A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS

Professor Rick Phillips hails from Utah and has an impressive Mormon pedigree.  He was raised under the sacred canopy of LDS belief and faith.  And it was a good life, one that Rick remains nostalgic about to this day. 

But, his aspirations to be a seminary teacher didn't last as more and more questions and conundrums took the place of the orthodoxy he was born into.

Prof. Rick Phillips joins me to discuss his subtle evolution from a profoundly vested believer of Mormonism to a deeply interested non-believer.

Direct download: Rick_Phillips.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:42pm MDT

Exponent II Editor, Margaret Olsen Hemming says of the Exponent guest edition of Dialogue, "

 

In this issue, we asked women to write about claiming power. We hoped that writers would think creatively about the idea of power, including traditional forms of authority in an organizational hierarchy but also going beyond this sometimes-limiting definition. We wanted women to examine their engagement of power within their families, wards, workplaces, and selves."

 

Artist Michelle Franzoni, Mormon scholar Nancy Ross and Margaret Olsen Hemming join me to discuss this historic issue of Dialogue:  A Journal of Mormon Thought.

Direct download: Exponent_Interview_Auphonic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:15pm MDT

The question as to whether or not Mormonism is a cult is a contentious one, but despite your definitions, one thing is for certain, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a high demand faith and as such the exercise of agency and decision making is a charged issue.

Wherever you are in relation to the LDS Church, it is useful to understand the science of belief and how we can indeed cultivate healthy cognitive responses to life's most vexing questions, so that (as Luna argues), 'we can relieve ourselves of: 

 "feelings of depression, guilt, shame, exhaustion, phobias, magical thinking, passive-aggressive behaviour, and hidden familial abuse.'"
 


 

Direct download: Luna_Corbden_Cogdis_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08pm MDT

Liberation theologian James Cone has said:

“It is ironic that America, with its history of injustice to the poor, especially the black man and the Indian, prides itself on being a Christian nation.”

So, what sense does a profoundly faithful black Christian woman make of America still mired in its many racial sins?   What can be said about a nation who remains at odds with itself in its resistance to the spiritual healing that it so desperately needs?

In this very personal conversation,  The Rev. Dr Fatimah Salleh mourns with me the brokenness that is her nation and her church.

Direct download: America_is_broken.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24pm MDT

Is the USA a democracy, a nascent theocracy, or a mobocracy?  Perhaps it's all of those things and all at the same time.  

The Nauvoo experience gives us a strong sense of the unsettled ideological, economic and religious arguments that remain unresolved in the United States.  Powder Keg is what the United States feels like in 2020, and after reading Kingdom of Nauvo that covers a short period of American religious history between 1839-1846, this book brings some of these centuries-old quandaries about America into perspective.

Faith and violence are twinned in this remarkable telling of a doomed social and theocratic experiment to find a religious utopia under the leadership of the Joseph Smith.  

Plodding and boring this story is not.  
 

Direct download: Ben_Park.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm MDT

In this much-needed volume, that follows the evolution of LDS Church thought about race,  from its earliest beginnings to its contemporary constructions, Professor Brooks seeks to account for a religious tradition that has never made a definitive departure, nor offered an explanation or an apology for why being racist is not a matter for Mormon censure while advocating for the increased authority of women or the safety of children is?

In Mormonism and White Supremacy: American Religion and the Problem of Racial Innocence Brooks offers a vital racial critique of the faith of her ancestors and her birth. 

Direct download: Joanna_Brooks_Racism_Te_Mutunga.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:43pm MDT

Professor of Law, Annick Masselot and I reflect on the many gender inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic has made apparent.  

With research foci on equality and anti-discrimination law, gender equality, pregnancy and maternity rights, and work-life balance, Annick argues that world leaders are well-positioned to create new economic and social arrangements that are fairer and more humane particularly for women.

 

 

 

Direct download: Annick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:03pm MDT

One of the great American phenomena is the enmeshment of religion and politics.   That relationship is never more present than in the Book of Mormon belt where being Republican is a matter of faithfulness.  From Southern Alberta down to Arizona being Mormon means listening to Fox news like its a sermon;  supporting the NRA like its a mission and loving the Constitution like its scripture.  

For Steve Otteson, this was the ideological food that he grew up with.   A Mormon boy of pioneer stock who was raised simultaneously without much space between the politics of his region and the religion of his ancestors.   

And then one day it all came crashing down;  both his political and religious certainties.

Direct download: Otteson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:36pm MDT

Great, great-great-grandson of Joseph and Emma Smith, Lachlan Mackay, is a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles in Community of Christ.  

A native of Independence, Missouri, Lach argues that context is absolutely critical when doing church history. Unbundling theology from history offers these disciplines the integrity they both need and deserve. 

This has been important to Lach both professionally and personally as someone who sits in a faith tradition founded by a great-grandparent who continues to be one of America's most controversial religious figures.

Direct download: Lach_MacKay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm MDT

John Hamer, the Pastor of Centre Place in Toronto,  joins me to talk about how digital technology has radically changed his congregation. 

The Toronto community has had a long and continuous presence in Canada since the very early days of the Restoration. 

Now, from a congregation of dwindling numbers, the pastorate team have transformed Centre Place into a community without borders which, during the COVID-19 pandemic,  has welcomed nearly 1000 weekly participants from 26 different nations.

