A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a baptism of a new convert to the LDS church. Adult baptisms almost always make me weepy, because it’s so beautiful to see an adult freely choose to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ and become a Christian.

At this baptism, our bishop spoke to the woman who was baptized and welcomed her into the LDS church and our ward. He told her that studying the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t so much a learning process as it is an awakening of memories. Our spirits know these truths, and the Holy Ghost helps us to unearth these memories, long forgotten in our mortal journey.

Reading THE GOD WHO WEEPS, by Terryl and Fiona Givens, felt much like a remembrance of principles and truths I’d learned in another time. In fact, one of the passages that reminded me of my bishop’s words was the statement from the book “We never feel at home in this world…because we sense we carry within us clues to our origins.” followed by “We bring the grammar of sacred things with us.”

Fiona and Terryl Givens

As a feminist, I appreciate the loving and thoughtful discussion of Ruth’s courage in being vulnerable, Mary’s heroism in welcoming her role as the mortal mother of the Son of God, and Eve’s cogitative “pursuit of the Good, the True, the Beautiful.”

As a co-parent of five children, I believe parenthood is meant to give us the tiniest glimpse of the love God has for us. There is no greater joy I can experience than when I hear the delighted laughter of my children. There is no greater sorrow I experience than being a bystander to the struggles of a child who suffers the consequences of bad choices, either their own or at the hands of others. My heart is filled with peace and the whisperings of my kinship with our Heavenly Parents when I see my children love each other, without reservation or agenda. It is in those moments, that I am reminded God experiences those same feelings for His children, albeit on a much grander scale, unencumbered by the trappings of an ephemeral reality.

THE GOD WHO WEEPS is a reminder that “that which is earthly conform[s] to that which is heavenly.” Much like the joy and sorrow I experience as a mother, God feels the same for me and for every other person on earth, but on a much deeper and grander scale.

I expected to pick up the book and devour it at once, but I was unable to do so. The text is rich with poetry and literary citations that forced me to put it down every few pages and ponder on what I’d read. It is a challenging book to read, but is a text I will return to again and again as I strive to recover the memories of my spirit and gain a greater understanding of the relationship God yearns to have with me.

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For those interested, here are some podcasts in which the Givens’ are interviewed:

This is the link to a five-part, five-hour interview of just Dr. Terryl Givens.  It was done in September of 2011:  http://mormonstories.org/terryl-givens-an-approach-to-thoughtful-honest-and-faithful-mormonism/

This is a link to a two-part, nearly three-hour interview with both Fiona and Terryl given.  It was done this month:  http://mormonstories.org/fiona-and-terryl-givens-and-the-god-who-weeps/

This is a wonderful discussion with three of the strongest, most articulate female voices in Mormonism: Fiona Givens, Joanna Brooks and Jana Riess.  It was hosted by Dan Wotherspoon and was done earlier this month:   http://mormonmatters.org/2012/11/14/139-a-beautiful-vision-of-mormonism/

Here is a link to a Q&A with the Givens’ in which rationalfaiths.com was invited.  Paul Barker represented the blog.  The sound quality isn’t super good because Paul recorded it on his i-phone;  still quite enjoyable though: https://rationalfaiths.com/q-a-with-terryl-and-fiona-givens/

This is a link to a one-hour interview with both Fiona and Terryl Givens.  It was done earlier this month:  http://athoughtfulfaith.org/2012/11/08/010-terryl-fiona-givens-faith-doubt-and-the-god-who-weeps/

Bio:

Jerilyn Hassell Pool was born and raised in Southern Oregon, the eldest of 8 children. She is the mother of five children, ages 7 to 23. She has been married for nearly 25 years. She has a calling as the pianist in the local Spanish-speaking branch (although she speaks no Spanish) and is active in feminist and LGBTQ communities as a Mormon advocate for inclusion and acceptance. She works from home as a freelance web and print designer.

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