Following the publication of a further essay by the Mormon Church, this time on the Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham several comments and blogs are appearing which cover the problems very well. ‘Mormonthink‘ will be posting one shortly which I am sure will deal with all the issues very adequately. Meanwhile, having written extensively on what is actually IN the Book of Abraham in TMD Vol. 2, I have created a new note on the Facebook ‘The Mormon Delusion’ page, including an extract from TMD Vol. 2, which may be of interest: TMD Note on Book of Abraham essay.
Whilst the Mormon Church continues to attract media attention regarding its increasingly unpopular biblical style misogyny and its treatment of members who advocate on behalf of the Mormon LGBT community, the Church will of course have its own way – that is, until it becomes impossible for it to fight the rising tide of popular opinion. Then, one day, as always, it will cave. Their god will provide the big fifteen with ‘feelings’ that the time is right for yet another unchangeable change. Until then, members must continue to ‘pay, pray and obey’ (to quote Steve Benson). Meanwhile, tragically, even more young gay Mormons may well be driven to suicide. There should never have been one, let alone the dozens recorded to date.
What happens inside the Mormon Church is up to Church leaders of course. Whilst it doesn’t affect those of us who have seen through the hoax and resigned, I doubt Mormon leaders fully appreciate the anguish they cause some of the faithful, due to their (scientific) ignorance and arrogance concerning same-sex attraction. The first law of (the Mormon) heaven is ‘obedience’ and that means unquestioning compliance with all pronouncements made by men who claim they represent god. In Mormonism, you must not question or disagree with them, even if you know they are wrong. If they lie, which history confirms they often do, it is simply excused as ‘lying for the Lord’ for some supposed ‘greater good’.
The First Presidency recently issued a statement to which mormonthink.com has responded. It is clear that the Church is losing its grip on reality and Mormon Think’s response is well worth a few minutes of your time. Mormon Think Response.
Meanwhile, something important is happening, as science continues to establish more and more evidence against the myths and legends contained in the Bible.
Evolution is so well established and understood, that the UK government has just instigated and updated laws banning the teaching of pseudoscience in all free schools and academies. Creationism, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s flood etc., are officially classified as pseudoscience and can no longer be ‘taught’ as evidence-based theory. Evolution must be taught as factual science from primary age. So, in my country, facts and evidence must be taught from an early age, whilst fairy tales must be seen as the nonsense the evidence proves them to be. Now that is what you call progress. Unfortunately, I suspect it will be a long time before America catches up with us. Read about it here.
Never having located an official statement from the Mormon leadership about evolution, I concluded, in The Mormon Delusion, Volume 4:151, that “Evolution is not directly addressed in Mormonism and the Church remains neutral in order to avoid unanswerable questions.” The Encyclopaedia of Mormonism states that “The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not explain how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again.” (D&C 101:31-33).
“Leave geology, biology, archaeology and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church… Upon one thing we should all be able to agree, namely, that Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund were right when they said “Adam is the primal parent of our race.”” (First Presidency Minutes, 7 April 1931).
Leaving such things to science is very sensible, but then not accepting evidence derived from such research is burying your head in the sand. Fact trumps faith – and beliefs must change when evidence contradicts previous notions based on nothing more than hearsay from books written by delusional men. Evidence changes everything. The problem for Mormons is that much of the nonsense is set in stone.
Joseph Smith claimed that he located Adam’s altar, in his very own area, so the Church has to continue with belief in Adam and Eve as a reality rather than an etiological myth, even though science conclusively proves otherwise. Additionally, no ‘Adam’ would mean no ‘fall’ and no need for ‘redemption’ or a ‘saviour’, thus causing real theological problems for the Church. It is comical that fossils, many millions of years old, were found in the rocks which Smith claimed made up the altar and yet (according to Mormon doctrine), death did not enter the world until after the fall of Adam. This is so scientifically fundamental that ‘The Mormon Delusion’ seems more and more to have been the most appropriate choice of title for my books.
The following quote is cited in The Mormon Delusion, Volume 2:186-7.
“Why does the Book of Mormon include a very literal account of such things as Noah’s Ark (Ether 6:7), Adam and Eve, or the Garden of Eden (Alma 42:2)? If Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel story of the languages or many of the other things mentioned in the Bible aren’t literal (and they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination) – neither are the portions of Book of Mormon history relying on these items as literal. Similarly, why did Joseph Smith state that Adam and the Garden of Eden were literally located in Missouri?”
“Like Roberts, James Talmage believed that the 5,931-year-old Adamic race had been preceded on earth by pre-Adamic life. The usually cautious father boasted to his son that in discussions among the Twelve he had been “bold enough to point out” some conclusive evidence against (Joseph Fielding) Smith’s position. He had personally inspected a pile of stones at Spring Hill, Missouri, declared by Joseph Smith to be part of “the altar on which Adam offered sacrifices,” and had seen that it contained fossilized animals. “If those stones be part of the first altar,” he reasoned, “Adam built it of stones containing corpses, and therefore death must have prevailed in the earth before Adam’s time.” The original quote is from a letter written by James Talmage in 1931 to his son, Sterling Talmage, also a geologist. It is quoted in Ronald L. Numbers, The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism. (Berkeley: University of California Press 1992). The section on Creationism in Mormonism (pp. 308-314) is excellent. The above quote is from page 311.”
Evolution has long been established as scientific fact rather than just a continuing hypothesis (see note on the meaning of ‘theory’ in scientific terms under April 2014 below), and while many religious people can incorporate their beliefs into established facts about evolution, some people (especially religious, including many Mormons), still say they do not ‘believe’ in it. But you don’t have to ‘believe’ in evolution any longer. Most detail is scientifically proven, needing absolutely no belief whatsoever, but simply an understanding of the facts and an acceptance of the truth. Anything else you choose to believe in, without evidence, must fit known facts. As previously noted, even the Pope accepts evolution as fact and he represents some 1.2 billion Christians. He just isn’t sure when his god started putting spirits into human bodies. This is at least progressive. But evolution remains problematic for Mormons.
The history and migration of humans across the planet has been accurately mapped and we know how long we have been here. There were already about five million people on earth at the supposed time of Adam and history does not allow for any possibility of a global flood wiping almost everyone out at any ‘biblical’ stage of the evolution of our species. The current ‘types’ or ‘varieties’, ‘shapes and sizes’ and ‘colours’ of human beings around the globe couldn’t possibly have ‘evolved’ from just eight people, a little over four thousand years ago. (To believe they did actually means that you must accept their diverse ‘evolution’ from one small family, in a very short period of time, as a fact – thus you do accept evolution – even though in this instance it is scientifically impossible). There are many histories and constructions by cultures that span many thousands of years with no record of a flood gap in them. The scientific evidence of that is absolutely conclusive; and that’s before even considering the geological evidence and engineering problems surrounding the Noah story. (Scroll down to the April note for more on Noah). The Mormon Church has recently confirmed continued acceptance of very clear and obvious mythology and folklore in ‘essays’ it has published. Claiming proven mythology is fact is not doing the Church any favours. Notes on the essays appear in previous updates.