Excerpts from “The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology” by BYU professor Thomas G. Alexander. Note that this essay was updated in the 115-6 issue of Sunstone dated June 1999.
Not only has God’s characteristics changed over the years in Mormonism but so has his name. Find out how Jehovah was God the Father in Joseph Smith’s day only to become Jesus in the 20th century.
The current Mormon prophet became the first leader of the church to claim that the ultimate purpose of life may not be to become gods. This is in direct conflict with the teachings of early presidents of the church like Joseph Smith and Lorenzo Snow.
“There is a wide range of views amongst Mormons as to what constitutes doctrine. Some say that only LDS scriptures contain doctrine. Anything else is opinion at best. Others state that only what the modern day prophet states is “official doctrine” can be claimed as such (even if this contradicts early prophets and/or scripture). Some claim that anything said in a General Conference of the church can also be called doctrine… In any event, one thing is sure; no matter what one claims doctrine is, they will quickly change that view when something they don’t agree with happens to fall into the previously defined parameters. Such is the case with a 6,000 year old “temporal” earth, evolution, and other areas which science continues to gather mounting evidence.”
Find out what general authorities previously said and what some recent ones said, too, on items such as the age of the earth and evolution.
Apostle John A. Widtsoe wrote as though science and Mormonism were one and the same. Unfortunately, the gap between the two grows wider and wider in many instances as we head into the 21st century.
The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion by Sterling McMurrin
Of his nine books, Theological Foundations is considered his masterpiece. The present edition includes his earlier essay, “The Philosophical Foundations of Mormon Theology,” with a biographical introduction by Deep Springs College president L. Jackson Newell and a glossary of terms by Dr. McMurrin’s daughter, Trudy McMurrin.
“Strangers in Paradox examines the paradoxical nature of Mormonism. The authors consider the nature of God, gender roles, religious authority, and symbolism, arguing that the more one evaluates one’s beliefs, myths, and rituals, the more vital and meaningful they become.”
To do so they have to not believe in the typical, literal reading of their scriptures, and they have to disbelieve in the men they are required to sustain as ‘prophets, seers, and revelators’.
The author of several books on LDS theology discusses some key issues. A very interesting read to say the least.
Janice Allred writes about how members are no longer free to discuss and write about Mormon theology. She was excommunicated for doing so.
A Sunstone presentation that looks at the ideas raised in a book comparing the ever-changing Mormon and Christian theologies.
“[B. H. Roberts] submitted his completed work to the LDS First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, which, after a series of heated meetings, rejected it. Roberts’s views on evolution, the age of the earth, the pre-earth existence, and the eternal progression of God were deemed too controversial, so his “masterwork” went unpublished. With the support of the Roberts family, editor Stan Larson has corrected this sixty-year omission from the corpus of Mormon theology.”
Sidney was at the forefront in the development of early Mormon theology. Significant portions of his theology have lingered on in Mormonism to this day. Find out about the man who is fascinating, in part, because of his bizarreness.
After spending decades in the LDS Church wanting to believe in the Mormon version of God, the author of this piece sums up his thoughts on the subject.
One of the more curious Mormon doctrines is the belief that Missouri is where the Garden of Eden is and that Mormons will gather there again some day to welcome Jesus back to earth.