James E. Faulconer’s ‘Thinking Otherwise’ bears testimony through philosophy, theology, and history

Latter-day Saint philosopher James E. Faulconer says nobody really needs to do theology. After all, salvation is available without it. “Unlike serving and comforting, loving and healing,” Faulconer writes in his new book Thinking Otherwise, “theology has never been one of the things required of all followers of Jesus Christ.”

Why a book about theology, then? Because, Faulconer says, for many church members theology feels inescapable. In some cases the need is ethical: someone asks you a question about your faith and you'd like to offer a reasoned response. At times the need is psychological; questions press down on your mind and you can't avoid them. Perhaps your theological need is merely a matter of enjoyment. Or, as many have discovered, thinking theologically has helped you deepen and enrich your faith.

Whatever your particular reason for wanting to think theologically, Faulconer is a wise and steady companion. Over the course of his careers he has often called Latter-day Saints back to the scriptures as a source of divine truth and direction—not merely for theological reflection, but for taking action right here and now in everyday life.

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship is excited to expand our Living Faith book series with Faulconer's latest work, Thinking Otherwise: Theological Explorations of Joseph Smith's Revelations. Part philosophy, part theology, and part history, Faulconer bears testimony of Jesus Christ on each page. Available for pre-order now from Amazon, Deseret Book, or the BYU Store.

Note: If you'd like a copy before Christmas, BYU Store and Deseret Book are your best options. Amazon's release day is December 22.
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Online through December

  • December 11  |  10 AM (MST)
    LECTURE—After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging
    Willie James Jennings, Yale Divinity School
    See below for more details or visit
  • December 13  |  6 PM (MST)
    ONLINE DISCUSSION—Book of Mormon Conversations: Moroni
    David F. Holland, with Larry Eastland
    Details  |  Register


Dr. Willie James Jennings identifies curiosity and humility as Christian virtues
On Friday, December 4 Professor Willie James Jennings virtually visited Brigham Young University to present a lecture and participate in workshops on the theme "Race and Christianity." This short video above is an excerpt from his opening lecture on his book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. Dr. Jennings returns on Friday Dec. 11 at 10 am MST for another lecture and workshop series discussing his new book After Whiteness: An Education In Belonging. If you would like to watch live with us, visit for links and information.

"Race and Christianity" is sponsored by the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, in partnership with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute and other campus entities.
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