The Doors of Faith

What is it that the Restored Church of Christ offers that nowhere else can, and how might that help us stay strong in our faith? The poet Thomas Traherne said: “no man…that clearly seeth the beauty of God’s face, . . . can, when he sees it clearly, willingly and wittingly forsake it.” In this collection of writings compiled from a series of lectures given at BYU, author Terryl Givens teaches that the surest route to an enduring faith is a “witting” understanding of Christ and his gospel. Terryl Givens bears a strong personal witness of the many unique aspects of the restored gospel, arguing that the Restoration provides us with the most morally compel-ling, intellectually satisfying, and aesthetically appealing account of the universe and our place in it. And such a knowledge is a powerful catalyst to a love—a witting love—of Christ that will endure.


Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke of “the high adventure of orthodoxy.” Once again, Terryl Givens has proven himself a master guide on that adventure. Drawing upon his vast knowledge of the sacred and the secular and with his characteristic eloquence, Givens demonstrates that the questions surrounding faith -- What is it? How is it chosen? How is it nourished? -- are not only the most important questions we confront in an increasingly secular age, but also the most difficult and profound, and that the answers they yield point us towards an abundant life in a Christ who is far more loving, vulnerable, and desirous of our growth than most imagine.

Thomas B. Griffith

“Givens engages bright thinkers from women and men, throughout history, and around the globe, to deliver a vision that is life changing. Deeply rooted in the Latter-day Saint gospel to which he is devoted, here are fresh but grounded approaches to discipleship, redemption, and healing. I highly recommend reading this invitation to a more abundant life.”

Kate Holbrook

Terryl Givens tunes his vast erudition to a personal key in The Doors of Faith. Distilling the discoveries of his eminent career studying the Latter-day Saints, he addresses the essential questions that face disciples young and old: Who is God? How shall I believe? Why must mortality buffet its sojourners, and what awaits the wounded? His wager is that a discipleship deeply informed by the rich intellectual beauty of the Christian gos-pel--what he calls a “witting mind”—is able to treat the spiritual malaise of the moment. Drawing from sci-ence, philosophy, history, and literature, he offers an expansive portrait of a Latter-day Saint tradition ground-ed in early Christian teachings but equal to the challenges of modernity. In the process, he makes a persuasive argument for the indispensable work of theology, always Givens’s native tongue

Rosalynde Welch

Terryl’s work is incredibly thoughtful. It will appeal to those who view intellectual inquiry as an expression of discipleship. It refrains from demonizing doubt and frames struggle and uncertainty as steppingstones rather than stumbling blocks in the disciple’s journey.

Daniel Becerra

This little gem is a guide for the perplexed seeking truth about the highest purpose for life and the best way to live. It cuts to the core of our human dilemma: our most important questions cannot be resolved with certainty, so we are forced to trust our beliefs in order to do anything at all. This entails deciding who is trustworthy since our beliefs arise in the process of learning from others. Givens is a persuasive guide to texts, people, and ideas that help us make trustwor-thy, lifelong commitments and remain lifelong truth seekers.

Charles Randall Paul

In Doors of Faith, Terryl Givens invites us to step into a more expansive experience and understanding of Christ’s gospel. It is a plea for us to question preconceptions that may keep doors of faith closed and that get in the way of a more intimate relationship with our divine parents. It is a challenge to put our spiritual imagina-tion to work in opening new doors by actively participating in the unfolding Restoration. It is an invitation to step through doors of faith that open into richer aesthetic, intellectual and tangible engagement with the world. Finally, it is a challenge to the current generation to rise to one of our age's great opportunities and urgent needs: the re-enchantment of a flat, secular world.

Bill Turnbull

About the Author

Terryl Givens

For many years, Terryl Givens was the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond. Now a senior research fellow at Brigham Young University’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute, Givens is the author of several books on the Latter-day Saint tradition, including Wrestling the Angel, By the Hand of Mormon, and The Pearl of Greatest Price. With his wife, Fiona, he coauthored The Crucible of Doubt, The God Who Weeps, and The Christ Who Heals.

Table of Contents

View More

Publication Information

  • Publication Month: December
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Series: Living Faith
  • Language: English,
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-8425-0055-5
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Price: $ 14.99
  • Imprint: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Monthly Newsletter

Contact The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship Brigham Young University Provo, UT 84602

Local: 801.422.9229
Toll-Free: 800.327.6715


The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)