The God Who Weeps

The God Who Weeps Whether By Design Or By Chance, Terryl And Fiona Givens Write, We Find Ourselves In A Universe Filled With Mystery We Encounter Appealing Arguments For A Divinity That Is A Childish Projection, For Prophets As Scheming Or Deluded Imposters, And For Scripture As So Much Fabulous Fiction But There Is Also Compelling Evidence That A Glorious Divinity Presides Over The Cosmos, That His Angels Are Strangers We Have Entertained Unawares, And That His Word And Will Are Made Manifest Through A Sacred Canon That Is Never Definitively Closed What We Choose To Embrace, To Be Responsive To, Is The Purest Reflection Of Who We Are And What We Love That Is Why Faith, The Choice To Believe, Is In The Final Analysis, An Action That Is Positively Laden With Moral Significance As Humans, We Are, Like The Poet John Keats, Straining At Particles Of Light In The Midst Of A Great Darkness And Yet, The Authors Describe A Version Of Life S Meaning That Is Reasonable And Radically Resonant It Tells Of A God Whose Heart Beats In Sympathy With Ours, Who Set His Heart Upon Us Before The World Was Formed, Who Fashioned The Earth As A Place Of Human Ascent, Not Exile, And Who Has The Desire And The Capacity To Bring The Entire Human Family Home Again

Terryl L Givens was born in upstate New York, raised in the American southwest, and did his graduate work in Intellectual History Cornell and Comparative Literature Ph.D UNC Chapel Hill, 1988 , working with Greek, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English languages and literatures As Professor of Literature and Religion, and the James A Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Rich

❰BOOKS❯ ✭ The God Who Weeps  Author Terryl L. Givens –
  • Hardcover
  • 160 pages
  • The God Who Weeps
  • Terryl L. Givens
  • English
  • 05 May 2019
  • 9781609071882

10 thoughts on “The God Who Weeps

  1. says:

    If you only pick up one book on Mormon theology, make it Fiona and Terryl Givens The God Who Weeps The Givenses have written a masterful encapsulation of the most transcendent and sublime core beliefs of our faith, particularly as they relate to the nature of God, the plan of salvation, and the purpose of our existence This beautifully written book describes the weeping God with whom Enoch conversed see Moses 7 29 37 This is a God who chooses to love us And if love means responsibility, sacrifice, vulnerability, then God s decision to love us is the most stupendously sublime moment in the history of time He chooses to love even at, necessarily at, the price of vulnerability While the conventional understanding of vulnerability would define it as a weakness, the Givenses assert that it is a strength, the very capability to feel which allows God to be God God s love, His vulnerability, are a permanent condition of who He is And because of that love and vulnerability, God s pain is as infinite as His love As a counterpoint, they affirm that opposition provides meaning If vulnerability and pain are the price of love, then joy is its reward both for God and for us Within this paradigm, the misnamed Fall was actually an ascent, not a descent a required step forward to something even greater than the paradise we left It frames the divine plan as about elevation rather than remedy, advancement rather than repair The God Who Weeps starts with a presupposition that those with doubts aren t faithless, that faith is an act of will and a choice to believe, and that reason is an essential aspect of faith A supreme deity, they postulate, would no gift us with intellect and expect us to forsake it in moments of bafflement, than He would fashion us eyes to see and bid us shut them to the stars Doubts are a natural, even essential, part of the growth process There must be grounds for doubt as well as belief, in order to render the choice truly a choice, and therefore the deliberate, and laden with personal vulnerability and investment I love the inclusion of truths from other faith traditions and philosophies as well as from early Christian thinkers The Givenses quote Origen, C.S Lewis, William Wordsworth, Sam Shepard, Saint Augustine, and Soren Kierkegaard, to name just a few, as well as Brigham Young, Parley Pratt, and Eliza R Snow This unrestricted gathering of truth from whatever source it springs reminds me of Joseph Smith s expansive definition of Mormonism Mormonism is truth and every one who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth see Teachings of the Presidents of the Church Joseph Smith, 264 It is remarkable how many profound truths Fiona and Terryl Givens managed to cram into these 120 pages I haven t even scratched the surface in this review The gospel explained in The God Who Weeps is the gospel I believe in to my very core a personal, vulnerable God who loves His children a continual striving for progression and becoming like God and an infinitely compassionate and inclusive plan of redemption, not condemnation For book reviews, come visit my blog, Build Enough Bookshelves.

