I’ve always liked the Process Theology/Philosophy model of everything being dynamic, not static. For example, there wasn’t a creation of the Earth, but there is a creating. (The Earth is still being created.)
Blair Hodges applies this same model to the LDS Church, without specifically mentioning Process Theology:
. . . the restoration isn’t a one-off special delivery from God, a package dropped from heaven directly to Joseph Smith, ready-assembled, batteries included. Instead, it is an ongoing process through which God interacts with us in building the Kingdom. Our fallible involvement means there will be hiccups along the way. Today we sometimes find ourselves the inheritors of a vision that seems somewhat fractured. But I believe these fractures constitute the space which signifies–and also allows for further–growth. Like the cracked bark of a tree that has expanded as it reaches upward and outward, leaving fissures, we bear the scars of our past mistakes, even as we grow beyond them.
Along a similar vein, Benjamin E. Parks writes:
Faith, commitment, and orthodoxy are never stolid and staid features within a static church organization; rather, they are nebulous concepts that are constantly in flux . . .
Emphasizing the point that the LDS Church was not “a package dropped from heaven directly to Joseph Smith,” Parks summarizes (Dialogue, Summer 2012):
[Joseph] Smith’s theology is difficult to determine on at least two grounds. First, his premature death at the age of thirty-eight prevented the completion of his religious revolution. Though he had been the recognized prophet and leader for nearly a decade and a half, the explosive theological development during his last three years showed no signs of slackening, and it can be assumed that much of his religious vision was left inchoate and unfulfilled. Indeed, it was not until the last three months of his life that Smith’s sermons started to piece together what had previously been only theological fragments; and in his private teachings, he began to expound these ideeas to his closest followers.
The second reason for the difficulty of developing a coherent corpus of Smith’s theological work is the very nature of Smith’s prophetic persona. . . . Smith was by nature eclectic, rather than systematic, and his teachings were emblematic of that approach. Though they were perhaps a coherent whole in his mind, Smith’s teachings were never presented in a systematic order but rather, as Richard Bushman aptly described, in “flashes and bursts.”
So what does this mean for us members of the LDS Church? I will leave that question for a subsequent post.