Scientific discovery is a religious experience.
Science and Religion Walk Hand-in-Hand
Donald M. White
Is science catching up with prophets in understanding time and the universe? Definitely!
Does this prove that the gospel is true ? Hardly!
But to the discerning among us it should give pause to continue studying the scriptures, particularly those given to us in these latter days: Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Inspired Translation of the Bible, and Doctrine & Covenants—all revealed by God through the prophet Joseph Smith.
Like the Old and New Testaments, each testifies that Jesus Christ is our Savior, Lord and Master, the creator of the universe.
Let me paint for you a picture: Science is flying through space hand-in-hand with religion—one capturing the mind of mankind, the other the heart. Mr. Absolute with Miss Unpredictable riding a beam of light together in complete harmony.
Unless you’ve thought it through it may sound absurd. But before you cast judgment, read my book. For that is precisely the thesis of Last Dispensation: Knowledge Dispensed To Man For God’s Purposes. A church that embraces truth wherever it is found is unusual. But there is one church that does that very thing.
Eternity is a religious and scientific concept. Worlds without end are possible in Astronomer Edwin Hubble’s expanding universe.
Gordon B. Hinckley’s spiritual world takes it one step further and describes life beyond the grave and eternal life, and the Savior’s resurrection and atoning sacrifice. There is no uncertainty about that.
These are wonderful concept to people of faith, and especially to children and to those with the faith of a child.
There were more than 1,000 people on two continents who saw the resurrected Christ. Their faith was transformed into knowledge. Faith, itself, is scientifically irrational because it involves feelings, whether they are steeled and toughened by good works or not.
Faith and prayer are part of a dimension far beyond that taught in physics and chemistry classes. They are powerful media, of that there is no doubt. But their power almost defies description for atheist scientists because these concepts are difficult to measure in any empirically logical way—whether in test tubes or under microscopes. Faith and prayer involve a third party, God. He responds in ways strange and foreign to the atheist. His manner of communication—the still small voice—is often felt only in the heart rather than in the brain.
All of this may sound controversial, but there is one fact that is not. It’s a well-known fact that since the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the nineteenth century heralding the Last Dispensation, God has accelerated the number of scientific inventions as a marvelous gift to mankind. There were more scientific breakthroughs and inventions in the twentieth century than in all past recorded history; and there were more the past ten years than in the past hundred years.
What’s behind all of these inventions and discoveries? That’s the subject of Last Dispensation. It chronicles many of the scientists and inventors and their scientific breakthroughs and tells how these discoveries were enabled by the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
An excellent case can be made that with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his church and kingdom restored and fighting for a foothold in the Great Basin of America, God saw the faithful sacrificing for the church, many of them even unto death. He blessed generously these genuine heroes of the great American frontier.
On almost only a moment’s notice, they accepted calls from Brigham Young to leave the safety of their new city by the Great Salt Lake and travel to wild, uninhabited areas of the west to found communities in what are now Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, California, Canada and Mexico.
There they struck their plowshares to the hard, arid soil, dug canals and ditches and channeled irrigation water for their crops, paid tithes and offerings to the church and reared their children in righteousness, remembering the Sabbath Day, living by faith the eternal principles taught them by Joseph Smith. We are not only heirs to those blessings, but our own righteousness has prompted even greater blessings from God. He made us affluent in a free country called America, a land he saved for our time on earth.
As members of this unique Mormon Church founded in the United States, he helped us turn our hearts toward missionaries and forever families—enough to support a rapidly growing Kingdom of God, its 53,0000 missionaries, and eventually build what is predicted to be hundreds of temples, and tens of thousands of chapels, schools and other church buildings at a “souped-up” rate worldwide.
This church has a venerable and sagacious 96-year-old prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, but his age belies his ability, accomplishments, and tireless energy and vision for the future. He has a young mind and the zest and gusto of a man half his age. One can sense an urgency about him and about his elderly associates as he leads this 13-million member church each year into even greater accomplishment.
