Thursday, January 19, 2006
Mormons and Evolution
That's the backdrop for a slim little book, hot off the presses, written by Utah Valley State College physics professor William E. Evenson and Brigham Young University biology professor Duane E. Jeffery. Titled "Mormonism and Evolution: the authoritative LDS Statements," the book is a compilation of statements made by or sanctioned by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from 1909 to 2004.
"There has been a belief, for years and years and years, that Mormonism and evolution are diametrically opposed," Jeffery said in a recent phone call. He hopes the book will illuminate the grayer areas of the church's position. Jeffery calls himself a "theistic evolutionist."
Included in the book are four official First Presidency statements released in 1992 by Brigham Young University in a special "evolution packet" for students. In 1999 the packet was distributed to all teachers in the Church Education System.
According to Evenson, "the LDS Church has really been careful over the years not to get into a box where they are taking a position that later gets undermined by science and other developments of human knowledge. I don't think that's well understood by people who would like to have this be a settled issue."