Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1270
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by jfro18 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:06 am

I was listening to a podcast while unloading boxes this weekend and they were talking about how the Kinderhook Plates were considered authentic by the church until the 1981 test conclusively proved them false, and I was thinking of the many areas where science has forced them to change since it is only a matter of time before they are forced to accept that gay people are born gay, although they are so boxed in I don't know that they can ever reverse course there.

The main areas I thought of where the church actually changed their story due to science were:

DNA -- They changed the title page of the Book of Mormon once DNA studies proved the Lamanites are not descendants of Indians. That's a massive concession considering they still have revelations from God in the D&C incorrectly calling the Indians Lamanites. (Hagoth's DNA annotated essay covers this @ https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/ldsessay-dna)

Kinderhook Plates -- As mentioned above, the church went out of their way to claim the plates were real and Joseph's partial translation was real. I did a small write-up about it because while it's not a smoking gun, it further shows how detached the church is from God that they couldn't get an answer to that problem. (https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/kinderhook-plates)

Hill Cumorah - From Joseph on, the church taught that the Hill Cumorah was the same as in the Book of Mormon. Not until we started getting the technology to scan the lands and see there was no evidence of a battle did they start talking as if they don't quite know where the hill is. Clearly Joseph knew, and he was wrong. I need to put together a page just highlighting all of the leaders saying this - it's really remarkable, and there was a guy on reddit who spent a lot of time compiling them and posting them one after another.

Book of Abraham - the church taught the papyrus was written by Abraham, by his own hand, yadda yadda yadda. But of course we know the papyrus dates 2,000 years after Abraham, which the church admits in the essay... hence leading to new theories as to why the translations don't match or why the story about the papyrus from Joseph has fallen apart. (Hagoth's annoted LDS essay covers this @ https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/bookofabraham)

I am probably missing more though... it's really interesting though that the bigger changes in church beliefs/doctrines/etc are because they are proven wrong beyond reason, and thus quietly walk back or sprout new theories as to why it still works even though they were wrong in their initial assumptions.

acmeist
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by acmeist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:53 am

Evolution, to a certain extent. “The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution. Though the details of what happened on earth before Adam and Eve, including how their bodies were created, have not been revealed, our teachings regarding man’s origin are clear and come from revelation.” That’s from 2016. https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/10/to- ... n?lang=eng

In 1909, the church issued its public statement “On the Origin of Man.” This was reprinted in the Ensign in full in 2002 according to Wikipedia. In 1925, another statement was issued stating that Adam was the first man on Earth and created in God’s image. There haven’t been any other official statements since, but talks or opinions of apostles and prophets have affirmed this statement.

I consider it a change that lds.org now shrugs and says “We Dunno.” Of course, then you get into the was it ever doctrine? debate and He was speaking as a man! thing.

User avatar
alas
Posts: 1381
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:10 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by alas » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:10 am

Mark Hoffman

User avatar
FiveFingerMnemonic
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:33 am

Not exactly science related, but new technology like google books online repository of 19th century publications, along with widespread information about the seer stone, is forcing the subtle change from using the term "translation" to "revelation" as we have seen in a recent youth video defending the BOM.

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3631
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:39 am

A certain diet soda which shall go unnamed.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1634
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Palerider » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:43 am

You have a pretty good list on the major items.

I see the revelation on priesthood for African Americans as being more from societal pressure.

Polygamy was governmental.

Garment and temple ceremony changes were actually membership driven even if the church would never admit it.

Ceasing pageants and ineffective activities was probably economics driven. Wouldn't a Gold and Green ball be fun right now...or better yet a road show?

I'm coming up blank on any more science related stuff.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3631
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:46 am

jfro18 wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:06 am
DNA -- They changed the title page of the Book of Mormon once DNA studies proved the Lamanites are not descendants of Indians. That's a massive concession considering they still have revelations from God in the D&C incorrectly calling the Indians Lamanites. (Hagoth's DNA annotated essay covers this @ https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/ldsessay-dna)
This is massive to a degree that most members cannot understand. The Book of Mormon is written to the Lamanites but it can't fulfill one of its primary missions because we have lost the Lamanites. As jfro18 pointed out, even God is really confused about this. He thought He knew exactly who and where in the 1830s, but now his prophets are stuck with the dirty work of trying to cover for Him.

-D&C 54:8 And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

-D&C 49:24 But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

-D&C 28:14 And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.

-D&C 19:27 Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.

-D&C 30:6 ...for I have given unto him power to build up my church among the Lamanites.

-D&C 28:9 ...and no man knoweth where the city of Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

-D&C 32:2 ...he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.

