The scriptures tell us that when the Savior comes at the Second Coming He will reveal secrets about the heavens above and the earth below. All scholarly minded latter-day saints take note! You don’t want to miss the meeting where he tells everyone how the world was created.
Another interesting question about the Millennium is, what will science be like? Will it be like it is today? Will it be run by the Church of God? Will it not change at all?
Let me start by saying that I am sure there will be science during the Millennium, just as sure as I am that there will be golfing. However, whereas golfing will likely remain the same, science will undergo some changes. What kind of changes? The same kind of changes that the political government will undergo.
Brigham Young taught that during the Millennium the political kingdom on earth will “grow out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not the church.” I take this to mean that politics will be guided by the principles of righteousness found in the Church, but it will not be directed by the Church. Think about it this way, Deseret Book is an outgrowth of the Church and it adheres to the doctrines of the gospel, but it is not the Church.
The same can be said about millennial science. During the Millennium I believe that science will be founded on principles of righteousness, but it will not be the Church. Scientists will be free to pursue any scientific endeavor they choose, but they will do so with an eye single to the glory of God and in a manner consistent with the doctrines of the Church.
This state of affairs between science and the Church means that millennial scientists will likely expunge the moral relativism and atheistic dogma that are endemic in science today. Moreover, given the state of righteousness that will prevail, the presence of resurrected beings, and the increased outpouring of the Light of Christ, I predict that scientific discoveries will multiply at an unprecedented pace.
On a final note, we know that the lamb and the lion will co-exist in peace during the Millennium, but will the evolutionists and non-evolutionists be able to co-exist in peace as well?
Shortly after the Civil War, the Union Army Surgeon General stated that mid 1800s medicine was “at the end of the medical Middle Ages.” This statement acknowledges that during the Civil War era, the medical profession was ill-prepared to handle diseases, infections, and war wounds. Their lack of knowledge on what caused disease, how to avoid infections, and how to treat wounds contributed to the death and suffering. This was a time when more soldiers died from disease than battle wounds, and checking into a field hospital was often a death sentence.
The following excerpt from the journal of Carl Schurz, a Union commander at the Battle of Gettysburg, describes the horrors of Civil War surgical procedures. After 5000 years of human history, this was the best surgical approach that humanity had to offer.
“To look after the wounded of my command, I visited the places where the surgeons were at work. . . . At Gettysburg the wounded-many thousands of them-were carried to the farmsteads behind our lines. The houses, the barns, the sheds, and the open barnyards were crowded with the moaning and waiting human beings, and still an unceasing procession of stretchers and ambulances was coming in from all sides to augment the number of the sufferers. A heavy rain set in during the day - the usual rain after a battle and large numbers had to remain unprotected in the open, there being no room left under roof. I saw long rows of men lying under the eaves of the buildings, the water pouring down upon their bodies in streams.
Most of the operating tables were placed in the open where the light was best, some of them partially protected against the rain by tarpaulins or blankets stretched upon poles. There stood the surgeons, their sleeves rolled up to the elbows, their bare arms as well as their linen aprons smeared with blood, their knives held between their teeth, while they were helping a patient on or off the table, or had their hands otherwise occupied; around them pools of blood and amputated arms or legs in heaps, sometimes more than man-high. Antiseptic methods were still unknown at that time.
As a wounded man was lifted on the table, often shrieking with pain as the attendants handled him, the surgeon quickly examined the wound and resolved upon cutting off the injured limb. Some ether was administered and the body put in position in a moment. The surgeon snatched his knife from between his teeth, where it had been while his hands were busy, wiped it rapidly once or twice across his blood-stained apron, and the cutting began. The operation accomplished, the surgeon would look around with a deep sigh, and then - "Next!" And so it went on, hour after hour, while the number of expectant patients seemed hardly to diminish.
Now and then one of the wounded men would call attention to the fact that his neighbor lying on the ground had given up the ghost while waiting for his turn, and the dead body was then quietly removed. Or a surgeon, having been long at work, would put down his knife, exclaiming that his hand had grown unsteady, and that this was too much for human endurance - not seldom hysterical tears streaming down his face.
Many of the wounded men suffered with silent fortitude, fierce determination in the knitting of their brows and the steady gaze of their bloodshot eyes. Some would even force themselves to a grim jest about their situation or about the "skedaddling of the rebels." But there were, too, heart-rending groans and shrill cries of pain piercing the air, and despairing exclamations, "Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord!" or "Let me die!" or softer murmurings in which the words "mother" or "father" or "home" were often heard.”
