Monday, May 28, 2012

The First Humans

In a pamphlet about The Plan of Salvation, investigators learn that Adam and Eve were "the first humans."

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Anonymous Stanton S said...

My first inclination is to ask, "So what do you make of all the others who were around before that?" but I know that this is not the right question for you considering the whole "NDBF" thing.

Perhaps this could be a "milk before meat" type of deal. I mean, investigators aren't taught about garments, Kolob, the gathering of Isreal, or Joseph Smith's many wives either. But that doesn't mean that these things are false.

Besides, teaching investigators about any of these things, humans before Adam and Eve included, is pointless. It's hard enough to get them to read the Book of Mormon and show up for sacrament meeting. Start with the basics. It would make no sense to teach any of these things to someone who is building their foundation of gospel understanding, as none of these things are foundational to the gospel.

5/29/2012 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Stanton S: This is not about milk before meat and it's not about things the pamphlet doesn't say.

Investigators who read the Book of Mormon and are baptized will not be told later by the Church that the pamphlet was wrong.

The Church teaches that Adam and Eve were "the first humans."

5/29/2012 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul 2 said...

Hi Gary,
I like checking your site but I am not able to understand where you are coming from. Could you indicate what best represents your viewpoint? It would help me understand. Would you best agree with which one of the following:
1) The teachings of the church are right so I don't need to engage with the arguments that science presents. This is because scientific evidence means something other than what scientists think it means, but I don't even have to engage their arguments because I know the church teachings are right.
2) If there are old bones that look human, i.e. scientists claim that they are 40000 years old, Adam must have lived and died beforehand (after leaving the garden of course).
3) If there are old bones that look human they come from some previous creation, but have nothing to do with our earth and our creation.
4) Old bones cannot be dated by scientific procedures, so they have fundamental problems with their assumptions about physical laws.
5) I am secretly an evolutionist, but like to play tricks on my fellow scientists by pretending to be a creationist. (OK, I know it is not this one.)


5/29/2012 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger yul Oyarzabal said...

so What´s the theory of humans before Adam and how can you reconcilied that with the reveled truth?

5/29/2012 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Re "I am not able to understand where you are coming from."

Where I'm coming from hasn't changed in more than seven years (click here). Consider these lines from the song, “We Are All Enlisted.” (Hymns, 250.)

      Soldiers in the army, there’s a bright crown in store;
      We shall win and wear it by and by.
      Haste to the battle, quick to the field,
      Truth is our helmet, buckler, and shield....

      Hark! the sound of battle sounding loudly and clear;...
      Fighting for a kingdom, and the world is our foe....
      Glad to join the army, we will sing as we go;
      We shall gain the victory by and by.

When Church members publicly contradict the apostles and prophets, that is one place where, in my view, the battle rages. And "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." (Protestant Reformer Martin Luther.)

In today's internet world, I've chosen to fight misinformation about the Church by publishing its teachings on my blog, making them available alongside the misinformation to all genuinely curious internet users.

Re: "scientific evidence"

Scientists who study the origin of man often cite abundant physical evidence that points to Darwinian evolution. Personally, however, I believe scripture contradicts that conclusion and I do NOT believe God is trying to trick anyone by putting false evidence in the earth's crust.

Consider these two statements: (1) Cakes are made using sugar, flour, and eggs, etc., and (2) Wives have been known to bake birthday cakes.

The scientific search for human origins may be likened to a man walking into his kitchen on his birthday after work and seeing eggshells in the trash, flour spilled on the floor, and a birthday cake on the table.

A reasonable conclusion based on the evidence is that earlier in the day his wife made a birthday cake. But that conclusion will probably change when he discovers (1) a voice message to his wife left that morning by his son about her earlier promise to bake a batch of cookies for his school class, and (2) a credit card payment dated that very day to Cakes Unusual.

Although his initial conclusion was wrong, his problem wasn't false evidence. His problem was incomplete evidence. And nobody can be certain that today's science has all the evidence. Note also, that the wife clearly wasn't trying to "trick" anyone.

5/29/2012 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger wage slave said...

The problem began with the enlightenment, which invented this linear notion of time and discarded the cycles. Certainly the trilobytes lived and died very early on. I could certainly entertain a cycle of time dedicated to the rise of mankind, complete with a paradisical state of being for all life forms.

