historical, liberal, theology, Mormonism, biography
Kristine Haglund’s compact biography, Eugene England: A Mormon Liberal, is an illuminating contribution to the new Introduction to Mormon Thought series. Mormon Thought provides “short and accessible introductions” to those who have “shaped” the many manifestations of “Mormonism” (vii). Haglund situates England historically, as a liberal influence on a developing faith. Born 1933—the year of the deaths of old-style expansive theologians B. H. Roberts and James E. Talmage, and the same year J. Reuben Clark introduced more conservative influence in the First Presidency—Gene was caught in the collision between Mormonism’s original enthusiasm for innovative theology and the increasing rigidity of maturing orthodoxy. That kind of conflict at historical crossroads makes for ideological fender benders for any person of conscience in any institution. It is a train wreck for a Mormon who honors his faith traditions and simultaneously respects God-given intellectual capacities. It can be a Titanic-versus-iceberg confrontation for one who loved his church and also valued personal integrity as much as Gene England. Terryl Givens’s Crisis of Modern Mormonism looks more closely at the trauma of that liberalizing life and views its personal costs more tragically.
Givens, Terryl L.; Haglund, Kristine L.; and Walker,, Steven C. reviewer
"Review: Stretching the Heavens: The Life of Eugene England and the Crisis of Modern Mormonism; Eugene England: A Mormon Liberal ,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 61:
1, Article 27.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol61/iss1/27