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290–291: Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Mormon Studies

August 27, 2015
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290–291: Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Mormon Studies

The academic study of religion has been around for a long time. And although there are many examples of books and articles that have used academic lenses to explore various aspects of Mormonism, it’s only in the past two decades that we’ve begun to see the formal rise of “Mormon Studies.” In this episode, Brian Birch and Spencer Fluhman, two thought leaders in this emerging field, help us understand Mormon Studies. What types of inquiry fit under this umbrella term–and how settled is the definition? What are the key developments in the growth of the field? What institutions have Mormon…

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289: The Gift of the Holy Ghost     

August 17, 2015
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289: The Gift of the Holy Ghost     

This episode on the gift of the Holy Ghost is the fourth in a series discussing what the Articles of Faith refer to as the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. All four have featured Samuel M. Brown, author of the book First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article…

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287–288: Joseph Smith’s Use of a Seer Stone in Bringing Forth the Book of Mormon

August 10, 2015
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287–288: Joseph Smith’s Use of a Seer Stone in Bringing Forth the Book of Mormon

  On Tuesday, August 4th, the LDS Church in conjunction with the Community of Christ held a press conference announcing the newest volume in the ongoing Joseph Smith Papers project. This new two-volume work contains high definition color pictures of each page of the Book of Mormon “printers manuscript” (owned…

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286: Sunstone 2015

July 21, 2015
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286: Sunstone 2015

Sunstone is a unique organization within the Mormon intellectual world. For more than forty years it has published a magazine and annually convened symposiums of many varieties, hosting voices from all over the Mormon spectrum. It has faced many challenges through the years but is now thriving again, continuing to…

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284–285: Worthiness

June 29, 2015
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284–285: Worthiness

“Worthiness” is a word that pops up quite often in LDS circles. It is as prominent as it is primarily because it is invoked when talking about ecclesiastical interviews, most often tied to temple recommends but also associated with the charge bishops receive to regularly interview the ward’s youth. And…

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283: Being an Ally

June 16, 2015
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283: Being an Ally

Every group that struggles for greater voice, rights, and fairness welcomes and draws strength from “allies,” people who are not a member of that group yet stand up for or work (mostly) behind the scenes to further the cause. It’s an important role, and one that can be very satisfying, but…

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282: Baptism

June 2, 2015
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282: Baptism

What seem to be very simple rituals and teachings become, under sustained reflection and a reflective spiritual walk, immensely rich. This is the case with this episode, which continues a series started this past December and January (episodes 261, 263-264) discussing topics in Samuel M. Brown’s book, First Principles and Ordinances: The…

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281: LDS Film: Present, Future, Roles, Tensions

May 26, 2015
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281: LDS Film: Present, Future, Roles, Tensions

This episode features a fantastic conversation on film and the many roles it plays in human lives and communities, especially religious ones. Along the way it wrestles with the tensions that are always present in films for niche audiences, especially when filmmakers try to tell compelling stories while at the…

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279–280: Mutual Respect: Creating Healthy Relationships When Loved Ones Choose a Different Faith Path

May 12, 2015
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279–280: Mutual Respect: Creating Healthy Relationships When Loved Ones Choose a Different Faith Path

For more than a decade, Chelsea Shields Strayer and her parents, Eric and Heidi Shields, have held very difficult but ultimately fruitful conversations regarding her struggles within Mormonism, which eventually led her to no longer believe its teachings or choose to continue to engage as an active member. Their journey…

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278: Encountering Other Traditions, Part 2: Roman Catholicism

April 29, 2015
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278: Encountering Other Traditions, Part 2: Roman Catholicism

This episode is the second installment in the Mormon Matters “Encountering Other Traditions” series that explores the fruits that come from bringing Mormonism into dialogue with other faiths. The focus of this conversation is an exploration of Mormon and Catholic connections as well as differences, and the ways that intimacy…

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277: Does Powerful Faith Require Scriptural Literalism?

April 22, 2015
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277: Does Powerful Faith Require Scriptural Literalism?

In speaking at the April 2015 General Conference about the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland boldly stated that “the simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth…

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276: Being Heard in Today’s Church

April 8, 2015
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276: Being Heard in Today’s Church

At the April 2015 General Conference, several church members took the unusual step of voicing opposition during the sustaining of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Frustrated with the lack of dialogue between the church’s top leaders and those with questions about church doctrines, or who hope to…

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274–275: Beyond Belief and Unbelief

March 31, 2015
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274–275: Beyond Belief and Unbelief

We bring our faith crises to word most often through expressions about our no longer “believing” this or that teaching. We’ve been confronted with evidence that challenges a truth claim or leads us to no longer unquestionably follow leaders or our current life scripts, and we naturally concentrate our attention…

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273: The Passion (Final Week of Jesus’s Life)

March 25, 2015
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273: The Passion (Final Week of Jesus’s Life)

On 29 March 2015, the Christian world will celebrate Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem for what turned out to be the final few days of his life. This final week, especially his suffering in Gethsemane, betrayal, and crucifixion, are also widely known as “The Passion,” and commemorations…

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272: Paul’s Theology of Grace

March 16, 2015
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272: Paul’s Theology of Grace

The Apostle Paul’s theology can be difficult to grasp–and, in a few ways, especially so for Mormons. Some challenges arise from Latter-day Saints’ primary use of the King James Translation of the Bible, which has often very beautiful language but also contains archaic expressions that sometimes confuse English readers and…

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271: Speaking with Loved Ones about Faith Differences

