My graduate training as a scientist began in 1954. Since that time I have been a frequent contributor to more than a dozen scientific disciplines. As a scientist, I am bound by procedural truth-seeking systems and research designs that include basic assumptions similar to those made in the pursuit of religious truths. These include:
- The world is knowable (i.e., understood through man’s physical senses).
- Its attributes and representations can be abstracted for discussion (i.e., oak trees can be pictured and discussed as concepts rather than being present in the classroom).
- Within a scientific framework, causal and associative relationships are logically inferred from cases, experimental conclusions, and other data.
Outside this somewhat limited intellectual territory of scientific inquiry are spheres of beauty, poetry, the arts, and normative standards of right and wrong. Evidence of the power of faith is explained by revelations of ancient and modern prophets. And although science speculates as to the relationship of light, mass, and energy, it is left to normative truth to explain each of their origins and ultimate purposes.
Just as I have tested the accuracy of scientific conclusions, I have likewise examined for myself the doctrines and moral principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) as an active Church member. Through prayerful study and examination of sacred scriptures (revelations of ancient and modern prophets), I now testify of the existence of a living and loving Heavenly Father who is interested in all of his sons and daughters here upon the Earth. I know of his goodness and kindness. I understand his Plan of Happiness, which provides us a way back into his presence—with the aid of Jesus Christ’s atonement. This Plan, designed prior to the foundation of this World, contains provisions for binding righteous family members together throughout eternity and allows each of God’s mortal sons and daughters the potential to become like him.
The scientific world of orderly laws and outcomes is not foreign to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ outlines eternal laws and ordinances that result in divine blessings promised for those who obey his laws. Those who live righteously have been given God’s divine promises of blessings, salvation, and exaltation. The joy promised by this plan causes those who have it to want to share it with others. All persons who search for peace and never-ending family relationships should examine this message further. It is a Pearl of Great Price.
Ellwyn R. Stoddard received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1961, and is now a professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He received UTEP’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Research in 1990.
Dr. Stoddard is an expert on the culture of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands and is the founder of the Association of Borderland Scholars. He is, moreover, the author or co-author of roughly a hundred publications, including Conceptual Models of Human Behavior in Disaster (1968); Mexican Americans (1973 ; with Richard L. Nostrand and Jonathan P. West, Borderlands Sourcebook: A Guide to the Literature on Northern Mexico and the American Southwest (1983, winner of the 1984 Southwest Book Award); with John Hedderson, Patterns of Poverty along the U.S.-Mexico Border (1987); Maquila: Assembly Plants in Northern Mexico (1987); U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Issues: The Bi-National Boundary, Immigration and Economic Policies (2001); U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Studies: Multidisciplinary Perspectives and Concepts (2002); U.S.-Mexico Borderlands as a Multi-Cultural Region (2005).
Professor Stoddard and his wife have nine children and twenty-three grandchildren.
Posted August 2010