There is no time to rest and much to do before the Savior comes. President Hinckley’s mind is on spiritual goals for all mankind, and he does not spend his time peeking in at the latest God-given discoveries like visual recognition and machine translation, unless…Unless there is an immediate application that will bring us closer, sooner, to the Second Coming.
If God told this prophet to invest church resources in some particular new way for the “gathering of Israel” he would be on top of it. But he has spent a lifetime—almost eighty years of his adult lifetime—closer than any man alive teaching the gospel, opening up new countries for proselytizing, building temples and chapels, and reactivating members of his own church by pulling them out of the mire of an awful pride cycle. For as Brigham Young feared,this people would become so prosperous the only thing that could stop them from attaining eternal life would be their own mulish pride.
Partly due to the Mormons actively following the prophet—maybe more due to this than we know—what has happened in the world in terms of growth of the church and its members’ spiritually is nothing less than spectacular—all of it during a time of phenomenal scientific discovery. Two inexorable forces—science and religion—moving in the same direction would seem to be unprecedented in the history of the world. But one must remember that during each dispensation God has also dispensed secular or scientific knowledge.
But in these latter days no other people but the Mormons, certainly no other church, seem to have this rare quality of accepting the discoveries of science as a natural consequence of God’s power to reveal—and one of his ways of revealing—what will come about ecclesiastically. Not Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Chinese Folk, Tribal Religions, Atheists, Sikhism, Spiritism, Baha’ Faith, Taoism, Jainism, Shinto, or Wicca. Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in lockstep with scientific truth, a church with a compelling God-is-the-author-of-all-truth imperative. All other churches get caught up in seeming inconsistencies such as the age of the earth and evolution.
The Mormons, however, without embracing evolution or anything but Bible and latter-day doctrine regarding the creation, know there are rational explanations for everything; and though we don’t understand all, it is not a barrier to the bedrock principle that God is the author of all truth and light. Sooner or later, if the science about something stands up to the tests of time, it will be found in harmony with spiritual truths. For in God’s reckoning, all things are spiritual and have eternal perspective.
The many scientists and inventors mentioned in this book did something important for mankind, but they were things that could have been done in an earlier time if God had willed it, but he didn’t. Why not? It is because the Last Dispensation is now, not earlier. We don’t understand all of it, but we do know that God held back the best of his spiritual children for this time—people who would be obedient, who would help usher in Christ’s Second Coming (See D&C 86:8-11; Isaiah 49).
A wicked world doesn’t appreciate what a blessing it is to live in these days when many diseases of by-gone eras are conquered, when communication is as close as a telephone or a computer, when man can live a healthy life well into his nineties. These are gifts of God. We did nothing to earn these gifts, but scientists and inventors were inspired of God to bring them forward. God has allowed us a glimpse of eternity—but the natural man doesn’t get it. He ascribes it to the flesh.
The righteous or spiritually sensitive in twenty-first-century life receives a tiny peek into millennial life where Christ has banned illness and wickedness. Satan will be bound. Scientific advances begun in this life are like pealing off old wallpaper to reveal ancient treasures of possibility. You see, these are God-given truths withheld from man until now. They were always there, we just weren’t allowed access to them. We are just beginning to see.
The good thing is that God is showing on the screen of life a very short preview of a some of what we will inherit in the Millennium. It is there, due to Christ’s atoning sacrifice and resurrection, that death will be banned. Satan will be bound and the wicked will not rise from the dead to be judged until after Christ’s thousand-year Millennial reign.
Temples will dot the earth. It will be a time for families to gather and prosper, a time of great spiritual growth. A happier, more productive and effective people will have never existed on earth.
We are living in a glorious time, the Last Dispensation, a time when all things spiritual—and many things scientific—are given to man for a purpose which will be revealed to prophets and to every righteous being at a time of God’s choosing.
