The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life

Some quick observations about this latest book by Terryl Givens, joined with Fiona (Oct. 15, 2012):

  • Right out of the starting block, Terryl attempts to throw the God of Augustine, Abelard, Pascal, Luther, and Edwards under the bus and declare Him as not worthy of worship.
  • It’s man’s common sense at its best.  I would imagine that this book will be offered by LDS thinkers to their non-LDS friends whom they consider thinkers and philosophers.
  • Preexistence is fundamental to LDS.  For the authors and others, only preexistence can explain human freedom, and it is man’s preexistence that frees God from being culpable for man’s sinful, wretched choices.
  • Terryl writes, “If we are co-eternal with God, then it is not God’s creation of the human out of nothing, that defines our essential relationship to Him.”
  • But that statement begs this question:  does co-eternity mean co-equality?  For LDS, the answer is no.  So you can only imagine how that extends in belief to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
  • The book provides typical discussion of playing Wesley against Whitefield.  No dilemma for me.  I just see the two men in church history holding on different ends of the same stick.  My case is that Joseph Smith never held on to any part of the stick.
  • If I worshipped the God who weeps, portrayed by Givens, I would weep.  Who would be loving and powerful enough to stop an eternal war?  But the bigger issue is Givens’ disregard of biblical revelation of the character and work of Father, Son, and Spirit and the obliteration of the Creator/creature divide.
  • In characteristic fashion, Dr. Richard Mouw gushes with praise over academic LDS scholarship as he gives a short testimony of compassion, “I received in reading it some deeply personal lessons about the tears of God.”  Another one of those Krister Stendahl “holy envy” moments?  This is robust dialogue?  Very frustrating for me.
  • For my LDS friends:  as you share this book with others, I suggest you peruse sometime a book that was very encouraging to me, 15 years ago –  When God Weeps.
  • And if you desire to taste a broader picture of Augustine in Idaho Falls than what Terryl Givens writes about, connect with Pastor Dave Bass of the New Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church in town.  He is leading weekly discussion meetings on Augustine’s Confessions.


  1. I, for one, am immensely enjoying the book.

    And I absolutely agree with you that Mormonism, as so eloquently described by the Givenses, throws the God of Augustine, Pascal, Luther, Edwards, and yes, even the God of Todd Wood, under the bus!

    It has to do so in order to restore the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to his eternal throne, where he sits, in his glorified, resurrected body, won at such infinite cost, at the right hand of the Father!

    Tracy Hall Jr,
    sinner and joint heir with Christ
    (Romans 8:14-18
    Klagenfurt, Austria

  2. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses the early Fathers, and the later Eastern Saints. The “God Who Is”.

    The “God” of Augustine, etc. or the “god” of Joseph Smith? Not so much..

    There is fairly large disconnect between Augustine’s heart, which is in love with the God Who IS, and Augustine’s head, which is indeed tragic.

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