A Unique and Misunderstood Faith
Great analysis! When I first saw the headline, I thought of the main paradox I see as an insider (and it's loosely connected with the third paradox above). The LdS church is both fundamentalist (meaning holding to a strict interpretation of its beliefs) and open in both theology and soteriology. On the one hand, much of the church's leadership and curriculum emphasizes the church as being one and only true source of truth with the best type of salvation (and the only kind usually talked about) available only to those who adhere most rigidly to its teachings. On other other hand, there's a part of the theology itself that is open to truth wherever it can be found (even in other religions) as well as an openness to what we call "personal revelation" from God accompanied by salvational universalism. Much of the tension in the church today (for example, that related to LGBTQ issues) comes from a clash of these two perspectives.
Thank you for the insightful analysis! I wonder, in the context of "Open and Private", how much the early Church leaders' experience with Masonic rituals impacted the development and evolution of temple ceremonies. Certainly, the aspects of secrecy seem similar (not to mention certain core mechanics of the ceremonies themselves).