Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Refuting and Correcting BYU’s False Doctrine on the Origin of Man #48 - Elder Samuel O. Bennion Attacks the Theory of Evolution

 (by Dennis B. Horne)

            In the first half of the 20th century Samuel O. Bennion served a lengthy term as a mission president and was then called as a member of the First Council of the Seventy (he died in 1945). He is almost completely unknown (outside of historical circles) to members of the Church today. Yet his influence during his time was significant. He was one who was not going to lay down for the biologists and other scientists of his day that sought to push evolution on everyone. So at a time when the subject was a hot-button issue, he spoke vigorously against it in general conference, of which the below are excerpts from his address:


            It is more necessary than it has ever been, it appears to me, that the Latter-day Saints should familiarize themselves with the revelations of God to his people in this day, when doubt and theory are everywhere present, leading so many of the children of men away from God. . . .

            Had it not been for revelation from our Father in heaven to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the entire world would be perishing in unbelief, and the correct form of worship would not be known in the earth, neither would there be the certain knowledge that God lives. Thousands of our young people throughout the land today are being taught the Darwinian theory, and many of them are accepting it as a fact, and not as a theory, which it is. The Latter-day Saints believe in the evolution tending to progress, but not according to the theory that is being so prominently placed before the young people of our country in the schools of today.

            There is a lack of faith in God among the children of men, and men are trying in their own wisdom to account for the creation of the world and the creation of the human family. How much better it is to believe in the gospel of Christ, our Lord, as recorded in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon, in the Doctrine and Covenants, and in the Pearl of Great Price. Light and peace and joy come through the study of the holy scriptures. To believe that we are the children of God, and that we are made in his image, is elevating and inspiring, while to believe that we have descended from some lower form of life has no such result. All people take a natural pride in feeling that they have been born of goodly parents, that they come through an honorable line of ancestry. Associated with that, to feel and to know that God is truly our Father, and that we are made in his image, brings true happiness. But were it not for the fact that God revealed himself to the Prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation, a true knowledge of God could not be found in the earth. If the men who are molding the lives of our young people throughout this great land would give more time to the study of the holy scriptures, they would gain more true knowledge of the origin and purpose of life than they ever will gain from the study of rocks and fossils, and the minds of our young people would receive an inspiration that would lead them to live better lives. . . .

            In my judgment it is wrong to teach the youth of this great nation such theories as would lead them to conclude that we are not truly the children of God, made in his image, as men have testified who have seen God, both in this generation and in the generations of the past. Is it not more reasonable to believe that God made man in his image than it is to believe that we have come up from the lower forms of life? Is it not more reasonable to believe that this world was made by Jesus Christ our Lord, under the direction of God the eternal Father, and that Jesus made the world before he was tabernacled in a body of flesh and bones, as the scriptures testify? Is it not reasonable to believe that God fore-ordained prophets, as we read in Jeremiah, first chapter, and that we were in an ante-mortal state able to act and to perform works under the direction of our eternal Father—the Father of our spirits—who gave us bodies in the beginning, and that our parentage goes back to that eternal Sire who governs and controls the destinies of men, according to their obedience to law?

            I prefer to believe the things that God has revealed to me, by the power of the Holy Ghost, rather than to believe the theories of men who have not that witness. I prefer to believe that God our Father did not leave his sons and daughters here on the earth without a true witness that he is our Father, and that we have been given this earthly existence, with its duties and experiences, to prove ourselves whether we are worthy to be exalted and glorified with his faithful sons and daughters or whether we are not, for if we prove ourselves worthy we can return unto him, and if we do not prove ourselves worthy we cannot return unto him.

            I never saw Joseph Smith, nor any of the eleven witnesses to the Book of Mormon; but I have received a witness from God, through the power of the Holy Ghost, that our heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ did appear to the Prophet Joseph, that the men who have testified concerning the Book of Mormon have told the truth, and that the work we are engaged in is truly the work of God. Through this witness I know that I am his son, and that he is my eternal Father, and that neither my body nor any part of it has come from any other form of life than the life that now produces humankind. Our Father's decrees are unalterable, and so are his plans concerning the destiny of the human family. Men may seek by every means conceivable to disprove the truth as God has revealed it to his servants in ancient as well as in modern times; but the time will come, and I bear witness of it, that they will be weighed in the balance and found wanting.

(Conference Report, October 1925, 88-89.)



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