Recently, someone asked me why the Church does not have a set of specific doctrines to neatly create a broad theology and foundation for all we believe. Why don’t we have an established theology, developed by great philosopher-prophets like St Augustine, Origen, More or Aquinas?
In pondering it, I believe the LDS Church intentionally does not have a set theology, but only a few core doctrines, leaving room for lots of personal revelation for individuals to seek God for themselves. While Mormons do not have a specific theology, some Mormons DO theology. Check out saltpress.org as an example of this. There are LDS philosophers, BTW. James Faulconer, Joseph Spencer, Adam Miller, Blake Ostler, Clark Goble and others are excellent philosophers. You can find many of them blogging about philosophy and the Church, as well as articles and books from several of them (like at saltpress.org).
The real problem isn’t philosophy, but philosophy that becomes doctrine or dogma. When we establish creeds that are imperfect, then we close off the heavens and refuse to let them shower new revelation down upon us. So the “philosophies of men, mingled with scripture” becomes bad when we establish such as dogma, rather than keep it as theory. For the full gospel to be revealed, it requires that we keep an open mind to the things God wishes to reveal to us. It is possible that some LDS dogma of the past (Curse of Cain, etc) may have kept our members and leaders from receiving revelation on the priesthood until 1978, when most members were ready to hear and receive such a revelation and negate the wrong dogmatic claims made for over a century.
We’ll remember that the Lord told Joseph Smith not to join any other churches, because their creeds were an abomination to Him. Why were they an abomination, when most of us would agree with at least some/many aspects of the creeds? Because, even if mostly true, they closed off the heavens to mankind, keeping them from receiving purer and more correct truths from heaven.
So, philosophy is not necessarily bad. Doing theology isn’t necessarily bad. Creating creeds and dogmas IS bad, as it nails the coffin shut on receiving any new light.