A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS
Pantsmageddon! PantsGate! Pants-apocalypse! Whatever term you've used over the past week to describe the Mormon frenzy about All Enlisted's oddly controversial "Wear Pants to Church" event, I think most of us are intrigued about what will actually happen at church tomorrow. With the hope of providing a calm, respectful dialogue on what has become a controversial subject, my lovely wife Stefanie had an opportunity today to interview Kristina Monson, who is a spokesperson and core leader for All Enlisted, the organization sponsoring this event.

Kristina describes herself as a devout, active Mormon Feminist. In this interview she shares some of her backstory and how she has become involved in this new form of Mormon activism. Stefanie and Kristina discuss the motivation and intentions of All Enlisted, and what they hope to accomplish with "Wear Pants To Church" and future activities.

Many thanks to Kristina Monson for taking time out of her national interview circuit to speak with us! And of course, thanks to Stefanie Nickolaisen for sharing this wonderful interview!

Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-015-KristinaMonson.mp3
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We have been humbled and astonished at the caliber of guests we've been able to have on our podcast thus far. People like Greg Prince, Margaret Young, John Sorenson, Phil Barlow, and so many others are the true progenitors of the modern Intellectual Mormonism community. I was surprised to find out early on that many of these living legends had rarely experienced a monumental faith crisis in their lives. Since one of the objectives of this podcast is to help individuals navigate through a faith crisis with testimonies intact, I thought it would be important for us to find some regular LDS folks who have faced that "dark night of the soul" but still remained faithful.

Thanks to our wonderful A Thoughtful Faith Facebook Group and a recommendation by his brother Paul, I've had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Michael Barker and hear his amazing story. In this interview, Mike shares how a close look at polygamy and polyandry catalyzed his doubts in the mission of Joseph Smith. He shares how a combination of unapologetic Mormon Scholarship and communion with God allowed him to find a way to maintain his faith as an active, believing Latter-Day Saint. Michael also discusses how his discovery of the concepts of Natural Theology led him to start the Rational Faiths Blog, and how a burning desire to inoculate the Saints fuels his current zeal for Mormonism.

Before this interview, I had known of Michael Barker and his brother Paul through their work at RationalFaiths.com, a blog dedicated to creating a "safe, fair, and balanced space to discuss the complexities, difficulties, and beauty of their Mormon tradition." At Rational Faiths the Barker Brothers provide insights into the current LDS Sunday School Curriculum, book reviews, and various topics within Mormonism from seer stones to modesty. Be sure to check out their wonderful blog at RationalFaiths.com.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-014-MichaelBarker-Part2.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:32pm MST

We have been humbled and astonished at the caliber of guests we've been able to have on our podcast thus far. People like Greg Prince, Margaret Young, John Sorenson, Phil Barlow, and so many others are the true progenitors of the modern Intellectual Mormonism community. I was surprised to find out early on that many of these living legends had rarely experienced a monumental faith crisis in their lives. Since one of the objectives of this podcast is to help individuals navigate through a faith crisis with testimonies intact, I thought it would be important for us to find some regular LDS folks who have faced that "dark night of the soul" but still remained faithful.

Thanks to our wonderful A Thoughtful Faith Facebook Group and a recommendation by his brother Paul, I've had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Michael Barker and hear his amazing story. In this interview, Mike shares how a close look at polygamy and polyandry catalyzed his doubts in the mission of Joseph Smith. He shares how a combination of unapologetic Mormon Scholarship and communion with God allowed him to find a way to maintain his faith as an active, believing Latter-Day Saint. Michael also discusses how his discovery of the concepts of Natural Theology led him to start the Rational Faiths Blog, and how a burning desire to inoculate the Saints fuels his current zeal for Mormonism.

Before this interview, I had known of Michael Barker and his brother Paul through their work at RationalFaiths.com, a blog dedicated to creating a "safe, fair, and balanced space to discuss the complexities, difficulties, and beauty of their Mormon tradition." At Rational Faiths the Barker Brothers provide insights into the current LDS Sunday School Curriculum, book reviews, and various topics within Mormonism from seer stones to modesty. Be sure to check out their wonderful blog at RationalFaiths.com.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-013-MichaelBarker-Part1.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:30pm MST

In conjunction with the Winter Issue of Exponent II, which is guest edited by the Mormon Women Project, we are proud to share Sarah Collett's interview with Neylan McBaine. As an active and faithful Latter-Day Saint, Neylan shares her story of how she was led to start the Mormon Women Project, a non-profit website which features weekly interviews with LDS women from around the world. Neylan and Sarah also discuss the various modern issues and challenges that face the LDS Church and its members as it relates to gendered participation, which Neylan presented on at the 2012 FAIR Conference.

