Sunday, November 01, 2009

Isn't Jesus a fundamentalist Mormon creationist?

These are questions for SteveP of The Mormon Organon who said Friday that fundamentalist Mormon creationists should "form their own Church."

Either God created the earth and man, or they evolved as proposed by the Big Bang theory.  For me, it's one or the other.  It is my belief that the book of Genesis accurately records the origin of the earth and man and that the books of Moses and Abraham, as well as the temple narrative, confirm the Genesis creation account.  If this belief makes me a fundamentalist Mormon creationist, so be it.  I am in good company.  I am in company with Joseph Fielding Smith, Ezra Taft Benson, Bruce R. McConkie, Boyd K. Packer, and Russell M. Nelson, plus a host of other fundamentalist Mormon creationists.  So why should we form our own Church?

What if Jesus Christ, whose Church we already belong to, is better represented on the subject of evolution by past and present apostles and prophets than He is by SteveP and Kenneth Miller?  In other words, what if Jesus Christ himself is a fundamentalist Mormon creationist?


Blogger R. Gary said...


Henrichsen, it is my position that the apostles and prophets speak for Jesus Christ on the subject of evolution (as on other subjects). SteveP and Kenneth Miller, insofar as they disaagree with the apostles and prophets (including those mentioned above) do not speak for Christ the Creator.

Jamal, the official word is that we don't know, "man" doesn't know. In the Church's formal First Presidency statement on the subject, the word "man" doesn't refer to the Church or its leaders. The word "man" means all of us—mankind in general—particularly those who search for human origins without the aid of revelation from God as it comes through the apostles and prophets:

-------------- quote --------------
"Man, by searching, cannot find out God. Never, unaided, will he discover the truth about the beginning of human life. The Lord must reveal Himself or remain unrevealed; and the same is true of the facts relating to the origin of Adam's race—God alone can reveal them." ("The Origin of Man," Ensign, Feb 2002, p.30.)
-------------- end quote --------------

Science cannot discover the true facts relating to human origins because God alone can reveal them and such "supernatural intervention," according to Judge John E. Jones in Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al., "is simply not science."

11/01/2009 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Henrichsen, please read this.

11/01/2009 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Rob Osborn, your name calling is not welcome here either.

However, your comment about God being an active (as opposed to a passive) creator reminded me of something President Spencer W. Kimball said in his September 1978 First Presidency Message. Here is what he said:

-------------- quote --------------
"The watchmaker in Switzerland, with materials at hand, made the watch that was found in the sand in a California desert. The people who found the watch had never been to Switzerland, nor seen the watchmaker, nor seen the watch made. The watchmaker still existed, no matter the extent of their ignorance or experience. If the watch had a tongue, it might even lie and say,  ' There is no watchmaker.' That would not alter the truth....

"The Gods organized the earth of materials at hand, over which they had control and power. This truth is absolute. A million educated folk might speculate and determine in their minds that the earth came into being by chance. The truth remains. The earth was made by the Gods as was the watch by the watchmaker. Opinions do not change that.

"The Gods organized and gave life to man and placed him on the earth. This is absolute. It cannot be disproved. A million brilliant minds might conjecture otherwise, but it is still true." (Ensign, Sept. 1978, p.4.
-------------- end quote --------------

"The earth was made by the Gods as was the watch by the watchmaker." God was not merely a passive evolution-guidance-counselor in this process.

Regarding man, notice the sequence. Adam's physical body is created and his spirit gives it life, then he (as a living soul) is "placed" on the earth. Some LDS evolutionists say God used evolution to create Adam's physical body, [*] eventually finding just the right specimen for his spirit; but under that theory Adam's body was already on the earth and could not have been "placed" here. So again, it becomes apparent that the apostles and prophets speak for Jesus Christ on this, and LDS evolutionists do not.


*   Of 282 LDS biologists interviewed in 1992, only one thought "man's body did not evolve in any fashion from simpler species and is not biologically related to them." (Trent D. Stephens and D. Jeffrey Meldrum, Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001, p.12.)

"Amongst vertebrates, there is a sequence (in the fossil record) all the way from fish to humans," said Duane E. Jeffrey, BYU professor of zoology. (see "Y professors differ with creationist on evolution and carbon-14 dating," printed in the BYU Daily Universe: June 5, 1996.)

"In the vertebrate lineages, for example, there is a virtually solid line connecting all major groups from fish to humans." (Duane Jeffery, "Claims made by 'origins of life' supporters don't hold water," The Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 11, 2006.)

11/02/2009 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff G said...

"Either God created the earth and man, or they evolved as proposed by the Big Bang theory. For me, it's one or the other."

Okay, but this is where pretty much everyone else gets off the bus. Why should it be one or the other? Where has that ever been revealed? And most importantly, what do you mean when you say "God created the earth and man" and "[earth and man] evolved as proposed by the big bang"? I seriously doubt that Steve or Kenneth Miller mean the same things as you.

11/02/2009 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jeff G.,

"Where has that ever been revealed?"

Spencer W. Kimball, First Presidency Message, September 1978 (see above). The earth was made like a watches are made, and Adam was "placed" upon it. Sounds like one or the other to me. Actually, it sounds like Genesis, not Big Bang.

How many examples were you looking for?

11/02/2009 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous SteveP said...

