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Question

 

Gramps,

How do I explain the Neanderthals to an investigator?    If you don’t know who they are, they were a species or subspecies of archaic human, in the genus Homo. Neanderthals became extinct around 40,000 years ago. They were closely related to modern humans, sharing 99.7% of DNA.

Adi

 

Answer

 

Dear Adi,

You could try saying the following:

“The Neanderthals were a species or subspecies of archaic human, in the genus Homo. Neanderthals became extinct around 40,000 years ago. They were closely related to modern humans, sharing 99.7% of DNA.

“But this has little to do with the restoration of the gospel. Let’s talk a little about the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

The truth of the matter is this is a scientific question that they want a religious answer to.  This doesn’t make any sense to ask.  That is why the Church’s official position is that we have no official position on evolution or the creation of the earth.

The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded, Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, (not) one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church.  William E Evanson; Mormonism and Evolution: Authoritative LDS Statements

The point of teaching the gospel is to bring salvation to the souls of men, not to explain, support, or refute scientific theory.  We have scientific method for that.  And it all has nothing to do with salvation.  When preaching the gospel, we have revelation.  That is how we learn about the things with regard to salvation.

Thanks,

 

Gramps

 

 

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