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 65 Salt Lake Tabernacle worship service, and there delivered an address: "The Earth and Man."84 Talmage's position, in light of the above restriction from the First Presidency, was admittedly a bit presumptive, which likely accounts for some of the characteristics of the text. The speech as we now have it in printed form is a rather neat bit of nimble footwork, a careful avoidance of any explicit stance that would come into direct conflict with particular sensitivities on the issue. Affirming his deep belief in the ultimate synthesis of God's word in both the rocks and the scriptures, Talmage promulgated a clear message of sensitivity to, and reception of, science and the scientific method—a point that is amply recognized in the vigorous, even scathing, denunciations of his speech by certain later commentators. Careful though he was, at least the public record was now more balanced, and Talmage (as was customary) sent a copy of the manuscript to the printers for publication. From certain quarters within the Twelve, however, opposition developed to the speech's publication. The subject was a matter of consideration in at least four subsequent meetings of the Twelve and/or the First Presidency, but eventually the First Presidency, after going over the manuscript very carefully with Elder Talmage, directed him to send it back to the publisher for inclusion in the next Church News. Furthermore, they instructed him to have it published also as a separate pamphlet, to be available upon request from the Church Offices. Both publications were released to the public November 21, 1931, and the speech has since enjoyed a long and favorable treatment from the Mormon publishing fraternity.85 The resulting stalemate continued for over two decades. Cognizant of the fact that writings and expressions of general authorities, no matter how intended, tend to become canonized by various elements of the Church community, the First Presidency continued the proscription against publication of the Roberts manuscript. In 1933 both Roberts and Talmage died; the essence of their philosophical legacy was continued by Apostles Widtsoe and Merrill. Apostle Smith, in the immediately ensuing years, also completed a manuscript of book-length, which outlined his objections to evolutionary concepts, and once again drove home his commitment to many of the basic concepts of nineteenth-century theologians—not drawing such concepts from them, of course, but arriving at essentially the same position by a similar, strongly literalistic interpretation of the scriptures. The record indicates that his manuscript was subjected to the same publication injunction as that of Roberts.86 Widtsoe and Merrill, not sharing the views of Elder Smith in these matters, also acted as damping forces on overly-literalistic interpretation. Their deaths in 1952 marked the end of an era. Apostle Smith began an open exposition of his views on April 22, 1953, in a speech at Brigham Young University entitled "The Origin of Man."87 His speech to the June 1953 MIA Conference88 continued the same theme: scriptural literalism on scientific matters, coupled with a virtually complete disregard for scientific data. A rapid though minor updating of his book manuscript followed, and it was apparently again submitted for publication. Though it was not approved, he pushed ahead with its publication, and by mid-1954 it was made available to the public under the title: Man His Origin and Destiny.89 The work marks a milestone. For the first time in Mormon history, and capping a full half-century of publication of Mormon books on science and religion,