Part 58: CES Letter Science Questions
by Sarah Allen
In this life, there are a lot of questions for which we don’t have answers, or only have partial answers. There is much still yet to be revealed, and one of the big lessons we need to learn in this life is that of having patience and trusting in the Lord to reveal things according to His timeline, not ours.
When I’m praying over some of these questions, two scriptures often come to mind as my answer. The most common one is D&C 58:3, which says, in part:
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things…
The scripture verse that occasionally follows it up if I’m not satisfied by that answer and I get a little salty or frustrated over it is D&C 25:4, which reads:
Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.
Sometimes, we’re just not ready for the answers yet, and we need to learn how to be okay with that. It’s not an easy lesson to learn, but it’s a pretty important one.
In this particular section of questions in the CES Letter, we’ll be discussing things that don’t have full, definitive answers yet. A lot of it is speculative, and a lot of Jeremy’s questions and comments are based on assumptions, not revealed doctrine. We’re mostly going to be talking about theories today.
I’m okay with not having explicit answers to these questions yet. Some of you won’t be, and that’s okay, too. Everyone has unanswered questions, and some of those questions can really bother us until we come to an answer that satisfies us. There’s nothing “wrong” or shameful about that. This church was restored because of Joseph Smith trying to get answers to his unanswered questions.
There are two things in particular that I think President Nelson excels at, and I think we’re very blessed to have a leader who does excel at those things. First, he is very good at separating the necessary from the extraneous, both in doctrine and practice. Under his leadership, the Church has streamlined various programs and taken steps to make things more simple and clear for us. He has shown that he’s open-minded and willing to change certain things to make our lives easier. He’s also told us that other things will not change, because they’re necessary for our salvation.
The second thing he’s really great at is closely related to the first, and that’s his ability to adapt to new information. When he’s informed that something isn’t working for many people, he seeks out ways to change it. When he learns new historical information, he adjusts his assumptions accordingly.
Starting in the early half of the 1900s, the knowledge of Joseph Smith’s personal seer stone being used in the Book of Mormon translation process began being buried by time. The last mention of it in any official Church resource until the mid-1970s was at the tail end of the 1930s. Many of those accounts were forgotten, and for a long time, only about three or four were known. Several of our leaders didn’t believe in the accuracy of those accounts because they came from people who left the Church and were known to be somewhat hostile sources in their later years. While historians were aware of the multiple other accounts backing them up, the vast majority of members were not, because it wasn’t being taught anymore. The information was available and the Church was not hiding it, but it wasn’t a focus and it was rarely mentioned until the early 2000s.
President Nelson was one of the few prominent individuals in the Church who spoke about it openly, far earlier than many of the resources we have available today. In 1992, he gave a talk containing that information to over 100 mission presidents who were asked to teach it to their missionaries and not long after, it was published in the Ensign, which is where I first learned of the information. This is not the only time he’s done something similar. When he spoke in General Conference about the Creation back in the year 2000, he talked about the six days of Creation being six periods of time rather than 24-hour days, which is something we’ll discuss in more detail in a minute.
In instances like this, President Nelson is setting a wonderful example for us. He’s showing us how to obtain and process new information, and how to adapt our thinking to accommodate that information. He’s showing us how to simplify the Gospel and concentrate on what’s most important, rather than all of the other things that can distract and complicate our Church service.
With that said, the CES Letter begins this section with another series of quotes:
“Since the Gospel embraces all truth, there can never be any genuine contradictions between true science and true religion…I am obliged, as a Latter-day Saint, to believe whatever is true, regardless of the source.” — HENRY EYRING, FAITH OF A SCIENTIST, P.12,31
“Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the Fall.” — 2017 LDS BIBLE DICTIONARY TOPIC: DEATH
“4000 B.C. – Fall of Adam” — 2017 LDS BIBLE DICTIONARY TOPIC: CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
“More than 90 percent of all organisms that have ever lived on Earth are extinct…At least a handful of times in the last 500 million years, 50 to more than 90 percent of all species on Earth have disappeared in a geological blink of the eye.” — NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, MASS EXTINCTIONS
Jeremy didn’t link to any of his actual sources, but that’s okay. Even though he’s shown repeatedly that his citations are not to be trusted, in this case I was willing to take him at his word that the quotes from Dr. Eyring are accurate. Reddit user WooperSlim bought the book to confirm their accuracy, and left a comment on the post detailing their context for those who are interested.
