I was accosted frequently during my schooling about the apparent dichotomy between faith and science. I was told and “shown” that, to have faith, one was discounting science, while to believe in the cold analytical reasoning of the scientific method was to turn one’s back on faith. I have found that neither of those assumptions is true. Science and faith are not mutually exclusive! In fact, my faith greatly enhances my understanding of science!
My faith in God and in his divine Son Jesus Christ drives me to discover further the workings of their hands. I resonate somewhat with Einstein when he stated: “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of nature—a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort.”
The hand of our Creator, our Eternal Father, is everywhere evident in the construction and design of this world, this solar system, this galaxy, and even the whole universe. The unique properties of frozen water, the power harnessed in the strong nuclear force, and even the patterns of night and day, and their influence in concentrations of various gaseous molecules in the atmosphere, all attest a Divine Architect who has orchestrated a beautiful mortal experience for His beloved children. In learning and researching these things, particularly in the field of nuclear science, I am again and again reminded of the power, wisdom, and love of God. I know that He is our Eternal Father, and that his love for us transcends all else.
In spite of all these evidences that enhance faith, there are yet things that we do not understand. There have often been perceived “gaps” between man’s collective scientific knowledge and the principles taught by God’s prophets. However, I have come to know that these apparent conflicts are often due to man’s lack of understanding. Time and again, science has caught up to what God has revealed, but until that time, there will always be those who confuse lack of evidence with unexplained contradictions.
It is with this perspective—that is, through the lens of faith—that I testify that God is a living, perfect being. He is perfect, and with that perfection comes a deep and abiding love for His children. He loves us deeply, and unconditionally. We, His spirit children, are imperfect, and as such, we must be redeemed through the blood of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all mankind will live again, and all will have the opportunity to return to God’s presence. I know this to be true, for God has revealed it to me. I know that God has called prophets to declare his word to the entire world. I also know that those prophets teach the higher knowledge of God, as compared to the lower thoughts and theories of man. In fact, on more than one occasion, I have held a belief that was rooted in the scientific theories of the day, and this belief was directly threatened by the words of the prophet. However, every single time, the words of the prophet have demonstrated themselves to be the will of God: correct and unaffected by the railings of men’s theories. I have aligned my scientific thinking with the revealed truths of God, and in so doing, my understanding of science is further enhanced.
God called a prophet in modern times to reveal His truths to the world. These truths, clear and untarnished, were taught through the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. throughout his short lifetime. The Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ, was translated by the prophet Joseph Smith, and today stands as a brilliant beacon of God’s love and Jesus’ far reaching love. I know these things to be true.
Perhaps most exciting to me is the fact that I am not abandoning logic, reason, or enlightened thinking to have faith in these things. On the contrary, just as strong scientific evidence confirms a theory, strong spiritual communications can confirm a principle taken on faith. Jesus taught that the Holy Ghost “would teach us all things” and that “by the power of the Holy Ghost [we] may know the truth of all things.” Though faith is often required initially in order to take the first step towards spiritual truth, God frequently rewards us with a visitation of his Holy Spirit. Through the manifestations of this Holy Spirit, the truth of all things, spiritual or secular, can be confirmed. I have felt these spiritual communications from the Spirit, and as such I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness has been restored to the earth. I know that only through Jesus Christ can all men be saved, and that to this end, his church, complete with prophets and apostles, has been restored to the earth. With complete confidence, I can attest to the divine love and mercy of Jesus Christ, and proclaim that any who want to “experiment” are free to do so; any who approach God in sincere prayer, with a humble heart, and a sincere desire to act on His answer, regardless of the difficulty, will receive a similar communication from a loving Heavenly Father. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Matthew Memmott was born in 1981 in Bountiful, Utah. He grew up in Centerville, Utah, spending his free time skiing, reading, and learning about science. After serving as a full time missionary in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission, he received a four-year, full tuition scholarship to Brigham Young University. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2005. That fall, after being awarded the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics Fellowship, he moved to Boston, where he matriculated in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He obtained his M.S. Degree from the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department in 2007, with a focus on the optimization of hydrogen production systems integration with gas-cooled fast spectrum nuclear reactors. After designing and evaluating more efficient fast reactor nuclear fuel configurations for his dissertation, he graduated with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT in the summer of 2009. He has authored or co-authored over twelve publications, and has a pending patent for nuclear reactor design configurations. He currently works as the senior scientist in the Advanced Reactors group at Westinghouse Electric Company, and is the principal investigator in the Westinghouse fast reactor concept development project.
Posted November 2010