by Elizabeth Pinborough
Elizabeth Pinborough is a freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Dialogue, Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, and Wilderness Interface Zone.
I learned about The God Who Weeps when I was invited to a blogger Q&A with Terryl and Fiona Givens at Deseret Book in Salt Lake City about a month ago. I quickly picked the book up, reading half of it, along with Ben Parks’ and Jacob’s and Julie Smith’s initial reviews, before the event. The God Who Weeps is a beautiful little book. Aside from its comparatively slim 148 pages, there is nothing remotely little about it. It is impressive in its scope and literariness. Its prose is sparsely elegant and accessible. And it is lovingly written. Most of all, though, the book is beautiful in what it aspires to do. The Givenses said that they wrote the book out of respect for the “sanctity of doubt”: that is, for real faith to exist, both reasonable grounds to believe and reasonable grounds to disbelieve must exist. Within the “context of reasonable doubt” the Givenses created their book with strugglers in mind, the number of young people who are leaving the church perhaps because they do not understand the principles of Mormon doctrine. The book functions as an extended and heartfelt letter to a doubter and “a prose hymn to the reasonable gospel that Joseph Smith articulated.”