Evolution, Science, and Genesis

I usually get messages from my atheist friends, asking me why I don’t accept science, and evolution, and how can I believe in religion? Well, first of all I tell them that they’re thinking and assumptions are totally wrong, and that I absolutely do believe in science and evolution. “How is that possible, the Bible denies evolution,” they respond. “The Bible does not deny evolution in the slightest, in fact, the creation accounts in the Bible (Genesis they’re actually meaning to refer to) are actually not creation accounts at all, as they’re not referring to the literal scientific creation of the world,” I say back. Genesis today, is totally misunderstood in our modern, and Western world. The purpose of the creation accounts in Genesis was to show the Jews (who were at that time captives in Babylon) that their God is real, and is nothing like the Babylonian Gods that their captures believed in. Anyway, more on that another time.

I’m going to write a lot of the common questions I get asked by atheists, agnostics, spiritualists and even on occasions fellow “religious” people, and answer them with the answers I usually give. It’s important to note that I am a Latter-day Saint Christian, and our University, which is called Brigham Young University (BYU), teaches evolution, and all manner of sciences.

As a Christian do you believe in evolution?

“Yes of course.”

Do you believe we evolved from Chimps?

“No, not Chimps. But we did evolve from an Ape creature, who is also a common ancestor of the Chimpanzee, but we formed our own separate branches. Plus Chimpanzees are still here, so we couldn’t have evolved from them.”

Do you believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old?

“Oh goodness no! It’s billions.”

Do you believe we all come from Adam and Eve?

“I’m not totally sure on that, but I’ll say yes until further notice. But, our Prophets have made it clear in the past that the human family now, all come from Adam and Eve.”

Do you believe that God flooded the whole world, and the human race and certain animals were saved from the flood by Noah?

“No. The flood would have only have been a localized flood, there is no evidence what so ever to suggest anything close to a worldwide flood, where even the top of Mount Everest was immersed in water. You have to remember they Genesis is only a history of a certain group of people, not the whole world.

Were Adam and Eve the first people?

“I very much doubt that. I believe Adam and Eve were spirits who were put into Homo Sapien bodies. We have not stopped evolving, and never will. I also believe, that it’s possible that Adam and Eve were the first spirits of a new lineage that God had made Covenants with, but Genesis is not clear on that, and it shouldn’t be, because that’s not it’s purpose, so I don’t know.”

Did God create the world in 6 days?

“Like I’ve already stated, Genesis is not a book on science, so no. You have to remember that the Hebrews at that time, were not thinking about science, and how God created etc, they were asking the questions “is God really there? Does God exist? Have we been forsaken? They were in captivity after all, and they had to contend and compete with the teachings of the Babylonian religions. God answered the Hebrews questions, and showed them that he does exist, and they are still very important to him, as they’re still his covenant people. They didn’t care about the science of God at that time, and neither would they had understood it if God did reveal science of the creation. God answered the questions they had at the time, to the best of their understanding. God reveals truths in the context of peoples understandings. So, that’s pretty much the Genesis we have today.

Explain to me then, how we share DNA with Chimpanzees, and they’ve found Neanderthal DNA in our own?

“Like I’ve already stated, we evolved from the same tree as Chimps, Gorillas etc, so of course our DNA is still related. As for the Neanderthal DNA, it’s only people from Europe who hold Neanderthal DNA. So it’s pretty certain that Homo Sapiens at some point, bred with Neanderthals. Is it possible that Adam and Eves descendants moved into Europe and mixed with the Neanderthals? I believe that 100%. If every homo Sapien is related to Adam and Eve of course.

Has God revealed the truth of evolution to any of your Latter-day Saint Prophets?

“No he hasn’t. Why? Because it’s not essential to our salvation and exaltation. I believe in what our prophets do teach, and that is that, someday, when we make it back to Gods presence, he will reveal all of his truths, and how we came to be human.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds no offical stance on evolution. The Church members are meant to study and figure out science on our own, by using the mighty brains that God gave all of us.

I’ll post more of the questions I get asked, and my answers over the next few days.

