Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Dialogue Foundation, P.O. Box 658, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110-0658
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Bradley, Martha Sonntag ; Roberts, Allen Dale
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Free Agency, Determinism, and Chaos Theory David B. Timtnins The doctrine of free agency, while not unique to Mormonism, is perhaps more central to Mormon doctrine than it is to that of any other church or philosophy. Doctrine and Covenants 93:29 tells us, "Man also was in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence." Section 58, verses 26-28, adds, "[I]t is not meet that I command in all things, for he that is compelled in all things is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. . . . Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will.. . for the power is in them, wherefore they are agents unto themselves." On the concept of agency depends Mormonism's explanation of the nature of God, humankind, good and evil, and—since Mormons expect to be doing more than merely adoring God in the hereafter—the future of humanity and the universe. While agency appears self-evident to the simple believer and the un-instructed, it is not so to most physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers. Indeed, the contrary doctrine of determinism has ruled the realm of science at least since the days of Simon Laplace, the renowned French polymath of the seventeenth century, who maintained that given the onetime location, direction, and speed of every particle in the universe he could calculate the future with perfect accuracy for all time. While this was an overstatement of the possibilities in Laplace's time, it has certainly been the foundation of most science; and both physicists and chemists, not to mention economists and other social theorists, have devoted most of their efforts to trying to produce data giving a better and more precise fix on discrete elements of their fields of interest, with the idea of eventually combining this knowledge into an understanding of