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, 202 West 300 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
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Newell, Linda King ; Newell, L. Jackson
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Newell: Voice from the Foothills 27 belief that human and divine knowledge are a compatible whole, and inspired by the robust confidence of a Mormon apostle who frequently and forthrightly proclaimed the importance to Latter-day Saints of what he called freedom of the mind. "We must preserve it in the Church and in America and resist all efforts of earnest men to suppress it," he said, "for when it is suppressed, we might lose the liberties vouchsafed to us in the Constitution of the United States." He also warned: There are forces at work in our society today which degrade an intellectual quest for knowledge. These forces are nothing new. They have always been powerful. They are anti-intellectual. . . . The Know-Nothings of the last century in this country could be cited as one example. Germany in the thirties saw the burning of books ... as part of the tragedy of Hitlerism. This apostle called upon members to "exercise your God-given right to think through every proposition that is submitted to you and be unafraid to express your opinions, with proper respect for those to whom you talk and proper acknowledgment of your own shortcomings" (Brown 1969). I have cited these words of President Hugh B. Brown before. They matter greatly to me. As I approached baptism, I studied and believed, and I identified with Elder Brown's approach to the faith, feeling confident I would never be trapped by demands for blind obedience. These concepts remain at the center of my religious life. Whether or not they are still a part of official belief, they are an inseparable part of my own. President Gordon B. Hinckley's recent affirmation that "Fundamental to our theology is belief in individual freedom of inquiry, thought, and expression" is a notable exception (Hinckley 1985). But taken in the context of these five contemporaneous statements and actions by other Church leaders, his words appear almost sentimental: The rewriting and refilming of Elder Ronald Poelman's October 1984 Conference address, originally a rare and inspiring defense of free agency, so that it became yet another cry for obedience. His text was not edited — his ideas were turned inside out (Fletcher 1985). Carlisle Hunsaker's removal from the University of Utah's LDS Institute of Religion faculty at the end of the 1985 school year, apparently for writing prize-winning essays for Dialogue and Sunstone, without being accorded the right to defend his actions or face those who made the decision to force him out. Lifelong members Valeen Avery and Linda Newell being prohibited in June 1985 from speaking within the Church about the fruits of their nine-year research project on Emma Smith, without being notified, given reasons, or provided a chance to defend their research before the decision had been implemented. Elder Dallin Oaks's 16 August 1985 speech at BYU in which he states that Mormons "persistently disdain the comfortable fraternity of ecumenical Christianity," that "evil speaking of the Lord's anointed is in a class by itself," be they general or local, and that "it does not matter that the criticism is true" (Oaks 1985). Stanley Larson's forced resignation from the LDS Church Translation Department in September 1985, without notice, as a result of a scholarly paper he wrote which examines the relationship between the Book of Mormon and various biblical translations.