As a stand-alone, this story has one too many open endings. Probably Sanderson's way of securing a way to turn it into a series, if readers' response turned out to be favorable. I see what you did there and also continue to do in later books.
[ETA: 05/17] He is planning a sequel that takes place ten years after Elantris' restoration.
I've always found Sanderson's interpretation of magic and religion fascinating and that's the only thing that kept me pushing on to the end. I don't know what it is about this book that just didn't click with me, so I'll attempt to work out some thoughts here. It might have to do with the uneven pacing and one-dimensional characters, with the exception of a certain gyorn.
Lastly, it was hard for me to read this story without seeing it as Sanderson's springboard for Mistborn. The similarities between the two series' main characters are striking; Raodan and Elend Venture, Galladon and Sazed, Hrathen and Kelsier. Political strife and overthrowing corrupt governments are recurring themes in every Sanderson book I've read. They're finely tuned in Mistborn, but they flounder a bit in this book.