Many will recognize Fiona Givens, who with her husband Terryl authored The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life and The Crucible of Doubt. Fiona is an independent scholar since her retirement from teaching modern language. She has undergraduate degrees in French and German and a graduate degree in European history.
Fiona sounds English but is actually African. She was born in Nairobi and spent most of her life in East Africa in the Seychelle Islands. She was educated in boarding schools and converted to the Church in Frankfort. She worked in the Church Office Buildings for a few years, went to BYU, and met Terryl in a comparative literature class.
Fiona and Terryl’s newest book, The Christ Who Heals, had its genesis in the book she co-authored, The God Who Weeps. The preparation required wholesale immersion in the early Christian tradition to look at various views of the atonement and what people emphasize about it.
“Western Christianity’s theological tradition always starts in the Garden. It always starts with the Fall, which is considered a result of man’s hubris [pride] — that they dared to want to become like God — whereas Mormon theology starts in preexistent worlds with a covenant that is made.
“There’s this idea of a plan being structured in which we were coparticipants. It’s huge because in western Christianity we’re hapless victims and really can do nothing for ourselves, but in Mormon theology one has a really potent idea of councils in which we took part and in which we sung for joy at the idea of being able to progress in such a way that we could become more like God.”
Enjoy more of Fiona’s interview performed by Laura Hales for LDS Perspectives. Go to the LDS Perspectives website to read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast here: