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Terryl Givens Podcasts

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31 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Terryl Givens. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Terryl Givens, often where they are interviewed.

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31 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Terryl Givens. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Terryl Givens, often where they are interviewed.

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Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

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51. The Real Story of the Priesthood-Temple Ban - Terryl Givens with Paul Reeve

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In this episode, Terryl Givens and Paul Reeve explore the history of the Church’s priesthood-temple ban that concluded in 1978.

Paul is the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies  at the University of Utah. His award-winning book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, is considered by many the best book written to date on the subject.

Dr. Reeve has also written a fantastic essay that addresses how to make sense of our history of denying priesthood and temple blessings to our Black brothers and sisters. It’s a fascinating read—and you really shouldn’t miss it. You can view it on our website here:

https://faithmatters.org/making-sense-of-the-churchs-history-on-race/

In this episode, Paul and Terryl go both wide and deep on the priesthood-temple ban. Among other historical details, they discuss how the church was broadly criticized as being too inclusive in its early years—not white enough. This became a factor in Brigham Young’s 1852 decision to ban Black people  from the priesthood and temple. 

They also explore some of the explanations that developed in the church to explain the ban during its 126 year duration—and how each of these explanations have since been rejected and disavowed by the church.

We think this is an incredibly important and insightful episode. We suspect you’ll enjoy it.

Jul 01 2020 · 52mins
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41. The King's Good Servant, but God's First - Terryl Givens with Thomas Griffith

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In this episode, Terryl sits down with his good friend, Judge Thomas Griffith. Thomas has had a fascinating career in the highest levels of power in Washington, D.C., but politics takes a back seat as Terryl and Tom explore what really matters most. Their conversation covers a lot of interesting ground, and we hope you enjoy it.

01:01 - Tom Griffith’s Career and Conversion
11:34 - How History is Invaded By God
22:43 - How Tom’s Religious Background Informs His Faith
26:03 - What Deficiencies May Exist in Our Spiritual Foundations
34:15 - Christ as Our Healer
44:54 - A Mormon Approach to Politics

Mar 15 2020 · 1hr

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Terryl Givens Part One: My Personal Story of Continually Restructured Testimony

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In a rare, personal interview about his childhood and teenage years, Terryl Givens recounts how his family encountered the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and what originally attracted him to the faith when he was a teenager. He also shares a personal account of how writing By the Hand of Mormon both challenged and sustained his faith.

Further reading in Faith Is Not Blind:

“There are some natural tensions between faith and reason, which offer an instructive variation on the theme of tensions between early simplicity and complexity. These experiences reinforced my inclination to seek what I would simply call a balanced approach. I didn’t need to make a permanent choice between my heart and my head.”

(Faith Is Not Blind, Chapter 6, “The Head and Heart Paradox,” p. 46)

FULL TEXT:

Faith Is Not Blind: Welcome to the Faith Is Not Blind Podcast. I'm Eric d’Evegnée and I'm here today with Professor Terryl Givens. Welcome, Terryl.

Terryl: Good to be here.

Faith Is Not Blind: Would you mind giving us a little bit of introduction to yourself?

Terryl: Well, my name is Terryl Givens. I am presently employed as a senior researcher at the Neal A Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, having very recently retired from 30 years of teaching at University of Richmond in Virginia. My background is in languages and literatures and intellectual history. I have a Masters Degree from Cornell and a Doctorate in Comparative Literature from Chapel Hill. I had my first job at the University of Richmond and I taught there for 20 years. 

I was born in New York state, but we moved to Arizona when I was very young. My father and mother joined the church when I was eight or nine and so I'm never sure if that qualifies me to be a convert or  if that means I'm a lifelong member. But we joined the church. At that point it didn't take initially. We attended church for a few years and then just kind of faded out of activity. I wasn't quite sure why. I’m still not sure of the  reasons but for much of my childhood we didn't really have any connection to the church. When I was 16 my father had a kind of Lehi experience of sorts. He suddenly had the desire--the impression--to move his family back East. I still remember as a sixteen-year-old rather unhappy youth, pulling up to a campground in Central Virginia together with a family large in a family caravan and having the attendant ask my father, “How long are you going to be staying in our campground?”  And my father said, “Until I find work.” So like Nephi I lived in a tent. That was actually my home address for a while while my father looks for work. And being kind of isolated and cut off from everything and everyone my parents looked up the local church. So as  a 16-year-old boy my family reconnected with the church. And that was really when I began to take seriously my religious commitment.

