As has frequently been noted by a variety of commentators, modern Mormonism seems to be entering what will be a very difficult cultural transition during the 21 century, where one of the defining issues will be whether the church will allow for greater cultural, social, and intellectual diversity among its ranks and still be able to maintain a sense of traditional communal identity or whether conservative forces will enact further retrenchment, thus leading to greater social fragmentation and disaffection at the margins.
So far it’s been a pretty rocky road. The church has lacked any kind of coordinated plan or definite vision about how to handle the democratizing Internet era and the relatively new empowerment of lay individuals to think, question, and doubt. Responses have been ad hoc, allowing for reactionary and authoritarian views to fill the void at various institutional levels.
So what do you think the future holds? For example, will there come a time when members of the church will not be marginalized for not believing that the BoM is historical? or to openly affirm different perspectives on God, history, the nature of spirituality, etc? Will the LDS church take more of an interest in so-called liberal causes, so as to appear less entangled in American cultural politics, or more positively stated, to show that it cares about the full gamut of human morality and social justice at the heart of both ancient and modern scriptural theologies? How do you see the church evolving this century?