The following web site lists some of the famous men and their inventions. But this is merely a scratch on a painted-over world canvass revealing only a relatively few things both beautiful and helpful to man. Today the “scratching” seems furious, though, as scientific discoveries and inventions come so rapidly now that it is hard to keep pace with them. http://inventors.about.com/library/bl/bl1_1b.htm (Famous Inventors)
The world’s many inventors and scientists above represent only a fraction of all inventors. Even with this incomplete list, the author only got through the alphabet’s Bs with some Fs and Gs thrown in. There are a lot more people inventing things these days. Why? It has to do with a special spirit touching them, letting them know, perhaps subconsciously, that this is the Last Dispensation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that, with all spiritual dispensations, God enables and advances scientific knowledge.
The spirit of scientific accomplishment possessed by the savants of the world today resembles the Spirit of Elijah which was given mankind following the 1836 dedication of the Kirtland, Ohio Temple. There, Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. This ancient prophet conferred upon them the keys to sealing powers: parents to children, children to parents, husbands to wives, one generation of people sealed to another generation in a long eternal chain until all pedigree charts stretch back to Adam and Eve.
Since that time large numbers of people, many who are not baptized Mormons, have enjoyed tracing their family genealogy and keeping accurate records of their progenitors. Why? Because of the Spirit of Elijah. Likewise, there is a scientific spirit abroad in the world. Most scientists don’t realize it, but this spirit of scientific achievement is God given.
Man’s knowledge has rapidly increased and scientific research has accelerated to almost unbelievable proportions never known before in the history of the world. This has come about through concentrated effort on the part of business, industry, government, and educational institutions. When I was a kid we didn’t have much, but I wouldn’t have changed my place in life with the richest kings and queens of bygone eras.
In my world we didn’t have jet airplanes, telephones, television, fax, computers, air conditioners, central heating, modern thermostatic control of heat and cold, dishwashers, disposals, refrigerators (we had an ice box and a coal stove), or any number of small appliances for preparing food that the modern homemaker has at her disposal. Nor did we have mechanized tools for cutting and trimming the lawn—it was all grunt work—or electric lathes, drills, routers, and saws for Dad to build with in our garage.
A large portion of the world’s wealth and income today is devoted to the pursuit scientific research, and hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world are devoting time and effort to the extension of man’s knowledge and understanding of science through research. For example, The U.S. Pentagon's budget equals half of the world's defense spending and much of it is for research. The Untied States accounts for more than 20% of the world's GDP in terms of purchasing parity power (PPP), and for about 33% in terms of the exchange rate.
America is still the greatest country on earth and the most efficient because of its inventive, effective, hard-working people. It has a universal education system and a democratic-republic form of government borne of a God-inspired Constitution and Bill of Rights that protect freedom of press and religion.
I frequently ask Latin American emigrants why they came to America. They merely smile and say, mostly in broken English, “You know why, to give my family everything they need. It’s the greatest country in the world.”
The world has 6.5 billion people and, comparatively, still only a handful of inventors, people who have special gifts of creation (adaptation and discovery are better words for it). Don’t worry if you are not one of them. Yes, it would be nice to have the gift of invention, but God has given each of us a gift. Some of us have more than one gift. What’s more important—to be a scientist/inventor or to obtain an orthodox gift of God?
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12: 4, 9).
“Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation (Alma 9: 21; also see D&C 46: 11).
The gift of invention could be worth a lot of money to the possessor. But in the long term, the gift of invention is not near as valuable as the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It pales in comparison to the gift of prophecy, translation, faith in Christ, and speaking in tongues and/or the spirit of revelation. We all have gifts, but not all of us are inventors and scientists, but the gift of invention is connected to some of the spiritual gifts.
For example, when God created the earth he did so first in thought. He had an idea that he held onto and visualized for a long time. So, first he created the earth—and the universe—by mental acuity. The scriptures say he created it by faith (Romans 13:12). He visualized this goal a long, long time, planning every step in the creation process.
Because faith infers action, he took the necessary steps to bring it about. Faith is also connected to a constant feeling of being grateful for what you have. Gratitude creates within us a feeling of “I already have this goal” and that “I can produce it time and time again, with God’s help.” Without gratitude, you can’t activate faith.