Faith Is Not Blind: So like Lehi, your dad feels like he needs to move back East and he's living there in the campground trying to find work. So did you feel like as his son, you had a similar experience to Nephi where part of your conversion to the gospel also included trying to understand what your what your dad was seeing or what he is going through?

Terryl: I think so. I think I was ready at that moment in my life--right around 16 or 17--those are formative years. Years thinking about your future in college and those kinds of things. And I was struck by the fact that my father and his commitment turned so profound so quickly. It was largely a function of him really delving into Latter-day Saint Doctrine and Theology and being attracted to what he saw as its rational appeal. And so I immediately began to collect books and built my own library and found very quickly a life-long commitment. 

Faith Is Not Blind: What books were you reading?

Terryl: Well, it would probably seem a little dated now to most people. I remember LeGrand Richards’ Marvelous Work and a Wonder affected me profoundly. That was also the time that I read the Book of Mormon for the first time. I had a wonderful Seminary teacher who was very influential and a Stake Patriarch who I still revere his memory. I think it was pretty much the usual kind of thing coming from Deseret Book and Bookcraft-- Paul H. Dunn books and the like.

Faith Is Not Blind: Then what about your conversion itself? Did that conversion come through reading the Book of Mormon or was it in conjunction with the other books or a combination of all of them?

Terryl: I think it was very much a combination. I think I was very much entranced by the fullness of the scope and the complexity of what Latter-day Saints call the Plan of Salvation--The Plan of Happiness. I just found it very intellectually appealing as a set of propositions that addressed all the great questions.

Faith Is Not Blind: One thing we talk about in these podcasts is when people experience a conversion, there’s usually one or many experiences that they have where that conversion gets challenged. So for you what was a moment in your life when your conversion got challenged?

Terryl: It wasn’t until many years later as an adult and father I had a near-death experience near drowning, which I won't delve into in this context. But it was an experience that left me very unsettled and feeling quite bereft. Until then there had been a number of certainties with which I lived. And I found myself at a place in my life where I was having to ask for the very first time what I think is a question that all of us need to ask: “Is there anything that I really know with absolute certainty?” Very few of us can say I know you beyond any doubt that God lives and that  Joseph was a prophet. Some can. To some is given that gift. And I found my surprise, but also to my comfort, that it turns out that there are some things that I knew at the deepest levels of my being. I knew that the truth and fidelity and honor are good. And that cruelty and kindness and wickedness and disloyalty are bad. And for me, starting with that certitude that our moral sensibility transcends evolutionary inheritance or socialization was for me an indication that there is something like a veil that is permeable, that we do have access to deep truths by which to govern and live our lives. And so I began I guess what I would refer to as a systematic reconstituting of my faith and testimony at that point in my life that has continued to the present time.

Faith Is Not Blind: And how did that help you with your faith from that point on?

Terryl:  Well, I think I think I've become more acutely aware of the grounds of belief. And I think I have become sensitive to a greater variety of sources from which faith derives.I'll give you a few examples.  I've been very deeply impressed in my life by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. And one of his poems was written when he went to his own dark night of the soul--one of a series of beautiful sonnets. And one of them ends “Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not his to the Father through the features of men’s faces.” And I have the sense--can’t logically defend it--but it's just a deeply embedded sense I have that there has to be a source from which ultimate beauty and ultimate goodness come. And that I can see and sense that being transmitted or being conveyed through the beautiful acts and countenances and features of those around me who have clearly been God-touched. And so that's one example of a source of testimony that I don't think I would have thought about as a sixteen-year-old new convert. But it strikes me now as a very profound catalyst for fortification of our faith.

Faith Is Not Blind: Yes. That experience of beauty and that it has to come from somewhere. Another question I have, thinking about your background and some of the things that you've written--Viper on the Hearth or By the Hand of Mormon and intellectual history--have you encountered challenges to your testimony that have come from things you've read or ideas that you’ve encountered?

