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, University Station -- UMC 7805, Logan, Utah 84322-7805
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Peterson, F. Ross ; Peterson, Mary Kay
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Dialogue: Vol 24 No 1
The Development of the Mormon Concept of Grace
The Development of the Mormon Concept of Grace Blake T. Ostler Latter-day Saints may be surprised to discover that Joseph Smith did not reject the importance of grace. Indeed, he developed a profound and novel view resolving many problems presented by the grace-freedom dichotomy in classical Christian thought. Moreover, Joseph's concept of grace was consistent through his lifetime, even though it underwent a major shift from Pauline to Johannine categories of thought. The notion of grace presented in the Book of Mormon is essentially the same as Joseph Smith taught in the Nauvoo era. However, some early assumptions underlying the Book of Mormon scheme of grace were abandoned in Nauvoo: notably, the ideas of "original sin" and "regenerating grace." Despite continuity in the underlying concept, the Mormon notion of grace developed from a theology grounded in static states of being to one seeing grace as an ongoing process of growth throughout life and eternity. For this discussion, I will adopt the following definitions. (These definitions embody concepts about the workings of grace developed largely since Augustine.): Actual original sin: According to Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, the state of humans before regeneration of the will in which all are morally impotent and unable to freely choose to do any meritorious act. Common grace: The Arminian notion that God grants saving grace to all persons in the same degree and identical way. This grace is sufficient for salvation if freely accepted. BLAKE T. OSTLER is the husband of one and father of three. He graduated from the University of Utah with a juris doctorate and is a philosophy instructor at the BYU Salt Lake Center and an attorney in private practice, who would rather be fishing than writing articles or practicing law.