Faith Matters

By Faith Matters Foundation

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Description

Faith Matters offers an expansive view of the Restored Gospel, thoughtful exploration of big and sometimes thorny questions, and a platform that encourages deeper engagement with our faith and our world.We focus on the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) tradition, but believe we have much to learn from other traditions and fully embrace those of other beliefs.

Episode Date
133. The Love Map — A Conversation with Carol Lynn Pearson
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In this episode, we got to speak with Carol Lynn Pearson about her new book, The Love Map: Saving Your Love Relationship and Incidentally Saving the World.

Carol Lynn has been a powerful and well-known voice in the Latter-day Saint community for many years. She’s the author of several remarkable works, including the memoir Goodbye, I Love You, and the book of poetry Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World. Her full catalog of works is too impressive to list here, but one other highlight is that she wrote one of our very favorite primary songs: I’ll Walk with You, which was published as a children’s book in 2020.

Carol Lynn will also be speaking with us at Restore, our upcoming gathering in Salt Lake City.

Carol Lynn’s new book is a remarkable work of fiction, that, as Carol Lynn says, is also true. It’s the story of a young woman whose fraught relationship with her husband is reaching a breaking point just as she suffers traumatic injuries in a terrorist attack. But a vision she experiences while recovering gives her something remarkable and unexpected — a “map” that will serve as a guide to healing her most intimate relationship, and allow her to see each person in her life as God does.

Though the book is intended for an audience much wider than just Latter-day Saints, its message resonated deeply with us, and Carol Lynn’s hard-won wisdom and remarkable gifts an artist were abundantly apparent throughout the book.

We’d strongly encourage anyone hoping for healing in their relationships to pick it up — we really think you won’t regret it. You can find the book available on Amazon now.

We want to extend a sincere thanks to Carol Lynn for coming on, and we hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.


Sep 24, 2022
132. History and Faith — A Conversation with David Holland
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The Restoration occurred in a fascinating and complex religious and historical moment in American history, and knowing more about that context can help us more deeply appreciate the blessings and beauty of the Restored Gospel.

One person at the forefront of expanding our knowledge of early American religious history is David Holland, a professor at Harvard Divinity School and also the son of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. 

In today’s episode Zach Davis and Terryl Givens visited David in his Cambridge office to discuss a range of topics, including how to discern the hand of God in history, whether there’s something about Calvinist theology worth celebrating, and how the experience of being a parent might be the best insight of all into the nature of God. 

David Holland is a Professor of New England Church History at Harvard Divinity School and a renowned scholar of American religious history. He earned a BA in history from BYU and a PhD from Stanford University. He is the author of Moroni: A Brief Theological Introduction, published by the Maxwell Institute and Sacred Borders: Continuing Revelation and Canonical Restraint in Early America, published by Oxford University Press in 2011.



Sep 18, 2022
131. The Burning Book — A Conversation with Jason Olson
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For today’s episode, we were really excited to bring on Jason Olson, who, along with James Goldberg, is the author of a new memoir called The Burning Book.

Jason’s story is truly fascinating: he was born into a reform Jewish household with a Jewish mother and a Christian father. As a child and young person, he was always drawn to God and to religion, and found himself very involved in both study and practice in his faith. After his Bar Mitzvah at age 13, he eventually encountered some Latter-day Saint friends who, after many hours of religious discussions over a long period of time, offered him a copy of The Book of Mormon with no real expectations. 

Afraid of what his family would think if they saw the book at home, and afraid of what his friends would think if they saw him carting it around, unread, he decided the best option would simply be to burn the book and  destroy the evidence. But just as he was about to do so, Jason had a moment of remarkable spiritual insight — and that’s where his truly unique story begins.

Now a defense diplomat and policy officer with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic studies, Jason came on with us to share his remarkable insights about faith, religious conversion, and God’s expansive plans across all faiths and religions.

The Burning Book was published by BCC Press, and you can find it on Amazon.

Sep 10, 2022
130. Original Grace — A Conversation with Adam Miller
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For today’s episode, we were lucky enough to bring back Latter-day Saint philosopher and theologian Adam Miller to talk about his new book, Original Grace. Of the many incredible books we’ve read from Adam, this one, we think, might have the most potential to really change the way we engage God and the world.

We’ll let Adam explain the major theses of the book, but we’ll just say that in many ways it entirely upends traditional understandings of concepts like justice, suffering, mercy, punishment, and, of course — grace. For anyone that has ever felt that they simply aren’t good enough, Adam mines Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings to show that it was never our job to “save ourselves.” As he puts it, “grace-filled partnership with Christ” was the plan all along.

Adam even shares some recent scholarship that shows that one of our faith’s foundational scriptures about grace  — “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” — has been misread and misunderstood so widely, and for so long, that its original meaning has been almost reversed.

Adam Miller earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Brigham Young University and an MA and PhD in Philosophy from Villanova University. This book, Original Grace, was published by BYU’s Maxwell Institute and Deseret Book. Adam is the author of several others, including some of our favorites like Letters to a Young Mormon and An Early Resurrection.

Sep 04, 2022
129. The Early Christian World — A Conversation with Laura Nasralla
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In the past few decades, scholarship on the New Testament has opened up exciting new ways of understanding the context of the early followers of Jesus and has enabled new interpretations of the texts they wrote. 

One of the leading scholars advancing our knowledge of early Christianity is Laura Nasrallah, a professor at Yale who specializes in New Testament texts and archaeology. In this conversation, Zach Davis and Terryl Givens visited Laura in her New Haven office to discuss topics like the role of women in the early Christian church, how to discern God’s hand in the messy complexity of history, and New Testament practices like speaking in tongues and baptism for the dead. 

Laura Nasrallah is a Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University. Her research and teaching engage issues of gender, race, colonialism, status, and power and bring together New Testament and early Christian literature with the archaeological remains of the Mediterranean world. She is the author of the book Archaeology and the Letters of Paul.



Aug 27, 2022
Remembering Kate Holbrook
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The Faith Matters family lost a dear friend this week. Kate Holbrook passed away after a long battle with cancer. Kate was a graceful light in our lives. Her strength, her courage, her wisdom, her intelligence and her gentle manner will be with us forever. Our thoughts, prayers and determined support go out to our good friend Sam Brown, Kate’s forever companion, and to their three daughters.

In Kate’s memory and honor, we’re sharing this conversation that she had with Terryl Givens in 2018. The video was called “extraordinary women in Mormon history,” and Kate, of course, is one of them.

As managing historian of women’s history at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints history department, Kate wrote, studied, and interpreted history full-time. Her major research interests were religion, gender, and food. Her primary professional activity was to discover, encourage, and celebrate women’s flourishing in the scholarly and spiritual realms.

We’d encourage everyone who’d like to honor and further Kate’s legacy to donate to a scholarship fund that has been set up in her honor, and that was established by her, together with her family. It was Kate’s wish as she departed mortality that these funds serve to help the women of the Church to flourish in their scholarly and spiritual lives. Kate herself benefited from a similar gift (from Ruth Silver of Denver, Colorado) early in her scholarly career, when she and Sam had minimal financial resources, and she needed time and money to devote to the study of women and religion. She hoped that such giving would become more and more common over time.

To contribute, please head to kateholbrook.org/scholarship.

We love you, Kate, and we miss you.

Aug 25, 2022
128. Relentless Hope: The Chiou Family Story —Sam Chiou, Mindy Chiou, and Julia Chiou Knutson
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Today, we’re bringing you a really amazing story that we can’t wait for you to hear. It’s the story of Sam Chiou — a remarkable young man who is nonspeaking and autistic, and who was totally unable to communicate for the first fifteen years of his life. His family was unaware that despite being nonspeaking, he was hearing and understanding everything they were saying — and had so much that he wanted to share.

We don’t want to tell the whole story here, but after this long period of struggle — and largely through the faith and determination of his mother, Mindy — Sam and the Chiou family had a real breakthrough that allowed him to begin to communicate for the first time through the use of a letterboard. Sam’s wisdom and insights — what he’s been thinking all along, but never been able to say — are truly moving.

On this podcast, you’ll hear the voices of Sam’s mom, Mindy, and his sister, Julia, who help tell the story. Sam was also present for the interview. We also had the privilege of sending questions to Sam beforehand, which he took the time to answer and you’ll hear those near the end of the episode.

For those that are watching on YouTube, you’ll be able to see what the use of the letterboard looks like in a brief segment after the episode ends. For those currently listening on audio, just head to our YouTube channel if you’d like to see that.

We want to send a huge thanks to Sam, Mindy, and Julia for coming on and telling this remarkable story.



Aug 21, 2022
127. Mind, Matter, and Spirit — A Conversation with Michael Ferguson
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For decades, our understanding of how the brain works has advanced dramatically. Using new theories, methods and tools, like fMRI technology, scientists are beginning to reveal the mysteries of this truly remarkable and complex organ.

One scientist on the cutting edge of this research is Michael Ferguson, a BYU grad who is now researching and teaching at Harvard. 

For Michael, the most exciting result of all this new knowledge of the brain is how it might transform our spiritual lives and help us connect more fully to the divine. He is a pioneer in a field called neurospirituality and his research has been in part inspired by Latter-day Saint theology, in particular the idea that spirit and matter are on a continuum, not radically different substances. In this episode, Michael was interviewed by Zach Davis and Terryl Givens about these fascinating subjects, and the most important insights he’s gained from his research.

Michael is an Instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, a Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, and a neuroscientist at the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He earned his Doctorate in Bioengineering at the University of Utah, after which he completed post-doctoral fellowships at Cornell University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Aug 12, 2022
126. Lift and Love — A Conversation with Allison Dayton
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In this episode, we spoke with Allison Dayton from Lift and Love, an organization that focuses on strengthening Latter-day Saint LGBTQ families.

We met Allison not long ago and were so impressed by the spirit and love she brings to every interaction. She tells her story in the episode itself, but she’s been deeply involved with the LGBTQ community for many years, first through her older brother Preston, and later through her son. In those interactions she’s lived through the deepest of tragedies, as well as the joy of love, acceptance, and unity.

Because of the journey she’s been on, and the blessings that she says have come into her life because of her LGBTQ child, she wanted to do more to help other families, wards, and leaders support these remarkable children of our Heavenly Parents. That’s why she started Lift and Love, which has grown into a podcast, meetups, retreats, social media accounts, and even an online store where you can find lots of unique, simple and affordable ways to signal love and support to the LGBTQ community. You can find all of that at liftandlove.org.

For us, Allison’s most resonant message was that an LGBTQ child, sibling, or family member of any kind is a true gift: there are so many blessings that come from having these amazing individuals in our lives and communities. That said, Allison expresses this message much better than we could, so we encourage you to listen to her share her feelings in the conversation!



Aug 06, 2022
125. Proving Polarities — A Conversation with Jared Halverson
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For today’s episode, we’re really excited to bring on Jared Halverson.

Jared shares with us a really important concept he calls “proving contraries,” —something we’ve talked a little bit about on the podcast before using the term “polarities.” He spoke with us about how recognizing these polarities can help us understand our own strengths and weaknesses, how attributes that are positive, taken too far, almost always become problematic, and how wrestling with contraries is essential in a life full of growth and meaning.

Jared Halverson is an associate professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, and has taught religion courses at the high school and college level since 1998. He studied history and religious education at BYU and earned a PhD in American religious history at Vanderbilt University, focusing on secularization, faith loss, and anti-religious rhetoric. He is frequently involved with interfaith dialogue, has been a featured speaker in both devotional and academic settings across the country. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel and podcast called “Unshaken.”

We’re also really excited that Jared will be speaking at Restore, Faith Matters’ gathering taking place in October. You can find out more about that at faithmatters.org/restore.





Jul 29, 2022
124. Getting Real About Missionary Work — A Conversation with Jeff Strong
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For this episode, we spoke with Jeff Strong about the experience of missionaries in today’s mission field, including the unique challenges and opportunities they face. This conversation was based largely on a document Jeff wrote, called “What One Mission President Would Tell His Own Grandchildren About Serving a Mission.” Jeff wrote this document after his experience as the mission president of the Bentonville, Arkansas Mission.

We found Jeff’s reflections on missionary work to be refreshingly candid and deeply insightful. He illuminated how in many ways, our culture can be afraid to share honestly what a mission can be like. It’s not “all roses,” as he says — and talking openly about the thorns doesn’t have to be a bad thing; not only can we be more honest about the mission experience, but we can honor the difficult parts of it that cause the most growth.

Jeff also emphasizes that not every missionary, or every young person, is the same — and that’s ok. He shares several experiences that show how God works differently in different lives, including different types of missions and different lengths of service — including the choice not to go, or not to stay.

Jeff has worked as a senior level executive at several multinational companies and has spent 28 years in management. He’s also worked as a consultant and private equity advisor, in addition to serving as a special project director at BYU’s Marriott School of Business, where he led the startup of the Marketing Lab. In 2018, he and his wife Sara were called to the Bentonville, Arkansas mission, where Jeff served as President until 2021.

Be 100% Responsible — Lynn G. Robbins Talk

Jul 23, 2022
123. Behind the Scenes at Faith Matters — Bill Turnbull, Aubrey Chaves, Tim Chaves, and Zach Davis
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With all the exciting things happening at Faith Matters, we thought it would be a good time to step back, take stock of what we’ve done, and share more about where we’re going. 

So in this episode, Tim and Aubrey were joined by one of Faith Matters’ founders, Bill Turnbull, as well as Faith Matters’ new Executive Director, Zach Davis, to discuss how our organization began, answer common questions we get from listeners, and share more about our purpose and approach. 

This episode was also a chance to announce Restore: A Faith Matters Gathering. Occurring over two days on October 7-8 in Salt Lake City. Restore brings together the best minds exploring the biggest questions as we look forward to the Restoration’s third century. Featuring speakers such as Terryl Givens, Jody Moore, Brian McLaren, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, and Patrick Mason and musical performances from groups such as the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, our hope is that this gathering will restore your hope, your curiosity, your connection and your faith. 

We have been so grateful to you for listening and reading and supporting the work we do at Faith Matters and we are excited to have the chance to gather and connect with you in person. We really hope you can join us. 

To learn more and register, visit https://www.faithmatters.org/restore



Jul 17, 2022
122. Under the Banner — A Conversation with McKay Coppins and Patrick Mason
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Under the Banner of Heaven is a recent 7-part dramatized series aired on Hulu by about the horrific 1984 murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty by brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty. Like the book it’s based on, the series paints a very grim portrait of Latter-day Saint faith and culture, and has been both praised and panned by critics. 

In this episode, McKay Coppins and Patrick Mason join Bill Turnbull to explore why the series has had such widely divergent receptions and discuss the validity of Jon Krakauer’s fundamental thesis: that religion and violence go hand in hand. 

McKay Coppins is a staff writer for The Atlantic who writes frequently about faith and politics; he published a superb piece about the series at the request of his editor at the magazine.

Patrick Mason is the Leonard Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University — he’s also a frequent and valued guest on this show and advisor to Faith Matters.

**A MONUMENT HONORING AFRICAN AMERICAN PIONEERS**

We wanted to let you know about an exciting event that’s being organized by our friend, previous guest, and Faith Matters advisor, Mauli Bonner. At 10am on July 22, at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City, there will be a dedication of a new monument honoring enslaved pioneers, including Green Flake, who drove the first wagon as part of a vanguard group through emigration canyon on July 22, 1847. This will mark the 175th anniversary of that historic moment. We think that this will be an unforgettable event and will help all of us remember and honor the vital role early Black pioneers played in our faith and community. We expect government and Church leaders will be in attendance, and you can find out all the details at greenflakemovie.com. 



Jul 09, 2022
121. Hope and Healing in a Time of Crisis: A Conversation with Anne Snyder
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The twin challenges of the pandemic and political polarization have caused widespread anxiety and even despair. And yet, as Christian disciples, we are called to plant seeds of hope in even the most seemingly barren soil.  

For this episode, Zach Davis invited Anne Snyder to discuss her experiences planting such seeds of hope in her capacity as a prominent Christian editor and writer. Their conversation touches on how to cultivate hope in times of fear and anxiety; how to reknit relationships that have been damaged by mistrust and pain; and how encounters with the spirit can sustain and transform us.  

Anne Snyder is the editor-in-chief of Comment magazine and co-editor of the book, Breaking Ground: Charting Our Future in a Pandemic Year, published in January 2022. In her work as a writer and convener, she is committed to exploring questions of class and culture, moral beauty and a redemptive faith. You can learn more about Anne’s work at annesnyder.org.

Jul 02, 2022
120. The Law of Love — A Conversation with Steve Young
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In so many domains of our lives, we are encouraged to think and act in a transactional, cost-benefit way. But Latter-day Saints are called to transcend this logic and follow the law of love, which Steve Young defines in his new book as “loving as God loves, seeking another’s healing, and expecting nothing in return.”

