70 years ago today - Apr 22, 1953

Joseph Fielding Smith, president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, gives a speech at BYU titled "The Origin of Man" in which he not only declares organic evolution false but also attacks the scientific mindset. Two days later, Assistant Professor of Zoology Henry J. Nicholes writes to BYU administrators: "[while] the theory of organic evolution might have been a significant motivation for research in times now past, it does not need to be taught any more." He lists bacteriology, human anatomy, structural geology, general animal anatomy, plant anatomy and physiology, general agriculture, and taxonomy as "[A]mong the many avenues of research [that] do not need an understanding of the theory of organic evolution in the least." He askes, "How can this university ever become the university of the Kingdom of God as long as some of the faculty persist in their ignoring the words of our prophets and frustrate their students by unnecessary and damaging teachings? The very [existence] of [an] uncooperative attitude is apostacy-producing." The administration does not act on his recommendation to remove the topic from class discussions or textbooks. A year later Joseph Fielding Smith publushes MAN: HIS ORIGIN AND DESTINY which is the first book by a prominent Mormon that is openly antagonistic to much of science.

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]

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