I compiled and sent the following to BYU President Worthen June 15, 2020:
Please consider my story about evolution being taught at BYU, signatures of those who feel similarly, & stories of others as presented below.
I am a 2019 BYU graduate. During my wonderful time at BYU, I took many science classes and was very frequently troubled by the dogmatic pro-evolution views espoused by the professors. I had lengthy conversations with my astronomy teacher, my biology teachers, etc. on the subject. Why do they insist on preaching evolution when there is lots of evidence supporting a ‘creation’ perspective? The professors simply say ‘God did it this way’ and they think that gives them permission to teach evolution. Brigham Young started this entire school to combat Darwin-like thinking, which was created as a way of explaining things without a creator. I have studied with Dean Sessions, author of Universal Model, a scientific approach which gives overwhelming evidence from academic journals etc. that many ‘creation’ viewpoints are scientific. The conversation at BYU these days is wholly 1 sided. They don’t even teach any creation type science. I feel that the professors are afraid of being different, despite their promise to be brave when baptized. This is a religious university, and should not be overly concerned with fitting in with the gods of academia and all their bias. Professors often downplayed the words of the prophets, instead of putting “!” after them like President Nelson says he did. Also, President Nelson (prophet & scientist) doesn’t believe in evolution, he says it is incomprehensible to think that one kind of animal will evolve into another.
I also want to add a bit more of a personal account.
I grew up in a home where we learned to have deep respect for the scriptures and modern prophets. I also learned in my home to be open to scientific discovery, yet critical to theories of men which conflict the word of God. I went to classes at BYU and felt extremely torn between what my family taught me, and what was being taught in the school. I wept and struggled for years. I changed my major many times trying to balance my feelings on this matter. I wanted to be a good scientist, but not at the cost of betraying my faith. I spoke with other students about these issues and found others who had similar struggles. I feel betrayed by BYU. They put out the packet we have to read on evolution, then jump right in to the evolution lectures. My astronomy professor insisted that God used the big bang, rather than presenting other alternative theories. We know God didn’t make everything out of nothing, as Joseph Smith taught, so why are we teaching a theory of big bang which insists that everything came from nothing? We know the flood covered the earth, so why are we teaching that it didn’t? The name of Joseph Smith is known for good and evil, and I fear that it is sometimes known for evil at BYU. Even my religion professors made sport of ‘some of the crazy things Joseph Smith said’. I will never believe in evolution because 1. Prophets denounce it and 2. Because science doesn’t support it. Please be more fair in how science is taught at BYU.
Robert Nathan (Nate) Richardson, BYU Bachelor of Science 2019 & High School Science Teacher
- Robert Nathan (Nate) Richardson, BYU Bachelor of Science 2019 & High School Science Teacher
- Utahna Richardson
- Gary Gillum
- Karen Shattuck
- Chad Shattuck, BYU Law
- Joel Skousen, editor of the World Affairs Brief
- Robert Gagnon
- James T. Prout – author and Bachelor of Biomedical Science
- Owen Ira Terry
- Jill Korajac
- Zoran Korajac
- Kate Mulder
- Luke Mulder
- Benjamin Mulder
- Zak Nyberg
- Donna Jones
- Dennis Isaacson, BSME BYU, (MBA USU)
- Megan Richardson
- Scott Connolly
- Thomas L. Tyler
- Cheri Tyler
- Rebecca Connolly
- Tanner Connolly
- Alana Connolly
- Tyden Connolly
- Nathan Connolly
- Samantha Corbridge
- Rick Jones
- Richard Proctor
- Jeanette Proctor
- Emily Dayley
- Guy Van Horn, P.E.
- Russell H Barlow
- Heidi Barlow
- Justin Tate
- Helen Kepo’o BYU Bachelor of Science and Homeschool mom of 4
- Joseph Kepo’o BYU Bachelor of Science and Wellness Chiropractor
- Warrik Kepoo
- Violet Kepo’o
- Cullen Kepo’o
- Soren Kepo’o
- Luke Wiscombe
- Kristin Isaacson Michaelis
- David Barker, Latter-day Saint author of book Science & Religion
- Marc Webster – BS Geography and student of real science
- Caleb Rostedt, MPP, BA (Hons), BMus.