Living the law of love can help us focus less on acquiring religious merit badges and more on becoming extensions of Christ’s healing hands to bind up the brokenhearted.

Steve Young is a 3-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers, a two-time NFL MVP, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he retired, Steve was the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history and was the only quarterback in league history to win four consecutive NFL passing titles.

Steve is currently Partner and Chairman of Huntsman Gay Global Capital and the founder and chairman of the Forever Young Foundation, an organization focused on passing on hope and resources for the development, strength, and education of children. Steve also serves on the Faith Matters Advisory Board. His new book is called The Law of Love, published by Deseret Book.

Jun 25, 2022
119. Is God Alive in Cambridge? — A Conversation with Noah Feldman
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Noah Feldman is one of the most fascinating and engaging public intellectuals in the world. He’s also had a long and rich relationship with the Latter-day Saint tradition. Terryl Givens and Zachary Davis recently stopped by Noah’s office in Cambridge for a wide-ranging conversation on faith and religion. 

Some of the topics discussed include: how young people are experiencing religion and spirituality today; why living a life of faith helps make sense and meaning of life; and Noah’s thoughts about the unique gifts Latter-day Saints can offer the world.

Noah Feldman is a Harvard law professor, ethical philosopher & advisor, religious scholar and historian. He is host of the Deep Background podcast, writes a column on policy and public affairs for Bloomberg, and is the author of 10 books on a variety of topics. You can learn more about Noah’s work at noah-feldman.com.



Jun 18, 2022
118. The End of Roe v. Wade? — With Sherif Gergis, Jenet Erickson, and Justin Collings
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As many of you know, at the beginning of May, the United States Supreme Court experienced an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion on the Dobbs v. Jackson case currently being adjudicated by the Supreme Court. The opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., and, if it ends up reflecting the Court’s decision due this month,  would overturn nearly 50 years of abortion law under the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which ruled that many then-current restrictions on abortion were unconstitutional, and guaranteed nationwide access to abortion through the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Roe, and the subsequent Casey v. Planned Parenthood have paved the way for laws that in many states, allow abortion very late into pregnancy.
 
Abortion is a very tricky topic, and a very sensitive one for people on all sides of the issue. But we feel like we have a duty as citizens to become educated on important matters like this, and our faith must have something to say on issues in which life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake.  Elder Oaks recently stated: "On contested issues we seek to moderate and unify."
 
In that spirit, we explored the issue from several angles, starting from a factual perspective — diving into the specifics of what’s going on and what the practical stakes are, then moving into what our faith might be asking of us as we seek to create a world that is just and equitable; one that honors both agency and life. I’m sure we weren’t perfect as we navigated this territory, but we did the best we could to show respect to the values and humanity that inform people of good faith on either side.
 
This conversation comes in two parts; in the first, we spoke with Sherif Girgis, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, who also clerked for Justice Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court as well as for our friend Thomas B. Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. When we asked Judge Griffith who would be the most qualified voice we could bring on the show, he unhesitatingly recommended Sherif. Sherif earned his J.D. at Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. Sherif helped us understand the current state of abortion law in the US as well as what it could look like after a decision is made on Dobbs. 
 
After speaking with Sherif, we spoke with Latter-day Saint scholars Justin Collings and Jenet Erickson. 

Justin Collings is ​​Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum at BYU and a Professor at the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at BYU, where he’s been since 2013. He is a scholar of constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, and constitutional history, and received his law degree  and his PhD in History both from Yale.

Jenet Erickson is an associate professor in the Department of Church History and Doctrine in BYU Religious Education. Her research has focused on maternal and child well-being in the context of work and family life, as well as the distinct contributions of mothers and fathers in children's development. She is a research fellow of both the Wheatley Institution and the Institute for Family Studies and has been a columnist on family issues for the Deseret News since 2013.

Justin and Jenet brought this conversation home in terms of what it means for Latter-day Saints. We found them incredibly insightful and empathetic, and helped us see this issue in new ways — we think they’ll do the same for you. The conversation with Justin and Jenet led to some really spirit-filled and practical takeaways for Latter-day Saints who want to be thoughtful, engaged, and loving on this issue. We’re deeply grateful to them for coming on.

Jun 12, 2022
117. Faith in Action — Fiona Givens and Britta Ellwanger
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Joseph Smith taught that faith is a “principle of action.” Although the world is full of crises and challenges, as Latter-day Saints, we are called to care for those in need with love and courage. 

In this week’s episode, Fiona Givens and Britta Ellwanger share stories from their recent efforts to put their faith into action. When Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, Fiona felt an inspired pull on her heart to help this situation however she could. That led her to catalyzing prayer and relief efforts in her ward and beyond, and then, in the last two weeks, journeying to Ukraine to join Britta and deliver humanitarian aid directly to those who need it.

Fiona Givens is the author of several books, including All Things New which was published by Faith Matters last year and The God Who Weeps, both co-authored with her husband Terryl. 

Britta Ellwanger has been living, working, and investing in Ukraine for ten years. Britta’s organization, forPEACE, focuses on the frontline needs of this war because it is the first piece in the domino effect that leads to the refugee crisis. 

Britta’s written an article on Faith Matters’ website that gives a really up-to-date synopsis about the situation on the ground, and gives actionable ways to help the effort on the front lines. You can find that article, and our other published material on the war in Ukraine, at faithmatters.org/ukraine.

Jun 05, 2022
116. Turning Our Hearts — A Conversation with Richard and Linda Eyre
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Memorial Day reminds us to turn our attention and our hearts back to those who have gone before us and who have made our lives possible. It’s a time to contemplate Malachi’s prophecy of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

How might this turning of hearts actually look in our personal lives. We invited two incredibly insightful and wise people, Linda and Richard Eyre, to our guide an exploration of this timely topic. As usual, Linda and Richard share very practical and fun ideas for developing and maintaining a strong family culture. And they have great advice on how to avoid guilt as we inevitably notice our own inadequacies in striving to live up to our family responsibilities. We were also able to explore some of the themes of their important book  The Turning: Why the State of the Family Matters, and What the World Can Do About It.

Linda and Richard Eyre are New York Times #1 bestselling authors whose writing career has spanned four decades and whose books have sold in the millions and have been translated into a dozen languages. They spend much of their time speaking to audiences throughout the world on family, parenting, and life-balance, along with keeping up with their own nine children and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren.

May 29, 2022
115. The Science of Spirituality — A Conversation with Dr. Lisa Miller
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Are we at the leading edge of a resurgent interest in religion and spirituality in the academy? Quite possibly. And not just as a curiosity. 

This week, Faith Matters begins a series of conversations with prominent scholars from outside our faith. What are we learning about the nature of spiritual experience and the value of a religious life?  In coming weeks, we’ll be traveling to some of America’s top universities—starting with Harvard, Yale and Princeton—to sit down with thinkers deeply engaged in this fascinating topic.

We’ll start this week with Dr. Lisa Miller, a Professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University, where she founded the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the first Ivy League graduate program in spirituality and psychology. Dr. Miller will share insights from her recently published book The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life. In her words, Lisa “takes the lens of science and focuses it on the impact of spirituality in human life,” with some surprising results. She talks about the truly remarkable real-world  benefits of a personal spirituality that leads to a lived relationship with the divine, and calls for a spiritual renaissance to help solve some of our society’s most troubling issues.

Dr. Miller's research has been published in top-tier psychiatric journals, and she is the Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality and the Founder of the American Psychological Association’s journal, Spirituality in Clinical Practice. After finishing her undergraduate work at Yale, she received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

This conversation also introduces a new member of the Faith Matters team, Zachary Davis. We’re extremely excited to be joining forces with Zach, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, where his work focused on intellectual history and philosophy of religion. Previously, Zach has been a producer at HarvardX where he built open online courses in the humanities. He’s  also a highly experienced podcaster and host of  shows like Ministry of Ideas and Writ Large.

May 22, 2022
114. Are We Listening, Learning, and Loving? — A Conversation with Richard Ostler
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For this episode, Faith Matters is honored to bring on our good friend, Richard Ostler. 

Richard is a former YSA Bishop whose ministry has focused on all types of Latter-day Saint journeys, and especially on those of people who have felt marginalized in any way. In addition to his podcast, he’s now written two books, both under the title Listen, Learn, and Love: the first is subtitled Embracing LGBTQ Latter-day Saints, and the second Improving Latter-day Saint Culture. Both are available at Deseret Book, and were published by Cedar Fort.

Our conversation with Richard was about his second book, which was recently released. In it, he addresses questions around cultural issues like emphasis on callings, women’s experience, mental illness, length of missionary service, the repentance process, and the experience of those with doubts and questions.

We felt like this was a really helpful discussion, and Richard’s unique gift of empathy and his love of the Church combine to give really powerful insights into how we can all contribute to improving Church culture. We were grateful to spend this time with Richard, someone who’s shown such Christlike love to us and so many others.

Link to Richard’s books: https://deseretbook.com/t/author/richard-h-ostler?ref=product-producer-list



May 14, 2022
Celebrating Our Divine Mother — A Conversation with McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding
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For today’s conversation, and on this Mother’s Day weekend, we’re releasing a classic episode that was done with McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding. They’re the authors of several incredible books, including The Girls’ Guide to Heavenly Mother, The Boys’ Guide to Heavenly Mother, and the Girls Who Choose God series.

In this conversation, Bethany and McArthur addressed specifically where the longstanding myth comes from that we shouldn’t talk about Heavenly Mother, as well as pointing out why it’s important for girls to have a divine role model, and the importance of expressing this unique doctrine through art, which they do so well in their books.

Since the time of the original conversation release, these books have all been picked up by Deseret Book, and are available both in Deseret Book retail stores and online. The books have tended to go quickly, so if you go to a local Deseret Book and they’re sold out, you can always check them out at the publisher’s website, dstreetpress.com

And to introduce you again briefly to McArthur and Bethany: 

McArthur has a master’s degree in communication from BYU, and also co-owned Free Range, which is an award-winning marketing business focused on telling social justice stories. In 2011, she moved to India and started writing books, including those we talk about in this episode.

Bethany has a Master of Public Health from the University of London, and has worked for both large, international organizations and small, local non-profits to advance children’s health and wellness in South Africa, India, and the USA.  She calls Richmond, Virginia home where she runs school gardens, writes books, and raises three girls. 



May 07, 2022
113. A New Approach to Church History — A Conversation with Dr. Lisa Olsen Tait
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The third volume of Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days,  was published this week by the Church.

The Saints project has gained widespread popularity because of its accessibility—it’s written in a narrative format—as well as its assiduous adherence to documented history. It is an enormous endeavor led by a very able group of scholars. We invited one of the leaders of this project, Dr. Lisa Olsen Tait, to come on our podcast to tell us what’s in this volume and how it came together. It was a very engaging conversation.

We know that some Latter-day Saints have had a complicated relationship with Church history. It can be alternately incredibly inspiring, confusing, uplifting and at times disturbing.  And as Lisa put it, “There’s a history to the Church’s relationship with its history.” For those who have longed for an official history that is more open and accurate than what the Church has published before, Saints seems a huge step in the right direction.

This volume of Saints is titled Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, and covers the time period 1893 to 1955. It’s a really fascinating period, one in which the Church underwent extensive transformation. In many ways, this is the period during which the Church transformed from the “pioneer Church” into the beginnings of the Church we would recognize today.

The digital version of this volume of Saints is available for free on the Church website and in the Church History section of the Gospel Library app. Print copies will be available in coming weeks in the Church’s online store and at retail outlets.

Lisa Olsen Tait is a historian, writer, and specialist in women’s history at the Church History Department. She is a general editor on the Saints series and, on volume 3, contributed subject-matter expertise in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century and on many aspects of women’s history. She is also a co-chair of the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team (MWHIT), an independent group that fosters scholarship and networking in the field. Lisa earned a PhD from the University of Houston, studying American Literature and Women’s Studies, and she taught religion classes at BYU Provo for three years before joining the Church History Department in 2013.

Apr 30, 2022
112. The Mother Tree — A Conversation with Kathryn Knight Sonntag
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*** Links to buy "The Mother Tree" ***

Softcover version: https://faithmatters.org/themothertree

Audible and Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Tree-Discovering-Wisdom-Divine/dp/B09YCDHTDZ/

Today, we’re excited to announce the latest offering from Faith Matters Publishing, following our previous books All Things New by Terryl and Fiona Givens, Restoration by Patrick Mason, and Better Than Happy by Jody Moore.

This book is called The Mother Tree: Discovering the Love and Wisdom  of Our Divine Mother, and was written by Kathryn Knight Sonntag. It is a truly beautiful book and a great read.

The timing of this release is interesting. First, we’re coming up on Mothers Day and we love that this book is a profound recognition of  our Divine Mother. Second, Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently gave an important talk to the women of the church on the doctrine of Heavenly Mother. While celebrating with us this unique doctrine, he also had words of caution about demanding further revelation on Heavenly Mother theology, among other things. 

Though this book was obviously completed well before that recent address, it strikes us as very much in the same spirit. It is a celebration of our unique doctrine, which is beautifully outlined in the church’s Gospel Topics essay on Heavenly Mother. But the book values experiencing her presence in the world and in our lives over theological speculation. It is about how accessing different ways of knowing–through the languages of art, nature, poetry and stillness–can lead to a personal relationship with our Divine Mother. And it points to surprising ways in which, as the Church’s essay points out, She has always been there in our scriptures.

So today we spoke with the author of The Mother Tree, Kathryn Knight Sonntag. Kathryn’s book of poetry The Tree at the Center was a 2019 Association for Mormon Letters Awards finalist. Her poetry and essays have appeared in many publications including Colorado Review, Rock & Sling, and Dialogue. She holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture and environmental planning, and works as a landscape architect and freelance writer in Salt Lake City.

Just a note on where you can purchase the book. As of today, the Kindle version is available on Amazon but the print version is just coming off the press. It will be a few weeks before you can buy it on Amazon. Since we know that many of you will want a physical copy of the book for Mother’s Day, we’ve set up a special shipping operation where you can buy the book and have it shipped to you right away. In order to do that, head to faithmatters.org/themothertree. You’ll be sent straight to a product page where you can buy the book, and Faith Matters is paying the cost of shipping for all US customers so that nothing gets in the way if you’d like to have this book as a gift in time for Mother’s Day.

Apr 22, 2022
111. An Early Resurrection — A Conversation with Adam Miller
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As Christians, we look forward to resurrection after death into a state of wholeness and joy. 

But understanding resurrection as occurring only in the next life can prevent us from experiencing the fullness of life that Christ offers us here and now. What if we looked at resurrection as a process that can begin now as we allow Christ to live in and through us?

This week, we invited our friend Adam Miller to talk about his book An Early Resurrection: Life in Christ Before You Die.  In this inspiring, profound little book, Adam shows us how, in a very real sense, Christ can start this process of rebirth now, in ways that can radically change how we experience even the most ordinary and mundane things in life.

Adam Miller is a professor of philosophy at Collin College near Dallas, Texas. He also wrote the remarkable book Letters to a Young Mormon.

As we celebrate Easter, we hope these ideas about resurrection can give you new perspective on the words of the Savior: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”



Apr 16, 2022
110. The Silent Sufferers of OCD — A Conversation with Paul Peterson
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There is almost certainly someone in your life who is struggling with OCD, and it could be much more severe than you might imagine. OCD is a serious mental illness, and it’s very common for OCD sufferers to experience severe depression and even suicidal thoughts. In a religious setting, it is quite common for OCD to manifest in extreme and very unhealthy scrupulosity. 

In a previous Faith Matters podcast episode, podcast host Tim Chaves shared some of his own very painful struggles with OCD and scrupulosity. We were amazed by how many people  reached out to us to share their own experiences with OCD. Some had been diagnosed and knew what to call it, but others hadn’t replied that what they were suffering from during their lifetime was OCD. Latter-day Saints often start by explaining its symptoms in religious language, or looking only to religious solutions to solve it.

This week, we share a truly illuminating conversation we recorded with Paul Peterson, CEO of the OCD and Anxiety Treatment Center.

If you know someone who may be suffering from OCD, please feel free to share this episode with them. We want to spread as widely as possible any information that can lead to diagnosis and treatment.

This is part of an ongoing conversation Faith Matters is sponsoring about mental health challenges faced by so many of our brothers and sisters, friends, and family members. 