I completely agree with Dr. Eyring. As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t any discrepancy between religion and science. There’s only a lack of knowledge on our part. When all is said and done and we finally know exactly what the Creation entailed and how it all fits together with the Bible, I don’t think there’ll be any contradiction at all. Until then, it’s not a big deal if science and religion don’t always perfectly align.
Elder James E. Talmage once taught something that’s an extension of this thought:
When I see how often the theories and conceptions of men have gone astray, have fallen short of the truth, yea, have even contradicted the truth directly, I am thankful in my heart that we have an iron rod to which we can cling—the rod of certainty, the rod of revealed truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomes all truth, but it distinguishes most carefully between fact and fancy, between truth and theory, between premises and deductions; and it is willing to leave some questions in abeyance until the Lord in his wisdom shall see fit to speak more plainly.
I don’t remember exactly where I saw this quote as I copied it down a while ago, but in my notes I show it was shared somewhere by Dennis Horne, who sometimes comments on these posts. So, I just wanted to acknowledge his role in sharing this quote, because it’s an excellent one and I appreciate his bringing it indirectly to my attention.
As for the quotes supposedly taken from the Bible Dictionary, the wording on both is accurate, at least. The BD entry on Death does close with the above paragraph, and also includes citations for 2 Nephi 2:22, which says:
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
And also Moses 6:48, which states:
And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.
The verse in Moses does not say whether it’s talking about a physical or a spiritual death, and we know that the scriptures—particularly the books of the Old Testament—use symbolism liberally. President Joseph Fielding Smith once taught:
Even the most devout and sincere believers in the Bible realize that it is, like most any other book, filled with metaphor, simile, allegory, and parable, which no intelligent person could be compelled to accept in a literal sense. … The Lord has not taken from those who believe in his word the power of reason. He expects every man who takes his “yoke” upon him to have common sense enough to accept a figure of speech in its proper setting, and to understand that the holy scriptures are replete with allegorical stories, faith-building parables, and artistic speech. Much of the beauty of the Bible, even in the translations which have come to us, is found in the wonderful figures of this kind, which have never been surpassed. … Where is there a writing intended to be taken in all parts literally? Such a writing would be insipid and hence lack natural appeal. To expect a believer in the Bible to strike an attitude of this kind and believe all that is written to be a literal rendition is a stupid thought. No person with the natural use of his faculties looks upon the Bible in such a light.
So, we even have a prophet who was well-known for his literal interpretation of the scriptures saying not to take everything in the Bible literally as written. On things that have not been explicitly revealed to have occurred exactly as recorded, and as long as we’re not going against what has been revealed, we should be willing to be flexible when allegory and symbolism are so heavily entwined with the history. Don’t let yourself be pushed around by every gust of wind that comes along, but don’t be so rigid that you can’t grow, either.
Moreover, the verse in Moses also does not say that death was introduced to the entire world, just that Adam and his descendants would now experience it. The verse in 2 Nephi is similar; is it talking about all things which were created in the whole world, or all things which were created inside the Garden of Eden? We don’t know, because Heavenly Father has not seen fit to clarify the exact meaning of those particular verses.
Nor do we know if those exact words were given by revelation, or if they were just the authors discussing the Creation as they knew it. We know that prophets can make mistakes or get things wrong occasionally. It happens. They’re human beings, not divine ones.
Additionally, the introduction to the Bible Dictionary explains why these quotes shouldn’t be taken as official statements of doctrine:
This dictionary provides a concise collection of definitions and explanations of Bible topics. It is based primarily on the biblical text, supplemented by information from the other standard works. A variety of doctrinal, cultural, and historical subjects are treated, and a short summary is included for each book of the Bible. Many of the entries draw on the work of Bible scholars and are subject to reevaluation as new research or revelation comes to light. This dictionary is provided to help your study of the scriptures and is not intended as an official statement of Church doctrine or an endorsement of the historical and cultural views set forth.
Again, they’re brief summaries of the topics given by the authors as they know them. They get things wrong, too, and we’re gaining new historical information and spiritual insights all the time that do occasionally change the way we interpret things. Because those verses haven’t been clarified, there are multiple different interpretations we can give them, and we don’t know for sure which one is correct.
And that’s going to be the answer you see coming up again and again throughout this section.
