A Review of the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon (Part 5)

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Unsubstantiated Claims and Arguments

The Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon (AEBOM) makes a number of unsubstantiated claims and arguments that are meant to either preclude a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon or reinforce a North American setting for the same. The following are just a few:

  • On p. 16 of the AEBOM the claim is made that reference to “driven snow” in 1 Nephi 11:8 must be describing “something similar to a blizzard–snow driven by strong winds.” It is further claimed that “the Nephites were living in the land choice above all others where ‘driven’ snow must have been common in order for them to understand the analogy” in 1 Nephi 11:8. This, the AEBOM reasons, must mean the Nephites were living in North America “where blizzards ‘drive’ the snow, providing an analogy that had special and understandable meaning for those who witnesses snow driven by strong winds.” There are several things about these claims that are dubious. First, while it is true that there is no unique biblical Hebrew word for specifically “blizzard,” this does not mean the the phenomenon was unknown in ancient Israel. Biblical allusions to what we might today call a blizzard can be detected at Psalm 148:8 (“snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command”; שׁלג וקיטור רוח סערה עשׂה דברו) and Sirach 43:13 (“By his command he sends the driving snow”; Προστάγματι αὐτοῦ κατέσπευσεν χιόνα). An additional allusion to blizzard-like weather is also possibly identifiable at Job 37:9–10 (“From its chamber comes the whirlwind [סופה; “gale,” “storm”], and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast”). In any case, blizzards (heavy snowfall mixed with high winds) do occur in Israel, although they are relatively rare.1 The Talmud even preserves at least one mention of an ancient blizzard (Yoma 35b).2 Nephi’s imagery of the “driven snow” therefore has a biblical underpinning and is something he and his family could have been familiar with in an Old World setting.3 What’s more, the fact that the Book of Mormon makes no mention of blizzards or snow after 1 Nephi 11:8 could be (and has been) used against claims of a North American setting for the Book of Mormon.4
  • The AEBOM claims on p. 34 that “writings and artifacts have been found from North and South America that bear signs of the Phoenician traders.” No artifacts are provided as examples for this claim, and no sources are cited.
  • On p. 75 the AEBOM makes the claim that 2 Nephi 12:16 (=Isaiah 2:16) demonstrates Joseph Smith was translating an ancient record, not simply copying the KJV Bible. While this argument has been raised multiple times by Latter-day Saint authors, it is problematic.5 The AEBOM does not adequately nuance the underlying textual issue at 2 Nephi 12:16.
  • The AEBOM claims on p. 177 that there are no “migratory land animals” in Mesoamerica, which appears to contradict Mosiah 18:4. First, the text in question says nothing about specific animal “migrations,” but merely that the waters of Mormon were “infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts.” Even the editors of the AEBOM caution that this text “could indicate migratory patterns” (emphasis added). Even if we accept this reading, in Mesoamerica “large carnivores . . . show seasonal variation in their ranging patterns. . . . Pumas (Puma concolora; Felidae) and jaguars (Panthera onca: Felidae) have significantly larger home ranges during the rainy season. . . . Presumably this occurs because prey is concentrated in higher densities around water sources during the dry season, whereas prey is more dispersed and found in lower densities during the rainy season.”6 Mosiah 18:4, which describes an important water source being “infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts,” could easily be read in this Mesoamerican context.
  • The AEBOM claims at p. 300 that there are four distinct seasons in the “promised land” and in the Book of Mormon. But the citation given (Alma 46:40) says nothing about four distinct seasons in the way implied by the AEBOM (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, with their distinctive climates and weather phenomena). In fact, the seasonality of warfare patterns in the Book of Mormon fits nicely in a Mesoamerican context, demonstrating that this is a clumsy attempt by the AEBOM to force the Book of Mormon into a specific North American context that isn’t demanded by the text.7
  • At p. 320 the AEBOM implies that the “plains” spoken of in Alma 52:20 (and other places, such as Alma 62:18; Ether 13:28; 14:15) are the “plains of the Nephites” spoken of by Joseph Smith in an 1834 letter to his wife Emma.8 Besides the fact that “plains of the Nephites” never occurs as a Book of Mormon toponym, the citations to Ether have little relevance since those would have been Jaredite plains, not Nephite. Additionally, the AEBOM provides no actual evidence that Joseph Smith had specifically the plains of Nephihah (Alma 62:18) or the plains near the city of Mulek (Alma 62:18) in mind with his comment about the “plains of the Nephites.” It merely attempts to create that impression in the minds of readers by an artificial juxtaposition. 
  • It is claimed at p. 393 that the “whirlwinds” in 3 Nephi 8:16 are tornadoes unique to North America and not found in Mesoamerica. Even if we grant the interpretation of 3 Nephi 8:16 as speaking about tornados,9 this poses no problem for a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon. Powerful, destructive tornados do occur in Central America.10
  • The AEBOM claims on p. 532 that each of the animals and items needed to keep the Law of Moses have been discovered in North America. Here the AEBOM appears to be drawing on the work of Amberli Nelson, although it does not cite her.11 The claims in the AEBOM, however, are problematic. For instance, the AEBOM claims goats, a required animal for sacrifices under the Law of Moses, have been found in North America. But the mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) the AEBOM has in mind, presumably, aren’t actual goats (Capra aegagrus hircus).12 In terms of taxonomy, they are actually closer to antelope and musk-oxen.13 They might be called “goats” by a process of loan-shifting, but that’s not the same as the claim made in the AEBOM and by Nelson that they are precisely the kind of goat that satisfies the requirements of the Law of Moses.

This is just a sampling of the kinds of unsubstantiated arguments and claims that are made in the AEBOM. Proponents of a North American “heartland” setting for the Book of Mormon will have to make much better arguments than these if they wish to make a convincing case for their theory. Making broad, sweeping, and often ignorant claims that declare victory against a Mesoamerican setting after imposing highly debatable readings of the Book of Mormon onto the text will not suffice.

  1. “Israel hit by snowstorms, gales in first big freeze of the winter,” YNetNews; “Jerusalem Closed Off as Blizzard Hits Israel; 17,000 Homes Without Power,” Haaretz; “Blizzards sweeping across the Middle East,” New York Post.
  2. A letter in the Cairo Geniza describes how the merchant Solomon b. Moses made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from Egypt in the early 1060s. Solomon travelled from Egypt through the Sinai with a caravan along the coastal plain, then dropped into Jerusalem from Ramlah. According to the letter, a severe snow storm occurred in the month of Tevet, that is, December-January. He attributed his survival to the mercies of God. S. D. Goitein, ed. and trans., Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1973), 159-60. Goitein interprets the letter as indicating that Solomon’s friends attempted to dissuade him from winter travel because the weather was bad, but that God blessed him and helped him complete his promised pilgrimage to Jerusalem. If so, this stands as additional, albeit indirect, evidence that things like snowstorms were not isolated occurrences. It is hard to see why snowfall heavy enough to impede travel could not be considered “driven snow.” My thanks to Allen Hansen for alerting me to this source.
  3. Even in the New World, although it is very rare, snowfall does occasionally occur in the highlands of Guatemala and central Mexico. See David Stuart and Stephen Houston, “Cotton, Snow, and Distant Wonders,” Maya Decipherment.
  4. See for instance “Weather in relation to Book of Mormon geography,” FairMormon Blog.
  5. Dana M. Pike and David Rolph Seely, “‘Upon all the Ships of the Sea, and Upon All the Ships of Tarshish’: Revisiting 2 Nephi 12:16 and Isaiah 2:16,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14, no. 2 (2005): 12–25, 67–71.
  6. Kathryn E. Stoner et al., “Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest Mammals: Adaptations and Seasonal Patterns,” in Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests: Ecology and Conservation, ed. Rodolfo Dirzo et al. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2011), 96, internal citations removed.
  7. John L. Sorenson, “Seasonality of Warfare in the Book of Mormon and in Mesoamerica,” in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, ed. Stephen D. Ricks and William J. Hamblin (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1990), 445–477.
  8. Joseph Smith, Letter to Emma Smith, 4 June 1834.
  9. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “whirlwind” as “a violent wind moving in a circle, or rather in a spiral form, as if moving round an axis; this axis or the perpendicular column moving horizontally, raising and whirling dust, leaves and the like.” This could describe a tornado, or it could describe a tropical cyclone. The AEBOM‘s reading of this verse is begging the question.
  10. See for instance Oscar Velasco Fuentes, “The Earliest Documented Tornado in the Americas,” American Meteorological Society, November 2010, 1515–1522; Jesús Manuel Macías Medrano, Descubriendo tornados en México: el caso del tornado de Tzintzuntzan (Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios, 2001); “Mexican Tornado (San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chiapas, México) – 06-08-2014“.
  11. Amberli Nelson, Jehovah’s Holy Days in the Heartland of North America, available at www.bookofmormonevidence.org.
  12. Marco Festa-Bianchet and Steve D. Côté, Mountain Goats: Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation of an Alpine Ungulate (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2007), 7.
  13. Marc Montgomery, “Tracing the evolution of North American mountain goats,” Radio Canada International.

