Inoculating Mormons Against Creationism

In a recent discussion on the origins of Mormon polygamy, rameumptom made the following comment on

[More pressing than the issue] of Joseph [Smith’s] polygamy [is the] need to inoculate against 6-day Creationism and the like.  Too many kids are raised on Creationism in the LDS Church, then go to college, where they learn it doesn’t match the evidence of science.  I’ve seen more kids leave the Church over that than over the Meadow Mountain massacre, polygamy, etc.

Tim responds:

I think there has been some good progress with those issues in the BYU religion department, especially as some of the old guard have passed on.  But I think it’s going to take a lot longer to see much progress at the CES/seminary level.

When I taught high school biology, my students would go to release time seminary and tell their seminary teacher who dissed evolution that their BYU-educated biology teacher was teaching it.  The seminary teachers would respond, “Well, he doesn’t really believe it.  He’s teaching it because he has to.”

I’m guessing the vast majority of professional seminary teachers and CES types are going to remain anti-evolution for a very long time.  I’m sure they don’t consider the negative impact it can have on their students down the road.

juliathepoet comments:

I’m always completely dumbfounded when I hear that creationism is taught by anyone who is LDS.  I guess I was lucky to have a release time seminary teacher who didn’t go the traditional route.

Where the heck does Creationism come in?

Ben S. responds:

Those who do [believe in Creationism] have to rely on Genesis, and statements like Joseph Fielding Smith’s:  “I will state frankly and positively that I am opposed to the present biological theories and the doctrine that man has been on the earth for millions of years.”

Allen replies:

People don’t have to rely on McConkie or JFS in order to support their views on Creationism.  [Apostle] Russell M. Nelson has been saying ridiculous things about organic evolution and cosmology for the bulk of his tenure.

TRW (this blog) has consistently encouraged LDS Church leaders to deal with the issue of science and religion in a forthright manner.  Certainly expunging Creationism from the BYU Religion Department and CES programs would be a great start.  But there should also be articles in the Ensign magazine by respected leaders like President Henry B. Eyring that encourage a more thoughtful and respectful view of science.


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