An interesting concept, that of an atemporal Fall, was also brought to my attention by WooperSlim. It was a Hellenistic Jewish and early Christian teaching, but went out of favor due in large part to the teachings of St. Augustine. The cited blog post’s author explains it like this:
Put simply, the atemporal fall is the idea that humanity was created in a heavenly realm of time and space and that the human fall literally caused a reduced form of time and space to come into being. Humanity then also showed up within this fallen world but in a new and reduced form of themselves. Many early church fathers (including Augustine at least for the first part of his career) considered Genesis 1 to be about the eternal creation of God while Genesis 2 moved our cosmic story across the line into the fallen world that we now inhabit. This means that the fall of humanity took place outside of time as we now experience it—therefore “atemporal.”
… One way to describe the atemporal fall is to say that all of cosmic history in this current fallen world of ours is the result of only one moment or event within the heavenly or eternal time of God’s kingdom life. When the heavenly Adam fell…all of fallen human history unrolled instantly—from the Big Bang until the last moment of biological life anywhere in our cosmos. This means that every part of this contingent story that we are in right now is only incompletely in contact with the true history of humanity’s un-fallen relationship to God. Our fallen history did not destroy us and our world, because, at the instant of our fall, the eternal Son and Word of God joined himself to us even to the point of death.
The author has some ideas about Adam that run contrary to our doctrine (such as Adam rejecting life with God and God’s plan for humanity, which caused the Fall), but it’s an interesting concept. Basically, the idea is that the world existed outside of time as we know it, and after Adam and Eve fell, it caused a slower form of time and space to be created, and then humans subsequently slowed down themselves—which would have shortened our lifespans, hence why you see some of the ancient Patriarchs living for hundreds of years in the Old Testament. Their lifespans gradually decrease over time, as if they are acclimating to this new, fallen world. This is a new concept to me so I need to do a lot more studying on it, but I think it’s fascinating.
Regarding the second quote, that is not actually from the Bible Dictionary, it’s from the Appendix. The Chronology of the Old Testament section does indeed give the date for the Fall of Adam as 4,000 BC. It also says, “(Those desiring calculated dates on these events may wish to consult published chronologies.)”
That’s because the Church didn’t come up with that date themselves, and it certainly was not given by revelation. In the introduction to the Bible Chronology section of the Appendix, it says:
Bible chronology deals with fixing the exact dates of the various events recorded. For the earliest parts of Old Testament history we rely entirely on the scripture itself; but the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint or Greek translation, and the Samaritan Pentateuch do not agree together, so that many dates cannot be fixed with certainty. From the time of David onwards we get much assistance from secular history, such as inscriptions on monuments and other state records. Much work has still to be done in this direction. The dates found at the top of many printed English Bibles are due to Archbishop Ussher (1581–1656). Some of them have been shown to be incorrect.
The dates are guesses made by working backward from the birth of Christ and going off the ages listed in the genealogies and the dates of known historical events. But we all have to realize that those earliest stories from the Old Testament were passed down orally for generation upon generation because they precede the invention of writing. Sections would have been misremembered, forgotten completely, deliberately taken out, added, altered, etc., over the years before they were able to be written down. And even after that point, as we went over when talking about Abraham, the versions we have today are copies of copies of copies of copies, etc., going back multiple generations as well. They were copied down and passed around and they were changed in a similar fashion as the oral traditions were, and we know for a fact that many of them conflict with one another. Again, look at the Book of Abraham versus Genesis. The story is the same and some verses are identical, but many are very different even though they likely came from the same source once upon a time.
For many of the events in the early books of the Old Testament in particular, we don’t know which details are accurate and which ones are not. That’s why the 8th Article of Faith says that we believe the Bible is the Word of God as far as it’s translated correctly. Not everything in it is accurate, and there are a lot of things that can’t be corroborated yet. We can’t even trust our news media to report events accurately in the moment today, let alone take the words of a book at least 7,000 years old as a perfectly accurate historical record.
So, again, this is not a definitive statement of revealed doctrine from the Church.
This record of Adam and his posterity is the only scriptural account we have of the appearance of man upon the earth. But we have also a vast and ever-increasing volume of knowledge concerning man, his early habits and customs, his industries and works of art, his tools and implements, about which such scriptures as we have thus far received are entirely silent. Let us not try to wrest the scriptures in an attempt to explain away what we cannot explain. The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science or man-science. Holy Scripture will endure, while the conceptions of men change with new discoveries. We do not show reverence for the scriptures when we misapply them through faulty interpretation.”
