Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune Fiona Givens and Terryl Givens pose for a portrait at Deseret Book Corporate Headquarters Thursday October 18, 2012. They wrote "The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life."

We are very excited to announce that Terryl and Fiona Givens, authors of numerous books on Mormon history and thought, will be here this Wednesday, July 22nd. They will discuss their two most recent books: The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith (published by Deseret Book) and Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity (published by Oxford University Press). They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail signed books or hold them here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

The Crucible of DoubtCrucible

Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what happens when a person has doubts? Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.”

This insightful book offers a careful, intelligent look at doubt—at some of its common sources, the challenges it presents, and the opportunities it may open up in a person’s quest for faith. Whether you struggle with your own doubts or mostly want to understand loved ones who question, you will appreciate this candid discussion.

“If anyone can talk down someone who is having a faith crisis—or provide the kind of theological foundation that might prevent one in the first place—it is Terryl and Fiona Givens. But this book is not just for doubters. Others who appreciate a thoughtful approach to Mormonism, molded in shared measure by prophets and poets, will benefit from this lovely book. There are no theological Twinkies here.” –Julie M. Smith, author of Search, Ponder and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels

“This book (and the many firesides and events related to it) is opening new avenues in how Mormons speak about doubt. The fact that it was released by the Church’s official publishing house is a good sign of greater frankness.” –Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood

Wrestling the Angel


In this first volume of his magisterial study of the foundations of Mormon thought and practice, Terryl L. Givens offers a sweeping account of Mormon belief from its founding to the present day. Situating the relatively new movement in the context of the Christian tradition, he reveals that Mormonism continues to change and grow.

Givens shows that despite Mormonism’s origins in a biblical culture strongly influenced by nineteenth-century Restorationist thought, which advocated a return to the Christianity of the early Church, the new movement diverges radically from the Christianity of the creeds. Mormonism proposes its own cosmology and metaphysics, in which human identity is rooted in a premortal world as eternal as God. Mormons view mortal life as an enlightening ascent rather than a catastrophic fall, and reject traditional Christian concepts of human depravity and destiny. Popular fascination with Mormonism’s social innovations, such as polygamy and communalism, and its supernatural and esoteric elements—angels, gold plates, seer stones, a New World Garden of Eden, and sacred undergarments—have long overshadowed the fact that it is the most enduring and even thriving product of the nineteenth century’s religious upheavals and innovations.

Wrestling the Angel traces the essential contours of Mormon thought from the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the contemporary LDS church, illuminating both the seminal influence of the founding generation of Mormon thinkers and the significant developments in the church over almost 200 years.

“Givens has provided the most thorough and expert accounting of Mormonism’s place in the Christian thought-world. The book raises the bar for those who would challenge Mormonism’s status as a Christian faith. For the rest of us, who simply want to understand Mormonism, it is a welcome gift of fine scholarship.” –Kathleen Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor in Mormon Studies, University of Virginia

“Givens, possibly the most significant voice in the field of Mormon studies, has previously explained Mormonism by way of scripture, history, and philosophy. Here, he turns his attention to theology, a more difficult proposition than it sounds, since Mormons tend to emphasize practical living rather than theological speculation and believe in continuing revelation…What emerges is a complex, nuanced picture of a dynamic faith.” –Publishers Weekly

TERRYL GIVENS holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. He is the author of many titles exploring Mormon history, thought and culture—his Parley Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (co-written with Matthew Grow) was the winner of the 2012 Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association.

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


The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith by Terryl and Fiona Givens. Deseret Book, 2014. 168pp. Hardback. $19.99.

Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity by Terryl Givens.  Oxford University Press, 2014. 424pp. Hardback. $34.95


Also by Terryl and Fiona Givens

The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. Deseret Book, 2012. 148pp. Hardback. $19.99

Also by Terryl Givens

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion. Oxford University Press, 2003. 320pp. Paperback.

Joseph Smith Jr.: Reappraisals after Two Centuries. Oxford University Press, 2008. 284pp. Paperback. Reg. $26.95, SALE $6.99

The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2009. 140pp. Paperback. $11.95

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (with Matthew Grow). Oxford University Press, 2011. 499pp. Hardback. Reg. $34.95, SALE $24.99

When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought. Oxford University Press, 2009. 388pp. Paperback. $26.95

The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (updated ed.). Oxford University Press, 2013. 228pp. Paperback. $26.95

The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States (with Reid Neilson). Columbia University Press, 2014. 455pp. Hardback. $80.00

The Latter-day Saint Experience in America. Greenwood Press, 2004. 347pp. Hardback. $67.00


Shipping: $4.50 for the first book, $1 for each additional. Priority/FedEx/UPS options available–inquire for details.

Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax.


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