One of the common misconceptions of the latter-day era is that religion, and in particular the restoration, is the primitive cultural inheritance of a former age of ignorance, now replaced by the enlightened sophistication of contemporary science. Yet what are considered current concepts of the nature of the universe are actually old news. For example, God directly informed Moses that his Son Jesus Christ was the construction foreman for an infinite number of worlds,1 many centuries before Edwin Hubble rediscovered the infinite numerical number of the heavens. The Old Testament book of Proverbs describes the building of this world and the “heavens,” or universe. Importantly, these were monumental projects in which we were both fully informed and fully involved.2 Alma explains to a secularist of his time that the very motions of the planets are a constant sign of God’s majesty.3 The life of the Master affirms his eternal role. For one who created “worlds without number,” healing the sick and infirm, stilling the tempest, feeding thousands, restoring life to those who had lost it, comforting those who believed, speaking with authority and with soul-searing love and an understanding heart and mind, and forgiving the broken-hearted are witnesses of his love, compassion, and charity for each individual life.4 So many good works were accomplished by the Son of God during his brief years here that John remarked that it was impossible to document and store the volumes required to do so!5
The prelude to the dispensation of the fullness of times began with revelations/inventions opening wonders into realities which men had been precluded from viewing with any clarity—the very large (telescope) and the very small (microscope). These events, prior to the birth of Joseph Smith in 1805 and the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, were the beginning indicators of the return of all knowledge. For example, microorganisms as the causative agent of infectious diseases received concentrated and sustained effort from Ignaz Semmelweis (1847), John Snow (1854), Joseph Lister (1870s), Robert Koch (1890), and others. In comparison to the now daily avalanche of insight and published progress, the forty-three years required to confirm this idea is nearly backwards. By comparison, currently the “ancient days” of cancer research are pre-2001 AD, prior to the publishing of the human genome. The accelerated rate of knowledge acquisition boldly speaks of a grand plan and design in full momentum, nearing completion. Science does not indicate the absence of God, but some views of science suggest absence of the understanding that the work and glory of God is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”6 Henry Eyring remarked that the only confusion between science and religion occurs in the minds of men, not in the mind of God.7
This information boldly attests that, when the heavens were opened to Joseph Smith as a young boy, the “pillar of light” that he saw was perhaps symbolic of the sure restoration of all of God’s knowledge.8 The most vital elements of this knowledge are divine insights that we are beloved children of a loving Father and Son and that the way home is not obscure but illuminated by that pillar of light, silently shouting, gently instructing “this way home!”
I personally feel a great sense of gratitude to for being able to experience my moment of mortality at this particular period, especially on that world where the Master lived and worked through his mission and his atonement. In addition, to experience all this when the truth has been restored by God Himself and His Beloved Son is a very precious opportunity and a chance to make a difference when there is a very real difference to be made. For all of the self-assured sophistication and seemingly great knowledge of this time, one of the greatest ironies of our time is the attempt to use science, the knowledge of God Himself, to deny his existence. This simply will not pass the final test of time. “When the surf of the centuries has made the pyramids so much sand,”9 Jesus will still be the Christ, the atonement will still be infinite in its reach, and Joseph Smith will still be the Prophet of the Restoration.
1. Moses 1:32-33, 35, 37-38
2. Proverbs 8:22-31
3. Alma 30:44
4. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. Behold the Lamb of God. Salt Lake City: Desert Book Co., 1962, pp.15-25.
5. John 21:25
6. Moses 1:39
7. Henry Eyring, Reflections of a Scientist. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983 (1998 pagination), pp. 2.
8. JS 1:16
9. Cory Maxwell, ed. The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book. West Valley: Bookcraft, 1997, pp.116.
Dr. Ryan L. Parr is the chief scientific officer and the vice president of research and development for Genesis Genomics Inc., of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He has utilized his academic research background in the area of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to develop the company’s successful commercial research platform and leading-edge biomarker-discovery capabilities. He began his research career at the University of Utah, in the Department of Cellular, Viral, and Molecular Biology. He has worked on projects including nuclear differentiation within eucaryotic cells, mechanisms of viral infections, recovery and sequencing of mtDNA extracted from the skeletal remains of ancient Egyptian populations, and the use of mtDNA for the identification of unclaimed victims from the 1912 Titanic disaster. Previously, as a senior research specialist in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, he worked on the problem of cancer resistance to drug therapy.
Posted April 2010