I’ll leave with this great quote, found in the Encyclopaedia of Mormonism:

“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, no 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.” (-First Presidency Minutes, April 7, 1931)

The Talking Ants: A Scientific Miracle of the Qur’an

Isn’t it fascinating that the Qur’an already knew about this entomological science, nearly two thousand years before it was “discovered,” by scientists. Here is the Qur’anic verse where it tells us that Ants communicate:

“Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said (for females قالت), “O ants, enter your homes so that you do not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they do not feel it.” (-Qur’an 27:18)

But that’s not all. How did an illiterate nomadic Arab from Arabia in the 7th Century AD, have known anything about the science of entomology?

Muhammad was absolutely spot on, when he stated that it was only the female ants who had to flee underground, because it’s only the male ants who have wings.

The Arabic used in this verse is Kalat (قالت), which means female. Kala (قال) is male.

This is by far not the only scientific breakthrough found in the Qur’an.

The Qur’an was a almost two thousand years ahead of its time.

Here is a scientific article about how Ants do indeed communicate using sound:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/02/shhh-ants-are-talking

The Tomb of the Prophet Samuel is a Mosque and also a Synagogue

A Jew and A Muslim praying together at the Tomb of the great Biblical and Qur’anic Prophet, Samuel, at the Nebi Samuel Mosque in East Jerusalem

This is the Prophet Samuel Mosque (Nebi Samuel) located in Ramot, East Jerusalem. It is one of the holiest mosques in Islam, as it is also believed to house the tomb of the great Prophet Samuel. There is also a Synagogue underneath the Mosque, and both Jews and Muslims have happily worshipped there together for centuries. Ramot was once known as Rama, and the Prophet Samuel was born there. Yes, the Prophet Samuel is one of the great Prophets in Islamic beliefs, as is King David, and all of the Biblical Prophets. Muslims and Jews are both sons of Abraham, and both worship the exact same God, and they both follow all of God’s Prophets. The only difference is that Muslims follow Jesus Christ, whereas Judaism doesn’t.

Please see the below photos to see pictures of this beautiful Mosque.

The Saudis and Vincent Van Gogh

A truly spectacular exhibition in the desert this was

According to some uncultured, uneducated, small minded people in the West, the Arabs are backwards, radical Muslims, who hate everything “Western.” Well, first of all, that is one of the most absurd, and ignorant statements I’ve ever heard, and secondly, it’s to those “Arabs,” that the West owes so much of what we have, and know today to, but that’s for another post.

I’ve also heard from various people, who have not surprisingly never left their little bubbles and actually traveled to the Arab world, that the Arabs also hate art, and culture, especially from the West, as their religion doesn’t allow it. Again, another ridiculous statement.

The Arabian Peninsula is full of art, culture, architecture, literature, music, foods etc etc all from the West. In fact, the Saudis are very big fans of Western art, and you’ll see paintings hanging on the walls from Western artists in buildings and homes throughout the country.

In January, the Saudis spent $150 million dollars, on a magnificent exhibition, dedicated to showing and bringing to life, the works of the great Western Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. I have uploaded some photos from the exhibition. The exhibition was in Al-Ula, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

So no, the Arabs absolutely do not hate Western civilisation, non-Islamic art, culture etc etc.

Here are some more photos from the exhibition:

Elbert A. Smith and his poem titled “The Cross”

Elbert A. Smith ( 1871 – 1959)

Did you know that the Prophet Joseph Smith and his family all held the symbol of the cross in high regards? In fact, one of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s grandsons, Elbert A. Smith, stated in a 1921 sermon that “the lack of crosses on Church spires was a testimony that there was an apostasy in Christianity,” and he argued “otherwise on top of that spire would be a cross of gold.”

In 1928, after visiting a cross monument at Mount Rubidoux, in California, Elbert A. Smith wrote a beautiful reverential poem entitled “the Cross”:

The cross stands with feet in the earth;
But leaning it’s head on that skies;
It’s two great arms are a symbol; 
Compelling the gaze of all eyes;
The cross speaks to us of his wounds; 
Invites us to drink of his cup. 
The way of the cross is rocky—
But the way of the cross is up. 
The cross makes us humble of heart; 
For here must each man bend the knee—
Yet be a man still, for Christ says:
“Arise and follow me!”

