Rank #1: 46. Belonging: On the Edge of Inside - with Jeralee Renshaw
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
Rank #2: 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 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
Maxwell Institute Podcast
Book of Mormon Central
Latter-day Saint Perspectives
Leading Saints Podcast
The Cultural Hall Podcast
Audio podcast of the Interpreter Foundation
Listen, Learn & Love Hosted by Richard Ostler
Mormon Matters - (Dan Wotherspoon ARCHIVE)
Latter Day Lives - Talking with Latter Day Saints
A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS
Mindfulness+ with Thomas McConkie
Rank #3: 45. In what way is our church the true church?
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:
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
Rank #4: 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.
Nov 12 2019
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Rank #5: 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.
Mar 26 2019
Rank #6: 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.
Dec 18 2019
Rank #7: 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.
Mar 26 2019
Rank #8: 47. The New Normal, Part 1 - Ashley Mae Hoiland
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.
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
Rank #9: 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
Mar 07 2019
Rank #10: 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!
Nov 24 2019
Rank #11: 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.
Dec 07 2019
Rank #12: 43. Consecrating a Crisis - Thomas McConkie
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/
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
Rank #13: 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.
Dec 14 2017
Rank #14: 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.
Jun 10 2019
Rank #15: 44. The Power of Stillness - Ty Mansfield
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.
Apr 11 2020
Rank #16: 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."
Mar 26 2019
Rank #17: 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.
Apr 17 2019
Rank #19: 42. Memory and the First Vision: Steven C. Harper
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
Rank #20: 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.
Oct 16 2019