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Faith Matters

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.

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4. A Disciple’s Plea for Openness and Inclusion - Terryl Givens with Elder Marlin K. Jensen

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 churchHis wish for more “overtly spiritual” church experienceHow our spiritual lives can be enriched by people, practices and writings from other religious traditionsThe challenges and the fruits of complete openness and transparency in telling the history of the churchThe urgent need to embrace those who are different or “don’t meet the norm” in the churchHis stirring witness of ChristAn 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."

58mins

21 Nov 2017

Rank #1

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32. Gems of the Restoration - Fiona Givens

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.

56mins

12 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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15. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 1

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. 

59mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #3

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35. The Priesthood Power of Women - Barbara Morgan Gardner

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.

1hr 6mins

18 Dec 2019

Rank #4

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22. The Spiritual Journey - Terryl Givens with Thomas McConkie

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. 

55mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #5

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14. Can I Trust and Sustain Fallible Leaders? A Conversation with Patrick Mason

"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

1hr 6mins

7 Mar 2019

Rank #6

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33. (More) Gems of the Restoration - Patrick Mason

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!

1hr 16mins

24 Nov 2019

Rank #7

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34. A Faith Journey - Tim and Aubrey Chaves

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.

1hr 28mins

7 Dec 2019

Rank #8

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5. The Genesis of Change - Terryl Givens with Darius Gray

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.

1hr 1min

14 Dec 2017

Rank #9

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25. Why do people leave the Church? Jana Riess with Melissa Inouye

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.

35mins

10 Jun 2019

Rank #10

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16. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 2

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."

51mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #11

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23. Tom Christofferson and Patrick Mason on the reversal of the Church's policy on gay families

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.

47mins

17 Apr 2019

Rank #12

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8. The God Who Marvels - Terryl Givens with Steve Peck

The God Who Marvels | Steve Peck - Audio

56mins

30 Aug 2018

Rank #13

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31. Life on the Road to Emmaus - Terryl Givens with Rosalynde Welch

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.

53mins

16 Oct 2019

Rank #14

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28. Confessions of an "Odd Intellectual" - Terryl Givens with Samuel Brown

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.

56mins

16 Jul 2019

Rank #15

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6. Extraordinary Women in Mormon History - Terryl Givens with Kate Holbrook

Kate Holbrook is known to friends, neighbors and family first as a wonderful cook and gentlefriend. In the intellectual world, she is know as an accomplished historian and author. Sheearned her master’s degree in world religions from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD inreligion and society from Boston University. She was voted Harvard College’s Teaching Fellowof the Year for a course she designed on global values. She now serves as managing historianfor 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 whatwomen 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 ofwomen preaching. It is a pleasure to hear…” writes Mormon scholar Kathleen Flake.

1hr 2mins

2 Jan 2018

Rank #16

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24. What role do members have to play when loved ones leave? David Ostler with Melissa Inouye

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.

40mins

10 Jun 2019

Rank #17

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26. Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause - Terryl Givens with Neylan McBaine

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.

52mins

22 Jun 2019

Rank #18

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17. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 3

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.

44mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #19

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18. Waking Up, Growing Up: A Conversation with Thomas McConkie Part 4

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.

59mins

26 Mar 2019

Rank #20