And Jeremy’s National Geographic quote is inaccurate to the source material:
More than 99 percent of all organisms that have ever lived on Earth are extinct. As new species evolve to fit ever changing ecological niches, older species fade away. But the rate of extinction is far from constant. At least a handful of times in the last 500 million years, 75 to more than 90 percent of all species on Earth have disappeared in a geological blink of an eye in catastrophes we call mass extinctions.
I don’t think I need to comment too closely on that; we’re all familiar with what the fossil record shows in that regard. Most of us already have opinions on what that means regarding the Creation.
The problem Mormonism encounters is that so many of its claims are well within the realm of scientific study, and as such, can be proven or disproven. To cling to faith in these areas, where the overwhelming evidence is against it, is willful ignorance, not spiritual dedication.
I completely disagree. As I was saying earlier, and as Elder Talmage agreed, scientists don’t know everything yet. There is a great deal that can’t be proven or disproven, and there have been many times when we think science has shown one thing, only to for it later to be proven incorrect. Just because something in this moment might be in contradiction with scientific theories does not mean it will remain so. Choosing to believe despite what science currently tells us is not willful ignorance, it’s the acknowledgment that we’re still learning and growing in our understanding. It’s faith that, though we don’t have all of the answers right now, we will eventually receive them and understand exactly how the Creation and Fall occurred.
The Letter continues with four points of contention Jeremy has with the Church over “science.” I’m going to try to get through all of them today so we don’t have to spend any more time on this particular section.
Point #1 says:
2 Nephi 2:22 and Alma 12:23-24 state there was no death of any kind (humans, all animals, birds, fish, dinosaurs, etc.) on this earth until the “Fall of Adam,” which according to D&C 77:6-7 occurred about 7,000 years ago. It is scientifically established that there has been life and death on this planet for billions of years. How does the Church reconcile this?
Neither of those verses say there was no death of any kind on the earth until after the Fall. We’ve already looked at 2 Nephi 2:22, so here’s Alma 12:23-24:
23 And now behold, I say unto you that if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death, and the word would have been void, making God a liar, for he said: If thou eat thou shalt surely die.
24 And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.
These verses don’t say that no death existed before the Fall, nor do they explain what type of death was being referred to in verse 23. Verse 24 is clearly talking about temporal death, as Alma explains, but the entire chapter is about physical and spiritual death, and it doesn’t clarify which type of death is being referred to in verse 23.
Regardless, this was after the Fall. Alma was explaining that if Adam could go back into the Garden of Eden after being expelled and partake of the fruit at that point, there would be no death for Adam and his descendants going forward. It never says there was no death at all anywhere in the world before the Fall. We need to be careful about inserting our own assumptions into the scriptures.
As for D&C 77:6-7, that reference says:
Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?
We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.
What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?
We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.
Note the part that was bolded. These verses do not say that the age of the Earth is only 7,000 years old. The temporal existence is only the time since the Fall. Jeremy acknowledges this, but other critics have not so I wanted to point it out. And, as Brian Hales states, “Mathematical models accounting for DNA and migratory trends demonstrate that claims that a single father to the human race lived within the last 6000 years are consistent with science.”
So, there’s nothing here that the Church has to “reconcile.” It is not official doctrine that there was no death of any kind whatsoever before the Fall, just that there was no human death inside the Garden of Eden prior to then. Revealed doctrine is silent on any other point, and science does not contradict the idea that there was one single father to the modern human race who lived within those 7,000 years since the Fall.
How do we explain the massive fossil evidence showing not only animal deaths but also the extinctions of over a dozen different Hominid species over the span of 250,000 years prior to Adam?
We acknowledge that they died? Or not, if you prefer to think of it that way. As FAIR points out, this is a question the Church has no official stance on, and leaves it up to individual members to decide for themselves. Personally, I believe that there were other hominid species on the Earth and have no problem with that.
There are a bunch of different ways to view the Garden of Eden story: purely allegorical, partially allegorical but partially literal, entirely literal, etc.
