A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS

If you love Christmas, then this episode isn't for you. 

But, if you or someone you know doesn't approach Christmas with merriment and cheer, then this conversation between me and my good friend Nicola Petty might be worth listening to.

Both of us are avowed Grinches and as a concession to those who have to put up with our annual disagreeableness we get together for a chat to identify our points of disagreement with the Silly Season.  And we wonder if we need to cancel it next year?

Direct download: Hating_on_Christmas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:14pm NZDT

At Syracuse University, moral injury is defined as,

"… the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct."

In this episode, clinical psychologist Dr. Sean Aaron joins me to discuss moral injury. Many coming from the LDS tradition have been taught to spiritually bypass our gut reactions to practices or doctrines, chalking our doubts up to our personal failings and faithlessness.

Sean draws on the concept of moral injury to help us understand what is happening when we do so, and how we can trust and respond to our emotions in healthy ways.

Direct download: Sean_Aaron.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49am NZDT

Child sexual abuse in the church is pernicious and confounding. Why anyone purporting to be Christian would sexually abuse a child is beyond the imagination of many. Yet it happens, and far too often to be dismissed.

The Royal Commissions of Inquiry into Sexual Abuse in Ireland and Australia, and currently being conducted in New Zealand, have resulted in powerful evidence-based recommendations for best practices that keep children safe from predatory behaviour in faith-based institutions.

Despite the extent, breadth and thoroughness of these inquiries, the Salt Lake church seems largely disinterested in the wisdom and advice originating from any legal jurisdiction or cultural context other than their own.   

Neville Rochow joins me to discuss how child sexual abuse is managed legally and ecclesiastically in the LDS Church in light of the Royal Commissions of Inquiry.   

Direct download: Rochow_Sexual_Abuse_in_the_Church.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am NZDT

Author of the Spiritual Child, Professor of Psychology Lisa Miller writes in ‘The Spiritual Child’:

“Spiritual development through the early years … provides a protective health benefit, reducing the risk of depression, substance abuse, aggression, and high-risk behaviors.”

It’s for this reason that the team at Upliftkids have created a resource for parents to help them spiritually nurture their children, regardless of religious persuasion.

The resources at Uplift Kids help both parents and children find their inner compass by integrating the best of modern science and ancient wisdom that  honour and support the gracious spiritual development and sensitivity of children.

Amanada Suarez and Drew Hansen join me to discuss the healthy spiritual formation of children.

Direct download: uplift.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am NZDT

Australian barrister Neville Rochow QC has offered the LDS Church legal advice over the years and has appeared for the church at parliamentary committees on the question of religious freedom.   For two years, he also represented the church at the European Parliament in Brussels.

He has been intimately involved in the church’s legal concerns and is well versed in how its legal machinery works, particularly internationally.

In part two of this series, Neville joins me to discuss the LDS Church and its financial activities. 

Direct download: Rochow_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm NZDT

Australian barrister Neville Rochow QC has offered the LDS Church legal advice over the years and has appeared for the church at parliamentary committees on the question of religious freedom.   For two years, he also represented the church at the European Parliament in Brussels.

He has been intimately involved in the church's legal concerns and is well versed in how its legal machinery works, particularly internationally.

In part one of this series, Neville joins me to discuss the LDS Church and its legal machinations.  In this episode he offers an overview of the relationship between the US church in the international legal arena.

Direct download: Rochow_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59am NZDT

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: 9:11am NZDT

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: 9:25am NZDT

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: 9:08pm NZDT

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: 11:57am NZDT

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: 8:18am NZDT

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: 9:29am NZDT

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: 11:54am NZDT

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: 3:14pm NZDT

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: 1:07pm NZDT

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: 11:18am NZDT

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: 10:09am NZDT

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: 7:31am NZDT

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: 4:34pm NZDT

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: 9:16pm NZDT

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: 7:33am NZDT