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Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Reasons For Hosting This Blog

"Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."

The time has come for me to step back and remind myself why I decided to host this blog in the first place. Apparently, it is always tempting to stray from one's original purpose, especially when discussing various ideas related to that purpose. To some extent, I think that has recently happened here.

A Mormon Urban Legend

    1.   The primary purpose for my web presence is to put to rest a Mormon urban legend that has been circulating for more than thirty years—namely that the 1931 First Presidency statement, which silenced a long, mostly private, and controversial discussion among Church leaders in 1928-1931, had anything to do with evolution. Neither the discussion nor its terminating First Presidency statement had anything whatsoever to do with evolution.

    2.   The second purpose is to expose a fundamental flaw in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism article about Evolution—a flaw whose origin can be traced to the Mormon urban legend mentioned above (see ndbf.net chapter one and my article about the BYU Evolution Packet, both written before I started this blog).

    3.   A third purpose is to expose at its root the origin of the Mormon urban legend mentioned above (see ndbf.net chapter two).

    4.   Because a certain LDS doctrine has been subtly undermined by the above mentioned Mormon urban legend, an underlying purpose of this blog and my web site at ndbf.net is to highlight the existence and validity of the LDS doctrine of No Death Before the Fall.

Luther on Defending Christ

More than four hundred years ago, the great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther (1483–1546) said:

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point." (Weimar Ausgabe Briefwechsel 3, 81f; italics added.)

For two years in the sixties, I served as a full time missionary among the Lutheran Protestants in Germany. I gained a deep respect for the dogged determination of the German people.

This blog is an outward expression of my response to the above challenge, given to all Christians in all ages by a courageous German reformer.

8 Comments:

Blogger R. Gary said...

Please note: I am not interested in speculation about Martin Luther's beliefs regarding no death before the fall.

6/09/2005 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger jeff g said...

I timely reminder to perhaps get us back on track.

Now as to the 1931 statement (which again was never presented as a revelation, this is important in my opinion) I think that it has more to do with evolution than you are allowing for.

While Roberts did not believe in the evolution of current species from past ones, he clearly allowed for the evolution of past species. This is at least half-way to where Mormon evolutionists stand today. Talmage's beliefs and his talk clearly advocated many of the principles which Mormon creationists reject, and this is not irrelevant at all.

6/09/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous J. Stapley said...

I think it would be helpful to sepperate "no death before the fall" from evolution. As you say, Roberts might not have believed in inter-species revelation, but there is pretty good evidence that many believed in death before the fall, and still do.

6/09/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous J. Stapley said...

...er, that is inter-species evolution.

6/09/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger jeff g said...

Gary,

Perhaps you should dedicate a post to your interpretation of the letter dated 5 Apr. 1931 which was sent to the 12, 70's and presiding bishopric from the 1 Pres:

"The statement made by Elder Smith that 'the existence of pre-Adamites is not doctrine of the church' is true. It is just as true that the statement 'there were not pre-Adamites upon the earth is not a doctrine of the church."

This certainly seems relatively official and directly contrary to what you maintain.

6/14/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jeffery said: "This certainly seems relatively official and directly contrary to what you maintain."

The statement you quote, regardless of its history, no longer applies to death before the fall (see here for a more thorough discussion).

6/16/2005 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jonathan said: "Roberts might not have believed in inter-species evolution, but there is pretty good evidence that many believed in death before the fall, and still do."

I don't know about "still do", at least among our current Apostles, but you are correct about B.H. Roberts. His unscientific and doctrinally unsupportable theory did allow for death before the fall. That is precisely why his book remained unpublished for more than 65 years (see here for a more thorough discussion).

6/16/2005 02:27:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jeffery said: "he [Roberts] clearly allowed for the evolution of past species."

I can't find anything like that in his writings. Roberts rejected all scientific explanations for fossil origins (including organic evolution). In place thereof, he set forth his own theory of an earlier, pre-Adamic creation. In this creation, God brought plants, animals, and pre-Adamic human-like beings to the earth, all of which lived and died for millions of years (and then were completely destroyed) before the time of Adam. (see the paragraph quoted and page numbers from TWL here).

6/16/2005 02:37:00 AM  

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