Terryl Givens

Terryl L. Givens was born in upstate New York, raised in the American southwest, and did graduate work in Intellectual History (Cornell) and Comparative Literature (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill, 1988), working with Greek, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English languages and literatures. As Professor of Literature and Religion and the Jabez A. Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Richmond, he taught courses in Romanticism, nineteenth century cultural studies, and the Bible and Literature. Currently, he is a Neal L. Maxwell Senior Fellow at Brigham Young University. He has published in literary theory, British and European Romanticism, Mormon studies, and intellectual history. The New York Times has praised him for his “provocative writing,” and Harpers has called him “fair-minded, scholarly, and unbiased.”

In addition to appearances on NPR, CNN, and Frontline's The Mormons, Dr. Givens has authored or edited dozens of books, primarily through Oxford University Press and Deseret Book. During non-pandemic times, he travels extensively with his wife, Fiona, to give firesides and strengthen the faith of members worldwide.

In addition to nurturing a healthy obsession with Julian of Norwich, Dr. Givens enjoys running, playing racquetball, and reconstructing the books in the personal library of Joseph Smith. He currently makes his home with his wife in the village of Midway, Utah.

July 28, 2023 10:14 AM MDT
“We may begin with habit, duty, fear of hell, or hope of heaven. But the only durable discipleship is rooted in the capacity to feel and reciprocate the love of Christ.”
11 Min Read
November 14, 2022 07:00 AM MST
Is it true that “if there is an Auschwitz, then there cannot be a God”? Does the Restoration convincingly address the problem of evil?
12 Min Read
November 03, 2022 07:00 AM MDT
Even though Latter-day Saints don’t believe the scriptures are infallible, that doesn’t mean their source isn’t perfect.
11 Min Read
February 02, 2021 05:00 AM MST
The Bible translator William Tyndale wrote, Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him to sing, dance, and leap for joy. Yet in our interactions with Saints throughout the world, we have found many hurting members asking the same questions: If God weeps over our misery, why does Christ need to allay God’s wrath? If Christ promises to “wipe away all tears,” why do we anticipate sorrows to come in the next world? Too many of the wounded and struggling are wondering why a restored Church that heralds joy here and hereafter seems at time to inflict or add injury rather than proffer the balm of Gilead.
4 Min Read
March 22, 2018 12:00 PM MDT
How do we react when someone uses the scriptures as a weapon? And how do we overcome the contradictions we find in the scriptures? Read on for powerful insights from LDS scholars Fiona and Terryl Givens.
13 Min Read
March 07, 2018 01:00 PM MST
The language of Mormon culture, like that of most other cultures, is fraught with contradictions. All faiths have their intemperate zealots, and even the wisest and best men and women can say uninspired, ridiculous, and even reprehensible things. The religious scholar Krister Stendahl has suggested that in evaluating religions, it is only fair to characterize a faith group in terms of its best, not its worst, manifestations.1
15 Min Read
November 05, 2017 10:00 PM MST
That we believe about God and Christ—Their nature, Their attributes, Their character—shapes our response to the Heavenly Family and Their designs for us. Arguments about the cosmological location of Kolob will not advance our salvation. Ascertaining the true depth and extent of God’s love, however, will.
9 Min Read