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One big problem with Pratt was that he thought he knew a lot but he really wasn't nearly as well educated as he thought. Further, partially because of his locale, his views of science and philosophy were typically a few decades out of date.

Pratt was never disciplined...

Is he equivicating over the definition of "disciplined"?

JS, I was using "disciplined" in the formal sense of being tried for one's membership or fellowship. I know there was a lot of friction between them, although I haven't read Conflict in the Quorum yet.

Would it be fair to say that neither Brigham's nor Orson's philosophical/ theological views have aged well?

Are attempted reconciliations with science always doomed to look foolish later on? Late 19th century stuff on the Light of Christ and the Ether, and some of Elder Widtsoe's stuff come to mind.

Or perhaps Brigham and Orson just didn't have a good feel for what, in the end, was well-established science. But in this they have good company---the likes of Thompson, Einstein, and Dirac.

Perhaps the noncommittal blandness of our leaders on such "speculative matters" is the wisest course in the long run. But it's not the only conceivable option: One could hope for more revelation.

[note: submitted via email; posted by Dave]

Christian raises a good point. I happen to really like strange, speculative Mormon theology. I love spirit fluid, Adam-God, pre-Adamites, Pratt's strange monads, and all the rest. On the other hand, it is not clear to me exactly what this stuff is good for. It provides me with a certain amount of enjoyment (always a plus), but I suspect that for many it would simply form a spiritual or intellectual stumbling block.

I'm with you Nate. I love the stuff. But nowadays any theological or doctrinal speculations tend to totally freak people out -- let alone speculations from one of the brethren.

(And that's why God invented the Bloggernacle... Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)

I don't think Brigham's scientific views are obsolete. One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 130:4-5
"Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, Yes."
Isn't this a statement of relativistic time decades before Einstein? And while attempts to reconcile science and religion frequently look foolish, most of the history of science itself looks foolish in retrospect (Ptolemy's epicycles, the four humors, early models of the atom, etc.) and many results of science support beliefs of religion - the vastness of the universe and "worlds innumerable unto man", the laboratory synthesis of light and Genesis 1, and (I know I'm in dangerous territory) the many other dimensions string theory demands. Didn't the Prophet say that the "spirits of the just are all around us" on the Earth? Well where are they except in the quantum dimensions? This may sound silly and is of course just idle musing; the disproof of string theory does not void Joseph Smith's comment. However the truth of the gospel stands eternal and unshakable and the fads and fashions of science need only catch up. Indeed it has always struck me how scientists can be disdainful of religion and yet place their own unquestioning faith in the unverified absurdities of modern science (like Feynman's "the electron traverses the entire universe an infinite number of times to go six inches forward" explanation of interference patterns), things that will probably look as absurd someday as Aristotle and Ptolemy's metaphysics does now.

Brandford, wouldn't a literal reading of that passage simply mean that a year depends upon the period of rotation for the planet they reside on? I don't see much by way of relativity in it. So I don't think it says anything more profound than that if the earth took 1.5 times as long to orbit the sun that we'd call a year something that was 1.5 as long.

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