With the understanding among all that there would be a fall. Think Billy Joel's "Parris Island".

The real problem at hand, for us, is our wholesale rejection of miracles. The creation controversy is just one of its symptoms.

5/29/2012 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

wage slave,

So what do you recommend? Do you think the missionaries should cross out those words ("the first humans") in every Plan of Salvation pamphlet?

5/29/2012 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul 2 said...

Hi R. Gary,

Thanks for your response. I may be understanding better. Have I captured your point of view in the following?

"So I would say that there is evidence and there is interpretration of evidence. There is a gap between what must be inferred from the actual evidence (objects and results of standard tests on those objects) on one hand, and the current scientific interpretation of each test result and the construction of an overall explanation by scientists on the other hand. This gap is large enough for the teachings of church to be true. It has to be that way because church teachings are true."

5/30/2012 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Paul 2,

I would agree that science does a pretty good job when it comes to making inferences based on available evidence. But by definition science throws out evidence that I consider crucial to an understanding of the origin of man. Science by definition excludes the supernatural. Yet for me the supernatural world is as real as the natural world.

For that reason, if you claim there is a solid line of transitional fossils connecting all major groups of vertebrate lineages from fish to humans, I don't care (meaning your claim doesn't bother me). I accept that science, working within its self imposed limits, can come logically to that "fish to humans" conclusion.

Furthermore, if you teach this "fish to humans" doctrine to others, as science, I still don't care. It still doesn't bother me in the least.

But when "fish to humans" is claimed to be compatible with the teachings of LDS apostles and prophets, then I care. Then it bothers me, because the apostles and prophets are in constant communication with beings who witnessed the creation of the world and the origin of man, and Church published apostolic statements speak unanimously against the idea that organic evolution explains the origin of man.

5/30/2012 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve R. said...

"...the apostles and prophets are in constant communication with beings who witnessed the creation of the world...."

Hi R. Gary, Is there a place where a recent apostle or prophet has claimed to have had a two-way conversation with these beings? Why do they let scientists at BYU teach evolution?

5/31/2012 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Steve R,

The Lord asks all Church members, including the apostles and prophets, to pray always and without ceasing. At all levels in the Church, testimony is often given that God hears and answers prayer. Each such testimony is an affirmation of two-way communication.

I am 100% satisfied that BYU evolution courses do not establish compatibility between the teachings of the Church and organic evolution, nor do they connote Church approval of the theory.

5/31/2012 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is odd, is it not, that the church allows the teaching of evolution at BYU if it directly contradicts church teachings on the origins of human beings. It is also odd that BYU scientists are among those identifying the remains of humans who lived in Utah 8,000 to 15000 more years ago. Shouldn't we expect some consistency here?

6/01/2012 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

There is nothing odd about a university science department excluding supernatural evidence. Have you looked into the BYU religion department? Both departments function consistent with their counterparts in the broader academic world.

6/01/2012 07:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve R. said...

I believe that we should pray constantly, and I believe that God answers prayers, but I don't believe prophets have immediate access to all the answers. If they did, the leaders would all be supportive or antagonistic of science, instead of just a few of them.

I have a 1933 letter written by Joseph Fielding Smith in which he states his belief that the people of Lehi landed in South America. The evidence he gives is the note by Frederick G. Williams, but Elder Smith admits that he doesn't know how the note was created, or why. He states that Pres. Anthony W. Ivins of the First Presidency refused to believe that the Nephites and Lamanites were ever in South America, and then uses logic to demonstrate his own belief that they were. He doesn't suggest praying about it is a way to find the answer, at least in this case.

R. Gary, I believe God does answer prayers, but many times the answer to many questions comes through diligent research outside the scriptures.

6/02/2012 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

Your statement that apostles and prophets are in constant communication with beings who witnessed the creation sounds rather fanciful to me. I can't think of a single general authority or latter-day prophet who has ever made such a claim. Can you cite specific apostles and prophets?

6/16/2012 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

"Now, what is the destiny of this church? It will go forward. It cannot fail. It will grow until it fills the whole earth. With Christ at its head, in constant communication with the leaders of this church, we are destined to carry out the work God has assigned it." (See here and here.)

6/16/2012 03:30:00 PM  

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