Neylan McBaine is a graduate of Yale University and is currently an Associate Creative Director at Bonneville Communications. Neylan's writings have been published in Newsweek, The Washington Post, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, Meridian Magazine, Patheos.com and BustedHalo.com. She is also the author of a collection of personal essays—How to Be a Twenty-First Century Pioneer Woman (2008). In addition to her career as a marketing guru, her contributions as an essayist, and her work with MWP, Neylan is also a devoted wife and mother of three daughters. We are incredibly grateful for her willingness to share her story and thoughts with us at A Thoughtful Faith.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-012-NeylanMcBaine-Part2.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:10pm MST

In conjunction with the Winter Issue of Exponent II, which is guest edited by the Mormon Women Project, we are proud to share Sarah Collett's interview with Neylan McBaine. As an active and faithful Latter-Day Saint, Neylan shares her story of how she was led to start the Mormon Women Project, a non-profit website which features weekly interviews with LDS women from around the world. Neylan and Sarah also discuss the various modern issues and challenges that face the LDS Church and its members as it relates to gendered participation, which Neylan presented on at the 2012 FAIR Conference.

Neylan McBaine is a graduate of Yale University and is currently an Associate Creative Director at Bonneville Communications. Neylan's writings have been published in Newsweek, The Washington Post, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, Meridian Magazine, Patheos.com and BustedHalo.com. She is also the author of a collection of personal essays—How to Be a Twenty-First Century Pioneer Woman (2008). In addition to her career as a marketing guru, her contributions as an essayist, and her work with MWP, Neylan is also a devoted wife and mother of three daughters. We are incredibly grateful for her willingness to share her story and thoughts with us at A Thoughtful Faith.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-011-NeylanMcBaine-Part1.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:09pm MST

We are proud to release Sarah Collett's recent interview of Terryl and Fiona Givens. In this episode we are introduced to some of the beautiful themes in the Givens' new book The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life. Terryl and Fiona also express their concern, empathy, and encouragement for those who experience doubt as a integral part of their relationship to faith and Mormonism.

Terryl Givens (PhD Comparative Literature, UNC Chapel Hill) holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond. Author of several books, his writing has been praised by the New York Times as provocative reading, and includes, most recently, When Souls Had Wings, a history of the idea of premortal life in Western thought, and a biography (with Matthew Grow) of Parley Pratt (winner of the 2012 Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association). Fiona Givens (MA European History, University of Richmond) recently retired from directing the French Language program at Patrick Henry High School, in Ashland Virginia. Besides education, she has worked in translation services, as a lobbyist, and as communications director of a non-profit. A longtime collaborator in Terryls previous books, this is her first coauthorship.

We are incredibly grateful for the Givens, who graciously gave of their time and thoughts for our new podcast. Please check out The God Who Weeps, as well as Terryl's recent Letter to a Doubter referenced in the interview.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-010-TerrylandFionaGivens.mp3
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In this fascinating interview by Sarah Collett we are introduced to Chase and Rebecca and their remarkable faith journey. Shortly after Rebecca met Chase and they were married, Rebecca made an astonishing realization of the similarities between her charismatically spiritual father and the prophet Joseph Smith. But it wasn't until scandal rocked her mother and father's marriage that Rebecca realized how similar her father and Joseph truly were.

This couple's story takes us through a complex journey where a daughter's admiration and faith in her father as well as her subsequent disappointment and heartbreak mirror hers and her husband's descent into faith crisis. While Rebecca's father catalyzed hers and Chase's doubts of Joseph Smith, remarkably it was the two men's similarities that ultimately brought them back as they learned to forgive and move past both men's respective shortcomings.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-009-ChaseandRebecca.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:27pm MST

In this interview with our own Sarah Collett, Dr. Thomas G. Alexander covers the broad spectrum of his many historical writings and research. From Post Manifesto Polygamy, to Mormons in American Politics, to the Word of Wisdom, and Evolution, Dr. Alexander provides an overview of many topics of interest within contemporary Mormon Scholarship.

Dr. Alexander's thoughts and research provide an interesting examination of how revelation, doctrine, culture, and human weakness connect and intermingle into the inspiring yet imperfect religious movement of Mormonism. Thomas Alexander explains how his awareness of what can be complicated and challenging issues have broadened and deepened his own connection to Mormonism. He stands as a brilliant model of thoughtful belief, and has provided our community an amazing legacy of wisdom, faith, and scholarship.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude for Dr. Thomas G. Alexander for taking the time to share his thoughts with us and our listeners. Enjoy.

