Line Upon Line

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Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine

Essays on Mormonism Series

A collection of essays on Mormon doctrine and theology.

Full text available online. 

June, 1989

SKU: 0-941214-69-9 Categories: , , Tag: Author: Gary James BergeraProduct ID: 1401


Line Upon Line brings together for the first time in one book some of the most thoughtful and compelling essays on Mormon doctrine and theology that have appeared in recent years.

Among the contributors are Thomas G. Alexander, Peter C. Appleby, George Boyd, David John Buerger, Van Hale, Boyd Kirkland, Blake Ostler, Stephen L Richards, Kent E. Robson, Thaddeus E. Shoemaker, Vern Swanson, Dan Vogel, and Linda P. Wilcox.

For anyone who has assumed that Mormon doctrine appeared whole-cloth in a single revelation, Line Upon Line is an important primer. No issue, however central to Latter-day Saint theology, is exempt from gradual development over time. This includes the nature of God, the progression of the soul, free agency, the possibility of repentance and forgiveness through a divine sacrifice, the creation of the world, evolution of the species, and the nature and origin of evil.

In Line Upon Line, sixteen thoughtful, compelling essays offer reflective historical discussions of the development of Mormon doctrine from the statements of church leaders to the writings of LDS theologians to canonized scripture, rather than on the authors’ personal speculations. Noting the relative strengths and weaknesses of various theological or doctrinal teachings due to limited human understanding, the contributors suggest that differences of opinion can indicate the presence of genuine and sincere faith that God’s truth is nevertheless present in scriptural metaphor.

Gary James Bergera is managing director of the Smith-Pettit Foundation in Salt Lake City, former managing director of Signature Books, and former managing editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He is co-author of Brigham Young University: A House of Faith, editor of Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine, The Autobiography of B. H. Roberts, Statements of the LDS First Presidency, and companion volumes of Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845, and The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846 (also co-editor) and On Desert Trails with Everett Ruess, and a contributing author in The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretive Essays on Joseph Smith, Religion, Feminism, and Freedom of Conscience: A Mormon/Humanist Dialogue, and The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism. He is also the recipient of a Best Article Award from the Mormon History Association.

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1 review for Line Upon Line

  1. Wayne Ham, Saints Herald

    Fifteen exciting new essays on the development of the doctrine of God in the Restoration movement appear in Line upon Line. Members of the Reorganized Church who are interested in the theological affirmations about God in the early Restoration movement will be stimulated by reading several of these essays.

    All of the authors, who apply historical methodologies and theological analyses in an impeccable manner, have their spiritual roots in the Mormon church. All affirm the process of dramatic change from the Trinitarian notion of the Godhead in the early 1830s to the polytheistic concepts in Mormonism today.

    In the course of dealing with ideas about God, the contributors to this compendium of articles look at the notion of a “mother in heaven,” which entered into the speculative theology of Nauvoo; the concepts of predestination and the eternal progression of human spirits; and the main reason for this book appears to be the desire on the part of all contributors to establish—in no uncertain terms—the evolutionary nature of theology in the Restoration movement.

    RLDS readers with some background in early Restoration studies will appreciate the clear articulation of the historical and theological insights imbedded in this book of readings. Some confusion about scriptural and church history references are inevitable for RLDS readers because of differing notation systems used by the two Restoration denominations. An index of topics certainly would have increased the usefulness of this study.

    Nevertheless, a great service to scholarly interest in the Restoration movement has been performed by Signature Books in providing this new resource for the benefit of all students of Latter-day Saint thought.

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