Find an OCD therapist:

https://iocdf.org/find-help/

The OCD and Anxiety Treatment Center (Paul’s organization):

https://www.theocdandanxietytreatmentcenter.com/

Single Saints Summit:

https://ss.leadingsaints.org/single-saints-registration

Mentally Healthy Saints Summit:

https://mhs.leadingsaints.org/mental-health-landing48113181

Apr 10, 2022
109. 10 Signs of a Healthy Self — A Conversation with Dr. Julie Hanks
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We talk a lot about the “self” in our culture, and in our faith. We use terms like selfish, selfless, true self, false self, self care, authentic self, etc. Many social commentators observe that the modern era (and maybe particularly the post-modern era) has produced a pervasive secular “cult of the self.” The advent of social media in the past decade has only fanned the flames of a preoccupation with self, complete with the “selfie.”

So we decided to host a conversation on what a healthy sense of “self” might look like.

We invited Dr. Julie Hanks to our podcast studio to explore this topic. Aubrey Chaves explores with Julie things like: why it's important to have a healthy sense of self, the difference between selfishness and self-care, and even what to do when our internal authority finds itself at odds with external authority. 

Julie Hanks is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, owner of Wasatch Family Therapy clinics in Utah, and host of the Ask Dr. Julie Hanks podcast. She has nearly 30 years of clinical experience, and has created a robust library of online resources that empower women to prioritize their dreams, revolutionize their families and personalize their faith.  

Our conversation was structured around a guide Dr. Hanks calls “10 signs of a healthy self." You can download a pdf of that list here.

We hope you enjoy this fascinating “exploration of self."

Apr 02, 2022
108. Embracing and Challenging Scripture — A Conversation with Brian McLaren
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The perennial struggle to read and understand the Hebrew Bible--that strange and wonderful collection of books we call the Old Testament--has captured our collective attention this year as we dive back into its pages. The text presents profound challenges and questions to Christians and to people with modern sensibilities generally. Among those challenges are stories and accounts of what seem to be divinely sanctioned violence.

To get some perspective on these challenges, and on how broader Christianity has faced these same challenges, we decided to bring writer, teacher and public theologian Brian McLaren into the conversation by inviting him on our podcast. Brian is well-known within evangelical Christianity. Once a prominent pastor, in 2015 he was named by Time Magazine as one of evangelicalism’s most influential figures. He became a leader in the “emerging church movement.” These days, in addition to his speaking and writing, he works with Father Richard Rohr at the Center of Action and Contemplation.

For McLaren, as for many Christians, his relationship with the Bible itself has been an integral part of his faith journey. We were curious to hear how that relationship has changed over time, how he reads the Bible differently than when he was younger, how he sees people sometimes abuse the Bible (especially the Hebrew Bible), and where he continues to find beauty and inspiration in its pages. He explains how much of the Christian world arrived at the idea of Biblical inerrancy, and why we need not just re-translation but continuous re-interpretation of the text. 

We found his thoughts on the creation narrative of Genesis particularly fascinating. He even shared his thoughts on a famous story from the Book of Mormon. We think you’ll enjoy this conversation with a wise and good soul, our friend Brian McLaren.

Among Brian’s outstanding books are Faith After Doubt: Why your beliefs stopped working and what to do about it and The Galapagos Islands: A Spiritual Journey. You can check out all his work at brianmclaren.net

Mar 25, 2022
107. Ukraine: Bearing Burdens, Bearing Witness
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Fundraiser details here:  https://www.facebook.com/donate/281102717479491/

We’ve been working hard to gather voices that could help us process the ongoing atrocities that the Russian government has inflicted upon the people of Ukraine. Like you, we’ve wondered what the reality is like on the ground in Ukraine right now, how we can help, and if our faith might have something to offer in terms of how we approach what’s going on, both in our hearts and with our hands.

We were able to assemble a great line-up of people to help answer some of those questions for our podcast audience. We spoke to Yarsolav Chernyuk, a Church member who’s living and serving in Kyiv right now; Austin Walters, who served a mission to Ukraine and has been leading a wonderful fundraising effort for humanitarian relief; Mariya Manzhos, a Ukrainian currently living in the US who helped her parents flee from Kyiv, and Patrick Mason, a professor of history and scholar of violence and peacebuilding.

Yaroslav Chernyuk is a Church member who was able to speak to us briefly from his home in Kyiv, where he is doing incredibly brave and difficult work providing aid to families in need.

Austin Walters served a mission in Ukraine, and after completing an MBA at Harvard Business School, got into the world of fundraising and venture capital. He’s turned those skills, over the past few weeks, into fundraising for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Here’s the link if you seek to help relief efforts in Ukraine.

Mariya Manzhos is a freelance journalist based in Boston, whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She is married to Zach Davis, a member of the Faith Matters executive team. At the time we spoke with her, her parents were en route to the United States after fleeing their home in Kyiv; you’ll hear her speak a little about this journey. Thankfully, we can update you now to let you know that her parents have arrived safely and are with Mariya’s family in Boston.

We brought our friend Patrick Mason into the conversation to help us think through some of the philosophy and theology of war and conflict. Many of us have had our easy notions about peace and violence challenged in the face of such naked aggression. We explore what the scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have to say about this situation.

To all of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters: we see you, we hear you, we’re praying for you, and we’re doing our best to bear this burden with you. 

Mar 20, 2022
106. Cultivating a Child's Inner Compass — A Conversation with Jon Ogden
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As parents, how can we help our children find and cultivate their inner compass? We often do a pretty good job of giving our kids an idea of what God and others expect from them. But nurturing an enduring love of things like truth, beauty and goodness and helping them engage their world from a deep sense of their true identity is the great challenge of parenting. How can we help our children become a beautiful expression of their spiritual natures? 

This week, we invited to our podcast studio Jon Ogden, one of the founders of Uplift Kids, a really wonderful program that integrates both ancient wisdom and modern science to help parents build values in the home. Uplift Kids is a program designed for families to systematically, step-by-step help children develop that inner compass.  

In two of the most popular episodes we’ve ever released, numbers 85 and 86, Michael Wilcox joined us to talk about “God’s Many Voices” — how God has communicated through many different people, all throughout time and space. One of the things we love most about Uplift is the way it pulls together so many of those voices in a way that’s really digestible for both kids and adults

Jon Ogden’s university training was in literature and he earned a masters degree writing, with an emphasis on research and ethics. Jon has worked as a university instructor, instructional designer, and writer. He’s coupled that work with a decades-long study of the world’s wisdom traditions. He co-created Uplift Kids along with Amanda Suarez, Drew Hansen, and Michelle Larson.

Mar 12, 2022
105. The Many Doors of Faith — A Conversation with Terryl Givens
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Like you, we’ve been watching in horror as Ukraine has been faced with a brutal and unprovoked invasion. We’re in awe of the courage of the people of Ukraine and stand firmly with them as we pray that freedom and peace will prevail. We are working on bringing together some voices  to help us think through these events in the very near future.

In the meantime, we thought we would share a recent conversation we had with our good friend Terryl Givens about his new book, The Doors of Faith, which comes from a series of very popular campus-wide lectures Terryl delivered at Brigham Young University.

Many of you are familiar with Terryl’s long career as an expansive thinker and theologian in our faith. He is a frequent contributor to the Faith Matters podcast, both as host and guest, and is always fascinating.

Terryl is a New York native who did graduate work in intellectual history at Cornell, and in comparative literature at UNC Chapel Hill. Prior to his current position as Senior Research Fellow at BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute, he was the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English and a Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. 

Prior to releasing The Doors of Faith, Terryl has published over twenty other books. He and his wife, Fiona, are the co-authors of four books:  The God Who Weeps, The Christ Who Heals, The Crucible of Doubt, and, of course, All Things New, which was published by Faith Matters Publishing.

Feb 26, 2022
104. Green Flake, Brad Wilcox, and a Path to Zion — A Conversation with Mauli Bonner
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Many people were disturbed by the remarks of Brad Wilcox, a member of the Young Men General Presidency, given at a recent tri-stake fireside in Alpine, Utah. In addition to denigrating other religions, whom he characterized as “playing church,” his remarks on the history of denying the priesthood to Black members shocked many listeners. Brigham Young University quickly condemned his comments and Wilcox issued a public apology.

While it is admirable to see church institutions and officials take responsibility and face issues like this head-on, the incident itself points to persistent issues in the Church that deserve our attention in our ongoing efforts to create Zion. 

We invited Mauli Bonner to our podcast studio this week to address this timely topic, and also to tell us about his remarkable new film His Name is Green Flake. We felt like Mauli showed how to confront difficult issues like race with realism, but also with an abundance of faith, hope and charity. His honest and moving response to this recent incident shows the way to create a path forward toward Zion.

Mauli has had a long and successful career in the entertainment industry, and is the writer, director, and producer of this extraordinary film. The movie tells the story of an enslaved Black man, Green Flake, who was also a member of the Church and immigrated from Nauvoo to Utah as part of the vanguard group that prepared the trail to Salt Lake for other Saints. His Name Is Green Flake has been awarded Best Film in ten different festivals, including the Venice Film Awards, the London Independent Film Awards, and most recently, the LA Film Awards.

Mauli lives in Southern California where he serves in a ward bishopric. He is a member of the well-known Bonner family of musicians. 

Feb 19, 2022
102. So Who Wrote the Bible? — A Conversation with Terryl Givens
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As we have collectively turned our attention to the study of the Hebrew Bible, what is known to most Christians as the Old Testament, we at Faith Matters turn our attention to a perennial question: Who actually wrote these books?

We plan to have at least a few conversations in the coming year on how to engage the Hebrew Bible. To kick it off, we invited Terryl Givens to our studio to help us frame some of the big-picture issues, for example:  

Who wrote the Bible? 

How should we read it? 

What theological and ethical dilemmas does it force us to confront?

How is it relevant today? 

As you might expect, it was a candid and fascinating conversation. We hope you’ll leave this conversation asking better and deeper questions as you engage the books of the Hebrew Bible.

Feb 05, 2022
101. Does Book of Mormon Historicity Matter? — Terryl Givens with Joseph Spencer
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In this episode, we’re diving into one of the questions from our Big Questions series: Terryl Givens invited Joseph Spencer, a philosopher and professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, to talk about the question of Book of Mormon historicity. 

The claim that the Book of Mormon is a translation from ancient plates written by Hebrew people who immigrated to the American continent has been challenged from its first publication, and conclusive confirming evidence has been equally controversial. So what is at stake in either affirming or questioning the historicity of the Book of Mormon as the modern translation of an ancient record? Could it be some other form of inspired writing? Or must we accept the book as being exactly what it claims to be? How do we deal with seeming challenges to its historicity?

Joseph Spencer is prominent among a new generation of Book of Mormon and Biblical scholars. He is the editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and the author of eight books, including “1st Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction” published in 2021 by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute.

You can find more from our Big Questions series by clicking on “Big Questions” from the main navigation menu  — and watch out for much more Big Questions content as we move throughout the year.

Thanks as always for listening, and we really hope you enjoy this conversation with Terryl Givens and Joseph Spencer.

Jan 30, 2022
100. "Mormons" in the Metaverse — A Conversation with Carl Youngblood
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For this week's episode, we brought on Carl Youngblood for a truly enlightening conversation we’ve been wanting to have for a long time. 

Carl has spent most of his life helping to build and operate technology companies and has done a lot of deep thinking and writing about how technology is shaping our reality and our future—including how it will affect what it means to be human. Digital technology companies, including behemoths like Facebook, are staking their futures on pushing the boundaries of virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Their project is to create a new reality for human beings—what has come to be called the "metaverse."

We brought Carl on to talk about what all this means. What are the implications for our families and institutions? What are the implications for our faith? How might the theology of the Restored Gospel inform how we move into this new reality? 

And what about technologies that may offer the possibility to dramatically extend our lifespans? What does a faith that honors the centrality of God’s creation and that honors death as an essential part of a foreordained plan have to say? 

These are huge and sobering questions, but they’re also exciting to explore. Bill Turnbull, one of the founders of Faith Matters, also joined us for this conversation.

Carl is a co-founder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, an organization founded to consider the intersection between our faith and the frontiers of technology. The MTA is hosting a conference in Provo this spring, on Saturday, March 19, at which nationally-recognized experts on things like blockchain, crypto and Web 3 will address the implications of these technologies for our society and, by extension, for our faith. Registration info for this conference can be at the end of the episode. Faith Matters has no affiliation with MTA and offers no opinion on their approach, but we acknowledge their efforts in addressing some of the biggest questions of our day.



Jan 26, 2022
99. Eve and Adam - A Conversation with Melinda Wheelwright Brown
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This week, we were lucky enough to spend some time with Melinda Wheelwright Brown, to talk about her book Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance, which was published by Deseret Book.

We thought it would be great to start the year diving right into the first pages of the Old Testament — the chapters that we usually refer to as the story of “Adam and Eve.” Of course, as you’ve probably already noticed, Mindy’s book re-titles that story, and you’ll hear why she did that right near the beginning of the podcast. 

The book does an amazing job of getting into the details of what we learn in the Bible, in the Pearl of Great Price, and from other sources, and shows us how unfortunate misunderstandings, or worse, have led many over the centuries to relegate women into a place of submission or even contempt. Not only does Mindy show that Eve is very much Adam’s equal, but that she deserves her own special place of honor and respect — one that the restoration does much to bring back.

To give you just a bit more about Mindy, she is a respected teacher and public speaker who’s been heavily involved in the non-profit world, including with organizations like Fight the New Drug, Days for Girls, Better Days 2020, Big Ocean Women, and the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, where she currently serves on the board. Mindy and her husband, Doug, are the parents of four children and have recently became grandparents.

As always, thanks so much for listening, and a huge thanks to Melinda Wheelwright Brown for coming on. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Find Mindy on Instagram @brave.like.eve: https://www.instagram.com/brave.like.eve/

Links to Mindy's book, "Eve and Adam":
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eve-Adam-Discovering-Beautiful-Balance/dp/1629727288/
Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/p/eve-and-adam-discovering-beautiful-balance?variant_id=179985-hardcover

Jan 15, 2022
Can Creation Heal Us? — Terryl Givens with George Handley
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For this week’s episode, we’re releasing a classic conversation between George Handley and Terryl Givens — one that was released very early in the life of this podcast, and that many of you may not have yet heard.

The first chapter of Genesis says: “In the beginning, God said let there be light, and there was light.” God created this extraordinary world, the scriptures tell us, through the power of his Word.

It makes all the more sense, then, that a Professor of comparative arts and letters, like George Handley, would spend so much time thinking about, and enjoying creation. After serving as Associate Dean of the College of Humanities from 2015 - 2018, George was appointed Associate Director of the Faculty Center at BYU.

He’s also the author of several books, including Home Waters, the novel American Fork, and two Maxwell Institute “Living Faith” books: If Truth were a Child, and, most recently, The Hope of Nature. In this conversation, George speaks with Terryl about connecting with the divine through nature, about being a good steward of the earth; about the tragic death of his brother; and the history of a river. He’s consecrated his life and talents to discovering and sharing what is good and beautiful.

We’re so happy to be able to share this classic episode of the podcast with all of you, and we hope you enjoy Terryl’s conversation with George Handley.

Jan 09, 2022
98. The Happiness Paradox — A Conversation with Richard Eyre
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For this conversation, we were lucky enough to bring back Richard Eyre for a second episode, this one focusing on his book, The Happiness Paradox. We loved the book and thought this discussion would be really timely for the new year, since many of us are hoping to find new paradigms that might help us live in a healthier, happier way. We believe that Richard’s book does just that. 

For those unfamiliar with Richard from our last episode with him, he’s had an extraordinary career as an author, consultant, entrepreneur, and speaker. 

He is the author of more than fifty books, many written along with his wife, Linda. Richard and Linda are among America’s most prominent voices on the subject of parenting, and together, they wrote Teaching Your Children Values, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller. They and their work have appeared on Oprah, the CBS Early Show, Today, Good Morning America and many other national media outlets.

Richard has also experienced wide-ranging church service, including serving as the president of the England London South mission, and he and Linda served as external advisors to the Church on Family. They are also the parents of nine children. He considers his family his greatest achievement.

Richard’s book taps into some of the most counterintuitive and vital ideas from the great wisdom and religious traditions of the world (including our own!). We are thankful to him for coming on and spending some more time with us, and we hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Jan 02, 2022
97. Gospel Meets Dharma — A Conversation with Thomas McConkie
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Many of you are familiar with Thomas Wirthlin McConkie. For those of you who are not, here’s a very cursory thumbnail sketch of his story:

Coming from a very prominent Latter-day Saint family (with apostles on both sides of the family), Thomas left the Latter-day Saint faith as a teenager, eventually moved to China and for two decades deeply immersed himself in Buddhism. Eventually, he found his way back to the his native Latter-day Saint faith, and today finds himself integrating ideas and practices from both  traditions  in remarkable and important ways.