-D&C 3:18 And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindle in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers…

-D&C 28:8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them;
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3631
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:52 am

Palerider wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:43 am
I'm coming up blank on any more science related stuff.
That's because they mostly sidestep science altogether. Let us not forget Nelson's dismissal of both the big bang and evolution as "could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?” Third grade creationist science denial at it's finest.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1270
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by jfro18 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:37 am

These are great responses -

I'd definitely agree that evolution is one although as you said it's a little harder to pinpoint them on it, but I think you can easily draw the line as to the church backing away from their 'confidence' that it's not a thing as science has proven them wrong over and over and over.

Hoffman is another great one because they just looked so bad from it...they really, really hate discussing that one.

I would argue that polygamy and ban on blacks are both government/societal driven.

The temple is absolutely a combo of member-driven and partly outside driven... no way to really connect that to science though since it's a man made ceremony. :lol:

The DNA one is the biggest and most members have NO idea about it - it's truly amazing that it isn't up there as a smoking gun for more critics.

It's an interesting list though to see how the church has moved on certain issues and *why* they moved... because most can be traced back to specific causes while the church loves to claim they have slightest bit of revelatory power.

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2737
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Corsair » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:39 am

Blessings of healing are not necessarily out, but no one expects them to work all by themselves without science-based medical care. Plus modern expectations for them are already so low that we now have Elder Bednar asking the critical question, "do you have the faith not to be healed?" I think they all quietly know that statistics are simply not on their side even if the blame is carefully placed on sin and lack of faith.

User avatar
Red Ryder
Posts: 2453
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:11 am

Oral sex?

Did science cause that to flip or was that a rise in member backlash?

"Hey Honey! I have a science experiment we should try out!"
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

acmeist
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by acmeist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:53 am

I debated adding oral sex and birth control to the list, but decided not to because the changes were probably more member driven. However, I think some science was definitely involved to some degree in the church's softening to a "it's between the couple" policy now.

User avatar
Rob4Hope
Posts: 1263
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:43 pm
Location: Salt Lake City -- the Motherland!!

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Rob4Hope » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:54 am

Church's position is waffling regarding WoW. Smoking is not good--they got that one right. And hard liquor is not the best either. But the push for grains and to avoid hot drinks is not wise.

I've read in JoD where multiple people said that eating hot soup was horribly bad for your body. If you want to follow the commandment out there folks, stop having your HOT SOUP! ITS BAD!

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2333
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by wtfluff » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:08 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:39 am
A certain diet soda which shall go unnamed.
Ha! Hilarious, but I'm curious: Do they only sell "diet" on the Lard's campus(es), or can you purchase chemically enhanced, fully corn-syrup-ized, caffeinated sodas?


Rob4Hope wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:54 am
...and to avoid hot drinks is not wise.
Well... It is pretty wise to not drink stuff that is hot enough to burn your esophagus. I guess as mormons, we were(are?) too stupid to realize not to burn ourselves, and we need the invisible toga-wearing alien near kolob to command us not to do so, or we risk eternal damnation! (And a damaged esophagus.)
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

We are secrets to each other

User avatar
Rob4Hope
Posts: 1263
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:43 pm
Location: Salt Lake City -- the Motherland!!

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Rob4Hope » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:32 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:08 pm
Rob4Hope wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:54 am
...and to avoid hot drinks is not wise.
Well... It is pretty wise to not drink stuff that is hot enough to burn your esophagus. I guess as mormons, we were(are?) too stupid to realize not to burn ourselves, and we need the invisible toga-wearing alien near kolob to command us not to do so, or we risk eternal damnation! (And a damaged esophagus.)
I wonder if someone came along and codified how hot was too hot?

The ones I read they were talking about hot soup. But the impression was: "So, we are to let our soup cool and drink it when its cold?"

YUK.

User avatar
redjay
Posts: 405
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:20 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by redjay » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:08 pm

to answer a question not set:

where has the church changed their story?

I can't think of one thing about the church where there isn't a twist or murky story. WoW, BoA, BoM, Baptism (early saints used to baptise and rebaptise to keep cleansing sins). Temples ceremony, paid ministry, marriage (polygamy, inter racial), I'm sure there must be something about Sunday meetings that's changed other than the three hour block, the Seventy, the First Presidency, Priesthood recipients, underwear style, birth control, women at work, definition of tithing, facial hair, homosexuality - born that way, second comforter/witness of angels, church growth as evidence of divine approval, being "Mormon".
At the halfway home. I'm a full-grown man. But I'm not afraid to cry.

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2333
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by wtfluff » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:18 pm

Rob4Hope wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:32 pm
wtfluff wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:08 pm
Rob4Hope wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:54 am
...and to avoid hot drinks is not wise.
Well... It is pretty wise to not drink stuff that is hot enough to burn your esophagus. I guess as mormons, we were(are?) too stupid to realize not to burn ourselves, and we need the invisible toga-wearing alien near kolob to command us not to do so, or we risk eternal damnation! (And a damaged esophagus.)
I wonder if someone came along and codified how hot was too hot?

