Mormons and Science

Mormons and Science

by Kathy Penrod

I blinked my eyes and read it again. Sure enough, the poster of this particular comment was, in fact, stating that Mormons don’t believe in Science. “Interesting,” I thought. “And all this time, I thought I actually embraced the scientific world… and I am VERY Mormon.”  

Now, science is a huge umbrella… So, to which science was the woman referring? Medical science? Political science? Archeology? Astrology? Would it be the science of Biology? Environmental science? There are so many.

I have thought about that false assumption many times since I read it. I was confident that if the author of the comment understood just a little bit more about our religion, she wouldn’t have written such a misleading statement. I find it so odd that someone would state that in a religion, membered by over 15 million people, that ALL of us disregard ALL science.

I would like to set the record straight. Yes, Mormons, who are typically well educated and intelligent can, and many do, prescribe to various scientific theories.  In fact, John A. Widtsoe stated, “The church supports and welcomes the growth of science. … The religion of the Latter-day Saints is not hostile to any truth, nor to scientific search for truth.” 

We have, and have had, leaders at the highest level of our church who not only were exceptional scientists but pioneered many advances in their field. The most prominent of these being Russell M. Nelson, who helped change the way open-heart surgeries are performed. A former Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ezra T. Benson, knew his science of Agriculture so well that he served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Other prominent Mormon Scientists include Henry Eyring, the Chemist who pioneered the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry and Richard G. Scott who claimed a successful career in Nuclear Engineering. These are only a few Mormon Scientists. You can read about more here.

"Is there any conflict between science and religion? There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men."  Henry Eyring, Sr.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we recognize God’s divine hand in the creation of this world and universe. We know that God can work in many, many ways - which we may not understand. That being said, we are firm in the belief that He is behind the miracle that is this universe. Many Mormons believe in Creationism.  But there are some who believe in evolution – through the act of God. (Origin of Man) One of these days, all theories will be put to rest and we will know the truth. In the mean time, just because a person believes in Creationism, doesn’t mean that he or she dismisses all evidence of science. At least, THIS Mormon doesn’t. And, it’s hard for me to believe that out of 15 million people, I would be the only one with those views.  James E. Talmage once wrote,

Discrepancies that trouble us now will diminish as our knowledge of pertinent facts is extended. The creator has made a record in the rocks for man to decipher; but He has also spoken directly regarding the main stages of progress by which the earth has been brought to be what it is. The opening chapters of Genesis … were never intended as a textbook of geology, archeology, earth-science or man-science. Holy scripture will endure, while the conceptions of men change with new discoveries.

So, should you ever hear someone express the belief that Mormons are some how opposed to science, you will know the truth; that, actually, we are huge fans of it.