I personally believe that Adam and Eve were real people—Joseph Smith saw and spoke with Adam on several occasions, and saw Eve as well; he also, at one point, said that his deceased brother Alvin looked much like Adam and Seth and that they were all very handsome—and I believe that the Garden of Eden was a real place in which there was no temporal death. That place was wholly separate from the rest of the world, in which the Creation process took place over billions of years and did indeed include death and what used to be referred to as “Pre-Adamites.” (The Hebrew word “Yom” that was translated as “day” in the Creation story has a variety of meanings, and one of them is an unspecified length of time. Another is a 24-hour day, and another is a very long time like an epoch or age. It’s entirely possible that it was 6 periods of billions of years each that were the 6 “days” of Creation.) I think that Adam and Eve were the first modern humans, the first beings fully capable of understanding and accepting the Gospel and all it entails.
Your mileage may vary on that. Others have different opinions, and that’s great. Stick with whatever makes the most sense to you until the Lord reveals otherwise, and be open to being wrong. None of us are experts on the details of Creation yet.
Jeremy’s next two points are very similar to this one. I don’t get why he makes separate questions for the same point over and over again, then crams multiple points into one question at the end. He does this repeatedly throughout the Letter, and it’s just strange formatting. But I digress.
If Adam and Eve are the first humans, how do we explain the dozen or so other Hominid species who lived and died 35,000 – 2.4 million years before Adam? When did those guys stop being human?
They were literally other species’ than human. They were closely related and physically resembled modern men and women, but they were not homo sapiens. I’m sure Heavenly Father has a plan for each of them as well, but as far as we’re concerned, Adam was the father of our species.
Genetic science and testing has advanced significantly the past few decades. I was surprised to learn from results of my own genetic test that 1.6% of my DNA is Neanderthal. How does this fact fit with Mormon theology and doctrine that I am a literal descendant of a literal Adam and Eve from about 7,000 years ago? Where do the Neanderthals fit in? How do I have pre-Adamic Neanderthal DNA and Neanderthal blood circulating my veins when this species died off about 33,000 years before Adam and Eve?
Pretty clearly, at some point one or more of Jeremy’s homo sapien ancestors interbred with a descendant of the Neanderthals. It’s not rocket science we’re dealing with here. I mean, really, what other explanation does he think we’re going to give him on this one?
And, for Jeremy’s last point, there are multiple issues listed:
Other events/claims that science has discredited:
- Tower of Babel: (a staple story of the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon)
Science has not discredited the Tower of Babel. Massive ziggurats are found in various stages of ruin all over Mesopotamia even today. The largest one still standing is Choghā Zanbīl in modern-day Iran. There was a gigantic one near the temple of Marduk in ancient Babylon called Etemenanki, which has long been thought to be a candidate for the Tower of Babel.
There is also nothing to suggest that the confusion of languages described was not a localized event that didn’t effect anyone outside of the immediate area, or even that we really know exactly what was meant by “confusion of languages.” Ben Spackman gives a really interesting take on it here:
It’s a word play, also quite common in the Old Testament, but virtually impossible to indicate in translation. … Typically, wordplay in translation has to be pointed out in notes, like [Robert] Alter’s. He skillfully translates Genesis 11:6-9 like this to bring it out.
“…Come, let us go down to baffle their language. … Therefore it is called Babel, for the Lord made the language of all the earth babble.”
He explains in his literary notes,
“The Hebrew balal, ‘to mix or confuse,’ represented in this translation by baffle and babble is a polemic pun on the Akkadian ‘Babel…’”
That is, at the late time Genesis 11 was written, Babel/Babylon was thought to be a great source and center of culture, knowledge, and science. But Genesis 11 cleverly portrays it instead as a source of hubris, confusion, and apostasy.
Regardless of how you view it, the only thing that has been proven to be incorrect was that it was every language on the face of the Earth that changed at the same time—something that Latter-day scripture does not claim.
- Global flood: 4,500 years ago
The great flood didn’t have to be global. That was in the days before cars, trains, planes, etc. It was not common for people to travel long distances when it would have had to have been on foot, camel, or horseback. For many people, traveling more than a few hundred miles in any direction during the course of their lifetimes would have been unthinkable. So, it would have been natural for a large local flood to seem like it flooded the entire world.
When Church leaders refer to it, they do tend to refer to it as a global flood because that’s what the scriptures say. But they also occasionally say otherwise. For example, in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, John A. Widtsoe is quoted as saying:
The fact remains that the exact nature of the flood is not known. We set up assumptions, based upon our best knowledge, but can go no further. We should remember that when inspired writers deal with historical incidents they relate that which they have seen or that which may have been told them, unless indeed the past is opened to them by revelation. The details in the story of the flood are undoubtedly drawn from the experiences of the writer. Under a downpour of rain, likened to the opening of the heavens, a destructive torrent twenty-six feet deep or deeper would easily be formed. The writer of Genesis made a faithful report of the facts known to him concerning the flood. In other localities the depth of the water might have been more or less. In fact, the details of the flood are not known to us.
