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Don't marginalize religion, Elder Oaks says to Harvard law students

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  • Why Religion is marginalized
    Feb. 26, 2010 4:15 p.m.

    Religion has a rather poor record academically.

    Religion is dogmatic and doesn't bend easily to new evidence. It is more about tradition and faithfulness to the elders of the religion.

    Science recently hasn't done much better with it faking the truth on global warming.

    Had I written this 10 years ago, I could say that science is about truth. If new evidence comes along the science community is grateful for the new truth, it isn't about tradition, it is about truth.

    Universities are about truth, Religion blew it when they almost burned Galeao at the stake for believing and teaching that the earth revolves around the sun.

    People have lost respect for religion in this way. So it isn't surprising that universities have gotten away from religion.

    If the science community isn't careful, they may suffer the same fate.

  • Shall we summarize?
    Feb. 26, 2010 4:23 p.m.

    "Education is the enemy of superstition."

    Got it, thanks.

  • Brent
    Feb. 26, 2010 4:50 p.m.

    Wow, what a way to twist what is being said. Education is the enemy of superstition, but NOT the enemy of religion. The two are not synonomous.

    Religion encourages education to the point that there are many major universities built in the name of religion.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    Brent, one mans' religion is another mans' superstition. They are synonymous.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:04 p.m.

    The more a person learns and the more education they gain the more they learn about religion and the role it plays. Of course it then becomes marginalized because it gets put in its proper place.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    I agree with Elder Oaks. He has a lot of wisdom. Student's beliefs are many times unnecessarily destroyed by some professors with an agenda.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:17 p.m.

    "I agree with Elder Oaks. He has a lot of wisdom. Student's beliefs are many times unnecessarily destroyed by some professors with an agenda."



    Agenda = Facts

  • Re: 4:15
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    Well said and I am LDS.

    Science and Religion NEED to co-exist as partners for a better world, not as enemies wherein efforts are made to justify wars and rumors of wars.

    Religious truths are as follows: We existed before, we exist now and we will exist after this life. Science cannot and will never be able to disprove those three simple truths.

    Science has revealed MANY MANY truths about how things are made, how long they have been around, their function in nature, and man's stewardship to not only protect science and nature, but continue to discover as many scientific truths as possible.

    Any reasonable person will admit that both science and religion are true.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    Most professors have an agenda like you - to get paid. They actually don't care whether little Billy or little Suzie go to church. That's not their job. They really aren't out to seduce your little bundles of joy away from god.

    If you wan't to know what's being taught, take a class, go find the text book and read it. It's not that hard. That's what libraries are for.

  • Christian Scientist
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:37 p.m.

    To love God is to love the truth, where ever it may be found. God never said He's told us everything--He says study it out in your mind--seek learning by study and also by faith.

    Same with science--it has never claimed to have all the answers, just theories that work until a better one comes along. Science and religion don't have to be mutually exclusive--it just takes people with open minds--unfortunately something the world is chronically short of these days.

    It's man's fault if they hold on to certain ideas despite them being shown to be false (e.g. the earth is flat, global warming, etc.). As Paul says, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

  • Old Fashioned
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:44 p.m.

    I must be outdated: I believe in a Supreme Being and in the divine origins of man but I also have earned and honorary doctorate degrees.

  • Sure they can coexist.
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    They just need to be careful to not step into each other's toes.

    Science explains this (the physical world)...

    Religion explains that (the spiritual world, whatever that means to a person)...

    See? Two different things.

    When people try to use science to explain religious ideas, or worse, when religion tries to explain scientific concepts, that's when you get problems.
    You know, like genocide and such.

  • Jacob
    Feb. 26, 2010 5:52 p.m.

    As Jacob said, "O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
    But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the ccounsels of God.

  • The academy should seek truth
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    The purpose of higher education should be to teach and seek out what it true. Unfortunately, to most of the academic world, Religion and spiritual truth has been walled off from so called secular learning. For all those who complain about religious schools and academic freedom, there is a real unwillingness to even touch the idea of religious thought being based in truth. If you believe and mention that belief in the academy, you are scorned and your thinking is mocked. How is that academic freedom? Having attended a variety of world class institutions, nowhere did I feel more free to pursue any and all types of academic thought than at Brigham Young University.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    @6:05....does BYU, this bastion of any and all types of acedemic thought have a BOM archaeology dept.?

  • Bryan Monson
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    I attended this lecture tonight at Ames Court House at Harvard Law. It was a most powerful experience. Some great questions from the students following, and some powerful answers. There is not question, these men are apostles of God. We walked away very uplifted, very moved.

  • Re: The academy...| 6:05
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    "... nowhere did I feel more free to pursue any and all types of academic thought than at Brigham Young University."

    That says far more about you than it does about the institutions you "attended".

  • old_cuss_101
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:24 p.m.

    Elder Oaks is a wise man. We would do well to listen, to ponder and to hearken.

    To those who would destroy faith in others, shame.
    'Twere better a millstone be hanged about his neck and he be drowned in the depths of the sea.

    It is a curious logic. "I have not had, therefore, you cannot have had..."

    There is a God in heaven and we are his children. There is a devil in heaven as all things have their opposites. "No man can serve two masters..." We are given agency. We are also given opportunity with responsibility. There will be a day of accounting. We hope that Atonement and mercy temper judgement. "Eternal life is God's life." We seek to become like God.

    Life is better when people "learn correct principles and govern themselves."

    There was a Faith Healer from Deal...
    Who said "Although pain is not real,
    When I sit on a pin
    And it punctures my skin,
    I dislike what I fancy I feel.
    (Reader's Digest "Fun Fare" 1947+/-

    "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God..." Michah 6:3

  • To Anonymous at 5:21
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    Assuming that your comments were addressed to Elder Oaks, it appears you aren't very informed about what your talking about. You say his agenda is to get paid. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, he does receive a small stipend, but do you really think that it compares to what he could've been earning as one of the country's top constitutional law experts? And I assure you that the Harvard Law chapter of the JRCLS was not paying him to speak.

    Then you suggest that he isn't familiar with academia and needs to spend some time in the library. Elder Oaks is the former president of BYU, dean of BYU Law School, president of the American Bar Association, justice of the Utah State Supreme Court, and (it was recently revealed) was on Pr. Reagan's short list for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. I think he knows what he's talking about when he addresses trends in academia and the scholarly world.

  • Re: My comments at 6:31
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    I correct myself: Elder Oaks did not serve as dean of BYU Law School, although during his tenure as president of that university he helped found it.

  • Re The academy should seek truth
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    I agree with seeking out truth as the purpose of higher education. Truth of any kind is just that. However, "free to pursue any and all types of academic thought at BYU" is an oxymoron. I went to a bioethics class at the Y. The topic was abortion, and every student give or take quoted the same scriptures and gave the same the argument. What would have happened if I would have said I agree with abortion? They would have kicked me out.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:36 p.m.

    Old cuss, it is impossible to destroy anothers faith. Flat out impossible.

  • To 6:14 and :22
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:41 p.m.

    1) No, BYU does not have a Book of Mormon archaeology department. If you're trying to find a way to accuse BYU of being less than a legitimate academic institution, I guess you'll have to find some other accusation.

    2) You apparently doubt that the earlier commentator attended any prestigious institutions. Apparently you believe that people who attend BYU don't attend universities like Harvard. I guarantee you that quite a few of the Harvard Law students attending Elder Oaks' lecture are BYU grads.

    P.S. The period goes inside the quotation marks.

  • History check
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    To 5:46: I agree with your points, but would like to point out that the genocides of the 20th century (e.g., Stalin's planned famines, a little thing called the Holocaust, etc.) had nothing to do with religion.

    To 6:36: You most definitely can destroy another's faith--if not that of an individual, you can destroy the faith of a nation. How many Mexicans practice Catholicism, as opposed to the Aztec religion? Why do you think that is?

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    Go Oaks!

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    Always here that "small stipend" thing. I would imagine educated people would wand to be able to talk using factual information. Why on earth is there no factual information on the topic of LDS stipends?

  • THANKFUL
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:49 p.m.

    "Some wonder how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accept a modern prophet's teachings to guide their personal lives, something that is unusual in most religious traditions," he said. "Our answer to the charge that Latter-day Saints follow their leaders out of 'blind obedience' is this same personal revelation. We respect our leaders and presume inspiration in their leadership of the church and in their teachings. But we are all privileged and encouraged to confirm their teachings by prayerfully seeking and receiving revelatory confirmation directly from God."

    Elder Oaks thoughts clarify and define the LDS view towards the secular epithet 'blind obedience'.

    If I am ever accused of 'blind obedience' toward the Prophet, General Authorities, Stake Leadership or Ward leadership, I hope I stand convicted.

  • RE old Cuss
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:51 p.m.

    "We seek to be like God" True, because God became a Man(John 1:1,14)not man becomes God.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:52 p.m.

    Science is not out to prove or disprove religion. Science does not need religion and religion should play no role in science.

    On the other hand, some in religion try to bend science to substantiate or authenticate religion.

    Basically, some in religion try to step on the toes of science but science doesn't even acknowledge religions presence in the room.

    And that is the way it should be.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 6:58 p.m.

    6:41, you know what they say about assumptions. I said nothing about BYU not being a legitimate educational institution, you appear to be projecting. Strange though don't you think? BYU should be leading the world in that area of archaeology.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    "You most definitely can destroy another's faith--if not that of an individual, you can destroy the faith of a nation."

    I stand by my claim that it is impossible to destroy anothers faith. Sure, you can kill them, but they have to decide for themselves whether or not to believe something.

  • mark
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    College's main purpose was not to educate ministers.
    That was just one subject even when Cambridge, Harvard, William and Mary, Notre Dame were founded. They educated teachers, lawyers, doctors, biologists, architects, musicians, artists, chemists, physists, archeologists, etc.
    YOUR theology is no more important in college's curriculum than the Hippocratic oath...which was dedicated to the Greek GOD Apollo, who gave medicine to man.

  • Re: old_cuss_101
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:14 p.m.

    @Why is religion marginalized.
    Get your facts correct, science is indistubtably in agreement climate change is happening, and man has caused it through greenhouse gases.
    Gallielo was NOT burnt at the stake, he was tortured by the Catholic church until he recanted.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    One of the great minds in the field of science once stated "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." This is a quote by Henry Eyring, father of President Eyring. For those unfamiliar with Eyring, take a quick look at Wikipedia. He was one who also came to learn that the divide between science and religion was bridgeable.

