With a deeper study of the theory of life evolution, I can no longer see how it can fit into the gospel properly. Mix this with a deeper LDS understanding of the nature of God, and all the creation accounts in the scriptures and the things learned in the temple and the two just can't seem to correlate for me. There are too many gaps in the theory and a lot of the evidence is based on circular reasoning's and without observation. Too many things are presented as facts that really are being misrepresented. Within it, I don't find the proper scientific method applied. It maybe the best they have, but it's no theory, just a set of ideas based on assumptions of fossils, rock record formations and some observable facts. Of course there is more to it than that, hence their reasoning, and it can get quite complicated. But within that complication is very much the lack of evidence to fully support this theory. I have found that a lot of what is used as evidence is shady at best. It is the explained starting point of life that is really the biggest problem for me. We can only observe reproduction after our own "kind" just like it says in the bible. Sure, people make different people, dogs make different dogs and so on, with tons of variation and mutation, but no evidence shows that rocks and water can produce life even over billions of years. They have even tried to reproduce it and they can't. This is the part where the theory leaves science and enters the realm of faith or opinion. Evolution to some degree does happen but more in the form of variation. It is important to point out though that in this form there is a loss of genetic information not an increase and not really any form of evolution is happening though some refer to this form as micro evolution.
One of the troubles we are sometimes faced with is deciding how to interpret scripture without clarification from God himself or a prophetic voice on each individual matter and especially when the prophetic voice only belongs to it's own religion. Different interpretations have led to thousands of denominations within Christianity alone. What is literal and what is figurative and what is the context and how does it apply? Science has an excellent built in guide and method but often misleads itself as well when it strays into unknowns. Nevertheless I think as believers we must use the scriptures as the foundation to help us understand science and not the other way around. I believe there is a perfect correlation somewhere to be found. True science is pure religion.
I have been doing a tremendous amount of research into these types of subjects based on the fact I have been faced with questions from members. There is a lot of information out there to discover. There are many discussions and debates out there similar in topic and they can be found online, in science journals and other places. Some are between believers of an old earth vs. young earth, some purely scientific and others from an atheist point of view. I think it is important to listen and try to understand the differing views. It is unfair to assume what you believe is the only possible or plauisble explanation when it comes to things like creation or age of the earth / universe, evolution or other scientific and/or theological ideas. Although I may not agree with any one side completely and maintain fully the LDS faith, for me it at least pulls many things into question making it incredibly clear we still don't have all the information and data, to know all the answers.
However, we do have enough for faith to exist. My opinion is, that where there is any lack of absolute truth and knowledge (D&C 93: 24), faith in something must be required. In our supernatural views faith can be applied and tested (Alma 32) just like we apply the scientific method to the natural order. Both require facts, evidences, hypothesis, theories, etc. or you could use language as hope, belief, faith, experience, revelation, knowledge of results, etc. To me, anything unproven to be anything but absolute truth is a form of belief in something whether, religion, evolution or something else. All knowledge that is not absolute is faith based.
If we at least assume we exist ( I think therefore I am), then science has shown some absolute truths in the form of some laws of physics, mathematics and such ( 2+2=4) and I would also say that so has religion/philosophy with time tested principles (like love) and that all these we can accept. All schools of thought eventually lead us back to the same point of the beginning of creation as we know it or (Big bang). What started it all or if it is truly beginningless or what lies beyond that can only be left to theological and philosophical discussion. In other words, only humble faith is left as a starting point for either creationist / evolutionist, believer or non believer or anything else and in between, until something is revealed and or discovered as absolute truth.
I don't like to discard fully many ideas or theories and I always hold the right to change my mind and I do so carefully. I like to take all the evidence presented before me and then make the best descion for myself. I let interpretation guide but not determine, then at the end I am guilty of following my heart. To me, it is easy to conclude that discarding faith would be illogical and I choose to place my faith in God based on what I have learned and what I hope for. This especially, given the evidence of our experiences, testimonies given, and the already established revealed word of God through prophets and the hope to receive the promises contained in it. My hope is that one day we will know all things. Until such a time, it is up to the individual to carefully decide where to best place their faith and to make sense of it. The overall advantage to our LDS faith is, if we are right, we have an eternity of possibilities. If the atheist is right, he will have nothing. In my opinion, that is an easy decision to make. Some food for thought!
Book of Mormon Bible-Old and New testaments Doctrine & Covenants Pearl of great price Gospel Principles manual True to the faith Preach my Gospel Lectures on Faith Our Heritage Truth Restored Home with Honor- Randy L. Bott Jesus the Christ- James E. Talmage A Marvelous Work and a Wonder Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith- Joseph Fielding Smith Joseph Smith the Prophet- Truman G. Madsen Doctrines of Salvation Vol 1-3- Joseph Fielding Smith Key to Theology- Parley P. Pratt Earth in the Beginning- Eric N. Skousen Joseph Smith as Scientist- John A. Widstoe An Eye Single to the Glory of God- Robert L. Millet Miracle of Forgiveness- Spencer W. Kimball Unto the least of these- Jack R. Christianson Way to Be- Gordon B. Hinckley Standing for Something- Gordon B. Hinckley The Highest In Us- Truman G. Madsen Studies of the Book of Mormon- B.H. Roberts Articles of faith- James E. Talmage The Holy Temple- Boyd K. Packer House of God- Truman G. Madsen The House of the Lord- James E. Talmage Take heed that ye be not deceived- Richard I. Winwood Offenders for a Word- Daniel C. Peterson The three degrees of glory- Lawrence R. Flake The Great Apostasy- James E. Talmage Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt President Heber C. Kimball’s Journal Journal of Discourses 1902 History of the Church vol 1-7