Let Your Hearts and Minds Expand

Let Your Hearts and Minds Expand

Reflections on Faith, Reason, Charity, and Beauty


June | 2016

Table of Contents

Endorsements:

"This compilation of essays by Tom Rogers, a Mormon intellectual in the best sense, displays the evolution of his thinking over a lifetime of service as a creative writer, teacher, and leader. His critical but appreciative discussion of diverse ideas—from those of Pushkin to Sartre to Mother Teresa—in the light of the restored gospel offers a valuable perspective on the unfolding of a keen, believing mind."

John L. Sorenson, Author of Mormon's Codex: An Ancient American Book

"This insightful, vital, eminently readable book dwells in a place where artistic expression, spiritual inquiry, and passionate espousal of timeless truths are a natural part of discourse. Tom Rogers’s honesty, bravery, and erudition shine through on every page. There are essays here challenging church culture—and challenging the challengers; letters to those struggling in their faith—and claiming kinship with them; talks delivered to large audiences—and intimate chats with just a few, or one; muscular poetry; travel accounts as a patriarch to the whole of Russia; and explications of Tom’s most celebrated, brilliant plays. If you want to know why and how a truly thoughtful and generous human being believes in the gospel of Christ, read this beautiful book."

Tim Slover , Professor of Theatre, University of Utah

"Is there a place in our literary canon for a thoughtful discussion of discipleship? Thomas Rogers provides here a resounding ‘Yes.’ Essay after essay offers rich rewards for the exploring reader who wants to probe substantial ideas in a personal, affective, and intellectually broadening manner. These essays and commentaries add new dimensions to Tom’s literary and ministerial careers. As in his dramas, the writer’s voice invites dialogue on the most sensitive and significant issues. Like the pastel paintings he has created in recent years, Tom’s literary palette is somber, but rays of light illuminate the shadows, suggesting hope and purpose."

Cherry B. Silver, Past president of the Association for Mormon Letters

"I love this collection because it reveals what a rare modern disciple Thomas Rogers is—a man who is as rigorous in his pursuit of the life of the mind as in his devotion to the riches and wonders of the spirit, and a disciple who is as comfortable with his liberal politics as he is with his conservative community. Like Joseph Smith, Tom has sought truth by being willing to prove contraries. He reads widely and deeply, which is also how he thinks—and believes. This collection is an education in the humanities, a discipline so easily denigrated in contemporary culture but essential to civilization’s survival because it encourages responsible critical and speculative inquiry. Just as the humanities are often coupled with the arts, so are they in Tom’s life. As a creative artist—a playwright, poet, and painter—Tom shows that it is possible to celebrate the imagination as well as the mind—beauty and meaning as complements to faith and reason."

Robert A. Rees, Visiting professor of Mormon Studies, Graduate Theological Union

"These writings offer the wisdom of an eighty-three-year-old scholar whom I’ve known as a friend for over seventy years. I have been blessed by that lifelong association with Tom as we’ve explored challenges in the perennial contest between faith and reason. I am gratified to know his words, profound and still pertinent, will reach a wider audience."

Douglas Alder , President emeritus, Dixie College

"Tom Rogers has written an inspiring book for those of us who, like himself, ‘ascribe equal status to Faith and Reason.’ Although Jack Welch affirms that we Mormons ‘don’t have to check our brains at the door’ when we get to church, the Mormon intellectual can arouse suspicion. Admitting to doubts about any gospel subject is even more hazardous. So it is uplifting to read someone as faithful and as incredibly well-read as Tom candidly sharing his questions, explaining how he deals with them and how using his divinely given intelligence has kept him close to the ‘glory of God.’ This work is not only a marvelous window on a well-stocked creative mind and a burning testimony, it is a treasure trove of insightful quotations."

Donald Jarvis, Professor emeritus of Russian, Brigham Young University

"I found these essays nearly impossible to get through. I kept stopping on insightful passages and contemplating not just the implications but with whom I wanted to share them. Had I the power, I would personally urge everyone over age fifty to read this book, and would require it of everyone else."

Margaret Blair Young, Coauthor of Standing on the Promises

"Many have heard of Tom Rogers and some even feel they ‘know’ him, but as you complete a reading of this excellent collection of his finest essays, epistles, and poetry, you will marvel at the range and depth of his intellectual and creative accomplishments. Throughout, he lays bare shallowness and hypocrisy and enshrines integrity, courage, charity, and belief. Tom is a genuine Mormon intellectual—with the faith of a saint!"