  • Joshthebadbear
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    Another idiotic comment from Anonymouse ! Does he/she have a brain inside that skull ?

  • mark
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    College is meant to expose students to new ideas and many times different kinds of people they never knew before, college should also challenge students to question preconcieved notions they held in their youth, which may be liberal or conservative, may be religious or secular...all should be questioned, to see if it still feels true to the student, after the questioning.
    No one's faith is stripped from anyone against their will, people may let go of it, but that's THEIR decision.
    Mormons don't like QUESTIONING, they like unquestioned subservient obedience to your quorum.

  • Ummm....
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:21 p.m.

    For those seeking a degree in religion or having interest, Universities offer classes and degrees. I don't see where Mr. Oaks is coming from on this one. If I seek a English degree, I should for some reason be taking religious classes in bulk? That makes no more sense than me taking math, biology, or any other classes not applicable to my degree. If I were taking genetics, I suppose that I'd be interested in Mormon theology sinse there are claims that the Indians are the lost tribes if I recall. However, research showed no genetic link. Ummm... This makes no sense.

  • Student Counsel
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    As Bishop I used to send my members off to college with a copy of "What Every Freshman Should Know" by President Packer.
    They weren't ready to debate philosophy, but they needed to know the basic threat they faced.

  • Preaching to the Choir
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:43 p.m.

    I was somewhat impressed that he would have the nerve to try preaching to the Harvard students. I was much less impressed when I read that he only spoke to the Mormon students at Harvard. Isn't that akin to preaching to the choir? Didn't he have the courage to speak to the whole student body?

  • wrz
    Feb. 26, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    The evidence of the validity of religion and religious tenets is not supported by verifiable evidence. Therefore, religion can only survive, and has only survived through the ages, through the means of constant and continuous preachments to adherents. Both God and Christ consistently refuse to show their faces. Why??? Why not get with it, God, and remove all questioning about your existence and the validity of your gospel?

    Today people need physical evidence to continue to believe in what could be classified as almost ethereal concepts. So they drift away from religion.

  • Realistically speaking...
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:00 p.m.

    When it comes right down to it..you either believe in God or you don't. Religion is man-made. God is not. Man is not flawless. God is. Science is not flawless. It morphs over time as man uncovers the mysteries that God created. Exposing oneself to the ideas of others allows for growth on a personal and a global scale.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:01 p.m.

    @7:43...can you imagine the Q&A with anything other than an all Mormon audience? I laugh just thinking about it!

  • RE: Colleges
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:06 p.m.

    Some have roots in Chritianity; Notre Dame (Grand Lady) ST. Mary(theotokos) Mother of God.
    Princeton; The early President was the Calvinist Johnathan Edwards,leader of the Great Awakening and probaly the greatest American Theologin.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    I have taken classes...some professors do not have an agenda and they teach the subject at hand. Some definitely have an agenda and they talk about it profusely.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:13 p.m.

    Cracks me up that you can believe religion is man made and state with certainty that God is real. Religion is obviously made by man and you are intellectually dishonest claiming anything other than agnosticsism on the question of God. Even if one were to have an objective mystical experience (100% agree happens..you can even induce it) one must concede that the objective personal experience is entirely subjective to anyone else...quite the metaphysical quanundrum....which leads to agnosticism.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:15 p.m.

    "The early President was the Calvinist Johnathan Edwards,leader of the Great Awakening and probaly the greatest American Theologin."

    Can you hear the collective gasp of offended shock in Mormonville?

  • Boston bureau?
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    Is Jamshid Askar your Cambridge, Mass., correspondent? Was he really there covering this event for the paper? Wow, the lengths you'll go.

  • All Knowing
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:34 p.m.

    ["In addition to talking about how higher education is destroying faith..."]

    According to Oaks' faith, "the glory of God is intelligence." How can he then condemn higher education?

  • look at me!!
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    look at meeeee!!! i use big words and think i'm so much better than all those idiots who believe in religion. i'm sooo much better than they are. poor deluded suckers. if only they had the grasp on reality that i do, they'd be so much less happy. tearing down is sooo fun!!! :) i haven't had a novel thought, enlightened experience, or a parent love me in 20 years! give it up all you people who think you know, cause guess what, you don't! unless you use big words... then you know everything. then you can point out the follies of men with impunity and scoff at their nothingness... it makes me feel so good to scoff at mormons. wish i could do it more often...

  • Dave M
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:40 p.m.

    Some commentators indicate that professors have no agenda other than communicating the facts of their subject matter. In my own college experience, this was often, but not always the case. Unfortunately, there were professors who had an agenda that included convincing students of the error of their opinions either political or religious (when those opinions had little if anything to do with the subject matter). My only consolation was that those professors were generally not highly regarded.

  • Henry Drummond
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    I just got through reading the actual text of Elder Oak's speech. I really think this article does a poor job of characterizing the spirit of his remarks.

    What he says here is that Mormons believe in using science, canonized scripture, and personal revelation to make decisions and as sources of truth. Other religions would discount "personal revelation" and use only the Bible, while academicians would rely solely on science. I didn't see this as some sort of harangue against higher education (or other religions for that matter) but rather an explanation of Mormon beliefs.

    I'm not Mormon but I think what he says here is a valuable exposition of the Mormon faith and would like to hear more from him on the topic, especially how Mormons integrate these three sometimes conflicting world views.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    The title of the article was misleading. Why didn't it indicate that Dallin Oaks spoke to the Harvard Law School LDSSA at the beginning. It was impressive to feel that Dallin Oaks was so respected that the law school would invite him to address the studentbody. To be invited to address the LDSSA is quite another matter. Sometimes we're not given all the facts upfront.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 8:52 p.m.

    I graduated from BYU and the religion requirement was the biggest waste of time of the whole 4 years.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:00 p.m.

    @8:36
    Are you implying that if you leave your religion your parents wont love you? Hmmmn.

  • Olin
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    No long term good has ever come from organized religion.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:10 p.m.

    How many mormons can there be at Harvard? Think the School was picked because of a high profile? Hmmm, I certainly don't think so---it is all about appearance in this little broken mormon culture.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:13 p.m.

    Is it just me or does Mormonville seem especially desparate lately?

  • Robin Hoob
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:18 p.m.

    Elder Oaks is exactly right. Religion will continue to be marginalized and become more persecuted. That's unfortunate 'cause I love my Mormon religion. I find it remarkable that so many love to make fun of my faith. But, hey, life is tough. Have a nice day everyone.

  • wer
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    To anonymous 9:13:

    It's just you.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:30 p.m.

    Robin...If a fellow Mormon makes fun of Mormonism is it persecution?

  • Digbads
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:48 p.m.

    There are no "truths" in science. Only facts and theories.

    Junk science (Al Gore, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye) comes when people get confused and think that science is "true."

  • John C.
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:49 p.m.

    It is very interesting to read so many comments by people who didn’t even bother to read the actual talk. But they are consumed with the desire to tear down and not build up. They mock but not praise. And yet when their house has blown down by a hurricane, or tornado or other natural disaster they don’t complain when we show up to help.
    “[Our] religion . . . prompts [us] to search diligently after knowledge. . . . There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn and understand truth.”[
    And to Olin | 9:01 p.m. Feb. 26, 2010
    “No long term good has ever come from organized religion.” Just another empty comment.


  • true
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    These people who love to point the finger of scorn at "religion" are obviously motivated by their need to justify something in their lives that they feel guilty about.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Feb. 26, 2010 9:59 p.m.

    It appears that Elder Oaks spoke in his normal well-crafted way. I really hope they do show the tape of the talk between conference sessions.
    Thomas Griffith was my stake president for a time at BYU, that was back when he was BYU's general council before being apointed a judge. He was a good stake president.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    To the 6:31 commentator,
    Actually Elder Oaks was dean of the University of Chicago Law School, or at least a professor there. This would actually make you defense of him stronger.
    The BYU law school was inititated while Elder Oaks was BYU president, and he basically went straight from being BYU president to being on the Utah Supreme Court, from which he resigned at the time of his call as an apostle.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    @9:57
    And people who love to point the finger at doubters are obviously motivated by their need to justify something in their lives that they feel guilty about.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    Along the lines of the 6:41 commentator,
    BYU does sponsor the New World Archaeology Foundation, which could be argued to be "Book of Mormon Archaeology" along the lines of "Biblical Archaeology".
    However, most of the Foundations discoveries have related to events after the end of the Book of Mormon (even more so if Dr. Sorenson is right and the Book of Mormon authors used 360-day years, which is the only way to get 600 years from the start of Zedekiah's reign to the date of Jesus' birth at 4 or 5 BC as is generally thought to be the case based on when Herod died, and also is the length of year that the Mayan's used, which would put the Book of Mormon authoris in good Meso-American company).
    Howaever many of the people who have done research for the NWAF have not even been Mormons. Beyound this, with the formation of BYU's anthropology department under the leadership of Sorenson there has been a recognition of the sever limits of archeology, and a realization that linguistics tells us a story that archeology can not yet flesh out.

  • Henry
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:16 p.m.

    Wow, Elder Oaks is brilliant. As a Ph.D. student, men like Dallin H. Oaks are an inspiration.

  • RE: Metaphysical delema
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    personal experience is entirely subjective, true. Therefore there must be a test for subjectivity. one's faith is only as good as the object of that faith. God has provided that grounding or the object of that faith(Jesus) through propasitional revelation,the Holy Bible(Hagios Biblos)

  • John Pack Lambert
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:19 p.m.

    To the 7:43 commentator,
    Elder Oaks did not "only speak to the Mormon students at Harvard". His speech was sponsored by the LDS Law Students Association of Harvard Law School, but as you would be able to tell if you had read the article, the majority of people at the event were not Latter-day Saints.

  • Levi
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:22 p.m.

    Oaks said "LDS doctrines and values are not widely understood by those not of the LDS faith".

    Ya know why?

    'Cause the so-called leadership never says anything more than the most basic "follow the prophet" lines. The general membership is left to its own devices to come up with all sorts of interesting "doctrine" that has absolutely no basis in fact and then it is spread amongst the membership as truth, then later it is called false doctrine by the leadership.

    ie: Hill Cumorah, settings for the BoM, BoA translation, what really is against the word of wisdom etc etc etc. Like nailing jell-o to a wall.

