Science vs. Dogma: Biology Challenges the LDS Paradigm (manuscript.pdf)
by Gregory A. Prince, Author & Historian

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Salt Lake City Public Library - Nancy Tessman Auditorium
210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT  84111 (map)
Free for all, no tickets required 

The Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah presented the 2017 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture on Religion & Culture, “Science versus Dogma: Biology challenges the LDS Paradigm” by Gregory A. Prince, author and historian, at Salt Lake City Public Library, September 27, 2017.

Until the late 1960s, when the Stonewall Riots in New York City brought LGBT issues into the public square, the consensus among clinicians, scientists, legislators, and religious leaders was that homosexuality was either an unfortunate choice that could be unchosen, or a disease that could—and must—be cured. As the field of molecular biology matured, there was a spirited hunt for a genetic explanation for homosexuality—the “gay gene.”

In the short term, failure to find such a gene reinforced the “choice paradigm” of homosexuality.  However, recent research has shown that a combination of genetic and (mostly) epigenetic factors act during fetal development to imprint sexual preference and gender identity indelibly within the brain. Prince argues that the “biology paradigm” calls for a reassessment of Latter-day Saint doctrines, policies, and attitudes towards homosexuality, all of which were built on a foundation of the “choice paradigm.”

“Greg Prince’s unique perspective,” says Tanner Center director Bob Goldberg, “combines scientific knowledge with humanistic sensibilities.  This insures that his insights will offer new ways of understanding matters that touch us all.” 

Prince’s lecture was followed by a brief Q&A and a book signing hosted by The King's English Bookshop.

John Boyack | 801-587-8879


Scientific researcher and historian Gregory A. Prince earned his graduate degrees in dentistry (DDS) and pathology (PhD) at UCLA. He then pursued a four-decade career in pediatric infectious disease research. His love of history led him to write three books, including the award-winning David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Most recently, he has published Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History.

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mcmurrin-1Established in 1992, the McMurrin Lecture supports the study of religion at the University of Utah. The McMurrin Lecture honors beloved scholar and teacher Sterling M. McMurrin (1914-1996), who served as U.S. Commissioner of Education during the Kennedy Administration. Since 2006, we have hosted religious scholars and commentators: Eboo PatelAkbar Ahmed, Krista TippetsReza Aslan, Thupten Jinpa, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Kathleen FlakeDavid CampbellLester Bush, Jr., and Stephen Prothero. Lectures are held on campus or in the community and are free and open to the public. To read more about and/or to view previous McMurrin lectures, please click here



Photo: Natalie and Sterling McMurrin at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961

Last Updated: 10/4/17