- Dave Collingridge, PhD, editor of book Darwinian Deceptions
- Kami Nelson, former BYU student (as Kami Dalton) and homeschooling mom
- Ryan Nilsson
- Stephen James Isaabcson -BYU BS Civil Engineering 2018
- Sarah Haws-Taylor, DBH, LMHC, BCBA – BYU-Hawaii graduate 2003
- Dena Tippetts
- David Tippetts
- Heather Jones
- Curt Shattuck
- George Michaelis
- Winston Crawley
- Jeremy Michel, Real Estate Agent and Investor (South Jordan, UT)
- Jim Stoddard
- Margaret Stoddard
- Ruth Willardson
- Tamara Allred Heath
- Kadi Bazemore Heath
- Mitchell Steven Heath
- Lanae Marie Manuele
- Brian Nettles
- Alisa Michel
- James F. Stoddard III
- L. Hannah Stoddard
- Vincent Newmeyer (Please teach the full breadth of scientific evidence, not simply the sterilized conclusions of evolution. Note included below.)
- Pamela Allen (Teach only as theory. Use up to date discovery on the matter.) BYU graduate BS 62, MA 98
Other Shared Stories: [accounts sent to Nate Richardson for the specific purpose of this letter.]
“I do have a favorite quote that you can use and attribute to me, if you like. In my favorite movie The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews sings, “Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could.” That’s my stand.” – Gary Gillum
“I feel that both should be taught: Evolution and Creation which opens the door of agency for those to choose the path they desire to follow. This is my opinion.” – Robert Gagnon
“I see no harm in teaching the theory as long as it is clearly identified as one man’s lie (U2 song reference, sorry, could not resist). It seems that it is touted when it should not be anything more than many of the philosophies of men.” – Chad Shattuck, BYU Law
“Yes, add my name to the petition, but I doubt it will do any good. This was going on clear back when I was at BYU in the 1960s, and I found out the biology department was keeping track of how many students they converted to evolution from creationism and bragging about it. The administration even banned anyone from debating the subject of evolution, supposedly to avoid contention. This university is bending over backward to please the credentialed world and they fear losing their credentials more than they fear the Lord.” – Joel Skousen, editor World Affairs Brief.
“Hi, I’m a creationist and a geologist. I would love to sign your letter. Perhaps I can add a story too. I worked as a geologist here in Utah mostly during my career. I worked with many a BYU grads who were indoctrinated in the Godless atheism of Evolution. There is a scripture in 2 Peter 3:3-7 that I BYU has completely fulfilled. I don’t believe this will have any impact but it will make me feel better to send it to these people so that they know there are those of us out here that do not agree with what they are doing.” -Owen Ira Terry
“Yes, add my name too. I found that in our homeschool group in Utah County, many of our kids would love to go to BYU. For various reasons, like: dance, math, and science.
I myself was schooled in Biomedical Science with a Minor in Chemistry.
However, one day in our homeschool group, we were forming an idea to have many of our kids (about 30) to rotate during the week to each other’s houses and we would teach them our own specialities. Included were: math, earth sciences, cooking, theatre, music, and other topics. I believe we had about 6-7 parents that were going to engage in the project.
Then one of the new parents to homeschooling announced that he was an Evolutionary Biology teacher at BYU. And that he wanted to teach that topic to our middle and lower high school age kids.
That whole project never got beyond the first meeting. Every parent pulled their kids out of that project. That one brother from BYU single-handedly folded the whole project.
One of the reasons we do homeschooling is to get away from those worldly false teachings.
Yet, BYU is still pumping it out. Against God’s word.
This one doctrine is so pernicious that many believers in Jesus Christ’s true church look upon a church owned university teaching such things and wonder about the church itself. It is THAT BAD.
I implore you, at BYU to take seriously the admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach the science of the Lord. Creationism.
And if you personally believe that Creationism is “a bit off…” I can tell you it is MUCH CLOSER than Evolution to the true realities of this Earth.
After all, that is what real science is there to prove. The realities of our world. So, start working on the science of reality.” – James T. Prout
“We sent our first two children to BYU under the complete assumption that what was being taught there was in line with the doctrine of the Church, scripture, and the words of the prophets. We have been severely disappointed to learn that not only is that not the case, but that the university is filled with progressive professors teaching the philosophies of men, outright Darwinism, and other new age ideas that do not align with doctrine and revelation. Why is this happening at a private university owned and operated by the Church? These teachings have affected our older children and their spouses who also graduated from BYU, and it has been very sad for our family to have this influence and undermining of what we strived so much to teach in our home. We had trusted that sending our children to BYU was the best thing we could do for them, and we have felt deceived and betrayed.”