Terryl: Yes. Absolutely. For example, when I was writing By the Hand of Mormon, which was really a turning point in my career. I opened the Church News one day and saw that the Church had just published the 100 millionth copy of the Book of Mormon. And I wondered how that compares to other best sellers. It turns out, as I learned very quickly,  that that makes the best selling book in American history produced by an American. So I secured a contract from Oxford to write that book. The question then became, “How do you write as an academic for an academic audience a book about sacred scripture?” You have to effectively bracket questions of faith and supernatural origins. And so I wanted to write what we call in literature “ a reception history.”  How has the book been received, treated, packaged, understood? And I thought to do this I wanted to to read every single critical attack leveled against the Book of Mormon, which I knew could be seen as flirting with danger. The premise behind my project was if the Book of Mormon can't sustain every single attack that has been launched against it then it doesn't deserve our faith and commitment. And so I took that challenge very seriously. Beginning with 1829 and proceeding to the present, I tried to cover this vast corpus of criticism--some of it superficial and silly, but some of it very profound and vexing. And so I found a lot of hills and valleys to my faith as I waded through that project. But in the end I came up with a greater conviction and commitment to the Book of Mormon than I started with.

Faith Is Not Blind: Can you think of an example of something in particular you found that was vexing? 

Terryl: Well of course there have been many candidates that have been proffered as having provided influence. Some of the first ones were the Spaulding manuscript, the view of Hebrew, later a certain account of the War of 1812.  And taking some phrasings in isolation you do see what seemed to be striking congruences at times or borrowings. But I fairly soon came to a place where I believe and continue to believe to this day that Joseph received impressions--he received ideas, glimpses, pictures, images, concepts. But that the Lord had to work through the  cultural and intellectual vocabulary that was available to Joseph Smith. And so the particular words and meanings aren't the thing on which we should hang our faith.  

Faith Is Not Blind: We talk about God having to work with our agency, but we often don't equate agency and imagination together. God has to work with the imagination or even simply just the cultural milieu. 

Terryl: Yes. And I think this is a source of misunderstanding on the part of members of the church, especially those whose faith is challenged by the question of will how could you change revelations. How could there be revisions?  And yet I think we’ve missed the point clearly as evidenced by when the church published the Joseph Smith Papers and especially when they publish the facsimile version of the Doctrine and Covenants. What I love is the fact that it's Illustrated in seven different colors so you can actually see the color coded contributions of the series of editors and collaborators that Joseph invited into participation in the project. So here’s a Prophet saying, “I declare these to be revelations given to me by the Spirit and yet clearly I can improve upon the wording and the formulations of the phrases. So I invite these men to help me come closer to what I think was that essential truth toward which God was trying to move my spirit and my mind.”  That seems to me a very humble confession and a very open and public confession on the part of Joseph Smith that revelation is seldom perfect and that even as a prophet he is an imperfect, flawed mediator between God's word and his verbal expression. So of course it shouldn’t confuse us or disappoint us if we find that even the Book of Mormon is not a literal transcript of God speaking to him through some kind of means.

Faith Is Not Blind: I mean, how are you supposed to talk about the sublime? How do you get that onto a page? How do you communicate that difficult process? It’s not just some revelation that’s just dropped into your head and it’s perfect. I’ve often thought about that with the Kirtland Temple and the vision at the Kirtland Temple where it’s almost like a blueprint where they get the revelation where they see every beam. Maybe there are some revelations like that, but it seems like most revelations aren’t quite that detailed and things need to be worked out and thought through. 

Terryl: I think the notion of God dictating to Joseph with a pen in hand saying, “Here are the words” is in almost all cases a little over-simplistic. 

Faith Is Not Blind: Thinking about your own conversion and some of those challenges and issues that have been raised, what are two or three things that you would say to others that help you remain faithful and that could help them remain faithful?

