Saturday, September 19, 2015

Orson Pratt on God's wondrous universe

Elder Orson Pratt (1811-1881) was one of the members of the original Quorum of Twelve ordained in 1835.  His scientific and mathematical training often gave him a unique perspective as he applied Gospel principles. This insight was shared at the conclusion of a lecture on astronomy:
"Nothing is calculated to inspire the mind of man with a more profound reverence for the Great Author of nature than the contemplation of his marvelous works. For the exact mathematical adjustments of the various forces of nature—the consummate wisdom and skill exhibited Deuteronomy 29:4in every department of the universe, accessible to finite minds—the omnipotent power and grandeur displayed in the construction of the magnificent machinery of creation—proclaim the majesty and glory of Him who formed and governs the mighty fabric."
- Orson Pratt, a lecture on astronomy given in Salt Lake City on August 11, 1875; in Lundwall, comp., Wonders of the Universe, pp. 36, 75, 193

There are those who have "eyes to see and ears to hear," and a "heart to understand" (see Deuteronomy 29:4) and others who see and experience the same thing but don't perceive the same underlying cause. Elder Pratt both saw and understood.

Centuries earlier, a prophet named Alma saw and understood, while his challenger, Korihor, refused to acknowledge the witnesses all around but instead demanded a more direct sign. In Alma's mind, he was immersed in evidence: "The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44)

The challenge to each of us is to both see, and understand.

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