Dear President Smith:
Thanks for your letter of April 15, 1955. I am happy that you read my letter, which you refer to, as it expresses accurately my point of view. Considering the difference in training of the members of the Church, I never cease to marvel at the degree of agreement found among believing Latter-Day-Saints. So far from being disturbed to find that Brother Talmage, Brother Widtsoe and yourself didn't always see scientific matters alike, this situation seems natural and as it should be. It will be a sad day for the Church and its members when the degree of disagreement you brethren expressed is not allowed.
I am convinced that if the Lord required that His children understand His works before they could be saved that no one would be saved. It seems to me that to struggle for agreement on scientific matters in view of the disparity in background which the members of the Church have is to put emphasis in the wrong place. In my judgment there is room in the Church for people who think that the periods of creation were (a) 24 hours, (b) 1000 years, or (c) millions of years. I think it is fine to discuss these questions and for each individual to try to convert the other to what he thinks is right, but in matters where apparently equally reliable authorities disagree, I prefer to make haste slowly.
Since we agree on so many things, I trust we can amicably disagree on a few. I have never liked, for example, the idea that many of the horizontally lying layers with their fossils are wreckage from earlier worlds. In any case, the Lord created the world and my faith does not hinge on the detailed procedures. Thanks again for your kindly, thoughtful letter.
Sincerely your brother,
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Great Example of Respectfully Agreeing to Disagree
Letter from Henry Eyring to Joseph Fielding Smith on page 94 here: