For what it's worth, evolution is an easy issue for me to reconcile. (I'm not saying it should be for everyone - only that it is for me.) There are a few things that make it so easy for me:
1) There never has been a unanimous voice rejecting evolution among the apostles and Prophets. There always have been some who accept it as the process by which the physical creation happened. Thus, in accepting evolution I'm not rejecting the Church leadership in any way; I'm just picking the ones with whom I agree. (*grin*)
2) I don't sustain church leaders in any way as scientists, and I don't expect apostles and even Prophets to understand science better than scientists. (That actually might be the main reason.)
3) Almost every personal rejection of evolution I have read is based off the assumption that evolution is founded on the belief that there is no God, even among those who otherwise reject a young earth theory. In other words, when someone is working from a faulty foundation and incorrectly feels their very core belief in God is being attacked (which is not incorrect in some cases with some advocates of evolution), I understand reacting negatively - and even over-reacting. That is true especially with regard to things that we simply don't understand fully.
4) The Pearl of Great Price supports the general idea of physical evolution MUCH more clearly than the Bible does - which means I feel justified in believing that physical evolution is much closer to being taught in "Mormon" scriptures than in other Christian scriptures.
5) The temple presentation of the creation of Adam and Eve used to state unequivocally that the depiction was figurative with regard to the man and woman. That doesn't endorse evolution as the creative process, but it also leaves that door wide open as a possibility.
6) The "current" official position of the Church (a 1909 First Presidency statement that was reprinted in the Ensign in 2002) explicitly leaves open the possibility that evolution was the source of the creation of Adam's physical body. When you read the statement carefully, Adam being the first man ONLY means that at some point there was someone who differed from all other creatures in that he consisted of a mortal body and an immortal spirit child of God - thus, he was the first "man", as the Church defines that term. Seriously, I'm not stretching anything by saying that; it's the way the actual statement is worded. I can accept that, especially when the same statement says that his body might have started out as an embryo.
7) I believe the Garden of Eden narrative is allegorical and that the "Fall" happened when we chose to follow Lucifer to this earth, leave the presence of God and be subject to mortality, sin and death - so I have no problem with the general idea of no death before the Fall. The passages in 2 Nephi that many use to reject evolution actually have no bearing on the actual mechanics of earthly creation for me.
In saying all of that, I am not arguing that our bodies were created through evolution. I think that is the most likely answer, but I really don't know - and the Church's official position is that we don't know.
I think this is a great example of how scriptures can be interpreted to mean various things, how it's important for us to be open to different ways to understand them, how we don't have to throw out the baby ("I am a child of God.") with the bathwater (young earth creationism that rejects evolution entirely). It is VERY easy for me to reconcile physical evolution with the Plan of Salvation as it is taught in the Church. I just have to be OK with not everyone agreeing with me - and that just isn't a problem at all.
Randy: Chapter 6
5 hours ago