302-303: James McLachlan — Compelling Mormonism

November 17, 2011
By

James McLachlan is a professor of philosophy and religion at Western Carolina University, and is actively involved in academic discussions of Mormonism as a co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Mormon Studies Group and a board member and past president of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. But to overplay his academic bona fides is possibly a mistake, because, as this interview with longtime friend and Mormon Stories contributor Dan Wotherspoon reveals, Jim is the opposite of the stuffy scholar stereotype. In this two-part interview, his incredibly quick and inquisitive mind is on full display, but it’s his good humor and ability to use observations from everyday life, great literature, and important films to elucidate powerful philosophical and religious questions that will surely captivate listeners. Among other discussions, through Jim’s lenses Mormonism’s fully engaged God—as Sterling McMurrin described: a God with his “own problems”—comes alive and becomes a highly compelling alternative to traditional Christian views that borrow so heavily from Greek ideas about the nature of perfection. Hear, too, Jim’s wonderful take on why those of us who experience many of Mormonism’s theological ideas differently from many in the mainstream might still feel confident in answering temple recommend questions affirmatively.

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44 Responses to 302-303: James McLachlan — Compelling Mormonism

  1. Myumwelt
    November 18, 2011 at 4:59 am

    “to traditional Christian views that borrow so heavily from Greek ideas about the nature of perfection.”
    I guess that means Isaiah was Greek, too. The early church decided Plato borrowed from Torah, not that Jews and Christians borrowed from the Greeks.
    Speaking of the Greeks, “a God with his ‘own problems'” sounds remarkably Homeric. Poor Zeus. Poor theology. Sounds like creating a God in the image of man. Very therapeutic.

    • Solon
      November 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

      Plato borrowing from the Torah? That’s quite a strange imagination…  (Without a doubt christian apologetics adapted greek dialectic (and rhetoric) to their needs.) And where does Isaiah resemble Plato in any way concerning the perfection of God?

      • Myumwelt
        November 19, 2011 at 6:44 am

        Solon—
        I guess the real question is not one of “strange imaginations” but was Justin Martyr (110-165) representative of “the early church”?
         
        And that you may learn that it was from our teachers—we mean the account given through the prophets—that Plato borrowed his statement that God, having altered matter which was shapeless, made the world, hear the very words spoken through Moses, who, as above shown, was the first prophet, and of greater antiquity than the Greek writers; and through whom the Spirit of prophecy, signifying how and from what materials God at first formed the world, spake thus: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was invisible and unfurnished, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and it was so.” So that both Plato and they who agree with him, and we ourselves, have learned, and you also can be convinced, that by the word of God the whole world was made out of the substance spoken of before by Moses. And that which the poets call Erebus, we know was spoken of formerly by Moses.
        http://www.logoslibrary.org/justin/apology1/59.html
         
         

        • Solon
          November 20, 2011 at 8:27 am

          You’re  not a philologist,are you? Of course Justin Martyr is arguing for the greater antiquity and gravitas of his sacred scriptures as opposed to Homer (as the great poet) and Plato (most eminent philosopher), he’s trying to convince them of christianity. It’s still wrong….  there’s not even proof that Plato knew anything about some obscure text from a people he would have thought of as unenlightened. (At that time there wasn’t even a Septuaginta, so Plato would have had to learn Hebrew to read the Torah… even more unlikely)
          Similarly, Clement of Alexandria in his Exhortation to the Pagans tried to show his pagan readers that a good part of Christian doctrine can be supported by Plato’s philosophy. It was a common thing to try and show that the greatest authorities (e.g. Plato) actually agree with you. But if you have any other sources or other evidence to support your claim (not just an even older unsustainable claim), I would be interested to take those into account.

          (Bytheway: Are you German or why that nickname?)

          • Myumwelt
            November 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

            No, I’m not a philologist, are you?
             
            Yes, Solon, like my macaronic handle, I’m part German. Are you Greek?
             
            Did not the original Solon interrogate the wisdom of older powers?
             
            And did not Socrates, who seemingly sought wisdom of everyone who crossed his path, including a Libyan cult at Dodona, also interrogate Levantine merchants swirling through Athens, even those he might have (no way of knowing, is there?) “thought of as unenlightened,” and could he not have obtained a good working knowledge of their beliefs even without learning their languages and reading their books?
             
