Symposium addresses Mormonism as a worldwide church

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Givens speaking in front of the audience in the JSB auditorium. Givens was the Thursday evening keynote speaker for the Church History Symposium. (Photo by Sarah Hill)
Givens speaking in front of the audience in the JSB auditorium. Givens was the Thursday evening keynote speaker for the Church History Symposium. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

Zion will be built up in an array of settings, Terryl Givens said Thursday night.

The evening’s keynote speaker for the Church History Symposium, Givens used the Bible, the Book of Mormon, theology and some humor to prove that The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints really is a worldwide church.

About 400 people came to hear Givens, a published author and professor at the University of Richmond.

Givens addressed the misconception of Mormonism being only an American church.

“The conclusion drawn by Harold Bloom is that Mormonism is prototypically the American religion,” Givens said. “But, Harold Bloom is wrong.”

Givens also said that the church is not about ancestry, but about the current members.

“By the time of Christ’s coming, the Nephites were defined by faith, not by ancestry,” Givens said.

Givens also pointed out that a church cannot function without its members.

“It is not just teachings and practices that form a church, it’s its people,” he said.

He also taught that in the Book of Mormon and the early days of the church, the church’s central location was moved around many times.

“The message is clear, the Book of Mormon in large measure is a story of the unending transmission of the gospel into new contexts, new settings and new conditions,” Givens said.

Givens concluded his address by addressing how priesthood keys and temples bring all to salvation.

“The restoration will continue to serve as a portal, not a comprehensive reservoir, leading to salvation for the world’s billions living and dead.”

The Church History Symposium will continue on Friday, March 7 at 9 a.m. with a keynote address by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the little theater of the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

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