  • Elder Dallin H. Oaks
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:42 p.m.

    is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. His understanding of God's purposes are higher than mine, I know, and every time I hear him speak, something in my soul catches fire and I feel this perfect clarity. All the apostle speak with this power and knowledge. The glory of God is intelligence and there is no separation with Him. He really does know everything. From the beginning and to all everlasting, as there is no end.

  • RE John Pack Lambert
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:49 p.m.

    Elder Oaks may be a great lawyer but he is inconsistent on many issues,(Zech 12:1)"...The Lord,who lays the foundation of the earth and who forms the spirit of man..." And (Ecc 12;7)"...and the spirit returns to God,who gave." The Bible rejects his teaching on pre-existence. as well as The several Church councils have condemened Neo-Platonism.(pre-existence)

  • @anon 6:52
    Feb. 26, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    It seems that recently there was a scientific article that said that there were earths like ours in the universe, that couldn't even be numbered there are so many. It seems that scripture says "worlds without number have I created." Is this science trying acknowledge religions presence in the room?

  • @10:25
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:00 p.m.

    Gross overstatements like your's are exactly what Oaks was talking about. Science rarely debunks any religious doctrines and ever more rarely debunks them in a way that can be thoroughly proven without bind faith in science. You act like religion is 100 percent at odds with science when in reality they barely cross each other.

  • utesunshine
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:09 p.m.

    To LDS Member: You are tired of Church leaders raising the fear flag? I can't believe you would say that about an apostle.
    To Thankful: Right On!

  • Let's use Logic
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    Let's go back to beginning Geometry. If this, then that. Or The Scientific Method to Research.

    Much of the Sciences are not out to prove or disprove a Religious Belief, rather explain or disprove a scientific theory.

    Because we are in Utah or most readers to this site are either LDS or LDS-bashers, not all, but most; then we want to discuss the Origins of the Mayans and are they decendants of The Book of Mormon people?

    To say the Mayans came from the Eskimo people can not be proven in the DNA. There is a link, but not necessarily proving one or the other, In other words, If the Mayans have Eskimo DNA, then that is where they came from.

    Poor Logic.

    It's like saying, If there are Clouds, there will be rain. (There may be water in those clouds, but it isn't raining) Stay with me, Religion haters.

    The Book of Mormon states that the people came from Israael. So if they came from Israel, then there would be Israelite DNA.

    But remember to mix seed was looked down upon in many Israelite communities.

    So the discovery has yet to be made.

  • mark
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:23 p.m.

    EVERY college student needs to study religion, (or LDS specificly)...like EVERY fish needs a bicycle

  • mark
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    @Elder Oaks
    Show me all the BYU classes in Hindu and Shintoism, how about Wicca or Voodoun or Navajo religion or Jehovah Witness and Scientology?

    yeah, that's what I thought. only SOME religious teachings are what you want.
    no HYPOCRICY there

  • Let's use Logic 2
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    To make an accurate DNA analysis, one would need a sample of the DNA of Lehi's ancestors, then link that DNA to Lehi, then again link it to the Mayans, assuming they are indeed Book of Mormon decendants which I am perfectly fine believing.

    Hence Science will one day prove a DNA link between Mayans and the ancestors of Lehi, assuming a person believes that Lehi is from biblical times.

    So it would still take a leap of faith for one to believe The Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.

    So we are back to square one. Do you need to touch and see God to believe in Him? If so, then I have no answers for you in regards to His existence other than All Things denote there is a God.

    God is in the miracle of the details.

    I see God in the details of scientific discovery. The stars, the moon, the Sun, the waves of the sea, our eco-system all witness to me there is a God.

    I feel no need to prove there is a God, but you have no proof, there isn't a God.

  • FOOL MOON :0]
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:40 p.m.

    Illogical happenings. Just another manic Friday.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:47 p.m.

    How deluded that not hyping religion means a college is VALUES-FREE.
    Socrates tackled most subjects of good and evil and he wasn't a devout Greek, he used LOGIC, he invented it.

  • Let's use Logic 3
    Feb. 26, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    Let's assume there is no God. If there is no God, then there is no evil, all things being relevant, hence Murder, Rape, Abuse and other crimes are neither heinous or bad, but neutral, man having no conscience of these things.

    But man has a conscience and and can discern when things are hideous. And if man can act in a hideous manner, then man can act in a good way, having followed a sense of conscience.

    And if man has a sense of conscience, then he has a sense of right and wrong, and if there is a sense of right or wrong, then there is good and evil, and man knows that by following the good, then good is added upon and light, truth and knowledge are its fruit.

    If man follows evil, then heinous crime follows heinous crime and darkness is added upon.

    And we can "see" a contrast of good and evil, light and darkness, right from wrong.

    Again, Science can not disprove these things and its purpose is not to disprove good and evil and/or God and Satan, but to make and report discoveries.

    Religion's greatest quest must be God!

  • Chad
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    mark at 11:29 p.m

    Actually, I took a fabulous World Religions class at BYU. We learned about Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. It was taught with respect for other religions and cultures.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:21 a.m.

    Lets use logic.....sophistry, pure sophistry.

  • Re: mark
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:21 a.m.

    You're losing it. Apollo gave us medicine? BYU should offer classes on Wiccanism? Your arguments used to make sense. Now you're so blinded by anger that you're stark raving mad.

  • Re: logica
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    "higher education = less mormon conversions."

    How so? Mormons are among the most educated - if not THE most educated - people in the US. Most of the Quorum of the 12 and First Presidency have graduate degrees, several from Ivy League schools.

    As a person with two Master's degrees, I find your comment stereotypical and way off base.

  • byu alum
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:47 a.m.

    I don't think today's students are interested in the superstitions of yesterday.


    thank goodness.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    To John Pack Lambert--Please don't even bring up the New World Archaeological Foundation. You know what organization was founded by a devout Mormon named Thomas Ferguson. His group began digging in 1955 and after five years they found nothing. He promised they would have evidences of Book of Mormon artifacts by ten years. They continued to dig until the early seventies and Thomas Ferguson concluded that the Book of Mormon was a nineteenth century work of fiction. He said that what was in the book and what was in the ground were two different things. Not one iota of evidence has been found that substantiates Book of Mormon claims. Not one non-member archaeologist and many Mormon archaeologists agree that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE. The foremost expert in Mayan studies, Michael Coe, said Mormonisn has nothing to do with Mayans. Grab at different straws, John Pack Lambert.

  • Savant
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:57 a.m.

    People like Dallin H. Oaks pose a problem for critics of the church and religion. He is educated, successful and yet also devoted to his religion. This flies in the face of the stereotypes that are so frequently bantered about.

  • Religion and Science
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:57 a.m.

    Science and religion are not at odds with each other, science is just to young to understand. (Dan Brown "The Lost Symbol") Science by it's own definition cannot disprove the existence of God or anything that delves in the spiritual realm. Science can only prove things in the physical world that are TESTABLE. This excludes anything on a spiritual realm. Besides, science is ever-evolving and constantly changing. 100 years from now our grandchildren will laugh at the "facts" we theorized, although, science need not be ashamed for its short-comings. Science does the best it can with the information and technology given.

  • Logic schmojik!
    Feb. 27, 2010 1:14 a.m.

    Just because you say it's logic don't make it so.

  • John C.
    Feb. 27, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    To Mark: Your arguments are becoming more illogical every time you post. If a school is founded and ran by a protestant faith what will they concentrate on? Or a Catholic school. BYU was founded by the church and is ran by the church mainly for our church members though we do accept a smaller percentage of non-members as well. What in the world do you think a church ran school would focus on?
    Your hatred is blinding you so badly that you can’t see clearly at all. You need some help badly. There are a lot of people who disagree with our faith just as you do as you have a right to. But they can allow us to believe the way we choose and live their own lives. But you are letting hate consume your soul. GET HELP!!!

  • Carl
    Feb. 27, 2010 5:22 a.m.

    Education should teach people how to read, research, and evaluate. It is not to teach what to believe or what is true. They will find that on their own if they search for it.

    There are many theories buy only one truth. And the world simply hates those that say they have found it.

  • Lady
    Feb. 27, 2010 6:17 a.m.

    Very interesting that this article, and the one about education at the University level producing more liberal students, appears on the same page. This one provides the answer, which is YES! The Liberal teachers of the 60's and 70's are producing the secularists of the present. It is an evil plan, and we know where that comes from, but oh the despair and unhappiness it engenders.

  • dcj07
    Feb. 27, 2010 6:22 a.m.

    The very mention of religion (in any form) makes many in todays society uncomfortable, to the point of wanting to get away from the source. Elder Oaks did nothing but bring to light that the American Education system (at all levels in my opinion) is in some way or another alienating the subject of diety and religion.

    I have found in my own experiences that conversing on the subject with others who have a solid religious value system is quite easy. We may not all worship diety the same, but still recognize God for what he is, which fundamentally doesn't change.

    I also note the great successes of Religion owned institutions of Higher Learning. BYU, SMU, Notre Dame... All have high standards, and well educated, well rounded alumnus. There will always be exceptions of course, but for the most part their graduates seem to have a better grasp on the realities of life and how to put their education and their beliefs to work for themselves and others.

  • Poor logic...
    Feb. 27, 2010 6:32 a.m.

    If there was no God, that doesn't mean anything goes and it's all moral relativism. Science cannot disprove God because the burden of proof is on those who say something exists. Just saying that God exists or a spiritual world exists does not make it so. You have zero evidence for anything supernatural. Science and religion cannot coexist because science actually has empirical evidence while religion has none.

  • Why?
    Feb. 27, 2010 7:04 a.m.

    What happens when intelligent life is found on other planets in the universe and these beings are of another form other than "men?" If God is an "exalted man" then who is the "God" of these creatures? Just asking.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 7:05 a.m.

    Based on prior statements of Oaks and others, they are more concerned with institutions and adherence to dogma, and less about individual religious beliefs. There is a difference. Their preference for the organization and dogma is what troubles me.

  • uakicker
    Feb. 27, 2010 7:06 a.m.

    Amazing how many comments have been made without obviously having read the text of Elder Oaks' speech. Words are powerful things, and combined with ignorance, can lead to much misunderstanding. Those that are so quick to condemn without taking the time or effort to read the provided text, need to return to watching "SpongeBob Squarepants" for their intellectual enlightenment.

    No profound truths will be given without real intent and thoughtful seeking. Complacency is the sedative of the masses.