  2. says:

    The God Who Weeps is a beautifully written book with a beautiful message for a broad audience Fiona and Terryl Givens endeavor not to prove God s existence, but to demonstrate the modest point that a belief in God is not unreasonable More specifically, they seek to show that the Mormon conception of God and our relationship with Him is not unreasonable I am of course admittedly biased, but I think they are generally successful.Rather than an ethereal and impersonal God, the Givens relate in beautiful terms the Mormon conception of a very personal God A God in whose image we are made, who loves us and longs for our happiness Who weeps over our grief, yet stays his hand so that we may learn and grow from this life and bring ourselves by degrees in tune with his love for us In short, the sort of God I worship and that makes sense to me.I m convinced the Givens are tapping into a vein that runs deep within Christian laity but has not always found full expression in the doctrine of many or possibly most denominations The Givens demonstrate this by employing an array of sources, including literature, poetry, philosophy, the Bible and Book of Mormon, and historical Christian thought, to differentiate the Mormon conception of God from, say, the Augustinian conception, but also to show that the Mormon conception of God is not wacky or unreasonable A God who weeps is consistent with scripture and informs the questions, longings, and deep seated feelings expressed by humanity throughout at least the last 2500 odd years More recent literature confirms this point Take, for example, one of my favorite lines from Barbara Kingsolver s The Lacuna Tonight a shadow passed across the moon Don Enrique says an eclipse But Leandro says it is El Dios and El Cristo putting their heads together, crying over everything that happens down here So I suspect that much of what Givens have to say about the nature of God would ring true for scads of Christians from all sorts of denominations If folks can get past the fact that it s coming from Mormons, they will probably not find it wacky or unreasonable in the least.I did have a couple of minor quibbles, but I think that s because the book is written for a broader audience the type of book I don t normally go for Chapter 1 puts forth a couple theories as to why it would not be unreasonable to believe in God that I thought weren t necessarily the most convincing I also had one oh come on moment in Chapter 2 and had to put the book down for a bit There they talk about how the mere thought that we could have been born elsewhere exposes a deep assumption that we existed as a something before we were born I don t understand how that follows Seems to me we re just imaginative and empathic no assumption is necessary or even warranted I m going to chalk it up to them not clearly delineating between their thoughts and the thoughts of those they re summarizing In any case, I soldiered on, and I m glad I did, because it s a beautiful and inspiring book.UPDATE 12 8 12 I have been thinking about this book, and I m going to add a star, because I keep talking about it and recommending it to people, particularly to people who are struggling with their faith on an intellectual level I struggled for a time with my faith in the LDS church, and this book would have been very helpful to me then Its measured tone is so different and satisfying than the strident certainty that prevails in other LDS books discussing similar topics, and in that way I think it presents a different and helpful way of articulating Mormon faith and the basis for that faith.

  3. says:

