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.
Dialogue Foundation, 900 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90024
Backstage Library Works - 1180 S. 800 E. Orem, UT 84097
Rees, Robert A.
Pages scanned at 400ppi on Fujitsu fi-5650C sheetfed scanner as 8-bit grayscale or 24-bit RGB uncompressed TIFF images. Images resized to 950 pixels wide, 150 dpi, and saved as JPEG (level 8) in PhotoShop CS with Unsharp Mask of 100/.3.
Digital image, copyright 2004, Dialogue Foundation. All rights reserved.
140 I Dialogue geneous fine-grained rocks as they are brought near the surface of the earth through erosion. Heating and cooling by changes of temperature seem to favor the process. Most spalls literally pop out of the confining rocks; they have flattened lens-like shapes and leave shallow depressions in the parent material. If anything interrupts the uniformity of the rock so as to create a spot or plane of weakness within it, the break will tend to pass into or through these areas. This explains why a trilobite fossil should be seen in the Meister specimen. I have observed this type of breakage numerous times in the process of collecting fossils. The material of the fossil-bearing Wheeler Shale is particularly susceptible to spalling and the creation of oddly-shaped fragments. We have a number of these in our collections at the University of Utah, even some that look like footprints. But no two are alike and we regard them as mere curiosities in the same class as Meister's specimen. The acceptance of the House Range specimen as a genuine footprint leads to all manner of anti-geological conclusions. If man and trilobite coexisted, either man is much older or trilobites are much younger than geologists suppose. This alone demolishes the traditional time scale of the geologists which places the Age of Trilobites millions of years before the Age of Man. Another possible conclusion is that it is the trilobite which is young enough to be associated with man and neither of them is necessarily very old. This is much more in line with some versions of scripture-based theology. The statement from the Pearl of Great Price that Adam was "the first flesh on earth" comes immediately to mind (Moses 5:7). If man came first and all other animals later on we would have a perfectly good reason for finding their evidences together. This order of things denies not only the whole scheme of Darwinian evolution but the geologists' time scale as well. The conclusion that man and trilobites were alive together less than 6,ooo years ago also clearly substantiates the so-called "no death before the Fall" doctrine. According to this peculiar Latter-day Saint interpretation there was no dying, hence no possibility of fossils being formed, before the expulsion from the Garden of Eden 6,000 years or so ago. I do not doubt the sincerity of most of those who believe Mr. Meister's specimen to be a genuine human footprint. The specimen was in no sense faked and I am sure it was foun4 exactly as reported. But I, along with my geologist friends, am equally sincere in my belief that it is an accidental natural product and not a footprint. One might think a difference of opinion such as this could be solved by appeal to impartial judges or by a more thorough investigation of the field of evidence. But from the time of discovery the specimen has taken on a religious significance that makes a friendly solution almost impossible. I hope my apprehensions are without foundation but I fear that readers of the newspapers and the Creation Research Society Quarterly will get the impression that we geologists deny the genuineness of such specimens because to accept them would be to admit that the basis of geology is a delusion and a fraud. They could well imagine that in our secret selves we tremble at the prospect of being unmasked as liars and hypocrites. Even worse, fellow members of the Church must believe that since my interpretation of relevant scripture differs from theirs and from that of some Church leaders I am probably an atheist and an enemy of the Church. Speaking in defense of my views, I am inclined to criticize advocates of false