Development of theology

Jump to: navigation, search

Mormon theology developed from it's very founder, Joseph Smith, who claimed to receive revelations from God. These revelations were first recorded in the supposed translation of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price. Even today, Mormon theology and it's development is grounded in continuing revelation.


[edit] Stages of development

Mormon historians such as Leanard Arrington, Richard Haglund, and David Whittaker have suggested different ways to describe the stages of theological development. Their models have been combined to include five main periods.

[edit] Restoration and formation (1830 - 1844)

This time period encompasses the very beginning of the Mormon religion (1830) to the death of Joseph Smith (1845). During this period many doctrines were revealed to Smith. For example, "creation ex nihilo (creation of existence out of nonexistence), trinitarianism, baptism of infants, and sola scriptura (the belief that doctrine can only come from the Bible) were all countered by latter-day revelations," (Hauglid, p. 545).

During this time Smith began to develop the doctrines of The Fall, the Godhead, the preexistence of humanity, the Atonement, the Priesthood, the three degrees of glory, eternal marriage (including "plural marriage"), salvation for the dead, eternal progression, and America as a promised land and site of the future New Jerusalem, or Zion. Most, if not all, of these doctrines make Mormonism unique. However, most, if not all, are rarely described or communicated to new converts or to interested individuals. If anything, Mormonism attempts to appear Christian. This is quite possibly because of the Mormon desire to be accepted within it's culture (which remains more open to Christianity than Mormonism), yet, this has yet to be fully conclusive.

[edit] Elaboration (1844-1867)

After the death of Joseph Smith Mormonism had to work out various issues. One of the first was how to determine the next Prophet. The result of this dilemma was the choosing of Brigham Young (1801 - 1877), the second Prophet of the Mormon religion. A major document written throughout this time period was the Journal of Discourses which records both history and doctrine in a massive 27-volume work. Two major thinkers of this period were Orson Pratt (1811 - 1881) and third president of the Mormon religion, John Taylor (1808 - 1887).

[edit] Purification (1867-1914)

During this time the works of James Talmage (1862 - 1933) were taking place. Among the most well known are The Articles of Faith and Jesus the Christ. These are among the few books published under the name of the Mormom religion rather than under the individual author. His works remain respected among modern day LDS theologians.

Lastly, one of the most significant events in Mormon history (although some LDS would argue otherwise) was the manifesto of 1890. This declaration was made to end plural marriage. There was a second manifesto made in 1904, again, declaring that all LDS members end the practice of plural marriage.

[edit] Adaption and Confrontation (1914-1945)

After the rise of industrial technology and two world wars, the LDS religion became more involved in global affairs. Furthermore, LDS began studying and receiving higher degrees from notable universities. Notable individuals are B.H. Roberts and John Widtsoe. Roberts made significant contributions to LDS theology, especially in The Doctrine of Deity in which he describes the LDS view of God. B.H. Roberts is still quoted today as LDS seek to defend their beliefs. Widtsoe also made contributions especially in his Rational Theology.

Related articles: Jehovah and Elohim, Divine investiture

[edit] Globalization (1945-present)

Due to the rising technological advancements, Mormonism took advantage of this fact and began to use computer and satellite technology to make their teachings more widely accesible to the world. Curriculum has been rewritten in order to communicate LDS beliefs in new ways, and has also been written in a way to add more focus on the standard works and teachings of latter-day prophets.

A development in the theology of the Priesthood occured in 1978 when the Mormon religion, under President Spencer W. Kimball, first allowed blacks to hold the priesthood.

Of late, Mormonism has arguably experienced a slight shift in theology. Those such as Robert Millet, Stephen Robinson, and others have supposedly developed a theology of "savlation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone." If this is the case, a new development will have occured which some are calling neo-Mormon theology (neo meaning new).

[edit] Specific developments

[edit] The Father and Son: from one divine personage to two

"[I]t appears that after May of 1833, Joseph never again referred to Jesus as the Father in any of his writings." [1]

Cross.jpg This section is a stub. Please edit it to add information.

See related article: Modalism

[edit] The Holy Ghost: from the mind of God to the third person of the Godhead

Cross.jpg This section is a stub. Please edit it to add information.

See main article: Holy Ghost

[edit] Quotes

[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] Offline resources

[edit] External links

[edit] Non-Mormon

[edit] Mormon

Personal tools