Today on the Talk Mormonism podcast I am joined by Terryl Givens, popular LDS scholar, and author. He is currently a Neal A. Maxwell Senior Research fellow at Brigham Young University, and author of several noteworthy books on Mormon history and theology. Terryl is known for books such as People of Paradox, By The Hand of Mormon, and the Pearl of Greatest Price. He has also coauthored several books with his wife Fiona, including The Christ who Heals, The Crucible of Doubt, and All Things New: Rethinking Sin, Salvation, and Everything in Between. Most recently, Terryl has authored an expansive biography of Eugene England, one of the most infamous characters in modern LDS history. The book is Stretching the Heavens: The Life of Eugene England and the Crisis of Modern Mormonism available now through the University of North Carolina Press.
An intellectual perhaps ahead of his time, England found himself in the crosshairs of LDS church authorities on several occasions for his theological speculations and political activism. Although somewhat controversial for the time, many of England’s positions have shown him to be a visionary who was simply ahead of the Mormon curve. He refuted the idea of a priesthood and temple ban on Black members of the church, critiqued institutional sexism, and struggled with Mormon narratives of prophetic infallibility.
Terryl Givens and I will spend some time reflecting on England’s life: his formative years as a missionary to Samoa, his activism at Stanford, formation of the Dialogue journal, and of course, his notorious conflict with Bruce R. McConkie. We’ll also talk about the social and religious shifts that culminated in what Terryl calls the "crisis of Mormon modernism."
You can order "Stretching the Heavens" at the following link: