Toward a Mormon Metaphysics : Scripture, Process Theology, and the Mechanics of Faith
Element : A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology
The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology
Over the years, several Mormon thinkers have tried to construct a more systematic synthesis of the scattered metaphysical references found in their canon. In this essay I will reference two persons in particular, John A. Widtsoe and Parley P. Pratt. Both of these men sought to create a grand narrative which explained God, the universe, and everything in it. My own aim is somewhat more modest. I will show how a particular understanding of the fundamental materials of the universe, element and intelligence, can provide a coherent foundation upon which additional metaphysical principles can be based. Drawing on two basic insights offered by process theology, I posit a relationship between the two that promises great explanatory insight into other aspects of Mormon cosmology. In order to appropriately lay out this idea, I will first describe the LDS basis on which a dualistic understanding of the universe’s essential materials is based, and then relate how both Widtsoe and Pratt utilized this idea in their metaphysics and the consequent questions that their work raises. I will briefly describe two principles from process thought and the solution they suggest, and then explore the explanatory power of this modified version of an LDS metaphysics by testing it against Mormon conceptions of faith.