Any reader familiar with the scholarly endeavors of the relatively new academic fields of Mormon theology or Mormon studies will recognize Professor Mauro Properzi's volume Mormonism and the Emotions as a contribution to the knowledge base of these fields. Though Properzi's study focuses on LDS doctrines and global theology, its central new contribution is its particular subject matter, the emotions—a topic of interest to social science and religion scholars generally—as dealt with in the LDS scriptural canon. The volume is informed by the researcher's understanding of general LDS theology, but it also takes a quasi-phenomenological approach to its textual analysis of emotion words in the text of LDS modern scriptures. As such, Mormonism and the Emotions is an original first step.
Most readers, particularly those not already engaged in the dialogue surrounding LDS theology, will benefit from spending some time with the introduction to the work. Professor Properzi does a very nice job of summarizing what is at stake in the question of whether or not there is a formal theology or a theological tradition within Mormonism. In providing readers with an accessible account of the viewpoints of proponents on both sides of the question, he brings in such issues as whether the conceptual and philosophical categories of traditional theological approaches really have purchase in Latter-day Saint doctrines and understandings, and the nature and role of theology in a tradition that places much importance on authoritative voices and continuing divine revelation. In the introduction, Properzi clarifies his own view of LDS theology—and the doing of LDS theology—which is quite appealing (10). His view is reasoned, careful, and provides a balanced approach that might serve as a model for other scholars in the field, particularly young scholars who are still formulating their own principles and approaches.