The ones I read they were talking about hot soup. But the impression was: "So, we are to let our soup cool and drink it when its cold?"

YUK.
Well, in mormonism, someone codified "too hot" = coffee and tea.

Science says: Calculating the optimum temperature for serving hot beverages.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

We are secrets to each other

el-asherah
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:12 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by el-asherah » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:12 pm

I can think of a couple other very obscure science areas that fall into the category "we don't talk about that anymore and hope no one notices"

Book of Abraham Astronomy. The astronomical model presented in BoA Chapter 3 and Facsimile 2. The BoA is entirely at odds with current observations or ancient understandings. The model presented in the BoA was a pseudo scientific post Newtonian view that was held in Joseph Smith's day.

Specifically, BoA 3:5-9 talks about the governing planets/stars and the reckoning of time based on the revolutions - as one goes from the earth to the moon and progressively closer and closer to Kolob (the grand governing body near the throne of God) the reckoning of time becomes progressively slower due to slower revolutions as the distance from earth increases. Where at Kolob, one revolution is equivalent to 1000 earth years. It is now known with certainty (Kepler telescope planet survey) that there is NO direction in space that has planets / stars that become progressively slower in their revolutions. Revolution rates are entirely random in every direction from earth. Nor is there any physical law that would statistically bias any direction from earth with statistically slower planet/star revolution rates.

Assuming a governing body implies gravitional governing, a super-massive black hole has been detected at the center of the Milk way galaxy (and almost all other galaxies). This black hole does gravitationally govern our Milk way Galaxy. It is assumed to be revolving at a very high speed and stars orbiting near the black hole have been measured orbiting the black hole at very fast orbital times. Due to tidal lock forces the revolution rates of these stars would be considerably less than 1000 years. Physical measurements at the Milky way galactic gravitational core indicate revolution and orbital rates speed up not slow down near the gravitational governing bodies. Einstein relativity effects would slow the passage of time at the galactic center due to enormous gravitational fields, but this has nothing to do with revolution speeds. The BoA reflects what was know in Joseph's environment but is entirely missing any scientific knowledge after that point in time.

In my opinion, the church's move from the BoA being a "translation" to a "revelation" to help solve the Egyptian translation problems, doesn't really help with the content of the BoA - it just passes the buck from Joseph or Abraham got the astronomy wrong to God got it wrong. Eventually, the church will silently drop the BoA.

"The elements / matter are eternal and can be neither created nor destroyed" - D&C and Endowment
The D&C describes matter (“the elements”) as being eternal and can be neither created nor destroyed and co-existed with God. In Mormon Theology God organizes chaotic matter in his creations, but this matter has always existed. In a sense God, is a product of the static eternal universe and has learned how to organize chaotic pre-existing matter.

This model reflects the understanding of Joseph's day, “Conservation of Matter” was a known concept and the universe was thought to be static and eternal. Matter / Energy equivalence, and the Big Bang discoveries were not known. Today, physic labs all the time destroy or create matter (elements), or rather convert matter to/from energy violating the statement in the D&C. The fact that the universe is not static and eternal and that matter was created (coalesced out of energy) after the Big Bang also contradicts the doctrine that the universe is eternal and static. This is speculative, but some physicists (e.g. Stephen Hawking) have taken the position that the net energy content of the universe at the time of the Big Bang was zero, this has not yet been confirmed.
Last edited by el-asherah on Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:03 pm, edited 11 times in total.
I say these things in the name of Joshua and Awmen

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3631
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by Hagoth » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:38 pm

Corsair wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:39 am
Blessings of healing are not necessarily out, but no one expects them to work all by themselves without science-based medical care. Plus modern expectations for them are already so low that we now have Elder Bednar asking the critical question, "do you have the faith not to be healed?" I think they all quietly know that statistics are simply not on their side even if the blame is carefully placed on sin and lack of faith.
This one really is being changed by science because we now have excellent medical record keeping that can be used to clearly demonstrate that Utah's disease recovery rates are no better than anywhere else.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1270
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: Areas where science has forced the church to change their story/approach/whatever?

Post by jfro18 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:45 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:38 pm
Corsair wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:39 am
Blessings of healing are not necessarily out, but no one expects them to work all by themselves without science-based medical care. Plus modern expectations for them are already so low that we now have Elder Bednar asking the critical question, "do you have the faith not to be healed?" I think they all quietly know that statistics are simply not on their side even if the blame is carefully placed on sin and lack of faith.
This one really is being changed by science because we now have excellent medical record keeping that can be used to clearly demonstrate that Utah's disease recovery rates are no better than anywhere else.
And if it was even the slightest bit better, they'd publish it in every church magazine, book, and document until the end of days.

It's amazing how quickly the magic falls away once we have the ability to document it in real time... those faith promoting stories of miraculous healing in the early days seem so small now.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests