Terryl and Fiona Givens

“Life is assumed to be about the fundamental, clear-cut choice between good and evil. Mormonism sees no such simple dichotomy in the primeval options. Yes, obedience and safety and security in God’s presence are presented as one of the choices, But Mormonism is more sympathetic to Eve’s perception of the alternative; the beauty of the fruit, its goodness as food, its desirability ‘to make one wise.’ Not coincidentally, ancient philosophers like Plato considered the triad of ideas – Beauty, Goodness, Truth – to be the highest manifestation of divine virtue. In the Mormon narrative, therefore, the circumstances that define the reality of the human predicament are not a blatant choice between Good and Evil but a wrenching decision to be made between competing sets of Good. The philosopher Hegel believed that this scenario, replicated in myriad artistic narratives, expressed the inescapably tragic nature of the universe. There are very few simple choices. No blueprint gives us easy answers. Life’s most wrenching choices are not between right and wrong but between competing demands on our time, our resources, our love and loyalty.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The Crucible of Doubt

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“To be open to truth, we must invest in the effort to free ourselves from our own conditioning and expectations. This means we have to pursue any earnest investigation by asking what the philosopher Hans Georg Ger calls the ‘genuine question. And that is a question that involves openness and risk. As he explains, ‘our own prejudice is properly brought into play by being put at risk.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The Crucible of Doubt

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“That is why true religion is inseparable from suffering. It tells us the truth about our condition without flinching, offers no cheap solutions, and consoles none of the costly price.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens

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“Like children, we adults also want our most pressing questions answered, not multiplied. So it is not surprising that we look to religion, the great comforter, to ‘resolve us of all ambiguities,’ in the words of Dr. Faustus. But perhaps providing conclusive answers to all of our questions is not the point of true religion.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The Crucible of Doubt

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“The experience of sin is not an unalterable state we inhabit; it is a felt disharmony. The unhappiness of sin is nothing more than our spirit rebelling against a condition alien to its true nature. We have fallen out of alignment with God. The separation from God is not punishment inflicted by God, but the consequence of an existential reality of our own making.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The God Who Weeps

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“The pain associated with sin is the natural consequence of our choices; it is not God’s retribution upon the wicked.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The God Who Weeps

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“God’s work is therefore first and foremost educative and constructive, not reparative. Life is pain, but it is not punishment.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The God Who Weeps

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“God would not have commanded us to forgive seventy times seven if he were not prepared to extend the same mathematical generosity.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The God Who Weeps

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“No man woman can remain in this church on borrowed light. However, in 1945, a Church magazine urged upon its readers the exact opposite, that ‘When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.’ Many are familiar with that expression; fewer are aware that when President George Albert Smith learned of it, he immediately and indignantly repudiated the statement. ‘Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking,’ he wrote, ‘is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens

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“What we choose to embrace, to be responsive to, is the purest reflection of who we are and what we love.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The God Who Weeps

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