The Mormon Jesus and the Garden of Eden

As a corollary to my current interest in the Latter-day Saint understanding of Jesus, I’ve been attempting to get some limited handle on the diverse ways that Christians of all sorts have understood, experienced, and depicted Jesus over time.

The very best thing I’ve done to that end is to pick up a copy of Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Illustrated Jesus through the Centuries. At risk of great hyperbole, everyone reading this blog should make time to leaf through this book. It would be a tremendous resource for pastors, and the inspirational potential for any believing Christian is great.

Recently, I was pondering “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” an early Mormon hymn written by William W. Phelps and included in a hymnal published later that year by the “Church of the Latter Day Saints.”

In March 1835, a revelation dictated by Joseph Smith (now canonized as Doctrine & Covenants 107) revealed the following:

Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all  high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of  Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.

Presumably taking this revelation as his inspiration, Phelps wrote the following poem, published in the June 1835 Messenger & Advocate (Kirtland, Ohio):

This earth was once a garden place,
With all her glories common;
And men did live a holy race,
And worship Jesus face to face,
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

We read that Enoch walk’d with God,
Above the pow’r of Mammon;
While Zion spread herself abroad,
And saints and angels sung aloud
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Her land was good and greatly blest,
Beyond old Israel’s Canaan;
Her fame was known from east to west;
Her peace was great, and pure the rest
Of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Hosanna to such days to come
The Savior’s second comin’
When all the earth in glorious bloom,
Affords the saints a holy home
Like Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Several things strike me about these words. The earth being “a garden place” following the fall. The idea of all glories being “common” seems in keeping with the early Mormon emphasis on economic unity and consecration. Enoch is a pivotal figure in Joseph Smith’ s thought, and the millennial hope is very characteristic (and here appears purely as hope without any accompanying predictions of judgment). It quickly became a popular Mormon hymn and was sung at the 1836 dedication of the Kirtland Temple. For some beautiful contemporary renditions of the hymn, follow this link.

In 1838, Joseph Smith identified a spot in Caldwell County, Missouri, as “Adam-ondi-Ahman.” To the best of my knowledge, there is no contemporary evidence that Joseph Smith identified Jackson County as the location of the Garden of Eden, but a number of his followers later affirmed that this was Smith’s belief.

Setting matters of sacred geography aside, when I reread the lyrics to the hymn several weeks ago, I was struck by the idea of Adam’s family worshiping “Jesus face to face.” I wondered if this pointed to a distinctive Mormon belief about Jesus.

Shortly thereafter, I came across this image from a medieval psalter in Pelikan’s Illustrated Jesus:

This particular psalter was begun in Canterbury around the year 1200 and then completed in Catalonia in the 14th century. Housed in the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, it is sometimes referred to as the “Canterbury Psalter,” alternatively as the Anglo-Catalan Psalter.  I’d love to be able to look at a facsimile; however, a recently published (and presumably very expensive) limited edition has eluded me.

Pelikan uses these illustrations of Genesis as an example of how Christians affirmed the cosmic significance of the Word, the Logos, the Son of God. Very quickly, I realized that Phelps’s image of Adam worshiping Jesus face to face wasn’t quite so unique. Instead, early Christians (and some to this day) identified the Lord walking in the garden of Genesis 3 as the pre-existent, eternal Word of God. Perhaps the idea of Jesus appearing to Adam following the expulsion is distinctive. It’s a rather beautiful thought, that Jesus graciously made himself known to the first human family following fall. The paradisiacal setting of “Adam-ondi-Ahman” also seems to convey the idea of a more fortunate fall.

When I read Pelikan’s book and savor the images therein, I sometimes sense the scales falling (slowly) from my eyes.

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  • Dave

    I always thought the idea that they worshiped God face-to-face out of the garden came from Genesis 4 where the Lord talks to Cain, so He is clearly still talking to man at this point as He did in the garden.

