Toward a Theology of the Material

[Cross-posted at BCC. But it seems oddly Abrahamic, so here it is again.]

[I was just sitting here – thinking about where the fun speculations of 19th century Mormonism might lead, and this is what came out. Excuse its ragged form.]

Mormonism has a uniquely materialist bent. It posits that the material is necessary for complete happiness.[1] That while the world is biphasic, physical and spiritual, both are material.[2] Modern physics divides much of its attention between the very large (cosmology) and the very small (quantum phenomena). In the large, physics tells us of a universe whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere and yet expanding. That expansion is apparently going on forever, never to stop.
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Joseph Smith Papers, Journals Vol. 2.

The Church Historian’s Press offers the second volume in the journals series of the Joseph Smith Papers. Volume editors Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith and Richard Lloyd Anderson bring us Joseph Smith’s journals from the period December 1841 to April 1843.

The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 2.

The period covered by the journals was one of great importance and included political and infrastructure development of Nauvoo (including the temple), the establishment of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, the transition of the Times and Seasons to official Church organ, the printing of the Book of Abraham, the inauguration of the temple ceremonies (most of them) and proxy baptism for the dead, the quorum of the anointed, the extradition attempt and underground, the rise of the twelve apostles, polygamy, a much better though less personal account of JS’s doings and sayings and much more. During the period JS’s journals were recorded by Willard Richards, his private secretary and chief chronographer, William Clayton, Erastus Derby[1] and a few pages by Eliza R. Snow, the latter three only during the first year of the volume. That period is important for historical reasons, but as a documentary record perhaps the most interesting aspect is the now open availability of the journal record for the period from the famous “Book of the Law of the Lord.”
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The Grand Unification Theory

[Cross-posted from BCC]

In physics, the holy grail in the present moment is a theory which explains, with the power of prediction, the fundamental things. The things of the small universe (weak force, strong force, electricity, magnetism) the quantum world, and the things of the big universe – essentially gravity. The historical inspiration for this frenzy was the achievement of the Scotsman, James Clerk [pronounced “Goble”] Maxwell. Maxwell proposed a version of this business, which unites the formerly disperate understandings of electricity and magnetism:

Maxwell's Unified Theory

This is a rich explanation which both predicts and accounts for much of what happens in your daily life – from the operation of your cell phone, computer and television – to how your eyeglasses and contact lens behave.[1]
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