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There’s a lot of noise about the conflict between science and religion. People worry about the contradictions. What should I think about this?
The Doctrine and Covenants breaks through the artificial barriers people raise between science and religion to the point that believing Latter-day Saints have no interest in this so-called “conflict.”
This expansive statement releases us from believing anything that isn’t true. The Lord does not say, “Truth is what the government says it is” or “Truth is what your teacher says it is” or even, to be honest, “Truth is what this or that Church authority says it is.” No, the book says that truth is knowledge of what actually is—what is real, verifiable, and complete. To know the truth is to know things as they really are now, as they really used to be, and as they really will be.
Intriguingly, the revelation does not say that “truth is things as they are,” but that “truth is knowledge of things as they are.” Only when we know a thing as it really is, do we know the truth of it. When you think about it, knowing the truth about anything is quite a challenge. Look at any object—say, a pencil or a stone on the ground or even your own finger—and ask yourself if you know it as it really is. You see it only in part at any given moment, so you can’t really say you know the truth about it. Before space travel, people could see only one side of the moon—seeing nothing of the other side meant that for centuries we didn’t know it as it really is.
And then we’ve had to invent instruments to explore what’s underneath the moon’s surface, but the conclusions of scientists are quite speculative (although we’re reasonably sure it isn’t cheese). Now we “know” more about the moon, but we still don’t know it as it really is.
How much less do we know a person as he or she really is. Although we live so close to people, we often know amazingly little about their deepest dreams, doubts, and hurts. We don’t even know ourselves very well. The Prophet Joseph Smith put it well when speaking to the Saints: “All things with you are so uncertain.”
But for a Latter-day Saint, and for a real scientist, the vastness of our uncertainty is not a depressing but an enlivening realization. Both of us, scientist and Saint, are excited by the prospect of no end of things to learn, no shortage of truths to be uncovered. Joseph Smith was excited for:
Doctrine and Covenants 121:28–31. A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest. All thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed . . . And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars—all the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed.
In other words, the Lord promises to reveal the truths about the mysteries that intrigue scientists: the truths of astronomy, geology, mathematics, physics, sociology, and politics. The origin of the universe, the nature of time and space—all “shall be manifest” and “nothing shall be withheld.”
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
** The following was taken from Dews of Heaven, The: Answers to Life's Questions from the Doctrine and Covenants. The opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to Breck England and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.