind that
this Church is a practical Church and deals with temporal as well as spiritual
affairs, I submit that whatever comes from the voices of those who hold that
authority and is scripture, no matter of what they speak, that conclusion to me
is inevitable. Anything, and everything
that affects the well-being of us Latter-day Saints or that has to do with our
religion may become a part of that scripture, and when the servants of God
speak to us about such things, speaking under the inspiration of the Lord, then
their words become scripture.”
“How shall we know then,” you may
ask, “when they speak by the inspiration of the Lord?”
Now, get this; this is the crux of
“I cannot tell you how to know, but
I can tell you that every man holding the priesthood who is obeying the
commandments of the Lord and living righteously, will know without doubt when
God’s servants speak under inspiration. The spirit will bear witness.” (“The
Place of the Church,” Address to Seminary and Institute Faculty,
Nelson reminded all of us that “our commission as Apostles is to teach nothing
but truth. That commission does not give [the Apostles] the authority to modify
Elder D. Todd Christofferson:
doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows
with apostolic authority.
President Gordon B.
I have spoken before about the
importance of keeping the doctrine of the Church pure, and seeing that it is
taught in all of our meetings. I worry about this. Small aberrations in
doctrinal teaching can lead to large and evil falsehoods.
The prophets are called not only to
receive the doctrine and direct the ordinances through the keys they hold. They
are also responsible to keep the saving doctrine pure so that people can hear
and feel that doctrine in its sure and certain form.
President Joseph Fielding Smith:
time it was my privilege to speak to a congregation in this building it
required an effort to have my voice carry to all parts of this tabernacle and
be heard. Now when we are privileged to speak, we are conscious of the fact
that our voices may go forth to various parts of this mortal world. This makes
the speaker conscious of a grave responsibility which rests upon him and the
need of weighing every word. (Conference Report, October, 1963.)
Apostles? What is their purpose in relation to the Church? What do they know?
Do they teach the doctrine of the Lord under inspiration, or do they put forth
our answers to these questions are so important rest in the calling and
responsibility of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. Whenever the
Lord’s Church has been established, the Lord has called prophets and apostles.
The Savior said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained
you” (John 15:16). To these men that ordination brings a spiritual power and a
solemn responsibility—a power to know and to testify and a responsibility to
teach and to bless. It also brings a responsibility and a promise to us. We
have the responsibility to listen and to follow, and we have a promise that
blessings will come as we believe and act on their words.
years the members of the First Presidency and the Twelve have been my examples
and teachers. I have learned from their integrity and righteousness. In these
many years, I have never observed any unbridled anger, any desire for private
or material gain. Never have I seen any personal positioning for influence or
Rather, I have
seen their loyalty and care for their wives and children. I have experienced
their love and sure witness of our Heavenly Father and His Son. I have watched
them untiringly seek first to build up the kingdom of God. I have seen the
power of God rest upon them and magnify and sustain them. I have witnessed the
fulfillment of their prophetic voice. I have seen the sick raised and nations
blessed through their authority and have stood with them in moments too sacred
to recount. I testify that they are the Lord’s anointed.
First Presidency and the Twelve, who normally speak each conference, the
enormous responsibility of preparing their messages is both a recurring burden
and a sacred trust.
Years ago, before serving as a General Authority, I asked
Elder Dallin H. Oaks if he prepared a separate talk for each stake
conference. He responded that he did not but added, “But my general conference
talks are different. I may go through 12 to 15 drafts to be sure that I say
what the Lord would have me say.”7
how does the inspiration for general conference talks come? With no topics
assigned, we see heaven beautifully coordinating the subjects and themes of
eternal truth each and every conference.
One of my
Brethren told me that his subject for this conference was given to him immediately
after his talk last April. Another mentioned three weeks ago that he was still
praying and waiting upon the Lord. Another, when asked how long it had taken to
compose an especially sensitive talk, responded, “Twenty-five years.”
the central idea may come quickly, but the content and details still require
enormous spiritual climbing. Fasting and prayer, study and faith are always
part of the process. The Lord wants no pretense diminishing His voice to His
for a general conference talk often comes in the night or the early morning
hours, when the talk is far from the thoughts of the mind. Suddenly,
unanticipated insight and, at times, specific words and phrases flow as pure
general conference sessions with our family is not sufficient to bring a love
for the prophets. On one occasion some years before my call as a General
Authority, I conducted a meeting presided over by one of the Apostles [Elder
Dallin H. Oaks]. After the meeting, I asked him about his stake conference
talks. “Do you prepare something specific for each stake conference?” I asked.
He replied that he generally did not, but relied upon promptings received just
prior to and during the conference. But then he added, “But my general
conference talk is very different. I will normally go through twelve to fifteen
drafts to be certain that it is what the Lord would have me say.”
apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have a solemn duty to face the Lord and
deliver his message,” said President Ballard. “His words often include words of
encouragement and expressions of love. They also include words of warning.”
But let us
not teach or use as official doctrine what does not meet the standards of
official doctrine. To do so does not further the work of the Lord and may even
discourage individuals from seeking their own comfort or edification through
the personal revelation the Lord’s plan provides for each of us. Excessive
reliance on personal teachings or speculations may even draw us aside from
concentrating on learning and efforts that will further our understanding and
help us go forward on the covenant path. . . .
As to all
of these, the wise cautions of Elders D. Todd Christofferson and Neil L.
Andersen in earlier general conference messages are important to remember.
Elder Christofferson taught: ‘It should be remembered that not every statement
made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It
is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a
single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion,
not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.’
following conference, Elder Andersen taught this principle: “The doctrine is
taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It
is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk.” The family proclamation,
signed by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, is a wonderful illustration
of that principle.
something as formal as the family proclamation, the prophetic teachings of the
Presidents of the Church, affirmed by other prophets and apostles, are also an
example of this.”
Are we to
believe that the Apostles, with full understanding of their calling and
commission, are misleading the Church?
scenario that we are presented with by these BYU biologists and others of like
mind, is this: these Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ give many major
addresses. Fully realizing the importance of their messages, they prepare
themselves with fasting and prayer; they humbly seek guidance about what to say
from God; they seek an increased measure of the Holy Spirit to ensure their
messages will be what the Lord wants given.
realizing their critical responsibilities in this matter, one that almost
overwhelms them with its gravity and import, they write an address filled with
false doctrine and then deliver that false doctrine refuting evolution to the
what we are expected to believe is the case, from the reasonings of the
evolutionary biologists. Further, Conference talks and BYU devotional speeches,
and most of the rest of their major sermons, are reviewed by Church Correlation
(an internal church department that has responsibility delegated to them by the
First Presidency to ensure doctrinal accuracy in church publications), who then
approve of this false doctrine and incorrect scriptural interpretation so that
it can be sent forth to disturb the faith of students who must believe in
decades of teaching this occasional false doctrine on the origin of man to the Saints,
some of these apostles become, at the instigation of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Presidents of the Church (such as our current President); the Prophet, Seer,
We either buy this scenario, or else the evolutionists have it dead wrong, and Adam and Eve did not descend from lower forms of life/animals of any kind. God is the ultimate ancestor of our physical bodies, not animals or worms.
of Gordon B.