Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 12 No 4
An Official Position
An Official Position William Lee Stokes Nothing has so baffled and frustrated man as the problem of his origin. It is doubly troublesome because both science and theology feel impelled to solve it by offering two totally opposed solutions. Believers in Judaeo-Christian scriptures find an answer in the first two chapters of Genesis which they interpret as requiring a divine supernatural origin for the human family. Science has discovered another possibility in the form of the theory of organic evolution. The ordinary citizen, caught between two certified sources of truth, has trouble deciding what he can safely believe. Latter-day Saints are caught in the evolution anti-evolution conflict in much the same way as other Bible-based religions but to an intensified degree. The gospel plan of eternal progression is peculiarly body-oriented. Before birth the spirit is said to be unembodied; it is embodied at birth, disembodied at death and reembodied in resurrection. That every worthy spirit should receive a proper human body is a fundamental necessity so important that the possibility of its coming by chance or by accident, without divine provision, is unthinkable. In the minds of most church members, organic evolution leaves God out of the picture and reduces the body of man to the level of a lower animal. And yet, the arguments for evolution are so persuasive and voluminous that many waver in their opposition. In the face of conflicting evidence and in a state of painful indecision, many if not most members would welcome a decision from a credible authority wiser or better informed than they. Many, therefore, believe that such a decision actually exists and that it is set down in the statements of General Authorities. The impression is widespread that organic evolution has been officially condemned by the Church and that evolutionists are holding their views in opposition to duly constituted authority. William Lee Stokes is professor of Geology at the University of Utah. His textbooks in geology have been widely used for over twenty years. 90