90 years ago today - Sep 29, 1931

Talmage's address [i.e., 'The Earth and Man'] twice and with care. The subjects therein treated, delicately yet forcefully, are of high importance to our youth who in the midst of modern-day knowledge are seeking to anchor their faith. ... Early in the discussion [among the Twelve] one of the brethren said he could not see an objectionable utterance in the sermon whatever, that, in his opinion, it is exactly what is needed to be placed in the hands of our young people who are tinged with skepticism, to reconcile them to the teachings of the gospel. He reported that a great number of copies of the sermon had been applied for to distribute among the young people of the Church.

Others of the brethren did not apparently entertain this view.

The concensus of opinion was, as I interpreted it, that inferences might be drawn from the sermon, if published in its present form, that would lead to much discussion in the Church and possibly put into the minds of many people doubts in relation to the correctness of some matters, or doctrines, given to the Church by divine Revelation. As for instance, it is well understood by the brethren of this Council to be a doctrine of the gospel, given to the Church by Divine Revelation, through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, that Adam was the first man (on the earth); that he was and is the Father of the human family, and presides over the human family under Christ; that he is the Ancient of Days, which in itself is a very significant title; that mortality and death upon the earth came through the fall and the fall came by the transgression of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden....

The sermon in one paragraph sets forth the claim, (which to do justice to Brother Talmage, is given as the views of eminent scientific men) that there was life and death upon the earth in an endless succession of animals and plants running back into the ages and ages that are past, thus leaving one to infer that there was life and death upon the earth before Adam, or prior to the fall.

Wherever in the Church the discussion takes this phase our young people will be let to choose between Divine Revelation and the claims of science, which latter are often based on theory;

And again the scientific theory, or claim, is set forth in the sermon to the effect that man finally emerged, or was developed from and through a ie of animals life reaching back, into numberless ages of the past, to the protoplasm. This of course is the doctrine of evolution and is as I understand it repugnant to the teachings of the Church of Christ.

Should this phase of the sermon be discussed among our people, many misleading inferences would be drawn, and questions like this might arise: If there was life and death and a race of men before the fall of Adam, then there must have been two Adams and two falls, also two fathers of the human family, all of which would lead to utter confusion.

Finally a motion was made and seconded to the effect that in the opinion of the Twelve the sermon should not be published. This motion, after some further discussion, was followed by a substitute motion to the effect that the sermon be returned to Brother Talmage and that he be requested to remodel it if possible by cutting out the objectionable features. Brother Talmage consented to do this.

... Note: When this report was made to the Council some of the brethren took exception to the expression, 'reaching back, into numberless ages of the past, to the protoplasm.'

I presume I should have said 'reaching back, into numberless ages of the past, to the single- celled protozoan.'

[James E., as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

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