    What I love most about The God Who Weeps is its humility Even though it was published by Deseret Book, it doesn t assume a Mormon audience For that matter, it doesn t assume much at all, not even the existence of God Rather, it merely attempts to place Mormonism in a broader philosophical context and to show that Mormonism s theological claims are not unreasonable Terryl and Fiona Givens quote extensively from philosophers, scientists, and theologians from the so called dark ages, and surprisingly enough, they quote very sparsely from LDS leaders The topic of discussion here is not Mormon history, culture, or policy Rather, it digs right into the very heart of Mormonism, or in other words, our views on God and the purpose and nature of human existence They quote from outside sources in order to back up the validity of Mormonism s hopes and claims, rather than simply to reinforce the belief of those who are already familiar with Mormon doctrine They make the case that Mormonism isn t unique in expressing these ideas for the first time rather, it brings these ideas together in a way that has never been done before.The title The God Who Weeps refers to the prophet Enoch s vision, in which he is taken into heaven He sees how much power Satan has over the earth, and sees that the world is veiled in darkness The God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and He wept and Enoch bore record of it, saying How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains And Enoch said unto the Lord How is it that thou canst weep Moses 7 28 29 He s not asking God why He weeps, but how it is that His tears are even possible.Throughout the book, Terryl and Fiona Givens discuss five key doctrines that make Mormonism unique, and they connect these concepts to their broader theological context These doctrines are 1 God is a personal entity, 2 We lived as spirit beings before our mortal births, 3 Mortality is an ascent, not a fall, 4 God has the desire and the power to unite and elevate the entire human family, and 5 Heaven will consist of those relationships that matter most to us now Not a word is mentioned about the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, modern prophets, or even temples As I mentioned, this book is theology at its core.Much of The God Who Weeps deals with theodicy, the problem of evil This is a subject that has been weighing on my mind lately, especially after watching PBS s Half the Sky documentary and reading the book , hearing a Holocaust survivor tell her story, watching the coverage of the Sandy Hook shootings, and hearing about the gang rape victim in India one of far too many Terryl and Fiona Givens make the case that it is God s vulnerability that made Christ s atonement possible That vulnerability is both the price of the power to save, and that which saves This supernal act of vulnerability invited His own destruction, even as it drew millions to Him Such weakness and the love behind Christ s sacrifice cannot be bracketed as a unique act of condescension, supernal as it was This vulnerability, this openness to pain and exposure to risk, is the eternal condition of the divine And here is the crux God does not instigate pain or suffering, but He can weave it into His purposes God s power rests not on totalizing omnipotence, but on His ability to alchemize suffering, tragedy, and loss into wisdom, understanding, and joy One point the authors make is that we should not just wait for the next life for the problem of evil to be resolved, but that we should do our part to build a Zion like society in the here and now William James said, Pure religion is to care for widows and orphans, not to sermonize about their plight Terryl and Fiona Givens go on to add, Enoch s vision is a useful corrective to the blue sky heaven that would seduce us into seeing less continuity between this world and the next than we have good reason to suspect exists In other words, if our goals is to be Christlike, we should be doing everything we personally can do eradicate pain and suffering from the world.I m almost positive that this book was a shout out to skeptics like me, who have not been blessed with the gift of simple belief The authors even say that reason must be a part of any solution to the mystery of life that we find satisfactory A supreme deity would no gift us with intellect and expect us to forsake it in moments of bafflement, than He would fashion us eyes to see and bid us shut them to the stars Later in the book, they write Those mortals who operate in the grey area between conviction and incredulity are in a position to choose most meaningfully, and with most meaningful consequences Perhaps only a doubter can appreciate the miracle of life without end This book has certainly touched my heart, helped me to understand my religion in its proper context, and has motivated me to do my part in making the world a better place.

  4. says:

    Most books marketed to an LDS audience present gospel doctrine as easy to digest pablum, making no intellectual or spiritual demands of the reader Safe and familiar quotes from past and present leaders of the Church back up every insight to the point that one wonders if the authors are unable to do any original thinking of their own, or if, instead, they are simple unwilling to take intellectual risks in a ecclesiastical culture that privileges orthodoxy above all else Want to be safe Organize a plethora of quotes from vetted General Authorities into topics, and let each tidy pile of quotes become a chapter for your book The orthodoxy of your views will be beyond reproach These are the kinds of books we re used to being offered by Deseret Book.This is not that kind of book.The Givens give us credit for having a mind a god like mind capable of using both reason and deep intuition to test the soundness of five propositional ideas 1 God is a personal entity, having a heart that beats in sympathy with human hearts, feeling our joy and sorrowing over our pain.2 We lived as spirit beings in the presence of God before we were born into this mortal life.3 Mortality is an ascent, not a fall, and we carry infinite potential into a world of sin and sorrow.4 God has the desire and the power to unite and elevate the entire human family in a kingdom of heaven, and, except for the most stubbornly unwilling, that will be our destiny.5 Heaven will consist of those relationships that matter most to us now.These propositions, the Givens argue, are compelling, inspiring, and reasonable That they are reasonable or at least not unreasonable becomes their burden to prove, and they do so by in ways that respect our intellect and also appeal to our sacred, experiential lives Like a good buddhist, we are to accept nothing simply on the authority of another, but to trust our own experience and sense Each chapter is chock full of quotes, but they are signposts guiding us to the experiences others have also had in wrestling with the greatest questions of existence Most satisfyingly to me, the Givens don t make truth claims Instead, they modestly suggest that some ideas are reasonable, ennobling, and ultimately fruitful than others.In another essay, which partakes of the same spirit of intellectual humility, Terryl Givens shares his personal approach to belief If I have a spiritual gift it is perhaps an immense capacity for doubt In the course of my spiritual pilgrimage, my innate capacity for doubt led me to the insight that faith is a choice That the call to faith is a summons to engage the heart, to attune it to resonate in sympathy with principles and values and ideals that we devoutly hope are true, and have reasonable but not certain grounds for believing to be true I am convinced that there must be grounds for doubt as well as belief, for only in these conditions of equilibrium and balance, equally enticed by the one or the other, is my heart truly free to choose belief or cynicism, faith or faithlessness Under these conditions, what I choose to embrace, to be responsive to, is the purest reflection of who I am and what I love A favorite quote from the book A supreme deity would no gift us with intellect and expect us to forsake it in moments of bafflement, than He would fashion us eyes to see and bid us shut them to the stars, pg 4