If you’d like to hear the story of Thomas’s journey in more detail, you can listen to a fascinating multi-episode deep dive on the Faith Matters podcast starting in episode 15.

Thomas has just created a truly beautiful online course called Gospel Meets Dharma. The course description says it this way: “Gospel Meets Dharma represents a sacred encounter between Christianity and Buddhism, two traditions that have shaped and formed countless millions of minds and souls over the millennia. In this ‘interspiritual dialogue’, the unique fruits of each path come into clear relief, while also giving rise to a Beauty that transcends and includes them both.”

We invited Thomas back to our studio this week to talk about what inspired him to create this course and to explore some of its key themes. As always, we loved our conversation with Thomas and imagine you will as well.

By the way, you can find the course at  gospelmeetsdharma.com.  Thomas is offering a 20% discount on the course to the Faith Matters audience. Just type the code  LAUNCH20 when you enroll. 

Dec 19, 2021
The Real Story of the Priesthood-Temple Ban
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As we approach the portion of the Come Follow Me curriculum that addresses Official Declaration 2, we thought we’d re-release a classic episode of the podcast that many of our newer listeners may not have heard — a conversation between Terryl Givens and Paul Reeve that explores the history of the Church’s priesthood-temple ban that concluded in 1978.

In this episode, Paul and Terryl go both wide and deep on the priesthood-temple ban. Among other historical details, they discuss how the church was broadly criticized as being too inclusive in its early years—critics claimed that it wasn’t “white” enough. This became a factor in Brigham Young’s 1852 decision to ban Black people  from the priesthood and temple. 

They also explore some of the explanations that developed in the church to explain the ban during its 126 year duration—and how each of these explanations have since been rejected and disavowed by the church.

Paul Reeve is the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies  at the University of Utah. His award-winning book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, is considered by many the best book written to date on the subject.

Dr. Reeve has also written a fantastic essay that addresses how to make sense of our history of denying priesthood and temple blessings to our Black brothers and sisters. It’s a fascinating read—and you really shouldn’t miss it.

We think this is an incredibly important and insightful episode. We suspect you’ll enjoy it.

Paul Reeve's essay: https://faithmatters.org/making-sense-of-the-churchs-history-on-race/

Dec 10, 2021
96. Healing a Divided Country — A Conversation with Dan Vallone
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This week, Faith Matters was delighted to welcome Dan Vallone, the US Director for More in Common, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to build a more united and inclusive America that is resilient to the profound threats posed by our country’s polarization.

Dan has a super impressive background, including serving six years active duty as a US Army infantry officer, with one tour in Afghanistan. He is a graduate of West Point and earned a Master’s degree from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on a Fulbright Scholarship, and later an MBA from Harvard Business School. He also spent time as a special advisor on innovation to the US Department of Education. 

In this conversation, Dan spent time helping us understand why it seems we have become so divided politically in the United States. He shared some really interesting research that shows that the large majority of Americans are proponents of listening, compromise, and good-faith engagement with those on the other side of the aisle. 

Dan left us with several practical takeaways about how we can be active healers in our communities, and how faith institutions like the Church can play vital roles in helping us come together.

We want to extend a huge thanks to Dan for his thoughtfulness and leadership on this issue and hope you enjoy!

Dec 05, 2021
95. Proclaim Peace — A Conversation with Patrick Mason and J. David Pulsipher
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For this episode, we spoke with Patrick Mason and David Pulsipher about their new book, "Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict". The book was recently published by BYU’s Maxwell Institute.

"Proclaim Peace" begins with the premise that even though we live in a world that is plagued by violence, that peace really is possible. For Patrick and David, the Gospel of Jesus Christ lays out a unique theology which can help us become peacemakers in our communities and society at large. Their book also addresses really important questions that many people have about scriptural violence, and helps show that active and lasting peace really is a divine goal.

Returning to the podcast, Patrick is the Leonard Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, and an associate professor of religious studies and history, at Utah State University. 

Joining Faith Matters for the first time is David, a professor of history at Brigham Young University–Idaho where he teaches courses on citizenship, civil discourse, peace-building, and nonviolence.

Nov 27, 2021
94. Be In the World — A Conversation with Richard Eyre
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For this episode, we got to speak with Richard Eyre, a man whose career has spanned a number of roles, including that of an author, consultant, entrepreneur, and speaker.

We got to speak with him about a variety of topics,  focusing on how we can contribute to society as a faith with a lot to offer even while our members are relatively few in number. We also discussed how we can make difficult decisions which seem to have an outsized impact on our lives, as well as whether there’s room for optimism as we engage the world around us.

Richard is the author of more than fifty books, many written along with his wife, Linda. Together, they are among America’s most prominent voices on the subject of parenting, such as their co-authored volume,
Teaching Your Children Values, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller. They and their work have appeared on Oprah, the CBS Early Show, Today, Good Morning America and many other national media outlets.

Richard has also experienced wide-ranging church service, including serving as the president of the England London South mission. He and Linda also served as external advisors to the Church on family. They are also the parents of nine children.




Nov 21, 2021
93. Jody Moore Part 2 - Live Coaching Session
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For this episode, we’re doing a follow-up to our interview with Jody Moore about her new book published by Faith Matters, Better Than Happy. If you haven’t heard that episode yet, we’d recommend going back and listening first to that episode, which was released as #92.

This episode is not in our standard interview style  — instead, it’s a live coaching experience, where Jody works with Lindsay Broadbent and Andrea Weaver through real-life issues. We thought it was hugely helpful, because we’re able to hear Jody put the principles of the book directly into action. We want to give Lindsay and Andrea a huge thanks for coming on and being so open.

And to remind you a little bit about Jody, she has a BA in Communications and an MA in Adult Education, along with 15 years of experience as a Corporate Trainer and Leadership Coach, and is a Certified Life Coach. She’s also the host of the incredibly popular podcast Better Than Happy with Jody Moore.

Nov 15, 2021
92. Better Than Happy — A Conversation with Jody Moore
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For today’s episode, we’re announcing the next book published by Faith Matters Publishing called Better Than Happy  by Jody Moore.

Jody has become something of a phenomenon in recent years—especially among Latter-day Saint women—due to her fantastic insights about how we can better deal with difficult relationships, create and meet goals, and live more fulfilling and happy lives. She has a BA in Communications and an MA in Adult Education, along with 15 years of experience as a Corporate Trainer and Leadership Coach, and is a Certified Life Coach. She’s also the host of the incredibly popular podcast Better Than Happy with Jody Moore.

Jody’s new book teaches how our unconscious thought patterns determine our relationships, our spiritual life, and our connection to God to a much greater extent than we know. Even though that can sound intimidating, Jody teaches that the subconscious mind is something that you can access and train to radically change the way you live. 

To join us as additional guest hosts for this conversation with Jody, we brought on Lindsay Broadbent and McKinzie Hancock. We loved hearing Jody touch on the principles in the book,  which you can order it now on Amazon and Audible (just search “better than happy” and you’ll find it).

As an aside, for our next episode which will be released as number 93, we recorded a live coaching session with Jody where she tackles some real-life issues to give an example of how the model and principles taught in the book can have a real and immediate impact. Be sure to keep an eye out for it!



Nov 06, 2021
91. A Short Stay in Hell — A Conversation with Steven Peck and Terryl Givens
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To give a little background on today’s episode, we recently read the book A Short Stay in Hell by Steven Peck, who is a professor of biology and bioethics at BYU and an award-winning fiction author. The book is a remarkable and frankly terrifying exploration of a concept of “hell” that calls into question the very natures of eternity, meaning, and relationship. 

As we talked with each other about this book, we realized that exploring the Latter-day Saint concept of “hell” in relationship to other hell theologies would be fascinating. But more importantly, as Steve’s book indicated, it would provide an opportunity for us to dive deep on what we mean when we say eternity, and what our unique faith tradition has to teach us and share with the world about the nature of an endlessly loving God, life after death, and human potential.

So we asked Steve to join us to talk a bit about his book, and brought in Terryl Givens as an additional conversation partner to round out some of these concepts, especially in light of Christian and Latter-day Saint tradition.

And yes, if you’re wondering, we thought that Halloween was the perfect day to release this episode ;)



Oct 30, 2021
90. 7 Ways to Lead Out Against Racism
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This week, Tim and Aubrey Chaves of Faith Matters welcomed back Charles Inouye. When they first spoke with Charles a couple months ago, he mentioned that he had prepared some thoughts on living a life free of racism. Given President Nelson’s recent call for members of the Church to “lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice,” we wanted to get him back on as soon as we could so he could share his impressive insights.

We knew that Charles would have a unique perspective to share on this topic. As the son of Japanese parents who were held in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming internment camp during World War II, he grew up as part of the only Japanese family in the small town of Sigurd, Utah. 

Charles spent much of his youth working on his family’s farm in Sigurd, but eventually served a mission in Japan. He later went on to earn degrees from some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including a BA from Stanford and a PhD from Harvard. He’s now a Professor of Japanese Literature and Visual Culture at Tufts University.



Oct 24, 2021
89. Divine Trade-Offs and the Sacred Yes: A Conversation with Greg McKeown
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For this conversation, we spoke with Greg McKeown, the New York Times-bestselling author of the books Essentialism and Effortless, the latter of which was just released earlier this year. When we read both Essentialism and Effortless, we knew we wanted to have Greg on the podcast. Everything he wrote in these books seemed immediately applicable; not just in our lives or careers, but even towards our membership in the Church.

Greg is also a Latter-day Saint, and he was able to talk with us about how the concepts of his books apply to issues that are often on the minds of fellow church members—things like callings, raising families, and managing work/life balance.

Greg’s writing has appeared or been covered by The New York Times, Fast Company, Fortune, HuffPost, Politico, Inc. Magazine, and the Harvard Business Review. He’s also appeared on many television and radio programs, including NPR, NBC, and Fox. Greg is originally from London, England, and now lives in Calabasas, California with his wife, Anna, and their four children. He did his graduate work at Stanford University.

Oct 17, 2021
88. Considering the Cross — A Conversation with John Hilton III
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For this episode, we were excited to talk with John Hilton III. John is the author of the new book Considering the Cross, which was published by Deseret Book earlier this year. We loved this book and John’s really thoughtful approach to this topic, which helped us see how bringing Christ’s crucifixion, and even the symbol of the cross, more prominently into our discourse and culture could really enhance and broaden our faith.

To give you a little bit more on John’s background, he’s an associate professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. Prior to BYU, John worked with the LDS Seminary and Institute program for eleven years in a variety of capacities. John has a Masters degree from Harvard and a Ph.D from BYU, both in Education. John and his wife Lani have six children.



Oct 10, 2021
87. Evolutionary Love and Other Big Ideas — John Durham Peters with Terryl Givens
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It can be delicious sometimes to just sit and listen to two great minds musing on some of the great questions of life. Even when their conversations feel a bit beyond our grasp, they point to deeper realms and invite us to journey with them into a richer intellectual life.

That’s exactly what we have for you today. Two of the great intellectuals in the Latter-day Saint world, Terryl Givens and John Durham Peters, invite us to drop in on a conversation between good friends—a conversation that ranges across a variety of fascinating topics.

John Durham Peters (born 1958) is Professor of English and Professor of Film & Media Studies at Yale University. A media historian and social theorist, he authored the acclaimed book Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. His other books include Courting the Abyss, and The Marvelous Clouds.

Oct 02, 2021
86. God's Many Voices (Pt. 2) — A Conversation with Michael Wilcox
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This is part 2 of our discussion with Michael Wilcox that we’re calling God’s Many Voices. If you haven’t heard part 1 yet, we’d encourage you to go back and listen to that episode, which was released last week as episode #85. In it, Brother Wilcox shared with us why he’s spent so much time with the ideas and in the holy books of other religions.

In this part, we actually got to dive into a few of these books, and he shared several of his favorite passages with us. Some of the books we got to spend a little bit of time in were the Analects of Confucius, the Bhagavad Gita, the Qur'an, the Dhammapada, and the Tao Te Ching.

It was so fun to get to spend this time with Brother Wilcox and to hear some specifics of what he’s learned from various faith and wisdom traditions around the world. We were reminded of Joseph Smith’s words: “one of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” 



Sep 26, 2021
85. God's Many Voices — A Conversation with Michael Wilcox
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This week, we were honored to bring back Michael Wilcox for one of the most interesting discussions we’ve ever had. We’ve discovered, as we’ve gotten to know him, just how well-versed he is in all world religions, not just in Latter-day Saint theology.

We’re breaking this episode into two parts — in this first part, Brother Wilcox explains why it is that he’s spent so much time with the ideas and in the holy books of other religions. To give you a little preview, in his words: “God has been speaking to his children all the time. Every way he can, everywhere…I can hear (his voice in) the voice of a sage, or a philosopher or a poet or playwright. God's voice is like an orchestra. We believe in a God that is speaking all the time, everywhere, every way he can.” 

And in the second part, which we’ll air next week, we actually get into some of his favorite ideas and passages from books like the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, and several others  — it’s remarkable to see how some of the most beautiful ideas really echo so strongly in some of our own cherished beliefs.

Many of you are already familiar with Brother Wilcox, but to just give a little background — he received his PhD from the University of Colorado and taught for many years at the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. He has spoken to packed crowds at BYU Education Week and has hosted tours to the Holy Land, China, Church history sites, and many others. He’s written several books and he and his late wife, Laurie, are the parents of five children.



Sep 19, 2021
Announcement - Single Saints Virtual Conference
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Faith Matters has teamed up with Leading Saints to produce a new "virtual summit" focused on the experience of single adult members of the Church.

Though we would love for any single adult to attend, this isn't what you might think of as a "single adult conference" — the intended audience is anyone who loves someone in their life who is a single adult!

Kurt Francom joins us briefly to explain what this summit is, and why you'll want to tune in.

Register here:  https://leadingsaints.org/singleadults

Sep 18, 2021
84. Elusive Unity at BYU — A Conversation with Tom Christofferson and Patrick Mason
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Today’s episode was a tough one, to be honest. In the aftermath of a speech that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave recently to faculty and administration at BYU, we try to explore and understand why the message created such a firestorm. Among other things, the speech raised anew the Church's longstanding challenge in speaking to LGBTQ issues. 

If you aren’t familiar with the speech that we’re talking about, don’t worry — we give a little more context once the discussion starts. The full transcript and video of the speech are available on the Church Newsroom website.

Most of the work we do in this podcast and at Faith Matters, generally, is to provide a forum where difficult issues can be explored in expansive ways through real dialogue and understanding, in a spirit of generosity. Doing that can be tricky on topics which feel particularly polarizing and raw. 

Faith Matters is really trying to “broaden the circles” of our culture and community to help them become as expansive and inclusive as they can be—both for those who already feel super comfortable at Church, and for those that are trying to find a place to fit in. We definitely don’t always do this perfectly, and we’re sure we didn’t in this episode — so we really appreciate the grace we hope you’ll extend as we navigate this tricky territory.

As conversation partners, we brought on Patrick Mason and Tom Christofferson, both of whom have been close friends and advisors to Faith Matters for a long time. We felt like their perspectives would really help to round out both the theological and personal aspects of this issue, and we weren’t disappointed. We found their insights both realistic and reassuring, and as always, they modeled a Gospel and a Church that we’re proud to be a part of.



Sep 11, 2021
83. Zion Earth Zen Sky — A Conversation with Charles Inouye
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For today’s episode, we speak with Charles Inouye. 

Charles is a truly remarkable person—the son of Japanese parents who were held in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming camp during World War II. He grew up in the small town of Sigurd, Utah. 

He spent much of his youth working on his family’s farm in Sigurd, but eventually served a mission in Japan. He then went on to earn degrees from some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including a BA from Stanford and a PhD from Harvard. He’s now a Professor of Japanese Literature and Visual Culture at Tufts University.

In our discussion, we talked with Charles about his most recent book: Zion Earth Zen Skywhich is a really remarkable and unique work among Latter-day Saint literature. For one thing, its prose is interspersed with haiku which for us brought a totally new and welcome feel to the book. We’ve really never read anything quite like it, and Charles’ deep understanding of and appreciation for Zen Buddhism brings insights to life as a Latter-day Saint that we’d never considered.

Charles was kind enough to make time for us in-studio on a recent trip from Boston to Utah, and we were so glad we got a chance to talk to him—we hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Sep 05, 2021
82. The Future of Women at Church: A Conversation with Neylan McBaine
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Neylan McBaine’s book "Women at Church" started a lot of conversations and challenged many of our assumptions around how women can participate and lead in their wards and stakes. Seven years later, we thought it might be interesting to explore with Neylan how far we have come and where that future might lead.

Neylan founded Better Days 2020, and has become a leader in speaking and writing about women's leadership and the U.S. suffrage movement, with a specific focus on Utah and the West's early role in that movement. Neylan previously founded the Mormon Women Project, a wonderful digital library in which hundreds of Latter-day Saint women from around the world share their experiences of life in the Church.