For more information on Elbert A. Smith please click the link below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbert_A._Smith

Being Inclusive in Church Classes

George Orwell’s 1984, published in June 1949

A few days ago, Rick C. Bennett, Host of the great Gospel Tangents* podcast, posted this quote from David Olster’s new book (which I highly recommend) Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question* regarding how some leaders (local and general)  want to control or prohibit members from thinking for themselves. Here is Rick’s post:

“I’m loving this quote from David Ostler.

“Being Inclusive in Church Classes

In George Orwell’s classic 1984, a taskforce of secret police is charged with uncovering and punishing “thoughtcrime,” which is expressing information and viewpoints that go against official teachings or are socially unacceptable. Winston, the main character of the book, copes with a society that punishes those who believe differently than the established position. Unfortunately, things do not end well for him. While we obviously do not criminalize “thoughtcrime” at church in the same manner, we do sometimes reprimand those who think differently. I’m sure we’ve all been in a Gospel Doctrine class when someone said something a little unorthodox and their comment was policed or testified against.

Policing isn’t simply stating a different opinion. It occurs when someone wishes to not just correct but stop someone they disagree with or believe to be in error.” (-David Olster Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question)

Rick also said:

I don’t consider myself in a faith crisis, but my input is not welcome at church, and I feel completely powerless to change the culture of my ward. Who else feels this way?”

I also responded to the post, and so did Ben Spackman,* from Benjamin the Scribe. I really like Ben’s response, and I totally agree with him that the Church’s move away from having teachers actually teach a lesson, to a more  “discussion” style class, is one of the reasons why true Doctrine is hard to come by in Sunday School nowadays. Here is what me, and Ben Spackman had to say about Ricks post:

My response:

“I’ve often pondered on this, and I too have been accused of “not teaching from the manual when I was a Gospel Doctrine teacher.” The good thing about my experience though, is that I had quite a few members come up to me afterwards saying that they “really enjoyed the lesson.” Ben Spackman gives a great response though to the original post, one that I agree with. I think that the trouble with many Latter-day Saints is that they hold onto traditions, even if those traditions are behind what we now know regarding scripture, history, and science.

Here is Ben’s response:

“I’m still not sure how I feel about this quote. There’s an undefined intersection between the competing ideas of “inclusivity” and the pursuit of truth and knowledge. The former has the problem of implying “content doesn’t matter because everyone’s comments are equal and welcome and of equal value” (i.e. the Church’s move away from the teacher actually teaching, towards “leading conversation.”) The latter has the problem that LDS generally don’t know how to make or evaluate scriptural/historical arguments.

Much of what passes for teaching is repetition of tradition, and since we associate tradition with truth and authority, new things cause problems (to say nothing of clearly unorthodox things.)”

I really appreciate Rick for sharing this quote, and for Ben’s response. I hope my readers will also check out their fantastic work and visit their websites.  

*https://gospeltangents.com/

* https://www.amazon.com/Bridges-Ministering-Those-Who-Question-ebook/dp/B07TLPVR86 *

* https://www.patheos.com/blogs/benjaminthescribe/

A little on the Destruction Theme of the Book of Mormon

Captain Moroni Raises the Title of Liberty (Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty), by Arnold Friberg

The destruction of the wicked

The Book of Mormon is an incredible book that has no wasted text. Every event or sermon is of importance. The writers were short of space and the work was laborious. Things which seem repetitive or superficial on one occasion are found to be very significant when a new context emerges.

Nephi Ben Lehi had a vision of the End Times, but when he came to write it he was told by the Lord not to as it was John’s duty to do that. He then noted that Isaiah had written about these times, and so he began to unravel that, but again he was told by the Lord not to. Nephi did however warn the Nephites that if they did not keep the commandments and failed to attend to the poor, and their families, that they would be destroyed by the Lamanites.

Essentially the rest of the Lineage History presents accounts of many of the times the Nephites needed to repent and be saved from destruction, until the last times of about 400 AD their iniquity (Mormon: 8) had become so ripened that they were doomed to complete destruction. Mormon and Moroni warn us that we are in danger of being completely destroyed if we do not keep the covenants given to us. To add to this warning, Moroni attached the history of the Jaredites, whose destruction was complete.

