Sunday, June 20, 2010

Douglas Davies' Forthcoming Book on Mormonism: Jesus, Satan and Joseph Smith

Ashgate has its new catalog out in Religious Studies and Theology promoting its new titles for 2010. One that caught my eye as a forthcoming volume is Jesus, Satan and Joseph Smith: The Mormon Cosmic Triad, but listed as Joseph Smith, Jesus, and Satanic Opposition: Atonement, Evil and the Mormon Vision on Ashgate's website. The book is by Douglas Davies of the University of Durham who has written two previous volumes on Mormonism, including The Mormon Culture of Salvation (Ashgate, 2000), and An Introduction to Mormonism (Cambridge University Press, 2002):
This book explores Mormon theology in new ways from a scholarly non-Mormon perspective. Bringing Jesus and Satan into relationship with Joseph Smith the founding prophet, Douglas Davies shows how the Mormon 'Plan of Salvation' can be equated with mainstream Christianity's doctrine of the Trinity as a driving force of the faith. Exploring how Jesus has been understood by Mormons, his many Mormon identities are described in this book: he is the Jehovah of the Bible, our Elder Brother and Father, probably also a husband, he visited the dead and is also the antagonist of Satan-Lucifer.

This book offers a way into the Mormon 'problem of evil' understood as apostasy, from pre-mortal times to today. Three images reveal the wider problem of evil in Mormonism: Jesus' pre-mortal encounter with Lucifer in a heavenly council deciding on the Plan of Salvation, Jesus Christ's great suffering-engagement with evil in Gethsemane, and Joseph Smith's First Vision of the divine when he was almost destroyed by an evil force.

Douglas Davies, well-known for his previous accounts of Mormon life and thought, shows how renewed Mormon interest in theological questions of belief can be understood against the background of Mormon church-organization and its growing presence on the world-stage of Christianity.

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