  • Beautifully researched.
    Here’s a link that might be helpful as well:

  • johnturner

    Good point. But there’s still a bit of conceptual distance between “the Lord” talking with Cain and Adam and his family worshipping Jesus face to face.

  • Ken Dahl

    There’s a well written and referenced essay by BYU professor of ancient scripture, Kelly Ogden, about the whole J. Smith “inspiration” that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri. The LDS church even today stands by the proclamation of Mormonism’s founder that the human race started in Missouri. More to the point, the prophecies of Smith declare with certainty that the Second Coming will find its highlight when Mormons from around the world gather in Missouri with the prophets from all ages to celebrate the world’s end where it all began. Read Mr. Ogden’s research here:

  • The reference to Adam and his posterity worshiping Jesus face to face long after the expulsion from the Garden comes from Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-56
    53 Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.
    54 And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.
    55 And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.
    56 And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.

  • johnturner

    Yes, and the identifcation of Adam as the Archangel Michael was very significant in Mormon thought going forward.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    Someone might consider informing the Mormons that Humans evolved in Africa several hundred thousand years ago. From there, they spread north and east to Asian, as well as north through Europe. Around 20,000 years ago some groups traveled from Siberia into North America, and then down the West Coast of North America, all the way to South America. In the process they radiated across the continent (there was more than one migration).

    This is all very clear from the archeological evidence, both in terms of fossils and artifacts. It’s corroborated by a vast trove of DNA evidence, as well.

    Our ancestors are not some mythical pair brought into a garden in Missouri, but bipedal apes that evolved in the African savanna. Science is both clear, and beautiful, on this point – we share a common heritage with all life on this planet.

  • “Someone might consider informing the Mormons that Humans evolved in Africa ”
    Right, because Mormons have never heard of such a thing. I mean, they have a biology department at BYU with respected paleontology discoveries so they can’t possibly have heard of Evolution. Seriously you might be interested in the number of Mormons that reconcile Evolution with The Garden of Eden or at least don’t see them as impossible to believe in at the same time.

  • Nell

    Will I do love the idea that we all share a common heritage, which the Adam and Eve as universal parents also shows, as the wife of an archaeologist, I’m quite aware that science and archaeology are forever readapting their ideas as new evidence comes to light. Ideas that were once held sacrosanct have now been proven erroneous–take the Mauritia for example, the city recently discovered in the Indian Ocean. Its discovery opened a whole new can of worms for once-held theories. And ideas that most people take for granted are anything but. The scientific and archaeological world have their own little groups with pet theories that often disagree, but most of us just hear the ones from those with the loudest voices, which is not necessarily those with the the best or most current evidence.

    Science doesn’t have all the answers and in a few years they may yet find evidence that will throw their current theories out. It’s happened time and again and I see no reason why that won’t continue. Until science is omniscient, religious theory has just as much validity.

  • Nell

    Sorry…stinkin’ typos…:)
    While I do love the idea that we all share a common heritage, which the Adam and Eve as universal parents also shows, as the wife of an archaeologist, I’m quite aware that science and archaeology are forever adapting their ideas as new evidence comes to light. Ideas that were once held sacrosanct have now been proven erroneous–take the Mauritia for example, the city recently discovered in the Indian Ocean. Its discovery opened a whole new can of worms for once-held theories. And ideas that most people take for granted are anything but. The scientific and archaeological world have their own little groups with pet theories that often disagree, but most of us just hear the ones from those with the loudest voices, which is not necessarily those with the the best or most current evidence.

    Science doesn’t have all the answers and in a few years they may yet find evidence that will throw their current theories out. It has happened time and again and I see no reason why that won’t continue. Until science is omniscient, religious theory has just as much validity.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    According to the Pew Forum survey of religious group’s opinions about evolution, the percentage who believe in evolution, based on religious affiliation, breaks down like this:
    Buddhists = 81%
    Hindu = 80%
    Jewish = 77%
    Unaffiliated = 72%
    Catholic = 58%
    Orthodox = 54%
    Mainline = 51%
    Protestant = 51%
    Muslim = 45%
    Hist. Black = 38%
    Protest. = 38%
    Evang. = 24%
    Mormon = 22%
    Jehovah’s Witnesses = 8%
    As you can see, Mormons are less likely to believe in evolution any other group, except Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mormons are even less likely than Evangelical Christians.

