A Theology of Possibilities: Mormon Doctrine and Open Folk Beliefs

Dennis C. Wendt


This paper proposes that the Latter-day Saint community embrace the idea of what I term open folk beliefs. In contrast to closed folk beliefs (CFBs), open folk beliefs (OFBs) are recognized as individual folk beliefs, recognizing that other faithful Latter-day Saints may believe differently. An OFB community would be grounded at some level in more authoritative LDS teachings, but it would also consist of a pluralism of open folk beliefs. Collectively, such a community could be considered to embrace a theology of possibilities. Relying on the philosophy of William James, I attempt to demonstrate some qualities of an OFB community, and discuss how such a community may be crucial for individual and collective spiritual progression.

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