Gary Browning, Professor emeritus of Russian Brigham Young University

"This volume represents the definitive life work of the renowned Mormon intellectual Tom Rogers, whom I have known and associated with for over thirty-five years. His essays, plays, letters, and poetry span a fascinating spectrum of history, literature, and philosophy—always informed by academic rigor, yet invariably infused with a vision of the divine. For all those he encounters, whatever their creed, orientation, or station in life, Tom recognizes, affirms, and learns from the divine in each of them. In doing so, he takes us on a literary tour that can be heart-wrenching at times but is always erudite and edifying. At its core, this book offers a vista of the spiritual growth and sublime joy that can be ours through the atonement and the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Daniel Austin, Associate professor, Northeastern University School of Law

"What strikes one on reading these essays is the deep humility with which Tom Rogers approaches his faith, his doubts, and the lives of those who struggle to find a way forward. One feels that his vast reading has been sanctified by his service to his fellow man and his deep love of Jesus Christ."

Sterling Van Wagenen, Filmmaker

"In the course of his career, Tom Rogers has been a student, a teacher, a professor of Rus-sian literature, a playwright, a missionary (Berlin), a mission president (St. Petersburg), a bishop, a patriarch (Eastern Europe and Russia), a husband and father, and, in all cir-cumstances, a man of faith. However, not for him the unexamined life or unexamined faith. In this collection of essays, talks, and letters, he addresses four wellsprings of his life: faith, reason, charity, and beauty. He has read widely and thought deeply about all of them and how they run together. In these essays you will find remarkable insights, a pervasive wisdom, and an exceptional affirmation of faith."

Thomas Wood, President emeritus, Mount Royal University

"Who reads this compelling collection will commune with one of Mormonism’s great minds, one nourished by other great minds, both past and present, in and out of the Latter-day Saint church. Tom Rogers is a modern Renaissance man—a consummate scholar, teacher, and Christian philosopher equally at home in the works of Euripides and Freud. He is also Mormonism's best-known playwright, a poet, and a humble, prayerful servant who built his mind and heart on a ‘bedrock of experience’—a lifetime of service to his church, his community, and his family."

Mary Bradford, Author of Lowell L. Bennion: Teacher, Counselor, Humanitarian

Reviews:

"[Rogers] cares deeply about ideas, and he does not shy away from difficult questions and paradoxes."

—Roger Terry, BYU Studies, November 1, 2017

"...an interesting mix of apologetics, personal memoir, and meditations on gospel and other philosophical themes...commendably honest...a solid addition to the Living Faith series."

—Stephen Smoot, Ploni Almoni blog, June 7, 2016

"The book is certainly apologetic but not in the usual sense. Rather than offering a straight defense of the faith, Rogers opens up about his reactions and struggles to challenging ideas, as well as honestly engaging with others who find themselves in a similar situation. "

—Paul Brooks, The Reasonable Mormon blog, September 6, 2016

"...there was much to be gleaned from Rogers’ insights. I will continue to engage with the ideas and wrestle with the paradoxes that Rogers addresses, striving for that tentativeness that he promotes, while always hoping to empathize with all, even those I vehemently disagree with because 'divinity is in them too.'"

—Conor Hilton, Conor Hilton blog, October 31, 2016

"Readers who stick with the book from cover to cover will receive more than they paid for in time, thought, and the price of the book, but it will also serve as a useful reference for personal study, writing ideas, sermons, and topical learning. This compilation casts a long complementary shadow for one of Mormonism’s rare hearts and minds."

—Douglas F. Christensen, Association for Mormon Letters, November 15, 2016

"The main theme that I found in this collection is that of charity—the true love of Christ. Rogers has a unique and clear capacity to find the good in everyone and every situation he encounters, while still being realistic and firm as required."

—Ivan Wolfe, Millennial Star blog, November 30, 2016

Publication Information

Publication Date: 2016

ISBN 13: 978-0-8425-2976-1

Page Count: 349

Illustration(s): 4

Size: 6x9

Binding: Paperback, ePub

Price: $21.95

Series: Living Faith

Imprint: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Thomas F. Rogers

Thomas F. Rogers is a noted playwright, essayist, and scholar who taught Russian at Brigham Young University from 1969 to 2000. He also served as director of the BYU Honors Program in the 1970s. From 1993 to 1996, he was president of the LDS Church’s Russia St. Petersburg Mission, the subject of his memoir A Call to Russia: Glimpses of Missionary Life (Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 1999). Subsequently, he and his wife, Merriam, served in the Stockholm Sweden Temple. From 2007 until his release in 2014, Rogers was a traveling LDS patriarch assigned to the LDS Church’s Europe East Area. Tom and Merriam currently live in Bountiful, Utah, where he spends time painting and visiting their seven children and forty grandchildren.      

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