45 thoughts on “A Review of the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon (Part 5)”

  1. Regarding whirlwinds, this is a perfect example of how flawed the approach of the Heartlanders is. The very same passage that mentions whirlwinds also mentions fires, tempests, earthquakes, sinking into the sea, lightening, upheavals,and palpable darkness – all within the same 3 hour period. This is clearly a single cataclysmic disaster with multiple destructive fronts. Yet, the Heartlanders take the one thing that (they think) uniquely fits their model and tout that while ignoring everything else, especially those items that do not fit in the heartland model (e.g. earthquakes, upheavals, and sinking cities). It is a stunning and brazen example of cherry-picking.

    • You are exactly right.

      Mesoamerican volcanism can explain the destruction in 3 Nephi better than anything the Heartlanders can muster.

    • Consider also that 3 Nephi 8:16 is the ONLY verse in the Book of Mormon that mentions “whirlwinds.” Tornadoes are common throughout the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Mississippi Valley, and the southern United States, especially in the spring. If the Book of Mormon took place in that region, why aren’t “whirlwinds” mentioned more often in the text? Why are they only mentioned once in connection with a specific cataclysmic event?

      It seems more likely to me that they were NOT common and that’s why they were specifically noted in 3 Nephi 8.

      (Loving this series, BTW, Stephen!)

  2. “But the mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) the AEBOM has in mind, presumably….”

    Do Heartlanders actually claim the mountain goat is the “goat” of the Book of Mormon? If they do, I’d be interested to know how they explain its supposed existence the American Midwest, as its native habitat is the Rocky Mountain range from Alaska to Idaho. (Mountain goats are also found today in eastern Colorado, southwestern Utah, and a few other places, but these populations were introduced by humans in the twentieth century.)

    The mountain goat (which, as you point out, isn’t a goat at all) has never lived anywhere near the “heartland” of the United States, and therefore cannot be the “goat” mentioned in 1 Nephi 18:25, Enos 1:21, and Ether 9:18.

    • This statement is a prime example why critics of the Book of Mormon enjoy this infighting. Both Peter Pan and the OP (Mr. Smoot), invalidate the argument of the HLTers by focusing on the use of the word “goat,” and the lack of evidence to support the presence of “goats” in the HLT model, even going as far as calling out the potential use of loan-shifting.

      The problem is, what you are accusing the HLTers of doing with regards to “goats” is precisely the same argument FAIR and Book of Mormon Central use to justify “horses” in the Book of Mormon.

      I guess my question is, since the value of knowing where the Book of Mormon takes place has essentially no impact on obtaining salvation, why squabble with each other over these different theories? You have yours, they have theirs, and I would guess a vast majority of members don’t even really care.

      • There is a key difference at play here, Mol.

        Proponents of a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon are, as far as I’m aware, completely fine with the idea of loan-shifting.

        The Heartlanders, on the other hand, insist that the actual animals mentioned in the Law of Moses were readily available to Lehites in North America. Not substitutes, but the real deal.

        As for your final question, my answer is that Heartlanders have taken it upon themselves to question the faith and integrity of their opponents. They have turned Book of Mormon geography (especially the location of the Hill Cumorah) into a litmus test for faithfulness, and have publicly disparaged those who fail this litmus test for not accepting a New York Cumorah.

        In addition, I believe that Latter-day Saints investigating the different sides of this controversy should have a grasp of all the facts, including those facts inconvenient to the Heartland model which are often omitted or downplayed by proponents of the same.

  3. With your two mentions of Whirlwinds, I found 5 more. Not a good mistake.
    Mosiah 7:30
    3 Nephi 10:13-14
    2 Nephi 15:28
    Alma 26:6
    2 Nephi 26:5

    • Stacey,

      Yes, the word “whirlwind” appears in other places in the Book of Mormon outside of 3 Nephi 8, but these references are either metaphorical uses of the term “whirlwind” or references to the destructions of 3 Nephi 8. None of them describe actual whirlwinds other than the ones in the destruction at the death of Christ.

      • “Whose arrows shall be sharp, and all their bows bent, and their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind, their roaring like a lion.” — 2 Nephi 15:28 (This is a quotation of Isaiah 14:28, so it doesn’t even refer to whirlwinds in the Western Hemisphere at all.)
      • And they that kill the prophets, and the saints, the depths of the earth shall swallow them up, saith the Lord of Hosts; and mountains shall cover them, and whirlwinds shall carry them away, and buildings shall fall upon them and crush them to pieces and grind them to powder.” — 2 Nephi 26:5 (This is Nephi’s prophecy of the signs that would be “given unto my people of [Christ’s]…death and resurrection” [26:3], referring to the events of 3 Nephi 8.)
      • “And again, he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison.” — Mosiah 7:30 (This is King Limhi’s speech to his Nephite people in the Land of Nephi. His language appears to be an allusion to Hosea 8:7; Hosea’s writings predate Lehi and may have been on the brass plates.)
      • “Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.” — Alma 26:6 (This is Ammon’s metaphorical description of the spiritual salvation they brought to the people of Ammon/Anti-Nephi-Lehis.)
      • “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” — Helaman 5:12 (Another metaphorical description of salvation.)
      • 3 Nephi 8:12, 16; 10:13–14 all refer to the destructions at the time of Christ’s death.

      As I wrote earlier, actual whirlwinds—not metaphorical ones—are only mentioned once in the Book of Mormon.

  4. Hi Stephen, I applaud your blog for exposing the truth about the Heartland and how inaccurate it really is. However, there is one issue that you mentioned in your comments that also negates the Meso-American model. That is the idea of volcanoes somehow fits the scriptures in Helaman 14:23-24 and 3 Nephi. Having said that I believed the Meso-American model until I found numerous errors in it, and so I abandoned it after finding what I consider to be far more accurate the South American model.

    One of the things that always puzzled me is the mention in Jacob that the land where they were living was an island (2 Nephi 10:20). That didn’t fit any of the models for the BOM. Then several authors have written very exciting books on the subject that South America before the time of the death of Christ was an island. Plate tectonics explains that during that 3 hour earthquake event, mountains were formed whose height is great (Helaman 14:23, and valleys were formed from mountains being laid low. These cannot be attributed to volcanic events. Yes I’m sure volcanism was part of this event, but it wasn’t the entire story. Also you might like to know BYU does not believe in the idea that there are recent mountains (<2,000 years old) created in Meso-America. They are all old earthers and do not believe that could or would happen. Meso-America was never an island and this alone is a problem.

    Before the death of Christ South America was indeed an island running in a north-South direction along the Andes mountains although at a lower elevation. All of Panama was underwater at that time and the Amazon Basin was underwater. At the death of Christ through plate tectonics the eastern part was rotated upward creating the continent you see today. The island was approximately 2,000 miles long and about 150 to 200 miles wide before the time of Christ.

    Just a few thoughts. Thanks for your efforts on exposing the Heartland erroneous model. It is a refreshing to see someone actually looking in to the numerous errors. Many in the Church now believe in the Heartland model. Anybody that looks close can see that it really doesn't work.

    • Owen,

      “Before the death of Christ South America was indeed an island running in a north-South direction along the Andes mountains although at a lower elevation. All of Panama was underwater at that time and the Amazon Basin was underwater. At the death of Christ through plate tectonics the eastern part was rotated upward creating the continent you see today. The island was approximately 2,000 miles long and about 150 to 200 miles wide before the time of Christ.”

      This claim is absolutely false. There is no evidence for it whatsoever. Archaeological evidence indicates that there have been human settlements in the Amazon basin for at least 11,000 years.