– Jill Korajac
“As an adult convert from Darwinism and Atheism, it is disappointing to me to see these philosophies being taught as unarguable truth in our Church schools. The theories of evolution and “old earth” are only theories, and based on the works of vile men (Darwin, Marx, etc.) who have been proven to be antagonists to religion and faith. The supposed proof of their theories are fabricated or only hoped for, never solid fact backed up by the revealed word of God that is crucial in these latter days. The scriptures and words of modern prophets do not support biological evolution as a universal truth, regardless of what various professors would like us to believe. Not a single prophet of the modern dispensation has publicly supported evolution, to the contrary, many have condemned it in very strong language. I have seen in their own words, these BYU professors, justifying their teachings by saying that if they were teaching falsehoods they would not be allowed to teach at BYU. This kind of fallacy-based logic is the foundation of the theory of evolution itself. It would be understandable to present the theory of evolution as a philosophy of man that can be debated and researched, if desired, but that is not the case at BYU, or nearly any other university. It is presented as the only option, with very little to offer in the way of alternative theories (including ANY form of creationism). To me, a disavowed Atheist and follower of Christ and the Bible and a believer in modern prophets and admirer of Joseph Smith, this lack of balanced and credible science teaching does more harm to the Church than any accreditation loss would do. President Worthen, I don’t know where you stand on the issue and I mean no disrespect to you personally or to the institution of BYU. I have looked forward to my children attending BYU from the time I joined the Church 15 years ago, and would love that to still happen. It pains me to consider sending my precious children to a secular university for the sole reason of them at least being aware that their faith and beliefs will be attacked, rather than being manipulated by men and women with ill intent to tear down a belief in the literal word of God and His servants on the earth. When it comes to science at BYU, I fear that we’ve gone further than mingling the philosophies of men with scripture and completely given over to the philosophies of men, at times condemning scripture if it is mentioned at all. I implore you to consider what options you might have at your disposal, and at this time of upheaval and change in the Church and in the world, take the opportunity to cleanse this temple of higher learning. Please remember the intent of our dear prophet Brighham Young: BYU was instituted for the purpose of teaching the children of Zion by faith and also by study, but not by infidels who seek to tear down the work of God.” ~Zak Nyberg
“In 1987, President Russell M. Nelson (then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) taught against Evolution and the Big Bang at Brigham Young University. In his amazing talk, “The Magnificence of Man”, he said that those who believe in the theories of Evolution and the Big Bang, lack “scriptural understanding”. It’s sad to see how many BYU intellectuals this currently applies to. President Nelson went on to speak in 4 subsequent General Conferences about this, including his April 2000 talk entitled, “The Creation”, which teaches that all things on this earth reproduce “after their own kind” by divine decree. This is also an observed fact, with sterility resulting from any deviation.
The church has consistently taught against the theory of evolution, including powerful statements by the First Presidency in 1909. Again in 1925 they taught that man is the “direct and lineal offspring of Deity“, which also directly opposes evolutionary theory.
The theory of Evolution not only clashes with the scriptures and gospel doctrine, but is also bad science. On Oct 18, 2018, Plant Biologist, Dr. John C. Sanford, presented a talk to the NIH that showcased several scientific flaws made by founders of the theory of evolution. He also introduced tools and methods that he developed for statistical analysis to measure the genetic mutation load of modern man. As part of this, he showed that the mutation burden is vastly skewed toward the negative with substantially zero positive mutations. The theory of evolution requires positive mutations, since deleterious mutations lead to death of a cell and host and would only allow for the devolving of living things. Dr. Sanford’s model predicted that it would take approximately 18 billion years for even one simple bacteria to mutate in a positive way. That is far more time than the theorized 13.8 billion-year age of the entire universe, and this alone, if accurate, effectively falsifies the theory of evolution.
