Sunday, January 22, 2006


Editorial in the Herald Journal

The Herald Journal is the daily paper in Cache Valley, located in northern Utah (with a bit of southern Idaho). It's home to the town of Logan, which is where Utah State University is located. It's a very LDS part of the state. The Herald Journal isn't very well known outside of Utah, so I was really surprised to read an entry at Red State Rabble about a letter to the editor in the paper published on January 21. It's a GREAT letter. Here it is:

"On Mr. Maynard’s LDS fatwa ...

To the editor:

Local LDS theologian Joe Maynard issued a fatwa in the Jan. 19 HJ that decreed membership in the LDS Church requires a literal interpretation of the Creation as well as support for intelligent design (Mr. Maynard didn’t bother citing any sources so I will assume his doctrine is derived from D&C 139).

I am LDS - born in the covenant, got my Eagle Scout award, served a mission, love funeral potatoes, was married in the temple and I think green Jell-O with carrot shavings is fetch’n tasty. And I know that the earth is older than 6,000 years and that evolution offers irrefutable facts (a semantic argument about the word “theory” is hardly sufficient refutation).

How do evolution facts and creation doctrine reconcile? A metaphoric explanation seems convenient, but is precluded by a lack of procreation and death before the fall (at which point the creation was complete). This quandary is not a hurdle to salvation or being a good person. I figure after I pass through the veil, I’ll sit down with the Good Lord and ask Him about it. He’ll explain it, and we’ll have ourselves a good hearty laugh about all the unnecessary strife and contention initiated through this controversy by self-proclaimed Christians.

Intelligent design is creationism masked. The widespread popularity of ID has caused some to invoke the principle of welcoming all ideas as justification for teaching it in public schools. Science isn’t about pluralism; it’s about facts, even when they are unpopular and rejected by the general populace. ID cannot withstand empirical scrutiny nor does it find its origins in the scientific method (or LDS doctrine). It has no place in the science classes of public schools.

Speaking of facts, Maynard’s fatwa was apparently so authoritative he didn’t need to cite any sources. I do not pretend to speak with such authority so I will defer to a 1931 First Presidency Statement on evolution: “Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the people of the world. 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. We can see no advantage to be gained by a continuation of the discussion to which reference is here made, but on the contrary are certain that it would lead to confusion, division and misunderstanding if carried further.”

Looks like when I get to the other side there will be some members of the First Presidency ahead of me in line waiting to ask the same questions.

Thomas Reed Grover


Here's the link. I tried to look up Maynard's letter, but it looks like the Herald Journal doesn't have a free archive. It'd cost $2.95 to read it, and I don't want to that badly (at least not right now).

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