Ok – travel + end of school year + (mild) family illness = this is going to be my shortest post ever. But it’s based on a recent event so didn’t want to wait to start a discussion.

On Sunday evening during a Young Adult fireside, President Nelson commented that “God has been sending humans to the earth for over six millennia.” Now, it’s possible that by “over” he meant “300,000” but I find that somewhat implausible given the actual words he used. In addition, he’s previously taught that there’s no way a “Big Bang” created life. It’s deeply ironic to me that someone who claims to know so much about heaven and the afterlife seems to know so little about the earth and the present. Undermines his credibility some.

In general, I have noticed during his presidency a trenchant return to fundamentalism and literalism, a focus on the literal gathering of Israel, and an apocalyptic focus on the second coming (which he seems to think is literal and just around the corner). I find his young earth assumption particularly strange because, when I was growing up, I just didn’t see a conflict between science and religion. Why couldn’t God have leveraged the natural process of evolution to “create” the earth?  I thought that evolution denial was something that anti-intellectual fundamentalist evangelical Christians did. Not Mormons. 

Maybe I was just clueless, or maybe things really have changed. What do you all think?

  • In your experience have Mormons been anti-evolution and science? Have you seen this change—in either direction—over time?
  • Why do you think Nelson insists on a literal view of scripture? My best guess is that a metaphorical Bible poses unique problems to LDS truth claims (like Book of Mormon reliance on biblical stories like Babel, and like Joseph Smith claiming to have conversed with Adam and referring to various likely-mythical biblical figures in the D&C). Anything else?