Great LDS Theologians


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On my bookshelf I have two books in the Jesus of Nazareth series written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It's known as the most influential books in traditional Christian theology written in the last 100 years and Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) has been known as one of the greatest theologians of the modern era. I also have books by St. Faustina and St. Therese of Lisieux (who came up with her own spiritual path known as the "Little Way"). Also on my bookshelf, books by the Cuban priest Father Felix Varela (Letters to Elpidio) and a beautiful book explaining the Catholic Church by Father Robert Barron.

What I am trying to say is, as a life long (20years) Catholic, I have come to love theology with a passion and with a 2000 year history, the Catholic Church has put out some great theologians to read.

Now that I am LDS, I still read these writers, but I want to learn and delve deeper into my new faith. The closest thing I can find are apologetics, which isn't what I'm really looking for. I want writers not defending, but explaining and trying to discover Truth and God.

Are there any hard core theologians in the Church? They could be either authors of books or of articles (being that I'm a college student, essays and artles may be easier at this point).

Who are the greatest theological minds of the Church? What do they write and where can I find their writings?

Thanks so much!

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Try Jesus the Christ by James Talmage.

If you want something that causes controversy in LDS circles, you can also try The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball. Some LDS love it, some dislike it intensely.

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In the sense you are talking about, the LDS Church does not have "theologians", because we don't really have a "theology". We have a revealed religion, not one that is reasoned out in meticulous detail by applying analytic methods to scripture and other writings.

But in addition to scripture, you would do well to read Joseph Smith, e.g. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and History of the Church. B. H. Roberts and James Talmage were other great writers and gospel thinkers from generations past. Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Bruce R. McConkie were also General Authorities who wrote extensively. Spencer W. Kimball, past president of the Church, wrote some very popular books, especially The Miracle of Forgiveness. LeGrand Richards was also a popular writer and speaker. More recently, Neal A. Maxwell and Jeffrey R. Holland have been popular authors from the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

Personally, I'm a great fan of Hugh Nibley. I would listen to him read a grocery list.

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Orson and Parley Pratt, and John Taylor, all wrote some interesting stuff (Orson's The Seer, Parley's Key to the Science of Theology) come to mind; but bear in mind that a) the institutional Church doesn't stand behind all of their stuff, and b) some of their stuff was superseded by later instructions from the Lord (example: polygamy).

I think you'd also like Teryl Givens' The God Who Weeps--that just came out in the last couple of years.

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Heh - actually, Orson Pratt's publication "The Seer", was repudiated by formal action of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles of the Church. Elder Pratt himself sanctioned the repudiation. The Deseret News 8/23/1865 published an article signed by the First Presidency and Twelve, saying the Seer and some of Elder Pratt's other writings were inaccurate.

But the Seer, the Great First Cause, the article in the Millennial Star, of Oct. 15, and Nov. 1, 1850 contains doctrine which we cannot sanction and which we have felt to disown, so that the Saints who now live, and who may live hereafter, may not be misled by our silence, or be left to misinterpret it.

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Some awesome recommendations so far. I would add to the list:

Truman Madsen

Stephen Robinson

James Ferrell

Tad Callister

Alonzo Gaskill (i haven't read anything by this guy but I've heard some good things)

Dallin H. Oaks

David A. Bednar

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