Of dragons, palaces, and gods : a mormon perspective on C. S. Lewis Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5999n766s

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  • During his lifetime C. S. Lewis chose to speak to Christians in plain and simple language that they could understand. Lewis taught and defended truths that he felt were discernible through reason. Morality, free will, and the divinity of Jesus Christ were fundamental to his core beliefs and teachings. His writings have attracted Christian readers from many denominations, including those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through references to Lewis by LDS Church leaders and authors, Mormons have been attracted to Lewis's writings in significant ways. General Authorities have used his thoughts and analogies to illustrate certain gospel principles. Many Latter-day Saints have been impressed by the similarities they perceive between Lewis's theology and Mormonism. Such appreciation has led to Lewis's becoming one of the most quoted non-LDS authors in General Conference talks and various Mormon publications. While Lewis was aware of the Latter-day Saint religion, he chose to worship in the Church of England. Through his writings, however, he entered into a much broader fellowship with millions of Christians around the world. His thoughts on "mere Christianity" have created an enormous common ground on which many have stood. Among those who have set foot upon that soil are the Latter-day Saints. Given their open-minded approach to theological reflection, Mormons not only read authors like Lewis but also feel comfortable citing his views on human nature and Christian discipleship. Although they do not agree with everything he says, Mormons treasure particular Lewisian teachings that have a familiar ring of truth to them. Something deep inside them (which they call the Holy Ghost) resonates when they read certain passages of Lewis's writings. This thesis describes Lewis's theology, the Mormons' discovery of Lewis, and the spread of his reputation among the LDS membership. Lewis has become a popular author in the LDS community largely through numerous references to his writings in General Conference talks and books by leaders like Elder Neal A. Maxwell. While Mormons do not look to Lewis as an authority on doctrinal matters, many acknowledge his valuable insights on how to be better Christians. His ideas challenge and enliven their understanding of Mormon doctrines. They admire Lewis's courage for being a public intellectual who believed in God and for articulating both the stabs of joy and the adversities that he experienced. His words comfort those in the process of being undragoned by Aslan, reminding them that somehow even children can become kings and queens in Narnia.
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