Mormonism and Process Theology Part II: The Problem of Evil

The cover of a recent issue of BYU Studies states: “Joseph Smith Resolves the Problem of Evil.” This is an editorial exaggeration of the conclusions reached in the actual article, written by David L. Paulsen, which appeared inside. Still, of all the theological challenges that dominate philosophy of religion, “theodicy,” often called the “problem of evil,” seems in the minds of many Latter-day Saints to be less troubling than it is for more traditional theistic traditions. Why is this so? In this follow-up session to one presented at last year’s symposium, panelists will examine LDS approaches to the problem of evil in conversation with the work of “process theologians,” thinkers who are working to apply the seminal insights of Alfred North Whitehead to religious questions and themes. What can Latter-day Saints learn from the work of process theologians? Can we develop our theological first principles to match the sophistication of their analyses and proposed solutions? Where might Mormon approaches to theodicy be stronger? Can the problem of evil ever be “solved”?

James McLachlan, Dan Wotherspoon, Paul Montclair