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Radio Free Mormon: 116: The Amazingly Subversive Terryl Givens

In his most recent book, noted scholar Terryl Givens gives us a fistful of reasons to suspect he is a subversive influence on the LDS Church.  And that’s just in the first chapter!


18 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 116: The Amazingly Subversive Terryl Givens”

  1. Yesterday, I was trying to keep my head above water while sitting in sacrament meeting. I was in the Gospel Library app and was reading through the “Church History Topics” section under the “Topics” folder. While reading the entry called “ Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible” I found this nugget.

    “As he worked on these changes, he appears in many instances to have consulted respected commentaries by biblical scholars, studying them out in his mind as a part of the revelatory process.” There is a footnote for this sentence and it links to the Haley Wilson and Thomas Wayment article! This is huge. The church silently inserted it into this paper and is acknowledging what those two uncovered in their research.

    1. This is a great find! I have communicated it through back channels to Haley Wilson-Lemmon, who was surprised at the news, though I think not unpleasantly so.

    2. Not sure what they secretly did. A BYU professor (along with student) write paper, it gets an article on BYU website, goes on multiple podcasts to discuss it, gets article published in prestigious volume, and church the info puts in an official topic essay and links to article …. yea, they did a super job hiding it

  2. Oh come on RFM, we all know that imagination is just one step away from revelation. Besides the Kingdom of God is within you, right? Luke 17:21

    I think we all need to be amazingly subversive!!
    Maybe we can then have a church that is more reasonable and in line with the dominant secular narrative.

  3. So now we’re using mind-reading tricks to fill in the gaps and make JS look plausible in light of hard evidence to the contrary. Apologists will stop at nothing to put lipstick on a pig.

  4. RFM you made me want to buy the book! Just a few thoughts: First, “People” don’t call them Neo-apologists, John Dehlin calls them that because he coined the phrase and just thinks it’s the most clever thing ever so he goes out of his way to say it all the time and pretends like everybody says it. You know that come on. It’s dumb. Second, Givens is just using phrases common to his field (literary criticism of scripture) when saying “Prophetic Imagination”, “intertextuality” etc. I read a lot of Bible as literature books these days and that’s how those scholars talk about the authors of the texts they work with. From what you read it doesn’t seem that Givens is using these terms in any novel ways. I think you overstep when saying that intertextuality is just what lesser minds call plagiarism. Every person who writes will quote, allude to or otherwise mimic speech and writing they have read or heard, knowingly and unknowingly. Certainly that can show evidence of who the author of a text was, but its not “plagiarism”. Last thought, what’s so wrong with Terryl being subversive to the dominant strains of thought in the Church? The church you and I know really only took on its current incarnation in the 60’s with correlation anyways. Why shouldn’t smart Mormons like the Givens help morph it into something different, even better? Anyways, thanks for the good book review Good Episode!

    1. You make a number of good points!

      At least I didn’t call it it plagiarism; I said lesser minds would call it plagiarism.

      I left unanswered where my mind falls on the spectrum.


  5. The insinuation mania never stops. We’re not idiots are we? Always telling us what something or someone means.

    Subversive??? I guess then Givens is in good company with Nibley, Roberts, Talmage and even Young and Smith themselves.

    Study it out in your mind. Joseph’s MO was always this methodology. Study and ponder and declare where truth may be or not. Nothing Smith has done or declared is original and why do we suppose it should be? Swedenborg, Dick, Clark, View of the Hebrews, Spaulding, Captain Kidd etc.. It never ends by the apologetics on the other side of the fence. We get it. Revelation is not a text message from God.

  6. This is fascinating, the old testament covenant is superseded by the incarnation, it’s revealed that the law was not the course for salvation but the mirror to reveal the need for the cross, the idea that something similar is happening with smith, where it wasn’t the cross but a covenant path through revelation of handshakes and promises you make and keep for salvation, this is coherent within mormon thought, the authority wasn’t with Moses it was revealed to be with jesus, and then recalled and given to joseph, if you don’t know much about the bible this could make sense, I think they should go with it and quit claiming to be christians

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