Dear Reader,

A Latter-day Saint who believes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leaders are authorized of God doesn’t necessarily accept whatever the church puts forth as “gospel.” On the contrary, anyone who wants a better church tomorrow really ought to speak up today. We aren’t potted plants. Let's face it: Theological malarkey will continue to thrive in the church if members say “amen” to it all.

That is the main reason this site exists.

It also exists because I want to encourage wavering Latter-day Saints not to leave the Lord's restored church merely because of its flaws and the errors of its leaders.

Each article is listed below with a title, short synopsis and a link. They were written by Steve Warren (bio below). Articles by others may be added.

Keep the faith.

Steve Warren
West Valley City, Utah

“God is actually trying to create a much more profound relationship with us. We can only do that if we are actually wrestling with issues at hand.”
--Fiona Givens

Christ moves closer to us as we move from dogma toward truth.

Steve Warren was raised in Heppner, Oregon, and has lived in Utah for 44 years. He attended Ricks College for two years, served a mission to Colombia and Venezuela, and graduated from BYU in 1973 with a degree in communications. He and his wife, JaNiece, have two sons and a daughter. He wrote and published Drat! Mythed Again, Second Thoughts on Utah in 1986 and was a copy editor at the Deseret News from 1988-2008. He wrote and printed 100 copies of a novel, Beyond the Finish Line, but has yet to find a real publisher. (2018)
Knowing, believing, seeing Insights into our borderline dysfunctional LDS relationship with the word “know.”

Pathway to heaven The Scriptures show one sure way to return to God’s presence: possess a heart that pleases him.

Obedience gone awry Strictly following the prophet is an excellent idea—at least as long as he’s right.

Falling short, staying put Living prophets constantly err, but that’s not a good reason to leave the Lord’s church.

What in the world? Certain strange features of the Book of Mormon add to its credibility.

Some kind of miracle Fiction. An invitation to speak in sacrament meeting begins a Utah couple’s wild ride.

The cross = victory The cross is a worthy, positive symbol because it reminds us that it is the dying Christ who saves us.

Pilate tried Jewish religious leaders sought to kill Jesus; Pontius Pilate sought to set him free, so let’s give the man a break.

Father, Father, Father Why do we repeat the name of Deity so often in prayers these days?

Witnesses Multiple witnesses provide a compelling reason for anyone to ponder the claims of Mormonism.

Who is God? The Book of Mormon and other scriptures clearly teach that Jesus Christ is God and that Heavenly Father is God the Father.

In the beginning If we didn't allow speculation and guesswork in lessons on the Creation and Adam and Eve, classes would be really short.

Short takes Brief quotes, comments and reflections on a variety of gospel topics.
A few heresies... that would make for a more interesting sacrament meeting.
Oopsy-daisy 40 foul-ups by top LDS authorities.
Appreciating Christ

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In the beginning

We believers, like everyone else, are lost when it comes to the origins of the universe.  It always gets back to: Who created the creator? That heor anything elsealways existed is incomprehensible.  Yet the fact that he (or any other form of matter) exists at all points to a forever existence because something can't come from nothing, right?  And the Big Bang theory isn't much of an alternative explanation because it can't explain where the particles necessary for a big explosion came from.

None of this precludes us from believing that God created (or organized) the earth and that Adam and Eve were in some way our first parents.  But Adam and Eve most assuredly were not earth's first human beings.  The archaeological record shows that intelligent humans existed long before the 4,000 BC generally given as the approximate date Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden.  People who existed thousands of years earlier created art and music and wove linen into cloth; they domesticated animals and farmed; many lived in cities with homes made of mud bricks, they brewed beer, they created statuettes to mother goddesses, they made tools from copper, etc.  A good argument could be made that the pre-Adamites were more advanced than the nomadic American Indians of the Columbus era, yet no informed person would  argue that the cultural disadvantages of Indians in 1492 made them not human. 