    The reason, obviously, is that Mormons are Old Testament literalists; Joseph Smith built Old Testament literalism into his “scriptures,” including (as the article points out) the idea of a literal Adam, a literal Eve, and a literal Garden of Eden.

    Anyone who is even remotely familiar with evolution, however, knows that a literal Adam and a literal Eve are hopelessly inconsistent with evolution. No such pair ever existed – the evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible; Smith’s religion is disproven on that issue alone.

    Of course, as in any large sample there will always be people who don’t follow the consensus view. But holding up those *exceptions* as the rule is highly disingenuous. The facts of the matter could not be more clear – Mormon *doctrine,* as interpreted by Mormon *prophets* is hopelessly inconsistent with evolution because Mormon doctrine teaches a literal Adam and a literal Eve; a few BYU professors with compartmentalized reasoning skills can’t change that fact.

  • Tom Johnson

    As a “Mormon”, I enjoyed your article, John Turner. I also enjoyed reviewing the information at the links provided by Kathryn and Ken.
    Tom Johnson

  • Tom Johnson

    This is interesting information, Duwayne; I had no idea it existed. I have done my own research on religious and scientific views of evolution that I would be happy to send to you if you want to send me an e-mail at

  • Duwayne Anderson

    Thanks, Tom …. I’ll send you a note

  • alex barclay

    Two things I keep in mind with the genesis story is that the “days” referred to are merely “period of time” than the work of creation was carried out in stages in an orderly sequence.

    The other thing I am firmly convinced of is that we have hardly scratched the surface yet of the complexity of all forms of life and their interdependent balance. They say that when you get down to what is actually going on in a single cell, there is more complex activity going on in there than there is on an average day in in New York city.

    I also heard that until very recently they thought that 85% (??) of human DNA was junk – merely leftover evolutionary wreckage that serves no purpose at all. They have now found that this is very far indeed from the truth – it apparently contains a mind bogglingly complex arrangement of regulatory timers and switches.

    Science has advanced in huge leaps and bounds in the last century. I think that in 100 years time we will regard what we know now in the same way that we now regard the pioneers of medicine and engineering and the other sciences. It has moved so fast that I certainly would not want to be operated on by a surgeon trained to the standards of 20 or even 10 years ago.

  • Phillip C. Smith

    Science, to produce valid results, requires that a particular event be measured at the time it took place. Unless science is done this way we cannot know if there are other conditions present that might alter our understanding and thus invalidate our efforts. We believing Mormons, or at least many of us, do suppose, minus scientific measurement at the time, that evolution may have well been the method by which plant and animal life up to the stage of humans appeared on this earth. In that evolution stage there were apparently human-like creatures that have been called Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, etc. These, however, are not, as far as we know, spirit children of God.
    Thus, at some point in history, after plant and animal evolution (alluded to interestingly in the Book of Abraham, chapters 4 & 5) including these human-like creatures had arrived at a particular stage, God our Heavenly Father then posed a rhetorical question “is man found on the earth?” knowing that the answer was negative, he then created an enclave on the earth’s surface that has come to be called the Garden of Eden where at that time there was no death. This spot was needed since elsewhere on the earth’s surface life and death had existed for a very long time.
    God, our Heavenly Father, then came to this Garden and in some way formed bodies of the first true human beings, his children in physical form, who are known to us as Adam and Eve. After leaving the Garden these two children of God, the first on the earth of which we know, began to give birth to their children, and their children to other children, etc. We, all of us who are human beings, are descendents of these two original children of God.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    Nell wrote: “Until science is omniscient, religious theory has just as much validity.”

