Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision
Edited by A. Scott Howe and Richard L. Bushman
The earth will eventually be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. But how will our current world ever become the heaven of our dreams? The Lord is already on it; and, as the essays in this book provocatively propose, He’s following good engineering principles.
Joseph Fielding Smith said, regarding inventions in these latter days, “The inspiration of the Lord has gone out and takes hold of the minds of men, though they know it not, and they are directed by the Lord. In this manner he brings them into his service.”
If there is “no such thing as immaterial matter,” and “all spirit is matter,” then what are the implications for such standard theological principles as creation, human progression, free will, transfiguration, resurrection, and immortality? In eleven stimulating essays, Mormon engineers probe gospel possibilities and future vistas dealing with human nature, divine progression, and the earth’s future.
Richard Bushman poses a vision-expanding proposal: “The end point of engineering knowledge may be divine knowledge. Mormon theology permits us to think of God and humans as collaborators in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Engineers may be preparing the way for humans to act more like gods in managing the world.”
From the foreword by Richard L. Bushman:
Mormon theology leads us to see eternal implications in engineering. Engineers enable us to make the world more comfortable and to perform incredible feats of movement and communication. But their work may go beyond the amelioration of the human condition. The end point of engineering knowledge may be divine knowledge. Mormon theology permits us to think of God and humans as collaborators in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Engineers may be preparing the way for humans to act more like gods in managing the world.
Kindliness, wise parenting, righteousness, and service are probably more fundamental in leading humans toward eternal life. But improving our physical world fits serves divine purposes, too. In constructing better worlds, engineers may be learning godly skills. From a Latter-day Saint perspective, they may be incipient creators.
The papers in this volume capture the thought of a group of LDS engineers exploring the interactions of their work and their belief at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Ideally these essays will launch a discussion that will continue for many years to come.
Praise for Parallels and Convergences:
"It's a book of marvelous speculations that open up the vision of how beautifully and practically Mormonism can (and probably even should) be wed with our increase in scientific knowledge." - David Tayman, Improvement Era
“[Parallels and Convergences] was much of what I was hoping for…It consistently takes Mormon scripture and doctrine seriously and then makes conjectures as to how to interpret them in a scientific worldview. It then points out its own failures and looks towards a future improved conjecture.” – Bruce Nielson, Millennial Star
About the Editors:
Richard Lyman Bushman, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History, Emeritus, at Columbia University, grew up in Portland, Oregon, and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University. He has also taught at Brigham Young University, Boston University, and the University of Delaware. He is the author of numerous books for which he has received several awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Evans Biography Award, and the 2006 Best Book by the Mormon History Association. He and his wife, Claudia, live in New York City.
ISBN: 9781589581876 (Paperback)