It seems to me like no one wants to be the first to post anything for discussion. So I guess I'll go. I don't really have anything all that intellectual to discuss - being the mom of three kids under the age of four, I don't have the energy for intellectual. But here are two points that I've been thinking about.
Science vs. Religion: This was a theme running throughout the book. Whether science and religion worked together or opposed each other. I, personally, am in agreement with Galileo. In the book it says that Galileo believed that science reinforced the existence of God, rather than undermining His existence. I believe that too. For example, the more I learn about the human body, how it functions, protects itself, sustains itself, works together with all its systems, creates new life, adapts...the more impossible I find it NOT to believe in God. There is no way all of that occurred by accident. The world too is a testament to the existence of a Supreme Creator. I could cite scriptural references as well, but I'll leave that for now.
Successors: Another thing that interested me was the way in which a new pope is selected in the Catholic Church. The first time I read Angels and Demons was just before Pope John Paul II died - when was that, 2005? It was interesting to watch the news coverage of a conclave and see how political a process that was, in spite of people saying that it was "God's choice." It really is an election and political ritual, as described by Dan Brown. On page 123, he writes that a conclave is a politically charged atmosphere and that "over the centuries they had turned deadly; poisonings, fist fights, and even murder had erupted within the sacred walls."
Compare that with the ease in the change of leadership of the LDS church. As we just experienced at the beginning of February, there is no political discussion, no vying for position, no campaigning, no disagreement, no ballotting or election at all. As outlined by revelation from the Lord, the senior-most apostle always becomes the next prophet. And who is the senior-most apostle at the time a current prophet passes away is also dictated by the Lord, as He controls how long any one of the brethren holds his calling. I don't know for certain, but I think it's fairly safe to say that it is a position that is not sought after, a responsibility that any of the brethren would really prefer not to have. There is no disagreement among the leaders about it. Who leads the LDS Church as prophet truly is chosen by the Lord. Isn't that so much easier?
Okay. That's all I have to say at the moment. You can't read this book and expect to not have a religious discussion. I suspect that most of you are also LDS, so you probably feel somewhat the same.