Let us look at the Nephite situation again. In the days of very long and demanding warfare, the Nephites were able to overcome a large and stubborn enemy. Captain Moroni, the great commander, finally trapped his enemies who had been striving to slaughter the Nephites. He collected their weapons, and then he made a pact with them, that if they refused to start-up against the Nephites again, he let them go home to their lands, wives and children. This was the Nephite approach to war. War was not fought to get revenge, take possession of territory, or to rob and plunder. Hate was not the motive for war. The army that fights out of hatred commits genocide and is as guilty as the prime mover of the war.

Looking at our day, what would the Prophets have seen?

Wars of mass destruction fueled by hatred.

The unnecessary bombing of civilians e.g. the bombing Dresden with 3,000 bombs, that killed hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, and the un-needed atomic bombs on an already defeated Japan. When freedom is given to commanders such as Air Marshall “Bomber” Harris, and General Le May Curtis to bomb civilians in an already won war, then we have stepped over the line, and must reap the harvest we have sown.

In the revelations, or visions, received by John Taylor and Wilfred Woodruff, huge populations were destroyed by radiation.

So what can we do to prepare?

A few cans of baked beans, and a sack of wheat will not cut it. In the early church the pioneers paid a heavy price. Our saving preparation is what our leaders have done, and that is by building Temples. Our job is to work the Temples, and in doing so be saved in Zion.

The Beauty of Reading the Book of Mormon in Arabic

I had the same experience as Latter-day Saint researcher George Potter had a few days ago. I was speaking with a friend I used to study with, who is from the UAE, and I asked him how did he go with the Book of Mormon I gave him (about 5 years ago), and he said that he “really didn’t enjoy it, as it was not written very well.” I was disappointed, but then he said “I ordered a copy of the Book of Mormon in Arabic, and I read that one instead, and I found it to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, it is written in a very pure, and beautiful form of Arabic, and you can clearly see that the original Book of Mormon was written in a pure Semitic language, very similar to that spoken by my own people.” Now, Even as an Arabic speaker myself, I had actually never fully noticed that before, and made that connection.

To cut a long story short, he went onto say that “there’s no doubt that the original Book of Mormon was written by a Semite, who truly understood Arabia, and I don’t believe that Joseph Smith, or any other Westerner could of made it up.”

I was amazed, and extremely happy that he has had that experience. He’s not committed to Baptism yet, and is happy with his current faith, but he truly believes the Book of Mormon was indeed written originally in a Semitic language, by a Semite. He also spoke about the Bedouin cultural influences in the book, and we all know that Lehi was a Bedouin, but I’ll write more on that soon.

The photo is my copy of the Arabic Book of Mormon.

Notes on Muhammad A.R. Webb and his views on lynching and other social problems

Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb

This is a previously unpublished paper written by Dr. Muhammed Al-ahari that he has very kindly allowed Hira Cumorah to publish.

Notes on Muhammad A.R. Webb and his views on lynching and other social problems[1]

            Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1916), a white convert to Islam, was a former U.S. diplomat to the Philippines who converted to Islam around 1888 while serving as consul in the Philippines Islands. After he resigned his post he traveled to India and Burma where he gave seven talks on Islam and his conversion.

In 1893, he was the only Muslim representative at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. That year he also started publishing the first American Muslim newspaper – the Moslem World in New York City where he opened an Islamic Reading Room with a prayer room and lecture hall. His newspaper presented Islam as being a faith with values shared by Americans. He also covered current events and social issues – divorce, alcoholism, usury, women’s rights, and lynching.

In the August 1893 Vol. I, No. 4 issue of the Moslem World he attacked the practice of lynching and questioned whether such a practice was part of Christianity. He then went on to condemn the practice which still occurs today of blaming a whole community for the actions of a few individuals. In American newspapers of the time events in Turkey against the Armenians were called Mohammadan or Turkish atrocities. He questioned if lynching should not be called a Christian atrocity using the same logic.  

Today we have police mistreating minorities and the poor. Today we have immigrants scapegoated.  If Webb was writing today, these events would fill the pages of his newspaper. Why not take our place in making the world a better place and learn about the problems within the society in which we reside.


[1] The was one of the daily announcements for Black History Month made in 2017 at College Preparatory School of America in Lombard, Illinois. I wrote after reflecting on an article Webb wrote in condemnation of lynching and racism in America during the 1890s.