And again, Ben Spackman argues that it’s largely symbolic/allegorical.
Noah’s Ark: Humans and animals having their origins from Noah’s family and the animals contained in the ark 4,500 years ago. It is scientifically impossible, for example, for the bear to have evolved into several species (Sun Bear, Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, etc.) from common ancestors from Noah’s time just a few thousand years ago. There are a host of other impossibilities associated with Noah’s Ark story claims.
We know that Noah existed. He’s the angel Gabriel, and Joseph Smith mentions hearing his voice in D&C 128. John Taylor also said that Noah appeared with other Biblical figures to Joseph. And Joseph seems to have felt a kinship with Noah. I’ve always loved this story recounted by Truman G. Madsen:
Lorenzo Snow reported a day when someone came and asked Joseph (it had happened hundred of times), “Who are you?” He replied, “Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire.”
But the fact that Noah existed does not mean that his story happened exactly as recorded. Does anyone out there really believe that Noah saved one pair of every species of animal in the entire world? I sure don’t. It would have been physically impossible to even gather those animals, let alone the fact that the Ark would have had to have been considerably larger than it was for that to have even been feasible had he been able to gather those animals together. No, I believe that Noah perhaps saved some animals, likely some of his own flocks and herds, but certainly not every species on the whole face of the earth.
As FAIR explains, there are a few things we can be somewhat to very confident in saying: Noah existed, he was commanded to build an ark, he warned the people what was coming, he and his family and some animals were saved, and then the Lord made a covenant with Noah and his descendants. We also know he was “among the great and mighty ones” who served the Lord. Anything more than that is largely speculation.
There are numerous stories coming from the same general area of Mesopotamia regarding a massive, ancient flood. As Stephen Smoot points out, Hugh Nibley believed they all stemmed from the same local event and the story was altered by different cultures from the same larger area over time.
I personally believe there was likely a flood, though I don’t believe it was a global one. I tend to agree with Hugh Nibley. It’s entirely possible I’m wrong, though. The references to it in the D&C and other Latter-day scripture could easily be the Lord speaking to us according to our understanding. Since we’re all familiar with the flood story, He could just be using that as an allegory when the reality was pretty different. We don’t really know yet. It’s something we all have to work out for ourselves until further revelation is received.
That doesn’t mean the Church is not true, and it doesn’t mean that “science has disproven Mormonism,” the way that Jeremy claims. It just means that there are still some unanswered questions. That’s okay. We’ll get the answers eventually. For now, we just have to learn to trust in the Lord’s timing.
Sources in this entry:
Sarah Allen is brand new in her affiliation with FAIR. By profession, she works in mortgage compliance and is a freelance copyeditor. A voracious reader, she loves studying the Gospel and the history of the restored Church. After watching some of her lose their testimonies, she became interested in helping others through their faith crises and began sharing what she learned through her studies. She’s grateful to those at FAIR who have given her the opportunity to share her testimony with a wider audience.
Dennis Horne says
At the April 1953 General Conference, Elder Romney gave a message in which he spoke in some detail about the mission of Adam. He stated that he had been assigned by the First Presidency to the Church Publications Committee to read materials proposed for official church use. (This would be the equivalent of the Executive Committee of the Church Correlation Committee today.) Among other things, he explained that some of the material he had read offended his feelings because of scientific wording and content that did not harmonize with the scriptures; I presume he refused to pass on those particular writings.
Elder Romney (who later became a member of the First Presidency) became somewhat exercised and emphatic in his message, to the point where his delivery was more emotional and disjointed/choppy than usual. The published conference report version is smoother but lacking his forceful voice.
At the conclusion of the conference, President David O. McKay gave Elder Romney a note he wrote that read: “I congratulate you for your excellent contribution during the conference and express gratitude for your remarks as well as your fine spirit, and I assure you that I agreed heartily in every instance.”
Elder Romney’s animated conference address can be heard at this CHD link, starting at about 17:20 minutes in. You may need a church account to listen:
Or you can read the conference report here:
Dennis Horne says
“Heavenly Father has sent His children to earth for more than six millennia.” – President Russell M. Nelson