It seems that many BYU intellectuals can’t accept the doctrinal teachings of their prophets against the evolution of man, nor can they accept good science on the matter. Unfortunately, many stubbornly hold to the theories of men and willfully modify their religious beliefs to meld with their flawed theories. Even worse is that they teach this as truth to their students, many of whom are more intellectually honest than they are, and who readily see the conflicts between the teachings of evolutionists and the teachings of the church and prophets in this area. This causes many to abandon their testimonies of the gospel. Alma and the Sons of Mosiah lamented that their teachings had led to the spiritual death of many in their day. I wonder if many of our intellectuals will also feel this same regret in times to come?
Jeremiah 17:5 warns: “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” (see also, 2 Ne 4:34 and 2 Ne 28:31)
Does BYU have to stand with the world on these teachings or is there also room for the teachings of the Lord and his prophets on this? Please rethink BYU’s allowance of its one-sided teaching in this area.” – Sincerely, Dennis Isaacson
“I for one don’t care to be told that I “came from a blob in the ocean or a monkey”. To me that is insulting. I came from my Father in Heaven and am made in His image. It is really disturbing to see the school that Brigham Young started to fight evolution, is now wholeheartedly embracing and teaching it as fact. Oh how my heart aches for Brigham Young.” – Rebecca Connolly
“I attended BYU and the U of U more than a decade ago. At both schools, I was taught evolution as if it were a fact. I have studied the health sciences, and chemistry and worked in both fields for many years. As a chemical lab scientist, I participate in and experience true science everyday. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. I love science. The problem is that evolution theory is not true science. It cannot be measured or tested, and is based on wild speculation which cannot be proven. It is ok to teach about evolution theory, but at a church run school it truly is sad and disgraceful that it is being taught as if it were a proven fact, and creation science is not being taught at all. I know several people who have left the church as a result of evolution theory. It becomes their new religion and basis for morality. The church has consistently taught against evolution theory. Many prophets, including President Nelson have condemned evolution theory. Prophets have debunked this false theory from both a gospel perspective as well as from a deep scientific perspective, calling the theory words like “foolish,” “Stupid,” and “heresy.” Multiple first presidencies have published the churches official statement on evolution. It is called “The Origin of Man.” This official church statement from the prophets firmly, boldly, and crystal clearly states that man did not evolve from lower life forms. This cannot be misinterpreted and no prophet has ever disavowed this statement. Many, including all BYU professors, have lied about this, saying that “the church has no official position on evolution.” This is the most common argument I hear. I have heard this argument hundreds of times from hundreds of church members. This is a false lie. The Origin of Man is the official church statement on evolution. To say there is not official position is a lie. Where they get this lie from is a New Era article written by an anonymous author who in their personal opinion claims that the church has no official position. This one line from one New Era article is the most quoted line in all the church when it comes to evolution. All BYU students have been misled into believing this lie and rejecting the true official statement from the prophets. This is a massive problem. Countless millions of people have had their faith crushed by the false evolution theory. Whole generations of children grow up being taught evolution which makes it very difficult for them to believe in God. Prophets as far back as Brigham Young himself have warned about the influence of false teachings being taught in schools. Brigham Young started the university to protect church students from false teachings like evolution. I am sure he is looking at us from the spirit world incredibly disappointed at what is being taught at the university that bears his name. Please do something about this. The professors teaching this false theory are destroying faith of young church members, and it needs to stop.” – Justin Tate
“My name is Dave Collingridge. I am a senior research statistician for a healthcare organization. I taught at BYU for 10 years as a graduate student and adjunct faculty. I read your letter regarding teaching evolution at BYU. I want to let you know that Digital Legends published a book that addresses evolution at BYU and in the Church called Darwinian Deceptions (available on Amazon). I know about this book because I am the editor. Chapter 1 of that book describes an experience I had with a student who expressed concerns about the way evolution is being taught at BYU. I was disgusted with the way evolution was being perpetuated as proven truth by faculty when it is clearly not the case, hence the title “deception.” I strongly urge members of the Church who’ve struggled with biology professors and evolutionists to read this book. It exposes their deceptions and explains why it is scientifically reasonable to reject evolution as an explanation for the origins of species. I believe that if BYU faculty can’t do it right (i.e., teach evolution within the light of the restored gospel), they shouldn’t do it at all.” -Dave Collingridge, PhD
“I would like my name to be added to your petition on the teaching of evolution at BYU. At least the way it is taught needs to be changed, and the professors’ attitude about it needs to be more closely monitored by BYU leaders. My experience is that all the academics at BYU and most members of the Church say “we don’t know,” “God could have done it that way,” and “The Church has no official position.” Yet, if that was really what we felt, then wouldn’t we teach the Theory of Evolution alongside the Theories of Creationism and Intelligent Design at BYU, and teach them with the attitude of “here are theories, decide for yourselves?” That was not my experience at BYU 12-15 years ago (2005-2008).