      The kinds of wild, irresponsible claims you’re making are at least as bad as the Heartlanders’, perhaps worse.

      — Peter @ NevilleNevilleLand.com

  5. Hi Peter,

    Well no Peter, the claim is not false at all. There is very good evidence for this fact. There are reputable scientists in the field of geology and paleontology that have made these discoveries. Let me give you a few names. Donald R. Prothero, a geologist, 35 years at Caltech, Columbia, and Occidental colleges. His list of books and credentials is quite impressive. He made this comment: “The theory that the Amazon Sea once existed is not new. It dates back to the 1950s, but the evidence for it had been week until now.” Studies from drilling in the basin show that indeed the Amazon at one time was indeed a large sea. My comment – It was the Atlantic Ocean until the time of the death of Christ. I know I have to be short in writing but there are other researchers that have found this to be the case. Lizzie Wade, a former Fulbright scholar studied drill cores from eastern Colombia. She found that the Colombian core samples contained fossils of ocean-dwelling mantis shrimp and shark’s teeth. I have more scientists that I could name that have made these discoveries as well.

    One other piece of evidence Peter that you might ought to think about. The Mississippi River has a delta that extends out into the Gulf 100 miles. The Amazon river which is the greatest river in the entire world has no delta. Why is that? Why does a river of this magnitude have no delta? It is because the river is very young Peter. Yes, it is very young and only about 2,000 years old. There is evidence that before the time of the death of Christ that the South America was mostly underwater.

    Peter, you brought up the idea that there were people in the Amazon Basin 11,000 years ago. Do you believe that date is accurate? Since when do you folks who are members of the Church believe that there were people/man on earth before Adam and Eve? Stephen, I don’t know what position you take on this issue whether you believe with the erroneous claims of highly educated professors at BYU or not. I’m a retired field geologist and a Creationist. I believe that Adam and Eve were created by God and there was no ancestry for them. I also believe the earth is young and that Adam introduced death in the earth. We have plenty of scripture on this subject that contradicts the claims of the evolutionists and uniformatarian scientists. I guess I’m bringing this up because of the discussion on DNA directly contradicts the idea of Adam and Eve as our first parents.

    We have an entire standard works that tell us that Adam was the first man and the first to die. There was no death before the fall of Adam. Anyway, this is another subject but a good one that would be fun to discuss too.

    • Owen,

      When making extraordinary claims, it’s important to both cite sources and present them in their proper context. You mentioned Donald R. Prothero and Lizzie Wade, but you did not provide citations where one can read and examine their claims. Were they published in peer-reviewed academic journals or as blog comments? (There’s a difference, and it’s an important one.) And are they claiming that the Amazon basin was underwater two thousand years ago or millions of years ago? (Also a critical point when it comes to your claims.)

      You claim that the Amazon River has no delta “because the river is very young .” This is not true. The Amazon empties into the Atlantic Ocean, which has sufficient wave and tidal energy to carry most of the Amazon’s sediments out to sea—because of this, the Amazon does not form a true delta. The deltas of other major world rivers are all in relatively protected bodies of water, but the Amazon empties directly into the turbulent Atlantic. (See James R. Penn and Larry Allen, _Rivers of the World: A Social, Geographical, and Environmental Sourcebook_ [ABC-CLIO: 2001], p. 8.)

      Finally, your view that there was no death anywhere on the earth before approximately 4000 B.C. is a popular one in the Church, but it is far from the only one. It was popularized by apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, who was an ardent youth-earth creationist who used fundamentalist Seventh-day Adventist works to back up his beliefs. Other Church authorities disagreed with him, most notably apostle James E. Talmage, whose 1931 address in the Tabernacle, “The Earth and Man,” was published by the Church several times, and offers a different perspective than Elder Smith’s YEC views. (Read part 1: https://archive.org/details/instructor10012dese/page/n11 / part 2: https://archive.org/details/instructor1011dese/page/n9)

      An article in September 1987 Ensign cited Talmage’s 1931 address: “The existence of these animals [who died millions of years ago] is indisputable, for their remains have been found in rocks all over the earth. What eternal purpose they played in the creation and early history of the earth is unknown. The scriptures do not address the question, and it is not the realm of science to explore the issue of why they were here. We can only conclude, as Elder Talmage did, that ‘the whole series of chalk deposits and many of our deep-sea limestones contain the skeletal remains of animals. These lived and died, age after age, while the earth was yet unfit for human habitation.'” (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1987/09/i-have-a-question/do-we-know-how-the-earths-history-as-indicated-from-fossils-fits-with-the-earths-history-as-the-scriptures-present-it.html)

      Elders Talmage and Smith had a long-running disagreement over this issue. The First Presidency eventually stepped in and told both of them to “knock it off,” as it were, for neither of their positions were the revealed doctrine of the Church. Talmage wrote the following in his journal on that day, April 7th, 1931:

      “Involved in this question [of humans before the fall of Adam] is that of the beginning of life upon the earth, and as to whether there was death either of animal or plant before the fall of Adam, on which proposition Elder Smith was very pronounced in denial and Elder [B.H.] Roberts equally forceful in the affirmative. As to whether Preadamite races existed upon the earth there has been much discussion among some of our people of late. The decision reached by the First Presidency, and announced to this morning’s assembly, was in answer to a specific question that obviously the doctrine of the existence of races of human beings upon the earth prior to the fall of Adam was not a doctrine of the Church; and, further, that the conception embodied in the belief of many to the effect that there were no such Preadamite races, and that there was no death upon the earth prior to Adam’s fall is likewise declared to be no doctrine of the Church. I think the decision of the First Presidency is a wise one in the premises. This is one of the many things upon which we cannot preach with assurance and dogmatic assertions on either side are likely to do harm rather than good.”

      You can find the citation for this quote, along with other references, on this helpful web page: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_science/Death_before_the_Fall

      Summarizing this last point, there are other interpretations and views on how Adam is “the first man.” The scientific evidence that the earth is old and that life and death have been in existence upon it for around two billion years is well established and fundamental to life science and the physical sciences. I, for one, don’t believe that God has gone to extraordinary lengths to deceive us about this.

  6. Hi Mike,

    I guess I should provide a bunch of sources for the information about the rise of the Andes and the fact that the Amazon Basin was an ocean at one time. Maybe I’ll work on a nice little report about that for you at a latter date if needed. Good comments though about the lack of a delta for the Amazon River. That is something to consider as well and perhaps I should have researched that before commenting. But the fact remains as I mentioned that there are scientists and scholars who believe that the Amazon Basin was under water anciently. Even Charles Darwin found in Argentina elevated coral beds that had been lifted up. He reported this in his exploration in South America. But that isn’t the question. If I went through an indisputable discussion that scientists are finding that the Amazon Basin was underwater would you be able to abandon the Meso-American model in favor of the South American model? I don’t think you would be able to because you don’t accept the idea that Adam was the first man and the earth is young. You will always find some comment that will contradict this point of view. You’ve been indoctrinated to believe the earth is old and that the stories in the scriptures are all myth. Am I wrong in that analysis?

    But this isn’t the surprising thing to me. The very fact that you believe that there was death before Adam is the thing that I find disturbing. The scriptures are clear on this subject that Adam introduced death into this world through the fall. No this is not an established fact that there was death before Adam – there are two sides to this issue. One held by Christians who you should be identifying with, and the other is the multi-billion dollar government sponsored schools and unfortunately BYU who indoctrinate young students into believing that the Adam was not the first person on earth and the first to introduce death into the world. The entire reason for this is to destroy the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    There was a very interesting debate between an atheist by the name of William Craig and a Christian that made this statement:

    “The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knew of Christianity.”

    Frank Zindler, American atheist, in a debate with William Craig, Atheism vs. Christianity video, Zondervan, 1996

    I think it is appalling that the evolutionary professors at BYU rejects the scriptures and accept the dogma of the worlds leading atheists on this subject. The entire reason for an old earth and evolution is for one thing and that is to destroy Gospel of Jesus Christ. If there was no Adam there was no Christ is the message. How many scriptures do I need to quote you on this subject? I suspect you know a lot of them yourself.

    This is a good debate and one that needs to be had among the Latter-day Saint people. I read a recent study that said that 70% of the grads from BYU now accept evolution. I find that very troubling given the knowledge we have about the creation. Joseph F. Smith fired I believe it was 3 professors for teaching evolution at BYU. The theory is not proven and is 100% contrary to revelation. I don’t know how you can make the claim that there was death before Adam’s fall. I would love you to explain that to me.

