Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pope: Humanity isn't random product of evolution

According to recent estimates, approximately 1/3 of earth's nearly seven billion people consider themselves Christian. Of those, more than a billion are Roman Catholic. (Source for numbers here.) Speaking on the holiest night of the year for Christians, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that humanity isn't a random product of evolution. (See the KSL article here and the AP article here.)
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We teach our kids abstinence, not birth control

[ Update: After discussion, it seems Papa D and I have come to the conclusion that we've had a big misunderstanding here. Please read his comment below (click here) before proceeding. I extend my sincere apologies to Papa D for anything I may have done that contributed to this misunderstanding.]

On his blog, "Things of My Soul," Papa D claims "We Can't Teach 'Abstinence Only'." In his article he talks a lot about his personal sex ed philosophy and some of his ideas are spot on. But the word "we" in the title of his post concerns me. Some of the advise he gives to his children goes beyond and (some may think) against what Mormons are taught in Church. Now don't get me wrong, what works for Papa D is fine for Papa D and it's also none of my business. I just want to emphasize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does NOT "encourage ... birth control" for those having pre-marital sex.

The Church teaches abstinence:

Latter-day Prophets speaking in unison: "A work on chastity can be given in one sentence, two words: Be chaste! That tells everything." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., as quoted by Harold B. Lee, as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson.)

President Harold B. Lee: "It has been well said that one does not teach honesty by telling a man how to burglarize a save, nor do we teach chastity by telling a youth all about sexual activities." (Ensign, July 1972, p. 32.)

Handbook 2: Administering the Church: "'The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. … God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force' (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”). By divine design, both a man and a woman are essential for bringing children into mortality and providing the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children.

"Complete sexual abstinence before marriage and total fidelity within marriage protect the sanctity of this sacred responsibility. Parents and priesthood and auxiliary leaders should do all they can to reinforce this teaching." (Section 1.3.2; emphasis added.)

Gordon B. Hinckley: "The Lord and His prophets have repeatedly taught the great importance of being morally clean. President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: 'We believe in chastity before marriage and total fidelity after marriage. That sums it up." (As quoted in "Lesson 2, Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher’s Manual; emphasis added.)

The First Presidency: “The Lord’s law of moral conduct is abstinence outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between husband and wife appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any other sexual contact, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behavior, is sinful.” (As quoted in "Lesson 43, D&C Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual.)

Boyd K. Packer: "We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage." (Ensign, Nov. 2003, 26.)

Richard G. Scott: “Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage—I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another’s body, with or without clothing—is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body.” (As quoted in "Lesson 43, D&C Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual.)

Jeffrey R. Holland: "As modern winds of immorality swirl around you, I am concerned for you who may be confused about principles of personal purity, about obligations of total chastity before marriage and complete fidelity after it." (January 2011, LDS.org article.)

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Friday, April 01, 2011

The Prophet, the Atonement, and evolution's wiggle room

The effects of the Fall are overcome by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement saves all men, Adam and Eve and all of their posterity. This view leaves a small amount of wiggle room in the search for harmony between the truths of revealed religion and the theories of organic evolution.

But alas, there is no wiggle room for evolution in the April 2011 Ensign. It teaches a more complete understanding of the Atonement. 2011-04 Ensign coverIt teaches that all things were created in a paradisiacal state, without death and without procreation. Then came the Fall, by which Adam and Eve became the first mortal flesh on earth, and by which procreation and death entered the whole creation. The Atonement of Jesus Christ saves all things, not just the human race. As in Adam all things die, even so in Christ shall all things be made alive. (Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, April 2011, 59; summarized.)

The Atonement of Jesus Christ saves "all things"

Confirming this point of view, today's living prophet teaches that the Atonement of Jesus Christ saves "all things: the human race, the earth, and all the life that ever inhabited it." (President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, April 2011, 4.)

Additional reading

Wilford Woodruff: "We acknowledge that through Adam all have died, that death through the fall must pass upon the whole human family, also upon the beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and all the works of God, as far as this earth is concerned." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 81.)

Harold B. Lee: "Besides the Fall having had to do with Adam and Eve, causing a change to come over them, that change affected all human nature, all of the natural creations, all of the creation of animals, plants—all kinds of life were changed. The earth itself became subject to death." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 20.)

LDS Bible Dictionary: "After Adam fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal." (Bible Dictionary, Fall of Adam.)

Thomas S. Monson: "At the last moment the Master could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things: the human race, the earth, and all the life that ever inhabited it." (President Thomas S. Monson, "He Is Not Here, but Is Risen," Ensign, April 2011, 4.)

Bruce R. McConkie: "As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God — the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

"The Creation, Fall, and Atonement

"In Eden we will see all things created in a paradisiacal state — without death, without procreation, without probationary experiences.

"We will come to know that such a creation, now unknown to man, was the only way to provide for the Fall.

"We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth.

"Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world. And because of transgression a probationary estate of trial and testing will begin.

"Then in Gethsemane we will see the Son of God ransom man from the temporal and spiritual death that came to us because of the Fall.

"And finally, before an empty tomb, we will come to know that Christ our Lord has burst the bands of death and stands forever triumphant over the grave.

"Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.

"If there had been no fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no atonement of Christ, by which cometh life." (Bruce R. McConkie, "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane," Ensign, April 2011, 59.)

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