My experience was that evolution was taught as indisputable fact rather than as a theory, and that it was taught with the attitude that if you didn’t believe it or were confused, then you were stupid. Literal Creationism wasn’t taught and was only briefly mentioned in a mocking manner. The ideas of Intelligent Design were brought up briefly in a mixed-up way with evolution but without ever being clearly outlined. And the idea of microevolution (adaptations within a species) was presented as possible evidence of macroevolution (something changing from one species into another over time), even though these are two different processes with different levels of fossil evidence, and even though the theory of macroevolution is clearly against the doctrine of the Church. Meanwhile, BYU museums have skulls in them labeled as homo erectus and so forth, presented in a way consistent with modern science’s teaching that they were the links between man and apes, and with labels that state that they are at least tens of thousands of years old – not that they MIGHT be that old, but that they ARE.
I have heard several members answer with the statement that “well, prophets haven’t ever addressed it from the pulpit in actual general conferences where they were acting as prophets.” I beg to differ. I personally love the two quotes included below, both from the 1984 October general conference.
First, though, I will note that I have sought out the literal Creationist and Intelligent Design points of view for myself, and unfortunately I mostly found that experience more confusing and disheartening. This is especially true because the Christians who hold these views are usually very much against Joseph Smith and the restored gospel, and because they have a great deal of contention among themselves in their own conflicting views and explanations. I wish I could have heard the strong points of these views in an environment of true seeking after truth, that was friendly to the restoration, and that sought to conform science to the gospel (and not the other way around). I feel it’s fine to teach evolution as a THEORY at BYU so students are aware of the world’s beliefs on this topic, but it needs to be taught as a theory and not as absolute certainty, and it needs to be taught alongside the basic tenets of Creationism and Intelligent Design so we members of the Church at least know what those are and some of the other possibilities that have been put forward.” -Kami Nelson, former BYU student (as Kami Dalton) and homeschooling mom
[Here are the quotes mentioned above:]
“There is no salvation in a system of religion that rejects the doctrine of the Fall or that assumes man is the end product of evolution and so was not subject to a fall. True believers know that this earth and man and all forms of life were created in an Edenic, or paradisiacal, state in which there was no mortality, no procreation, no death.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Caravan Moves On,” Oct. 1984 general conference).
“No lesson is more manifest in nature than that all living things do as the Lord commanded in the Creation. They reproduce “after their own kind.” (See Moses 2:12, 24.) They follow the pattern of their parentage. Everyone knows that; every four-year-old knows that! A bird will not become an animal nor a fish. A mammal will not beget reptiles, nor “do men gather … figs of thistles.” (Matt. 7:16.) In the countless billions of opportunities in the reproduction of living things, one kind does not beget another. If a species ever does cross, the offspring cannot reproduce. The pattern for all life is the pattern of the parentage. … Surely no one with reverence for God could believe that His children evolved from slime or from reptiles. … The theory of evolution, and it is a theory, will have an entirely different dimension when the workings of God in creation are fully revealed.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Pattern of Our Parentage” Oct. 1984 general conference).