In his book, The Science of Getting Rich, Chapter 17, Wallace D. Wattles said: “There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the inter-spaces of the universe. A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.”
Joseph Smith said a testimony of Jesus Christ qualifies a person to be called a prophet. If you believe in Christ, there is one more important gift that you can enjoy, and it comes with a price but, paradoxically, it is a gift that money cannot buy. It is a gift that is received when someone gains enough faith to believe on Christ sufficiently to be baptized in his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have hands laid upon his head by those holding the priesthood for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This, indeed, is a valuable gift; for if the recipient remains worthy, it will be with him the rest of his life. It will be there to help him bless the lives of his wife or husband and children and others. But, especially, it will bless his or her own life.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost is like the gift of invention in some ways, but in an eternal perspective it is infinitely more important and a far greater blessing than the gift of invention. Through this gift the Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and of the Son; it tells the person possessing this gift all things that he must do; comforts him and brings him peace; teaches and edifies him; and it allows him to speak in tongues and interpret tongues if the Lord calls that person to do so and if the gift holder is righteous. If he isn’t righteous, he forfeits his gift.
It is also the power to be lifted up at the last day, and be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb (1 Ne. 13: 37; Acts 8: 12-25; Moroni 2: 1-3; D&C 39: 23). The Holy Ghost acts as a cleansing agent to purify a person and sanctify him from all sin. Thus, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is often spoken of as a baptism by fire (Matthew 3: 11; D&C 19: 31). The remission of sins comes by fire and by the Holy Ghost (2 Ne. 31: 17).
This magnificent Gift of the Holy Ghost also acts to assist in the person’s learning and edification. If the bearer of this prize possession remains worthy it will help him more quickly learn both gospel and secular truth. It will prompt his memory at crucial times, such as when testifying to others of the truthfulness of the gospel and regarding Christ’s sacred mission.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost helps us tremendously in our daily work, and in teaching our children. It helps us discern false spirits and to choose righteous friends.
The gift helps a person in church callings, at school, and in their professions. It also aids them in finding a worthy mate to be joined to in the temple for time and eternity. Most importantly, it helps them remain worthy and faithful, to live all the commandments and endure to the end.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost also helps man, woman and child become more Christ-like and attain special attributes: faith in God, reverence, testimony of Jesus Christ, patience, kindness, virtue, courage, self respect, understanding, wisdom, love, refinement, and charity. It helps them become more dynamic public speakers as they testify of Christ and interface with others in their life’s work. It will strengthen them and reveal to them how to bless the lives of others. Most importantly, it will reveal to them the will of the Lord in all things.
The author sincerely believes that God is not behind, but at the forefront of, all scientific achievement. To those limited in their knowledge of God, scientific results may seem independent from religious or moral considerations. But this is a fallacy. Those to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science truly were imbued with focused faith and Godly conviction—whether they knew it at the time or not—that this universe of ours is something wonderful and perfect and is susceptible to the rational striving for divine knowledge.
The quest for scientific truth is a strong emotional one. If those searching for knowledge had not been inspired of God they would hardly have been capable of that necessary untiring devotion that enables man to begin his search for scientific knowledge; to continue the journey of discovery; and, eventually, learn some of God’s mysteries that were hidden for thousands of years.
Truly, God is the driving force behind all scientific achievement. He is the author not only of salvation and soul-saving principles, but also of all truth wherever it is found. This is true whether the discovery be made by a true believer of Christ or by an atheist. God is no respecter of persons. He is the great enabler of all knowledge and technical breakthroughs, and he has a purpose behind each such achievement.
Each discovery is calculated by God to advance and facilitate his goal for all men to be perfect, even as he is perfect, and to receive eternal life. It is also to prepare the earth for the second coming of Christ.
The purpose of this book is, in part, to unveil purposes behind many of these scientific discoveries. There is an irrevocable common thread connecting science and religion.
Copyright © 2007 by Donald M. White