Can a true Saint balance the quest for earthly knowledge on the head of a spiritual pin, allowing her or him to dance with the angels? Or put another way, can anyone thoroughly acquainted with the learning of the world (done by “the natural man”) remain humble enough to be considered a person of faith?
After reading this volume of essays penned by twenty-four esteemed Latter-day Saint scholars from diverse academic interests and institutions, one comes away judging that the answers to both these questions is a resounding “yes.” What is more, one understands how correct Noel Reynolds is when he writes in the preface that Mormons, who are constantly in search of both intellectual and spiritual answers to the great questions of life, can find strength and common ground by sharing testimonies concerning the fruits of these searches.
These testimonies are organized into three sections: “Personal Odysseys of Faith,” “Study and Faith,” and “Faith and the Book of Mormon.” The diverse essays offer distinct flavors and often very personal insights gleaned from the writers’ several human pursuits, yet they reflect a concerted spiritual goal. As readers bring their own experiences, their own strengths, and their own humility to the insights offered by these authors, they should come to understand the kinship between intellect and spirit and to recognize that the intellectual quest, rather than diminishing faith, can augment and escalate the spiritual quest.
While the book does not reveal the answer to the old question about angels dancing, it brings its readers to the common ground of a good testimony meeting where “expressions of faith” lead to a spiritually motivating and intellectually stimulating sharing of that which Latter-day Saints hold most precious.