The Wilderness of Faith
Essays on Contemporary Mormon Thought
John Sillito, editor
This collection of essays is concerned with the demands of faith in a period of great change. The majority were written during the decade of the 1980s, a time when Mormons seemed particularly [p.viii] challenged to make sense of their faith in the light of developments within and without the church. The contributors represent some of the most thoughtful and perceptive of a particularly talented generation of Mormon thinkers. Drawing upon their traditions and amplifying them in terms of contemporary realities, the contributors to this book address many of the most central concerns of our time. Some of the essays are very personal, exploring questions ranging from the loss of a child to the exercise of personal spiritual gifts. Others examine developments within Mormon culture from the impact of bureaucracy to Mormonism’s relationship to the larger society.
All the essays are written from within the Mormon world view which, as Ed Firmage notes, recognizes that “a religious community must also respect individuals even as it preserves core beliefs of the community.” Central to these essays is the concept articulated by Lavina Fielding Anderson of “mature obedience.” As Anderson observes, such obedience is “motivated by love not fear. It has to be deeply rooted in a testimony of the redemptive sacrifice of the Savior … It is not an exchange of responsibilities and duties but the interplay, complexity, and richness of an ongoing intimate powerful relationship.”
John Sillito, a graduate of the University of Utah, is Assistant Professor of Libraries at Weber State University. Previously he served as an archivist at the Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is co-editor of Letters from Exile: The Correspondence of Martha Hughes Cannon and Angus M. Cannon, 1886-1888.