Evolution essay

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blazerb
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Evolution essay

Post by blazerb » Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:50 am

Over on Reddit, attention was called to one of the history topics on the church's website regarding evolution: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... n?lang=eng

A couple of things I found interesting about this article. First, it is in the history section instead of the gospel topics section. Rather than discuss the science of evolution, it concentrates on the history of the development of the theory of organic evolution and how leaders responded. It starts with the 1909 statement from Joseph F. Smith and presidency. I'm pretty sure that John Taylor made some condemnatory comments about evolution well before this.

The second thing that struck me was that it did not discuss at all the firing of the professors from BYU for teaching organic evolution. It does discuss the Scopes trial, and it acts like this was the impetus for the 1P putting out a statement on the subject. I feel like this was a pretty big oversight. This firing was the reason the 1909 statement was created if I remember correctly.

It's one more way that the church is trying to modify its stance without offending the members who believe what Joseph Fielding Smith and McConkie said. Has this essay been up for a while?

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stealthbishop
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by stealthbishop » Wed Jun 15, 2022 2:20 pm

Thanks for posting this though. I need to take a look at it. I'd like to know more about the history of the church's response to it. In my BYU Biology class I think we did read the Joseph F. Smith statement and then moved on.

I wasn't aware that BYU professors were fired. I had heard (maybe in error) that BYU actually has a very robust organic evolution curriculum in contrast to the beliefs of many (or most, or all) of the Q15.
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Hagoth
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jun 15, 2022 3:36 pm

Wow, that is a big stinky pile of nothing. Summary: people don't agree about evolution and our prophets are absolutely useless, but they're really important and awesome.

Note to correlation committee and public relations: LDS doctrine does not make any room for evolution. LDS scripture makes it impossible. Multiple prophets have overtly condemned the idea. None have overtly supported it. Our current prophet recently called it ridiculous (blowing up a print shop analogy). Stop pretending to be scientific and open-minded, grow a pair, and just print the doctrine, even if you are embarrassed by it.
“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."

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blazerb
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by blazerb » Wed Jun 15, 2022 4:04 pm

stealthbishop wrote:
Wed Jun 15, 2022 2:20 pm
Thanks for posting this though. I need to take a look at it. I'd like to know more about the history of the church's response to it. In my BYU Biology class I think we did read the Joseph F. Smith statement and then moved on.

I wasn't aware that BYU professors were fired. I had heard (maybe in error) that BYU actually has a very robust organic evolution curriculum in contrast to the beliefs of many (or most, or all) of the Q15.
I found a discussion of the episode: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1911_Brig ... ontroversy

Some corrections to my post. There were four professors, not three. It happened in 1911. I'm not sure how the 1909 statement figures in. Also, the professors resigned rather than be fired.

To be sure, the current biology department at BYU is good, from everything that I have heard. I know I was required to learn about evolution back when I was there. The professors resigned over 100 years ago. I do think that this incident should be part of any historical discussion of evolution and Mormonism.

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blazerb
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by blazerb » Wed Jun 15, 2022 4:07 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jun 15, 2022 3:36 pm
Wow, that is a big stinky pile of nothing. Summary: people don't agree about evolution and our prophets are absolutely useless, but they're really important and awesome.

Note to correlation committee and public relations: LDS doctrine does not make any room for evolution. LDS scripture makes it impossible. Multiple prophets have overtly condemned the idea. None have overtly supported it. Our current prophet recently called it ridiculous (blowing up a print shop analogy). Stop pretending to be scientific and open-minded, grow a pair, and just print the doctrine, even if you are embarrassed by it.
I'm betting that the correlation committee will not listen to you. They want to serve science without offending the zealots, to twist up the old saying.

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nibbler
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by nibbler » Wed Jun 15, 2022 5:23 pm

The essay makes it sound as if Joseph Fielding Smith's argument against organic evolution came down to a quibble over timelines.
Meanwhile, Apostle and future Church President Joseph Fielding Smith believed that the Biblical account of the Creation did not allow for the long spans required for species to multiply through evolution.
Joseph Fielding Smith in his influential writings maintained the reliability of scripture as a guide to the Creation timeline.
Which is interesting because it allows the reader to justify why Joseph Fielding Smith could have been wrong about organic evolution with an oft used apologetic; it says a day in the Bible, but a "day" could be representative of a much longer time period.

In Joseph Fielding Smith's Doctrines of Salvation his main argument against organic evolution appeared to have been more doctrinal, which is harder to square.

Doctrines of Salvation Vol. 1 - pages 116 - 118. It would be a pain to type the whole thing out, but here are some paragraph headings:
No Adam, No Fall: No Fall, No Atonement
Evolutionists Deny Fall
Evolutionists Deny Atonement

Joseph Fielding Smith quotes many people outside of the church in those sections but his opinion is clear. No death before Adam. How do you get to Adam if the process required millions of years of evolution? Where the implication is that the millions of years wasn't the issue, the issue was death pre-Adam.

It's not surprising the essay only brings up the issue of timelines (which is easily navigated) yet avoids the thornier implications with current doctrinal teachings on the Fall and the Atonement.
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moksha
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by moksha » Thu Jun 16, 2022 1:13 am

blazerb wrote:
Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:50 am
The second thing that struck me was that it did not discuss at all the firing of the professors from BYU for teaching organic evolution. It does discuss the Scopes trial, and it acts like this was the impetus for the 1P putting out a statement on the subject. I feel like this was a pretty big oversight. This firing was the reason the 1909 statement was created if I remember correctly.
With so much LDS history buried away, you can't expect them to get this right.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Hagoth
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jun 16, 2022 6:52 am

This has become a church of mealy-mouthed tap dancers.

