Wrestling the Angel

  • by Terryl L. Givens
  • Narrated by B.J. Harrison
  • 17 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this first volume of his magisterial study of the foundations of Mormon thought and practice, Terryl L. Givens offers a sweeping account of Mormon belief from its founding to the present day. Situating the relatively new movement in the context of the Christian tradition, he reveals that Mormonism continues to change and grow. Givens shows that despite Mormonism's origins in a biblical culture strongly influenced by 19th-century Restorationist thought, which advocated a return to the Christianity of the early Church, the new movement diverges radically from the Christianity of the creeds.
Mormonism proposes its own cosmology and metaphysics, in which human identity is rooted in a premortal world as eternal as God. Mormons view mortal life as an enlightening ascent rather than a catastrophic fall, and reject traditional Christian concepts of human depravity and destiny. Popular fascination with Mormonism's social innovations, such as polygamy and communalism, and its supernatural and esoteric elements - angels, gold plates, seer stones, a New World Garden of Eden, and sacred undergarments - have long overshadowed the fact that it is the most enduring and even thriving product of the 19th century's religious upheavals and innovations.
Wrestling the Angel traces the essential contours of Mormon thought from the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young to the contemporary LDS church, illuminating both the seminal influence of the founding generation of Mormon thinkers and the significant developments in the church over almost 200 years. The most comprehensive account of the development of Mormon thought ever written, Wrestling the Angel will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Mormon faith.

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A comprehensive review of Mormon theology

With references from antiquity, literature, and theology, Givens provides acomprehensive review of Mormon theology, showing where it fits into the stream of intellectual and theological thought. Mormons believe in a universe organized out of existing materials and deny the theory of ex nihilo creation. Similarly, Joseph Smith's theology was not created "out of nothing" but out of the existing threads of thought or sometimes in opposition or response to existing theologies. Was Mormonism a response to Calvinism? Yes. Did Mormonism partake of the Universalist impulse? Yes. did Mormonism contain several elements rejected in early Christianity? Absolutely.

Mormons believe that any statement given under the power of the Holy Ghost is authoritative, even scriptural. They have dozens of general authorities who make sometimes conflictingpronouncements. This makes Mormon theology sometimes difficult to pin down. Givens relies primarily on Joseph Smith, as the expounder a Mormon theology. Brigham Young, the Pratt Brothers James E Talmage and BH Roberts are secondary. Bruce R McConkie and Joseph Fielding Smith are hardly relied on at all. Some will take issue with given choices.
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- Ken .

Most Interesting!

I found this, like Givens' other books, to be incredibly thought provoking. Being LDS myself, I was not always comfortable with the things he had to say, but I am very grateful for the straight forward way he writes and researches. No sugar coating here. No excuse making or spinning, just the facts, ma'am. In the end, even the things that made me squirm seemed understandable, which understanding is exactly what I was seeking when I chose this book. Now I have the option of pondering so many questions I had before and which have arisen because of this book. I feel that I have a firmer base on which to form or reform my opinions. After all, it is all about choice.
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- Sher from Provo "Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-30-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios