Monday, June 7, 2010

Elder Oaks and Science, Revelation

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke recently at Harvard about the basic principles of the LDS faith, in a way that I found very interesting.

Here are some excerpts, first about Jesus Christ and His role in both resurrection and eternal life:
Because of His resurrection all who have ever lived will be raised from the dead.  He is the Savior whose atoning sacrifice opens the door for us to be forgiven of our personal sins so that we can be cleansed to return to the presence of God our Eternal Father. 
And about the process of finding truth:
We seek after knowledge, but we do so in a special way because we believe there are two dimensions of knowledge, material and spiritual.  We seek knowledge in the material dimension by scientific inquiry and in the spiritual dimension by revelation.
Here's his quite interesting description of revelation, one of the "distinctive elements of our faith"
Personal revelation—sometimes called “inspiration”—comes in many forms.  Most often it is by words or thoughts communicated to the mind, by sudden enlightenment, or by positive or negative feelings about proposed courses of action.  Usually it comes in response to earnest and prayerful seeking.  “Ask, and it shall be given you;” Jesus taught, “seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7).  It comes when we keep the commandments of God and thus qualify for the companionship and communication of the Holy Spirit. 
I found it interesting to note this clear description of revelation as providing feelings or inspirations, quite different from the process of obtaining truth through scientific inquiry.


  1. Notwithstanding the great evil of these times, what a glorious season it has been and now is. A new day has come in the work of the Almighty. That work has grown and strengthened and moved across the earth. It has now touched for good the lives of millions, and this is only the beginning.

    This great dawning has also resulted in a tremendous outpouring of secular knowledge upon the world.

    Think of the increased longevity of life. Think of the wonders of modern medicine. I stand amazed. Think of the flowering of education. Think of the miraculous advances in travel and communication. Man's ingenuity knows no end when the God of heaven inspires and pours out light and knowledge.

    -- Gordon B. Hinckley

  2. Good point. I totally agree with and endorse Pres. Hinckley's optimism.

    But what does that have to do with scientific vs. spiritual inquiry?