Dr. Thomas G. Alexander is an American and Mormon Historian, and professor emeritus of Brigham Young University.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-008-ThomasAlexander.mp3
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We are grateful for Kylan Rice sharing this excellent interview with LDS author, filmmaker, and playwrite Margaret Young. In this interview Margaret shares he story of how she became enthralled with Mormon Race Dynamics, and how she has spent her life as an advocate for Black Mormon issues in LDS culture. Margaret also discusses how gender dynamics present challenges to her and other LDS women, and how she reconciles these issues with her faith in the Gospel.

Guest host Kylan Rice is a producer for BYU Radio, a poet, and a student of English literature. He also contributes, as a guest writer, to the blog RationalFaiths.com, which seeks to "provide a safe, fair, and balanced space to discuss the complexities, difficulties, and beauty of the Mormon tradition."
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-007-MargaretYoung.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:25pm MST

In conjunction with Kylan Rice's interview with Margaret Young for A Thoughtful Faith, we would like to feature Margaret Young and Darius Gray's Mormon Stories podcast episode from April 2006 on Blacks and LDS Priesthood.

At the time of this podcast Margaret and Darius had been invited by Brigham Young University to deliver a presentation entitled, “Blacks and the LDS Priesthood.”

In this podcast, Darius re-delivers this presentation, along with Margaret Young. Darius and Margaret are co-authors of a trilogy dealing with black Mormon history entitled: Standing on the Promises.
Direct download: MormonStories-026-BlacksPriesthood-DariusGray.mp3
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Rock Waterman is a popular LDS blogger who owns and operates the Pure Mormonism blog. In this interview Rock shares some of his backstory, including his "Mighty Change" that shifted his perspectives on Mormonism and ultimately motivated him to start his blog and share his perspective with all of Mormondom.

Rock stands as a unique voice, warning the Saints about relying too much on the institutional church headquartered in Salt Lake City and its administrative leadership at the expense of developing our own relationship with God through scripture, revelation, and the Spirit of God. In the interview, we touch on a few topics including: the error of institutional infallibility and blind obedience, the nature of true revelation mediated through prophets, and how to maintain faith in Jesus Christ independent of religious institutions.

I think Rock's unique take is an important and desperately needed voice in Modern Mormonism. We have all been taught that the Church and the Gospel are codependent and inseparable. As such, it is common for Mormons who take issue with certain aspects of Church policy, history and perceived past crimes to allow those grievances to influence their relationship to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rock Waterman's approach to this situation allows us as Mormons to embrace what we feel is true and right about the Gospel while setting aside aspects of our Mormon experience that are not in harmony with our values and ethics.

We would like to thank Rock again for his willingness to share his experience and perspective with our listeners.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-006-RockWaterman.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:27pm MST

We are proud to present this brilliant interview by Sarah Collett of Dr. John Sorenson. Dr. Sorenson is an emeritus professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University, and a renowned expert of Book of Mormon archeology and geography. His seminal work An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon popularized the Limited Geography Theory within LDS culture, and has been the reference point for both apologetic and critical approaches to historicity of the Book of Mormon. Since his retirement from BYU, Dr. Sorenson has dedicated over two decades of research into the body of work that will be released in his upcoming book Mormon's Codex, which will be published through the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship.

In this interview, Dr. Sorenson provides insight into his backstory and how he became enthralled with Book of Mormon archeological research. Here he also provides us a brief teaser of his upcoming book which serves as his last stand on the issue of Book of Mormon historicity. In this interview, Dr. Sorenson shares some information about contemporaneous evidence of metalwork, horses, elephants, and inscribed sheets of gold consistent with the understood Book of Mormon chronology. We hope this episode of A Thoughtful Faith will serve as a great introduction to Dr. Sorenson's upcoming book, and further the scholarly discussion about this important issue.

Many thanks to Dr. John Sorenson for his willingness to share his experiences, research, and wisdom through our podcast.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-005-JohnSorenson.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:18pm MST

We are pleased to share John Dehlin's recent interview with Phil Barlow, whose book "A Thoughtful Faith" has played a pivotal role in many Mormon's faith journey's, including John's, and is also the inspiration for the name and theme of this podcast.