Direct download: Hamer_Centreplace_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:42pm MDT

The Navajo Nation has approximately 356,000 people living on the reservation and from the Navajo Times on Monday 27 April 2020 we read:

 “As of Monday evening, there are 1,769 positive COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation, more than one per cent of the residents on the reservation...The total number of deaths remains at 59.”

For comparison, New Zealand has a population of 5 million and has had 1472 cases and 19 deaths.  

Something is clearly amiss and to discuss the urgent situation on the Navajo Nation, Jo Overton (Lakota) joins me.

Direct download: overton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:45am MDT

In this episode, my guests Nancy Ross from St George and Brittany Mangleson from Saratoga Springs discuss the Utah response to Covid-19 including some of the philosophical, ideological and religious issues with which this disease intersects.

Direct download: Ross_Mangleson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55pm MDT

What happens to Easter when a member of the LDS Church Alumni Association can no longer believe in one of Christianity’s greatest stories? What happens when there's too much religious hurt caused by an emphasis on literalism and religious authority that made about 150 too many supernatural claims that became tests of fellowship? Could Easter ever offer hope again?

This episode is for those who find themselves in this sometimes lonely corner of the Christian world where there's still faith even when literal belief in Christianity's more persistent supernatural claims are no longer.

Direct download: Resurrection_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm MDT

Dr Joanne LaFleur is Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah. Joanne has taken an interest in questions that lie at the intersection of science and morality.  In this state of lockdown, there are surprisingly many things to see as science, public health, politics, economics, morality and philosophy generate many new questions for all of us.  Whose lives are worth saving?  How is life-saving to be done?  Does this moment expose the flaws in our economic systems?  Does Covid-19 bring us into conversation about alternative ways of understanding the structures we depend upon for human survival?

Not, all of these questions will be answered in this conversation, but I hope Joanne’s reflections on this moment as a scientist and an epidemiologist and as a regular person who is entering into the question with refreshing honesty and humility, will give us permission to wonder anew this thing we call life.

Direct download: LaFleur_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17pm MDT

Rome stands out because of its Christian history and now, even churches have shut down leaving Rome almost empty of the crowds who for centuries have arrived daily to make their pilgrimage to the eternal city.

To discuss Italy's lockdown, its cultural impact and the comfort hope he’s found in online Community of Christ ministry, Michael Wright joins me from the Eternal City.

Direct download: Michael_in_Italy_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36pm MDT

Duke Divinity School graduate and Baptist Pastor,  Rev. Dr Fatimah Salleh and Exponent II Chief Editor, Margaret Olsen Hemming team up to give the Book of Mormon a Social Justice Reading.  The Book of Mormon for the Least of These is the result.

Refreshingly, and without making any origin or belief claims,  Fatimah and Margaret offer a new perspective on the Book of Mormon arguing that there are yet spiritually useful things to pay attention to that goes beyond our squabbling about whether or not the book is what the church says it is.

As Marcus Borg argued, "believing something to be true has nothing to do with whether it is true.”

Direct download: Final_Fatimah_and_Margaret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm MDT

One of the most important issues confronting those who have left fundamentalist faith traditions is what to do about their faith life.

In this episode, I discuss deconstruction and reconstruction from a personal perspective for those who are curious about how others proceed across the bridge of what once was a reconstructed spiritual life. 

Of course, one's faith reconstruction will be done on one's own terms and in one's own way, but it might be useful to hear another’s story!

Direct download: Deconstruction_and_Reconstruction.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:33pm MDT

"When Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19), the term “lay-up” did not simply speak of having possessions, but of your possessions having you. “Lay up” could be better translated “hoard” or “stockpile.” - Greg Laurie

Theologically what are we to make of a church that religiously taxes its adherents, demands their labour for a lay clergy and then banks its money only to watch it accrue? 

Is it justifiable?

Most actively participating and paying Mormons won’t question it.  They’ll call it good stewardship and an indication of the care with which the LDS Church Corporations treat its donor revenue.    For others, including my guest, former Salt Lake City tax attorney Mark Barnes, there are more than legal reasons to question the LDS church’s outsized fortune.    

Direct download: Mark_Barnes_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm MDT

Let's be fair.  Neither Joseph nor Brigham could be considered as good men in their care, affection, fidelity and love for their wives.  To the contrary, they were want to swap them, share them, manipulate them, ignore them, betray them and abandon them.   We might make much of Joseph's affection for Emma, but he broke her heart over and over again.

These were two men for whom the idea of a good husband had entirely eluded them.  And there was a terrible price to pay for all of the women who had to endure what could only be considered a despicable mischief.  

Joe Geisner joins me to discuss wives, sex, priesthood, power in Joseph's inner circle.

Direct download: Joe_Geisner_Part_Two__GB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm MDT

Maxine Hanks and I have a conversation about Christmastide. Christmastide runs from 25 December until early January.  More particularly we discuss the delicious idea of incorporating Mary  as more than just incidental to our celebrations. According to Maxine Christmas is Mary’s holy time.  Mary symbolizes so much more than the vessel through which the Christ child emerged into the world.  Mary is prophetic, priestly and queenly.


But getting to that reading of Mary requires a deeper way of engaging scripture so we begin with a conversation about hermeneutics and suggestions for deepening our reading of the Christmas story. And with another year to prepare perhaps this will help enrich our forthcoming Christmas celebrations.

Direct download: Maxine_Mary_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm MDT

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