Islam, the Religion of Peace and Dawah

Some of the many Qur’an translations by Ahmadi translators at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair

Dr. Muhammed Al-ahari has very kindly allowed Hira Cumorah to publish a talk of his that he gave for the 2008 Ahmadiyya Conference in York, Pennsylvania.

Islam, the Religion of Peace and Dawah

Brief Comments given at the Ahmadiyya Khalifah Centennial

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

By Muhammed al-Ahari

June 21, 2008

AsSalaam aliekum,

            My name is Muhammed al-Ahari. I wish to thank the Jamaat for inviting me and especially for Haris Zafar and Bilal Rana for arranging for me to come here today.  I work as a public school teacher in Chicago and am at the end of a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

            I feel one duty as a Muslim is to develop an identity that has a strong moral and ethical base. The basis of this is in the example of the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, his successors, and our pious ancestors.

            If we study this history closely, we will see that Islam was rarely forced upon anyone. Proof for this can be seen in the missionary Reverend Thomas Arnold’s The Preaching of Islam.[1] There he points to some factor leading to the spread of Islam – merchants, Sufis, and traveling missionary scholars. Forced conversion to Islam is an aberration according to his findings.

            The start of Islam in America came through the means he described – traveling missionaries, merchants, and Sufis. The first convert, Reverend Norman, was a Methodist missionary in Turkey. He converted through the influence of Turkish Sufis in 1875 and sought to teach Islam upon his return to the United States. However, little beyond the listing of his name in convert lists can be found about his life and mission.[2] The second convert was an American that converted overseas from Sufi and merchant influences, including correspondence with the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam’s founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.             This missionary convert was the St. Louis, Missouri Republican and counsel to the Philippines, Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb. He was a diplomat during the Cleveland administration and used his spare time to read about religions and cultures around the world. He studied Buddhism, Theosophy, and Islam and started correspondence with Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. When he returned to the United States, he represented Islam at the 1893 World Parliament of Islam in Chicago, opened a library and Islamic reading room on Broadway in Manhattan, and started the


[1] Rev. Thomas W. Arnold (1913). The Preaching of Islam: A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith. 2nd revised and enlarged edition. LONDON: CONSTABLE & COMPANY Ltd.

[2] Garcin de Tassy (1875) La langue et la littérature hindoustanis en 1875: pp. 91-92. He quotes the Indian Mail for May 24, 1875, “What is even more astonishing is the perversion of a Methodist missionary named Norman, who had gone to Constantinople to preach the Gospel, but who embraced Islamism and is now preaching it in America.”

See Also “Notes and News,” The Secular Chronicle Vol. II, No. 13 (October 25, 1874): page 151. “Mr. Henry L. Norman, at one time a Methodist preacher in London, has been converted to the truths of Islam. He has just gone to America, where he is about to start a Mahomedan Church. He quotes from Bosworth Smith’s recent work, to show the rapid spread of Mahometanism in various parts of the world, and points to that as a proof that his religion is the true one, and that his hopes of it spreading are not entirely chimerical.”

Moslem World newspaper. Webb’s work sought to correct misconceptions among Christian American about the Islamic Faith and the Muslim East.

            Webb proved conclusively in his 1893 work Islam in America that so-called Muslim Wars were defensive in nature and detailed the early pacifist nature of the first Muslims in Mecca for some of his proofs. In the conclusion of the speech, he quotes Thomas Carlyle’s Hero as Prophet[1] to show how Islam changed the warrior nature of the Arab to one of a civilizing influence that helped the start of the Renaissance in Europe.

            Finally, let me quote Webb’s booklet Namaz – The Islamic Prayer about the purpose of a Muslim life – peaceful coexistence.  “To be pure in heart, in word, and in deed, is the paramount purpose of a true Muslim’s life. The perfect Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man is the cornerstone of his faith, and has a fuller expression in the Islamic system than in any other religion known to man.”[2]


[1] Carlyle, Thomas (1888). On Heroes, hero-worship, New York: Frederick A. Stokes & Brothers. The second lecture on May 8, 1888 was on Islam and was entitled “The Hero as Prophet.”

[2] Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb (1893). A guide to Namāz: a detailed exposition of the Moslem order of ablutions and prayer with a review of the five pillars of practice. New York: Moslem World Publishing Co.: page 27.