            And did not the Athenian intellectual milieu Paul found—“all the Athenians and strangers which were there [my emphasis] spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing”—most likely exist long before Paul’s visit?
             
            And who sounds more like Plato, Moses and Isaiah (“I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. . . . Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any. . . . for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me”) or Homer or Hesiod, or Aeschylus or Sophocles, for that matter, squirming with gods and goddesses as all their works were?
             
            But to my original point, a polygamous god with “his own problems”—like domestic turbulence, including fratricidal conspiracies and insurgencies, living in a subdivision of an infinitely polytheistic cosmos—sounds remarkably Homeric, a fit subject for a Euripides or an Aristophanes, perhaps, but not rising to Mosaic or Isaian, or even Platonic, levels.

  2. WalkerW
    November 18, 2011 at 8:24 am

    For information regarding the Hebrew concept of an anthropomorphic God in both Judaism and Christianity, see

    Shamma Friedman, “Anthropomorphism and Its Eradication” in Iconoclasm and
    Iconoclash: Struggle for Religious Identity, ed. W.J. van Asselt, Paul van
    Geest, Daniela Muller, Theo Salemink (Brill, 2007).

    David L. Paulsen, “Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and
    Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses,” Harvard Theological Review 83:2
    (1990).

    Carl W. Griffin and David L. Paulsen, “Augustine and the Corporeality of
    God,” Harvard Theological Review 95:1 (2002).
    Christopher Stead, ‘Philosophy in Christian Antiquity’ (Cambridge University Press,
    1994).

    Meir Bar-Ilan, “The Hand of God: A Chapter in Rabbinic Anthropomorphism,” Rashi 1040-1990: Hommage a Ephraim E. Urbach, Congres
    europeen des Etudes juives, ed. G. Sed-Rajna (CERF, 1993).

  3. November 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I really appreciated this interview.  The Mormon return to paganism never looked so good!

  4. LO
    November 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    John,  on the iTunes feed, it is re-playing Part 1 although its listed as Part 2.

    • Anonymous
      November 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      LO – I think I fixed it now. Thanks a TON for letting me know.

  5. Ryan Chapman
    November 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I support “Mormon Stories for the Philosophy Nerds.”  Great interview!! 

    • Dan Wotherspoon
      December 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Hi Ryan, I’m thinking of doing a philosophy series over at MM. A regular schedule of hitting a Phil topic from Mormon angles about every two months. Thinking of things like the Problem of Evil (though I may want to do a more accessible show on that one, as well), mind-body problem, process theology, and pragmatism. What topics would you add to this list, and what would be your priority ones?

  6. November 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Glad the good professor could do this podcast.

    “The sense in which it’s true is going to be fairly eccentric for me–haha.” Loved it.

    I also liked when he said, “It’s true in the same sense that my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.  I’m sorry, but she is.”  Awesome! The truth is what you choose to love and cherish.  That’s profound.  Similar to the “Truth is beauty and beauty is truth” refrain.  Very Keatsian.

  7. Jacob Brown
    November 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Wonderful interview. Lots of interesting ideas that could be expanded into hours of discussion. Such a different fresh view on things for me.

  8. Bill
    November 18, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I love to hear fellow Leftist/Laborista Mormons!  Solidarity Brother!  It is nice for this 4th generation union electrician to be reminded that we are not (quite) alone. 

    • Jim McLachlan
      December 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      Solidarity Brother!  That said I’m am unfortunately more or a wannabe than a union member.  UNC wont let us unionize.  Keep up the struggle!!!!

  9. Drewskione
    November 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Wow, this was my favorite Mormon Story to date (and I go heavy on this site).  I’m an undergraduate at Indiana University, and I have been considering going into grad school to study American Religions (Mormonism)…but Philosophy religion…sounds interesting.  

  10. Guest
    November 19, 2011 at 1:15 am

    I am so glad I listened to this podcast.  It gave me a greater sense of realizing that my sacrifice of over fifty years of service and incalculable amounts of money, not to mention all of the emotional investments while having had to bear the many turmoils, etc, was indeed all for the cause of building up the one and only true church.  Wow, had I to do it all over again…well, I’d definitely watch more Kung Fu movies.