In terms of Adam and Eve being first, perhaps a die-off of humans occurred before the coming of Adam and Eve in the same way a die-off of Neanderthals occurred 30,000 years ago shortly after modern humans appeared on the scene.  Keep in mind that a die-off of humans ought to sound perfectly reasonable to religious folks who believe that only eight people survived the Great Flood.  Or perhaps Adam and Eve were the only children of God placed in an earthly realm where death didn't exist.  Or perhaps they were simply the first to receive heavenly messengers and to learn of the Plan of Salvation, making them earth's first true believers.  This is all total speculation, of course, but the gaping holes in the creation stories advanced by religion leave plenty of room for such conjecture. 

Of course, if Adam and Eve were created directly by God, then we have another problem; namely, explaining how intelligent pre-Adamic humans fit into the Plan of Salvation. 

We are well-advised to avoid pat answers about the Adam and Eve story and about the creation itself.  Once we go beyond “God created the earth,” we find ourselves on shaky ground.  Certain details of the Creation story, the Flood story and other biblical episodes are as credible as saying that Santa guided his sleigh using Rudolph’s red nose. 

We Latter-day Saints have four versions of the Creation story—Genesis, Moses, Abraham and the temple presentation.  Virtually hidden in the Scriptures is a fifth version, mentioned later in this essay.

Many Christians believe that the Genesis story of creation is literal.  The Creation Museum in Kentucky teaches that the earth is 6,000 years old, that each of the six days of creation lasted 24 hours and that Adam and Eve were contemporaries with dinosaurs.  According to actual rumors, museum directors consider videos of “The Flintstones” to be documentaries.

The LDS interpretation of the earth’s creation is more realistic but not by much.  We say that the “days” of creation were likely extended creative periods.  Few Latter-day Saints today accept a 6,000-year lifespan for the earth. And church leaders have described the Creation story as allegorical while affirming the existence of Adam and Eve. (Note: Many LDS leaders taught in the early decades of the church that the earth was created 6,000 to 7,000 years ago and that there was no death on the planet until after Adam and Eve partook of the fruit.  Doctrine and Covenants 77:6 puts the temporal existence of the earth at 7,000 years, which is, of course, either nonsense or a serious abuse of the words temporal existence.)

“The most correct book on earth,” the Book of Mormon, may provide the most correct scriptural version—it basically says God (meaning Christ) created heaven and earth, and leaves it at that.  In the Book of Mormon, at least we don’t read about Eve coming from Adam’s rib or about grasses and herbs flourishing without sunlight (grasses and herbs were made on Day 3; the sun on Day 4) or that the earth was created before the sun and stars, etc.

I believe that writers of the Creation stories prayerfully produced narratives of the earth’s creation that they thought were inspired accounts of what happened and that would be helpful for believers wanting insight on the subject.  Some parts of their narrative, such as the following passage in Genesis and Moses, have a credible ring: “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”  That sounds like organic evolution.

The Doctrine and Covenants, Old Testament and Book of Mormon contain verses that suggest a fifth approach—instant creation.  Although I’m not advocating the Big Bang theory, we must admit that the following scriptures at least suggest that the Creation—whether of the universe or the earth—might have occurred quickly.

“I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me.”                                                                                 --D&C 38:3

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”                                                      --Psalms 33:6

“Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.”                                                                                            --Psalms 148:5

“Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure.”                                                                                                                  --Jacob 4:9

Science has been helpful over the centuries in bringing us closer to truth.   It may yet offer answers on how the universe came into existence.  In the meantime, we believers are well advised to focus more on the why of creation than the how.

P.S. The following is from one of 40 items in the entry titled Oopsy-daisy” on this site:

Even our current Bible Dictionary states: Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on the earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam.” (In other words, our temple films would reflect latter-day revelationand would be more excitingif they showed dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden.  And we are also left to wonder whether creatures in the Garden were prohibited from eating fruits and vegetables, which are forms of life.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment