Converging Paths to Truth : The Summerhays Lectures on Science and Religion
Religious Studies Center, BYU
About ten years ago, a man named Gyula Palyi, whom I had never met, contacted me. He explained that in celebration of a jubilee year of the Roman Catholic Church, a series of weeklong seminars on many topics would be held simultaneously throughout Italy. He was organizing a meeting at the University of Modena on the topic “What is life? What is the origin of life? Having answered the first two questions, what are the implications?” He had been looking for a Mormon who was a scientist. I explained that I could not speak officially for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that some of my ideas would not match those of all Mormon scientists. These two disclaimers still apply.
My wife, Sandy, and I had an enjoyable week in Modena. All day long we listened to people of every scientific and religious persuasion present their thoughts on life. We heard many interesting ideas. In the evenings, we enjoyed dinners, entertainment, and discussions with people who saw things from perspectives that were often very different from ours. Sandy and I looked during that week at what I had prepared to say and refined it to become what I ended up saying, which was primarily a discussion of the plan of salvation and how we see it in relation to science.