  11. DuzTruthMatter
    November 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    WTF??  “Whether or not JS was chasing around 14 year old girls, these ideas are wonderful”.   What if you happened to be that 14 year old girl, professor?  How wonderful would these ideas be to you?  You are the emodiment of “they teach for doctrine the commandments of men”.  The whole ward came and helped you pack your whole house to move, so the church is true.  Really!?   You are on the high counsel but you have to ask Dan to remind you of what the temple recommend questions are.  Really!?  And you would have to sit in judgment of a person who could face excommunication?  What criteria would you use to judge such a person, “The Communist Manifesto”?   

    • November 22, 2011 at 7:35 am

      If we rejected every idea on the character of the person uttering it (as opposed to taking it on its own), then we would be forced to live in a rather poor world.  I can see Joseph as both a criminal and a religious genius.  I would not get close to him, personally, but I am interested in what he says.

      • DuzTruthMatter
        November 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

        Being interested in what someone has to say as opposed to basing your choices and decisions in life according to the false prophesies, fabulous fables, and egotistical utterings of that same criminal (can’t quite go with the genius part) are two completely different  things.

  12. Mike Michaels
    November 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I was engaged by the interview with Dr. McLachlan but am left disturbed when individuals of his stature within the Mormon community inflate the charity Mormons perform [where does it say that pure religion is never having to pay for movers?] while discounting the charity performed by organizations outside the greater LDS community [Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc…].  I wouldn’t even say that Mormons do disaster relief very well when their prime objective many times is solely good publicity.  My twenty years as a Mormon proved to me that Mormons are overly insular and contribute virtually nothing to the communities in which they live except in areas where they dominate the population base.

    Dr.McLachlan is hanging onto Mormonism because he doesn’t want to expend the energy to engage himself in other faith-based or secular organizations that would give him the same connections to people that he gets in Mormonism.  Certainly that’s his prerogative but he shouldn’t be discounting those opportunities.  

    I am curious how Dr.McLachlan reconciles the missionary efforts of himself and his church with his knowledge.  How does one justify preaching an exclusive view of truth to investigators/converts requiring them to change their beliefs, cultural practices, and tribe when Dr.McLachlan is not willing to do the same when his own faith tradition is lacking?  How does one justify sowing discord in convert families?

      

    • Jim McLachlan
      November 26, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Mike,
      I must have not explained myself very well.  When I described being moved by the people in my ward it was not just that they moved me and my family but that they cared about us.  That idea seems simple but it was very important to me at the time.  I see nothing to really disagree with in what you write here other than I would disagree that for most Mormons doing acts of charity is so they can do missionary work.  Although I think your right that for many Mormons they wouldn’t make a distinction between the two.  Saving the body and the soul for them is about the same thing.  My evangelical students often try to save me and I think it would be wrong to take offense at their attempts.  For me it means they must like me and not want me to burn in hell.  I hope that Mormon’s prime motive in doing disaster relief is that we regard all humans as divine.  I agree that service to other people is what is most important wherever it takes place and in whatever group it happens.  When we work in the same cause with people I disagree with either theologically or politically, just to help others, we form a bond with them that is more important than doctrines.

      As far as missionary action goes The Buddha used to ask people a question more or less like “how are you doing?” If someone feels no need they wouldn’t and shouldn’t convert to another faith.  It is in some ways like falling in love.  If the other person doesn’t need anything its not going to happen.

      I do believe Mormonism is the one truth but I hope I can see the good in other positions.  And when I say that Mormonism is the one truth I recognize I’m a pretty fallible character.  I’ve been wrong about a lot of things but I love Mormonism sort of like I love my wife, and my family, and friends and  regard them as “true” I love Mormonism.  I think its basic  doctrines are true because they honor the divinity in others whether or not they are Mormons.  

  13. Erico
    November 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for the podcast.  It has been one of my favorites here on MS.  As a monthly-paid subscriber, I hope that the philosophy nerd-fest podcast as discussed by Dan and Dr. McLachlan comes to fruition.  I am also wondering if Dr. McLachlan can post a suggested reading list to accompany this podcast.

    Thanks again for such a great feast of the mind and spirit.

  14. Andrea
    November 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    This is my favorite episode so far, and I’ve listened to almost all of them. Thank you so much! (And I must echo Erico’s request for a suggested reading list, s’il vous plait.)