  5. says:

    The Givenses write very beautifully and compellingly This distilled essence of LDS theology is one I find very attractive, very enticing Oh, that it were the vision of theology taught in LDS services, sermons, and classes The book begins with five propositions of the LDS theology as the Givenses interpret it They then go on to elaborate on each point, to explain the evidence for each position, both deductive and inductive They don t attempt to prove anything, acknowledging up front that there is no proof, merely evidence compelling enough, in their opinion, to choose to believe recognizing that there is also enough compelling evidence to the contrary to make a sincere choice not to believe as well I felt the evidence presented for the second proposition, We lived as spirit beings in the presence of God before we were born into this mortal life seemed a bit contrived For the most part, these were insightful and thought provoking points Their fifth point, heaven will consist of those relationships that matter most now, was particularly eye opening Mormonism points to the idea of heaven as beingwell, relatedto relationships, with its focus on eternal marriages, but is not generally discussed so expansively And the fourth proposition God has the desire and the power to unite and elevate the entire human family in the kingdom of heaven, and, except for the most stubbornly unwilling, that will be our destiny, would provoke some opposition from those who accept the traditional teachings of the Church, but I find the universalist ideas elegant and enlightening How many people would avoid the despair and discouragement so common in our faith if this were the theology taught in our culture Inspiring work This is the vision of Mormonism that I could gladly embrace.

  6. says:

    START THIS BOOK IN CHAPTERS 3 5 THEN READ CHAPTERS 1 2 JUST SAYIN I have had a couple of people now tell me that this book is a little hard to get intoAnd I tend to agreeBUTOnce you get to chapters 3 5 you can t put it down Amazing thoughts on who the God we worship is and how he LOVES his children US ANDHow he wants us to be HAPPY If you have started this bookand have put it downpick it back up and skip to chapter 3You will be happy you didn t give up on this book

  7. says:

    Terryl Givens is one of my heros I hope what he says is true He certainly paints a picture of life and God that is beautiful than any I have read I still dont know how to reconcile it with my reading of the old testament God but.shelved it He seems pretty utilitarian in his understanding of sin Like God is upset that we are in pain and estranged, not that we have broken a law What a wonderful idea sweet quotes there must be grounds for doubt as well as belief an overwhelming preponderance of evidence on either side would make our choice as meaningless as a loaded gun pointed to our heads the option to believe must appear on ones personal horizon like the fruit of paradise, perched precariously between sets of demands held in dynamic tension quoting proust everything is arranged in this life though we entered it carrying the burden of obligations contracted in a former life there is no reason inherent in the conditions of life on this earth that can make us consider ourselves obliged to be good.all these obligations which have not their sanction in our present life seem to belong to a different world, founded upon kindness self sacrifice, a world entirely different from this legitimate guilt is to the spirit what the sharp protest of a twisted ankle is to the foot its purpose is to hurt enough to stop you from crippling yourself further our lives are like a canvas on which we paint, than a script we need to learn though the illusion of the latter appeals to us by its lower risk it is easier to learn a part than create a work of art quoting emerson that which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character.what we are worshiping we are becoming we cannot so trivialize life that we make of it a coliseum where we wage moral combat like spiritual gladiators, for a presiding authority on high to save or damn according to our performance.heaven is not a club we enter Heaven is a state we attain