    I subscribe to publication from the Institute for Creation research (ICR.org). This is a group of PhD level scientists that research Noah’s flood and the creation of the earth. They are doing the work that BYU should be doing. They have shown through there research that the earth is young. In a study (RATE) conducted about 15 years ago they found that through the leakage rate of helium from zircon crystals that the earth is under 10,000 years old. Of course the science community would not accept this because as I said they are atheistic and do not accept Christ for the most part.

    Christian scientists have done a marvelous job of finding the errors in the old earth science. I’ve seen it in the field as a geologist as well. Now these fine Christian scientists are finding soft tissue in dinosaur bones which tells us that they are young. One scientist was fired from a university job for reporting the results showing the divide between Christianity and the worldly science community. The dinosaurs died during the flood. They are finding carbon 14 in diamonds where there should be none in billion year old diamonds where none should be found. All this is something that they are finding which is rejected by the science community. They have had a hard time explaining these facts. I accept their findings as truth. I reject the science of billion year old earth as nothing but propaganda that is aimed at destroying the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have been very successful in there indoctrination I’m sorry to say.

    Evolution is a relatively new science from the late 1800’s. Darwin predicted that there would be countless transitional forms found between the animals in the fossil record. Only a few have been found and those that have been are controversial.

    So in summary. The science of evolution, old earth, ancestors of Adam is all used to destroy the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there was no Adam there was no need of Christ. If you can’t accept this then do I need to prove conclusively that the Amazon Basin was underwater before the time of Christ. I think not because it would be a complete waste of time if you can’t accept what is written in the scriptures. First prove to me that Adam was not the first man and evolution is a fact. Tell me how this does not contradict scripture. I’m well aware of the sources put out Latter-day Saint organizations about this subject and I’m appalled by it as well.

    • Owen,

      Thank you for your lengthy, detailed manifesto that sets forth your interpretation of the gospel and science. I have no interest in getting involved in a lengthy discussion about this that will result in neither you nor I changing our minds about anything. Rather, I’m going to simply ask that you open your mind to the possibility that there are other interpretations of the scriptures that do not require a young earth and no death anywhere on it before Adam’s fall, and that also account for Adam being “the first man” and completely accept the fall and the requisite atonement. Your interpretation of the scriptures is one that I personally reject, but I accept that you are a faithful Latter-day Saint and a follower of Christ; I would humbly request that you grant me the same courtesy.

      I should point out that there are only three passages of scripture that could be cited as evidence that there was no death before the fall (2 Nephi 2:22; Alma 12:23–24; Moses 6:43–45, 48, 58–61) and not one of these directly and unambiguously states that there was no death *anywhere on earth* before the fall. There is not a single passage of scripture that supports that notion. Joseph Fielding Smith insisted on that interpretation, however, and his views were introduced into Church curriculum; only recently are we seeing this corrected to a more careful reading of the scriptures. And so I completely agree with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2015 general conference talk in which he said:

      “The simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it. I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.”

      Your assessment of the teaching of geology, biology, anthropology, archeology, and related sciences at BYU overlooks the fact that the university’s board of trustees is composed of the president of the Church (who the the chairman), the counselors in the First Presidency (who are the vice-chairmen), four apostles, and various other general authorities and general officers of the Church. If the teaching of evolution and an ancient earth were completely contrary to the scriptures and revelation, if they were heresies that destroyed testimonies and jeopardized the doctrine of Christ, certainly BYU’s board of trustees would have forbidden their teaching long ago. And yet they haven’t. That’s something that’s worth considering, I think—the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve find the teaching of evolution and and old earth at the Church’s flagship university completely compatible with faith in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

      Those things may “appall” you, but they are nonetheless true.

      Kind regards,

      Mike

  7. Owen,

    You are more than welcome to believe that evolution is nonsense, that geology don’t preclude sudden continental appearances, and any other rejections of scientific principles that you feel are necessary to sustain your faith. Where you are not justified is in condemning faithful, believing Latter-day Saints who see no conflict between science and religion.

    The Church has been crystal clear in the fact that it holds no doctrinal position on evolution et al. While there is a great deal of light and knowledge as to why the earth was created, there is little or none with regard to how it was created. When you insist otherwise, it is you, not those you are accusing of apostasy, who are out of harmony with the official position of the Church.

    Have a nice day!

  8. Hi Jim,

    Nonsense! Many general authorities though the years have directly attacked and condemned the teaching of evolution in the schools. As I mentioned Joseph F. Smith fired professors for doing just that at BYU. The official position of the Church was given over 100 years ago by the 1st presidency in a statement about the origin of Man. I have seen the statement in the New Era which is not and official statement from the 1st presidency so don’t bother pointing at it.

    Now that you bring up the word apostasy lets explore this just a little bit because there is a prophecy by Peter the apostle that describes what is happening today. I believe this scripture applies directly to those in our schools today who teach that Noah’s flood was a myth and evolution. I’ll quote it from the KJV:

    2 Peter 3:3-6

    vs 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, vs 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. vs 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: vs 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished:

    There you have it Jim. A prophecy that calls those who don’t believe in Noah’s flood and believe the earth continues as it always has (evolution) are in fact scoffers. You also can believe what you want as well. But Peter is clear that this actually is a doctrine of apostasy.

    The Christians are far ahead of the Church now in proving though the scientific method that the earth is young and there was a Noah’s flood. You can believe the scriptures Jim and you don’t need to believe the propaganda put out in the schools. I believe this has led to many young people abandoning the Church today because they can’t trust the scriptures as being factual.

    I find it interesting that you and others believe that you can somehow make atheistic evolution exist along with religion. They are diametrically opposed to each other. You cannot believe in Christ without believing that there was an Adam, and Adam brought death into the world through the Fall. I asked Mike to explain it. You explain it if you can. I want to hear your explanation of how there was death before Adam. The Christians have proved now that there was/is not evolution and the earth is young. The entire reason for the existence of Evolution is to destroy Christianity and the Church.

    I’ve talked to a number of geologists who are inactive and don’t believe in the scriptures because of this very fact. The Church is bleeding active members today particularly among the young. Are you surprised by that? I’m not – I believe it can be traced back to the teachings in our school systems that is aimed at destroying the faith of our young people. If you are looking for a word for it – apostasy works for me.

  9. Hi Mike,

    2 Nephi 2:22 I see no indication there at all that there was death before the Fall. All it is saying is speculation that if Adam had not Fallen he would have remained in the garden without death. There would have been no children either. This is very simple to understand and your explanation of no death before the Fall is lacking.

    Alma 12:23–24 again there is no indication here that there was death before the Fall. In fact, this one says that as a result of the fall death came into the world. Therefore this scripture directly contradicts what you are telling me. I think you are also taking this scripture out of context which is what has to be done in order to make your point that there was death before the Fall. It isn’t there. It is simply saying in the other verses before these that you failed to point out that if Adam had partaken of the Tree of Life after partaking of the tree of Knowledge he would have lived forever in his sins. That is a direct contradiction of what you are telling me. Adam living forever is a result of NOT partaking of the tree of Knowledge. This is all established doctrine Mike. Where are you coming up with with stuff?

    Moses 6:43–45, 48, 58–61 Mike, again verse 48, 58 completely contradicts what you are saying that there was death before the Fall. I want to thank you for pointing these scriptures out because they really answer the question about the Fall. When Adam partook of the fruit of the tree death enter the world. You haven’t yet pointed out a scripture that contradicts that. All the scriptures line up against you on this issue.

    Well, I;m sure you don’t want to continue this discussion because it is clear that Adam introduced Death into the world. We have more scripture than any Christian. The flood of Noah is in the book of Mormon as well as the Tower of Babel. Of course you can believe what you want. BYU is teaching the falsehoods of Evolution and old earth. Of course you can believe that – But to me, and this is my opinion it shows a complete lack of faith. Faith in the prophets of God who wrote these wonderful revelations to us explaining the fall of Adam and the very reason for Christ. I find it appalling that you and others believe in these heresies. As I pointed out to Jim 2 Peter 3:3-6 tells us that there would be scoffers in the last days. Which side do you want to be on? The side of those who scoff at those who believe in the creation as found in the scriptures and Noah’s flood. Am I a fool for believing in these scriptures? Am I a fool for believe that we can trust the scriptures and we don’t need to follow the worldly dogma of atheists? Or do you want to show a little bit of faith and accept what is written in the scriptures. There is plenty of science now as I pointed that directly contradicts your position. You don’t have to believe and accept on faith that evolution was the means God used to create everything. There is not one scripture that says that evolution is a true doctrine. There is not one scripture that says that Adam had any ancestry. There is not one scripture that says the earth is billions of years old. On the contrary and this is where I disagree with Peter Pan, there is plenty of scripture on the creation of this earth and the plan of salvation which includes the fundamental doctrine of the Fall.

