A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS

Mark Crego and I met around eight years ago, fellow sojourners in the quest to understand our shared faith in the LDS church.  We had a similar curiosity about the spiritual life and consequently we both completed a Masters degree:  He in theology and me in ministry.   Having taken a Christian formation path we find ourselves similarly interested in the necessity of the divinity of Jesus.  Was he literally, biologically the Son of God? 

Neither of us think so.

This conversation is not new.  Jane Schaberg  is one scholar who tackled the question front on, and she paid dearly for it. 

Mark and I come to similar conclusions, that the divinity of Jesus has more to do with claims of power,  authority and Empire than it has to do with biology.  For Mark and I, the illegitimate, fatherless Jesus who God chose as his son is a far more spiritually enlivening and plausible alternative.

Direct download: The_Illegitimacy_of_Jesus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm MDT

While the Mountain Saints speak of the Law of Chastity being the iron clad rule that anything sexual should happen in marriage, the Praire Saints have a statement of Sexual Ethics.

The Statement of Sexual Ethics is the distillation of years of discussion with church leaders across the world and continues as a living document up for discussion and debate.

Community of Christ Apostle Robin Linkhart and former LDS members and now Community of Christ Ministers, Brittany Mangelson and Nancy Ross join me to have the conversation about sex  from the perspective of two very different restoration traditions.


Direct download: Sexual_Ethics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:25pm MDT

When I began questioning the LDS Church, I did not expect the Stake Relief Society president to join me. Nicola Petty went from orthodox and loyal member guided by the priesthood to a Stake Relief Society President who had been woken up by the Ordain Women movement. It was in this capacity that I watched her press priesthood button after priesthood button advocating intelligently and determinedly for the women in our stake. And then, when the church was no longer reconcilable, rather than spit the church out, Nicola planned her exit well, and took up the challenge to build a new life. Her’s is a story of integrity, integration, and extraordinary grace for a church she once loved deeply but no longer sees as essential to her human becoming.  

This is a personal story of breaking up well. 

Direct download: NPetty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08am MDT

Born and raised a devout Mormon in Utah, Katie Langston chronicles her unexpected conversion to orthodox Christianity with candor and theological depth. Her remarkable debut memoir explores themes of religious fundamentalism, mental illness, and family belonging—culminating in her surprising and liberating encounters with the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Gina and Katie dive deep into the question of faith and family.

Direct download: Sealed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:57pm MDT

We were made for tenderness, gentleness, openness, authenticity, vulnerability, compassion and caring.  We are threaded through with the strands of genuine goodness.  Our true selves, our inner landscapes are beautiful and potentiated for wholeness, fullness and love.

Mormon trauma is most profoundly felt into being culturally, or institutionally permitted to be our true selves but to live in this highly controlled world where we are treated as potentiated for evil and best kept managed, where the greatest virtue is obedience. 

Mormon trauma is experienced as death by a thousand cuts, from the way that policy and doctrine  is dropped to way we serve, teach and lead, to the way we are with each other and in our families, to the stories we tell about the world beyond Mormonism.

Lindsay Hansen Park joins me to discuss the ordinariness of Mormon trauma.

Direct download: Trauma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18pm MDT

Some people say that Community of Christ is just LDS lite. This simply isn't true.

Despite their common roots, you would be unlikely to find two more differently wired faith traditions than the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS (Mormons).

To discuss how this came to be and why the RLDS set about revising and reforming their church in the 1960's while the LDS took on a renewed commitment to restoration fundamentalism and American political conservatism, Professor of American religion, David Howlett from Smith College joins A Thoughtful Faith Podcast.

Direct download: Why_Did_the_RLDS_Change_But_the_LDS_Didnt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm MDT

Ambivalence, ambiguity, lack of accountability and spiritual abuse characterize Natasha Helfer's membership council. Her witnesses speak out about their experience.

Direct download: The_Witnesses_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54pm MDT

Spencer Wells and Isaac Barnes May seek to put the recent ex-communication/name removal of Natasha Helfer from the LDS Church into the broader context of church boundary maintenance in America.

Direct download: Excommunication.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14pm MDT

As a performance artist, Andi has been feeding her culture with bread for many years.  She bakes, graffitis and gifts her bread warm to those in need.

Artistically weaving mountains, fire, lament and bread comes from an elemental and a cosmic drive to make the spiritual immanent. 

Andi and I talk about how material culture becomes spiritual culture.

Direct download: Andi_Pitcher_Davis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07pm MDT

Natasha Helfer (LCMFT, CST, CSTS )is a licensed clinician and mental health professional who has been summoned to a LDS Church trial for her public stance on sexual health. Taking offence at the idea that the LDS Church is a toxic religious home for our LGBTQIA+ community, and that masturbation can be both appropriate and healthy, a Kansas Stake President has held onto Natasha's records for 18 months in order to execute this action.

Natasha joins me to discuss the broader context of LDS Church culture that makes such punitive measures acceptable and actionable.

Direct download: Natasha_Excommunication_Talk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm MDT

This month, our discussion comes from listeners' questions about; white supremacy, intra-faith marriage,  community belonging, spirituality and the true church!

Direct download: SALMarch2021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm MDT

One of 150 siblings, Mary Jayne Blackmore is the daughter of Mormon leader Winston Blackmore.  Mary Jayne Blackmore grew up within the closed-off polygamist community of Bountiful, BC. Her family’s staunch Fundamentalist Mormon faith imposed fanatical doomsday preparation and carried an instilled fear of the world outside her community.

Mary Jayne has written a memoir 'Balancing Bountiful' of her evolution as a woman with a most unusual childhood.  Now out of the church but still in the community Mary Jayne has made a life for herself both inside and outside.

Direct download: Blackmore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm MDT

Today Katie Langston returns to the Spiritual Advice Line. We discuss spiritual abuse; unhelpful images of God; spiritual direction; the necessity of community, and how to read the Bible. If you would like to submit a question you may do so by going to katielangston.com

(These discussions are not necessarily representative of the official positions of either the ELC or the Community of Christ.

Direct download: SALJFeb21Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:34pm MDT

Emily Rose is the Campus Minister for Faith, Justice and Solidarity at a Jesuit University in Kansas City, Missouri.

In this episode, Emily Rose joins me to discuss eco-spirituality, eco-justice and eco-feminism and the way that the environment undergirds her relationship with her faith, the Divine and ultimately with the rest of the human family.

As a young person in the service of younger persons, her voice is essential as we think about the future of faith, spirituality and Christianity.

Direct download: Emily_Rose_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16am MDT

Eco-humanitarian and eco-theologian BYU Professor George Handley joins me to discuss his immense concern for the Earth and its future.

Professor Handley argues that humanity must be seen in light of our intimate and dependent relationship with Earth’s natural systems.  The Earth sustains and nourishes life but it needs our reciprocal care to ensure that it can do its sacred work.

Any theology that positions humanity as superior to the Earth or entitled to take what we like is why we face this current problem and insecurity over whether or not our home planet will last humanity’s trouble impact.

Direct download: Handley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33am MDT