  15. Ozpoof
    November 30, 2011 at 4:16 am

    This was very enlightening and cerebral, however throughout the podcast I couldn’t help thinking that Mr McLachlan seemed to be expending a lot of time and energy tip toeing around Mormon teachings that are in opposition to anyone who tries to live life with a greater sense of empathy and compassion.

    Mr McLachlan also seems to have resolved that much of Mormonism is not inspired of God, but there are enough good ideas in there for this religion to be worthy of at least 10% of a devotees income and much more of a portion of their time.

    The philosophical discussions seem religious in themselves in that they just vanish into thin air if you disbelieve them, while empathy and compassion prevail. 

    With empathy and compassion there is no need for a dogmatic and very human religion of any type. The truth is within each of us and we don’t need to pay for it with money, meetings, fear or guilt. The time wasted on dogma, ritual, and propping up a corporation masquerading as a religion could be better spent actually practicing those aspects of Mormonism that make the world a better place – volunteering and MoTab.

    • Jim McLachlan
      December 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      I disagree, I like what you say about compassion but religion isn’t a private thing.  The Church provides a sphere and a community in which to work.  It forces to confront others who don’t think like I do.  And then at bottom I’ve committed to it.  As I said I don’t think of myself as a greatly spiritual person and I’ve always been suspicious of claims to have seen the other world.  But at the same time I know people who I trust who make those kinds of claims and I hope they are right.  Empathy ultimately doesn’t work well enough.  Too many people have been totally screwed in this world that I why I think we must hope, at least, for justice in the next world while working for it here.

      • December 21, 2011 at 12:54 am

        Jim,
        Does our religion really force us to confront others who don’t think like we do?  Or does it force us to confront only the beliefs we share in common while discouraging a confrontation of our disagreements?  If you wish to propose the former, I’m willing to debate the validity of that claim.

        Is hope for justice in the next life really a good reason to believe in it?  Shouldn’t a hope for justice focus our attention on being more just and equitable in this life? Let’s fix the now right?  Isn’t the next life a distraction in this regard?

  16. Michael Gonda
    November 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I am a little late to this one.  I am having a hard time keeping up with all the Mormon podcasts lately.  This was probably one of my favorite MS podcasts of all time.  I am so glad I listened.  Thanks to Dan W. and Jim for taking the time to have this discussion.  I often don’t re-listen to the podcasts, often because they are so long (and new ones keep coming out that I want to listen to), but I can definitely see myself going back to appreciate this one again and again!  

  17. Gwennaëlle
    December 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I have been re-listening to this podcast as I needed to work on post production for an exhibition that is coming up in just a week now.
    It felt as if this pod cast inspired me and what has been a problem for a week now just found a simple and beautiful solution. Funny, hu?
    Listening to podcasts from MS feels like I open doors in my mind and I just don’t know what they are but life feels easier and lighter and problems are solved.
    Is this when I bear my testimony that I know MS is true?
    I should be ashamed of joking this way :P

  18. Dbl_zout
    December 4, 2011 at 1:54 am

    James, what on earth is the appeal of Marxism?  If relating to others is so fundamental to joy and if service and acts of love are so meaningful, shouldn’t we hope for a system of government that leaves the field clear for that kind of thing?  If government tries to solve more, it leaves the individual with less to solve and care about.  Why should I help my neighbor if he is being taken care of already by the government?  How can it ever be better to have more planning made on our behalf than less?  I’m asking a moral or philosophical question.  (I don’t believe a Marxist system will function better on a practical level either, but that’s another can of worms.)  I’ve heard it said “the unexamined life is not worth living”.  It seems to me that Marxism strives to protect us from having to “examine” life.

    • Jim McLachlan
      December 6, 2011 at 11:57 am

      I agree with alot of what you say here.  I think that Marxism’s critique of greed, dehumanization, and the structures of domination is pretty good.  I thinks some of it what it says about sharing with others is also closer to Christian ideals than capitalism has been.  That said no one can deny that the Soviet and Chinese systems have been the greatest betrayals and disasters of the 20th century.  It seems to me however that the types of mass bureaucracies and structures of control we have in liberal democratic countries are nothing to be excited about either.  This is one of the reasons I remain a Mormon.  I still hope for Christ’s return and for cooperation in building the kingdom of God.