In 2020, Neylan was named “Extraordinary Woman” of the year by the YWCA of Utah. Her book "Pioneering the Vote: The Untold Story of Suffragists in Utah and the West" won the Freedoms Foundation National Award. 

Neylan grew up in New York, is a graduate of Yale University, mother to three daughters, and lives in Salt Lake City. She shared much of her personal story in a previous Faith Matters conversation with Terryl Givens in 2019. 

Aug 15, 2021
81. Are You a Steward or an Owner? — A Conversation with Ganel-Lyn Condie
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In this episode, we spoke with Ganel-Lyn Condie, a popular motivational speaker, author and podcast host. She’s written several books and currently hosts two podcasts: “Real Talk - Come Follow Me” and “The Middle”.

We spoke with her about a couple of topics that she’s spoken and written about recently  — first is her concept of “stewardship vs. ownership,” which is a really great insight into facing challenges without letting them become an identity. Secondly, we discussed the concept of “letting God prevail,” which was the focus of President Nelson’s October 2020 General Conference address.

We loved talking with Ganel-Lyn and found her to be extraordinarily authentic and approachable. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did.

Show notes:
"Joy Even in Loss" with Lisa Valentine Clark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmH6n96SdE4

Ganel-Lyn’s website: https://www.ganellyn.com

Aug 07, 2021
80. Challenging Terryl Givens — A Conversation About "All Things New"
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Terryl and Fiona Givens most recent book, All Things New: Rethinking Sin, Salvation and Everything in Between has received a remarkable amount of positive attention since it was published by Faith Matters a few months ago. We’ve been delighted to see that it’s resonated with so many people. Because of its bold scope, it has also sparked some wonderful debate. 

In this week’s podcast episode, we collected some challenging questions from readers and posed them to Terryl. What followed was a really illuminating exploration of the book’s main ideas. As you might expect, Terryl had some really good answers to some really challenging questions. 

Fiona is in Guam visiting her daughter’s family and was not able to join the conversation, but Terryl was as articulate, well-versed, and insightful as always. Enjoy this conversation with one of today’s most brilliant and engaging Latter-day Saint scholars.

Jul 25, 2021
79. Imaginative Discipleship — A Conversation with Robert Rees
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For this episode, we talked to Dr. Robert Rees. Bob has fit enough into his life to fill several lifetimes, so we can’t talk about everything he’s done, but we’ll give you some highlights here. 

Bob has taught in humanities and Mormon Studies at UCLA, UC Berkeley, and several  other institutions. He’s also been the editor of Dialogue, former Chair of the Sunstone Foundation, and has published a wide variety of scholarly articles, personal essays, editorials, and poetry. Bob is the editor of a book series called Why I Stay, which compiles essays by some really remarkable Latter-day Saints; the latest edition, Why I Stay 2, which contains essays from Carol Lynn Pearson, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, Phil Barlow, and others, was just released in April.

Bob is also one of the founders of The Bountiful Children's Foundation, whose mission is to nurture the potential of infants and toddlers to lead healthy, productive, and self-reliant lives by eliminating malnutrition.

We spoke with Bob about how we as Latter-day Saints can engage fully and faithfully with a world that’s in need of imaginative and optimistic discipleship. He embodies that ideal so perfectly, and we came away so inspired by his energy and enthusiasm for making the Church and the world better places.



Jul 10, 2021
78. Loving Without an Agenda — A Conversation with Ben Schilaty and Charlie Bird
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For today’s episode as June and Pride month come to a close, we brought on two really special guests, Ben Schilaty and Charlie Bird. Charlie and Ben are both gay Latter-day Saints as well as authors published by Deseret Book.  They host a podcast together called Questions from the Closet.

In this conversation, Ben and Charlie share a little bit about their backgrounds and faith, what “pride” really represents and why it’s important to them, their thoughts on the process of coming out to faithful friends and family, and how leaders, friends, and loved ones can be effective allies to the LGBTQ community.

To give you just a little bit more background on these two: Ben works as an Honor Code administrator at BYU and as a therapist at Family Services in Provo, Utah. He holds three degrees from BYU and a PhD in second language acquisition and teaching from the University of Arizona. He serves as a high councilor in his stake.

Charlie was Cosmo the Cougar at Brigham Young University from 2016 to 2018 — and was the Cosmo from the original viral dance with the Cougarettes that was viewed over a billion times across social media platforms. He graduated from BYU in 2018 and is an active LBGTQ advocate, involved with multiple nonprofit LGBTQ organizations nationally and across Utah.

We are super grateful to Ben and Charlie for coming on, and learned so much from them. We hope you enjoy the conversation.



Jun 26, 2021
77. A Divided Church (Pt 2): Our Better Angels — Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury and Jeremy Spilsbury
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In this second episode about political tribalism and its effect on Latter-day Saint congregations, we invited Mesa, Arizona Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury and her husband Jeremy Spilsbury to talk specifically about their own challenging experiences in their local ward and community.

Jeremy was serving as their ward’s bishop until his term expired a few weeks ago. Their story is fascinating and illustrates both the challenges and the opportunities we face in creating Zion.

In this conversation, the Spilsbury's share the very personal spiritual experiences that led them to engage in the political sphere from a strong sense of compassion. Not surprisingly, given the political environment in our country, and particularly in Arizona, that decision was not universally appreciated. But love can be an irresistible force over time, and healing the inevitable result.

Jun 21, 2021
76. Why Weepest Thou? — A Conversation with S. Michael Wilcox
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We recently read a wonderful book by S. Michael Wilcox called What Seek Ye? How the Questions of Jesus Lead Us to Him. In each chapter of the book, Brother Wilcox explores a question Jesus asked in the scriptures. One in particular stood out to us; it was the question “Why weepest thou?” and in the corresponding chapter, Brother Wilcox explores the role that trials play in our lives. He sat down with us to talk about that chapter, and shared what he’s learned as he’s gone through his own adversities, including the deeply felt loss of his wife, Laurie.

To give you just a little more background on Brother Wilcox — he received his PhD from the University of Colorado and taught for many years at the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. He has spoken to packed crowds at BYU Education Week and has hosted tours to the Holy Land, to China, to Church history sites, and many others. He’s written several books and he and his late wife, Laurie, are the parents of five children.

We felt honored to share this time with Brother Wilcox, and we hope you get as much out of this conversation as we did.



Jun 13, 2021
75. A Divided Church: What's Going on in Arizona? — Mesa Mayor John Giles and Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury
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The political climate in Arizona has been unseasonably warm recently, frequently making national news. And it seems political tribalism has even caused division in some Latter-day Saint wards and stakes. 

It raises the question that many of us have started asking  — could political identity begin to eclipse religious identity in some parts of the church? 

In part one of a two-part series on the church in Arizona, Bill from Faith Matters sat down with Mesa Arizona Mayor John Giles and Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury about division that erupted around an LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance.

Jun 08, 2021
74. Restoring the People of God: An Excerpt of "Restoration" by Patrick Mason
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Today, we’re doing something a little different  — we’re going to be sharing a chapter from Patrick Mason’s new book, Restoration. The chapter we’re sharing lays out Patrick’s thesis for what the word “restoration” meant in its original sense  — and how that meaning is incredibly relevant for the many members of the Church who are longing to engage with the world and lift up its most marginalized and vulnerable. 

We’ll get right to it and turn it over to Patrick, but we wanted to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend, and we hope you enjoy this chapter from Restoration.

If Faith Matters’ content is resonating with you and you get a chance, we’d love for you to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or whatever platform you listen on — it really helps get the word out about Faith Matters, and we really appreciate the support.

Thanks again for listening, and as always, you can check out more at faithmatters.org.



May 30, 2021
73. Belonging and Boundaries — A Conversation with Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
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Earlier this month, we reached out to our followers on social media to get their thoughts and questions about returning to a full church meeting-schedule after a year of home-centered worship and gospel study. We weren’t entirely surprised that there is a high level of interest in the subject. Many of the questions seemed to hinge on the tension between belonging and boundaries. 

It inspired us to reach out to Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife. What ensued was an incredibly insightful and refreshing conversation. Jennifer’s emphasis on agency and choice when it comes to how we engage with church, and her thoughts on finding real connection through honesty and vulnerability, while maintaining healthy boundaries, feels like a wise and expansive invitation.

Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She has a private counseling and coaching practice in Chicago, and is frequent contributor on the subjects of sexuality, relationships, and spirituality to many Latter-day Saint themed blogs, magazines, and podcasts. You can explore her work at www.finlayson-fife.com.



May 23, 2021
72. Is the Church as True as the Gospel? — A Conversation with Terryl Givens
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The disrupted church schedules we’ve experienced over the past year have taught us all a lot about our worship practices, our church relationships, and ourselves. Now that many of us are starting to get back to a more standardized, full-meeting schedule, there are as many different feelings as there are people: some are excited and can’t wait to go back, and others are more reluctant.

We asked our community on social media what their thoughts, questions, or concerns about this are, and were flooded with responses. We want to thank everyone that spent the time to comment for being open and vulnerable with what you’re feeling. We read every question and did our best to encapsulate what was expressed as we worked through this episode.

For this conversation, we spoke with Terryl Givens, and specifically spent some time discussing Eugene England’s classic essay, "Why the Church is as True as the Gospel". Terryl is particularly well-suited to talk about this — his new biography of Eugene England, "Stretching the Heavens", is being released in just a few weeks. If you haven’t read England’s essay, please don’t let the title put you off just yet — you might be surprised by what he meant, and encouraged by what he had to say.

May 16, 2021
71. Celebrating Our Divine Mother: A Conversation with Bethany Brady Spalding and McArthur Krishna
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***UPDATE: McArthur and Bethany's books are now available at Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/t/author/mcarthur-krishna?ref=product-producer-list***

This week, we’re excited to celebrate Mother’s Day in a way that’s a bit unique to our tradition by talking a bit more about our Heavenly Mother.

We are grateful to McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding for joining us in this timely conversation.

Bethany and McArthur have written several books that we are sure you'll love as much as we do, here at Faith Matters. One of their most recent works is called “A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother,” which highlights our wonderful and unique doctrines around the feminine divine in a manner which is super approachable for children. In addition to being full of wise and loving words, their books also contain amazing and unique art that you really need to see.

McArthur has a master’s degree in communication from BYU, and also co-owned Free Range: an award-winning marketing business focused on telling social justice stories. In 2011, she moved to India and started writing books, some of which we talk about in the course of this interview.

Bethany is equally fascinating, and has founded programs that promote health and nutrition in the US, South Africa, and India. She currently leads a regional coalition in Richmond, Virginia to create a healthier food environment for at-risk children.

We hope you enjoy! Happy Mother's Day!

May 09, 2021
70. A Better Heart — A Conversation with Tom Christofferson
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Those fortunate to have come into the orbit of Tom Christofferson have found a wise, genuine and compassionate friend. His first book That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith and Family was instrumental in healing many hearts and building many bridges. 

In his new book A Better Heart,  Tom dives deeper into his journey toward the kind of Christ-like love to which we aspire as disciples. 

Tom sat down with Aubrey and Tim Chaves this week to talk about the spiritual  journey that led to his latest book.

May 02, 2021
69. Constitution by a Thread (Part 2) — With Thomas B. Griffith, Kurt Francom, and Bill Turnbull
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This is part 2 of our last episode on President Dallin Oaks’ recent conference address, in which  spoke passionately about the U.S. Constitution, and ended with an urgent admonition to end political tribalism and division.

We collaborate in this episode with Kurt Francom of Leading Saints, which is a really remarkable organization that helps Latter-day Saints be better prepared to lead. 

In this episode, Thomas Griffith, Kurt Francom and Bill Turnbull explore how we can have a conversation about Pres. Oaks’ challenge in our local wards and stakes, and how to ensure we live up to that challenge.

Our guest, Thomas Griffith, has broad experience in both church leadership and public service. He has served as chief counsel for both the U.S. Senate and for Brigham Young University, and was appointed to a judgeship by George W. Bush on the D.C. Court of Appeals, from which he recently retired. He now practices law in DC and teaches at Harvard Law School.



Apr 25, 2021
68. Is the Constitution Hanging by a Thread? — A Conversation with Thomas B. Griffith
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President Dallin H. Oaks delivered a landmark address at our church’s most recent General Conference. He spoke passionately about the U.S. Constitution, and ended with an urgent admonition to end political tribalism and division, insisting that we address this in our wards and stakes.

In this episode, Faith Matters co-founder Bill Turnbull reached out to his good friend, Thomas Griffith, an expert in constitutional law, to explore not just Pres. Oaks address, but what lies behind it—the rapid erosion of good will and trust in the American body politic—including among Latter-day Saints. Griffith sees the  possibility of a cataclysmic crisis in the not-too-distant future, and believes Latter-day Saints can and must play a critical role in healing today’s divides.

Thomas Griffith has served as chief counsel for both the U.S. Senate and for Brigham Young University, and was appointed to a judgeship by George W. Bush on the D.C. Court of Appeals, from which he recently retired. He now practices law in DC and teaches at Harvard Law School.

Apr 18, 2021
67. Faith’s Dance With Doubt — A Conversation with Brian McLaren
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In this conversation, we spoke with Brian McLaren about his new book, Faith After Doubt. Brian is a former evangelical pastor, bestselling author, speaker, and podcast host, whose ideas we found to be extraordinarily resonant for our own faith tradition.

In this most recent book and in the interview, Brian shares his own experience passing through periods of deep doubt and shares how those experiences have been key for him to unlocking a greater sense of simplicity, integration and harmony in his life.

We want to make clear that we recognize that the word doubt has different meanings to different people. To some, it means an attitude of cynicism some bring to questions of faith. To others it means an open and honest questioning without a predetermined outcome. It’s really that latter definition of doubt that Brian examines in his book. And we know that this kind of questioning can be profoundly disorienting. But, according to  Brian, it can also result in a new kind of faith that leads to a deep and abiding love between ourselves, others, and our world.

And while this episode is in many ways for those who have experienced deep periods of doubt, it’s also for those who want to stand in love and solidarity with those who have. We really think there’s something for everybody here.



Apr 13, 2021
66. Atonement: From Penal Substitution to Radical Healing — An Excerpt from "All Things New" by Terryl and Fiona Givens
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For this Easter holiday, we wanted to do something a little different — so today, we’re sharing a chapter from the audiobook version of Fiona and Terryl Givens’ new book, All Things New, which was published by Faith Matters. The chapter is titled “Atonement: From Penal Substitution to Radical Healing.”

It may be the most important chapter in the book. They walk us through the history of poorly translated texts and a medieval worldview that really emphasized a jealous, angry, and retributive God, and then Fiona and Terryl show how we’ve been passed this conception of Atonement that focuses on being “saved,” rather than being “healed.”

By looking at more appropriate translations, restoration doctrine, and the details of Jesus’s life, they show that an emphasis on healing can emerge and, in the words of theologian Delores Williams, give “humankind new vision to see the resources for positive, abundant relational life.”

Happy Easter to each of you, and we really hope you enjoy this excerpt from All Things New.

Apr 04, 2021
65. OCD Isn't What You Think It Is — A Conversation with Bonnie Young
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In this episode, we talked about OCD and scrupulosity. OCD is a difficult subject because the term is often thrown around as an adjective to describe perfectionistic tendencies. But true obsessive compulsive disorder is so different than the stereotypes may lead people to believe, and it can be a really serious mental health issue  — one that is undoubtedly affecting someone you know and love. It can also be especially hard on missionaries.

So many people who have OCD—especially religiously-themed OCD—don’t know what to call their pain and often have only religious language or explanations for what they’re feeling.  That can lead to years of deep and unnecessary suffering. 

And that gets to the primary reason we’re doing this episode — we hope that listeners who are suffering from OCD, or their loved ones, will hear this and recognize something in themselves that they didn’t quite understand. We really want them to know that they’re not bad or corrupt or evil, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Bonnie is a marriage and family therapist, mother of two, and author of several academic articles on religion and mental health. She has a bachelor’s degree in history with an emphasis in Mormon women’s history and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, both from BYU. Bonnie’s currently based in Seattle, and specializes in treating clients with anxiety, religious OCD / scrupulosity, and sexual disorders.

Bonnie was amazing, and she really helped articulate some of the most difficult challenges that OCD presents, and ways to start addressing it.


Recommended Resources—

Self-help:

“The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD,” which you can find on Amazon.

“Brain Lock,” by Jeffrey Schwartz, also available on Amazon

Children:

“What to do when your brain gets stuck”, workbook for kids which again, you can find on Amazon.

Hey Warrior, by Karen Young, great illustrations, our kids love this one. 


