ABOUT THIS BOOK
Determining what is and what is not Mormon doctrine is a difficult endeavor. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces four books of scripture as its canon, but also believes the church is led by a living prophet. Additions to the canon have been rare since the death of church founder Joseph Smith. Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth church president, said that if the prophet ever contradicts canon, canon prevails. On the other hand, Ezra Taft Benson, the church’s thirteenth president, said that the living prophet’s words are more important than cannon. Such messages create no shortage of confusion among church members.
The question “What is doctrine?” opens the door for theologians and historians to wrestle over the answer, and to do so thoughtfully and insightfully. In Continuing Revelation, editor Bryan Buchanan has compiled essays that seek greater understanding about what doctrine is and why it matters.
The Challenge of Defining LDS Doctrine, by Loyd Isao Ericson • LDS Theology and the Omnis: The Dangers of Theological Speculation, by David H. Bailey • Crawling out of the Primordial Soup: A Step toward the Emergence of an LDS Theology Compatible with Organic Evolution, by Steven L. Peck • “To Destroy the Agency of Man”: The War in Heaven in LDS Thought, by Boyd Petersen • Three Sub-Degrees in the Celestial Kingdom?, by Shannon P. Flynn • Heavenly Mother: The Mother of All Women, by Blaire Ostler • Mormonism and the Problem of Heterodoxy, by Kelli D. Potter • Women at the Gates of Mortality: Relief Society Birth and Death Rituals, by Susanna Morrill • “Shake Off the Dust of Thy Feet”: The Rise and Fall of Mormon Ritual Cursing, by Samuel R. Weber • “Satan Mourns Naked Upon the Earth: Locating Mormon Possession and Exorcism Rituals in the American Religious Landscape, 1830–1977, by Stephen C. Taysom