    I can understand you don’t want to continue this discussion. It is a tough one for you to defend. I have the scriptures on my side as I mentioned and I have science that contradicts what has been thrust on the world by atheistic doctors of evolution. It is unfortunate that BYU has fallen for this trap. I like BYU and support it’s programs all accept for this one area that I believe has resulted in a real destruction of faith among the members of the Church. How could it not? Why take classes on religion and the scriptures when it is all myth?

    Thanks Mike for the discussion. It is too bad that more people in the Church cannot or will not stand up against this heresy. It is a testament how effective Satan has been in destroying the faith of the members. And when I say faith I mean of course faith that the scriptures about the creation and plan of salvation are myth or even worse false.

  10. “Nonsense! Many general authorities though the years have directly attacked and condemned the teaching of evolution in the schools.”

    They have, indeed. Many others have applauded it, including my great-grandfather, David O. McKay, who called the theory of evolution “beautiful” and vigorously disagreed with Joseph Fielding Smith on the subject. President McKay refused to allow JFS’s young earth book “Man: His Origin and Destiny” to be published by the Church and explicitly stated on several occasions that the Church has no official position on evolution.

    When you cite “many general authorities” and ignore many more who vigorously disagreed, you are implying that the leaders of the Church have been unanimous in their opposition to evolution. That is most definitely not the case.

    “As I mentioned Joseph F. Smith fired professors for doing just that at BYU.”

    And today, Russell M. Nelson is not firing professors for doing just that at BYU, and evolution continues to be taught at BYU without prophetic objection. For my part, I’ll take the living prophet over the dead one.

    “The official position of the Church was given over 100 years ago by the 1st presidency in a statement about the origin of Man. I have seen the statement in the New Era which is not and official statement from the 1st presidency so don’t bother pointing at it.”

    You mean the one that says “The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution” and that “Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study” and “Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution?” The one that the living prophets and apostles have authorized to come up on the Church’s official website whenever anyone asks the question? Why doesn’t the living prophet repudiate such falsehoods being perpetuated by the current Church if we’re supposed to be relying on a century-old statement instead?

    Or is this just one more case of you preferring dead prophets to living ones?

    As for the Apostle Peter’s position on evolution, I think it obvious that all ancient references to Noah are not necessarily scientific repudiations of a theory that originated roughly 17 centuries after the New Testament was written.

    “The Christians are far ahead of the Church now in proving though the scientific method that the earth is young and there was a Noah’s flood.”

    Well, good luck to them. We Latter-day Saints are probably far behind because our official Church schools continue to teach evolution with impunity.

    “You can believe the scriptures Jim and you don’t need to believe the propaganda put out in the schools.”

    I do believe the scriptures. I also believe in science, including evolution. As do the majority of faithful Latter-day Saints, including, apparently, the living prophets and apostles, who are making no effort to prevent your tithing dollars from being used to pay BYU biology professors who teach evolution.

    “I believe this has led to many young people abandoning the Church today because they can’t trust the scriptures as being factual.”

    If Young Earth Creationism is what would lure young people back to the fold, then evangelical churches that teach the same should be burgeoning with growth rather than bleeding membership, which is what they are actually doing.

    “I find it interesting that you and others believe that you can somehow make atheistic evolution exist along with religion. They are diametrically opposed to each other.”

    Whereas I find it interesting that you think it is me, not you, who is diametrically opposed to the official position of a Church that allows evolution to be taught unabated in official Church schools.

    “You cannot believe in Christ without believing that there was an Adam, and Adam brought death into the world through the Fall.”

    I believe in both Adam and Christ, in the Fall and the Atonement. I, like most Latter-day Saints, see no need to interpret the scriptures that describe these or any other events as peer-reviewed science.

    “I asked Mike to explain it. You explain it if you can. I want to hear your explanation of how there was death before Adam.”

    No, you don’t.

    “The Christians have proved now that there was/is not evolution and the earth is young.”

    No, they haven’t.

    “The entire reason for the existence of Evolution is to destroy Christianity and the Church.”

    No, it isn’t.

    “I’ve talked to a number of geologists who are inactive and don’t believe in the scriptures because of this very fact.”

    I doubt you have, but I’ll let it slide.

    “The Church is bleeding active members today particularly among the young. Are you surprised by that?”

    No. I’m surprised that you think they’re leaving because they crave Young Earth Creationism. The data shows precisely the opposite – they’re leaving in opposition to the kind of intellectual and spiritual rigidity in your comments here.

    “I’m not – I believe it can be traced back to the teachings in our school systems that is aimed at destroying the faith of our young people.”

    So why are living prophets and apostles using your tithing dollars to teach evolution? Could it be that they don’t think teaching science destroys faith? That seems the obvious answer. Do you have another one?

    “If you are looking for a word for it – apostasy works for me.”

    Apostasy seems to be working for you, yes.

  11. Hi Jim, Good discussion. I find it interesting that you think you can quote many general authorities that love the idea of evolution. I have quotes as well from many that do not believe in it. But instead of beating a dead horse how about you explain to me how there could be death before Adam? Explain to me the Fall of Adam so that even I can understand how death entered into the earth. Also explain to me who the parents of Adam and Eve were? As I recall in the scriptures they don’t seem to mention any ancestors. So please tell me how all that works.

    During all my years working as a geologist it has never been explained to me how they reconcile the Fall of Adam and death with evolution. That one seems to escape the BYU grads that I have talked to over the years. That one needs explaining.

    I only mentioned a few items that directly contradict the theory of evolution. Evolution isn’t even a theory because a theory is a result of the scientific method. There has been not one change in “Kind” which a biblical term which is equal to “Family”. Not one has ever been observed. A number of scientists who are leaders in the field of evolution has been asked about this and not one has been able to show any macro-Evolution. Not one example of it. Fruit flies are still fruit flies, bacteria are still bacteria etc. So when you tell me that evolution hasn’t been disproved you haven’t yet proved that it even exists. You might try that one for starters.

    The list is really quite long that refute evolution completely. Let me go through one or two with you that you might like to tackle after you’ve told me how there was death before Adam. Lets start with the PreCambrian-Cambrian explosion. This is something that I have observed in the field. Not even Steven Gould that famous atheist and evolution had an answer for it. He said it was a real problem. So today if you go out into the field and look at preCambrian rock of which we have an abundance here in Utah you will find virtually no fossils. The fossils they have found are controversial but I’ll grant you there might be some microscopic fossils somewhere. If you step across the contact between the Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian all of a sudden you have billions of fully formed, very complex fossils. They are of course clams, brachiopods, worms, trilobites etc. So Jim, where is the evolution for these creatures? They appear suddenly in the fossil record fully formed. The bracheopods are mostly closed showing that they were buried in some catastrophic event. This is a real problem for you evolutionist to explain. It hasn’t been explained yet but you still hold to this lousy theory. Why? It has been disproved in so many ways.

    If you cross from one formation to another you will find fully formed and functioning fossils of different plants and animals. There are no transitional forms between the different kinds. Darwin predicted that we would find countless examples of transitional forms. Yes a few have been found but even those are very controversial. One of the bones found as part of the Lucy fossil was later identified to be baboon. How is that for a trick.

    I could go into a bunch more but that might be a good start. Explain how there was death before Adam in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the scriptures and then explain to me why there has been no observed changes in Kind observed and the PreCambrian-Cambrian explosion. That ought to give you a nice clue that you’ve been taught a hoax aimed at destroying faith in the scriptures.

  12. No, I haven’t.

    I find evolution scientifically interesting and theologically irrelevant. That is to say, it makes no difference to me or my covenantal relationship with God whether the age of the earth is ten minutes or ten trillion years. Either way, God’s promises are sure. And since I have no ecclesiastical accountability to you, I feel no need to justify my doctrinal or scientific positions, and neither do I have interest in discussing them with you.