    Religious people frequently say that – but they only really mean it with regard to *their* religion. I doubt that Nell would give the Mayan religion just as much validity as modern science; I doubt that Nell is as open minded about Min or the Aztec Corn God, as about Jehovah.

    The idea that science isn’t perfect (true) so religion has “just as much validity (false)” is an example of a type of fallacious argument called the false equivalency. Just because two ideas are not totally correct doesn’t mean they are *equally* correct. Newtonian physics isn’t totally correct, but it’s at least a thousand times more accurate than Aristotelian physics. Antibiotics may not be perfect, but they are infinitely more effective than rubbing holy oil on a person’s brow, and uttering incarnations. Modern geology may not be perfect, but it’s a billion times more accurate than Biblical archeology.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    Actually, Phillip, you are preaching a personal religion — a mixture of your personal mythology with tidbits of Mormon theology. Mormon prophets have been very clear that there was no death before the fall. The Book of Mormon says it, and Mormon prophets have interpreted it that way. And there is no evolution without death. Furthermore, your personal mythology isn’t even consistent with evolution — evolution has as much to say about human origins as those of tadpoles; if the literal Adam/Eve of Mormon mythology were a reality, scientific evolution would be falsified.

  • Poqui

    Religions are fascinating!

    As a former LDS curriculum writer I will say that there are many folklore beliefs in Mormonism that have been perpetuated by many LDS members, including some in high positions of leadership. The truth is, we know less than what we claim to know, hence why many will come up with their own explanations. There is too much speculation in Mormonism, which has given fodder to the enemies of the Church to launch attacks.

  • Lagom

    The problem you don’t address is WHAT people believe evolution to be. Another problem you don’t address is WHY evolution has any relevance to one’s religion. I find it astonishing that you don’t seem to understand science OR religion for what they are. Science is the pursuit of knowledge through supposedly self-correcting mechanisms; scientific knowledge increases more often than not through the negative, i.e. the disproving of ideas or hypotheses. Religion of any kind is not merely an exercise of “proof” because the “proof” is the individual’s perception/acceptance of a presumably edifying idea. Religion is a code a person chooses to live by based on his/her own personal reasons. Your conflating science and religion is one reason why I as a science teacher must waste too much valuable time clarifying the roles of science and religion.

  • g

    OK Duane. We get it. You don’t buy into religion, particularly one like Mormonism that preaches the existence of a literal Adam and Eve. Point taken, thanks for contributing to the discussion. Some may agree others might not. Let your argument stand and let others feel free to disagree. But having to always get the last word doesn’t prove that your particular point of view is right. It just proves that you can’t stand it when others disagree with you.

  • g

    On the subject of science and Christian Religions (including Mormonism). The truth is that nearly 99% of the time they either agree to some extent or have absolutely nothing to say about the other whatsoever. In the few areas where disagreement between the two subjects exist that have been so dramatically overemphasized I will continue to learn from and be aware of all the latest theories on the subject. But given the scriptures and how God’s word has stood the test of time and comes from a true, pure, and omniscient source I will continue to rely on my faith for knowledge of truth over science in these areas, because as scientists we are constantly challenging and (with the advent of new discoveries) changing our theories, at times, even from day to day. But my faith which has been confirmed to me by God through personal revelation, does not. And the source from which I receive that knowledge, namely God, is above reproach. And so if i must choose to accept God’s word or science I will choose God’s word, Because for all I know within the next generation or so they will not contradict as they do today. Just as they didn’t a few generations back. And if they don’t I know it won’t be because God went back on His word but because man has gained more knowledge in the realm of science and has once again modified its point of view accordingly. I therefore prefer not to be the small willow tree tossed to and fro by the latest direction the wind chooses to blow but the the mature oak which has grown large and strong, pointing upward in spite of the winds efforts to have it do otherwise.

