Questions

Here’s a list of questions that I’ve thought about, or thought about thinking about, that relate to my faith journey. I plan to think out loud about each of these at some point during my life; that’s about all I can promise. In no particular order, here they are:

Questions I’ve Started to Write About

  • Agency. What is agency? What circumscribes agency? How much agency do we really have?
  • Finding New Language. What language should we use to celebrate the Restoration? What old language do we need to shed? What questions are people asking and how should we, as LDS, respond to them?
  • Imagination. How should I curate my imagination? Which media I encounter? What principles of wisdom should determine what movies I watch? What books I read? What art I experience?
  • Reading Scripture. How can I better read scripture? How can we help individuals read scripture?
  • Sense of Place. How should I relate to place? How should we relate to our local environment, our immediate neighbors, and the time in which we live? Should it look something like bioregionalism? Political Localism? Or something else? How does globalization and technology change this?
  • Theology. What is theology? What does it mean to “do” theology as a Latter-day Saint? What is the relationship between theology and doctrine, and between those who engage in theology and living prophets?
  • Unity. What does it mean to “be one” (D&C 38:27) and “knit together in love” (Col 2:22; Mosiah 18:21)? What kinds of unity are there? Is there a more mature kind of unity we can have? How can one have disagreement in the church and maintain the unity God desires for us?

Questions I’ve Yet to Write About

  • What is science? What revolutions in science have happened, and are happening now? How should all of this relate back to our church and doctrine? Is there a conflict between science and faith? If so, what and why? If not, why not?
  • What is history? What’s the significance of learning history for me as a Latter-day Saint?
  • What is consecration? What does consecration look like today?
  • How did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon? The JST and the Book of Moses? The Book of Abraham?
  • What is revelation? And what is scripture? What’s the best model for thinking about scripture? Is there such a thing as an LDS hermeneutics? Should there be a dominant mode of reading scripture in the Latter-day Saint community? How do we approach concepts like accommodation, concordism, adaptation, genre, and inerrancy?
  • What constitutes doctrine? How do I know what is doctrine, and what isn’t, especially where there is theological diversity within our canon or the opinions of church leaders?
  • How do I follow and sustain a leader? How do I not follow and sustain a leader? Is public criticism ever helpful, and if so, when? When is it not helpful? What does “steadying the ark” actually mean?
  • What is the theology of each book of scripture we have? What is the message of scripture as a whole?
  • What is the meaning of the temple? How was it revealed? What can we know about the history of the ordinance? What is the cultural context in which it was born? How does it allude to and echo other scripture? What part should it play as scripture and as worship in our lives?
  • What is the best LDS art? Literature? Cinema? Dance? Plays? Where are our Shakespeares? Is it really difficult to “do” good LDS art? What’s an LDS take on a “philosophy” of the aesthetic?
  • What is the purpose of reading? Why should we read? What should govern what we read?
  • What does Latter-day Saint scripture say about our relationship to the environment and to creation? What is our responsibility to creation in the face of climate change and planetary stewardship?
  • What story or stories does scripture tell? What story does the Bible tell? The Book of Mormon? The D&C? These scriptures combined? How do I teach this story / these stories to children? And what are the competing stories?
  • What does a Latter-day Saint response to Charles Taylor’s thesis in “A Secular Age” look like? How do we believe in a secular age?
  • Why do people leave the church, and how do we love, help, and understand those who have left? How do we help fewer people leave the church?
  • How will changes in technology and mass media affect the way we worship and relate to/with God? What principles should govern my relationship with technology?
  • How do you maintain epistemic humility, and yet hold true to what you believe? How do you approach faith with intellectual rigor and faith?
  • Who are the great LDS intellectuals and philosophers?
  • Why is church sometimes boring, and how do we teach in a more exciting manner?
  • What makes a good blog good? ;P
  • How should the gospel affect how I approach employment? Is there an LDS doctrine of vocation and calling? If so, what is it?
  • What are possible LDS responses to the questions of evil and suffering? What does an LDS theodicy look like? What do I believe?
  • What does an LDS approach to philosophy look like? An LDS metaphysics? Epistemology? Ethics?
  • What is the relationship between politics and our faith? What do scripture and prophets say about politics? What would an international and trans-historical LDS perspective on politics look like?
  • What is the right way to engage with culture? Are we obligated to try to change the general culture? Or is a “Benedict Option” acceptable? Or should the relationship be something else entirely?
  • What is at the heart of Latter-day Saint worship? Is there a Latter-day Saint liturgy, and if so, what does that look like?
  • Regarding worship, how do Latter-day Saints practice, experience, and create sacred time? Do we have a liturgical calendar? Could we? If so, what could it look like?
  • What should Latter-day Saint relations be with other faiths? With Jews? Christians, Catholic and Protestant? With Islam? And with the others? What should ecumenical relations look like? What have they looked like?
  • What is sin, exactly? How does sin fit into our theology?
  • Is the central problem of life “the problem of sin”? Or is it learning to be better? Or is it healing and wounds? Or is it idolatry? Or is it pride? Or is it death?
  • What is our LDS approach to music and hymns? To the Psalms?
  • What are the different theories on Atonement? What theories “fit” our beliefs? (Do any of them?)
  • What is our view on sexuality? What do we know, and what don’t we know, about sexual identity, orientation, and desire?