Date: February 21, 2021 09:50AM
In the late seventies and early eighties I was a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Utah. One of my mentors was Sterling McMurrin, who I knew well. In 1965 he wrote a book entitled, "The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion," which I had the opportunity of reading and discussing with him at length. (This book was republished in 2019.)https://www.amazon.com/Theological-Foundations-Religion-Signature-Classics-ebook/dp/B07TCC7R4D/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3OK67LD68951G&dchild=1&keywords=sterling+mcmurrin&qid=1613916234&sprefix=Sterling+McMur%2Caps%2C198&sr=8-2
One or the most interesting positions McMurrin took, which I completely agree with, is that the Mormon (anthropocentric) conception of God is its main theoretical "strength." Why? Because, unlike traditional Christian definitions of God as expounded upon Augustine, Aquinas, and their followers, it was not only unique to modern Christianity, but as being non-trinitarian, minimally coherent, and non-mystical. (I commented on this in a recent post.) (Mysticism is antithetical to pure theology and philosophy because it is by definition irrational.)
The problem of Mormon "theology," if there is such a thing, is that it has never been formally, thoroughly and systematically articulated. There is no Thomas Aquinas of Mormonism! The Church has not sought out individual philosophers and/or theologians to make philosophical and theological sense of its doctrines. (B.H. Roberts came the closest) In Catholic history, thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas had institutional support (more or less) and were able to shape the doctrines of the Church to meet the philosophical interests and demands of their time. An attempt that was not philosophically successful in my opinion (see e.g. their definition of God) Later theologians had this open tradition and existing theological foundation from which to draw from and elaborate.
Finally, when all is said and done, when considering the rationality of Mormonism as a whole as compared with other religions, I do not think that Mormon theology is any better or worse. Institutional Mormonism (the Church) is not interested in theology or philosophy, and is generally intolerant of such enterprises, whereas traditional Catholicism and Protestantism has shown such interest and tolerance; particularly as they competed with each other. That is why, at least in my opinion, Mormon theology is lacking.