“I believe that one should be introduced to different theories, not one specific theory. They should be taught as that theory. Science is always changing and many scientists are dead set to explain how things came to be without God as the explanation. I homeschool my children and when we speak of college options I explain how going to BYU is the better choice in my opinion. I am also a convert so I did not have the opportunity to attend BYU so I am very disappointed that BYU would employ professors that are teaching, what I consider, against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Please reconsider what these professors are teaching and the weight they have while doing so.” -Dena Tippetts
“I agree that it is a philosophy of men, and a theory, one never proven, and yet it is taught as truth. It is a prominent theory however, and normal society looks down on those who do not believe it is true, because there are supportive archaeological finds, but there is evidence of many things that are not true. There is also evidence of God, and of Christ, and even of the holy spirit. God should always be a part of the search for truth and should come before any other “fact”, because God is the most sure knowledge I have, and all truth comes from him. God speaks of men taking him out of the picture all over in the bible and book of mormon, and says how He feels when his hand is not recognized in all things. It was hurtful to my brother when he was angrily shut down by TA’s when he shared his belief in creationism, and expressed concern that he felt pushed into silence. But I do understand that sometimes the wheat must be brought up with the trees, lest the trees destroy the wheat. There are young tender testimonies that may be uprooted should those believing in evolution turn and fight against the church, if the church were to denounce it rather than give each the opportunity to believe what he will. I dont think that a belief in evolution, while still faithfully living the gospel, would ever affect a person’s ability to reach the highest reward. But I do worry that it can and does cause many trouble and loss of testimony when taught so fervently at BYU. God has always taught that we are his children. Satan has always taught we are sons and daughters of men, and that our heritage as well as potential is the same as any beast. Both should be taught in science classes, if the wheat is susceptible to be uprooted with the tares, (the tares meaning those who would choose to trust the arm of flesh over God’s arm, or in this case, my way of putting it being those who would turn against God’s prophet if God had that prophet deny Evolution as a proclamation to the church and thus BYU), but the understanding that “God is the ultimate source of all truth” should be the first thing always acknowledged. If a student searches with faith in that principle, the student will be lead to truth and faith will grow.” -KM
“I attended BYU in the late 1960’s, and I’ve had nine children attend the BYU’s–five graduating from BYU Provo, and four from BYU Idaho. While attending these Church-owned universities, each of my children was confronted regularly with the teaching of organic evolution (that man evolved from lower forms of animals), which was presented as fact, not theory. In one biology class at BYU, my son’s professor literally bore his testimony to the truthfulness of Darwinian evolution. Often my children confided in me that any time they commented in class against what was being taught contrary to the teachings of the Church on the subject, they were shut down and impugned by their professors. I agree with my children, that the students at the BYU’s are not just merely being taught to believe that evolution is a “fact,” but that they’re being indoctrinated to believe it, and literally brainwashed.
Many renowned scientists now question Darwinian evolution, A group of scientists some years ago began this online site, https://dissentfromdarwin.org/ Currently, over a thousand scientists have signed their names on this site, stating: “There is scientific dissent from Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.” But still, professors at both BYU’s continue to teach it as “a fact of science.” My son has compiled a complete reference of teachings of all of the Prophets beginning with Joseph Smith, and also all of the scriptures on the subject, which anyone can access at https://josephsmithfoundation.org/faqs/category/science/
Those who peruse this site will definitely realize that the idea the Church has taken no position on the subject of organic evolution, is just as false as the teaching that evolution is a “fact of science.”
I have spoken to numerous friends who have had children attend one of the BYU’s, only to have them fall away from the Church (many of them returned missionaries) because of what they were taught there, which caused them to lose their testimonies of the Gospel. President Joseph Fielding Smith gave this prophetic statement: “Organic evolution is Satan’s chief weapon in this dispensation in his attempt to destroy the divine mission of Jesus Christ.”
When my daughters were attending BYU Idaho, I was concerned about what they were being taught in their science classes, and so I visited one of their religion teachers. He said that the religion department was told by the administration that they were not to teach anything against evolution, not only to avoid contention, but because when those students attend the science classes on campus and realize that evolution is a “fact,” they will lose faith in the teachings of the Prophets and the scriptures on the subject.
This is a serious matter. The students are not even being given the opportunity to use their agency and choose what to believe on the subject of organic evolution, because they are being propagandized by only being taught one side.
Another discouraging point is that because the BYU’s continually teach that organic evolution is truth, good Christians not of our faith, who believe what is taught in the Bible against it, are not interested in investigating the Church, because what is taught at our Church universities, to them represents our Church’s doctrine, even though that is not the case.