  8. says:

    I read this book when it first came out, but have since read it 2 times yeah, it s that good Anyway, I decided to do a thorough review of it for those who might be interested in reading this book It may be easier to read my review at the following link I couldn t get the format to work here at Goodreads But, for what it s worth, here is my review The God Who Weeps How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life By Terryl and Fiona Givens Salt Lake City Ensign Peak, 2012 Pp 160.In recent years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints Mormons has experienced a sudden exodus from the faith on the part of many of its rank and file members Thanks in large part to the Internet, many Mormons have discovered a number of historical and theological issues that has caused great deal of doubt and concern for many Latter day Saints who originally believed that their faith was impenetrable to such things As former Church Historian Marlin K Jensen recently stated Maybe since Kirtland, we ve never had a period of I ll call it apostasy, like we re having nowIt s a different generation There s no sense kidding ourselves, we just need to be very upfront with members and tell them what we know and give answers to what we have and call on their faith like we all do for things we don t understand.This crisis of faith, that has already claimed a number of former members in its wake, has gone relatively unopposed Little has been said other than the traditional don t you dare doubt or just pray about it responses to help remedy the situation That is until now.In their book, The God Who Weeps How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life, the husband and wife team of Terryl and Fiona Givens offer us a concise but extraordinarily eloquent overview of the profoundly complex yet extremely basic theology that is found in Mormonism, and how said theology answers some of life s most difficult to answer questions The Givens challenge many of the preconceived ideas held by both Christian and Mormon supporters and detractors by resting their thesis on the idea that God s strength and ultimate sovereignty rest in his infinite loving vulnerability rather than his divine dictatorial supremacy In consequence, The God Who Weeps reveals a god who mourns for his creations when they sin, as opposed to a god who arbitrarily consigns the sinner to an eternity in hell.The book is essentially divided into five sections chapters that each emphasize a separate and unique concept that the Givens believe are both unique to the Mormon faith and worthy of our further inquiry In the first chapter His Heart Is Set Upon Us , Terryl and Fiona Givens develop their concept of the weeping God and how such a deity is both worthy of our devotion and fully capable of coming to our aid There could be nothing in this universe, or in any possible universe, perfectly good, absolutely beautiful, worthy of adoration, and deserving of emulation, than this God of love and kindness and vulnerability That is why a gesture of belief in His direction, a decision to acknowledge His virtues as the paramount qualities of a divided universe, is a response to the best in us, the best and noblest of which the human soul is capable But a God without passions would engender in our hearts neither love nor interest In the vision of Enoch, we find ourselves drawn to a God who prevents all the pain He can, assumes all the suffering He can, and weeps over the misery He can neither prevent nor assume The Givens further develop the idea of the suffering or weeping god by pointing to the writings of early church patriarchs like St Augustine and Origen, along with modern writers such as C.S Lewis and Emily Dickinson, all of whom insinuated, in one way or another, that God s strength and ultimate sovereignty rested in his love and vulnerability for mankind as opposed to his supremacy as some sort of cold and distant dictator.In the second chapter Man Was in the Beginning With God , the Givens focus on a point of Mormon doctrine pre existence that they believe is dramatically underplayed by both critics and supporters of Mormonism It is worth nothing that the majority of this chapter s material is drawn from Terryl Given s other book, When Souls Had Wings, which is almost exclusively devoted to the concept of pre mortal existence and it s development in Western thought In this chapter, the Givens turn to the writings of the ancient Greeks, Babylonians Jews, etc who all maintained an interest in the idea of a pre mortal world.In the third chapter Men Are That They Might Have Joy , the books highlights the importance of human choice and how said choices can determine our happiness and illustrate what we as individuals value most in our mortal lives Whatever sense we make of this world, whatever value we place upon our lives and relationships, whatever meaning we ultimately give to our joys and agonies, must necessarily be a gesture of faith Whether we consider the whole a product of impersonal cosmic forces, a malevolent deity, or a benevolent god, depends not on the evidence, but on what we choose, deliberately and consciously, to conclude from that evidence To our minds, this fork in our mental road is very much the point It is, in fact, inescapable In other words, the Givens remind us that joy, faith and hope really are in the eye of the beholder They do so by pointing to biblical figures like Adam and Eve, and the apparent quandary they experienced while in the Garden of Eden Partaking of the fruit