MORMON SCIENTIST - Do you know of any references to organic evolution by leaders. I heard there is a letter by David O McKay stating that the church has no position on evolution. Have you heard of this letter. Thanks - A Mormon scientist who thinks that what is going on in Kansas is crazy!
JOEL - I don't see anything wrong with teaching the theory of evolution in schools. Most teachers have been educated on how to present the subject in a non-offensive way that people of most faiths can handle. I am also a scientist. If I did not have any religious convictions or beliefs I would interpret the data the same way as most other scientists have. Some day the Head Scientist will give us all the details on exactly how he did it and that will put it to rest.
Here is some information and quotes from leaders of the church about the subject. If you go to this site http://www.frii.net/~allsop/eyring-l/faq/evolution/ or http://www.cs.umd.edu/users/seanl/Evolution.html you will find letters from Pres. McKay and other statements on the subject.
Apparently in 1954, when Joseph Fielding Smith published Man His Origin and Destiny, which essentially denounced evolution, many assumed that he spoke for the Church. However, President David O. McKay, stated several times that the Church "has made no official statement nor taken an official position on the subject of evolution, and [Elder Smith's] book contains his personal views which are neither authorized nor published by the Church". (William Lee Stokes, An Official Position, Dialogue 12, no.4 (1979) 9092)
From Stephen L. Richards
Improvement Era 36, 451, 1933
"The time of creation has ever been a subject of much comment and dispute. Yet I challenge anybody to produce from the Bible itself any finite limitation whatsoever of the periods of creation. By strained inferential references and interpretations men have sought to set the time in days or periods of a thousand year, but I feel that no justification of such limitations is warranted by the scriptures themselves. If the evolutionary hypothesis of the creation of life and matter in the universe is ultimately found to be correct, I shall neither be disappointed not displeased if it will turn out so to be. In my humble opinion the Biblical account is sufficiently comprehensive to include the whole of the process. . . . If you will take the counsel of one who loves science and reveres religion, permit me to admonish you: Never close your mind or your heart; ever keep them open to the reception of both knowledge and spiritual impressions. Both true science and true religion are the exponents of truth. their fields are different, their provinces are distinct, but their purposes are identical - to enlighten man, to give him power, to make him good and bring him joy."
Spencer W. Kimball
The Ensign, 70-73, March 1976
"'And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him: male and female created I them.' (The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.) Man became a living soul - mankind, male and female. The creators breathed into their nostrils the breath of life and man and woman became living souls. We don't know exactly how their coming into the world happened, and when we're able to understand it the Lord will tell us."
Paul H. Dunn
Letter to Robert Miller, Oct. 14, 1982 (Appendix)
"'I don't think any of you teachers [faculty of Religion, BYU] know the age of the earth because I have asked four prophets and they said they don't know.' Statements on the age of the earth and other related areas given by many including the General Authorities are their personal opinions. Many have written on the subject but it should not be construed as Church doctrine."
Boyd K. Packer at a BYU Book of Mormon symposium in 1988, declared, "It is my conviction that to the degree the theory of evolution asserts that man is the product of an evolutionary process, the offspring of animals -- it is false! ... And, I am sorry to say, the so-called theistic evolution, the theory that God used an evolutionary process to prepare a physical body for the spirit of man, is equally false. ... How old is the earth? I do not know! But I do know that matter is eternal. How long a time has man been upon the earth? I do not know! But I do know that man did not evolve from animals. ... When confronted by evidence in the rocks below, rely on the witness of the heavens above."
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