Terryl Givens, Fiona Givens, and Steven Peck to join the Maxwell Institute in 2019

12.30.2018 | The Maxwell Institute

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship announces exciting additions to its faculty in 2019 with the appointments of Terryl L. Givens, Fiona Givens, and Steven L. Peck.

Each scholar joins the Brigham Young University research institute that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently described as a “rarefied training ground where gospel athletes stretch their abilities to speak in grace and truth to all of our Father’s children.”1 Terryl Givens is departing from his chair at the University of Richmond to become a permanent Neal A. Maxwell Senior Research Fellow in June. Givens said his past experience as a visiting fellow sparked his interest in associating with the Institute full time. “I’m joining a first-class group of disciple scholars,” he said. “The Institute has never been in a better position to succeed in their dual commission to strengthen the Saints and to enhance the quality of the conversation academics are having about our faith tradition. I look forward to being a part of both efforts.”

Fiona Givens joins the Institute’s research staff in June, having previously spent time at the Institute during the summer of 2018 as a research grant recipient. “I was introduced to the collegial environment that defines the Maxwell Institute last summer and I am very much looking forward to working with fellow scholars who share similar research interests,” she said. “I feel it a privilege to be working alongside Institute scholars who emphasize both academic rigor and service to Latter-day Saints and the broader community.”

Fiona Givens graduated from the University of Richmond with degrees in French and German and received a master’s degree in European History. She is co-author of a number of books for Latter-day Saints, including The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life, The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith, and most recently, The Christ Who Heals: How God Restored the Truth That Saves Us. Steven L. Peck joins the Institute as a visiting fellow during the spring and summer terms, 2019-2021, alternating with his position as associate professor of biology in BYU’s College of Life Sciences. Along with Terryl Givens, Peck co-directed the 2018 Summer Seminar at the Institute. He is also author of one of the Institute’s Living Faith books, Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist.

Peck said he wants his work to exemplify how science and religion can be engaged productively. “I’m excited because working at the Institute gives me a chance to open more conversations about science and religion,” Peck said, “affording me the opportunity to share ideas with other scientists and people of faith alike.”

J. Spencer Fluhman, executive director of the Maxwell Institute, said the addition of these scholars will strengthen an already vibrant research community. “Each of these scholars has made significant contributions in their fields already and we look forward to the great work that each will do as members of the Maxwell Institute,” Fluhman said. “The BYU campus community at large will be enriched by the addition of the Givens’s. Their blend of brilliance and faith will inspire a next generation of Saints to prize the Restoration for the gift that it is. Professor Peck brings his own set of unique gifts to enrich our thinking about religion and science.”


1. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “The Maxwell Legacy in the 21st Century,” 2018 Neal A. Maxwell Lecture. The publication of this lecture is forthcoming in the Institute’s 2018 Annual Report. The lecture will also be available via video soon at youtube.com/themaxwellinstitute.