  19. Nhausler
    December 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I liked your explanation of the “Hell is other People” . I had heard about this comment by Satre but perhaps misunderstood it. Others do frustrate our efforts. I think of Maslow’s hiearchy of needs. The top level is not achievable by all. For somone to suceed someone else loses. I apply for a higher position at work but it goes to somoene else. They have frustated my efforts. Is that similar to what you are talking about?

  20. Nhausler
    December 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I love this quote of Twain which you have in The
    Nonrational Given:
    Edgar S. Brightman on the Dark in the Divine”Strange! that you should not
    have suspected years ago–centuries, ages, eons, ago!–for you have existed,
    companionless, through all the eternities.  Strange, indeed, that you should
    not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams,
    visions, fiction!  Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically
    insane–like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as
    bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them
    happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter
    life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness
    unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels
    painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and
    maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell–mouths
    mercy and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by
    seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people
    and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who
    created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for
    man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon
    himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor,
    abused slave to worship him!. . . .(Twain 1974, 743-744).”

    • Dbl_zout
      December 4, 2011 at 11:48 pm

      “…a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones”?  Twain lost me entirely here.  If there is one thing I don’t feel like, I don’t feel like I was “made”.  Joseph Smith taught that we are co-eternal with God, and that anything that had a beginning will also have an end.  We are Gods children, not his creation.  Perhaps our bodies are His creation but our will certainly isn’t.

      I don’t understand the appeal of this quote.  When my 10 year old son goes into tedious detail about the rules of his video game or how he achieved a particular level within it I can’t help but feel impatient as I listen.  The ground rules that Twain lays out here seem as arbitrary as a video game.  Drama for the sake of it.  It’s a juvenile rant.  There is nothing enlightening or philosophical about it.  It was invented in order to dismiss.

      • jkh
        December 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

        I agree with Dbl_zout here. I like Twain but this quote isn’t compelling to me.

        “then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself!”

        also sounds as if Twain didn’t read the part in the good book where the word made flesh takes all human pain and suffering upon himself.

  21. Anonymous
    December 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Like other testosterone
    infused males, I had my Rambo qua God reveries. Ultimately, it wasn’t a
    playground bully or a smarter colleague that “kicked my butt.”  It was Charles Darwin, that 19th
    century “natural” philosopher, along with his followers.  The consequence was neither frustration
    nor alienation – it was awe, wonder, and liberation from intellectual and
    spiritual constraints.

     

    I’ll claim, without due
    argument, that Darwin can “kick the butts” of Sartre and other 19th century
    philosophers who miss 3,000,000 centuries of natural history that
    produced their creative brains. 
    Evolution by natural selection is arguably the greatest intellectual
    discovery in human history. And it is becoming even more impressive as it begins to
    inform cognitive science and psychology. 
    I think it solves the “No Exit” problem with astounding elegance – and that it has an empirical foundation is the cake to this icing.

     

    So here we humans are,
    divided selves, literally – the consequence of modular brain structures
    selected to fulfill the blind imperative of projecting genes into the next
    generation, one random adaptation at a time.  The hallmark of our divided selves are competing moral
    emotions – some that make the existence of  “the other” hellish and some that turn our hearts toward in-group others in measures proportional to their relatedness (and too often at
    the horrible expense of a  out-groups).  These same brains supply the unconscious biases and proneness to self-deception that make this all work.

     

    Darwin said, “There is
    grandeur in this view of life.” 
    Clearly this is a grandeur that takes some effort to understand, accept,
    and construct a meaningful life alongside.   Accomplishing this well might take as much effort as
    Dr. McLachlan spent weaving his theology from selected strands of Mormonism.  Alas, natural selection suffers the
    disadvantage of being random at its core. 
    Naturalists cannot find their meanings ready made in the form revelations from ancestral
    gods – a theology that suggests an infinite regress to higher forms of natural law that reign supreme – or Spinoza’s god.  But the naturalists can find help in this same Spinoza, and in many other
    philosophers that Mormons might read along with Dr. McLachlan’s
    recommendations.

