Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
While much has been written about the conflicts, supposed or actual, between logic and faith, science and religion, few accounts of the personal turmoil these conflicts can cause exist. Likewise, many of these nonfiction accounts are written from a distinctly polarized place leaning either to science or faith. In this thesis, I mix research and history with memoir and a sense of poetry to explore my personal experience with this conflict. At its outset, I hoped for this project to capture my struggle as an orthodox member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in dealing with the questions my own sense of logic provided that institution. This goal was achieved in part. However, by the end of the project I had also captured a narrative exploration of my experience leaving the LDS Church and learning, instead of trusting the authority provided by a structure of orthodoxy, to feel comfortable trusting my own sense of reason. The first chapter captures my initial struggle with acknowledging questions within a religious structure. This is accomplished, in part, by merging the personal narrative with a researched account of French priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. I show both his struggle with questions and faith, and my desire to lean on his example as someone who acknowledged question without leaving his faith--in Chardin's case the Catholic Church. The second chapter, again following this pattern of mixing research with memoir, explores the feelings of exile I had during the time while I was still an orthodox member of the LDS church. This personal narrative is woven into several historical and literary accounts of exile. In the third chapter, I struggle with the question of what to do with the spiritual experiences I had during my time in the LDS Church after having separated myself from that institution. The short fourth chapter takes a strictly narrative line as I address my spiritual and mental outlook upon the completion of this project.
Edwards, Darren M., "Dancing with Heretics: Essays on Orthodoxy, Questioning and Faith" (2010). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 729.
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