Terryl Givens on Becoming Like God

sermon on the mount art
Sermon on the Mount, by Harry Anderson. Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The idea of becoming like God is called theosis, and Christ and His apostles alluded to it in the scriptures that we have. In the ancient Christian church, theosis was a central doctrine, but now to many non-Mormons, the idea sounds strange and suspect.

Some Mormon ideas about theosis come from members’ projecting earthly patterns into the afterlife, and even back into the preexistence. Terryl Givens discusses problems with doing that in a new podcast by LDS Perspectives.

Terryl Givens did his graduate work in intellectual history (Cornell) and comparative literature (UNC Chapel Hill). He teaches courses in nineteenth-century studies and religious themes in literature at the University of Richmond, where he is Professor of Literature and Religion and the Jabez A. Bostwick Professor of English, and he has been a Research Fellow at both Brigham Young University and the University of Oxford.

An award-winning author, Givens’s work has been called “provocative reading” by The New York Times and includes By the Hand of MormonWhen Souls had WingsPeople of Paradox, and a two-volume history of Mormon thought: Wrestling the Angel and Feeding the Flock (Oxford University Press).

With his wife Fiona, he has written The God Who Weeps, The Crucible of Doubt, and most recently, The Christ Who Heals (Deseret Book). Professor Givens has also been a commentator on CNN, NPR, and in the PBS/Frontline documentary, The Mormons. With Fiona, he makes his home in the village of Montpelier, Virginia.

Read a full transcript of the interview, or listen to the podcast:

Gale Boyd is the managing editor for ThirdHour.org. She is a Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has lived all over the world. She has raised 6 Third Culture Kids and is always homesick for somewhere.