    So here’s the sum total of my argument, Owen. You are more than welcome to reject evolution and remain a faithful member of the Church. What you are not welcome to do is teach that those who accept evolution are in apostasy. That position is, itself, an apostate position and out of harmony with teachings of the Church. You are dividing faithful Latter-day Saints over an irrelevant issue, and, in the process, you threaten to do far more spiritual damage to testimony than good.

    Repent.

  13. Hi Jim, I find your defense of evolution entirely irrelevant. I’m quite surprised that you couldn’t offer me anything. This is exactly what I have found when I talk seriously with others about this subject. This is all I get from you and others who try to defend evolution. You are telling me that science is separate from theology, and yet you tell me you believe in Adam? This is not an irrelevant issue. This goes to the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Adam, the creation of the earth, and Noah’s flood are not myths. And somehow that makes me an apostate?

    Before the late 1800’s you wouldn’t find one member of the Church that believed in evolution. Evolution was a new doctrine that Satan concocted though his servant Darwin. It was thrust onto the Latter-Day Saint people through the government over the years. This is the very definition of apostasy. Apostasy is by definition the renunciation of a religious belief. You and the evolutionary teaching professors at BYU are telling the young people of the Church that their version of science supersedes that of all the scriptures and all the pronouncements from the General Authorities since the Church was restored. It is not me that is need of repenting. You and others need to return to the true doctrines as taught in the scriptures. Maybe I need to tell you what they are. I’ll keep it simple.

    Adam was the first man and the first flesh on the earth Moses 3:7. Jim can you explain that verse to me in light of evolution? Adam named all of the animals. Adam was first created followed by all the animals. It’s right there in the scriptures. This is something that you have departed from.

    Adam brought death into the world. Lucky for me Mike gave me the scriptures so that I don’t have to look them up for you 2 Nephi 2:22; Alma 12:23–24; Moses 6:43–45, 48, 58–61. What this means is before Adam partook of the fruit there was no death. Now how does that square with your science? This is true doctrine. No matter how you want to look at this there was no death before the fall of Adam. Not the animals, not anything.

    There was a world wide flood that covered the tops of the mountains (Genesis 6-8). This flood destroyed all breathing animals on the face of the earth. It created the fossil record. It also brought on the ice age, mountain building, split the continents apart and so on. This is science Jim. You can’t separate what is in the bible or theology (Noah’s flood) from science. Science today can’t explain the ice age for example and many other things that we see today. I know because I’ve seen it in the field as a geologist. Science can’t explain the fossil record as I pointed out from the Cambrian explosion. Soft tissue is being found in so-called 100 million year old dinosaur bones – this is impossible! These things are true science Jim they aren’t separate from theology. Just because you don’t have a solution doesn’t mean that what is written in the scriptures is not true.

    Come back to the true prophets of God Jim. Reject your evolutionary prophets who don’t have any answers. It’s all in the scriptures. Everything about the creation of Man and this earth is found there. Don’t be one of the scoffers as Peter prophesied there would be in the last days.

    Good luck and I hope you at least consider what I have presented to you.

    Owen

  14. At no point have I defended evolution, Owen. You are completely missing my point.

    Let me frame it this way. An individual’s position on evolution had no bearing whatsoever on their eternal destiny. In the Celestial Kingdom, there will be people who believed in evolution in mortality and people who did not. That is because the Lord has not made belief and/or disbelief in evolution and/or young earth creationism a prerequisite for exaltation.

    By dividing and judging Latter-day Saints over an issue that has no bearing on their salvation, you are out of harmony with the principles of the Church.

    Repent.

  15. Owen,

    You’ve completely failed to carefully read the passages of scripture I cited for you. My assertion is that none of them clearly and unambiguously state that there was no death ANYWHERE ON THE EARTH before the fall. They do teach that death came to Adam and his descendants; they do not teach that plants, animals, and other life across the earth also were immortal before Adam’s fall.

    In fact, there would have to be SOME form of death, for if Adam and Eve ate anything before the fall, for whatever they ate decomposed and was broken down in their bodies. Did their fingernails grow? Did their hair grow? Was fungus on the earth before the fall? All of these things involve cellular death.

    Your fundamentalist extremism is certainly one view that’s theologically acceptable within the Church, but it is not the only possible view, nor is is compatible with any major branch of science. You may wish to believe that scientists are all Godless heretics teaching false doctrine or whatever, but that doesn’t make you right—or even all that well-informed.

    I have better things to do than to debate a fanatic. Enjoy your sabbath, and please feel free to have the last word.

  16. Thanks Jim, I understand exactly where you are coming from and I did from the beginning of this conversation. I’m not so sure you are correct in that assessment. A number of holy prophets went in to a long discussion about the plan of Salvation. Alma certainly did as well as others. I see evolution as a rejection of the plan of salvation. You were not able to explain to me the connection of the Fall of Adam to your underlying belief in evolution. That is because there is none. So if you can’t make that connection what are you doing? You are constructing for yourself kind of a fantasy gospel. It’s all myth to you.

    I had a very good friend years ago, a Jewish Rabbi. whose 2nd gg father taught Joseph Smith Hebrew. We discussed many things about different aspects of the gospel. At one time he was invited by the Church to teach a class at an institute. Now you and I know that our Jewish brothers of the Jewish tribe are in apostasy at this time. Later they will be gathered and taught the gospel. In one of our conversation he told me that the creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood were all myth. Yes he believed in evolution as you do. He was a fine man and lived completely his religion although it was not the restored gospel. He of course rejected Christ. He also rejected Adam and the Fall as a myth. You and those who believe in evolution reject the Fall. You have to reject it, how can you accept the idea that Adam was not our first parents and accept the idea that death was introduce through the fall? It’s all a myth to you as well.

    Jim, there are different degrees of apostasy. This is one of them. No it isn’t a great a sin as say idolatry, murder etc but it still is apostasy. I don’t know how you will be judged for your actions. Luckily for me I am not the judge. All I am doing is explaining to you as clearly as I can the plan of Salvation. That Adam was real, and the Fall was real. There was no death before the Fall of Adam. As a result of the Fall there was a real Christ who atoned for the sins of all. If there was no “Real” Adam then there was no “Real” Christ. They go hand in hand because this is the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rejecting the Fall is acceptance of a dogma that has been thrust on the world though worldly, atheistic doctors who have created a religion of their own called evolution. It replaces the gospel of Christ.

    There really was a Noah’s flood that created the fossil record. The earth is young. We weren’t bobbing around in the preexistence waiting for a primordial slime to create all of humanity for over 4 billions years. God is far more powerful than resorting to doing something like that. This is all nonsense as I said many times and is in complete contradiction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Thanks for the discussion however the Jim. At least I had the opportunity to express my views on this. This is quite rare. It is difficult to stand up and say I don’t believe your so-called science. To me it is confusion and does not conform to the gospel of Christ in any way possible.

    Good luck, Owen

  17. Hi Mike, I read the scriptures and they do not say anything about death before Adam. Sorry, you are twisting the scriptures to make your point. It is obvious to me that you fulfill completely 2 Peter 3:4-6. You are a scoffer at the Fall of Adam. You don’t believe it, and at the same time you can’t explain it to me the connection between the Fall and evolution. Nobody can because it doesn’t exist.

    Thanks for giving me the last word there Mike. I would hope that someday you will come to understand the plan of salvation. Adam was a real person who was created by God. There was no evolution because Adam was the first man and the first flesh on the earth (Moses 3:7). Yes I must be a fanatic for believing in the gospel of plan of salvation. Today I will wear that title you give me as a badge with great pride. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I will defend it with all the vigor I can against Godless, atheistic evolution that you seem to love.

    Thanks Mike for the discussion. You’ve exposed yourself for who you really are. Simply someone who believes all scripture is nothing but myth. It’s a very safe position for you. The world will certainly applaud you for efforts in their behalf. Have a great life.

    Owen

  18. Thank you for this, Owen. It is important that I
    learn that I, as well as my prophet great-grandfather David O. McKay, along with many others like James E. Talmage and Henry B. Eyring, and, indeed, all living prophets and apostles who continue to allow the teaching of evolution at Church-sponsored schools, are in apostasy and you are not. Had I not realized that the central principle of the Restored Gospel is the rejection of science, I might have burned in hell alongside the author of Jesus the Christ. As you are wiser and more righteous than the prophets, seers, and revelators whom I sustain as such, perhaps you might be willing to sell me some essential oils.

