Blog Archives

255: New Church Video on LDS Temple Clothing and Garments

October 21, 2014
By
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 phenomenon of sacred clothing worn by adherents in many other faith traditions, speaks about their use in temple rituals and daily life, highlights how similar they are for both men and women, and even depicts Latter-day Saints at distribution centers shopping for garments. It also directly addresses the inaccurate and…

Read more »

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

October 16, 2014
By
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 and convince theater owners to keep showing it for at least another week. Reactions to the film itself have been genuinely positive when evaluating it as a tool for visitor center guests, but it has been almost universally panned were one to judge it as a “documentary.” It is more…

Read more »

253: Supporting Missionary Work During or After a Faith Transition

October 14, 2014
By
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 inspiration about who in our lives might be open to hearing the gospel and having missionaries teach them, and we sometimes sit (often uncomfortably) in meetings where we are directly asked to commit to submit names for contact by missionaries. We’re occasionally asked to accompany ward and full-time missionaries as…

Read more »

251-252: Mormonism’s Apostasy Narrative

October 1, 2014
By
251-252: Mormonism’s Apostasy Narrative

No story differentiates Mormonism from other Christian traditions more than its claim to be the restoration of the church Jesus Christ set up while on the earth—an organization led by twelve apostles who were granted priesthood and authority to continue Christ’s saving work after he died. This framing narrative of an original church organization with priesthood keys that entitled its apostles to special revelation that, following the death of these leaders, fell into apostasy for some eighteen centuries before being restored to the earth, has provided a key part of our understanding of ourselves as Latter-day Saints and our historical…

Read more »

249–250: Being Authentic within Mormonism

September 23, 2014
By
249–250: Being Authentic within Mormonism

Mormonism is a powerful tradition, presenting a worldview and truth claims that are extremely potent, but also creating a culture that can be, for many of us, totalizing. When we feel safe and secure within its teachings and the sense of meaning it presents, it can be a wonderful, comfortable home. If, on the other hand, we find ourselves holding a more complex view about its doctrines or occupying a position at odds in any way with the community and dominant culture, we can feel very much an outsider. For those of us in this situation, our preoccupation often becomes…

Read more »

248: Approaching Scriptural Texts with Fresh Eyes

August 28, 2014
By
248: Approaching Scriptural Texts with Fresh Eyes

Scripture is not its own genre. Some scriptural texts are letters, some are songs or descriptions of rituals and liturgies, some poetry. Many sections are historical narratives, but others fall into the classification of “wisdom literature,” a genre that has completely different goals from historical accounts and a radically different view of what is or is not “true.” For ancient readers, these different genres of texts all within the Bible itself or as sections within particular books/chapters, were quite recognizable. They understood textual clues, such as phrases equivalent to today’s “Once upon a time,” or would notice noun or verb…

Read more »

247: The “Best Thing” About Mormonism—2

August 22, 2014
By
247: The “Best Thing” About Mormonism—2

This episode features four one-on-one conversations between Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and wonderful friends of his—Jeff Krey, Chelsi Archibald, Jim Smithson, and Becky Linford—who he asked to think about and share their favorite thing about Mormonism. What it is that they like or love most about Mormonism or life as a Mormon? What idea or practice or cultural uniqueness excites their spirits or compels the most reflection? As happened the first time we convened a “best thing” conversation, he got very interesting, even somewhat surprising, answers. Please listen and share your reactions, as well as your own “best thing” below!

Read more »

244–246: Genesis, Part 6—Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and the Transformation of Jacob

July 29, 2014
By
244–246: Genesis, Part 6—Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and the Transformation of Jacob

In this episode, the Mormon Matters “Genesis Team”—David Bokovoy, Tom Roberts, and Brian Hauglid—join host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of Genesis 24–33, which focus on the God-ordained meeting and marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, and the tales of their twin sons, Esau and Jacob—many of which focus on trickery and deception in order to fulfill Yahweh’s plans to continue the purity of the bloodline and the pass along the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. It also looks closely at Jacob and his journey from being somewhat of a “Mama’s boy” to a full-fledged prophet-hero—to a great extent aided by his…

Read more »

239–243: Jesus Christ within Mormonism

July 16, 2014
By
239–243: Jesus Christ within Mormonism

We Latter-day Saints “talk of Christ . . . rejoice in Christ . . . preach of Christ . . . prophesy of Christ . . . and write of Christ, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). But have we always been consistent in our understanding of Christ? What are the evolutions in thought about Christ that we have undergone in the nearly two centuries since the church’s founding? How did earlier Latter-day Saints understand certain terms in ways that are different from today’s views? We…

Read more »

237–238: Hope and Healing in the Face of LDS Current Events

July 7, 2014
By
237–238: Hope and Healing in the Face of LDS Current Events

As we in the LDS Bloggernacle continue to process and strive for healing and renewed hope during this time of unease and pain caused by the recent church disciplinary actions for public LDS voices, it is important to hear helpful framings from experienced and wise friends. Moderated by Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon, this episode features a conversation between Natasha Helfer Parker, Ronda Callister, Chelsea Shields Strayer, and Maxine Hanks. Our great thanks to the Faith Again study group in Salt Lake City for the impetus to bring this panel together. We all agreed not to record the conversation that took…

Read more »

236: Encountering Other Traditions, Part 1: Freemasonry

June 19, 2014
By
236: Encountering Other Traditions, Part 1: Freemasonry

Mormon Matters is launching a new series that focuses on Latter-day Saints who, in addition to their Mormonism, are intimately familiar with another religion or philosophical tradition and whose spirituality has grown through that encounter. In this first episode of the series, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon engages four LDS Freemasons: Patrick McLeary, Lorenzo (Lon) Tibbetts, Joe Swick, and George Miller. Why did they become Masons? Given the history of sometimes difficult relationship between Mormons and Masons, and also certain LDS cultural pressures that tell us that Mormonism should be able to serve all our spiritual and social needs, did…

