Doing theology is like building a comically circuitous Rube Goldberg machine: you spend your time tinkering together an unnecessarily complicated, impractical, and ingenious apparatus for doing things that are, in themselves, simple. But there is a kind of joy in theology’s gratuity, there is a pleasure in its comedic machination, and ultimately—if the balloon pops, the hamster spins, the chain pulls, the bucket empties, the pulley lifts, and (voila!) the book’s page is turned—some measurable kind of work is accomplished. But this work is a byproduct. The beauty of the machine, like all beauty, is for its own sake.
This book is itself a Rube Goldberg machine, pieced together from a variety of essays written over the past ten years. They offer explicit reflections on what it means to practice theology as a modern Mormon scholar and they stake out substantial and original positions on the nature of the atonement, the soul, testimony, eternal marriage, humanism, and the historicity of the Book of Mormon.
Praise for Rube Goldberg Machines:
“Adam Miller is the most original and provocative Latter-day Saint theologian practicing today.” — Richard Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
“Miller is a theologian of the ordinary, thinking about our ordinary beliefs in very non-ordinary ways while never insisting that the ordinary become extra-ordinary.” — James Faulconer, Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, Brigham Young University
“Rube Goldberg Machines is one of the best and most important commentaries on the gospel and on life itself that I have ever read.” — Thomas F. Rogers, BYU Studies Quarterly
“Rube Golberg is a landmark work in the world of Mormon theology.” — Kirk Caudle, The Mormon Book Review
“A theology of pure immanency is what Adam’s given us and I can only hope that Mormon theology will never be the same again.” — Clark Goble, Mormon Metaphysics
“This is great theology in all the right ways, but you’ll have to read it yourselves to get a taste for its power. Buy the book and read it. Seriously.” — Samuel Brown, author of In Heaven as It Is On Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death
“Adam Miller’s Rube Goldberg Theology is full of ingenious, even dazzling formulations, and of lovely, often bracing and sometimes startling insights.” — Ralph Hancock, SquareTwo
It is a work of truly great theology that only could have been contrived ... by a brilliant Mormon.” — Brad Kramer, By Common Consent
“Miller’s Rube Goldberg theology is nothing like anything done in the Mormon tradition before.” — Blake Ostler, author of the Exploring Mormon Thought series
About the Author:
Adam S. Miller is a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He is the author of Badiou, Marion, and St. Paul: Immanent Grace and Speculative Grace: An Experiment with Bruno Latour in Object-Oriented Theology, editor of An Experiment on the Word: Reading Alma 32, and director of the Mormon Theology Seminar.