I have listened to presentations given by professors at the BYU’s who are proud of how many students they are converting to organic evolution. How many of them are causing these elect young people to lose their faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Should not this scripture be seriously considered:
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6)” -Margaret Stoddard
“Our daughter went to BYU, and struggled with the teachings she received. She is now an atheist and leaning towards socialism, which is also taught at BYU. She has a mighty influence on her siblings and now three of her six siblings are also atheists and socialists. Think of how our hearts are broken. Also, one of my husband’s coworkers is a BYU student. He was a returned missionary, and had a strong testimony of the restored gospel, until he took a BYU class recently on Marxism. He’s lost his testimony and is now a self-proclaimed Marxist.” -Ruth Willardson
“My name is Brian Nettles, a graduate from a long time ago. I just don’t understand how BYU could corrupt the intent of the university as badly as it has. I have great faith in the leaders of the church. But I ask myself often how long it will be before they make a purging of the BYU leadership over this issue. I hope it happens soon. I cannot even recommend my son to go to this school and it is all because of this issue. Evolution should be taught as the philosophy of the world, not the philosophy of God.” – Brian Nettles
Dear President Worthen,
“Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24). Though science is a process or tool to help us seek truth, the conclusions of scientists do not necessarily equate to Truth. Scientists are subject to biases and limits of understanding also. That alone should give BYU students and for that matter BYU science departments reason to take and demonstrate to students a skeptical, open minded, and broad prospective approach to conclusions drawn from science. In fact skepticism is at the heart of science. A diversity of opinions and a continuation of review and repeated testing is how science progresses1 and improves – hopefully moving closer to the actual Truth. Sadly when it comes to certain politically hot topics some BYU professors or even whole departments abandon actual science and default to an avowed dogma. How can I say such a thing? Because they admit just that.
Students are taught that:
“Science has a Nonnegotiable stance of Methodological Materialism, which means,
- No hidden forces.
- No influence from God, angels or demons.
- No magic.
- No miracles”2 (emphasis added)
This statement is not founded on scientific experiments, nor did the founders of our modern science hold such a belief3. The work of these pioneers of science still stands at the foundation of our science today. Other branches of science study still find it permissible to use scientific methods to give insight and detection of the workings and creations of intelligent beings, even though we may not see them when we study what has been created by them. This is true in the study of anthropology. It is used by criminologist as well as in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence or SETI project and more. This materialist founded, atheist oriented definition for science is determined by edict and not science. It rules out the consideration of an action or participation of God in our origins yet it is stoutly defended by BYU professors. BYU biology professors have openly published that they seek not just to establish understanding in their students about organic evolution and their view of how to evaluate science, they seek acceptance of the doctrine and resort to non scientific dogmatic means to do so, in an effort to squash not only expression of dissenting opinion but intending to alter the very harboring of differing perspectives in their students. Thus they exhibit a blind partisan prejudice as they attempt to indoctrinate the students with their materialistic Darwinian view of our origins. Just a few statements from a much larger set is needed to establish this fact. Six BYU biology professors have stated in one particular paper they published that:
“Our experience may serve as a case-study for prompting changes in acceptance of evolution in other conservative religious groups.”
“[K]nowledge of evolution does not appear to be equivalent to acceptance of evolution. Studies have demonstrated that religious objections to evolution are resistant to change, even after thorough instruction in the subject.”
“The present study, therefore, presents an important example of how greater acceptance of this foundational scientific principle might be achieved in the face of competing viewpoints in a highly conservative community.”
“‘People have a right to hear both sides of the question, don’t they?‘ Careful analysis in this instance demonstrates that fairness does not apply–ID is a religious-based concept, not a scientific alternative to evolution.”
“The evolutionary explanation for life’s origins does not require a role for deity, but there are no data excluding that possibility.”4 (emphasis added)
“[D]oes not require a role for deity, but there no data excluding the possibility”? From all of their rhetoric it appears that they don’t intend to allow the student the liberty nor the data that might point to anything but materialist conclusions. Furthermore they try to rewrite or re-frame scripture and words of latter-day prophets to give sanction to their craft. They ignore a vast body of statements by prophets and apostles flatly refuting an evolutionary past for man5 by clinging on to obscure or one off unnamed sources of non doctrinal assertions or use a conflation of terms. Such as:
“The Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is doctrinally neutral, meaning neither in favor (endorsement) nor opposed (rejection), as evidenced by a recent statement in a Church publication: ‘The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution’.” 6
“The doctrines of the Church are found in the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets and apostles”7 Yes, evolution or change is observable and measurable when we look at small adaptations in living things. But to the contrary, the common ancestry of all life and a materialistic cause for the complexity and diversity of life, are not supported by the words of the prophets, nor are they supported by science in the classical sense. The oft refereed to evidence found in:
- The Fossil Record
- Homology (Similarity of structure in living things)
- Genetics (Homology on a molecular level)
- Embryology (organism development)
- Vestigial Structures (alleged useless evolutionary leftovers)
- Observed mutation in conjunction with Artificial and Natural Selection
are tolerated only in an exclusion to the consideration of an intelligent designer. Richard Lewontin, a renown evolutionary biologist and geneticist, stated that science has “a priori adherence to material causes …that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”8 Sadly the popular notions of science related to our origins, have become a product of the thinking of people like Richard Lewontin, often including assumptions, alterations, and selective bias in the data reported so as to produce the materialistic explanations which they seek.