Look how far medical knowledge has come in just 150 years! We are light years ahead of where we used to be during the Civil War, and yet it did not take light years to get where we are; it has taken less than two centuries. Why has incredible progress taken place during the last 100 years and not during the previous 5000 years? Answer: The Restoration and the concomitant outpouring of the Light of Christ. We are living in a wondrous time foretold by the prophets of old. The blessings of the fullness of the gospel extend far beyond religious domains.
Do you know who Phyllis Burgess is? You should. She is an elderly woman who went to a Prop. 8 rally in Palm Springs to voice her opinion against gay marriage.
Like Daniel in the lion's den, Phyllis stood calmly among an angry mob of gay marriage activists. They shouted at her, hissed at her, pushed into her when she tried to speak to a reporter, and knocked the cross that she was carrying to the ground and then stomped on it in a fit of rage. Throughout all of it she remained resolute and calm and even told the angry mob that she loved them.
This sort of activity brings to my mind the mob activity the Saints faced long ago. The more these activists protest in hateful ways against those who profess traditional Christian values, the more they show their true colors, and I am not talking about the colors of the rainbow. Their true colors show them to be potential converts to the great and abominable church of the devil, that organization which seeks to persecute the Church of the Lamb of the God and its followers.
Given her age, Phyllis looks to be a member of what Tom Brokaw calls the Greatest Generation. The Greatest Generation refers to our seniors who sacrificed so much to halt the tide of Nazi fascism that swept across Europe during WW II. When times were tough and everything looked bleak, they stood up to one of the fiercest tyrants the modern world has ever known. Their courage liberated an entire continent and returned peace to billions of people. Their efforts took guts and tenacity, the sort of guts and tenacity we see in people like Phyllis Burgess.
Click here to view the video of Phyllis confronting the protestors.
After the passing of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California, homosexual activists have been out in full force. They have organized marches around the Lord’s temples (SLC and Las Vegas most recently) and harassed Californians who support Prop 8, so says my sister who lives there. It seems that people who accuse members of the church for being hateful for embracing the gospel truth regarding the sanctity of marriage have become themselves agents of intolerance and intimidation.
These activists did not appear overnight. They have been infiltrating the regulating bodies and the legal system of our courts, changing policies and viewpoints in an attempt to normalize same-sex relationships. I first noticed these developments back in 2001 when they planted some operatives in the American Psychological and Canadian Psychological Associations’ (the APA and CPA). The outcome? Both associations normalized same sex relationships and embraced gay marriage, all in the name of science and progress. Moreover, they claim that psychologists who teach or say anything counter to their pro-gay resolutions are acting in an unethical manner.
I was once a card carrying member of both associations. I am no longer a member of either association, and will remain so for a long time to come.
A few years ago homosexual activists were also successful in ramrodding gay marriage down Canadians’ throats. The issue was never put to a vote among the electorate; it was decided in the dark, smoke filled rooms of the House of Parliament, and pushed through by the defection of one conservative party member to the liberal party. That’s right, the vote of one activist agent in the Canadian House of Commons forced the reality of legalized gay marriage into the lives of millions of Canadians.
Do gay marriage activists realize that they are working for the great and abominable church of the devil? According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “To be in opposition to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on moral issues is to link arms with Satan and to fight against God. On this point we must speak plainly and bluntly—there is no middle ground; men are either for him or against him, and those who are not for him are against him” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 144.)
Let’s not confuse the activists with individuals who are sincerely struggling with same-sex attraction; the latter need our love and support. Yet the activists also need something from us, they need our prayers so that they may realize the error of their ways. There is another thing that we should be doing during these perilous times, that is standing fast in the face of persecution from gay marriage activists and all other detractors. As we do so we can take heart in the inspired promises of the Standard of Truth, uttered by the prophet Joseph Smith:
“No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
Two months ago nothing scared my 20 month-old son. But as his awareness of his surroundings has increased over the last few weeks, he has grown increasingly weary of weird looking things like spiders and strange sounding things like my electric razor. This change was especially evident during Halloween. As most parents know, ghosts, ghouls, and goblins elicit some interesting and funny responses from kids. Sure, we try to comfort and assure them that the ghost is not real, and the older kids seem to get it, but what about the younger kids?
