C.S. Lewis is a towering twentieth-century figure, known especially as an author of fiction and meditations on Christianity and the work of God in human lives. His own life journey—he was born and raised within a Christian home and was a highly imaginative child who loved literature and mythology but later rejected both Christianity and theism only to, in his twenties and thirties, begin to feel “stalked” by Spirit and eventually convert back to a belief in God and, later, Christianity—makes him especially compelling for those with intellectual proclivities. How could this towering intellect begin to believe again? What is it he saw in the Christian mythos that led him to see it differently than other myths in which divine beings overcome death?
As such a startling and influential figure, Lewis naturally caught, and still catches, the attention of many Mormons who find in his wonderful writing and fresh angles on familiar teachings much that bolsters their own Christian faith. But, for some (in a move that is repeated in many other Christian traditions) Lewis has taken on a glow almost as an honorary Latter-day Saint. They see in various phrases things that seem to really tap into unique ideas found in Mormonism.
In this episode, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Mahonri Stewart, Blair Hodges, and Katie Langston examine this connection to Mormon thinking, but even more generally Lewis’s life and writings and impact both in religious conversation at large as well as in their own lives. Especially within their own lives and spiritual journey.
Episode 157 introduces Lewis’s life and writings and connections with broad themes and to what extent he has been quoted in LDS writings and General Conferences and/or has become a Mormon by proxy. Short answer: not as much as we may have thought.
Episode 158 continues the LDS connection, asking just how similar is his theology to Mormon thought before the panelists share some of their favorite and most-powerful-to-them insights from his work.
Please listen and join in the conversation below! What have been your most profound moments with Lewis? How has his life and work most affected your spiritual journey?
Links to things mentioned in the discussion:
Mahonri Stewart’s play, Swallow the Sun, available here.
Text of a talk on C.S. Lewis given by Mahonri Stewart at the Springville (Utah) Public Library, 21 June 2012.
Blair Hodges’s article, “‘All Find What They Truly Seek’: C.S. Lewis, Latter-day Saints, and the Virtuous Unbeliever,” Dialogue 43, no. 3 (Fall 2010).
Blog about spiritual seeking that Katie Langston is involved with: Into the Hills.
Marybeth Raynes, “How Sex and Spirit are Linked: A Developmental Perspective,” Sunstone, November 2001.
Patheos Book Club posts about the book, C.S. Lewis: A Life, by Alister McGrath
Links shared by listener “Niklas” in Comments Section:
The Christian Commitment: C. S. Lewis and the Defense of Doctrine
by William Clayton Kimball in BYU Studies
The Last Battle: C.S. Lewis and Mormonism
by Evan Stephenson in Dialogue
Book “C.S. Lewis: Latter-day Truths in Narnia”
by Marianna Richardson and Christine Thackeray
also mentioned in