← Back to Teach Index

Patrick Mason, “The Mormon Theological Tradition”

REL 435, Claremont Graduate University 2014

The purpose of this course is to investigate the Mormon theological tradition with its familiar and its almost-forgotten writers and thinkers.  We will examine the roots of contemporary Mormon doctrines as well as considering forgotten alternatives, repopulating the tradition with some of the key figures from this fading past.  A key emphasis of the course will be the heterogeneity of thought within the tradition, along with an examination of how current orthodoxies have been constructed and maintained.


1. Become familiar with significant figures, trends, and debates in the construction of Mormon theology;
2. Learn to engage with and analyze “lived theology” through the observation of contemporary Mormon worship and teaching;
3. Demonstrate engagement with religious scholarship through written work, oral presentation, and in-class discussion;
4. Sharpen skills in critical reading, writing, thinking, and speaking.


Contemporary Mormonism; Mormon theology in context and conversation; The Book of Mormon; Emergent Mormon theology; God and godhood; Divergent trajectories; Theology of consecration; Theological ethics; and more


  • Terryl L. Givens, The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2009)
  • Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens,The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life (Ensign Peak, 2012)
  • Sterling S. McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion (Signature Books, 2000 [1965])
  • Adam S. Miller, Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology (Greg Kofford Books, 2012)
  • Richard Mouw, Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals (Eerdmans, 2012)
  • Joseph M. Spencer, For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope (Greg Kofford Books, 2014)
  • Mormon scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price