  • Robert

    As a Mormon who also happens to believe that evolution is possible and that the current scientific evidence appears to support it, I feel it is helpful for both sides of the debate to keep an open mind. I do not think that a belief in God and evolution are mutually exclusive. In addition, to my knowledge several prominent Mormons have given their personal opinions on the issue, but the only official statement that I’ve ever seen the Church publish is that “We believe Adam to be the first man of all men.” That statement is very general, open to interpretation, and is neither an endorsement nor a denial of scientific theory.

  • Hubie2

    Hey, Let us enjoy our Fairy Tales and Happy Dreams. Don’t tell us our great Grandfather was an ape.
    Next thing I know, you will tell me there is no Santa. What a Devil you are!

  • Fred E

    I can’t help but place my 2 cents here. When it comes to God communicating with his creatures one whop is totally sold on the idea that man is greater than God and has greater knowledge of things than God does seems somewhat a prideful statement to make. For those of us who have recieved the more sure word of prophecy have an assurance makes one aware that it si not wise to place ones faith in the arm or mind of flesh. Science is a marvelous tool which in my opinion God has poured out on those who dwell on this earth. There no doubt in my mind that our young men have seen visions and our old men have dreamed dreams, otherwise we would still be following a team of horses across the field as Philo T Farnsworth was when the vision came to him as to how to create the parts of a television. That is tangable evidence forar greater than a hypotheses or a theory.

  • Wayne Lutzow

    Funny…I made a comment in Sunday School one time that threw everyone into a tizzy…I said, we as Mormons believe that we can progress to become like God…seems to me like we are the ultimate evolutionists…can’t figure out why all the people who “think” they believe in evolution don’t come over to our side.

  • Jettboy

    I don’t believe those statistics. There are a lot of mormons, including me, and yes Romney who believes in both the Garden of Eden and Evolution. Perhaps it is a generational thing.

  • Science is just measuring things— theory verification.
    the interpretation of those results is NOT a scientific matter, but a philosophical one.
    determining the values, methods, and rules of Science are also NOT scientific matters.

    ‘real’ scientists don’t engage in these discussions. Einstein, Sagan, Tyson are more famous for their philosophical statements than any of their science. they are similar to religious celebrities that believe believe them because of their reputation not because of an intimacy with their work.

    a GREAT scientist is one who is a good science according to the rules of science, but is also a spiritually inspired being that make leaps of faith an ingenuity before and after applying those rules. the notion that there is this ideal scientific community that is faith-free or unfettered by corruption is as much of a myth as the notion that there are religious communities that accept with blind faith everything they are told. it is this gross simplification of the world through either science OR religion — no faith/blind faith— that produces a radicalism that occludes the truth that both sides wish to illuminate.
    (because, BOTH sides in their ideal motive want the truth and yet both have abused the power of what truth they have.)

    see my website for a way to compare Science and Religion(Art) as i describe both the process of the Scientific Method and the process of revelation of ritual in same terms.

  • Richard

    Wow I was so impress with all the comments made by everyone, everyone seems to be a class act. I am so glad that some nuts did not jump in and start calling everyone names, bad language, etc You all were all very impressive, and make excellent arguments to justify your viewpoints.

  • LarryRR

    It’s just that Science and Religion often seem to contradict each other. If we suddenly discover evidence that the Creation account is true, or that homosexuals choose to be gay and there is no biological component, Science will self-correct but the same can’t be said for Religion. Homosexuals, in some belief systems anyway, will always be seen as abominations and this will be taught to our children at home, at school, and by our government (through referenda and legislation, though this particular tide seems to be turning). Like you, I also wish you didn’t have waste so much time on this in the classroom but until there is better separation between Science, Religion, and Politics, personal beliefs will invariably unite all three.

