David O. McKay, Genesis, and Evolution: Part 2.

Pierre Lecomte du Noüy, from Wikipedia.

Pierre Lecomte du Noüy, from Wikipedia.

In a previous post, I detailed President McKay’s explicit, published, written approval of a very pro-evolution LDS magazine article. This served as evidence that President McKay did not understand Genesis 1 to prohibit an old earth, evolution, etc.

Shortly after the 1954 publication of Joseph Fielding Smith’s Man, His Origin and Destiny, BYU History professor Richard D. Poll and his wife were invited to discuss the book with the author. Knowing that President McKay disagreed strongly with the book, they managed to arrange a meeting with him on the same day. According to the Polls’ combined notes, made immediately afterwards, President McKay, “striking the desk for emphasis… repeated that [Man, His Origin and Destiny] is not the authoritative position of the Church.” He went on to recommend two books on “the problem of man, nature, and God” which considered “two of the outstanding books of the century”: A. Cressy Morrison’s Man Does Not Stand Alone and Pierre Lecomte du Noüy, Human Destiny Continue reading “David O. McKay, Genesis, and Evolution: Part 2.”

David O. McKay on Evolution and Reading Genesis

One part of my book on Genesis 1 addresses the question “Why can’t we just believe what our Church leaders have said about Genesis 1?” Well, that presumes two things; first, that a unified interpretation of how to read Genesis has existed among them, and second, that such a unified interpretation (if it existed) had come about via revelation.

I examine three Church presidents to demonstrate the variety of views. On one extreme is Brigham Young, and on the other sits Joseph Fielding Smith. In the middle is David O. McKay. His position was that Genesis was indMckayeed revealed scripture but, contra Joseph Fielding Smith, that status did not mean it was historical/scientific in nature. Genesis was therefore not an obstacle to belief in evolution. Continue reading “David O. McKay on Evolution and Reading Genesis”