Read more »

235: Perspectives on News of Possible Excommunications of LDS Activists, Part 5

June 12, 2014
By

June 11 brought news that Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin, prominent public LDS voice through Mormon Stories and other podcasts and venues, have been called to face church disciplinary councils for “apostasy,” as evidenced through their activism and public expressions of concern regarding various issues facing today’s Mormonism. Alan Rock Waterman has also apparently been notified of pending action, though he has not yet been contacted directly by his stake president. Seeking good perspectives even as the news is still breaking, this episode features Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon‘s interview with Maxine Hanks. Maxine is a feminist historian and theologian,…

Read more »

234: Perspectives on News of Possible Excommunications of LDS Activists, Part 4

June 12, 2014
By

June 11 brought news that Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin, prominent public LDS voice through Mormon Stories and other podcasts and venues, have been called to face church disciplinary councils for “apostasy,” as evidenced through their activism and public expressions of concern regarding various issues facing today’s Mormonism. Alan Rock Waterman has also apparently been notified of pending action, though he has not yet been contacted directly by his stake president. Seeking good perspectives even as the news is still breaking, this episode features Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon‘s interview with Natasha Helfer Parker, who is a family counselor and…

Read more »

233: Perspectives on News of Possible Excommunications of LDS Activists, Part 3

June 12, 2014
By

June 11 brought news that Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin, prominent public LDS voice through Mormon Stories and other podcasts and venues, have been called to face church disciplinary councils for “apostasy,” as evidenced through their activism and public expressions of concern regarding various issues facing today’s Mormonism. Alan Rock Waterman has also apparently been notified of pending action, though he has not yet been contacted directly by his stake president. Seeking good perspectives even as the news is still breaking, this episode features Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon‘s interview with Kristine Haglund, blogger extraordinaire and editor of Dialogue: A…

Read more »

232: Perspectives on News of Possible Excommunications of LDS Activists, Part 2

June 12, 2014
By

June 11 brought news that Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin, prominent public LDS voice through Mormon Stories and other podcasts and venues, have been called to face church disciplinary councils for “apostasy,” as evidenced through their activism and public expressions of concern regarding various issues facing today’s Mormonism. Alan Rock Waterman has also apparently been notified of pending action, though he has not yet been contacted directly by his stake president. Seeking good perspectives even as the news is still breaking, this episode features Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon‘s interview with Jana Riess, a wonderful author and blogger…

Read more »

231: Perspectives on News of Possible Excommunications of LDS Activists, Part 1

June 12, 2014
By

June 11 brought news that Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin, prominent public LDS voice through Mormon Stories and other podcasts and venues, have been called to face church disciplinary councils for “apostasy,” as evidenced through their activism and public expressions of concern regarding various issues facing today’s Mormonism. Alan Rock Waterman has also apparently been notified of pending action, though he has not yet been contacted directly by his stake president. Seeking good perspectives even as the news is still breaking, this episode features Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon’s interview with Elbert Peck, former head of Sunstone, who…

Read more »

230: The Mormon God

June 9, 2014
By
230: The Mormon God

Mormons have several quite distinctive views of God, but do most Mormons realize it? In almost every theological area, ranging from the nature of God as Creator (creating “from nothing” or as organizer of eternal element?) to the four major “omnis”—omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipresent—Mormons have a take that is often quite different from traditional Judeo-Christian theism. Yet, even though Mormon theology takes these angles, we often find them forgotten by those “in the pews.” Other than when speaking about Mormonism’s minority position among Christians that God has a tangible body, most Latter-day Saints sound more like mainstream Christians when talking about…

Read more »

228–229: Mapping LDS Faith Transitions (with help from James Fowler)

June 2, 2014
By
228–229: Mapping LDS Faith Transitions (with help from James Fowler)

Many Mormon Matters listeners find their way to the podcast and other online communities and discussion groups because they recognize that they are experiencing some kind of “faith transition,” a re-orienting in their relationships with life’s fundamental questions, powers, and values. Often, however, this transition feel to us much more like a crisis. Would things get any easier for us if we knew that this time of upheaval and process of trying to find new, firmer grounding was normal–even healthy? That this difficult journey toward new orientation isn’t exclusive to Latter-day Saints or even to just religious people, but to…

Read more »

227: “Living” Stories

May 21, 2014
By
227: “Living” Stories

In this episode, philosopher-theologian Adam Miller and narrative studies specialist Stephen Carter join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon to explore the many and varied ways we live within, think from, are shaped by, and are both aided and hindered by “stories.” The depth at which our lives are impacted by narratives—about what the world is like, about ourselves, our lives, our hopes and deepest desires, about God or the universe’s biggest forces—is staggering. Plus, and here is where it gets interesting, messy, and sometimes frightening, our stories change. Sometimes we fight these changes, trying to pigeon-hole into pre-packaged worldviews and…

Read more »

226: The “Best Thing” About Mormonism

May 8, 2014
By
226: The “Best Thing” About Mormonism

This episode strays from Mormon Matters’ typical panel discussion format, featuring instead four one-on-one conversations between host Dan Wotherspoon and wonderful friends of his who he asked to think about and share share their favorite thing about Mormonism. What it is that they like or love most about Mormonism or life as a Mormon? What idea or practice or cultural uniqueness excites their spirits or compels the most reflection? He got very interesting, even somewhat surprising, answers. Listen to the “best things” that Lorie Winder Stromberg, Taylor Petrey, Rick Jepson, and Gina Colvin come up with—and then share your own ideas…

Read more »