  • Awedbygod
    Feb. 27, 2010 7:17 a.m.

    This is a really old story. Over 2000 years ago, Seneca said "Religion is true to the common people, false to the wise and useful to rulers". As true today as it was then. It's sad that we fail to change as a species. For all our of apparent technological progress, we still believe in Iron Age myths. There's little hope for our species, we won't survive.

  • Mike
    Feb. 27, 2010 7:40 a.m.

    Well said "Jacob | 5:52 p.m. Feb. 26, 2010"
    I agree totally.
    I endured the positive and negative side of an education at the UofU, all of the way to an M.D. I was mocked for my beliefs, but the scripture in Jacob brought me peace.
    I hear the shrill voices growing louder.

  • JMHO
    Feb. 27, 2010 7:41 a.m.

    Changing scientific views - changing religious views. God only gives us what we can deal with at the time... "Line upon line - precept upon precept" Thus, we have ever changing understanding of what we perceive as "Truth".

  • Advocate of Both
    Feb. 27, 2010 8:00 a.m.

    Universities are not concerned with truth, they are concerned with ideas. Science is not a threat to any who understand that The Creator is the Master of all science; the earth, the universe, and all creation did not come about by magic, or myth; all creation followed laws, even laws we have not yet discovered. Science doesn't prove God isn't, but rather that He is. Religion is to help mankind focus on what is true, while science seeks to discover other truths and God, The Creator, knows all truth. No conflict

  • Cambridge
    Feb. 27, 2010 8:08 a.m.

    In at least one sense, Elder Oaks is wrong: The religion of Anthropogenic Global Warming is not being marginalized by academia. On the contrary, it is the official religion. Academia is once again prepared to send Galileo (those who correctly point out the flaws in the "settled science") to die (professionally) for challenging the dogma.

  • Cambridge
    Feb. 27, 2010 8:35 a.m.

    @Poor Dallin 10:25--Science not only continues to debunk religion, it also consistently debunks other science. I guess that means science must, by your logic, be false. There are even scientists, using nothing but objective fact, who have opposing and incompatible beliefs. Funny.

  • Indiana
    Feb. 27, 2010 8:58 a.m.

    I have a few comments.

    First to those who abhor organized Religion: I like it. I think God is the greatest scientist. He organized a world and when the Saviour and Redeemer of the world came, HE organized His church. I love that God is a God of order and organization. Look closely at the world and see what the disorganization of the world has wrought and then see the order of the Lord... there is a stark contrast and I will take the organization and order of God.

    Years back, I decided to wanted to 'investigate' the "mormon" church mostly so I could tell them how wrong and stupid they were. After some years of study and investigating, putting aside my arrogance and humbly approaching HIM in prayer, I learned that it is the world and myself having been so badly effected by that world that had kept me from God for a very long time. IT was not him, it was me and my abject arrogance.

    I would implore some of you to put aside your worldly arrogance and approach learning with humility and prayer. This from one who did that and therefore knows. Thanks

  • Cambridge Student
    Feb. 27, 2010 9:39 a.m.

    This was not just an address to the LDS students. This was sponsored by a student group at the Law School called the Harvard Law Latter-Day Saints, and was an official Harvard student event event. It was primarily advertised to the law school students, but some students from the business school, the college, the divinity school, and other Harvard departments attended as well. This was not an LDS audience, but there were some LDS in the audience (I think definately less than the majority). The bulk of the questions seemed to come from Harvard Law and Harvard Divinity students, probably because it was a law school event for the first, and because Divinity students spend more time thinking of religious questions.

  • Jan
    Feb. 27, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    It's a ways off of President Oaks' speech, but the separation of religion and politics is exactly the problem in the U.S., especially when it comes to an individual's behavior. I think we should be able to expect that a politician who proclaims to be of a certain religion should behave in accordance with its teachings and conduct himself in the political arena accordingly. Is religious belief just for Sundays?

  • Brian M
    Feb. 27, 2010 9:53 a.m.

    Re: "Preaching to the Choir | 7:43"

    Elder Oaks wasn't invited to speak to the entire student body. Therefore, his speaking to the LDS students was a matter of invitation, not courage.

  • Mal
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    As someone who was ACTUALLY PRESENT at the event, it was great. Non-members alike enjoyed the opportunity to have a respectful discussion, which many of you clearly are incapable of doing in the comment section.

    It's pointless to take his comments in extreme context especially when you were not there. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree, but please, spare us the diatribe when you weren't even present.

  • To: Indiana
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    What phonie baloney our minds do concieve when first we venture to believe what so sadly our frail egos do seem to need.

  • RE: Indiana
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:25 a.m.

    God by definition or "Perfect being Theology".

    A thoroughly benevolent conscious agent with unlimited knowledge and power who is the necessarily existsent,ontologically independent creative source of all else.

  • There is nothing
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    more temporary and unstable as scientific "fact". I am always amused when scientists reveal that what was previously a "known fact" has been replaced by new evidence and understanding. We keep trying, however, but we should never bet the farm on what is currently believed to be scientific fact.

  • Tekakaromatagi
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:44 a.m.

    One purpose of universities is to expose their students to a diverse range of viewpoints and cultures. By doing this the students will be better prepared to succeed in a diverse world.

    When a university professor marginalizes or even mocksm, s/he is sending a powerful message that only certain viewpoints are acceptable. It lessens the appreciation for diversity. That is a great loss for the students.

    Tekakaromatagi

  • Piggy
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    It's the same story from the inquisition to Pol Pot. The intellectuals have betrayed us, the educated are destroying us; it's up to the simple folk, the humble believers to fight back. You can probably guess what happens next.

  • personally
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:01 a.m.

    I don't believe in organized science.

  • @Mark
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:05 a.m.

    All I can say to all you people that reject Christianity is that you are in for a terrible surprise when you leave this earthly state. As for the founding of Collages by Christian sects even the University of Southern California was founded by Methodists.

  • I live in near Harvard...
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:06 a.m.

    ...and the sad thing is...from the pictures...it appears that far too many in the audience are members of the church. ---Especially on the first few rows. I look at the pictures and recognize almost everyone I know from church.

    It's so sad that we "invite" others to learn about our religion and then take up all the seats for ourselves. We love to pat ourselves on the back, when really too small a portion of the audience is not LDS....and those who come are pushed to the back rows. I would love to see members of the church take up the back rows for once at an event like this...and actually get an audience that is not LDS.


    SO SAD!!!! We NEED to stop patting ourselves on the back.

  • so...
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:06 a.m.

    if someone can destroy your faith, does that mean you never had faith to begin with? If your faith is so weak and you truly do not believe in what you "think you believe" then of course someone can persuade you to think other wise. If you have a strong faith, no one should be able to "destroy" your faith. Day in day out people criticize me and tell me I'm wrong, do you think I listen to them? If you feel your faith is being destroyed, maybe you should step back and decide what your faith is and how strongly you really believe in it.

  • Forrest
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:07 a.m.

    Bravo, Elder Oaks!

  • Re: @Mark
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    Just because someone reject mormonism does not mean they reject christianity. They are not one in the same.

  • Believer
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    I grew up in SLC, graduated from the U of U. Had professors who would throw verbal jabs at my faith in the church I believe in. Tell me I persecuted them because I belonged to Utah's major religion.
    Then I moved to the Bible Belt, where I was persecuted for my religion, and unlike my religious leaders, the leaders of the predominant faiths preached against my beliefs, and told my neighbors to not talk to us, or we would posses them.
    Knowledge is power. Learning about religion keeps you from ignorance. Fear holds back intelligence. College of all places should be a place to learn about all beliefs, and scientific theories. Thank you Elder Oaks!

  • RE: Bravo Oaks
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:27 a.m.

    Elder Oaks,"If the glory of God is intelligence" why not use it?
    Christian missionaries must take an intro to Biblical Greek, very helpfull in reading the Greek Septuagint(Apostle Bible). The Book of Moses is extracted from the JST(Inspired version of the Bible)Genesis 1-6,which is totally refuted by the Greek Septuagint. Joseph Smith may not have had access to the Septuagint,but LDS do.

  • RE: Poor logic...
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    Actually you cannot scientifically disprove that God exists. The burden of proof is on those who claim He does not exist. True science and true religion not only can coexist, but they must. And to think that the amount of science that mankind has discovered is enough to explain everything is not only ignorant but arrogant.

    There is a very strong argument that everything (including all that has been discovered by science) gives evidence to their being a God. It is far too complicated for everything to have happened by mere chance. I believe this is so, and that God uses natural laws to do everything that he does. A miracle is not something that goes against scientific laws, but is something that cannot be explained by our limited knowledge of scientific laws.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:34 a.m.

    The problem with religion in college is that it isn't taught unless students particularly seek out classes about it. Religion has such a huge impact on so many people, and as a result, the world and if we can't understand where people are coming from we will never be able to understand them. It is important to learn about every religion (that's a tall order I know) to know more about our fellow humanbeings.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:42 a.m.

    In 1941, eight German PhDs met to devise the final solution. How's this compared to "Love thy neighbor as thyself?"

  • Easy
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    To: Why?

    "What happens when intelligent life is found on other planets in the universe and these beings are of another form other than "men?" If God is an "exalted man" then who is the "God" of these creatures? Just asking"

    The answer to this question is simple.

    Mormons believe that the definition of a soul is the body and spirit combined and that a spirit is formed out of eternal intelligences. God formed the spirits from these intelligences and Mormon scriptures teach that other animals have souls. Can you take this to the next logical step?

    That these animals with their spirit and bodies are eternal intelligences and therefore if earth animals are intelligent it wouldn't be shocking for Mormons to find intelligent life on other planets other than a human being since we only have to start with this earth to find them. Each order of life falls within its own sphere and was created by God and "the worth of souls" is great in the eyes of God.

    The narcissistic belief that God formed man in his own image and therefore there's no other intelligent life is not Mormon doctrine.

  • Cats
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:08 p.m.

    Elder Oaks is such a genius and such a wonderful spokesman for the Church. Many of all different faiths attended and had an opportunity to be enlightened. I'm grateful that Harvard Law School students and others had the opportunity to hear from a true apostle of God.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:10 p.m.

    Mormons and laywers. What a match made in heaven. Both have about the same credibilty.

  • Emjay
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    It takes GREAT COURAGE to stand before a group of unbelievers and declare eternal truth. Elder Oaks is a true apostle and a valiant representative of the Saviour.