Studies suggest that toddler-age kids have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy, notwithstanding assurances from adults. Belgian developmental psychologist Jean Piaget discovered that many kids have difficulty discerning fantasy from reality before 7 years of age. I imagine that the younger kids are, the more they struggle with this. This means that for a 2 year-old child, the ghost hanging above the porch at the neighbor’s house on Halloween night was real, no matter what Mommy said!
Other studies support Piaget’s assertion. A recent study in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology found that when 3-5 year olds were asked to distinguish real characters such as knights and Michael Jordan from fictional characters such as monsters and dragons, they did so correctly less than 40% of the time. Their ability to discern real from fictional characters dropped as age decreased.
All this suggests that younger kids actually see monsters, ghosts, and goblins as being real, but this is only a problem during Halloween, right? Wrong. Children are bombarded with fictional content on television that, while innocent to adults, may create dilemmas for younger minds that are unable to discern reality from fiction. This means that if a 3 year-old sees someone get killed in a movie, he or she may think that it actually happened, regardless of a parent’s assurances. It is thus important for parents to avoid letting young children watch images on television that may upset their delicate minds, at least until they are able to tell fact from fiction. Fortunately, most young children 2-5 years-of-age prefer playing to watching grown-up shows.
The counsel to avoid exposing young children to potentially troubling images on television is consistent with the words of Jacob who reminds us that the feelings of our children are “exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate,” and that we should avoid subjecting them to things that may unduly disrupt their delicate minds.
The two pillars of science are empiricism and rationalism. In the case of empiricism, scientists attempt to observe the natural world in an unbiased and objective manner, and in the case of rationalism, scientists try to think about the natural world in an unbiased and objective manner. These two pillars, as reliable as they are, are ill-suited for providing us with knowledge about God because knowledge of God is faith-based.
Faith provides us with spiritual knowledge that transcends the physical and rational. Faith cannot be manipulated in a randomized controlled trial. It is not tangible nor can it be measured in any empirical way. It is even resists operationalization (making intangible things measureable) because its essence is difficult to ascertain. For instance, shall we measure faith with the number of times someone attends church or the number of prayers said per week? Or perhaps faith is best measured by how closely we live the 10 commandments. These operationalizations are a good start, but they hardly capture the essence of faith.
One thing is clear; faith is not amenable to measurement.
Even if we had the tools to reliably measure faith, understanding faith in a scientific manner would prove elusive because, as the Doctrine and Covenants declares, spiritual matters “can only be perceived by purer eyes” (131:7). This scripture tells us that spiritual and faith-based knowledge is not discovered through classroom instruction and laboratory research, it is a gift from the Lord.
Faith also escapes the grasp of science because it entails subjective truth. Subjective truth refers to personal knowledge that is real and meaningful to persons experiencing it. Given its personal nature, it is not capable of being conveyed to others in an empirical and rational way; therefore it is not capable of being confirmed in a scientific manner. From a scientific viewpoint, faith in God is an irrational and non-empirical concept. Explaining faith to a non-believer is a bit like explaining the color red to a blind man – it cannot be done. Faith and color can only be understood through experience.
In sum, faith in God is outside the realm of natural, science-based experience; therefore science can neither confirm nor disprove His existence. Even the late evolutionists and agnostic Stephen Jay Gould conceded this point. He wrote:
“Science cannot by its legitimate methods adjudicate the issue of God’s [existence]. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can’t comment on it as scientists. If some of our crowd [e.g., Richard Dawkins] have made untoward statements claiming that Darwinism disproves God, then I will find [my third-grade teacher] Mrs. McInerney and have their knuckles rapped for it…. Science can work only with naturalistic explanations.”
Well said, Mr. Gould.
The scriptures tell us that in the latter-days, when perilous times come, the righteous need not fear. Not fearing, however, does not mean ignoring perilous events. On the contrary, the Lord has instructed the righteous to learn the signs of the times and to look for them, that they may know when the coming of the Lord is nigh at hand.
One of the signs of the times that may soon come to pass is a sharp increase in disease and pestilence resulting from global warming (regardless of the cause, whether it be greenhouse gas emissions and/or changes in solar activity).
A recent article in Scientific American reports that recent global warming will likely lead to an increase in diseases if the warming trend continues. Researchers expect a rise in diseases caused by pathogens that thrive in warmer climates. Twelve diseases expected to rise with global warming are: cholera, bird flu, ebola, parasites, lyme disease, plague, red tide (poisonous algae blooms in coastal waters), sleeping sickness, tuberculosis, rift valley fever (a newly emergent, deadly virus carried by mosquitos), babesiosis (a malaria-like disease carried by ticks), and yellow fever.