     

    Neither is all lost for the
    naturalist in a practical sense. 
    Evolution’s legacy for humans is a pre-frontal cortex that can “rebel” against
    purely genetic imperatives.  Our world needs these to apply their reason to
    mitigate large-scale societal stresses and scarcities that provoke
    innate brutality.  I’ll
    take a genetically engineered corn that will feed the next billion of us over a
    creative theological “tool” that helps me show up to help shingle a roof.  I do not mean to belittle Dr. McLachlan’s
    in saying this.  Showing up for neighbors is
    important.  And I must confess that I do not get called to help move ward members as often. 

     

    Despite my contrariness, I do
    appreciate and share Dr. McLachlan’s core values, especially the conviction
    that human lives flourish in committed relationships with others.  Indeed, whatever reality may be at the
    atomic scale, relationships are our daily, yearly, and life-making reality.  I also agree that alienation can
    represent a stage of growth and that it is crucial to find one’s way back “to
    answer the call of the other.”  We
    differ only in that Dr. McLachlan repeatedly included God among his “others.”  To my ears this felt superfluous –
    and awkward.  I was left with the
    impression that Dr. McLachlan was but a single added word past a bona fide secular
    humanist.  Perhaps it’s not so a
    big word that it needs to make a serious difference.

     

    Thanks Dr. Witherspoon and
    Dr. McLachlan for an outstanding offering.

    JT

    • danko
      December 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Very well-put. Thanks.

  22. KCN
    December 10, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I can see the appeal of process theology for someone already attached to theism, as it reduces the strength of the problem of evil.  It also has many aesthetic benefits; evolutionary language, divine immanence, emphasis on freedom.

    Despite all of this, I haven’t been able to take it very seriously for two classes of reasons.  The first is that it doesn’t seem logically impossible that God couldn’t be a horrifying being – indeed, if my Calvinist friend is correct, this is exactly what I should expect because I am depraved.  The universe has been pretty good at serving up horrifying realities so far, so I wouldn’t put anything past it.

    The second class of reasons are connected to the first, as I’m a strong agnostic with respect to God.  This falls out of a lot of other philosophical positions: soft determinism, physicalism with respect to mind, belief in the causal closure of the universe, believing in the inadequacy of God as an explanation for anything – these are just a few.  So process theology is offering a friendlier, more sensible God, but fashioned from a set of philosophical positions which conflict at every turn with those I hold.

    Even if the Philosophy for Mormon Stories couldn’t get technical enough to adress these sort of concerns, I would still support it.  I’m probably going to get around to reading the Phenomenon of Man in the next few months.

  23. jh
    December 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Just listened to the podcast – love it. Reminds me that last year that I saw Terryl Givens talk at BYU and I spoke with him for a few minutes afterward about some stuff I was interested in studying. He told me to get in contact with an LDS professor at Western North Carolina – McLachlan. Long story short – I didn’t contact the professor – great to listen to this podacst and hear Jim’s ideas and approach to Mormonism and actualizing relatedness.

  24. Davey
    January 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Please make a Mormon Stories for Philosophy Nerd series happen! :) This was one of my very favorite episodes–I’m so glad I happened across it. I’d never heard of James, but read the description (professor of philosophy and theology who brings in film and literature) and knew I had to give it a listen. Thanks!

  25. Kelly
    January 24, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Just wondering if the Sunstone session with Tom Kimball about the temple recommend interview is available online.

    • Dan Wotherspoon
      January 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      All the audio files for past Sunstone symposiums are off the site right now. They’ve been building the new site and haven’t gotten all the functionality transferred in yet, and this is one of the pieces still not transitioned. Soon, they say. When the audio comes back, this one will be downloadable for free.

      Sorry for not better news at the moment. Keep checking, and let us know when/if you find it back up there. And I’ll try to keep watching the site to see, as well–and hopefully I’ll remember to come back here to report….

  26. Juneprincess24
    April 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    This was the best MS episode for me. I feel like I finally found myself here as he said things I could not yet explain but felt. I have had so much more peace in my life since listening. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us!

  27. JeremiahA
    June 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Thank you again for another excellent interview. James McLachlan was quite an interesting character. In the first part of the interview, he came across as a very well-rounded, even-keeled, knowledgeable, and open minded person. Sadly, in the second half of the program, he was a bit disrespectful of those who do not hold his political views and a bit condescending to those who do not hold to his theology. The mischaracterization of Joshua and the Canaanites and God’s description of creation as being “good” were probably the low points as well. However, overall, this has to be one of the better pieces you have done!

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