long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Repudiating Joseph--we're all Darwinians now

[Note: some readers may think I'm being sarcastic here, but I'm not. There is no irony in this post. It's a serious issue that many LDS are not aware of.]

As long as our intellectuals are repudiating what Joseph and Oliver (and all their ordained successors) taught about the New York Cumorah, they might as well repudiate other things taught by the prophets (and the scriptures).

They're on a roll, so why not continue?

A popular example is Darwinian evolution.

LDS intellectuals have long sought to have the Church embrace Darwinian evolution, and now, in the Gospel Topics Essays, they have accomplished their goal.

The essay on DNA is found here: https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-and-dna-studies?lang=eng.

As one delightful (and "faithful") analysis of the essay points out, "The samples used to prove this misunderstood LDS theory [that the Indians designated by D&C 28, 30 and 32 as Lamanites are really descendants of Abraham] are actually around 10,000 years old. This is out of the Book of Mormon timeline."

The Gospel Topics Essay fully embraces Darwinian evolution, including the theory that anatomically modern Homo sapiens evolved about 200,000 years ago.

And we thought family history going back to Adam was a challenge!

Three years and two months after Joseph Smith Jr. was born, Charles Darwin was born in England. He published On the Origin of Species, which contains his theory of evolution and natural selection, in 1859.

According to our LDS intellectuals, had Joseph lived until 1859, he would have realized that Darwin was correct and the Bible was wrong.

This is the same approach our intellectuals take when they claim Joseph learned from the Stephens and Catherwood book about Central America that Moroni was mistaken about Cumorah in New York, the inhabitants of "this country" being Lamanites, etc.

According to the intellectuals, Moroni himself was confused, but the intellectuals have come to the rescue by determining that Cumorah is actually in Mexico.

Courtesy of our intellectuals, the Gospel Topics essay is correcting another mistake that Joseph surely would have corrected had he lived long enough to read On the Origin of Species.

Joseph would have changed D&C 77:7, which teaches that the earth has a temporal existence of 7,000 years.

He would have edited D&C 28, 30 and 32 to clarify that the Indians living in New York, Ohio, and Missouri, who have different DNA haplogroups than the Lamanites living in Central America, were not actually Lamanites but descendants of people who arrived in the Americas more than 10,000 years ago.

He would have edited the Book of Mormon references to Adam and Eve as the first people and parents of all humanity.

He would have provided a new translation of Genesis and other Biblical passages to correct references to Adam and Eve as our first parents.

Because, according to our intellectuals, Adam and Eve are mythological symbols, Joseph would have prevented Joseph F. Smith from seeing Adam and Eve as distinct persons, as related in D&C 138:38.

I'm all in favor of offering multiple working hypotheses. For some faithful, active LDS, Darwinian evolution is acceptable. Even inspiring, apparently. And that's fine.

However, I think a better approach would be to consider it as an alternative, not a replacement, for the traditional scriptural teaching of Adam and Eve as the first people, the parents of all of humanity.

Thanks to this Gospel Topics essay, which repudiates the scriptural teaching, LDS who accept the scriptural teaching are left wondering, where do my beliefs fit in? And, how do I reconcile the scriptures with what the Gospel Topics essay teaches?

There are still LDS (and other Christians) who accept and believe in what the scriptures teach. They know that science is continually changing in light of new information. Scientists don't know everything. This is a much longer topic, but there may yet be scientific confirmation of what the scriptures teach.

Framing the science as an alternative working hypothesis, instead of a final word as the Gospel Topics essay does, would be a more prudent and more accurate approach, IMO.

On what other topics have the intellectuals succeeded in repudiating Joseph Smith?

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