Now let me offer a non-scientific explanation for why these diseases and pestilences will increase in the earth: the wickedness of humanity. We were reminded in the last general conference (Oct. 2008) that we are living in times that equal the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. The only reason the Lord has not destroyed the wicked today is that He is letting the wheat (righteous) grow up with the tares (wicked). But the Lord will not allow this situation to go on indefinitely.
In D&C 38:11-12 the Lord tells us that the heavens and eternity are pained because of the wickedness upon the earth. At this very moment there are angels waiting for the command from God to unleash destruction upon the face of the earth – destruction that will destroy the wicked. This destruction will include a sharp increase in disease and pestilence.
Based on the teachings of Wilford Woodruff, this outpouring of destruction may already be underway. He wrote, “But I want to tell you now, that those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day they shall be poured out."
As diseases, pestilences, famines, and natural calamities increase in the world, science will always be there to offer a natural explanation, and it should. But let's not forget the other explanation for these signs of the times in the latter days – the wickedness of humanity.
So when a country is ravaged by famine and thousands die, sure, let’s blame changing weather patterns, but let’s not forget the possibility that an utterly corrupt government may have something to do with it.
And when a modern city is destroyed by a massive flood from a hurricane, sure, let’s blame a poorly constructed levy/dike, but let’s not forget the possibility that a city full of black magic and riotous living may have something to do with it.
And when an entire region of the earth witnesses widespread death and destruction from a tsunami, sure let’s blame an earthquake that happened hundreds of miles away in the ocean, but let’s not forget the possibility that wickedness may have something to do with it.
We cannot be certain that wickedness caused these events; we only know that such events will increase in the last days because of wickedness. Our responsibility is not to judge. Our responsibility is to be prepared (because wickedness is all around us, similar calamities could occur in our communities), and to know the signs of the times.
The mind-body problem asks “How can something material interact with something immaterial?” That is, how can an immaterial mind/spirit influence a material body? This question has perplexed scholars for ages, and it is a question that I am sure resulted in many sleepless nights for Descartes after he proposed a mind-body dualism. Descartes’ mind-body dualism was that humans are composed of two distinct realities, the physical and the mind/spiritual. Sounds good. The only problem is, how does the mind influence the body, and vice versa?
Descartes solution was that the interaction between mind and body took place in the pineal gland located near the center of the human brain. This seems like a logical choice (I mean, it is much better than the first joint in the big toe), but he was wrong. I am sure that Descartes is now aware of fact that the pineal gland is a melatonin-producing endocrine gland, not the center of mind-body interaction. And if Descartes has been attending the wonderful general conferences that are going on in the spirit world (and listening to great modern-day prophets), he also knows the solution to the mind/spirit-body problem. The solution is that the spirit is capable of influencing a material body because it too is material, only more refined, a fact that may be self-evident to those living in the spirit world.
As latter-day saints we can put the issue of the mind-body problem to rest, which is good because I would like to move onto a new problem: the intelligence-matter problem.
The intelligence-matter problem is this: How does a seemingly non-material intelligence interact with physical material?
Of course, the whole essence of the intelligence-matter problem relies on an accurate understanding of intelligence. Compared to our knowledge of spirits (which is not extensive), we know very little about intelligences, that primordial essence of humanity.
Here are a few of my assumptions regarding intelligences.
1. Intelligences are eternal.
2. Intelligence is found in all matter.
3. Intelligence, as the word suggests, has the ability to ‘understand’ God.
4. Intelligence obeys God’s commands (this makes miracles possible, e.g., water to wine)
5. Intelligence does not posses moral agency, so it cannot intentionally disobey God.
6. Humans once existed as nothing more than intelligence.
The intelligence-matter problem comes into play with #2 and #4. Intelligence exists in matter and is capable of making its matter act in accordance with God’s will, such as when God searched out matter containing the sort of intelligence needed to create human spirits, and ordered it to form into spirit bodies – the intelligences obeyed and you and I became sentient, spiritual beings.
I admit that I have characterized the intelligence-matter problem as a sort of “ghost in the machine” problem that led to the mind-body problem, only this time the ‘ghost’ is a seemingly immaterial intelligence and the ‘machine’ is matter. Yet, if intelligences are in fact physical material, then why do the scriptures make a distinction between “intelligence” and “matter”.
Then again, I may be wrong.