Podcasts:

Bonnie recommended “The OCD Stories.” 

Richard Ostler has also done several podcasts related to OCD, and you can go to listenlearnandlove.org and head to the mental health section.

Parenting Survival Podcast by Natasha Daniels focuses on kids with OCD


Educational videos:

“Madeofmilllions.com”

“Nathan Peterson OCD.” has a series of educational vioeos on OCD

We also loved the movie about OCD for kids called “Unstuck,” which you can find at “ocdkidsmovie.com”


And for conferences, camps, and other general resources, the International OCD Foundation has it all. 

Perhaps most importantly, you can find a therapists who specialize in OCD in your city on their website @ iocdf.org





Mar 27, 2021
64. Women Creating Sacred Spaces — Carol Lynn Pearson, Jana Spangler, and Becky Edwards
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This is an episode we’re really excited about. When we heard Terryl’s conversation with Claudia Bushman a few weeks ago, it sparked some ideas that we thought really needed to be explored further, particularly around what Latter-day Saint women can do here and now to vitalize the feminine divine in their own lives and in the lives of their daughters.

Aubrey took that idea and really ran with it. So for this episode, she brought on Carol Lynn Pearson, Jana Spangler, and Becky Edwards. They explore how the unique doctrine of a Heavenly Mother can play a foundational role in allowing women to embrace creativity when developing spiritual practices. They also get really specific on ideas for ritualizing and celebrating milestones for women throughout their lives.

To give you just a brief background on each of our guests — Carol Lynn Pearson is the author of "Goodbye, I Love You", "Finding Mother God", and the primary song "I’ll Walk With You", and many other books and poems. She’s been a powerful voice in the Latter-day Saint tradition for many years.

Jana Spangler is a Faith Transitions Coach at Symmetry Solutions and graduate of The Living School, a 2 year program under the direction of Fr. Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Becky Edwards is a faith-based mentor, blogger, author, and speaker, who’s presented at many events including BYU Women’s Conference.

Mar 20, 2021
63. Beliefs, Biomes, and CRISPR - Dr. Laura Bridgewater with Terryl Givens
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In this episode, Terryl Givens speaks with Dr. Laura Bridgewater, a molecular biologist at Brigham Young University. In their conversation, they explore the cutting edge of genetic science, and how it can both challenge and transform our beliefs.

One of the most interesting parts of their conversation centered on how an understanding of evolutionary biology might challenge our beliefs around agency — we’ll let Laura explain in the episode, but rather than being threatened by the scientific reality, she sees it as an invitation to judge others less harshly.

Laura and Terryl also discuss CRISPR, the nobel-prize winning gene-editing technology, and talk about the ethical issues that arise from it — for instance, CRISPR could insulate us against hereditary diseases, but could also empower us to genetically engineer our children.

We loved hearing all of Dr. Bridgewater’s perspectives, and want to give her a special thanks for coming on to talk with Terryl. We really hope you enjoy this conversation.

Mar 16, 2021
62. An Urgent Invitation to Women - Claudia Bushman with Terryl Givens
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In this episode, Terryl Givens speaks with Claudia Bushman. Claudia is truly an original. She’s fearlessly straightforward and has an incredible passion for discovering and passing on the stories of Latter-day Saint women. She’s been the animating force behind several landmark publications and projects in women’s history. 

In their conversation, Claudia urges women in the church to be similarly bold and creative in asserting their place and bringing their gifts to the faith. This is a delightful conversation with one of the most remarkable Latter-day Saint women of our time, and we hope that you enjoy it.

Mar 07, 2021
61. Repentance as Transformation — Thomas McConkie and Adam Miller
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Today we’re doing something a little different, and sharing a really fascinating conversation between Thomas McConkie and Adam Miller, a popular author and professor of philosophy.  It’s taken from Thomas’s online course, Transformations of Faith.

As a part of the course, Thomas and Adam recorded a series of conversations that take a deeper dive on several of the ideas and principles Thomas teaches in the course, and each of the conversations is really enlightening in its own way.

In this particular conversation, Thomas and Adam explore the idea of repentance and forgiveness in the context of spiritual growth and transformation, and it’s a very different take than you might expect in a typical “gospel doctrine class” discussion.

We hope it provides a unique perspective on this subject that we spend quite a bit of time thinking about and talking about as Latter-day Saints. And of course, to hear all of the conversations, or to learn more about the course, you can head to transformationsoffaith.org to sign up.

Feb 28, 2021
60. Discipleship vs Partisanship — Former Congressman Ben McAdams with Terryl Givens
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Ben McAdams has had an unusual life in public service. Running as a moderate Democrat in a very conservative Republican state, he managed to be elected as a State Senator, then as Salt Lake County Mayor, and then as a Utah Congressman. 

Concern for the disadvantaged among us has been a driving force in his public life. Tasked as Mayor with helping to solve problems with Salt Lake City’s homeless population, he decided to spend a few days and nights living incognito with on them on the streets of the city. He needed to understand the issues first hand.

In 2020’s politically polarized elections, McAdams was narrowly defeated. In this conversation with Terryl Givens, McAdams reflects on the disturbing power of tribal political loyalties. Does political identity now hold greater sway in our lives than our identity as disciples of Christ? 

Givens explores McAdams’ personal life as well as his public life, and they touch on what may be next for this unique public figure.

Feb 13, 2021
59. Restoration: God's Call to the 21st-Century World - Patrick Mason
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***
"Restoration" is available in every format, including Audiobook, from Amazon, Apple Books, and Deseret Book:

https://deseretbook.com/p/restoration-gods-call-to-the-21st-century-world?ref=Grid%20%7C%20Search-10&variant_id=190930-paperback

https://www.amazon.com/Restoration-Gods-Call-Century-World-ebook/dp/B08PKKCVJ3/ref=sr_1_1?crid=15402VNGHO8W3&dchild=1&keywords=restoration+patrick+mason&qid=1612652298&sprefix=restoration+%2Caps%2C211&sr=8-1

***

In this episode, we got to speak with Patrick Mason about his new book, Restoration, which was published by Faith Matters Publishing. When we started the Faith Matters Publishing project, one of our goals was to explore what Restoration really means as the church moves into its third century, and that’s exactly what Patrick does in his book.

In the interview, we got to ask him about the origins of the book, its most important ideas, and what he hopes for the Church in the coming decades. One of our favorite insights from Patrick in this episode has to do with the meaning of the word restoration itself — he explains that the phrase “restored Church” doesn’t even appear in any recorded sermons until well into the 20th century, and that its original meaning might be really be seen as a call to reach out to the most marginalized and vulnerable in society. That insight alone has changed the way I see our Church membership, but we’ll let Patrick connect the dots as you listen.

Obviously, we can’t recommend the book strongly enough, and we hope that you’ll pick it up and even share it with others. It’s available at Deseret Book, Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books. The book itself has so much more than we were able to cover in this one conversation — it’s a brief but powerful read packed with stories and insights that we really think you’ll love.

A huge thanks to Patrick for coming on to speak with us, and for all the effort he put into writing what we think is an incredibly important book.

Feb 06, 2021
58. Congressman John Curtis with Terryl Givens—Healing our Nation's Wounds
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One of John Curtis’s first votes after winning reelection as a U.S. Congressman in 2020 was one of the toughest decisions of his life—whether or not to impeach Donald Trump for instigating a mob attack on the US Senate during its vote to ratify Joe Biden’s election as the next U.S. President.

In this conversation with his longtime friend, Terryl Givens, Curtis talks about that vote, the current political climate in America and how we might heal the divisions in our country. They also talk about what role Curtis’s deep personal faith plays in his public life, first as Mayor and now as a U.S. Congressman. He explores this and more in this very personal conversation with Terryl Givens.

Jan 31, 2021
57. All Things New - Fiona and Terryl Givens
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In this episode, we spoke with Fiona and Terryl Givens about their new book, "All Things New: Rethinking Sin, Salvation, and Everything in Between."

This book has the potential to really change lives. In it, Fiona and Terryl trace the roots of our religious vocabulary and show how many of these words have been unmoored from their original foundation — and how so many traditions that have been carried forward from hundreds, or thousands of years ago are still damaging us today. They then dive into specific ideas for how we might reformulate our language in healthy and inspiring ways.

This book is healing and hopeful, even paradigm shifting and we believe you won’t be able to put it down. You can pick up a copy for yourself, or for family and friends at Deseret Book, or on Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books. We’re so grateful for Terryl and Fiona and the amazing work they’ve done here.

Our conversation with them was really inspiring for us as well, and we loved hearing more about how the idea for the book originated and what Fiona and Terryl hope people get out of it. We hope you enjoy this conversation!

Jan 10, 2021
56. The Most American Religion - McKay Coppins with Terryl Givens
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In this latest installment of Conversations with Terryl Givens, Terryl is joined by McKay Coppins, a highly respected young political commentator and writer, widely known for his back-and-forths with Donald Trump over the past several years. 

Coppins recently published a truly remarkable piece in The Atlantic titled “The Most American Religion” which is both a retrospective on the place of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American consciousness and a look forward to the third century of the Church and its place in American culture. As part of writing the piece, Coppins was granted a rare face-to-face sit down with Pres. Russell M. Nelson to discuss a wide range of topics.

We think you’ll enjoy this conversation between two very insightful Latter-day Saint thinkers.

Dec 27, 2020
55. Transformations of Faith - Thomas McConkie
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*** Find out more at transformationsoffaith.org ***
In this episode, we spoke with Thomas McConkie about something really exciting that he’s been working on over the past year in partnership with Faith Matters.

Thomas has created an online course called Transformations of Faith. Many of our listeners are familiar with Thomas’s unique story. He’s a mindfulness teacher and practitioner of over 20 years, a committed and thoughtful Latter-day Saint, and a researcher and teacher in the field of adult development. In Transformations of Faith, Thomas draws on all three of these perspectives to create some truly transformative insights and practices.

It’s an extraordinarily rich course with over 10 hours of teaching and guided meditations by Thomas, plus some fascinating conversations between Thomas and Adam Miller in which they dive deeper into the ideas in the course. Faith Matters is a non-profit organization, but we’ve made a substantial investment to produce this course because we believe what Thomas has to share  will be life-changing for many people. For that reason, the course is the first product we’ve made available for purchase through Faith Matters. We’re offering a discounted price of $98 for the first 100 purchasers. We’ve also decided to make financial aid available for those who can’t currently afford it — we don’t want money to be the reason anyone misses out on the course.

Subscribers will also be able to access an audio-only version of the course on a private podcast channel.

For those of us who have taken the course, it’s been a subject of constant conversation. Many of the ideas and practices Thomas shared have truly been life-changing and opened up new awareness for both of us about ourselves and others around us that we simply couldn’t see before. We expect we’ll be back to it over and over again to process and uncover new layers of meaning. We think it could be particularly helpful if you feel spiritually or emotionally stuck or stagnant, or if you struggle with anxiety.
You can head to transformationsoffaith.org in order to see more detail about the course, watch a sample video, and enroll. 

We had a ton of fun talking with Thomas about some of the most interesting and impactful moments in the course for this episode of the podcast. We can’t wait for you to listen and hope you enjoy the conversation.


Sep 29, 2020
54. Finding Mother God - Carol Lynn Pearson
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In this episode, we got to speak with Carol Lynn Pearson about her new book, "Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World."

Carol Lynn has been a powerful and well-known voice in the Latter-day Saint community for many years. She’s perhaps most well known for her memoir "Goodbye, I Love You," about her marriage to and care for her husband Gerald, a gay man who died of AIDS in 1984. Her full catalog of works is too impressive to list here, but one other highlight is that she wrote one of our very favorite primary songs: "I’ll Walk with You," which has recently been published as a children’s  book. 

Carol Lynn’s new book of Poetry, "Finding Mother God," is incredibly moving — Carol Lynn found a way to somehow simultaneously mourn and celebrate the way we interact with Heavenly Mother, both personally and in community. We found ourselves both laughing, crying, and everything in between as we read — and we can’t recommend the book highly enough.

Carol Lynn was kind enough to read several of her poems and discuss them with us — we were only able to get through a few of our long list of favorites, but we think you’ll find her words and insights inspiring, and hope you pick up the book to find your own favorites.

Thanks so much to Carol Lynn for coming on, and we hope you enjoy this episode.

Finding Mother God: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1423656687

11:11 Asking Father

21:06 Before Prayer

29:08 Jesus Remembered

36:36 What to Do

40:04 Imagine

42:17 A Motherless House

46:07 First Thought of Me

Sep 13, 2020
53. Depression and the Plan of Happiness - Jane Clayson Johnson
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In this episode, we spoke with Jane Clayson Johnson about a really tough and important topic.

Jane is an award-winning journalist widely known for her work at CBS News, ABC News, and on the nationally syndicated NPR program, On Point. At CBS News, Jane was co-anchor of The Early Show, a regular correspondent for 48 Hours, and an investigative reporter for “Eye on America” segments for the CBS Evening News.

We spoke with Jane about her 2018 book Silent Souls Weeping, an incredibly important book that addresses depression, specifically within a Latter-day Saint context. In our discussion, Jane shared her own moving story about her struggle with depression, along with insights about how depression relates to missionaries and missionary work, a culture of perfectionism, social media usage, suicidality, and the stigma that still remains around mental health issues.

We’re so grateful to Jane for coming on and for her vulnerability and openness. If you or anyone you know struggles with depression, we invite you to listen to Jane’s message of hope, survival and resilience.

11:24 Depression and Feeling the Spirit

22:01 Finding Traction When Depressed

26:51 Having OCD While Serving a Mission

36:36 Dealing With Toxic Perfectionism

47:22 Returning To Our Wards During A Pandemic


 

Aug 23, 2020
52. The New Normal, Part 2 - Melissa Inouye
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This episode is part 2 of our mini-series we’re calling “The New Normal.”

We spoke in Part 1 with Ashley Mae Hoiland a few weeks back. For this episode, we spoke with Melissa Inouye.

Melissa’s been on our podcast before, and is one of our very favorite guests and people. After receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2011, Melissa became a Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She’s now working for the Church History Department, and last year published a new book called “Crossings."

In this conversation, Melissa shared with us her reflections on the crazy year we’ve had so far. The discussion we had was wide-ranging, and includes reflections on lockdown, home church, parenting, and even how we can use a lack of stability as a transformative experience.

We’re really grateful Melissa came on the podcast and are excited to share her insights. We hope you enjoy the conversation!

Jul 19, 2020
51. The Real Story of the Priesthood-Temple Ban - Terryl Givens with Paul Reeve
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In this episode, Terryl Givens and Paul Reeve explore the history of the Church’s priesthood-temple ban that concluded in 1978.

Paul is the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies  at the University of Utah. His award-winning book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, is considered by many the best book written to date on the subject.

Dr. Reeve has also written a fantastic essay that addresses how to make sense of our history of denying priesthood and temple blessings to our Black brothers and sisters. It’s a fascinating read—and you really shouldn’t miss it. You can view it on our website here:

https://faithmatters.org/making-sense-of-the-churchs-history-on-race/

In this episode, Paul and Terryl go both wide and deep on the priesthood-temple ban. Among other historical details, they discuss how the church was broadly criticized as being too inclusive in its early years—not white enough. This became a factor in Brigham Young’s 1852 decision to ban Black people  from the priesthood and temple. 

They also explore some of the explanations that developed in the church to explain the ban during its 126 year duration—and how each of these explanations have since been rejected and disavowed by the church.

We think this is an incredibly important and insightful episode. We suspect you’ll enjoy it.

Jul 01, 2020
50. Navigating the Church in an Interracial Marriage - Kimberly and Matt Teitter
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In this episode, we speak with two amazing guests, Kimberly and Matt Teitter. 

Matt and Kimberly have been married for ten years. Kimberly is a clinical psychologist at the Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment, and Matt is an assistant principal, and Bishop of their ward in Salt Lake City.

In this episode, they discuss their experience as an interracial couple in the Church, their experience of privilege in the different roles they have, what it’s been like navigating local leadership right now, and how we can make our spaces safer for minorities of any kind

Even with their extremely busy schedule, Kimberly and Matt were kind enough to join us for a late night conversation. We just wanted to preface that they have two adorable kids, and in the podcast, you’ll hear some family sounds in the background as we talk. If you’d like to read a transcript of the conversation, head to the website at faithmatters.org and click on the post with this conversation.

We’re so grateful that Matt and Kimberly came on the podcast, and hope you enjoy the conversation.

Jun 25, 2020
49. Joanna Brooks - Understanding the Past to Create a Better Future
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In this episode, we speak with Joanna Brooks, author of a new book exploring the Church's problematic history on the issue of race. Joanna holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA. She’s the Associate Vice President for Faculty Advancement at San Diego State University, and has written or edited ten books on race, religion, gender, social movements, and American culture.

