The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life

by Terryl L. Givens, Fiona Givens

The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life
  • Cover 2
  • Godweeps

Product Rating

HardcoverSKU 5083070

$19.99

Available Book Formats and Music Formats

Qty

Product Description

"The Givenses are never confrontational or aggressive in their presentation of Mormonism’s contribution to the discussion nor do they ever whip out a trump card of why the Mormon perspective is to be crowned king. The result is a very readable, reasonable and thought-provoking experience."
—Bryan Buchanan - Association for Mormon Letters

"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.

Praise for The God Who Weeps

“I read this fine book in order better to understand what Mormons believe about divine compassion, and it certainly gave me that. But more important: I received in reading it some deeply personal lessons about the tears of God.”

—Richard J. Mouw, Ph.D., President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Writing from the perspective of Mormon faith, Terryl and Fiona Givens have produced a work of theological reflection that has much to offer not only to Latter-day Saints, but to intellectually and morally serious men and women of every religious persuasion who ponder the mystery of a God who, though profoundly transcendent, reveals Himself to us, offers us His friendship, and even shares our joys and sorrows. To be sure, readers who are not Latter-day Saints will learn from The God Who Weeps a great deal about what Mormons believe (including certain distinctively Mormon doctrines) and why they believe it. But that is only part of the value of the book. For even readers who do not share certain fundamental tenets of the LDS faith, but who believe in a personal, omnipotent, and omniscient God, will benefit from the Givens’ thoughtful reflections on how such a God enters into the lives of imperfect creatures like ourselves, lighting our paths, lifting us up when we fall, and summoning us to share in His divine life.”

—Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, author of The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals

“Terryl Givens, one of current Mormonism’s most celebrated thinkers, with Fiona Givens here provides a fresh perspective on a number of distinctively LDS teachings.The God Who Weeps is a stirring and sensitive look into a personal God whose passions include an infinite capacity to feel after and respond eagerly to the pains and pleadings of His children; a life before this life for both Deity and humanity; a refusal to adopt the classical Christian view of original sin and the dismal and discouraging picture of the human race it paints; and, an optimistic glimpse into a divine plan that seeks to save all of those who wish to be saved. This important work provides a substantive optimism, a welcome and needed portrayal of humanity’s heavenly possibilities.”

—Robert L. Millet, Professor of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, author of Grace Works

“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, Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, Author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

“Anyone desiring to understand more about Mormon Christianity could find no better guides than Terryl and Fiona Givens. Their heartfelt testimony to what their faith tradition has taught them about life is enriched with luminous insights from Western literature and philosophy. A lovely book!”

—Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard and former US Ambassador to the Vatican, author of The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt

The God Who Weeps is an elegant meditation on the basic tenets of the Mormon faith. The Givenses write with precision and poetry. Their literary and religious references are unusually rich and varied: they include the classic texts of the Bible, early Christian thinkers, Enlightenment philosophers, Romantic poets, German theologians, Russian and American novelists—and many, many more. The prose is at times urgent and even soaring.

“Mormons will enjoy this succinct, sophisticated and searching précis of their core beliefs. Non-Mormons will be led into the heart of a religion that was born on American soil, and whose history is one of the great neglected narratives of our national life.”

—Helen Whitney, producer of

The Mormons and Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero

“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, professor of Religion and Philosophy, Wabash College, author of Jesus Christ, Eternal God

“This is not the kind of book Latter-day Saints ordinarily write. It begins at a deep point of human experience where all is uncertain. It asks: how do you move from an elemental condition of ignorance and yearning to belief and faith? The Givenses tell us not only where they end up but how they got there and along the way confront the most baffling moral and intellectual conundrums of human existence.”

—Richard Bushman, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History, Emeritus, Columbia University, author of Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling

Reviews

Average rating

based upon 12 reviews
The Plan of Salvation explained with beauty and depth
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I was sad to read the reviews of those who didn't get much out of this book. It was one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of Heavenly Father's relationship to his spirit children. I do not have a masters or doctorate degree, but I am a deep thinker when it comes to the gospel so I appreciate profound insight, particularly when it is sound and not meant to be sensationalized. I can understand why some feel the book is written for intellectuals. Some of the language takes repetition to comprehend. It is reminiscent of the writing and speaking style of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, whose beautiful, metaphorical expressions often required some dissecting. So, in fairness to some of the other reviewers, it isn't what I would call an easy read and it wouldn't be the best choice for someone looking for a quick, cover-to-cover-in-a-day kind of book. It took some work to get through. But I wouldn't describe it as being only for the highly educated, either. There is so much good material in this book, and the language is exquisite. I came away feeling greatly enlightened, having a much clearer vision of the Plan of Happiness. I couldn't wait to recommend it to my friends and family. In my opinion, well worth the time.

