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The God Who Weeps.


Ron Beron

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I recently bought Terryl and Fiona Given's book, "The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life" and would like to wholeheartedly recommend it. It is perhaps one of the best books I have read that had attempted to make sense of a God centered existence a greed centered world. From the publisher..."Anyone desiring to understand more about Mormon Christianity could find no better guides than Terryl and Fiona Givens. Enriched with luminous insights from Western literature and philosophy. A lovely book! Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Reading this book is like experiencing Mormonism in high definition. By masterfully weaving together insights from the best books scripture and literature, theology and philosophy Terryl and Fiona Givens bring new depth to the fundamentals of their faith. Whether you know a lot or a little about Latter-day Saint doctrine, this book will both educate and inspire you. David E. Campbell, author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us What if God were everything we are, only perfectly so? And what if those perfections included our vulnerability, our suffering, and our joy? In the Givens masterful hands, the Mormon view of God comes alive in fresh and challenging ways. Mainstream Christians have much to learn from Mormonism, and this book is the place to start. Stephen H. Webb, author of Jesus Christ, Eternal God The God Who Weeps is unlike any book you ve read. The authors, Terryl and Fiona Givens, share five fundamental truths about the universe that their Mormon faith has taught them. Woven together into a coherent tapestry, we find these fundamental truths a compelling, inspiring, and reasonable picture suggesting who presides over this universe, where we came from, why we are here, and what might await us."

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm listening to John Dehlin's interview with them right now on a podcast at Mormonstories.org. Terryl speaks about the pre existence for a bit and says some interesting things. He mentions a gentlemen named Edward Beecher who was much like JS, IMHO, and received a revelation about the pre existence and then wrote a 400 page paper about it. But once it was published he was called a heretic. Here is a great speech where Terryl speaks a bit about Beecher. http://newsroom.byuh.edu/node/2100

A quote taken from this speech is below.

"Givens then contrasted the abundance of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have today with the pre-restoration darkness that Edward Beecher fumbled with. Beecher, a contemporary of Joseph Smith, sought to restore his sister's faith and in doing so found his own after much struggle. In a time that was not ready for his "paradigm-shattering epiphany about our pre-mortal existence," Beecher felt he found faith after "groping in some vast cathedral, in the gloom of midnight..." He kept this vision of premortal existence to himself for nearly fifty years, and when he finally shared it, he was dismissed as a heretic. "

And this quote from a Fair conference he spoke at....

"Givens told the memorable story about Edward Beecher (brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe) who was part of a famous preacher family. Edward knew that proclaiming a preexistence of the soul would be career suicide, but after a time he could resist no longer and published a 400 page manuscript that exposed his belief in the pre-mortal existence of our spirits. As you might have noticed, his beliefs never caught on in the wider Christian community.

When asked why the doctrine of preexistence didn't seem to gain any traction throughout the ages, Givens pointed out that the doctrine often appeared alongside heresies that the church wanted to stomp out. So, for example, the Gnostics believed in the preexistence, and so the baby got thrown out with the bathwater, in a sense, and preexistence was jettisoned along with the Gnostic heresies. Preexistence also showed up alongside reincarnation which the early church also emphatically denied.

Givens is publishing a book on this subject and it should be a worthy read when it comes out."

And this is a quote taken from Charles Harrell's book "This is My Doctrine, The Development of Mormon Theology"

"The principal doctrines defining Mormonism today often bear little resemblance to those it started out with in the early 1830s. This book shows that these doctrines did not originate in a vacuum but were rather prompted and informed by the religious culture from which Mormonism arose. Early Mormons, like their early Christian and even earlier Israelite predecessors, brought with them their own varied culturally conditioned theological presuppositions (a process of convergence) and only later acquired a more distinctive theological outlook (a process of differentiation)."

I wonder if Joseph Smith picked up the pre existence theology from the religious culture of his time. Or did Edward Beecher pick up on it from the LDS theology and really not by revelation, since he was born 12 yrs. after Joseph Smith?

Edited by Tacenda
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I wonder if Joseph Smith picked up the pre existence theology from the religious culture of his time. Or did Edward Beecher pick up on it from the LDS theology and really not by revelation, since he was born 12 yrs. after Joseph Smith?

I am not sure it is an either or situation. They might not have even known about each other much in terms of what the other believed. From what you put above, it appears that there have been many throughout history that believed in a pre existence. I think there is a good chance that Edward Beecher and Joseph Smith both received the information from God.

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I am not sure it is an either or situation. They might not have even known about each other much in terms of what the other believed. From what you put above, it appears that there have been many throughout history that believed in a pre existence. I think there is a good chance that Edward Beecher and Joseph Smith both received the information from God.

Givens has a book about pre-mortal existence.

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Givens has a book about pre-mortal existence.

I think it is called, "When Souls Had Wings". He gave a short presentation of it at a past FAIR Conference and I could barely wait to get it. I think that Bro. Givens is quickly becoming an excellent apologist and philosopher for the church.
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