  • paul
    A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome
    Neandertals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-day humans, lived in large parts of Europe and western Asia before disappearing 30,000 years ago. We present a draft sequence of the Neandertal genome composed of more than 4 billion nucleotides from three individuals. Comparisons of the Neandertal genome to the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world identify a number of genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans, including genes involved in metabolism and in cognitive and skeletal development. We show that Neandertals shared more genetic variants with present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-day humans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flow from Neandertals into the ancestors of non-Africans occurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups from each other.
    In other words, great great great great, etc. grandma, a modern human, slept with a Neandertal – and I’m not speaking metaphorically. There goes the Garden of Eden theory.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    When a person says they believe in the “Garden of Eden and Evolution,” they are simply saying that they don’t know what evolution is. Evolution is about the common decent of all animals — it applies to humans as well as tadpoles. If a person subscribes to the concept of “special creation” for humans (as dictated by official Mormon scripture) then they are at odds with the scientific theory of evolution.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    If you think that the Mormon concept of “progress to become like god” has anything to do with evolution, then you don’t understand evolution. Besides that, there are a host of problems with scientific evolution that are unique to Mormonism:

    1) First of all, by all accounts, “eternal progression” is intelligently guided. Yet evolution is not intelligently guided at all. Evolution is a natural process with no need (or evidence for) an intelligent god guiding the process.
    2) Mormon prophets have taught unambiguously that god is a man. This is a theology that puts all the well-known design errors that plague the human body into god’s body. So, for example, the Mormon god must have a blind spot in his eye, courtesy of the evolutionary fluke in which the human eye evolved inside out. Eyes have evolved (independently) over 30 times, and many eyes (those of squid, for example) are designed “properly,” without this blind spot. Funny, that the Mormon god would have an imperfectly designed eye that’s inferior in design to a squid’s eye. Similar arguments can be made regarding knees, feet, backs, our central nervous system, etc. All these parts of the human/god body have very obvious design imperfections — imperfections that arise because evolution worked with “what it had,” not from (as an intelligent designer would) from a clean sheet of paper.
    3) According to Mormon “prophets, seers, and revelators” god originated on another planet. That being the case, evolution must have occurred on that planet *exactly* as it has on this planet. Yet two bodies, each the same, originating on different planets by evolution is astronomically improbable.
    4) Man’s body is evolved from a brachiating ape. God, according to Mormon prophets, is a man – with the same underlying skeletal structure revealing of an evolutionary ancestry consisting of ape-like animals. Thus, Mormonism literally makes an ape out of god.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    Evolution, as with scientific theory, is testable and falsifiable in principle. One type of evidence that would falsify evolution would be the discovery of rabbit fossils from the Triassic. Another would be the discovery that humans originated (per Mormon theology, as stated in the Doctrine and Covenants) from a single breeding pair who lived in the state of Missouri a few thousand years ago. If Mormonism is true, evolution is false. If evolution is true, Mormonism is false.

    And evolution is true.

    Look — we all know the score. There are many bright Mormons who understand the problem with Mormonism and science, yet they can’t bring themselves to leave the Mormon Church. There are many reasons, of course. Family is probably the biggest. But, for whatever reason, these folks want to stay in the church and so they come up with the most absurd/strained arguments about Mormonism and science. It’s understandable why they come up with such nonsense — but that doesn’t change the fact that it really is nonsense.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    Hmmm….. Could you be spreading a bit of folklore, yourself?

    It seems to me that Mormonism is very specific and quite clear on a number of issues that are all established by Mormon scripture, and validated by the highest Mormon officials. Among them:

    1) There was an original breeding pair of humans, named Adam and Eve. This pair lived in a Garden in Missouri, roughly 6,000 years ago, and they are the parents of the entire human species.

    2) The earth was covered by a literal world-wide flood that destroyed all life (including humans), except that “saved” by an ark. This represented another population choke point for humans as well as all other species – a choke point that, according to chronology in official Mormon scripture, happened only about 4,000 years ago.

    3) The earth “temporal existence” is 6,000 years old.