Phil Barlow currently sits in the Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, at Utah State University. He earned a B. A. from Weber State College and an M.T.S. and Ph.D. (1988, with an emphasis on Religion and American Culture and on the History of Christianity) from Harvard University. He spent two years as a Mellon Fellow at the University of Rochester after which he became professor of Theological Studies at Hanover College in Indiana. In addition to articles, essays, and reviews, Dr. Barlow has published Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion (Oxford Univ. Press, 1991) and several other books. He is past president of the Mormon History Association.
Direct download: MormonStories-371-PhilBarlowPt2.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:09pm MST

We are pleased to share John Dehlin's recent interview with Phil Barlow, whose book "A Thoughtful Faith" has played a pivotal role in many Mormon's faith journey's, including John's, and is also the inspiration for the name and theme of this podcast.

Phil Barlow currently sits in the Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, at Utah State University. He earned a B. A. from Weber State College and an M.T.S. and Ph.D. (1988, with an emphasis on Religion and American Culture and on the History of Christianity) from Harvard University. He spent two years as a Mellon Fellow at the University of Rochester after which he became professor of Theological Studies at Hanover College in Indiana. In addition to articles, essays, and reviews, Dr. Barlow has published Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion (Oxford Univ. Press, 1991) and several other books. He is past president of the Mormon History Association.
Direct download: MormonStories-370-PhilBarlowPt1.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:07pm MST

In this episode, Sarah Collett interviews LDS Scholar Trent Stephens, professor of anatomy and embryology at Idaho State University. Prof. Stephens has received many awards and accolades in the world of academia for his investigative research into the developmental origins of vertebrate form, and the mechanism of the drug thalidomide in causing birth defects. He has published more than eighty scientific papers and books, including several leading textbooks for anatomy and physiology.

Trent Stephens has also published works relevant to his areas of expertise within Mormon Studies, including Who Are The Children of Lehi?, and Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding, both of which he co-authored with Dr. D. Jeffrey Meldrum. In this interview, Prof. Stephens tells us his backstory and love of science that has captured him since childhood. He discusses his early attempts to refute the Theory of Evolution and how this led him to ultimately accept it as scientific fact. Trent provides a crash course in human genetics and evolution, and shares with us how he reconciles his knowledge of science with his relationship to God as a Mormon, and even provides some of his own speculative theories of how literal interpretations of scripture and creation narratives fit into the scientific worldview.

Thanks again to Sarah Collett and Trent Stephens for providing us with this wonderful episode of A Thoughtful Faith.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-002-TrentStephens.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:20am MST

For our inaugural installment of this new podcast, I couldn’t think of anyone better to have than Greg Prince. Greg is well known in our little Mormon world for his historical contributions and his grassroots activism within the LDS Church. Greg is an advocate for better curriculum, scholarship, gender equality, and open dialogue within Mormon discourse and church policy. Greg sits on the board of directors for Dialogue Foundation, as well as the Madison House Autism Foundation. In this interview, Greg and I discuss Dialogue, one of Mormondom’s oldest and most controversial publications, and what role it will continue to play in the Internet Age. Greg is a bold advocate for gender equality and women’s issues within Mormon culture. We discuss the contributions of Chieko Okasaki, women and the priesthood, and what practical solutions are available today to affect positive change in Mormon gender equality. In October 2011, at the Washington DC Mormon Stories Conference, Greg Prince gave a wonderful summary of his experiences of activism within Mormonism, discussed his role models, and in Section 5 of his speech provided a manifesto for how we should take ownership of the future of Mormonism. Greg and I discussed in further depth his admonitions, which range from influencing curriculum, creating better scholarship, and how to navigate the political intrigue of church service. Toward the end of the interview, I asked Greg to tell us more about his newest project, the Madison House Autism Foundation (MHAF), which he and his wife JaLynn co-founded in 2009. MHAF is a very important organization that strives to find solutions for the needs of adults with autism. I strongly encourage our listeners to visit MHAF’s website. We will provide links below. It was a sublime experience to interview one of Modern Mormonism’s greatest champions. I would like to thank Greg from the bottom of my heart for helping us start off on the right foot.
Direct download: AThoughtfulFaith-001-GregPrince.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:18am MST

In conjunction with my interview on Greg Prince, I thought it would be very appropriate to repost here Greg's stirring speech from the October 2011 Washington DC Mormon Stories Conference as our first installment of our Mormon Stories Classic Series.

For the keynote address at the 2011 Mormon Stories Washington D.C. conference, noted author, scientist and philanthropist Greg Prince discussed the history of Mormon thought, and his vision for "Big Tent Mormonism."
Direct download: MormonStories-295-GregPrinceBigTentMormonism.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:15am MST

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