Different faiths have different teachings about the origins of life on Earth and, in particular, how human beings came to exist as we do today.
You might be interested to find out, do Mormons believe in evolution?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormonism) does not have an official stance on the theory of evolution. Individual followers have their own beliefs about the theory, but the Church considers it a matter for scientific study.
Read ahead to find out what the Mormon faith says about evolution, and what has been said about the theory by the Church.
What Is The Mormon Stance On Evolution?
Officially, the LDS Church does not take any position on whether biological evolution has occurred. It is neither considered to be completely factual nor fictional, and they state that the idea that species’ inherited traits change over time is for science to contemplate, rather than religion.
What the Mormon Church does say, however, is that humans were all spirit children of heavenly parents before being born on Earth, and that God directed the creation of Adam and Eve and placed their spirits into their earthly bodies.
This means that there were no “spiritual children” of God on Earth before Adam and Eve, and all humans alive today are descendants of these two ancestors.
As for individual Mormons, the church leaves it up to them to believe what they choose about the theory of evolution.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that around 52% of Mormons believed that humans have always existed in the same form that they do today and about 43% believed humans had evolved over time.
What Do Mormons Believe About Evolution
To understand a little more about what individual Mormons actually think about the theory of evolution, a Next Mormons Survey conducted in 2016 asked two specific questions.
The first stated, “God created Adam and Eve sometime in the last 10,000 years and humans did not evolve from other life forms.”
54% of respondents said that they were confident in this fact and that they knew it to be true. Only 6% said they were confident that it was NOT true, with the rest having some degree of doubt.
The second question stated, “Evolution is the best explanation for how God brought about the emergence and development of life on Earth.”
24% said that they were confident that this was true, whereas 20% said they were confident it was not true.
From this survey, it is clear that Mormon beliefs about the theory of evolution are varied, and it is neither universally accepted nor universally denied.
Has Mormonism’s Stance On Evolution Changed?
Individual leaders and publications within the Church have given differing opinions on evolution over time, which have affected the way that followers feel about the theory.
Many, however, look to three official statements made by the First Presidency about the idea.
In 1909, some years after Charles Darwin published On The Origin Of Species (which outlined the main points of his theory of evolution), the First Presidency released a statement that affirmed the Mormon belief that Adam is the direct, divine offspring of God.
The statement did not directly say that evolution was untrue or evil, but simply one of the “theories of man”.
In 1910, the First Presidency released a statement saying that members of the church should be kind to everyone, regardless of their opinions or beliefs about evolution, and that the Church joyfully accepts proven science.
Another statement was released by the First Presidency in 1925 that reiterated the message of what was said in 1909, but with less “anti-science” language.
Over the years, various official publications and leaders have spoken or written about evolution, some of which have been highly negative about, or directly opposed to, the theory. These include the messages of Church presidents, apostles, and scholars.
The prevailing message of the LDS Church, however, is that it does not seek to clash with scientific ideas.
Summary: Do Mormons Believe In Evolution?
So, do Mormons believe in evolution? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no official position on the theory.
Some leaders and publications have opposed the idea in the past, but statements from the LDS Church have generally made a point to remain neutral on the subject.
In terms of individual Mormons, their beliefs about evolution are relatively diverse.
Around half believe it to be entirely untrue, while some agree with the theory entirely and others have their doubts either way.