Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology – book review

Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology – book review

Strangers in Paradox : Explorations in Mormon Theology
by Margaret Toscano & Paul James Toscano

from the publisher:
Exploring a wide range of theological issues, 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.

For example, they illustrate that for every assertion about God being a human-like man with a physical body; with a literal, physical son; accompanied by a third, spirit personage; there is a correspondingly definitive pronouncement from church leaders and scripture asserting the opposite: that the godhead includes a woman, that God is a spirit, that there is only one God, and that the Holy Spirit has a resurrected body. The Book of Mormon is trinitarian, the Doctrine and Covenants is not. The Toscanos propose that God might better be visualized androgenous.

Similarly, in discussing LDS temple worship, the authors attempt to infuse rote phrases with some theological meaning. Reminiscent of Hans K´┐Żng, or C. S. Lewis, they are perhaps provocative but always faith-affirming. Appropriately, they begin with epigrams from Jesus, Eve, Joseph Smith, and Eliza Snow.

Margaret Toscano, a doctoral candidate in Hebrew at the University of Utah, teaches humanities at Salt Lake Community College. She is the theology editor for the Mormon Women’s Forum Newsletter, co-author of Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology, contributing author to Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism, and a founder and former co-president of the Mormon Alliance.

Paul James Toscano is an attorney who serves as a Standing Bankruptcy Trustee for the District of Utah. A former staff editor at the Ensign magazine, he is the author of Gospel Letters to a Mormon Missionary; Invisible Religion in the Public Schools; The Sanctity of Dissent; and Secularism, Neutrality, and the Supreme Court; co-author of Music and the Broken Word: Songs for Alternate Voices, and Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology; and is a founder and past co-president of the Mormon Alliance. See his letter to the editor which is linked from this page.