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When Conscience and Authority Seem to Collide — The Life of Eugene England
When Conscience and Authority Seem to Collide — The Life of Eugene England

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For this week’s episode, we were honored as always to bring back one of our favorite people and conversation partners, and likely one of yours: Terryl Givens.

We spoke with Terryl about a book he released in 2021, a biography called Stretching the Heavens: The Life of Eugene England and the Crisis of Modern Mormonism.

Terryl’s work on this biography led to a fascinating portrait of a man many of us look up to, and someone we truly wish we could have met (England died in 2001 at the age of 68). His legacy has proven to be both broad and enduring — in addition to a long and storied career in academia, he was a founder of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and of the Association for Mormon Letters. His writing continues to move and inspire Latter-day Saints today, including through essays that have become classics like Why the Church is as True as the Gospel.

In our interview with Terryl, we talked not just about the arc of Eugene England’s life, but about the principles that arose from the insights he shared and some of the struggles he faced. In particular, we talked through some of the issues that came up for him as a man striving to be both true to his own conscience and to the authority of an institution he fully believed in and loved, when the two didn’t fully align. 

In many ways, this seems to be the conflict at the heart of discipleship and even of Christianity’s creation story. Regardless, we felt like exploring it through the lens of Eugene England’s life was both relevant and poignant.

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