meant introducing pain, hurt, grief and despair into the world, but it also brought about joy, happiness, love and charity In short, life becomes a quest to put off the natural man and experience for ourselves and through our own choices the joy that is available to all.Chapter 4 None of Them Is Lost is, in my opinion, the most important chapter of this work In this chapter, the Givens challenge many of the erroneous cultural beliefs that Mormons have with regards to salvation Too often members of the Mormon faith and Christians in general make the incorrect assumption that salvation will only be attained by a select few and that heaven will be a relatively underpopulated place while hell will be full to the brim This is nonsense As the Givens point out God is personally invested in shepherding His children through the process of mortality and beyond His desires are set upon the whole human family, not upon a select few He is not predisposed to just the fast learners, the naturally inclined, or the morally gifted The project of human advancement that God designed offers a hope to the entire human race It is universal in its appeal and reach alike This, however, has not been the traditional view And We are not in some contest to rack up points We will not someday wait with bated breath to see what prize or pain is meted out by a great dispenser of trophies We cannot so trivialize life that we make of it a coliseum where we wage moral combat like spiritual gladiators, for a presiding Authority on high to save or damn according to our performance Where would be the purpose in all that He might take the measure of our souls at any moment and deal with us accordingly, saving Himself, not to mention us, a great deal of trouble How much meaningful is a life designed for spiritual formation, rather than spiritual elevation In other words, heaven isn t a prize to be won but a state of being to be attained The value of this concept is infinitely important for Mormons and the world as a whole God wants to save everyone, not just a few As a result, Mormonism is NOT a small tent faith of exclusivity but is a big tent UNIVERSALIST religion As Joseph Smith himself stated, God will fetter out every individual soul In their 5th and final section Participants in the Divine Nature , the Givens essentially sum it all up and illustrate the Mormon belief that God wants the best for all of his children As a result, we can, through our own merits and God s grace, achieve a state of full happiness and joy, surrounded by those we love most In short, the Givens suggest that heaven will be, for those who choose it, a continuation of all the special relationships we experience here on Earth, except that the joy can be infinite Though our own vulnerability, we too can become joint heirs with Christ.In summation, The God Who Weeps is a welcomed and invaluable response to those who believe that Mormonism has nothing to offer them It presents a theology that is fully developed, complex and worthy of scholarly inquiry and soul searching meditation The authors of this work demonstrate an exceptional ability to sift through centuries of material to find the perfectly pitched quotations and evidence needed to prove their argument The depth and breadth of their knowledge of world literature, theology, philosophy, art and history is astounding, and serves to support their thesis that Mormonism is a deeply rich and fulfilling religion with a great deal to offer the world All current and former Mormons would do well to realize that trivializing the faith, or reducing the argument to the smallest possible denominator, does little to help increase our understanding There is nothing to be gained from picking fun at the low lying fruit of Mormonism As Terryl Givens states Mormons have largely left others to frame the theological discussion In opting to emphasize Mormon culture over Mormon theology, Mormons have too often left the media and ministers free to select most esoteric and idiosyncratic for ridicule So jibes about Kolob and magic underwear usurp serious engagement, much as public knowledge about the Amish is confined to a two dimensional caricature involving a horse and buggy But members of a faith community should recognize themselves in any fair depiction And it is the fundamentals of Mormonism that should ground any debate worth having about Mormon beliefs or Mormon membership in the Christian community.And for the Givens these fundamentals are 1 God s strength is found in his vulnerability His Heart is set upon us.2 We are eternal in nature and were in the beginning with God.3 We can, through our own choices and God s eternal grace, have eternal joy.4 Salvation is universal and open to all who want it Mormonism is Universalist in nature.5 We can be participants and joint heirs in the divine nature.In a mere 160 pages, The God Who Weeps does what no other book has been able to present to the world a concise yet complex narrative of why Mormonism matters My advise to all who read this is simple if you love being a Mormon and have never questioned your faith, read this book It will give you a better understanding of those who do If you are a Mormon and have doubts or have already left the faith, read this book It may give you a better understanding perspective If you are not a Mormon and want to know what the faith is all about, read this book It will give you a better understanding of why Mormonism is a unique and valuable faith that is worthy of than both its members and critics have given it.

