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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Seers, Savants and Evolution I that sounded far too much like special creation. Articles from The Seer were re-published in England in the pages of the Millenial Star, a situation not pleasing to the Church presidency. As early as January 1855, Brigham Young requested the editor of the Star to refrain from any further publication of material from The Seer, citing "erroneous doctrine" as the reason.59 Five years later, Orson Pratt himself brought the matter into the open, in a dramatic sermon during the regular Sunday morning worship service in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, January 29, i860. Confessing the error of his ways, Orson sued for reconciliation to the Church and to his brethren of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency. A few months later a "carefully revised" version of his speech was published in the Deseret News, followed by a formal statement from the First Presidency, listing several explicit errors in Orson's writings.60 The first item cited was the matter of Orson's teachings concerning Adam's having been formed "out of the ground." While the teachings were summarily dismissed with the statement that they were not true, President Young refrained from imposing his own doctrine on the Church. The refutation simply states that with regard to Adam it is deemed wisest to let that subject remain without further explanation at present, for it is written that we are to receive 'line upon line/ according to our faith and capacities, and the circumstances attending our progress. The careful handling of this matter by President Young is significant. What was the Church to believe? Orson's teachings had been refuted, but nothing had been specified in their place. And no further pronouncements of any official character to clarify the matter were forthcoming throughout the remainder of the century. Where, then, in the early days of the debates between science and theology, did Mormonism find its closest affinities? On our first doctrine, ex nihilo creation, Mormonism was clearly allied with science. The matter of the earth's age was an open one, that of fixity of species virtually ignored, that of materialism and vital forces in a state of flux but with certain definite fundamental agreement with science. Only on the subject of special creation could Mormonism be tied in any significant way to orthodox Christianity, and even that was tenuous. Darwin's book, as we have noted, was published November 24,1859. Just sixty-six days later, on