  • Use common sense and logic
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    To:Poor logic...

    "Science cannot disprove God because the burden of proof is on those who say something exists."

    Your logic is seriously flawed. The burden of proof in science isn't on the person who claims something exists since science doesn't claim that something is "provable" instead the basis of any science is that a hypothesis must be "disprovable" and any scientist who comes up with a hypothesis will seek to DISPROVE it and when it hasn't been disproved it's considered an accepted or valid theory until it is disproved at a later point.

    "Just saying that God exists or a spiritual world exists does not make it so."

    That's true but sufficient scientific evidence of his existence exists and all scientific attempts to disprove that existence and if we used a "provable" paradigm then all scientific theories about how the earth was formed have failed to meet their burden of proof and require any logical person to forgo common sense and reason to accept such theories on faith.

    I would argue that all things denote that there is a God since theres to much order in the universe for a chance and evolution.

  • All Knowing
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:21 p.m.

    @Anonymous9:13p.m.:

    ["Is it just me or does Mormonville seem especially desperate lately?"]

    All religions are becoming more desperate lately... because people are becoming more liberal and leaving. Atheists are predominantly liberal.

    The exception is Islam which is growing and spreading world-wide. For example, a friend from England tells me that he left there because the Muslims are taking over. Some towns in England are up to 90 percent immigrant Muslim. They are taking control... installing their Sharia Law in place of English Law, dominating the political scene, outlawing Christmas, etc.

    If you don't like Mormonism wait'll you get Muslimism.

  • Cats
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:22 p.m.

    Dear Indiana: Thank you for your wisdom and your testimony. It is so sad to see some of these people who are so full of hate and unhappiness that they mock those, like you, who profess the truth.

    ...and To: To Indiana: 10:24: Do you really think ANYONE is impressed or persuaded by your silly, immature, pathetic remarks. How sad you are.

    Education and intelligence don't necessarily equal wisdom. Wisdom is what comes from knowing God and understanding the purpose of life. I'm afraid there are many, many "educated" people who are sadly lacking in wisdom and understanding of TRUTH.

  • Louisiana Cougar
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    I earned three degrees at BYU but am disappointed with President Samuelson and his sister, Jan Scharmann who are probably the two most powerful leaders at that institution.

    Their adherence to principles of justice have unfortunately been suspect in how they have dealt with people at the university. I earned a PhD after leaving BYU -- and write about a broad variety of virtue-based topics in large measure because I struggled with the failures of BYU leaders to follow the precepts of the Church.

    A paper I recently wrote is about Love, Forgiveness, and Trust as those constructs apply to the modern leader. Another compared secular trust to religious faith.

    Here's hoping that those who profess love and respect for others will treat people as "yous" rather than as "its" -- a concept advocated by the German philosopher, Martin Buber. LDS members and people of all faiths would benefit by treating others as valued individuals rather than as commodities.

  • Logic escapes some anti-Mormons
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    To:Let's use Logic 2

    "Hence Science will one day prove a DNA link between Mayans and the ancestors of Lehi, assuming a person believes that Lehi is from biblical times."

    There may be a chance science will advance to a point where it can prove such a DNA link but it can't do it now.

    I'm going to use myself as an example. Let's assume that I am o European descent and my wife is African and I have two daughters and 3 sons and my:

    Eldest daughter marries a Native American
    Middle daughter marries a Asian
    Youngest daughter marries a Jew
    Eldest son marries someone from Africa
    Youngest son marries someone from Asia

    What does this say about my grandchildren? Remember that mtDNA is passed on by women and that men can't pass it on to their children and remember that the Y chromosome is passed on from father to son.

    Can anyone guess what would happen if my great-grandchildren were to intermarry into a native population?

    To find a link to me and my wife would require my direct male descendant or my wife's direct female descendant.

  • justcurious
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    There is an amusing absurdity to almost every comment being made here, irrespective of viewpoint.

  • RE: Cats
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    "Harvard Lawyers", Joseph Smith on Lawyers,"Don't employ lawyers, or pay them money for their knowledge,for I have learned that they don't know anything. I know more than they all know."(DHC.. vol 5 p467)

  • LynnLW
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    @wrz | 7:48 p.m. Feb. 26, 2010
    //Both God and Christ consistently refuse to show their faces. Why??? Why not get with it, God, and remove all questioning about your existence and the validity of your gospel?//

    You ask why God and Jesus Christ don't reveal themselves now? You say they should get with the program? Would you believe it if they did?

    Do you believe Joseph Smith's First Vision, or the visions in the Doctrine and Covenants? Do you believe God still has living prophets? I do. I believe God and Jesus have revealed themselves in the last 190 years, known as the latter days, or modern era. Now it's up to us to accept it, or reject it. Unfortunately, most have chosen to reject it.

    I challenge you: talk to the missionaries, read the Book of Mormon and D&C 76, 137,and 138. Decide for yourself, and don't listen to the ranting of the anti-Mormons who are all over the net like a swarm of termites and will say anything to try to destroy the faith of us Latter-day Saints.

  • Logic escapes some....
    Feb. 27, 2010 12:56 p.m.

    Now let's follow the same line of logic of my previous post to determine whether DNA would be able to find a DNA link between me and my wife and my descendants.

    Knowing that the Y chromosome is only passed to the direct male descendant means that the only Europeans that would be in my line would be the descendants of both of my sons yet none of their daughters would be European since their mtDNA would be African or Asian but their sons would have European Y chromosomes and African mtDNA (which they can't pass on). This means that the only Europeans in my line would be the sons of my sons but if they married Native Americans this would mean their direct male descendants would be of European descent while all of my other descendants wouldn't have European DNA. As you can see anything in that line that breaks such as one son not having children would sever any DNA link to me which means that you would be hard pressed to find an European in the Native American population since my DNA would be weeded out to a few hundred descendants if lucky.

  • BYU
    Feb. 27, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    @7:04 "What happens when intelligent life is found on other planets in the universe and these beings are of another form other than 'men?' If God is an "exalted man" then who is the "God" of these creatures? Just asking."

    Try asking your question again after we've actually found some intelligence life on other planets. Until that occurs, your statement really is just a terrible "straw man" argument.

    And, out of curiosity, what would you do if it turned out that they were "in the form of men" like ourselves?

  • Ethan
    Feb. 27, 2010 1:02 p.m.

    I think its high time all superstitions were marginalized.


  • @ 11:06
    Feb. 27, 2010 1:05 p.m.

    I agree completely with you. It does get a bit tiresome listening to all the know all braggers on these posts.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 1:35 p.m.

    @Why? | 7:04 a.m. Feb. 27, 2010
    //What happens when intelligent life is found on other planets in the universe and these beings are of another form other than "men?" If God is an "exalted man" then who is the "God" of these creatures? Just asking.//

    I absolutely love the Doctrine and Covenants, and I do believe that there is intelligent life on other planets,and other dimensions. Latter day scriptures make it clear we are not alone. This is from the Doctrine and Covenants 76, in a vision of Jesus Christ by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon:

    22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
    23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father–
    24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.



  • Lynn
    Feb. 27, 2010 3:24 p.m.

    @Anonymous 1:35 p.m. February 27, 2010

    Another scripture that confirms this is in Moses, Chapter 1, in the Pearl of Great Price:

    31 And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.
    32 And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
    33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

    35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

  • Jonathan
    Feb. 27, 2010 3:55 p.m.

    I am a Harvard Law Student and a member of the Harvard Law Latter-day Saint Student Association's Board. I was present at the talk last night and wanted to clarify the circumstances of Elder Oaks' visit for those on this comment thread:

    We (LDS Harvard students) invited Elder Oaks to speak at an open forum at Harvard Law School. Non-LDS Harvard Law students and faculty were in attendance. After speaking for 45 minutes, Elder Oaks answered questions posed by audience members for 45 minutes. Most of his speech was about the basic tenants of the Mormon faith, but he answered questions on a wide variety of topics, some of which were difficult and/or controversial.

  • RE: Lynn
    Feb. 27, 2010 4:56 p.m.

    Book of Moses 32:..."Which is my "only begotten"(monogenes)Defined: The word phrase "only begotten is the English(KJV) word phrase translation for the Greek word (mongenes) Which means one and only Son, not an event in time,or orignation as applied to man. Joseph mis-understood the Greek.
    Book of Moses 33;...God, talked with him(Moses) face to face." see(Exodus 33;11).."Lord spoke to Moses face to face"
    But let thes N.T. interpret the O.T.
    "By faith he (Moses)forsook Egypt,not fearing the wrath of the king: For he endureth as see Him who is 'invisable'."(Heb 27:11)
    A Christian married to a Mormon

  • Mormon Convert
    Feb. 27, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    I am a collage graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. No, I didn't attend BYU, but I have met Elder Oaks. He is probably one of the best minds on the face of the earth. If he hadn't been called to the leadership of the LDS Church, he could very well be sitting on the Supreme Court.

  • re: Henry Drummond
    Feb. 27, 2010 5:33 p.m.

    You might perhaps be interested in General Conference which will be held the first Sat/Sun in April. It's where the leadership of the church addresses the members of the church and anyone else willing to hear. If you have access to BYUTV on Satelite and cable or can look up the official church website to find out more on how to access these addresses. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • RE: Cambridge Student
    Feb. 27, 2010 5:41 p.m.

    OR is it princton graduate,
    as you named yourself in another forum,

    whatever,
    it would nice if you decide WHO you really are,


    anywho, to my point,


    you claim science has disproved religion,


    could you actually give some supportable examples of where science has DISPROVED mormonism,


    and yopu MUST be able to back it up.


    come on just one even.


    Seems you are blowing general statements, devoid any substance, that demonstrates hatred for religion,

    and not showing you are one that is really is interested in truth,

    no matter where it may come from.

  • Old Snappy
    Feb. 27, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    I will never forget two experiences while earning a PhD at U Wisconsin-Madison. Signed up for a graduate class in Ornithology and after four lectures of hatred and derision for religious ideals I dropped the course. My major professor commented he had never had a student with strong religious beliefs stay in that course. Then I had a genetics course from a gifted researcher and teacher. The last day of class he shared his belief that God was the greatest geneticist in the universe and his hope was to some day be counted worthy to be a petri dish washer in His lab.