    Each of those points in hopelessly inconsistent with science and evolution in particular. Any one of those points, if true, would be sufficient to falsify evolution. None of those doctrines represents “folklore.”

    It’s no mystery why Mormons are so opposed to evolution — Mormon prophets have spoken out loudly and often in opposition to it. It’s also no mystery why some apologists try to paint a contrary picture — they are smart enough to understand the conflict, yet too entrenched in Mormonism to leave. I understand their reluctance — Mormonism draws a heavy toll on those who leave. They often lose their families, and (for BYU professors and other church employees) they can lose their employmnet and pension. It’s also clear why the church might want their *public* image to be different from their theological reality — the Mormon Church is well known for lying in public about doctrines taught in private; they hate bad press.

    For whatever reasons, though, the simple facts remain — Mormon doctrine, as established by LDS scripture and the teachings of LDS “prophets, seers, and revelators” is hoplessly inconsistent with evolution.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    G. said: “let others fee free to disagree.”

    Thanks, G. I’m pretty sure everyone feels free to disagree, and if you look through the responses, you’ll see there have been a lot of those who do. Was your comment rhetorical, or do you actually think I have some sort of power to stop disagreements, anyway?

    G. said: But having to always get the last word doesn’t prove that your particular point of view is right.

    It’s been my experience that, whenever there is disagreement between Mormons and ex-Mormons, Mormons inevitably try changing the subject from the facts to “the person” (ad hominem). Inevitably the switch takes place after an initial discussion of the facts in which the Mormon argument crumbles. It appears that the ad hominem is played out of a sense of insecurity and frustration; understandable – but no less admirable.

    G. said: “It just proves that you can’t stand it with others disagree with you.”

    Actually, G., it looks like you are projecting. If I couldn’t stand it when others disagree with me, I wouldn’t be posting in the first place, would I? On the other hand, Mormonism is renowned for its intolerance toward “dissenting” opinions – a culture that really, truly, can’t “stand it” when there is disagreement.

  • No Dwayne and Paul, it means a person can think outside the box and can think for themselves beyond both theory and theology. Then again, I must say that philosophy is a dead art in the modern world.

  • Duwayne Anderson

    There’s no doubt that a person can think pretty much anyway they want. The more relevant question is how *should* we think — which ways of thinking are the most practical, valuable, etc.

    When it comes to practicality, it’s pretty hard to beat science and rational thought as “good” ways to think. Science has an unrivaled track history when it comes to enabling the practical implementation of things we all value. So it should be a big deal when a religion comes along and asserts, though its doctrines, that science is wrong. A religion like that should have the onus of providing an *enormous* amount of evidence to back up its assertions for the simple reason that scientific theories (in order to become theories) have been tested/validated by an enormous amount of evidence. When a religion like Mormonism, for example, teaches doctrines that would falsify evolution, we should ask that religion for reams of verifiable and objective evidence before we can rationally say the religion is right, and the science is wrong.

  • Helix

    Someone might inform Duwayne Anderson that the Mormons have been informed. Read the 13 Article of Faith and note the absence of genotype criteria. Latter day Saints understand that Adam means “first man” in Hebrew, but do not specify a time frame when that designation was given. Analyses of mtDNA and the Y chromosome are not concordant. Deciding that issue is not a core belief and those who believe a spectrum of explanations may do so and still be considered faithful.

  • Chung

    as a Mormon and a passionate evolution, I find your comment to be distracting from John’s beautiful artice, and completely worthless. Whether evolution happened is irrelevant to the marvelous Mormon theology of the Fall; man’s transgression and estrangement from God also brought about the atonement, bringing us back into Christ’s presence.

    And you also misrepresented ‘No Death Before the Fall’ within Mormon thought. That notion was challenged nearly a century ago by Talmage and Widstoe. I recommend you stop your heckling and read Matt Bowman’s The Mormon People (Random House, 2011) for more information on the era.

  • Chung

    passionate evolution*ist