Instrumental Reasoning (or Why Prayer Works)

How often have you heard someone testify from the pulpit that prayer works, that priesthood blessings work, that the gospel works? Well, I heard one of those again today and (as always) it made me cringe. By now I’ve probably proved myself someone who gets a little too caught up in the way people say things and I plead guilty here. I really believe that the sister in my ward who said that the gospel works meant to say much more than her words alone conveyed. But, since this is a blog and not sacrament meeting, I think I might indulge myself in a bit of nitpicking.

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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