Terryl: It was just this past week I was reading in 2 Nephi and I came to Lehi’s sermon to his children and he's talking about the Atonement and he's talking about the Fall and he said something which in all my readings I had missed. It talked about Adam and Eve’s decision to eat of the fruit of the tree and he said if  they had not eaten of the fruit of the tree “all things would have remained in that state in which they were when they were created.” And I was suddenly struck by that. Think about what he's saying that there--that the  worst of all possible fates and conditions would be to remain in the state in which God has created us. To my mind one of the most thrilling, exciting things about Mormonism is the fact that it’s this dynamic, vital, growing, organic thing and that God expects us to be engaged in this project of continual self transformation and renewal. And so I hope that in 10 years the testimony and faith and understanding I have today seems naive and simple by contrast. So I don't know where people get the idea that a testimony should be the same now and forever and that somehow there's some kind of act of desperation involved in trying to reconstruct our testimony to meet new evidence. No, we should always be reconstituting, reconstructing our testimony. I think one of the greatest errors of us as a people is this assumption--think about the presumption that we believe that we can become like God, which is just a foundational principle of Latter-day Saint thought--if we believe that, think about the sin in thinking that that distance between where we are now and where God is can be bridged by a couple of months of good home teaching and paying our tithing. The distance is so inconceivably immense. So to think that we can capture in language or human conceiving at any given moment the complexity in the fullness and the richness of what it means to believe In Christ and his Atonement in his gospel is just absurd and presumptuous. So of course we're just groping in the dark trying to get some kind of a handle. It reminds me of the of John Keats the poet shortly before he died knowing he was dying of tuberculosis, he writes this beautiful, pathetic letter to his brother George in which he laments his incapacity to penetrate the veil and he talks about these faint particles of light, as he calls them, that he detects and senses and tries to grasp hold of. And I think we all need more humility when it comes to what we really mean when we say we know the gospel is true. What we mean is that have glimmerings that our heart affirms--that we have faints grasps of some of the outlines of what it might mean to be God or to be human aspiring to be like God and to just be more humble about what our own limitations are at any moment and to grasp the truth and be open to change and transformation and challenges to our testimony that force us to reconceive in more interesting complex and sophisticated ways our faith.  

Faith Is Not Blind: One thing I think that's difficult is in order to produce the faith to do some of those things ministering or paying your tithing, I think people feel like they need more than just a glimmer. So what would you say to people that feel like they need more than a glimmering? Or maybe to increase that glimmer so they can be as faithful as they feel like they want to be?

Terryl: I guess we need to reorient ourselves. The thing is the Latter-day Saint tradition is rooted in such an array of wild historical claims--gold plates and angels and visitations. We get distracted and that becomes our focus. So we lose sight of what the real purpose of religion is, which is to invite us into this transformative relationship with God. And it's understandable. You know, the President of the Reorganized Church once said, “History as theology is perilous.” Well, of course it’s perilous. But it’s worth the risk. Because Christianity begins with a historical proposition--this man named Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived, and died and then he came to life again at this moment in history in a real-world. So you can't pretend that history isn't important. But that's not the point. People are thrown for a loop because the Book of Abraham wasn't translated in quite the way that they thought it was or Joseph used a different translation method with the Book of Mormon than they expected--those things are so irrelevant to what the point of religion is. We just need to take upon us that individual responsibility of centering our religion in our relationship to the Healer of the World and not to Joseph Smith or foundational historical moments.

Faith Is Not Blind: That reminds me of a quote from Vichtenstein where he talks about the Gospels and why God didn't just have four really fantastic historians write down the Gospels. He says they’re just four people and they're just trying to write the best history that they can and sometimes there are contradictions or omissions. And he says it’s that way so we don't confuse the setting with what’s actually taking place. So we don't get lost in the detail and miss the testimony of the Son of God, which is the most important thing.

Thank you. I appreciate it

Dec 16 2019 · 22mins
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Radio Free Mormon: 116: The Amazingly Subversive Terryl Givens

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In his most recent book, noted scholar Terryl Givens gives us a fistful of reasons to suspect he is a subversive influence on the LDS Church.  And that’s just in the first chapter!
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The post Radio Free Mormon: 116: The Amazingly Subversive Terryl Givens appeared first on Mormon Discussions Podcasts - Full Lineup.