  • Lynn
    Feb. 27, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    @RE: Lynn | 4:56 p.m. Feb. 27, 2010
    //Book of Moses 32:..."Which is my "only begotten"(monogenes)Defined: The word phrase "only begotten is the English(KJV) word phrase translation for the Greek word (mongenes) Which means one and only Son, not an event in time,or orignation as applied to man. Joseph mis-understood the Greek.//
    I'll take Joseph's word over yours any day. Take it in context. It is clear Only Begotten means the Son of God.

    If you are a Christian married to a Mormon, you should know Mormons are Christians, just not traditional, evangelical Christians, but Christian, nevertheless, whether you like it or not.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:37 p.m.

    Great article. Elder Oaks is awesome. To bad there are so many pseudo intellectuals out there. Truth is truth where ever you find it be it in religion or science. Elder Oaks doesn't condemn higher education. Maybe you should read about the man, his accomplishments, etc. befire condemning him.

  • Moracle
    Feb. 27, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    What Elder Oaks has said, is true! I know,befcause I have applied the test he suggested for personal revelation, and have received it.
    Rather than forthright opposition to what he has said, why not try it yourself? Ask God if it is true!
    What do you have to lose, other than false notions?
    Try it, you'll like (love) it.

  • wrz
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    @Let's use Logic 311:52p.m.:

    Let's assume there is no God. If there is no God, then there is no evil...

    Not so. Evilness, so called, such as rape and murder was established as bad conduct by humankind because mankind decided eons ago that such conduct brings pain and disruptive life to others. It didn't take God to set that up. God set up other requirements such as "love God" which is almost totally an incomprehensible concept and "have no other Gods before me" which would be alot more realistic if he/she would appear now and then to cast competitive gods aside. Many people develop and worship many other gods and do so with full confidence they're doing the right thing, yet the "only true God" doesn't seem to care a whit. What gives?

  • wrz
    Feb. 27, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    @LynnLW12:45p.m.

    ["You ask why God and Jesus Christ don't reveal themselves now? You say they should get with the program? Would you believe it if they did?]"

    What would there be to not believe?

    ["Do you believe Joseph Smith's First Vision..."]

    A bit of physical proof would be useful.

    ["I challenge you: talk to the missionaries"]

    What new information could they provide?

    ["Decide for yourself..."]

    All decision making requires evidence.

    ["...anti-Mormons [who] are all over the net like a swarm of termites and will say anything to try to destroy the faith of us Latter-day Saints."]

    Their effort would be foolishness should God or Smith have left some evidence in their wake.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 1:26 a.m.

    I just did a quick google search and found out that 695 U.S. universities offer religion classes or programs. Yeah, so marginalized....

  • Poor logic...
    Feb. 28, 2010 9:29 a.m.

    No, my logic was fine. The burden of proof IS on those who say something exists. That's how science works. You are correct though in saying that as we gather that proof we use hypotheses that must be falsifiable.
    Just because YOU think the design argument is true and that the universe is too complex to have happened without the hand of God doesn't make it so. You have zero proof for God or his existence. If you have some, lay it out.

  • re: wrz
    Feb. 28, 2010 9:31 a.m.

    Good questions, but I would ask what physical proof COULD there be that the Father and Son appeared to Smith? Even in this day of digital photography and Google Earth, what if God didn't want the event photographed?

    I would say the fact that Smith was willing to be continually tortured, maligned, imprisoned and finally killed because he would not recant his story should at least be considered.

    Why would a man be willing to die young and healthy and leave his wife and little children behind if he made it all up?

  • Scott
    Feb. 28, 2010 10:59 a.m.

    I'll take all of the comments on here about conservatives and religious people being morons as a compliment. That makes me rare!

    I'm living proof that you CAN have 3 college degrees (from liberal colleges no less!) and belong to Mensa and still believe in God!

  • Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 12:59 p.m.

    By lamenting the fact that Mormonism is so misunderstood, Elder Oaks betrays his (and Mormonisms) extremely solipsistic world view. The vast majority of religious people I encounter are absolutely convinced of the rightness of their own beliefs and the wrongness of everyone else's. Mormons are no exception.
    The fact of the matter is that most people are simply incurious about the beliefs of others. How many of you Mormons out there, including you Mr. Oaks, have studied at length the tenets of other world religions? I'd be willing to bet that if someone had asked in the Q&A that Mr. Oaks describe at length the distinguishing features between Nichiren Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism he would have been unable to do so. I hate to be the one to have to break it to you Mormons, but on the world stage, you are a very small drop in a very large bucket of religious belief.

  • Yale Graduate
    Feb. 28, 2010 1:07 p.m.

    "solipsistic" = Five bonus points.

  • Skippy
    Feb. 28, 2010 2:58 p.m.

    Anonymous | 5:09 p.m. Feb. 26, 2010

    "I agree with Elder Oaks. He has a lot of wisdom. Student's beliefs are many times unnecessarily destroyed by some professors with an agenda."

    and there are no religious people w/ agendas because they are as pure as new fallen snow. Just ask Joel Osteen, Ralph Reed, GW Bush, John Hagee, Tim Tebow, Morris Cerullo, Pat Robertson, etc...

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    Re: All Knowing | 8:34 p.m. Feb. 26, 2010

    It would mean Deism & Gnosticism are not compatible w/ the LDS Religion.

  • Re: Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 3:03 p.m.

    I have to agree with you, and you are so very correct on what you have written. I personally have been around and about many different religions and you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you, for your comment.

    RL

  • RE: Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 5:43 p.m.

    Mormons may be a small drop in a large bucket,

    but size has never been an indication of truth.

    If there is a God then there can only be one FULLY true system of truth.

    A TRUE god would be the author of anarchy.

    and all other systems must be, to some degree or other a corruption of that truth.

    or completely devoid of it.


    that is why they are "absolutely convinced of the rightness of their own beliefs and the wrongness of everyone else's"

    because it MUST be true,

    or it is not.

  • RE: Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    [sorry, had make a small but very important correction.]

    Mormons may be a small drop in a large bucket,

    but size has never been an indication of truth.

    If there is a God then there can only be one FULLY true system of truth.

    A TRUE god would NOT be the author of anarchy.

    and all other systems must be, to some degree or other a corruption of that truth.

    or completely devoid of it.


    that is why they are "absolutely convinced of the rightness of their own beliefs and the wrongness of everyone else's"

    because it MUST be true,

    or it is not.

  • RE: Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 5:49 p.m.

    Once I KNOW the FULL truth of the model of the atom,

    I do not need to know the full details of past wrong models,

    to know the truth.

  • IMHO
    Feb. 28, 2010 6:24 p.m.

    The more LDS play the whining, victim-of-persecution card and accuse "the world" of marginalizing them and being out to get them...

    ...the more it will become true! Higher education owes no allegience to LDS dogma. If LDS doctrine and theology cannot stand the heat of academic debate, then they deserve to be marginalized.

    At least part of the intent of the Founders of the US Constitution with the "establishment clause" and the "free exercise" clause was so that religion could not be institutionalized with a privileged position as part of government and society. Instead, religion must fight it out in the free market of ideas along with all the other ideas. In our society, if religion in general, and LDS ideas in particular, are feeling marginalized, perhaps that is because you offer nothing of value!

    Your doctrine is stodgy 19th century Puritanism mixed incoherently with German pop philosophy and social engineering; your Church organization is ancient hierarchical bureaucracy and paternalist authoritarianism combined with 19th century machine politics models; your Church is little more than a type of Multi-level Marketing club.

  • TDB
    Feb. 28, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    Once again the LDS know alls have arrived to argue a useless cause.

    REALLY and HONESTLY, no one cares what you guys believe in.

  • Setaf
    Feb. 28, 2010 6:45 p.m.

    Amazing or maybe not, the number of people who opened their mouths and inserted their feet, who apparently did not read the story. Also, very few open minds on this forum. The ignorance shown is astounding. If you don't understand something you close your mind and either insult it or call it names. No great stock of genuine intelligence shown. Much of what Mr. Oaks' speaks about and against has made itself known right here. Maybe that's why some of the best minds have also practiced a bit of humility and humbleness.

  • Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    Re:Harvard Law Student

    You illustrate my point beautifully... I take it you believe that yours is the "FULLY true system of truth" (whatever this means). And you know this because??? Before you say that God revealed it to you, I will remind you that countless people of other faiths tell me the exact same thing.

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you have meticulously studied all other truth claims existant in the world and dismantled each one in turn. To do this you would have to show why your faith based truth claims are somehow different from all the rest. Can you do this? Observable evidence would be nice, but I don't think this is Mormonisms strong suit.

    When you understand why you so easily dismiss all other truth claims as corrupt, you just might start to understand why I reject your truth claim as also corrupt.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:16 p.m.

    The question of whether or not God exists is entirely unrelated to the question of whether any particular religion is correct. Every religion on earth could be 100% manmade and false(they are) and there could still be God. Of course, there might not be either.

  • Anti-mormons comment again
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    The anti's would like you to believe that religion is opposed to science. They would like you to believe that any one who believes in religion is stupid. They make fun of the church at every chance they get. They are flat out bitter- whether they were ex-communicated or were offended. The fact of the matter is that many educated people are religious. Many smart people have a testimony of the truth.

  • re: Setaf
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:23 p.m.

    I don't need to close my mind, insult it, or call names. Merely provide empirical or logical proof that God exists or your religion is true. It's never happened but I'm open to new evidence. Nothing has "made itself known." If you believe just on faith, that's fine for you, but someone's mere faith should have no standing or bearing on education, politics, etc. That's what you and others don't seem to comprehend. Where is your humility to the notion that your whole belief system is completely unsupported by any rational evidence? Where is your open mind to finding out you are mistaken?

  • Nonmember
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:27 p.m.

    You can't win a fight with a skunk.

  • Jake Sparrow
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:44 p.m.

    "The anti's would like you to believe that religion is opposed to science. They would like you to believe that any one who believes in religion is stupid. They make fun of the church at every chance they get. They are flat out bitter- whether they were ex-communicated or were offended. The fact of the matter is that many educated people are religious. Many smart people have a testimony of the truth."


    Wow... listen to you, sounds like the, "Anti's" aren't the only ones who are bitter...

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    Some have a hard time facing reality.

