Scientific thinking and religion go hand in hand, and help refine and give purpose to each other.
Descartes' approach wasn’t as good as Newton’s. Descartes relied on the soundness of his own reasoning.
“The erroneous conception that revelation ended with the apostles promotes the misconception among sectarian religions that the Gospel is complete and that with a liberal admixture of human wisdom, all will be crystal clear.”
God places messages in everything. We study the scriptures, but we also study each scientific field looking for the truth He offers us there.
Don’t compartmentalize the truth. Joseph Smith is quoted as saying that people lived on the Moon. Prophets are called by God to speak His words at times, but they are not perfect. The truth is that nothing lives on the Moon, and that Joseph Smith often revealed truths directly given by God. “It is for these moments of penetrating insight that I honor and follow [Joseph Smith].”
The gospel is not the church, or the leaders. “The Gospel is the truth.”
“If you want to preach, you will do a lot more toward influencing other people by living like the Savior than by developing any kind of fancy arguments.”
The gospel is true not because everything makes sense, but because it gives purpose to the Universe, brings faith to my life, and teaches me to have peace. Learning about the world through science gives insight on our relationship to God. It doesn’t destroy it. With the gospel, we have a rational understanding of life.
The church is committed to the truth, wherever it comes from. Leaders and members ideally are humble enough to recognize mistakes and change course.
“I cannot think of anything which more wonderfully typifies His mercy, His kindness, His consideration for us, His concern for us, than that He does it all with bonds that are like strongest steel but are so gentle that you cannot see them.”
The goal is not to reach an advanced level of secular learning, but to be humbly willing to learn. This is so much more valuable because that willingness to learn and obey learned laws can lead me to bless others with knowledge of the gospel.
“Obedience to Gospel principles can make man master of himself, and thus of his own destiny. There is no greater freedom than this.”