The intellectual and ethical achievements of the Latter-day Saint theologian
Known in his lifetime for a tireless dedication to humanitarian causes, Lowell L. Bennion was also one of the most important theologians and ethicists to emerge in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the twentieth century.
George B. Handley’s intellectual biography delves into Bennion’s thought and extraordinary intellectual life. Rejecting the idea that individual LDS practice might be at odds with lived experience, Bennion insisted the gospel favored the growth of individuals acting and living in the present. He also focused on the need for ongoing secular learning alongside religious practice and advocated for an idea of social morality that encouraged Latter-day Saints to seek out meaningful transformations of character and put their ethical commitments into practice. Handley examines Bennion’s work against the background of a changing institution that once welcomed his common-sense articulation of LDS ideas and values but became discomfited by how his thought cast doubt on the Church’s beliefs about race and other issues.
Foreword to the Introductions to Mormon Thought Series Matthew Bowman and Joseph Spencer
The Life of a Mormon Educator
The Abundant Life
A Rational Faith
George B. Handley is a professor of interdisciplinary humanities at Brigham Young University. His books include The Hope of Nature: Our Care for God’s Creation.
“For practitioners and observers alike, the gospel of the Restoration is rich enough in theological innovation to distract from the simple fact: the prime directive to all disciples is to ‘do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.’ No Saint better exemplified that discipleship in his ‘deceptively simple’ writings and life of teaching and serving than Lowell Bennion, and no figure from the LDS past more deserves to be reintroduced to a new generation of readers. George Handley beautifully celebrates and explicates the life and thought of a largely forgotten hero.”--Terryl L. Givens, author of Stretching the Heavens: Eugene England and the Crisis of Modern Mormonism