On 7 March 2015, Terryl Givens gave a wonderful lecture and was interviewed at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York. The occasion was a Mormon History Association satellite event in which Givens was asked to speak on “An American Journey across the Landscape of Mormon Theology.” Since MHA does not have a podcast, and this is definitely a lecture and interview worth receiving a wide hearing, they asked Mormon Matters and A Thoughtful Faith podcasts to co-release the audio. A full video of the evening, including an additional 27 minutes of introductory material will soon be available to view. Stay tuned here for a link when it becomes available.
In his lecture, Givens roots Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in the various milieus of his time, both culturally and theologically. His special focus in on the current notions of Christianity’s “covenant theology” at play during his time, and how Smith re-imagined it—not always consciously but eventually coming to understand that aspect of his work. Ultimately Givens places Mormonism squarely in the Christian camp but prior to the time of the councils in which the ideas of the church fathers Origin and Pelagus were rejected and Christianity took the forms it did. In Givens’ hands, Mormon theology takes a path that emphasizes human beings as expansive, co-eternal with God, with their “covenantal” relationship far different than that of traditional Christianity. It’s quite compelling.
Please listen and then share your reactions and ideas in the comments section below!