We are rational thinkers who embrace science... when it suits us.

We condemn racist language of the past, but only in the abstract, we won't condemn any specific statement by any specific leader, because we know they wouldn't lead us astray.

We LOVE our LGBT+ members as long as they can keep a big smile with our knee on their neck.

Joseph Smith married girls who were just a few months short of their 15th birthday.

It's a policy. Now it's a revelation. Now it's a policy again. Now we have a contradictory revelation. But both were true revelations.

Dallin Oaks: "There was no electroshock therapy." (When confronted with evidence) "Well, I didn't know about it." (But your signature is on it) "I accept no responsibility."

The entire purpose of life is to become a polygamous god... but... "I don't know that we teach it."

The BoM is the most correct book ever written. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

We love and honor our Heavenly Mother (but if you actually try to do so you'll be out of here so fast it will make your head spin)

We're not denying women priesthood that only LDS men can have , we're allowing them the blessing of motherhood, which all women have

"DNA will prove the BoM is true." A few years later: "DNA can't tell you anything."

Written by the hand of Abraham. Later: written by some random dude, but STILL also written by Abraham.

Adam and Eve lived in Missouri 6000 years ago. "Hey, look over there while I slip out the back door."

Joseph was never used a seer stone. Wait, he did? No, that was an iPhone.

And so, so, so many more.

This is a pretty good indicator that God is not involved in any way. God wouldn't be embarrassed by his doctrine and intimidated by public opinion. He wouldn't be uncertain about simple ideas, or caught off guard by scientific discoveries. We get upset by the dumbass bigoted things LDS leaders say, but it is even more infuriating that they deny and dilute those things to make it look like they don't believe them when really they still do. We thank thee o God for a prophet to obfuscate in these latter days.
“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."

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Linked
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by Linked » Thu Jun 16, 2022 1:21 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Jun 16, 2022 6:52 am
This has become a church of mealy-mouthed tap dancers.

We are rational thinkers who embrace science... when it suits us.

We condemn racist language of the past, but only in the abstract, we won't condemn any specific statement by any specific leader, because we know they wouldn't lead us astray.

We LOVE our LGBT+ members as long as they can keep a big smile with our knee on their neck.

Joseph Smith married girls who were just a few months short of their 15th birthday.

It's a policy. Now it's a revelation. Now it's a policy again. Now we have a contradictory revelation. But both were true revelations.

Dallin Oaks: "There was no electroshock therapy." (When confronted with evidence) "Well, I didn't know about it." (But your signature is on it) "I accept no responsibility."

The entire purpose of life is to become a polygamous god... but... "I don't know that we teach it."

The BoM is the most correct book ever written. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

We love and honor our Heavenly Mother (but if you actually try to do so you'll be out of here so fast it will make your head spin)

We're not denying women priesthood that only LDS men can have , we're allowing them the blessing of motherhood, which all women have

"DNA will prove the BoM is true." A few years later: "DNA can't tell you anything."

Written by the hand of Abraham. Later: written by some random dude, but STILL also written by Abraham.

Adam and Eve lived in Missouri 6000 years ago. "Hey, look over there while I slip out the back door."

Joseph was never used a seer stone. Wait, he did? No, that was an iPhone.

And so, so, so many more.

This is a pretty good indicator that God is not involved in any way. God wouldn't be embarrassed by his doctrine and intimidated by public opinion. He wouldn't be uncertain about simple ideas, or caught off guard by scientific discoveries. We get upset by the dumbass bigoted things LDS leaders say, but it is even more infuriating that they deny and dilute those things to make it look like they don't believe them when really they still do. We thank thee o God for a prophet to obfuscate in these latter days.
(Slow clap, standing ovation)

Well done sir.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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jfro18
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by jfro18 » Sat Jun 18, 2022 9:12 am

This essay is 8 paragraphs of absolutely nothing but to try and spin you around so much you don't even know where you began.

Hagoth summer it up perfectly though - the church *used* to take a stand on everything but now they take a stand on nothing because they've been proven wrong at just about every turn.

Is this essay new or just one that's just been noticed lately?

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blazerb
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Re: Evolution essay

Post by blazerb » Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:27 am

jfro18 wrote:
Sat Jun 18, 2022 9:12 am
This essay is 8 paragraphs of absolutely nothing but to try and spin you around so much you don't even know where you began.

Hagoth summer it up perfectly though - the church *used* to take a stand on everything but now they take a stand on nothing because they've been proven wrong at just about every turn.

Is this essay new or just one that's just been noticed lately?
I don't know if it's new. I had not gone through all the history essays. I noticed it because someone over on Reddit pointed it out. I was interested in how it left out the history at BYU. The way it minimizes the intensity of opposition from church leaders (evolution is a deadly heresy after all) is also astounding.
Hagoth wrote:
Thu Jun 16, 2022 6:52 am
This has become a church of mealy-mouthed tap dancers.
I think this is the best summary, Hagoth. At least they've learned from screwing it up so often before. However, if I taught from this essay in my ward, there would be some iron-rodders who would be upset.

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