Dec 08 2019 · 1hr 16mins
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Radio Free Mormon: 116: The Amazingly Subversive Terryl Givens

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In his most recent book, noted scholar Terryl Givens gives us a fistful of reasons to suspect he is a subversive influence on the LDS Church.  And that’s just in the first chapter!
Become a Premium Subscriber:

Monthy:  $3
Yearly:  $25$50$100$250

Support the podcast by purchasing from Amazon HERE.

The post Radio Free Mormon: 116: The Amazingly Subversive Terryl Givens appeared first on Radio Free Mormon.

Dec 08 2019 · 1hr 16mins
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31. Life on the Road to Emmaus - Terryl Givens with Rosalynde Welch

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Why would one be religious but not spiritual? What are some obstacles that stand in the way of faith? Terryl Givens and Rosalynde Welch have written and spoken on these questions, and each of them bring interesting perspectives to the discussion.

Conversations with Terryl Givens are special podcast and videocast episodes of the Faith Matters Podcast, hosted by Terryl Givens and created in collaboration with the Maxwell Institute of Religious Studies.

Rosalynde Frandsen Welch is an independent scholar in St. Louis, Missouri and a member of the Maxwell Institute’s advisory board. She is working on a book about Ether for the Institute’s Brief Theological Introductions series on the Book of Mormon.

Oct 16 2019 · 53mins
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MIConversations #10—Terryl Givens with Rosaynde Welch, “Life on the road to Emmaus”

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Maxwell Institute Conversations are special episodes of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, hosted by Terryl Givens and created in collaboration with Faith Matters Foundation. Audio and video available.

Is faith a choice? Does faith come naturally to some more than others? Terryl Givens and Rosalynde Welch have written and spoken on these questions, and each of them bring interesting perspectives to the discussion.

About the Guest

ROSALYNDE FRANDSEN WELCH is an independent scholar in St. Louis, Missouri and a member of the Maxwell Institute’s advisory board. She is working on a book about Ether for the Institute’s Brief Theological Introductions series on the Book of Mormon.

The post MIConversations #10—Terryl Givens with Rosaynde Welch, “Life on the road to Emmaus” appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

Oct 15 2019 · 52mins
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MIConversations #9—Terryl Givens with Samuel Brown, “Confessions of an ‘Odd Intellectual’”

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Maxwell Institute Conversations are special episodes of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, hosted by Terryl Givens and created in collaboration with Faith Matters Foundation. Audio and video available.

Samuel Brown deals in matters of life and death every day. He’s a doctor working in a Shock/Trauma ICU. In his spare time, he’s also a theologian and a historian of Latter-day Saint thought. In this interview with Terryl Givens, Brown talks in his own unique style about the ways of discipleship.

About the Guest

SAMUEL M. BROWN is a medical researcher, intensive care unit physician, and historian of religion and culture. He is author of First Principles and Ordinances, part of the Maxwell Institute’s Living Faith book series, and a number of other titles including In Heaven as it is On Earth and Through the Valley of Shadows: Living Wills, Intensive Care, and Making Medicine Human, both from Oxford University Press.

The post MIConversations #9—Terryl Givens with Samuel Brown, “Confessions of an ‘Odd Intellectual’” appeared first on Neal A. Maxwell Institute | BYU.

Jul 12 2019 · 55mins
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26. Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause - Terryl Givens with Neylan McBaine

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helping LDS women recognize and bring their gifts to the community. Neylan has founded or helped create the Mormon Women’s Project, Better Days 2020, and even the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. She has been instrumental in shaping today’s conversation about women in the church -- past, present and future.

Jun 22 2019 · 51mins
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22. The Spiritual Journey - Terryl Givens with Thomas McConkie

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Thomas Wirthlin McConkie was born into a prominent American Latter-day Saint family, but the faith didn't resonate with him as a teenager. He disconnected from the Church and began exploring the wider world's faith traditions. He followed a thread through eastern religion and philosophy, and was surprised when that thread guided him all the way back to the faith of his youth. As a specialist in meditation and adult psychological development, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie appreciates how connecting with his past opens a new vision of the future. 

Mar 26 2019 · 54mins
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