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 71 22See, for example, Journal of Discourses, 11:120 (1865); 13:248 (1870); 14:116 (1871); 16:167 (1873), 18:231-232 (1876). 23A good discussion of creation ex nihilo as it applies to Mormon thought is found in O. K. White, "The Social-Psychological Basis of Mormon New-Orthodoxy," MS thesis, Univ. of Utah, 1967, 87ff; also: "The Transformation of Mormon Theology," Dialogue, 5(2): 9-24, 1970. White maintains, quite justifiably, that Mormon authors consistently miss the deeper or even essential meanings of the doctrine, that of necessary versus contingent being. We emphasize, however, that the pre-occupation on the simpler level, creation out of nothing, is not that of Mormon writers alone; it is so used and defended by non-Mormon Christian writers on a broad front. White correctly points out that either interpretation of the doctrine is contradicted by Mormon theology and pronouncements. Cf. also Madsen, Truman, Instructor, 99:96-99, 1964, and Instructor, 99:236^ 1964, and, for the most detailed treatment available in Mormon literature on the subject, McMurrin, S. M., The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion (Salt Lake City: Univ. of Utah Press, 1965). 24Cf. Roberts, B. H., Comprehensive History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 2:404-406. 25Smith, Joseph, T&S, 5 =615, 1844. As with fn. 21, an expanded version is found in Roberts, B. H., History of the Church, 6:310-311. It is Roberts who equates the term "co-equal" with "co-eternal." Once again, Joseph Fielding Smith, op. cit., 352-354, follows the Roberts' version. Cf. also Joseph Smith, T&S, 3 =745,1842. The errors in grammar, spelling, etc. are in the original. 26Cf. D&C, 93:21-23, 29, 33-35; Book of Abraham (in The Pearl of Great Price, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1968 printing), 3:18. 27Cf. Brigham Young: ]D 1:116 (1853); 3:35^ (1856); 7:285 (1859); 8:27 (i860); and Rich, W. O., Distinctive Teachings of the Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1962), ch. 3. 28Considering just this point alone, one is mystified as to how some well-meaning Mormons have been able to align themselves with such ardent modern exponents of creation ex nihilo as the Creation Research Society, which exacts as part of its membership requirement a subscription to the following statement of belief: "All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative acts of God during the Creation Week described in Genesis." 29White, A. D., op. cit., vol. 1: pp. 5-10 and later. Suggestions were also made occasionally, though not forcefully, that the "days" were periods of indefinite length; cf. Greene, J. C, Darwin and the Modern World View (Mentor Books, 1963), pp. 18-19. Such views were lost in the melee, however. 30Eiseley, op. cit., 2jjl. "Opponents of this view exist, of course, both within Mormonism and without. Indeed, such dissident literature has been quite popular in Mormonism in recent years. The arguments advanced, however, have not been convincing to those professionally engaged in the specific fields of dispute—and, despite certain contrary rumors, the arguments have been honestly considered. 32Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate, 1:78, Feb. 1835. 33T&S, 5:758, published Jan. 1, 1845. Emphasis and parentheses are in the original. Certain passages from the D&C will be discussed hereafter. 34Statement attributed to Joseph Smith; Richards, F. D., and J. A. Little, (compilers), A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Co., 1882), stereotype edition, p. 287. An examination of the prophet's speeches indicates that he usually followed this distinction. 35JD, 18:231-232, 1876. 367D, 14:115-116, 1871. Lest LDS geologists become overly smug from these statements, however, we point out that they too could share Brigham's disdain, cf. JD, 13:248-249,1870; Deseret News, June 18, 1873, p. 308. The statements are still consistent with the above, however. 37There is no legitimate discussion of the word "kind" (Hebrew = min) in biological terms known to me in Mormon literature. For a beginning discussion, not LDS, see Jones, A. J., "A General Analysis of the Biblical 'Kind' (Min)," Creation Research Society Quarterly, 9(1) :53-57, 1972; and "Boundaries of the Min: An Analysis of the Mosaic Lists of Clean and Unclean Animals," Ibid., 9(2) =114-123, 1972; and references cited therein. Most current writers consider "kind" to represent a biological grouping at approximately the Family level in the taxonomic hierarchy; few indeed are those who still try to equate it with "species." 38Cf. Eiseley, op. cit., or any good text of the history of biology. 39Cf. Ruse, M., "Definitions of Species in Biology," British Journal for Philosophy of Science,