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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Rees, Robert A.
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Seers, Savants and Evolution I 63 forbidden by state law. At least Scopes was the formal defendant; the trial really developed into a classic confrontation between fundamentalist theology and contemporary science. The event was a news highlight of the year, with correspondents from around the world converging on the tiny town for the great showdown. Religious spokesmen of many persuasions felt disposed to deliver themselves of commentary on the matter.79 During the post-trial period came the document: " 'Mormon' View of Evolution/' published over the signatures of Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, the LDS First Presidency.80 In essence, it consists of paragraphs 3, 6, 7, 12, 16, and 17 of the 1909 statement by Joseph F. Smith, et. ah, with only a very few changes in text: deletion of a word or two, addition of several words for clarification, etc. Paragraphs 13 and 14, the 'anti-evolution' ones (quoted above), are conspicuously absent. The entire message of the statement is to affirm the spiritual pedigree of man and the common descent of all men from an ancestor named Adam, who had taken upon himself "an appropriate body." As in its 1909 predecessor, the word "evolution" or its derivatives occurs only once, to the effect that man, formed in the image of God, ". . . is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God." Seen against the background of the theological ferment of the day, this is an amazingly temperate document; none of the sloganeering and overdrawn rhetoric characteristic of the day, just a calm focussing on the critical matter of man's spiritual affinity with God. The Church was concerned for the well-being of religion in general, and thus sympathized with the plight of the religionists, but it could ill afford any extreme statements in the matter. The subsequent years of calm were broken in 1930, though the resulting perturbation was kept quietly within the closed circle of the general authorities. The relatively young apostle, Joseph Fielding Smith, delivered a lecture to the Genealogical Conference on April 5. In his characteristic style, he enthusiastically delivered himself of his thoughts on the creation of man, acknowledging that "The Lord has not seen fit to tell us definitely just how Adam came for we are not ready to receive that truth." But he also spelled out very clearly a disbelief in "pre-Adamites," peoples of any sort upon the earth before Adam, declaring that ". . . the doctrine of 'pre-Adamites' is not a doctrine of the Church, and is not advocated nor countenanced in the Church." Furthermore,