CONVERSATIONS WITH TERRYL GIVENS
A new podcast/videocast series devoted to exploring the Mormon tradition and its place in the modern world.
Hosted by Terryl Givens, perhaps Mormonism’s most prolific and best-known author and scholar, this podcast emphasizes Mormonism’s intellectual richness, its theological possibilities, and its creative energies. Terryl sits down for wide-ranging conversations with artists, scholars, public figures, and change-agents—luminary figures from within and from outside the Mormon faith tradition.
Many Mormon podcasts serve as occasions to challenge, question, and criticize Mormon doctrine and history. While not avoiding frank engagement with challenges in our past and present, this series aims to celebrate the experience of lived Mormonism by shining a light on Mormon faith and practice as catalysts to an abundant life and the public good.
Kate Holbrook is known to friends, neighbors and family first as a wonderful cook and gentle
friend. In the intellectual world, she is know as an accomplished historian and author. She
earned her master’s degree in world religions from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD in
religion and society from Boston University. She was voted Harvard College’s Teaching Fellow
of the Year for a course she designed on global values. She now serves as managing historian
for Women’s History for the LDS church.
In this wide-ranging conversation with Terryl Givens, Kate talks about her faith and her personal story. She highlights the importance of telling the LDS story from the perspective of its women. Does discipleship look different from a woman’s perspective than from a man’s? She talks about her heroes, including Ardith Kapp. And she talks about the effect the Relief Society (“God’s quorum for women”) has had in shaping the church.
LDS church history “needs to be told in a way that integrates what men were doing with what
women were doing,” Holbrook says.
And not just what Mormon women were doing, but what they were teaching and preaching. Kate recently co-edited an extraordinary volume titled “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women.” “At the Pulpit” features 54 speeches by LDS women over the entire history of the church, complete with important historical context provided by Holbrook and fellow co-editor Jennifer Reeder.
“After years of basso profundo comes another sound out of the Mormon tradition, the voice of
women preaching. It is a pleasure to hear…” writes Mormon scholar Kathleen Flake.
Darius Gray is an author and historian who has had a wide and varied career in television broadcasting, publishing, business management and church leadership.
Raised in a devout Christian home, Gray converted to the LDS faith during the time of the Priesthood ban for black
members. His story of trying to live his faith in a church that denied him full participation is a story of testimony, hope, courage and perseverance. Working with other pioneering black Mormons and with LDS Apostles, Gray helped found the Genesis Group in Salt Lake City, the church’s official congregational unit for black Latter-day Saints. For many years, he served as its President.
As a historian and genealogist, Darius Gray headed up the massive Freedmen’s Savings and Trust research project, which yielded the records of nearly half a million individuals, mostly African Americans. These names were then made available for temple ordinance work.
Darius sits down with Terryl Givens to tell these and other remarkable stories in this conversation.
Tom Christofferson’s journey through life has been anything but ordinary. On the surface, it
began as a typical Mormon story. He grew up in a close gospel-centered LDS family and went
on to serve a faithful mission. But during these years, he was also trying to deal with an
inconvenient truth: He was gay.
Although his life and family had been firmly rooted in the church (his older brother Todd was
eventually called as an LDS apostle), Tom came to a point at which he could no longer envision
a place for himself in the church, and he left. He went on to become an accomplished
businessman on the east coast and created a good life with his partner of nearly twenty years.
Later in life, however, Tom felt strongly called to return to his LDS faith and community. His new
book “That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith & Family” (Deseret Book)
includes his story of making a spiritual home in a faith that often may not feel like home to its
Tom Christofferson sat down with Terryl Givens in the studios of Faith Matters Foundation
(faithmatters.org) for this extraordinary, personal conversation.
During his 24 years as a beloved LDS General Authority and Official Church Historian, Elder Marlin K. Jensen presided over an historic shift toward greater openness in the LDS church’s approach to its history. In this Conversation with Terryl Givens, we get an intimate glimpse into Elder Jensen’s personal life and thoughts, including:
- How loving and serving his older brother instilled a determination to include “those who are different”
- The spiritual experiences that led him to consecrate his life to serving in the church
- His wish for more “overtly spiritual” church experience
- How our spiritual lives can be enriched by people, practices and writings from other religious traditions
- The challenges and the fruits of complete openness and transparency in telling the history of the church
- The urgent need to embrace those who are different or “don’t meet the norm” in the church
- His stirring witness of Christ
Has Mormonism unconsciously inherited ideas from western Christianity, particularly from Protestantism, that have kept us from fully realizing and embracing some essential truths of the restored gospel? In their inspiring and persuasive new book, The Christ Who Heals: How God Restored the Truth That Saves Us, Terryl and Fiona Givens explore that question and much more. They paint a compelling portrait of the Mormon theology of atonement, judgement and eternal growth. What revolutionary truths about the nature of our relationship to Christ, to our Heavenly Parents and to each other does Mormonism offer the world?
A capacity crowd at Utah State University shared the historic opportunity of hearing six esteemed Mormon scholars explore the topic of Joseph Smith and “translation.” Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, Samuel Brown and Jared Hickman were on stage together, led in conversation by Jana Riess and Rosalynde Welch in the six-session conference.