    Jim

  19. Owen,

    I’m truly curious to know something. You just wrote:

    “There are different degrees of apostasy. This [believing in evolution?] is one of them. … All I am doing is explaining to you as clearly as I can the plan of Salvation. That Adam was real, and the Fall was real. There was no death before the Fall of Adam.”

    Do you truly believe that it is apostasy to believe that was death on the earth before the fall of Adam? If so, then do you believe that Elder James E. Talmage—an apostle of the Lord and author of ‘Jesus the Christ’, perhaps the closest book to scripture outside the scriptures that has ever been published by the Church—was in apostasy when he said in sermon in the Salt Lake Tabernacle:

    “The oldest, that is to say the earliest rocks, thus far identified in the land masses reveal the fossilized remains of once-living organisms, plant and animal. The coal strata, upon which the world of industry so largely depends, are essentially but highly compressed and chemically-changed vegetable substance. The whole series of chalk deposits and many of our deep-sea limestones contain the skeletal remains of animals. These lived and died, age after age, while the earth was yet unfit for human habitation.” (https://archive.org/details/instructor10012dese/page/n12)

    I await your reply.

    — Peter @ NevilleNevilleLand.com

  20. Hi Peter,

    There are plenty of General authorities who tell us there was no evolution. You can come to your own conclusion on who is right or not. The scriptures are clear on this issue and so whatever you want to believe be my guest. There are plenty of General Authorities that have spoken against evolution. I would ask you if Joseph F. Smith was in apostasy for proclaiming that evolution is not correct. Jim said I was an apostate for judging people who believe such a thing. Would that make Joseph F. Smith an apostate? He was not only an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also the president and prophet of the Church. I’m sure you can answer those questions yourself.

    Peter, I have studied this issue for many years now as a geologist. The fossil record was created during the flood of Noah. The coal beds were a result of large floating masses of vegetation that was buried near the end of the flood event. There is plenty of evidence for this if you want to take the time to research this.

    Again, there was no death before Adam fell. The Fall introduced death into the world. What you are seeing is the result of Noah’s flood in the deposits of this earth. There is plenty of evidence that show that this is the case. One of the more recent (last 20 years or so) finds is soft tissue in 100 million year old dinosaurs. This shows that these creatures did not live 100 million years ago. They died and were buried 2,500 years ago in the flood of Noah. The old-earth community has been scrambling not only to suppress the results of this discovery to trying to come up with a logical explanation. In the mean time scientist are finding more and more soft tissue in dinosaur bones, even blood vessels. That is my point in all this is to point out to you and others that the scriptures can be trusted and you don’t have to believe in the garbage from a bunch of atheists. Why do you want to believe what they have to say anyway? I think the reason you believe this is simply because nobody has had the guts to tell you truth of all this. Not many people will stick out their neck and argue for the Word of God. You’ve seen what a bunch of gas I’m getting over this issue and all I’m doing is pointing out what the scriptures are telling us.

    The issue is polarized as you know. I have also studied the findings of the Christian scientists on this issue. They have discovered through the scientific method that what is reported in the scriptures as far as a young earth and a recently deposited fossil record is true. In other words you don’t have to believe and take on faith the ideas of man that certainly are not inspired and have been produced to do one thing and that is to destroy faith. I believe this is one of the sidious schemes ever devised by Lucifer to turn the Lord people against His prophets of God and the holy scriptures. As I said before, inactivity among the youth in this Church is increasing at an alarming rate. There are many who lose their faith entirely after passing through the halls of academe. I have an uncle this happened to. Oh he was a big believe in evolution and just a bone headed anybody that I’ve talked to about this issue over the years. When I started talking to members of the Church about evolution I thought that it would be a simple matter to point out the contradictions to the scriptures and the science on this issue and others would see as I do what a clever scheme by Satan to destroy faith. Boy was I ever wrong. Just as all those here have rejected everything I’ve written here it has almost been true from the beginning.

    If you’ve been reading any of the discussion you might realize that neither Jim nor Mike could explain to me how evolution can be melded with the Fall of Adam. I’ve never seen anybody that has been able to do it. Can you?

    Thanks Peter,
    Owen

  21. Jim, Good luck with that. One thing you might want to consider is there is a vast difference between somebodies opinion and true revelation. I’ll stick with the scriptures which are revelation. You can stick with the Godless, atheistic philosophy of man if you’d like. Someday we will know who was right and who was wrong.

    Good luck with that

    Owen

    • “I’ll stick with the scriptures which are revelation.”

      You speak as if your interpretation of scripture is the only correct one. Since you affirm a literal reading of the scriptures trumps science, then is it safe to assume that you believe the earth is a flat disk and the sky is a molten dome?

      — Peter @ NevilleNevilleLand.com

  22. Owen, your apostasy has nothing to do with what you believe about evolution. Nothing whatsoever. It has to do with your judgment of faithful members of the Church who hold a different opinion than you do.

    You cite Joseph Fielding Smith. It just so happens that his grandson, Joseph Fielding McConkie, was my mission president, and I adored him. He was also the son of Elder Bruce R. McConkie. None of those three men believed in evolution.

    But here’s the thing. Joseph Fielding McConkie had both the authority and the opportunity to call me to repentance. We had several one-in-one interviews where we discussed issues pertinent to my salvation. He signed my temple recommend at the conclusion of my mission. And never once did the topic of evolution ever come up.

    Now why is that? If belief in evolution is apostasy, then didn’t President McConkie have a sacred duty to hold me to account? Why did he take no occasion to correct me of such a grievous spiritual error on my part? I have kept in close contact with the other missionaries that served under him. Not one has ever reported any degree of chastisement for whatever their opinion on evolution may have been.

    That’s the key you are missing.

    My problem is not with those who hold a differing opinion on evolution. My problem is with those who think my opinion – or any opinion – on evolution merits ecclesiastical sanction. It does not.

    As it stands, you may well simply be a harmless crank. But if you are ever in a position of priesthood authority that allows you to sanction a fellow church member for holding a different position on evolution than you do, and should you should then choose to use your authority to punish someone who accepts evolution, you would be in gross apostasy and should, at the very least, be removed from your office and perhaps tried for your membership.

  23. Please Peter don’t be insulting. I’ve given you some things to think about that comes from good science conducted by honest Christians. If you don’t want to have a conversation then lets not. Yes I believe in Noah’s flood. So do many millions of other Christian on this planet. There is good science that supports Noah’s flood. There is good science that destroys evolution too. If you don’t want to talk about it then fine.

    Yes I’m taking the scriptures as literal. I think that is the problem. Do you believe Christ was real or a mythical person? I’m just pointing out the obvious I guess and if Christ was real then Adam and the Fall was real. I’ve found that those who accept evolution do not believe the scriptures are real. They are all myths to them. Okay, fine if you want to believe that then go right ahead. Tell that to those holy prophets like Alma who taught the people about the Fall of Adam. What would you say to him? Hey Alma, we know from ahhhh real science that Adam was just a mythical person made up by Moses. You can find lots of atheists who agree with you. How sad that with all the revelation we have received in the last days that we would slump to such a low level as to accept such a Godless doctrine as evolution.

    One thing I find interesting through all of this conversation is that not one of your guys has been able to explain the Fall of Adam as it relates to evolution. You said early on that we don’t have enough revelation on this subject. Why would the Lord give you more when you reject what He has already given? Genesis is repeated in the Pearl of Great Price and a few more things added to expand our understanding of the plan of Salvation. And here you are rejecting all of it and telling people like me who believe it that we are flat earthers. So then is all scripture myth to you?

    Owen

  24. Peter, no I didn’t answer your question just as you didn’t answer mine. When you get around to answer some of the questions I have then perhaps we can have a conversation. Until then I guess we’ll just play gospel ping-pong.

  25. Hey, Owen Terry! Do you believe Adam and Eve were visited by Peter, James, and John? Or do you believe the whole temple ceremony is a lie?

  26. Good grief Jim, give it a rest. I must have really hit a nerve with you. Look, if you want to believe you are correct then go for it. You can believe that you are on the path to salvation without accepting the Plan of Salvation if you want. So what! I can certainly believe that your position is not correct and represents apostasy if I want.Again, So What!