As we all continue to grapple with issues of race not just in America but in our own faith, we thought it was important to understand how we got where we are. Joanna helps us explore the history of the Church as it relates to race  — she illustrates where we could and should have done better in addition to telling the stories of heroes who stood up against racism even at great personal cost.

We’re really grateful to Joanna for coming on the podcast, and for her willingness to share what she’s learned over many years of research. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

Resources:

Mormonism and White Supremacy, Joanna Brooks:
https://www.amazon.com/Mormonism-White-Supremacy-American-Innocence-ebook/dp/B08761ZHCP

The Color of Money, Mehrsa Baradaran
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076526LW5/

The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
https://www.amazon.com/New-Jim-Crow-Incarceration-Colorblindness-ebook/dp/B086CFB2NT/

13th
https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741

When They See Us
https://www.innocenceproject.org/central-park-five-tragedy-reframed-in-netflix-series-when-they-see-us/

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nahisi Coates
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SEFAIRI/

Jun 17, 2020
48. Lord, Is It I? LaShawn Williams and Yahosh Bonner
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In this episode, we speak with two amazing guests, LaShawn Williams and Yahosh Bonner.

In addition to the work they do in their communities, LaShawn is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Utah Valley University and Yahosh is the Athletic Director at American Heritage School and host of BYUtv’s Family Rules.

LaShawn and Yahosh discussed with us what it’s like to be a Black person in America and in the Church today, how we can healthily engage in introspection to find our own biases and shortcomings, and how we can move from listening and understanding to making a difference in our communities.

We’re so grateful that LaShawn and Yahosh came on the podcast, and hope you enjoy the conversation.

Jun 15, 2020
47. The New Normal, Part 1 - Ashley Mae Hoiland
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The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused a huge amount of suffering and death. It’s disproportionately afflicted vulnerable and minority populations, and its second-order effects have destroyed livelihoods and wreaked economic havoc on society.

All of that remains true, and truly awful. But there has been an unexpected silver lining for many of us in which we’ve discovered new things about ourselves and our lives that only surfaced due to such an intense disruption.

In this episode, and a short series of episodes, we’ll be discussing the New Normal — we’re hoping to to find ways to take what we’ve learned and, as society begins to reopen, make sure we’re living intentionally and incorporating the best of what this period of stillness has brought us.

This first conversation is with Ashley Mae Hoiland, author of “One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly” and several other books. We’re really grateful that Ashmae came on — she shared some fantastic insights, and we hope you enjoy the conversation.

Links referenced:

Free prayer writing course and written prayer collection: https://ashmae.teachable.com/p/prayerwriting
Ashmae’s other work: https://minetotell.com/
Ashmae’s books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ashley+mae+hoiland

May 30, 2020
46. Belonging: On the Edge of Inside - with Jeralee Renshaw
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In this episode, we have a conversation with our friend Jeralee Renshaw about what it means to be “on the edge of inside.”

In Richard Rohr’s wonderful essay on the topic, he says that one who lives on the edge of inside is “not an outsider throwing rocks, not a comfortable insider who defends the status quo, but one who lives precariously with two perspectives held tightly together.” 

In referencing Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonnhoeffer, Dorothy Day, and others, Rohr says: “they tend to be, each in their own way, orthodox… conservative, intellectuals, believers, but that very authentic inner experience and membership allows them to utterly critique the systems that they are a part of. [They] critiqued Christianity by the very values that they learned from Christianity.”

We’re really grateful Jeralee came on the podcast to discuss this important topic with us, and hope you enjoy the conversation.

01:58 What is the edge of inside?

14:30 Value(s) in discomfort 

17:58 How to find belonging in church

24:37 The importance of local leadership

29:56 Patience in waiting it out

39:22 Drawing circles like Christ

May 16, 2020
45. In what way is our church the true church?
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This episode is part of our Big Questions project, and in it, we discuss our Big Question #12 - “In what way is our church the true church?”

For this conversation, we asked Patrick Mason to come back on — Patrick is the Leonard Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University. Bill Turnbull, one of the founders of Faith Matters, also joined us for the conversation.

We know that this is a really big question for many Latter-day Saints, ourselves included — and if you’d like to explore more of what we’ve published on this subject, you can check out our website here: 

https://faithmatters.org/the-big-questions-project/

Thanks so much, as always, for listening, and we hope you enjoy the conversation.

4:22 Is the concept of a “one true church” still relevant?

12:00 The problem with total exclusivity 

18:12 In what sense is the Church true?

27:18 The Body of Christ today

31:29 A Methodist reads the Book of Mormon

38:01 The Gift of Saving Ordinances

43:58 Why the Church is as True as the Gospel

May 02, 2020
44. The Power of Stillness - Ty Mansfield
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Deseret Book recently published a remarkable book titled “The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints.” Mindfulness practices like meditation have become central to an emerging spirituality in the broader world. Latter-day Saints are busy people; we're doers. Our lives and our faith seem to keep us constantly in motion. But our souls yearn for stillness. This book explores how to infuse our daily lives and our spiritual and religious practices with a quality of mindfulness.

We think this is an incredibly important book. So we invited one of its authors, Ty Mansfield, to explore this topic with us at a gathering in February. He was wonderful, so we decided to share it with you. Ty is a marriage and family therapist at the Marital Intimacy Group and teaches at Brigham Young University. We hope you enjoy this episode. 

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Stillness-Mindful-Living-Latter-day-ebook/dp/B083LFZBD7

Apr 11, 2020
43. Consecrating a Crisis - Thomas McConkie
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We know it’s been an eventful, and uncertain, and even scary couple of weeks for everybody. We’ve been grappling with our “new normal,” just like everyone else, and have been feeling the anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation that we know a lot of people are. 

We asked Thomas McConkie to come on the podcast and share the way he’s thinking about what’s been happening; Thomas always seems to have an ability to find the calm in the middle of a storm, and we think everyone that takes a moment to listen will really benefit from what he shares. As we spoke with him, he really helped us gain some insights that we think are transcendent but also practical.

Thomas is continuing his community mindfulness practice at Lower Lights School of Wisdom, which normally meets in person but has moved online — you can see the upcoming event dates at lowerlightswisdom.org. 

He’ll also be starting the upcoming season of his podcast, Mindfulness+, a bit early in light of our current situation, and is anticipating releasing his first episode on Wednesday, April 1, so make sure to go subscribe if you’re interested in hearing more insights from Thomas

Lower Lights: https://lowerlightswisdom.org/
Mindfulness+: https://mindfulnessplus.org/

02:36 What is Alembic?

08:16 Getting on the path we would like to be on

13:27 Dealing with the anxious mind

22:42 A mindfulness exercise led by Thomas

39:18 Finding the gold in mindfulness practice

Mar 28, 2020
42. Memory and the First Vision: Steven C. Harper
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Steven C. Harper is a Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, and author of the new book, First Vision: Memory and Mormon Origins. Steve has also served as the Managing Historian and General Editor of Saints, and as a Volume Editor of The Joseph Smith Papers. President Nelson declared 2020 a bicentennial year to commemorate Joseph Smith's first vision, and invited us to study the first vision in advance of General Conference. There's no one better to talk with about this subject than Steve. Reading his book completely changed our perspective on the First Vision itself, and he explains why it was never a given that the First Vision would become the seminal story of our faith. This was an absolutely fascinating conversation and we hope you enjoy it.

06:43 How Memory Impacts the First Vision
19:50 The First Vision and the Early Church
36:03 The First Vision and Missionary Work 
43:52 The First Vision as an Identity Marker
55:36 Historical Criticisms of the First Vision
01:05:52 Which First Vision Account is True?

Mar 21, 2020
41. The King's Good Servant, but God's First - Terryl Givens with Thomas Griffith
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In this episode, Terryl sits down with his good friend, Judge Thomas Griffith. Thomas has had a fascinating career in the highest levels of power in Washington, D.C., but politics takes a back seat as Terryl and Tom explore what really matters most. Their conversation covers a lot of interesting ground, and we hope you enjoy it.

01:01 - Tom Griffith’s Career and Conversion
11:34 - How History is Invaded By God
22:43 - How Tom’s Religious Background Informs His Faith
26:03 - What Deficiencies May Exist in Our Spiritual Foundations
34:15 - Christ as Our Healer
44:54 - A Mormon Approach to Politics

Mar 15, 2020
40. Living a life of action — and contemplation - Jana Spangler
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In this episode, we speak with Jana Spangler about how to live a contemplative life that's also full of compassionate action. As we've brought more contemplative practices into our own lives, we've found many benefits -- but have wanted to make sure we don't lose any of that drive for compassionate service that our faith has done such a good job teaching us.

07:26 The contemplative tradition of Joseph Smith

12:46 What is the ego?

18:35 Working with those who question

23:21 Moving beyond body and mind

29:20 Serving those who are down

34:57 Combining contemplation and action

43:01 Christ as Healer

Feb 23, 2020
39. Remembering Clayton Christensen
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Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen died on January 23, 2020, and he left a remarkable legacy. He was a monumental figure in both the business and academic worlds, as well as in the Latter-day Saint community. He was the father of five children and author of at least eleven books. But to those who knew him, Clay wasn’t just a thought leader or a world-renowned professor or an influential Church member — he was a mentor, confidant, and friend unlike any other.

In this episode, we spoke with Efosa Ojomo, Kyle Welch, and Barbara Morgan Gardner to share thoughts and memories of Clay.

Efosa first met Clay during his time as an MBA student at Harvard. Along with Karen Dillon, Fos was the co-author of Clay’s final published book, The Prosperity Paradox. 

Next, we talked to Kyle Welch, a Professor in the business school at George Washington University. Kyle became close with Clay well during his time at Harvard as a doctoral student from 2009 to 2014. 

Our final interview is with Barbara Morgan Gardner, a Professor at Brigham Young University, and author of the book The Priesthood Power of Women. She got to know Clay when she did post-doctoral work at Harvard and as she served as an Institute Director in Boston.

00:57 How Efosa met Clay
11:42 How did Clay share his faith?
22:25 How Kyle met Clay
30:36 Kyle’s favorite stories from Clay
34:30 How Barbara met Clay
42:47 Clay’s lasting impact

Feb 09, 2020
38. Connection Through Prayer - Thomas McConkie
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In this episode, we speak with Thomas McConkie on the subject of prayer.

Thomas brings a unique perspective, one that fuses a traditional idea of prayer with a more contemplative practice. He shares his insights on finding real connection to God through prayer, on the intersection of acceptance and seeking for specific outcomes, and perhaps most importantly, on how contemplative connection with God can help us rid ourselves of the "wrong ideas" that cause us pain. 
 
We hope you enjoy this conversation!

12:38 Prayers, Now and Then
18:10 Intentionality in Prayer
26:06 How to Develop Spiritual Habits
34:56 Prayer as Conversation
40:30 Thoughts on Fasting
46:13 The Role of Prayer in Faith Crisis


Jan 25, 2020
37. Stories and Sin - Adam Miller
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In this episode, we speak with Adam Miller on the subject of sin. Adam has a really unique perspective on this — to quote his book, he says “God’s work in your life is bigger than the story you’d like that life to tell. His life is bigger than your plans, goals, or fears. To save your life, you’ll have to lay down your stories and, minute by minute, day by day, give your life back to him. Preferring your stories to his life is sin.” 

We dive deep on those ideas with Adam, one of our favorite Latter-day Saint thinkers and authors. Adam is Professor of Philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas, and author of several books, including Letters to a Young Mormon, published by Deseret Book.

08:36 How does Adam Miller define sin?
20:37 How should we navigate obeying the law and loving others? Are they at odds?
28:10 What roles can guilt and shame play?
34:43 How does sin relate to punishment?
39:02 Thoughts on prayer, ego, and the stories we tell
51:36 How can I teach my children these things in a healthy way?

Jan 10, 2020
36. Women in the Church - Valerie Hudson
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This week, we are sharing a conversation with Valerie Hudson Cassler. Valerie is a distinguished professor of International Affairs at Texas A&M. She formerly taught at BYU, and has been an influential thinker and writer on Latter-day Saint issues. 

Valerie was in Provo not long ago and sat down for a very intriguing conversation Aubrey Chaves, Cami Frost and Lindsay Broadbent of Faith Matters. 

We should note that since this conversation was recorded before the October 2019 General Conference, some of the issues on which Dr.  Hudson was suggesting change have now been addressed.

See Valerie's essay, The Two Trees, here: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2010/the-two-trees

Dec 28, 2019
35. The Priesthood Power of Women - Barbara Morgan Gardner
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Barbara Morgan Gardner, associate professor of church history and doctrine at BYU, has written a powerful and insightful book called The Priesthood Power of Women, published by Deseret Book. We highly recommend it as a stocking stuffer for the women (and men) in your life.

In the book, Dr. Gardner points out how our lack of understanding of Priesthood has limited its power in our lives. 

She carefully lays out the difference between  what she calls the “eternal familial priesthood”  in which women and men are full partners, and the more temporary “hierarchical priesthood” concerned with church administration. She argues that our tendency to focus on the latter when talking about priesthood  has been the cause of some confusion and has kept women from experiencing and realizing their own priesthood power and authority.

She points out how top church leaders have moved to clarify this in recent years, and have invited women to begin claiming their spiritual inheritance as priestesses of God.

Dec 18, 2019
34. A Faith Journey - Tim and Aubrey Chaves
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Faith Matters has exciting plans for its podcast in 2020. In addition to more excellent Conversations with Terryl Givens, we'll be expanding our reach with episodes hosted by Faith Matters executive team members Tim and Aubrey Chaves,  exploring our faith with some of its most compelling thinkers.

We think you might enjoy getting to know our new hosts: in this episode, we share a podcast originally aired by Richard Ostler's excellent podcast, "Listen, Learn and Love." In it, Richard interviews Tim and Aubrey about their personal journey of faith, doubt, and striving for belonging.

We hope you enjoy this conversation, and look forward to sharing much more in the coming year.

Dec 07, 2019
33. (More) Gems of the Restoration - Patrick Mason
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In this second episode of our mini-series we’re calling “Gems of the Restoration,” we talk with Patrick Mason, Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University. We got to talk with Patrick about his background, his testimony and conversion, the things that get him excited about where our faith and church are headed, and things we could still do better. We hope you enjoy this conversation!

Nov 24, 2019
32. Gems of the Restoration - Fiona Givens
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In this episode, we talk with Fiona Givens about the beauty inside the restored gospel tradition. Fiona is a convert to our faith, and in this conversation, she talks about what drew her to the Church, what has kept her here, and why she feels hopeful about the future. Fiona is the co-author of the Crucible of Doubt, the God Who Weeps, and The Christ Who Heals.

Thanks for listening to the Faith Matters podcast  — if you enjoyed this episode, we’d love for you to help out by subscribing or leaving us a rating on Apple Podcasts. You can find more content, including essays, podcasts, and videos from our Big Questions project, on faithmatters.org.

Nov 12, 2019
31. Life on the Road to Emmaus - Terryl Givens with Rosalynde Welch
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Why would one be religious but not spiritual? What are some obstacles that stand in the way of faith? Terryl Givens and Rosalynde Welch have written and spoken on these questions, and each of them bring interesting perspectives to the discussion.

Conversations with Terryl Givens are special podcast and videocast episodes of the Faith Matters Podcast, hosted by Terryl Givens and created in collaboration with the Maxwell Institute of Religious Studies.

Rosalynde Frandsen Welch is an independent scholar in St. Louis, Missouri and a member of the Maxwell Institute’s advisory board. She is working on a book about Ether for the Institute’s Brief Theological Introductions series on the Book of Mormon.

Oct 16, 2019
30. Can our faith embrace evolution? Terryl Givens with Dr. Heath Ogden | Part 2
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In Part 2 of their conversation on evolution and the gospel, Terryl Givens and Dr. Heath Ogden delve further into the question of why it matters. What’s really at stake in whether a person of faith accepts the science of evolution? How might it affect our views of God and how he acts in the world? How might it affect how we view ourselves, the world around us, and the universe?

Oct 02, 2019
29. Can our faith embrace evolution? Terryl Givens with Dr. Heath Ogden | Part 1
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Is there a conflict between the science of evolution and the gospel? Can accepting and understanding evolution actually enhance our faith and our understanding of how God works in the world? In this two-part conversation, Terryl Givens sits down with Dr. Heath Ogden, professor of evolutionary biology at Utah Valley University, to explore this Big Question together. 

Oct 02, 2019
28. Confessions of an "Odd Intellectual" - Terryl Givens with Samuel Brown
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This episode is a front row seat to a conversation between two of the great intellectual figures in the Latter-day Saint community, Samuel Brown and Terryl Givens. Enjoy the feast and prepare to be challenged in all kinds of good ways. 

