From Bruce Young, in response to "R. Gary":
Thank you for correcting some of my errors. I do not have a great deal invested in this topic, though I find it interesting and it comes up occasionally in my (literature) classes. But I should still be more careful with details.
Apparently, the BYU Board of Trustees approved the statement, "there has never been a formal declaration from the First Presidency addressing the general matter of organic evolution as a process for development of biological species" (whether in or out of a subordinate clause, it means the same thing).
The other statement ("The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how") comes from Evensen's article in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, which of course is not really an authoritative source, and I don't know the extent to which the Church was involved in reviewing individual articles. But I still believe the statement is true. (And the following would seem to support that view: 1910 statement.)
You make much of the statement that ideas about human "development from lower orders of animal creation" are "the theories of men." No problem. Some theories of men are undoubtedly true, some are false, and most are partly true and partly false. I don't know exactly how the theories in question rank. The statement itself doesn't say.
Sources like Preach My Gospel talk about God creating a body for Adam "from the elements of the earth." Unless you believe in ex nihilo creation (which I don't think most Latter-day Saints from Joseph Smith on do), that means a body was "organized" in some way from the elements of the earth. That could mean all sorts of things and has been taken by Latter-day Saints in various ways (some earlier leaders saying expressly that the account in Genesis is figurative). A mission president in Boston (about 25 or 30 years ago) said, "In some way we do not now understand, God provided bodies for Adam and Eve." Not that he had authority to define doctrine (though he held the keys of the kingdom at that time in that place), but I've always liked the way he put it.
Death before the Fall? That (answered negatively) seems to be your banner. For me, making sense of scriptural statements to that effect would require some stretches of interpretation (similar to explaining why we don't yet have a temple in Jackson County). Sometimes the apparently plain meaning of a verse is not its true or authorative meaning (other examples might include scriptures indicating that Joseph Smith would never be harmed by his enemies or that the Jews would first believe in Christ and then gather in the Holy Land).
It makes sense to me that there was no human death before the Fall because Adam was the first man. He is also called "the first flesh upon the earth," which some have taken to mean there were no animals on earth before Adam; but others have taken "flesh" here to be a synonym for "human being with a body of flesh and bones."
If Adam was the first man or the first corporeal human being on the earth, could his body have been prepared through evolutionary processes? Speaking in simply practical terms of processes God had the power to use, I (as a non-scientist) would say, yes, I think. Speaking in terms of whether explicit revelation leaves that way of preparing a body open as an option, I'd also say, yes, as far as I understand. Could the body have been prepared in some other, non-evolutionary way--yes (God has the power), and yes (I think revelation leaves a number of possibilities open). Does scientific evidence leave non-evolutionary modes of preparation open? I have no idea, really. I'm not intimately acquainted with the evidence. The main arguments I'm acquainted with (analogy, vestigial organs, embryonic development, the fossil record, etc., etc.) are persuasive, that is, point in a certain direction with some persuasive force. But they are not compelling (so far as I know) in the sense that they do not force a given conclusion upon every honest thinker. And I am aware that the presuppositions anyone brings to the evidence have a great influence on how persuasive the evidence will seem.
So, having confessed a large degree of ignorance, I should, in wisdom, sit back and listen to what others have to say.