  9. says:

    Can t say enough good things about this book It was eloquent, thought provoking, prejudice challenging, profound, contemplative, humorous, intellectual yet accessible, expansive, and familiar all at once.The back story on the book is almost as interesting as the premise of the book itself According to some interviews I listened to with the authors, Terryl Givens was speaking at an academic conference on religion in America and had said something about how it was a shame that the American scholarly discussion about religion was happy to have Mormons sing and dance for them or be their quarterbacks and pop stars, but not so keen to include them in the religious discourse He lamented this because he felt that Mormonism has plenty of worthwhile contributions to make to the scholarly and intellectual conversation, even apart from its religious context Someone at the conference asked him what he would say i.e., about Mormonism if he were given the chance to contribute to such a conversation The five chapters of this book were his answer Somehow, word of this exchange made its way back to Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book, and she reached out to Givens to discuss actually writing that book.The five chapters of the book discuss five fundamental propositions that Mormonism offers the world, but presents each one in such a way that many Mormons might not even recognize them, as the authors support them using citations from scholars, poets, theologians, and philosophers from a wide variety of backgrounds and faith traditions What they accomplish in doing so is to show that the truths that many Mormons assume are unique to our faith tradition actually have a much older, richer, and broader history of thought, and that Joseph Smith s accomplishment in the Restoration was of a synthesizing of disparate truths THOUGHT to have been long lost, but which in reality had only been marginalized over the centuries by much powerful voices and forces.I alternated between the Kindle edition and the audio edition of this book The audio is read by Fiona Givens, who has a beautiful speaking voice, a delightful accent including her attempt to narrate Huck Finn using a decidedly non British accent , and a very comfortable pace My one complaint is that the recording studio did not seem to have made good use of pop filters during the recording sessions as there are distracting noises throughout, and they did not edit for noises like page turns which can be avoided entirely nowadays by using an e reader Regardless, these are minor nit picks, and did not distract from the quality of the text nor of my enjoyment of it.

  10. says:

    A much needed book for Mormons today It will be especially vindicating and validating for some while being paradigm shattering for others The Givenses present a reasonable and resonant portrayal of Mormonism and how it makes sense of life They defend and expound upon a particular Mormon worldview that I find the most strikingly beautiful and authentic, polishing away the falsehoods or misrepresentations that have attached themselves to Mormonism through Mormon culture or church leaders in less than inspired moments.The Givenses elaborate on 5 essential Truths of Mormonism At the heart of it is a vulnerable and loving God who weeps Sin and eternal progression can only be understood in terms of relationships Something is sinful because it separates us from God, or divides us from one another It isn t some arbitrary set of rules or rituals We can become like God because we are of the same divine nature Mormonism espouses an eventual universalism Living in a state of Heavenly being will always be open to us God is always waiting to welcome us into a celestial existence as soon as we have sufficiently conformed our lives to celestial laws No man or woman will be forced to Heaven A heavenly existence is for those who want to and are capable of living such an existence Sin existed before our mortal life, challenges us now, and will exist in the next stage of our progression Repentance and growth will be with us after this life And God will hold his arms open until we are ready to live a life worthy of Heaven We can all make it, eventually, if we that is what we want While I think this notion of eventual universalism will be the most challenging for hyper orthodox Mormons, I find it to be the most richly satisfying For a book sold at Deseret Book, this is unusually intelligent and academic The authors quote endlessly from the Western Canon providing additional witnesses to Truths found in Mormonism Although they explain authentic Mormonism, the Givenses use quotes from the World s great writers, thinkers, poets, etc to give support The God Who Weeps is written in a way to be accessible to a very wide audience, but should strike at the heart of Mormons It should be read by every Mormon who thinks he or she understands the Plan of Salvation It should especially be read by any who struggle for an intelligent and palpable Mormonism.

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