“Let us for an hour put aside our faith and doubts and instead consider a related but distinct realm. Let us postulate in advance that something is indeed true and worthy, and then ask: ‘What sorts of things get in the way of my accepting this truth?’ Let us also consider if faith is merely ‘wish-fulfillment.'”
Sunday, November 9, 2014 7-9 pm
Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT
If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.
Thanks to Dan Wotherspoon for recommending Phillip Barlow.
Philip Barlow is the Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, where he teaches courses on American Religion, Mormonism, Religion & Human Suffering, and Religion & the Concept of” Time.” His writing includes a treatment of the role of “place” in the nation’s history (The New Historical Atlas of Religion in America, which the Association of American Publishers named as the “Best Single-volume Reference Book in the Humanities” for 2001). Oxford University Press has recently released his updated edition of Mormons and the Bible. Barlow is the compiler and editor of A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief by Mormon Scholars and, with Terry Givens, the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Mormonism. His current book-length project, co-authored with Jan Shipps, is a series of unconventional angles of vision on contemporary Mormonism for Columbia University Press. He is the past President of the Mormon History Association.
Questions to ponder in advance:
1) Is “faith” merely “wish-fulfillment” –a projection of our manufactured hopes to buffer us from an indifferent universe and other hard truths?
2) There are plenty of critical questions one might ask about faith in Mormonism or in Christianity or any religion. Some such questions are healthy and wise, perhaps even necessary. Let us for an hour put aside our faith and doubts and instead consider a related but distinct realm. Let us postulate in advance that something is indeed true and worthy, and then ask: “What sorts of things get in the way of my accepting this truth?” More specifically, let us for an evening posit that Joseph Smith did in fact encounter the divine and that the message and movement that emerged from this encounter are at their core good and worthy. What dynamics within me get in the way of my accepting this blessing?
Possible material to look over in advance:
“Questions at the Veil” (Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2013: pp. 203–216).
“Ten Commandments for Balancing the Life of the Mind and Spirit on Campus” in Jacob Werrett & David Read, eds., A Twenty-Something’s Guide to Spirituality (Deseret Book, 2007), pp. 134–171.
“Why I Stay” (brief talk: Sunstone plenary session, 2012)