Mormon Creation Narratives and Creation by Evolution

I once heard it said when I was a young undergraduate that the creation accounts – particularly that of Abraham – fit very well with evolutionary accounts of creation. A casual read of Abraham seems to confirm this: earth, void; waters divided from earth; plants come up from the earth; fish and fowl; beasts of the earth; man. This sort of progression would make sense from an evolutionary perspective – creation evolves from simple to complex.

But add Moses’ account into the mix and things become a little dicier. Continue reading

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Unearthing Parley P. Pratt — And Some (Interesting?) Questions

Let me begin by saying that Parley P. Pratt is my great-great-great grandfather. He is a man that my family and I honor very much, arguably one of the most consequential pioneers of the Restored Gospel. His Autobiography is one of my favorite books, and I feel somewhat of a close kinship with the man.

So, I’ve been casually following the story about the possibility of disinterring Pratt’s remains from Arkansas — and moving them to Utah. Continue reading

Does God Have Exhaustive Definitive Foreknowledge? Another Case Study in a Pragmatic Approach to an LDS Theology of Possibilties

This post might only make sense after reading this post or this post.

To help concretize the essential need of an open folk belief (OFB) LDS community, I will illustrate a case example regarding a theological issue for which there are substantial gaps from authoritative Latter-day Saint sources. For this fictional example, imagine two individuals, Susan and Gary, having a conversation about their differing beliefs regarding the foreknowledge of God. There are differing LDS views concerning whether God has exhaustive specific foreknowledge, although it is commonly assumed that one position – the affirmative one – is the official position of the Church. Therefore, this position is a classical case in which an folk belief is commonly confused to be a CFB (closed folk belief). Continue reading

Do Tattoos and Piercings Remain in the Resurrection? A Case Study in a Pragmatic Approach to an LDS Theology of Possibilities

As I have mentioned before, I am giving a presentation tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, March 27) at the University of Utah, for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology conference. My presentation is entitled “Toward a Latter-day Saint Theology of Possibilities.”

The basic logic of the underlying problem I tackle in my presentation is that (a) there is a tenuous relationship between authority and freedom in the Church, (b) there is not a clear cut authoritative theology that is sufficient to guide Latter-day Saints in all matters of life, (c) Latter-day Saints cannot help but construct folk beliefs, (d) folk beliefs are not bad in themselves; the problem occurs when these beliefs are seen as closed folk beliefs (CFBs), rather than open folk beliefs (OFBs). Continue reading

Who (or what) will save us?

Each month, I have a group of people over to my house and we have what has come to be called “cottage meetings.” They began as, essentially, support groups for those of us who were bored or dissatisfied by Sunday School. We get together some evening, someone brings dessert, and someone else brings a topic of discussion, which we debate and/or discuss until the kids get too grumpy to last another ten minutes.

At out last cottage meeting, I had assigned my neighbor to bring the topic of discussion. Unfortunately, his job would make him late, so we had to start the discussing with just a prompt given over the phone. He said, “I want you to talk about the Adam-God theory.” Continue reading

Storytime

Dennis thought I ought to share this short story that I wrote. It represents one of my folk theologies…

“There once was a man who wished to learn physics because he wanted to be like God. Continue reading

Mormon Folk Beliefs!

On March 27 (3-5 p.m.) at the University of Utah, I am giving a presentation at the Society of Mormon Philosophy and Theology, entitled “Toward a Latter-day Saint Theology of Possibilities.” Information about the conference can be found here.

In this presentation I will talk about how “folk beliefs” are unavoidable among Latter-day Saints. Because we do not have an exhaustive theological system or creed, we out of necessity maintain certain beliefs and possibilities that are not the Church’s official position (this is not to say, of course, that they might not be true). Continue reading