[James E. Talmage]
The address of August 9 appears in the Church section of this day's Deseret News, and the delivery of the pamphlets carrying the address was made to us today. The cause of the long delay in publishing this address, and some incidental points of interest, should perhaps be noted here. The subject is 'THE EARTH AND MAN.' A copy of the complete pamphlet will be bound in with this Journal. See entry herein for Tuesday, April 7, 1931. On April 5, 1930, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith of the Council of the Twelve made an address at the Genealogical conference, which was published in 'The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine' of October, 1930. This address was entitled 'Faith Leads to a Fulness of Truth and Righteousness.' The following is taken from page 148 of the magazine referred to: 'No Death on the Earth Before Adam' 'As I have read, the Lord pronounced the earth good when it was finished. Everything upon its face was called good. There was no death in the earth before the fall of Adam. I do not care what the scientists say in regard to dinosaurs and other creatures upon the earth millions of years ago that lived and died and fought and struggled for existence. ... '
Elder B. H. Roberts, Senior President of the First Council of Seventy, inquired by letter addressed to the First Presidency as to whether these utterances of Elder Smith were to be construed as an expression of his personal opinion or as a doctrine of the Church. The Twelve considered the matter in several sessions and reported to the First Presidency whose action is noted herein under date of April 7 last. Many of our students have inferred from Elder Smith's address that the Church refuses to recognize the findings of science if there be a word in scriptural record in our interpretation of which we find eve a seeming conflict with scientific discoveries or deductions, and that therefore the 'policy' of the Church is in effect opposed to scientific research. In speaking at the Tabernacle on August 9 last I had not forgotten that in the pronouncement of the First Presidency mentioned under date of April 7 last it was advised and really required that the General Authorities of the Church refrain from discussing in public, that is preaching, the debatable subject of the existence of human kind upon the earth prior to the beginning of Adamic history as recorded in scripture; but, I had been present at a consultation in the course of which the First Presidency had commented somewhat favorably upon the suggestion that sometime, somewhere, something should be said by one or more of us to make plain that the Church does not refuse to recognize the discoveries and demonstrations of science, especially in relation to the subject at issue. President Anthony W. Ivins, of the First Presidency, presided at the Tabernacle meeting, and three members of the Council of the Twelve were present ' Elders George F. Richards, Joseph Fielding Smith and Richard R. Lyman. Of course, Elder Smith, and in fact all of us, recognize that my address was in some important respects opposed to his published remarks, but the other brethren named, including President Ivins, expressed their tentative approval of what I had said. I am very grateful that my address has come under a very thorough consideration, and I may say investigation, by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve. The discussions throughout as relating to the matter have been forceful but in every respect friendly, and the majority of the Twelve have been in favor of the publication of the address from the time they first took it under consideration. I have hoped and fervently prayed that the brethren would be rightly guided in reaching a decision, and, as the Lord knows my heart, I have had no personal desire for triumph or victory in the matter, but have hoped that the address would be published or suppressed as would be for the best. The issue is now closed; the address is in print.
[James E. Talmage, Diary, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]