  • Seattle Guy
    Feb. 28, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    RE: Harvard Law Student - I thought you "Harvard people" were "smart", yet you can't understand basic points. If the church is true and from God then you do have to worry about others. I'll make it simple for you since you are over thinking this- if 1+1= 2 and it is proven to be so not only by others, but you yourself have tested this and confirmed it; then why for example would you need to study 1+1=3, 1+1=7, or =5 ect? You don't. You apparently don't understand or know anything about the LDS Church, or beliefs. Church leaders DO encourage members to study other faiths (in a far matter); often having them (other churches) tell you about their own faith. They even do this at church schools. The LDS Church recognizes and teaches that other churches are good and have SOME truths. YOU yourself have proven Elder Oaks point- People like you only care about, and rely on the teachings of man, and will dismiss anything that would require faith. This is what many schools do.

  • To, Jake Sparrow
    Feb. 28, 2010 8:01 p.m.

    Only in you own mind. I don't think religion is stupid, I just hate seeing people misled by lies. However, that is your choice to believe in whatever you desire to believe, but it does not mean that the rest of us have to agree with you, or believe in what you believe. None-the-less, Good luck to you anyway.

  • re: Anti and Seattle Guy
    Feb. 28, 2010 8:29 p.m.

    People who believe in religion are not "stupid". Yes, many educated people believe in God/religion. But no matter how many subjective, anecdotal "testimonies" you can come up with they do not provide any evidence that religion is anything other than a potentially positive placebo effect.
    Feel free to list whatever "test" you used (it was nothing like doing an addition problem in math) but you have nothing definitive to base your beliefs upon which is why you use the term faith...belief without evidence. No one should, nor normally does, believe his/her teacher, doctor, lawyer, plumber, etc. without evidence. But in this one area you choose to believe in something supernatural without any empirical evidence. It makes no logical sense. But educated people of both the secular and religious persuasion are often not logical, so there you go.

  • Harvard Law Student
    Feb. 28, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    RE: Seattle Guy

    Forgive my ignorance about the Mormon church. You appear to be saying that the fact that 1+1=2 proves that your church is true. I'm sorry but I don't follow your logic.

    So other churches have SOME truth, you just happen to be the lucky ONE with ALL the truth? (Yawn) Wow, your mother must be so proud of you! How is this different from all the other churches who say the exact same thing?

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    "People like you only care about, and rely on the teachings of man"

    Always one of my favorite believer lines...the irony oh the irony!

  • ME is real
    Feb. 28, 2010 9:21 p.m.

    I believe in ME for certain! Certainly I'm a true fact of ME and a fact to those who know ME. I don't live another persons daydreams nor their silly superstitions because that not ME. For ME it's all about ME and a few people who know ME and I know THEM and they ME.

  • Jessa Young
    Feb. 28, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    I don't think that Elder Oakes is condemning higher education, I think he is pointing to a current bias in higher education against religion. I am not religious, but I do have a degree and I think he is right about that. Its not popular to be religious anymore.

    I know many very intelligent people who use religion as a tool to further their purpose in this world, in ways that serve humanity and the rest of the planet and I think that's admirable. There are many non-religious persons who do this also.

    My parents are LDS and they are on a non-religious mission in China funded by BYU, teaching English to Chinese medical students. There's a good example of how individuals can lessen the gap between educational institutions and religion.

    My hats off to everyone who is working together with others, with different backgrounds and beliefs by focusing on the common ideals that are important to all of us, and necessary for the health and well-being of our earth, and all of the species including humanity, who live upon it.

  • Seattle Guy
    Feb. 28, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    "Anti" above. Anti- Science can NOT disprove that there is a God, or that Christ lived and did what he did. There have ALWAYS been witnesses of everything- from All walks of life. - Even those testimonies DO hold up that there is a god. Even our nation's courts accept "testimonies" and “Witnesses” on court cases-but I guess with religion they don't count.
    You must test it by doing it. Which you can't do - because you won't.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 10:36 p.m.

    Seattle Guy...do you believe in Odin? Why or why not?

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 28, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    Who says all the so called Anti LDS do not believe in God? Perhaps they don't believe in Mormonism, but many of them to believe in God and his only son Jesus Christ. Many of us are devout Christ followers, and believe in one God who rules the universe.

    Please get over all the accusations by saying you are the only one who has the truth, and that none of the rest of us have knowledge of anything. Get over your hotheadedness and know all attitude. Finds some peace.

  • John
    Feb. 28, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    Re: Anonymous
    LDS believe that everyone has some truth. But why would God create all these different churches that conflict with each other? and with Biblical teachings? He wouldn't -

  • To John
    Feb. 28, 2010 11:42 p.m.

    I suppose you are saying that all churches are basically wrong including LDS? It sure looks as though this is probably the case.

    Just believe in God and leave all the crazy religions alone. Although many churches are good for one thing or another and that is usually socializing, and the welfare needs of the poor.

  • John
    March 1, 2010 12:10 a.m.

    Re: To John -
    I ever said that- you missed the conversation- LDS Claim that only there's is true and others have some truths. Point is - that God has always spoken to prophets and aposlties - why would today be any different? LDS most aren't boastful, but KNOW what they know- testify of it. Others are offended beause they can't get past the idea that god would still call prophets - to know his will. They have been taught that the heavens are closed and god has said all that he's going to stay.

  • Le Majure
    March 1, 2010 4:17 a.m.

    Truth agrees with truth! There is no conflict in truth. If two things contradict each other, one is right and the other is wrong, or one is wrong and the other is right, or they are both wrong. In contradiction they can not both be true.
    Therefore; what honest men seek is truth. True Science. True Religion. True Friendship. True Love. True Information. Incorrect theories will vaporize in the light of more truth. Much scientific (as will as religious) thought has already done that.
    All knowledge is not created equal! Just because we lable something, "science" or "Religion" or "Law" etc., does not make it True or Valuable. The test is in the results. The False Will Fail! The True Will Survive!
    In any form of academics: SEEK TRUTH. Do not attack truth in Ignorance. Ignorance is the cause of un-intended consequence.
    Try to remember, The one with the most truth wins. The one with the most lies - Dies. "J"

  • Re John
    March 1, 2010 8:24 a.m.

    Oh, yes they do get past it. Lets not get all huffy and puffy here just because a few think they know how everyone else should react and think. Remember, Mormons are not the only human beings born on this earth who claim to have brains. Live and let live.

  • One man's science...
    March 1, 2010 8:51 a.m.

    ..is another's religion. How many times have we read "scientific studies" which state coffee is good for you one year and bad for you the next? Or that wine and beer are good for you in one study and bad for you the next?

    As an academician, I have seen the "religion of research" where so called intellecuals spend countless hours "praying that the study yeilds results" to keep their grants or position. While a few (very few) yeild anything positive, many sustain themselves at the alter of the test tube.

    Frankly, we need more religious thought. Religion is to make bad men good and good men better. As Benjamin Franklin stated: "Man is so evil WITH religion, imagine what we'd be without it".

  • @Seattle Guy
    March 1, 2010 9:02 a.m.

    I've been a Church member my whole life. I don't recall EVER being encouraged to learn about other faiths nor having other churches talk about their faiths. But then, I never attended a Church school (ie BYU). Does this happen at BYU?

  • BYU Grad
    March 1, 2010 9:36 a.m.

    I've been a Mormon my whole life as well and I graduated from BYU, I was taught that the FULL truth can only come from Mormon leaders and that all other faiths are corrupt or deficient in some way. I'm beginning to realize that the same point of view is held by Muslims and many other Christians. I think we as Mormons should back off from such arrogance as I can see that it can only lead to problems.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    One man's belief is another man's oppression.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 10:01 a.m.

    There are college professors out there that have a very definite agenda against religion. I had a professor at a community college in California about 15 years ago. The class was a history class that had some focus on religion. She proudly talked about 2 LDS return missionaries she had failed the previous semester because they would not agree with what she was teaching. She even talked about how knowledgeable they were, but she had failed them specifically because they disagreed with her way of thinking. She then went on to say she looked forward to failing anyone (especially LDS) that would disagree with her in the current class.

  • Religion and values
    March 1, 2010 10:14 a.m.

    Elder Oaks states: "colleges and universities have become value-free places where attitudes toward religion are neutral at best"

    Just because people are neutral or indifferent to religion doesn't mean they lack any values at all. I find it arrogant when religious people suggest that religion is required for one to have standards or values.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 10:42 a.m.

    Religion is not under persecution. One simply has to look at any one dollar bill to come to this conclusion. (In God we Trust)
    This constant talk of 'agendas' and yet we have catholic schools, seminary, legal weddings at churches when city calls are the only one's who give legal recognition to marriages....

    It's all one big sham.

    Let's give an example. Are you allowed to talk to a stranger about your faith in a public place?

  • humm?
    March 1, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    Just think of all the good people who don't go to church, but if they did decide to go to church they would be considered great people. However, there is always an evil one at church who thinks he/she is better and greater than all others who attend church, and they usually go to church ONLY for social purposes to maintain some kind of status about him or herself. Some of these same folks become jealous of the better members and drive them out because they don't conform to their ways and didn't want to be part of their foolish, cliquish games of self righteousness.

    Being a religious person has nothing to do with being part of a social group or a clique of snobs who don't appear to have a religious bone within their entire body. You can worship God without the funny business.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 11:03 a.m.

    re: Old Snappy | 9:01 p.m. Feb. 27, 2010
    "I will never forget two experiences while earning a PhD at U Wisconsin-Madison ...Then I had a genetics course from a gifted researcher and teacher. The last day of class he shared his belief that God was the greatest geneticist in the universe and his hope was to some day be counted worthy to be a petri dish washer in His lab."

    Its not surprising that you find someone biased in Madison; I have heard its like Berkeley of the upper midwest.

    I have long held the opinion that God is The greatest Natural & social scientist of all time.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 11:28 a.m.

    "What would have happened if I would have said I agree with abortion? They would have kicked me out."

    And I would have been kicked out for expressing an anti-abortion point of view at my school. Secular schools are way more close-minded, when it comes to different points of view, than BYU. I spent four years telling my professors exactly what they wanted to hear instead of thinking for myself and following my conscience, just so I could get a degree. I know other very intelligent people who didn't fall in line, and they didn't do so well.

  • Anonymous 2
    March 1, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    To Anonymous Feb 27th 12:52. Not so fast! Please spare us the negatives! Michael Coe's statement denouncing Book of Mormon evidences was way back in 1973 in a Dialogue article. He was simple observing the situation then, nearly fourty years ago. Coe also in the same article made a rarely quoted statement defending viability of Book of Mormon archaeological research that explores and gathers evidences from all explorations to test the historic text. It is a long difficult process that Thomas Ferguson--not and archaeologist--did not understand when he started NWAF in the 1950's.