    Look, I’ve explained this all to you. It will be interesting how those of you who reject the Fall of Adam will fair at the judgment. That includes the leaders and professors who have taught this stuff. I don’t know how you and they will be judged, and it’s not my job. I’m simply explaining to you the best I can that there was no death before Adam. That Adam was a real person and not a myth. That is what is written in the scriptures and its very clear that is the case. The ancient prophets went to great lengths to tell you about that. It requires faith to believe in the scriptures and reject the worldly teachings of men. Why don’t you accept it?

    Noah’s flood as reported in the scriptures both in modern revelation and ancient was reality too. If you don’t want to accept it then fine. You are the one who will have to stand before God at judgment and be judged of you actions and beliefs. Actions are directly related to belief and faith. If this kind of thinking has led you astray then that’s your problem isn’t it. If you want to believe in your Godless, atheistic religion then go right ahead. I prefer to accept the scriptures as they are written.

    Can we give it a rest now buddy.

    Owen

  27. Okay, fine; I’ll bite:

    Adam is the “first man” (D&C 84:16; Moses 1:34; Abraham 1:3) What does that mean? The first man genetically? Or the first to covenant with God? I read it as the latter. There were other homo sapiens on the planet, but Adam was different—either a unique creation of God (which is where I lean, based on Moses 3:7) or an existing man who made covenants with God (less likely; see below). Either way, Adam’s interaction with God involved promises made and broken, resulting in his fall.

    Mike already quoted Elder Holland, above, on this subject: “There was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it. I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.” Elder Holland’s explanation is perfectly in keeping with my interpretation: “These two were created under the divine hand of God.”

    So, you asked; I answered.

    Now, your turn: Was Elder James E. Talmage in apostasy for teaching in the Tabernacle (with his sermon being reprinted in several Church publications afterward) that plants and animals “lived and died, age after age, while the earth was yet unfit for human habitation”?

    — Peter @ NevilleNevilleLand.com

  28. Owen, could you please point me to where I said Adam was not a real person, or that Adam did not fall, or that there was no flood of Noah? That would be ever so helpful. Thanks.

    And bless David Bobowski for raising an excellent point. According to your black-and-white approach to the Fall, either the temple ceremony is an act of journalism recounting an actual visit from three apostles from the meridian of time to the first man and woman on earth, or it is a total fraud. Which is it? Because if you provide the only workable answer – i.e. it is neither of those things, but rather a mixture of the literal and the figurative that uses symbolism to teach broader gospel principles – you have to allow for that same possibility in how ancient scripture should be interpreted.

  29. Hi Peter,

    What other beings were on earth when Adam was created? Look at Moses 3:7

    And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, and the first man also; nevertheless all things were before created but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.

    Now look at that scripture – it contradicts the idea that of your assertion that there were other beings on the earth before Adam. It is clear from this scripture that Adam was created first. He was first of all flesh. What does all flesh mean? Is my dog made of flesh? Yes she is. All the animals are made of flesh. Adam was the first flesh meaning of course that he was the first in creation. After his creation the animals were brought to him for naming. In heaven there are 4 types beings that are saved. This is mentioned in Ezekiel 1 and the D&C 77. Are animals as well as Adam and his posterity resurrected? The answer is of course yes. The resurrection came as a result of Christ. Christ came as a result of the Fall of Adam that introduced death into the world. I quoted a number of scriptures already that Adam brought death into the world.

    Where does Talmage get the idea from that there was death in the world before the Fall? It’s right there in the scriptures that Adam introduced death into the world. The same with the resurrection from the death. It’s right there in the scriptures. I believe Talmage was wrong about that and had bought in for whatever reason to these Godless, atheistic doctrines of evolution. Even Joseph Smith said on occasion that he had to be careful not to be deceived by Satan. Satan is a tricky spirit and has a lot of persuasive power. Apostasy can be introduced into the Church through various means. One of them has been through BYU. Sounds to me like Talmage was sucked in by the worldly science of the day. I know you guys love to hold up these people up as somehow great beacons of light. But they are entitled to their opinion as everyone else. I see this doctrine as a falling away as 2 Thes 3. I thought I was clear about my position before about what a damnable heresy this doctrine is and how it destroys the faith of the saints. I don’t think there is any question about that. I’ve seen too many people fall away as a result.

    As I said earlier 70% grads believe in this stuff. What about the other 30%? I would guess that those of people like myself who accept on faith that Adam fell and introduced death into the world and there was no evolution. I’ve gone a step farther and found that there is good science the completely destroys evolution. I even pointed out to you and others here that the very reason for evolution was to destroy the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe if Talmage was here today he would renounce this doctrine as many of the general authorities have.

    So as yet you have not been able to explain to me how death could have entered this earth before Adam. I don’t see it in the scriptures. I quoted many of the scriptures that said that Adam introduced death into the world. So tell me then and you can quote Talmage if you’d like. I have not read his speech in the tabernacle as to how he justifies death before the fall? Was he guessing? Did he get it from some professor at BYU at the time? Did he say it came to him by revelation? I would love to see that revelation because there is not one syllable about death before the Fall in the scriptures. Nothing, zero, zip, nada.

    I’ve also pointed out several areas where evolution scientifically fails. There has been not one example of a new species or kinds being created in the lab. A recent study of bacteria which was conducted over about a 15 year or more period found no change. This was devastating to the evolution community. Do you have an explanation seeing you are an ardent supporter?

    The Precambrian-Cambrian boundary explosion is another one. You haven’t bother to tell me how this could happen. Literally no fossils in the Precambrian and countless billions in the Cambrian. There are no transitional forms between the fossils in the record. The creatures appear in the fossil record fully formed and functioning without transitional forms.

    You haven’t told me yet how blood vessels and soft tissue can be found in 100 million year old dinosaur bones. This shows that dinosaurs died not long ago in the flood and are not 100 million years old. They are only thousands of years old.

    You haven’t explained to me yet how carbon 14 can be found in billion year old diamonds. This proves that the dating systems are flawed. ICR did a study of dating a recent lava flow from Hawaii. The lava was documented to be deposited around 200 years ago. The age date came back at 16 million years. Again showing that the dating systems are flawed. They are purposely flawed for one reason. And that is to make evolution possible so that the gospel of Christ can be nullified.

    I haven’t gone into genetics yet other than the bacteria. We are finding now that all mankind descend from 4 women. Does that sound familiar? It should because the scriptures mention 4 women at the time of Noah. His wife and the wives of his sons.

    Also evolution is about gaining information in the genome. Natural selection is about losing information from the genome. Natural selection is true science where as evolution is not. So all these things are examples of why it really is not science but was created for one purpose to destroy the gospel of Christ. There is even some good correlation that abortion is a result of the belief in evolution. There are many evils that this has brought on the earth. This doctrine is heresy and it needs to be rooted out among the Lord’s people. The cancer has already metastasized far beyond where it should have. It’s an appalling thing. I still don’t understand why you would want to hang on to such a thing as this. Perhaps you have to maintain a job in industry. But it is clear that this is heresy.

    Thanks for you thoughts Peter. Nice chatting with you about this.

    Owen

  30. Hi David Bobowski, The temple ceremony as you likely know is highly symbolic. Genesis 1 and Moses 2 are the spiritual creation. This is spelled out in Moses 3 that the spiritual was first followed by the temporal. The temporal was in likeness of the spiritual. The ceremony is not a lie of course but you have to be able to figure out what is symbolic and what is not. That is where you get it all mixed up which I can understand. Moses 2 and 3 straightens it all out for you.

    I hope you will go back now and look at the scriptures I quoted about the Fall of Adam and why Adam introduce death into the world. Go back and read why evolution was created. It was to destroy the gospel of Jesus Christ by getting rid of Adam. These are real people created by God and the scriptures are clear on this subject. Take a look as I have at the science and you will find many flaws in the evolutionary doctrine.

    Good luck

    Owen

  31. Owen, Peter, Mike, and Jim,

    I appreciate your passion in this debate, but I think it has run its course. I don’t see any point to keep this going on since you obvious have intractable disagreements.

    Accordingly, I am no longer going to approve any comments on the topic of evolution, the age of the earth, death before the Fall, etc.

    I will, however, approve comments that are germane to the discussion of the claims made in the AEBOM and my response.

    Thanks,
    Stephen

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