5 Comments to “Terryl Givens on Mormon Universalism”

  1. Susan

    Mar 16th, 2012

    I love Terryl Givens’ thoughts on Mormonism! Thank you for the link to the Woodland Institute for the quote, “Do you have to be Mormon to be saved?” And he [JS] says, “No.” I was afraid I would not be able to find it.

    I think the part Terryl Givens was referring to is as follows: “He [JS] closed by referring to the Mormon Bible, which he said, contained nothing inconsistent or conflicting with the Christian Bible, and he again repeated that all who would follow the precepts of the Bible, whether Mormon or not, would assuredly be saved.”

    Interesting. I wonder if JS meant to say that “as far as the Bible is in harmony with the principles of the restored gospel (faith, repentance, baptism [by one having authority], receiving the gift of the holy ghost) then one is saved”? Otherwise, priesthood authority would not be necessary for baptism to be valid. And what about all the temple ordinances available only through the Mormon church that are not in the Bible? It would seem JS is saying they are not necessary to salvation, but the modern church says they are. I wish I understood better what JS meant here.

    • Trevor

      Mar 16th, 2012

      Well, the first temple rites were administered by Joseph Smith around 1842, which was two years after he made that statement. And the Book of Mormon is silent on temple ritual as well. So I suspect that in 1840 Joseph hadn’t even conceived of temple ordinances as being part of salvation.

  2. Nan

    Jun 20th, 2015

    ” And then what happens in the 20th century, of course, is the kind of diatribe against the Catholic church which pervades our culture.”

    It pervades the culture because it is actively promoted through the extolling of Talmages works.

  3. […] Terryl and Fiona Givens, for instance. More on the Givens’s approach to universalism can be found here. My strong hunch is that they would maybe even consider the term “Mormon Universalism” […]

  4. Johnny

    Jun 27th, 2016

    “In Joseph’s Smith’s vision, everybody is going to be saved, except that handful who absolutely refuse to accept the conditions of their salvation.”

    This loaded sentence must be analyzed thoroughly. “Damnation” in both Mormonism and other forms of theism is founded upon the nonsensical notion that one can make an unconditioned, ungrounded rejection of God.

    1.) Does one imagine that those who “absolutely refuse” are not doing so based upon a particular understanding that they have? It is abundantly self-evident that there would have to be some reason for their purported refusal. If not, one would have to contend that an individual can refuse for no reason, which is obviously crossing over into unabashed nonsense.

    2.) Are the “conditions for salvation” ultimately both true and good? If so, and if this is the part of a proper understanding of existence, then one not accepting of such conditions must be, quite literally, mis-understanding reality.

    3.) If one’s refusal predicated upon a fundamental misunderstanding of reality, as it must if acceptance accords with a proper understanding, how can one be eternally damned for a misunderstanding? Can an individual be in full possession (or as much humanly possible) of the correct understanding of existence and subsequently make an incorrect choice (i.e., refusal)? If so, on what grounds is the incorrect choice made? Is this choice mistaken, from the perspective of one that has chosen the opposite? It must be.

    4.) Can there be a mistaken understanding that cannot be rectified? If there can be, how does this occur? There must be a cause/reason for a misunderstanding. An unrectifiable misunderstanding necessitates an entirely arbitrary and uncaused rejection. Thus, conventional theism implies that one can be in possession of a truthful understanding of existence yet still make the wrong decision. Thus, they invent the existence of a phenomenon of ungrounded action; a decision that is not grounded in and devoid of any motivating factor. In short, these apologetics rely on the invented phenomenon of refusal for “no reason at all”.

    Some contend that are some that will not cease from “rebelling”; that they simoly refuse the truth. This presupposes that these individuals know it is the truth and then subsequently reject it. This amounts to the claim that someone can authentically subscribe to a worldview that is other than that which seems the most truthful to them, which is pure nonsense of course. In any event, the same question arises: why did they reject it? Was it correct to reject it? However you approach it, it is incontrovertible that the incorrect choice was selected. Incorrect choices must be grounded in an incorrect perception or interpretation of reality. Furthermore, an incorrect perception of reality is not a choice any more than color-blindness is a choice.
    People subscribe to an interpretation of reality fhat makes the most sense to them (i.e., seems the most truthful; the most representative of the way things are) in the context of their accumulated world experience.

    In any event, the burden of proof is on those that contend that there are misunderstandings that cannot be rectified, to explain fhe dynamics of such a phenomenon. How and why do they form? Do such proponents feel that they themselves could ever be in possession of an uncorrectable misunderstanding?


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