  • Overlooking an important point
    March 1, 2010 12:55 p.m.

    In 2009 Dallin H. Oaks gave another talk at BYU-Idaho on Religious Freedom. He references an article "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" which lists reasons for the collapse including:

    "Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism."

    Dallin Oaks didn't talk about this particular point nor do I hear Church leaders speaking to this issue. The marriage of religion and politics has been corrosive for our country and for religion. According to recent surveys, young people still hold beliefs in God similiar to prior generations yet they are less likely to go to church.

  • Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 5:44 p.m.

    Comparing science to religion is absurd. Sure it changes, that's the way it's supposed to work. Various 'studies' don't equate to well developed theories, as if studies that come to different conclusions is even in the ballpark of religion shrinking from the light.

  • John Pack Lambert
    March 1, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    To the 11:33 commentator,
    It is also not clear that Michael Coe ever read the Book of Mormon enough to make statements on its historicity. Too often people set up straw man attacks on the Book of Mormon instead of actually paying attention to what it actually says.

  • schmo
    March 1, 2010 7:29 p.m.

    Anonymous. I'm starting to respect the Amish more everyday. They choose not to use this technology to scream at everyone and yet call themself Anonymous.
    I want to be invisible and yet tell everyone of their stupidity.
    "the godless are the dull and dull are the damned"
    eecummings

  • stirring the pot
    March 1, 2010 8:39 p.m.

    Per CNN...

    "Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs."

  • Anonymous is my name!
    March 1, 2010 9:00 p.m.

    Is schmo anonymous or not? If you type Ken, George, Suzie Q or Fred is it or is it not anonymous? Seriously, a post like that and you're trying to do religion a favor? (Think about it.)

  • Anonymous
    March 2, 2010 12:25 a.m.

    JPL..strawman? Seriously? Arguing Michael Coe's knowledge of the BOM is NOT a strawman? Puff...puff..

  • TO: hummm?
    March 2, 2010 2:33 a.m.

    I agree that in any religious setting, it can be tempting for people to fall into the trap of judging, comparing and/or criticizing. Those who believe in Jesus Christ should act better and often don't. I'm truly sorry if this happened to you.

    All that makes me think of the Pharisees in the New Testament who persecuted/looked down on Jesus Christ for associating with sinners. Christ came to save, not to condemn- and those who believe in Him, should do the same.

    Please know that there are those out there, who believe in God (believe that "God is Love") and are doing their best to follow Him, not to play the silly game of "I'm "better" than you". We attend church on Sunday not to look down on others, but because we love God and His Son, want to serve them ,and are trying to learn to love others. (I say learn because we all mess up!) I hope you find peace...

  • TO: stirring the pot
    March 2, 2010 3:00 a.m.

    I would still rather believe in God and be "fat, dumb and happy" as CNN and their "evolutionary psychologist" (the ultimate authority), I guess puts it. (I guess as opposed to "skinny, smart and unhappy", with my high IQ? :)...

    High IQ does not automatically equal wisdom.
    God is real and omnipotent. Finding Him brings peace.
    Peace. (-to you :)

  • Anonymous
    March 2, 2010 6:57 a.m.

    Can anyone on this list tell me that non-LDS archeologists and anthropologists take the Book of Mormon seriously? There's a reason why they don't. I'll let you figure out why.

  • Good comments
    March 2, 2010 12:47 p.m.

    Why are people so judgmental of others? There is nothing spiritual about a judgmental person who looks down on others. I doubt in my life time peace will ever come to this earth with all the hate people spew around about others.

  • dan
    March 2, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    Satan loves to help us rationalize and justify things to make us feel better about something we are doing that we shouldn't or something we are doing but not. Satan is the father of all lies. There are too many people who are trying to "JUSTIFY" thier choices in life. I bet there are people reading this that just justified that there is not such thing as Satan. Once again, he's got ya! Don't worry when life get hard enough and you aren't truly happy, you'll return to the roots of a loving Father in Heaven. Oh.....there you go again, your telling yourself you really are happy in this life. Just keep rationalizing and justifying your position, maybe someday you'll finally convince yourself.

  • Anonymous
    March 2, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    Dan, if admitting to myself that I don't know what lies behind the veil and wishing that men didn't tell my family that they did while building massive retail infrastructure is rationalization and justification of Satan....what can I say...I can live with you saying you believe that and actually LOVE that your allowed to post it, but these LDS issues will not die a quiet death.

  • Jeff
    March 2, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Anonymous 6:57 wrote: "Can anyone on this list tell me that non-LDS archeologists and anthropologists take the Book of Mormon seriously? There's a reason why they don't. I'll let you figure out why."

    It's easy. If they took the Book of Mormon seriously, they would convert to Mormonism, then they wouldn't be "non-LDS." People of all sorts of professions and educational levels do it all the time if they have the courage of their convictions.

    It's amazing how wonderful life can be when one takes the Book of Mormon seriously. I am delighted by the serious reading I can do with the Book of Mormon, both devotional and scholarly. I am unapologetically delighted by the profound effect the book has on all aspects of my life.

  • re -- Jeff | 8:42 p.m
    March 3, 2010 9:30 a.m.

    you just needed something to believe in. lots of people are like that. they need a higher power to give their life meaning.

    and that's fine. good for you. just don't expect those of us that aren't insecure to believe it too.

  • Question
    March 3, 2010 9:32 a.m.

    What empirical evidence do any of you have for God or Satan? Why shouldn't religion be marginalized?

  • re question
    March 3, 2010 1:38 p.m.

    What empirical evidence do you have for God and Satan not existing?

  • Jeff
    March 3, 2010 5:32 p.m.

    It has been suggested that my reason for believing is because I "just needed something to believe in," and that others don't believe because they "aren't insecure." (See "re--Jeff" from 9:30 am)

    This sort of facile dismissal is one of the things I think Elder Oaks is addressing.

    There is no close reading of what I wrote (see Jeff 8:42), nor even a Freudian analysis of my writing style. There certainly could not have been any sort of indepth study of my personality and character because the poster doesn't know me. There is a pop-psychology dismissal of my religious experience with the excuse that I have "insecurities" that the writer doesn't have.

    I personally know many believers and non-believers, and they all have insecurities. Though there are common threads in the narratives of both belief and disbelief, each individual approaches (or confronts) God differently.

    While I don't expect everyone to believe as I do, I usually appreciate an honest approach to the subject, which frequently does not happen in today's society.

    Can we discuss it without hasty generalizations or open contempt?

  • Anonymous
    March 3, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    Jeff...an honest approach? To Joseph Smith and Mormonism? I don't think you will find a disbelieving Mormon that disagrees. How about an honest approach to how much money Oaks makes on the backs of believers. Anyone?

  • an atheist says
    March 3, 2010 6:41 p.m.

    As an atheist, I'll stop marginalizing religious beliefs when they stop marginalizing mine.

  • Jeff
    March 3, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    To Anonymous (6:26): Yes. Let's approach Joseph Smith and Mormonism honestly. Why don't we start by being honest about our motivations in either believing or disbelieving?

    I believe mainly because of personal experiences with the Spirit.

    How much of disbelief is based on a personal feeling that there cannot be divine intervention, creating a circular logic? "I don't believe in angels, therefore Joseph Smith could not have seen one."

    How much of disbelief is based on having received some personal offense from believers? "Some Mormons behaved terribly to me, so I cannot believe that they belong to a valid religion."

    How much of disbelief is based on a sudden shaking of a long-cherished belief in a non-scriptural tradtion? "I always believed in the Church until ONE DAY... [cue the ominous music] I discovered..." [insert some "horrible secret belief" here].

    Sure, let's have an honest approach to how much money Elder Oaks makes on the backs of believers. I think you'll be shocked to find that it's next to nothing. How much money is in the anti-Mormon industry? More than Oaks makes, I'm sure.

  • Anonymous
    March 3, 2010 7:35 p.m.

    "Sure, let's have an honest approach to how much money Elder Oaks makes on the backs of believers. I think you'll be shocked to find that it's next to nothing. How much money is in the anti-Mormon industry? More than Oaks makes, I'm sure."

    There was not a thing honest about that reply. How about a verifiable number? I sincerely doubt that there is more money in the "anti-mormon industry" (what exactly is that by the way?) than Oaks has made from Mormonism, but I am honest enough to admit that I have absolutely know way of knowing. Do you?

  • Re: Question
    March 3, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    If there is not empirical evidence for something, you assume it doesn't exist. God and Satan do not exist. The burden of proof is on you to show that they do exist. You have no more evidence for God's existence than you do for Odin, Zeus, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • Scott
    March 3, 2010 9:59 p.m.

    It should be remembered that science also relies on a leap of faith - scientists call it interpolation (filling in the blanks).

    I don't think any of us should get too smug about having all of the answers.

  • Arizona Reader
    March 3, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    I love Elder Oaks and am grateful for his experience. How wonderful it is to have prophets, seers and revelators. Your welcome to agree or disagree with them if you'd like. As for me, when I listen to what they teach, it brings me closer to Jesus Christ and I have more peace in my life. I think all of us would appreciate more peace, don't you? Try it for yourself...listen to what he teaches, try to live it and see if you feel how I did. Elder Oaks, great man, great prophet!

  • Anonymous
    March 3, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    Scott, I was not aware that science preaches having all the answers. It does claim to have the best method of uncovering truth, but is quite humble in not knowing all the answers.

  • chris
    March 4, 2010 1:42 p.m.

    religion and superstition are not the same thing. thats a secular, leftist, communist type of view on the subject. i agree wholeheartdly with elder oaks and could care less who that offends. higher education is not frowned upon by the LDS church, it is encouraged. i think the content of the higher education itself and the beliefs of individual profs are many times not so great though. no that does mean they are not entitled to have them. we all have to decide what we believe and don't believe.

  • re: Chris
    March 4, 2010 5:47 p.m.

    What evidence do you have that religion and superstition are not the same thing? Your ad-hominem attack of "secular, leftist, communist" does nothing to help your argument. You don't say why you agree with Elder Oaks. Why shouldn't religion be marginalized? Yes, we all do have to decide what to believe and what not to believe but that should actually be based upon evidence, not just subjective feelings.