Often, the conversation takes unanticipated turns toward the realm of experience “beyond thought.” Brown and Givens touch on the conversion experience that compelled Brown to leave the atheism of his youth behind, on the nature of beauty and its place in our spiritual lives, on embodied spiritual practices, on kin identity vs. category identity and more. 

Sam lays out in his own unique, disarmingly honest way his own discipleship and challenges.

SAMUEL M. BROWN is a medical researcher, intensive care unit physician, and historian of religion and culture. He is author of First Principles and Ordinances, part of the Maxwell Institute’s Living Faith book series, and a number of other titles including In Heaven as it is On Earth and Through the Valley of Shadows: Living Wills, Intensive Care, and Making Medicine Human, both from Oxford University Press.

Jul 16, 2019
27. Is patriarchy a problem for the modern church? Rosalynde Welch with Linda and Richard Eyre
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In this fascinating conversation, Rosalynde Welch speaks with Linda and Richard Eyre about the issue of patriarchy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in the lives of its members.

They cover the history and culture of patriarchy in the Church, the swinging pendulum of feminist progress, and one of the Church's most visible and controversial documents -- The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

Rosalynde Welch holds a PhD in early modern English literature from the University of California at San Diego. She is an independent scholar writing for academic journals in the areas of Mormon theology, literature, and culture. She also writes for popular audiences at Times & Seasons, Patheos, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Linda and Richard Eyre are the authors of over a dozen books -- several of them bestsellers -- with a focus on families and parenting. They have nine children and have lived in Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City.

Jun 30, 2019
26. Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause - Terryl Givens with Neylan McBaine
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helping LDS women recognize and bring their gifts to the community. Neylan has founded or helped create the Mormon Women’s Project, Better Days 2020, and even the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. She has been instrumental in shaping today’s conversation about women in the church -- past, present and future.

Jun 22, 2019
25. Why do people leave the Church? Jana Riess with Melissa Inouye
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In this episode, Melissa Inouye and Jana Riess discuss what research and experience have taught them about why young Latter-day Saints become disaffected from the church, either temporarily or permanently, and how we might best respond to and support them during this process. Jana Riess is an independent researcher and author — her latest book, The Next Mormons, explores this big question. Melissa Inouye is a professor of Asian Studies at Auckland University in New Zealand.

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye is a scholar of Chinese history and global religious movements at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. Her book, Crossings: A Bald Asian American Latter-day Saint Woman Scholar’s Ventures through Life, Death, Cancer, and Motherhood (not necessarily in that order), is available from Amazon and Deseret Book.

 

Jun 10, 2019
24. What role do members have to play when loved ones leave? David Ostler with Melissa Inouye
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In this episode, Melissa Inouye talks with David Ostler about why people leave the Church, and the role members have to play when loved ones leave.

David Ostler has lived and served on four continents as a bishop, stake president, mission president, and as a director of a Church historical site and visitors’ center. He has served three full-time and two church service missions, most recently in his home stake working with ward and stake leadership to understand why people no longer believe or no longer attend. With his wife, they have six wonderful children—some of whom no longer hold basic Latter-day Saint beliefs. He has written Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question, a book about how to minister to those who question which will be released in July 2019. He is a contributor to Faith Matters and Leading Saints.

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye is a scholar of Chinese history and global religious movements at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. Her book, Crossings: A Bald Asian American Latter-day Saint Woman Scholar’s Ventures through Life, Death, Cancer, and Motherhood (not necessarily in that order), is forthcoming from Deseret Book in June 2019.

Jun 10, 2019
23. Tom Christofferson and Patrick Mason on the reversal of the Church's policy on gay families
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In this conversation, Bill Turnbull from Faith Matters sits down with Tom Christofferson and Patrick Mason to discuss the Church’s reversal of its controversial November 2015 policy regarding LGBTQ couples and their children. They discuss what we know about the origins of the policy and its reversal, as well as the implications of those actions for both gay and straight Latter-day Saints, and for our understanding of how revelation occurs on important Church matters.

Tom Christofferson is a devout, gay Latter-day Saint, and brother of Elder D. Todd Christofferson. Tom is author of “That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith and Family” published by Deseret Book.

Patrick Mason is the Howard W. Hunter Chair in Mormon Studies and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at Claremont Graduate University. He was recently named Leonard Arrington Chair of the Mormon Studies program at Utah State University. He’s also the author of “Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt,”  co-published by BYU’s Maxwell Institute and Deseret Book.

Apr 17, 2019
22. The Spiritual Journey - Terryl Givens with Thomas McConkie
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Thomas Wirthlin McConkie was born into a prominent American Latter-day Saint family, but the faith didn't resonate with him as a teenager. He disconnected from the Church and began exploring the wider world's faith traditions. He followed a thread through eastern religion and philosophy, and was surprised when that thread guided him all the way back to the faith of his youth. As a specialist in meditation and adult psychological development, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie appreciates how connecting with his past opens a new vision of the future. 

Mar 26, 2019
21. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 7
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In Part 7, Bill’s final interview gives voice to how his native religion has “become new” for Thomas, and how it might become new for all of us. Thomas gives detailed examples of how his study in Buddhism and travels around the world offer a connection to greater wholeness, and magnifies simple practices in Mormon tradition. He shares his observation of specific gifts the Mormon tradition offers from an “outsiders” perspective, and how each one of us can reconnect to something we may have lost. Their conversation helps one to see the worth of Mormonism’s concrete call to action, and how this action can shift to create true healing in one another’s lives. They talk about how we might create greater space in our communities for people to show up as their whole selves, and the possibility of accepting people in their growth, rather than drawing stark lines of where they “should” be, giving room for imaginations to grow together and create a genuine Zion community. 

Mar 26, 2019
20. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 6
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Thomas and Bill explore the question “Is Mormonism a good place to grow?” How well does our faith community nurture individual growth  across the whole spectrum of development? They discuss the value of staying grounded in concrete practices as we grow spiritually. Their conversation explores a developmentally-informed  understanding of things like restoration, testimony and commandments.

Mar 26, 2019
19. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 5
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This conversation centers around the cultivation of creativity and imagination, and how this cultivation improves our ability to “transcend and include” as we grow. Thomas and Bill talk about our instinctive movement towards higher meaning as human beings, and what roadblocks might halt this instinct. Thomas shares his “return to Jesus” after distancing himself from Christianity for many years. Through his story, he teaches how practices within the LDS tradition can move from concrete to symbolic to transcendent. His explanation offers generous permission to our changing faith and testimony as we develop through life.

Mar 26, 2019
18. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 4
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In this episode, Thomas shares more about his life story, describing his experience as an outlier to his devout Mormon family. Sharing intimate encounters with his grandfather (and Apostle) Thomas B. Wirthlin, he illustrates how important it is to trust in each other’s goodness and give space for our own unique paths. Bill and Thomas explore how stagEs of development are reflected in the evolution of a religious community, particularly the LDS church and culture.

Mar 26, 2019
17. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 3
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Thomas and Bill share a deeper discussion around mindfulness and meditation, and how this practice can help us connect with our true nature. This is a discussion about “waking up.” They explore how we can experience gospel principles such as obedience, service and charity in a mindful, integrated way.  When we can move from “achievement” to “embodiment”; from checklists, to presence, we have the opportunity to bring our full selves. 

To this episode, Thomas lets us experience meditation through a guided experience.

Mar 26, 2019
16. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 2
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Bill and Thomas dive into the field of adult development, explaining the potential perspectives one might experience as a growing Latter-day Saint. Through the lens and insight of "adult developmental psychology," the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can take on new meaning and depth, supporting healthy progress while steering away from shame or division. To quote Thomas, "The world we will create will be informed by the perspectives we’re able to take, and the possibilities that come from that...which helps us be more creative in a very deep way."

Mar 26, 2019
15. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 1
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Thomas shares significant experiences from adolescence which caused a fracture with his family and native faith and began his exploration beyond his family’s devout Mormon heritage. He gives an overview of  his 18-year spiritual pilgrimage and his ultimate return to the faith of his youth, bearing gifts from his journey. Weaving what he had learned about eastern philosophy, mindfulness and adult developmental psychology into his LDS faith, Thomas  explores ways to inhabit new perspectives with compassion and curiosity. 

Mar 26, 2019
14. Can I Trust and Sustain Fallible Leaders? A Conversation with Patrick Mason
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"Catholics teach that the Pope is infallible, but nobody believes it. Mormons teach that their prophet is fallible, but nobody believes it."

In this conversation for the Faith Matters Big Questions series, we speak with Patrick Mason (Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities and Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University) about the role of prophets and church leaders as divinely called yet imperfect men and women.

We cover topics like the priesthood-temple ban, Prop 8, the role members play in affecting the Church as part of the body of Christ, and a faithful but discerning approach to sustaining church leaders while following one's own conscience. We hope you enjoy this conversation! For more Patrick, check out his book Planted on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XEIeW4

Mar 07, 2019
13. A New Story of Creation - A Conversation with Scholars George Handley and Jani Radebaugh
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In this Faith Matters Big Questions conversation, Faith Matters team members Kate Hargadon and Bill Turnbull speak with BYU humanities professor George Handley and planetary scientist and BYU professor Jani Radebaugh.

They discuss, among other things, the integration of faith and science as pertaining to the earth and its creation, as well as our relationship to the earth and the responsibilities that we have to it as its stewards and as God’s children. We hope you enjoy this conversation!

Mar 03, 2019
12. A New Translation of The New Testament - Terryl Givens with Thom Wayment
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Few scholars have the expertise, let alone the confidence, to embark on a new translation of the New Testament for Latter-day Saints. Fortunately, Thomas Wayment has enough of both. When Wayment sat down for this conversation with Terryl Givens, he was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, but has recently moved to teaching classical studies at the university. His new translation was published by Deseret Book and the BYU Religious Studies Center—just in time for the church’s 2019 focus on the New Testament. This conversation focuses on his new translation and new perspectives he gained during the process, including some surprises.

Feb 02, 2019
11. Swimming in Deep Waters – Terryl Givens with Margaret Blair Young
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Margaret Blair Young is an American author and filmmaker. She also taught for thirty years at Brigham Young University. She’s written with Darius Grey about early black Latter-day Saints and her latest project is a film about more recent black converts in Africa. The film is called Heart of Africa.

Young is also a swimmer. And swimming has become a powerful metaphor for her life.

Fresh off the plane after her most recent stay in DR Congo, Blair sits down with Terryl Givens to talk about the Church in Congo, faith transformation, spiritual healing, and more.

Dec 02, 2018
10. Surprising Angels - Terryl Givens with Brian Kershisnik
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In this episode, Terryl Givens sits down with LDS artist Brian Kershisnik.

Oct 04, 2018
9. Risk-taking Discipleship - Terryl Givens with Thomas Rogers
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Risk-taking Discipleship | Thomas Rogers - Audio

Sep 05, 2018
8. The God Who Marvels - Terryl Givens with Steve Peck
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The God Who Marvels | Steve Peck - Audio

Aug 30, 2018
7. Can Creation Heal Us? Terryl Givens with George Handley
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For George Handley, both our physical and spiritual natures are inseparably connected with the natural world. An important aspect of the Restoration, according to Handley, is restoring our awareness of this connection, treasuring that connection in our hearts and minds and allowing it to heal us.

In his memoir Home Waters,  Dr.  Handley writes of his passion for creation this way: “Earth is an odd place to find myself, and this oddness is precisely what makes it so intoxicating. This is a onetime affair, never to be repeated again, and I want all of it.”

In this Conversation, Terryl Givens and George Handley explore how we can enrich our spiritual lives as disciples of Christ through love and care for the natural world that surrounds and supports us.

A popular Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities at Brigham Young University, George B. Handley’s creative writing, literary criticism, and civic engagement focus on the intersection between religion, literature, and the environment.

 

Links:

American Fork (novel by George Handley)

Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River (George Handley)

What do Mormons Believe about Caring for the Environment? (Mormon Newsroom)

Elder Marcus B. Nash’s address on Environmental Stewardship

May 30, 2018
6. Extraordinary Women in Mormon History - Terryl Givens with Kate Holbrook
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Kate Holbrook is known to friends, neighbors and family first as a wonderful cook and gentle
friend. In the intellectual world, she is know as an accomplished historian and author. She
earned her master’s degree in world religions from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD in
religion and society from Boston University. She was voted Harvard College’s Teaching Fellow
of the Year for a course she designed on global values. She now serves as managing historian
for Women’s History for the LDS church.

In this wide-ranging conversation with Terryl Givens, Kate talks about her faith and her personal story. She highlights the importance of telling the LDS story from the perspective of its women. Does discipleship look different from a woman’s perspective than from a man’s? She talks about her heroes, including Ardith Kapp. And she talks about the effect the Relief Society (“God’s quorum for women”) has had in shaping the church.

LDS church history “needs to be told in a way that integrates what men were doing with what
women were doing,” Holbrook says.

And not just what Mormon women were doing, but what they were teaching and preaching. Kate recently co-edited an extraordinary volume titled “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women.” “At the Pulpit” features 54 speeches by LDS women over the entire history of the church, complete with important historical context provided by Holbrook and fellow co-editor Jennifer Reeder.

“After years of basso profundo comes another sound out of the Mormon tradition, the voice of
women preaching. It is a pleasure to hear…” writes Mormon scholar Kathleen Flake.

Jan 02, 2018
5. The Genesis of Change - Terryl Givens with Darius Gray
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Darius Gray is an author and historian who has had a wide and varied career in television broadcasting, publishing, business management and church leadership. 

Raised in a devout Christian home, Gray converted to the LDS faith during the time of the Priesthood ban for black members. His commitment to a church that for years denied him full participation is a story of testimony, hope, courage and perseverance.  Working with other pioneering black Mormons and with LDS Apostles, Gray helped found the Genesis Group in Salt Lake City, the church’s official congregational unit for black Latter-day Saints. For many years, he served as its President. 

As a historian and genealogist, Darius Gray headed up the massive Freedmen’s Savings and Trust research project, which yielded the records of nearly half a million individuals, mostly African Americans. These names were then made available for temple ordinance work. 

Darius sits down with Terryl Givens to tell these and other remarkable stories in this conversation.

Dec 14, 2017
4. A Disciple’s Plea for Openness and Inclusion - Terryl Givens with Elder Marlin K. Jensen
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During his 24 years as a beloved LDS General Authority and Official Church Historian, Elder Marlin K. Jensen presided over an historic shift toward greater openness in the LDS church’s approach to its history. In this Conversation with Terryl Givens, we get an intimate glimpse into Elder Jensen’s personal life and thoughts, including:

  • How loving and serving his older brother instilled a determination to include “those who are different”
  • The spiritual experiences that led him to consecrate his life to serving in the church
  • His wish for more “overtly spiritual” church experience
  • How our spiritual lives can be enriched by people, practices and writings from other religious traditions
  • The challenges and the fruits of complete openness and transparency in telling the history of the church
  • The urgent need to embrace those who are different or “don’t meet the norm” in the church
  • His stirring witness of Christ

An attorney by profession who is more at home on the ranch, Elder Jensen became one of the public faces of Mormonism during what came to be called the “Mormon Moment.” He was featured prominently on the 2007 PBS series The Mormons

Under his direction as church historian, dramatic advances were made in church history, including creation of the Joseph Smith Papers project, construction of the new Church History Museum next to Temple Square, and greater access to scholars on a number of fronts. Terryl Givens once wrote of Elder Jensen: "Marlin Jensen has done more to further the cause of Mormon history than any person of the current generation."

Nov 21, 2017
3. The Christ Who Heals - Part 2
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Christ the Healer:

Judgment as Prelude to Eternal Progress

Nov 09, 2017
1. Faith, Family, and Discipleship as a Gay Mormon - Terryl Givens with Tom Christofferson
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Tom Christofferson’s journey through life has been anything but ordinary. On the surface, it
began as a typical Mormon story. He grew up in a close gospel-centered LDS family and went
on to serve a faithful mission. But during these years, he was also trying to deal with an
inconvenient truth: He was gay.

Although his life and family had been firmly rooted in the church (his older brother Todd was
eventually called as an LDS apostle), Tom came to a point at which he could no longer envision
a place for himself in the church, and he left. He went on to become an accomplished
businessman on the east coast and created a good life with his partner of nearly twenty years.
Later in life, however, Tom felt strongly called to return to his LDS faith and community. His new book “That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith & Family” (Deseret Book) includes his story of making a spiritual home in a faith that often may not feel like home to its gay members.

Tom Christofferson sat down with Terryl Givens in the studios of Faith Matters Foundation
(faithmatters.org) for this extraordinary, personal conversation.

Links:

That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon’s Perspective on Faith and Family

Nov 09, 2017