Was Jesus Christ a creationist? No. Creator.

Gary the difference between me in you is that you believe in the General Authority's infallibility in all their utterances and I believe this position is not supported by our doctrine. Brigham Young believed that Adam was God. Do I have to believe that? No. Joseph Fielding Smith taught that man would not reach the moon. Am I obligated to believe that? No. Your position of infallibility I think is more problematic than mine because it gives rise to puzzles when they disagree. When it turns out they are children of their times and hold beliefs that turn out to be wrong as we learn more about the world I am neither disturbed or surprised. They are witness of Christ, not explicators of the natural world.

But let me say this Gary, your position is at least coherent. I find the ideas like intelligent design which try to twist the science in ways it won't go far more problematic and more like the luke warm position that should be 'spewed out of my mouth.' Your position is at least logically consistent. However you are lucky your position does not have to take in and make sense of the findings of modern science from fossils, DNA, embryology, physics and radio metric data, anatomy, geology, biogeography, astronomy, archeology. I wonder what you would do if you had to make your position coherent not only with the words of selected general authorities, but the natural world? But at least this is true Gary. Unlike many of the silly moves made by the ID folks, I can at least respect your position. And that respect extends to you as a person. I do like your quiet passion, humility, and faith.

11/02/2009 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff G said...

How many examples do I want?

Well, I imagine you can produce a few where people say that somebody actually said that it must be either A or B but not both A and B.

I can even grant that you might find an example or two were the person demonstrates clearly that they know what both A and B mean.

But I don't think that you can come up with a single example which satisfies both of the above criteria AND the author actually claimed that what they were saying was a revelation.

That's is what all of us have been waiting for, but let's be honest, you don't have a single example that can meet all 3 criteria.

11/02/2009 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...



I wish to clarify one thing: I have never believed "in the General Authority's infallibility in all their utterances." Thank you for your comment.

Jeff G.,

The examples I have are many (in addition to the one I gave above). They all meet my own criteria. And it doesn't surprise or bother me that none of them work for you. I do, however, appreciate you stopping by.

11/02/2009 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff G said...

Just to second what Steve said about Gary's position. Sometimes where he stands is a little unclear to me (and even more so to others, I think) he almost always can back up his position very well.

The only problem I see (and I'm sure he sees this as a "feature" rather than a "bug" of his blog) is that he is only willing to can on the debate according to the rules that he sets ahead of time. While he is certainly free to do whatever he wants with his own blog, sometimes I want to discuss the validity of the premises from which he is arguing. He, on the other hand, states very clearly in his comment policies page that the questioning of these premises is out of bounds.

This post is a perfect example. I laid out three criteria which I think all Mormon evolutionists are holding out for in an official church condemnation of their view. Gary cheerfully states that his criteria are different but sincerely thanks me for visiting all the same.

In summary, he knows general authority statements on the subject like nobody else. He is able to defend a faith-based rejection of evolution like nobody else I have encountered. And best of all, he is always courteous, even when being aggressively attacked by others. I just wish that sometimes the deck wasn't so stacked in his favor from the outset so the conversation could go a little deeper, that's all.

11/02/2009 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


SteveP  &  Jeff G.,

I am grateful for your kind and generous comments. I appreciate the fact that we can discuss our differing opinions without being cross and ornery. But just as you feel I don't completely understand you, in the same way I feel you don't completely understand me. So I'll probably go ahead and bring up a few more questions later. For now, let me just thank you both, again.

11/02/2009 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger S.Faux said...

R. Gary:

My personal motto that I try to remind myself to live by is: Seek First the Kingdom of God.

Yes, I love the study of evolution. I teach it. But, when placed beside the gospel, evolution pales into nothingness.

I hope evolution NEVER separates us as brothers in the gospel. I hope members of the Church will always have the freedom to come to their own views about evolution. (I believe we always will).

It is fun to argue back and forth about whether evolution fits the gospel or not. But, the real question is: Do we as people fit the gospel? Are we living the principles as we should?

I believe the words of Jesus: "[Y]e shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together" (3 Ne. 18:22).

Come one; come all.

OK, enough. Now where's my geological hammer? I need to go fossil hunting.

11/03/2009 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


S.Faux, well said.

Especially this part: "I hope evolution NEVER separates us as brothers in the gospel." To which, I can only say Amen and Amen.

With one caveat. As long as in Church we keep contrary opinions to ourselves when official magazines and curriculum materials quote the apostles and prophets on the subjects of evolution and death before the fall.

Other than that, I believe anyone who wants to can study evolution, teach evolution, and even use a geological hammer to gather evidence in support of death before the fall and at the same time be "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Eph. 2:19.)

I enjoyed your excellent comment. Thanks for your participation.

11/03/2009 10:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph Smith saw God the Father. He observed God the Father was in our exact image and likeness. Was it by accident and chance man happen to evolve into a something that looked like God? If you believe in evolution (macro) and also believe what Joseph Smith described, then you cannot in any way get around this question.

1/13/2010 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Chris Spencer,

Jesus Christ is, in very fact, "Creator of all things from the beginning" (Hel. 14:12). I'm sorry about not publishing your long, drawn-out comment and I'm sorry that all this discussion makes you sick.

2/14/2010 05:06:00 PM  

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