Hands down... One of the greatest books Deseret Book has published!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This book has helped open my heart to new depths, understanding and comprehending the indescribable love of God. This book has been praised by some of the greatest scholars of Mormonism, rightfully so. Beautifully written, we're given insight from the ages.. masters of scholarship and philosophy are brought into a single view... "God’s pain is as infinite as His love. He weeps because He feels compassion... it is not their wickedness, but their “misery,” not their disobedience, but their “suffering,” that elicits the God of Heaven’s tears. Not until Gethsemane and Golgotha does the scriptural record reveal so unflinchingly the costly investment of God’s love in His people, the price at which He placed His heart upon them. There could be nothing in this universe, or in any possible universe, more perfectly good, absolutely beautiful, worthy of adoration, and deserving of emulation, than this God of love and kindness and vulnerability... 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."

fiona has a wonderful voice
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

What wonderful insights into the nature of god. I would highly recommend this to anyone!

Difficult book to read and understand
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I bought this book with great hope that it would be the spiritual experience I anticipated. Frankly, I could not read past chapter two. I found the book requires a PHD/or Masters Degree to interpret what the author is saying through the language used. It is not written for the person who enjoys a read that is easily understood.

Beautiful, logical and increased my understanding of God's perfect love.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Wow! Bought 12 of them as small Christmas presents... read it 3x in 2 weeks.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND, must read.

A Great Disappointment!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I purchased this book at Christmas for my wife. She read it from cover to cover, but repeatedly kept telling me that she wasn't enjoying it. I had a hard time believing her because of the great reviews. I recently picked up the book in order to discover for myself whether her assessment was accurate or not. I read the Introduction and then Chapter One. I found the content to be flowery nothingness and a great disappointment. I have an extensive church library and cannot remember ever being so spiritually disappointed in a books content that I have decided it would be in my best interest of time to close it and not pick it up again. Sadly, this has been the case!

Profoundly inspiring
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Geoff's review echoes my sentiments. For me, there were many "I never thought of it that way" moments with perspectives and ideas that were profoundly inspiring. “The God Who Weeps” is beautifully written and enriched by many literary and philosophical references that otherwise would be unknown to the average reader but are perfect complements to each subject or conversation. It is both logical and emotional. For those whose reason suppresses their faith, I can’t help but think this book would gently persuade them to rethink, redefine and return to who they really are. I loved this book.

An eloquent statement of LDS beliefs about God's relationship to us.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This is truely an eloquent discussion of LDS beliefs, a very thoughtful and perceptive analysis of our relationship with the Divine....a loving God who has our best interests at heart.
This is beautifully written with numerous references to philosophers and poets to help give added depth to the arguments and discussions. The book seems to gain more insight and depth as it goes on with the last chapters rich and fertile ground for thought and insight. A few have commented about the 'intellectual' nature of the book but I disagree, the authors adequately explain their inclusions which dispels, for me, any need to feel distant. The authors need congratulations!

Written by intellectuals for intellectuals
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Written by intellectuals for intellectuals. I collected a few good gems from the book, but most of it was above me. I read a lot, but this book really challenged my comprehension. Great title, that's why I bought the book.

Brilliant,overpowering
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25


I had only read the Excerpt on this book.It truly touched my heart.Sometimes as humans we forget who we are,and where we came from.
To understand that indeed God weeps at our sorrows,and that he truly understands how we feel,is not to humanise him,but makes him more accesible to us.
To say as the scriptures attest,"for now we see through a glass darkly" brings home to me how we can overcome that darkness as we walk into the light of his love.
I will be purchasing this book. The language is breathtaking and glorious,like precious pearls,made more lovely as we read it.Thank you.

About the Authors

Terryl L. Givens

TERYL GIVENS holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond and the author of several books. His writing has been praised by the New York Times as “provocative reading” and includes, most recently, When Souls Had Wings, a history of the idea of premortal life in Western thought; a biography (with Matthew Grow) of Parley Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (winner of the 2012 Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association); and Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought.

View more products by Terryl L. Givens


Fiona Givens

FIONA GIVENS is a retired modern language teacher with undergraduate degrees in French and German and a graduate degree in European History. She is now an independent scholar who has published in several journals and reviews in Mormon studies, including Journal of Mormon History, Exponent II, and LDS Living. Along with Terryl, she is the author of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. Terryl and Fiona are the grandparents of five—fonts of delight; and the parents of six—sources of intellectual challenge and inspiration.

View more products by Fiona Givens