March 10, 2015
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271: Speaking with Loved Ones about Faith Differences

In this episode, co-released with Mormon Stories, Wendy Williams Montgomery, John Dehlin, and Dan Wotherspoon speak about the difficult dynamics at play in discussing with loved ones, whether family, friends, or ward members, about differences in faith positions after one party or another has shifted. In contrast with the types…

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270: “Yes, and . . .”: Activism and Renewal in a Tragic World

February 26, 2015
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270: “Yes, and . . .”: Activism and Renewal in a Tragic World

We all recognize that there is a significant distance between the “real” world we live in and the “ideal” one we’d love to see instantiated. Parker Palmer calls this space between real and ideal the “tragic gap.” He uses “tragic” to denote the inevitability of this distance and to acknowledge…

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269: The Effects of Excommunication on All of Us: Healing Perspectives

February 11, 2015
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269: The Effects of Excommunication on All of Us: Healing Perspectives

This week’s excommunication from the LDS Church of John Dehlin, and its making fresher the memory of Kate Kelly’s excommunication last summer as well as other actions taken against persons of conscience who have found themselves in tension with the church, is taking a great emotional and spiritual toll on…

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267–268: The Gospels

February 10, 2015
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267–268: The Gospels

In this two-part Mormon Matters episode, Taylor Petrey and Eric Huntsman join host Dan Wotherspoon to help ground the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the political, geographic, linguistic, and religious contexts of their times. What do we know (and not know!) about the authors of these texts,…

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265–266: Mormonism as a “Religion”

February 3, 2015
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265–266: Mormonism as a “Religion”

Of course Mormonism is a religion. But do we always think about it through the lenses of such a big and diverse category? Among those who are born into and/or otherwise live and experience the world primarily through the lenses of Mormonism, most often their focus is on its “truth…

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263–264: Ordinances

January 29, 2015
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263–264: Ordinances

In the Doctrine and Covenants, we read that it is through ordinances that “the power of godliness is manifest” (D&C 84:20). There are many ways to read this scripture, various angles to take, and all of them are fruitful. In this two-part episode, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists…

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262: Gospel Burn-Out

December 17, 2014
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262: Gospel Burn-Out

Ever feel worn down, your spiritual life lagging, feeling like all you are doing is going through the motions, and church engagement is feeling more like “gospel grind” than blessing? When we find ourselves in one of these moments–perhaps days, months, years!–what might we do to recover a little of…

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261: Faith and Repentance

December 8, 2014
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261: Faith and Repentance

Because they come up so often in gospel lessons and are indeed the “first principles” of the gospel (Article of Faith 4), we might think that a 90-minute podcast on faith and repentance would be redundant and boring. Not so when talked about by Sam Brown and Adam Miller! Mixing…

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260: Introversion and the Mormon Experience

December 3, 2014
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No two individuals are exactly alike, and no schema can fully capture our particular essence or personality. Yet it is sometimes helpful to speak about different temperaments or “personality types.” One of the largest personality type groupings distinguishes between “extroverts” and “introverts,” with certain studies recognizing between 30 and 50…

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259: A Reason for the Hope That Is In Me

November 19, 2014
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259: A Reason for the Hope That Is In Me

In 1 Peter, we are encouraged as Christians to always be ready to give voice to “a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). This past weekend, I was given an opportunity to do just that when I shared reflections from my…

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258: Question 7

November 12, 2014
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258: Question 7

In the LDS temple recommend interview, Question 7 reads: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” This question came into public consciousness this past week…

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257: Negotiating Adult Faith within a Developing Institution

November 3, 2014
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257: Negotiating Adult Faith within a Developing Institution

Just as many theorists understand individual human maturation through developmental stages, a great deal of literature suggests that institutions (churches, corporations, governments) as well as other all other groups, cultures, and societies, also undergo similar processes. In this episode, guest host Katie Langston and panelists Dan Wotherspoon, Marybeth Raynes, and Brad Kramer discuss ideas about socio-cultural…

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256: The Church’s New Articles on Plural Marriage

October 27, 2014
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256: The Church’s New Articles on Plural Marriage

The LDS Church has just released via its website, LDS.org, several new essays under the heading “Plural Marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The cluster includes a framing article (named above) and links to three more detailed pieces: “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” (new article),…

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255: New Church Video on LDS Temple Clothing and Garments

October 21, 2014
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255: New Church Video on LDS Temple Clothing and Garments

Through its Newsroom website, the LDS Church recently released a new video and essay that depicts Mormonism’s sacred temple clothing, along with the garments worn by those who have gone through the temple and made covenants there. The video and essay frame temple robes and garments as continuous with the…

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254: Meet the Mormons–Is It Signaling a Shift in Mormon Identity?

October 16, 2014
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254: Meet the Mormons–Is It Signaling a Shift in Mormon Identity?

Meet the Mormons was filmed for use in LDS visitor centers, but in a surprising move it was released in U.S. theaters on October 10th, and was seen by a substantial number of people–mostly Mormons, and many there from encouragement by leaders or local organizers to attend the opening weekend…

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253: Supporting Missionary Work During or After a Faith Transition

October 14, 2014
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253: Supporting Missionary Work During or After a Faith Transition

The importance of actively participating in sharing the gospel is a prominent topic in contemporary Mormonism. For youth, there are big pushes to prepare for and serve a full-time mission. For parents, one of our most important calls is to raise future missionaries. We’re frequently called on to pray for…

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