However, all of the above areas of consideration are either more decisively supportive of a creation brought about by an intelligent being or are indiscriminate in detecting between the two given the broader perspective. A summary of some of the actual science data which powerfully supports the God hypothesis are found at ScienceFreedom.org Articles Utah K-5 and 9-12 Science Standards Issues and Recommendations9
President Worthen, please don’t get caught up in the materialist mantra. Students at BYU need an environment in which to seek truth, and beget thinkers – thinkers who will search for, recognize, and embrace truth in all of its various aspects regardless of its popularity. Should not students at BYU be free to hear the full breadth of scientific evidence? It is a travesty that at BYU currently, students are limited to sterilized arguments and filtered scientific facts that disregard the scientific evidence pointing to God’s historical hand in our origins. Sadly at BYU and even other Christian universities, these have become politically unpopular conclusions, as they could give indications of the Biblical Creator and a God of miracles. How did it come to be that BYU – whose founding purpose was to allow for the consideration of God’s hand in our physical and spiritual origins10 – has come to specifically and systematically deny the students the opportunity to connect truth across these educational disciplines?
Thanks for your consideration,
P.S. See also: Faith in Evolution Intervention Program https://sciencefreedom.org/faith-in-evolution-intervention.html , Listen to world renouned geneticis comment on the subject of evolution https://youtu.be/wu7ksGvv93Y , Look What They’re Teaching at Brigham Young University
LDS.ScienceElevated.com , LDS Science Elevated YouTube Channel, ScienceFreedom.org
1 This is standard philosophy of science tenets. See UC Berkeley discussion about the philosophy of science https://web.archive.org/web/20130501111239/http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/nature/IIcharacteristics.shtml
2 Steven L Peck on Why Evolution and LDS Thought are Fully Compatible https://youtu.be/CsDA4pSC9l4?t=14m28s
3 The founders of modern science often included God in their conclusions. For example Newton in speaking about gravity and how it holds the planets in their orbits remarked “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being… “ — Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Nearly all were believed in Biblical creation see https://kgov.com/fathers-of-the-physical-sciences
4 “A longitudinal study of attitudes toward evolution among undergraduates who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
5 Evolution and Creation – LDS Prophets and Apostles Doctrinal Proclamations and Statements https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFfNdV6Bwqs&t=931s Also see: http://lds.scienceelevated.com/
6 “A longitudinal study of attitudes toward evolution among undergraduates who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
7 Church Handbook of Instructions Book 2 17.1.3 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/handbook-2-administering-the-church/uniformity-and-adaptation/uniformity-and-adaptation?lang=eng#title_number4
8 NY Review of Books, 1/7/1997 http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Nave-html/Faithpathh/lewontin.html
9 Utah K-5 and 9-12 Science Standards Issues and Recommendations By Vincent Newmeyer January 2018 https://sciencefreedom.org/utah-science-standards-suggestions-jan-2018.html#sdfootnote1sym
10 Brigham Young wrote to his sons: “We have enough and to spare, at present in these mountains, of schools where young infidels are made because the teachers are so tender-footed that they dare not mention the principles of the gospel to their pupils, but have no hesitancy in introducing into the classroom the theories of Huxley, of Darwin, or of Miall, and the false political economy which contends against co-operation and the United Order. This course I am resolutely and uncompromisingly opposed to, and I hope to see the day when the doctrines of the gospel will be taught in all our schools, when the revelation of the Lord will be our texts, and our books will be written and manufactured by ourselves and in our own midst. As a beginning in this direction I have endowed the Brigham Young Academy at Provo.” (Brigham Young, Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, p. 200)
(End comments by Vincent Newmeyer)