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Monday, September 14, 2009

Easy as 1-2-3, Mormons reject evolution

A recurring bloggernacle question is:  Why do so many Mormons reject evolution?  (See also here.)  In my view, the answer is as easy as 1-2-3:

1.  From childhood, Mormons "follow the Prophet."

2.  The Prophet urges "make institute a priority."

3.  Institute's "doctrinal foundation" includes no death before the fall:

"2 Nephi 2:22.  ' All Things'  Were Affected by the Fall of Adam.

"Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained how all things were connected to the Fall of Adam:  ' Then comes the Fall;  Adam falls;  mortality and procreation and death commence.  Fallen man is mortal;  he has mortal flesh;  he is "the first flesh upon the earth."  And the effects of his fall pass upon all created things.  They fall in that they too become mortal.  Death enters the world;  mortality reigns;  procreation commences;  and the Lord's great and eternal purposes roll onward....'

" ' Mortality and procreation and death all had their beginnings with the Fall....

" ' ...An infinite Creator, in the primeval day, made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall. This fall involved a change of status. All things were so created that they could fall or change....

" '...In the primeval and Edenic day all forms of life lived in a higher state than now prevails.... Death and procreation had yet to enter the world.' "  (Book of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, 2009, pp.53-54.)

This is merely the most recent among many similar passages.  Mormons are taught no death before the fall as children, youth, students, and adults.  Even investigators are taught this doctrine.  The result?

Evolution fails for lack of time.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Jared T. said...

Thanks for the gymnastics lesson.

9/14/2009 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Much said...

Not to mention that most folk in Institute that I knew didn't really pay much attention to the manual (or even own it for that matter).

9/14/2009 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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Jared T. and Much: "More Mormons, 76%, disagreed with the notion that evolution 'is the best explanation for life on earth' than any other group but Jehovah's Witnesses. Only 21% of Mormons even 'partially agree.' "  (quoted from The Juvenile Instructor as linked in the first paragraph above).

And you don't think statements like the one above from the Institute manual have anything to do with those numbers?

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9/14/2009 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Jared T. said...

Anything? Sure, it has something to do, but not to the magnitude you try to paint it. Which goes for a lot that goes up around here. Yes, one has to be quite limber to keep up.

9/15/2009 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Yes, I agree. Church curriculum contributes something, but not everything, to what some 76% of Mormons believe. Another factor might be the teachings of certain living apostles and prophets. Would you agree?

9/15/2009 02:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Jared T. said...

R. Gary, I'm not willing to subscribe to your theories on this matter and on most matters, and especially not the way you present them, sorry.

I'm stepping away from this thread now.

A number of times I've wanted to respond to your comments elsewhere, but have always deleted my response. I feel now that I've said something to leave you be, wish you well as a brother in the gospel, and let you worship how, where or what you may. Good day.

9/15/2009 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jared T., it was good of you to stop by and I appreciate your participation.

9/15/2009 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LDS reject evolution mainly because it is a godless teaching- it doesn't include the creation or allow for it as a special event in the earths history. LDS take the creation very serious- perhaps more than other Christian religions. Plus, LDS are just better informed when it comes to the purpose and meaning of life- we are not some unguided mutative process that produces life without any real purpose.

9/15/2009 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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Anonymous, I would agree that each of the factors you mention adds additional understanding to why three in four Mormons reject evolution.

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bcspace, the Church has never published an apostolic statement endorsing the idea that organic evolution explains the origin of man.  However, many individual Mormons, like you, "don't find anything at all contradictory between evolution and LDS doctrine."  The 1931 First Presidency memo (the one that you refer to) closed the Church's lengthy and official evaluation of a priesthood manual submitted in 1928 by Elder B. H. Roberts of the Seventy.  Neither Roberts nor his manuscript were sympathetic to evolution.  After the manual had been discussed by Church leaders for two and a half years, the 1931 First Presidency memo said basically, Let's get back to work.  Referring to the Roberts book, the First Presidency said the conclusions of Geology, Biology, Archaeology, and Anthropology don't belong in a priesthood manual.  Discussions about the manuscript were over.  The book was not published.  In light of what has been published during the past thirty years under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, the unpublished 1931 comment about death before the fall is old news.  Sorry, I am not interested in debating with you on your web site.

9/16/2009 04:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve EM said...

Thank you Gary and many commenters for confirming the deep trouble our denomination is in over this nonsense. I assume the anti-evolution numbers are so high because many informed LDS have voted with their feet? BTW, evolution explains species replacement, not creation.

9/20/2009 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Evolution does a poor job of explaining anything, let alone the origin of species. It's bad science to prop up a theory with speculative nonsense. The evidence we see all around us points to a better explanation - that life was designed, that species never morph into other forms - this belief is but sophisticated dogma.

11/24/2009 04:36:00 AM  

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