Book Review | BYU Studies

Book Review

People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture
September 20, 2018
Book Review
People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture
Reviewer Claudia L. Bushman,

This daily feature is an introduction to a full book review by Claudia L. Bushman. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.

Mormonism is rife with paradoxes that raise many questions. How do we keep ourselves unspotted while battling with the world? How can we be equally grateful for the good and the bad things that happen to us?

Latter–day Saints often see themselves as living in an evil universe that must be tempered by a huge store of Mormon optimism. As I like to say, we believe in the Atonement but not in original sin. We celebrate the Resurrection but do not reverence the crucifixion. We look to immortality but look away from death. These contradictory views help us to make sense of our suffering. We see the contraries, but no one has made as much of them as Terryl L. Givens. In his People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture, Givens introduces a set of four central contraries embedded in Mormon doctrine.