Rank #1: 301: Ministering to those who Question: David Ostler
David Ostler is a former LDS Bishop, a Stake President and a Mission President. David has been kept awake at night by questions of what good pastoral care or ministry to those who question and doubt might look like. But, rather than guess (as is often the case), he went to both those in faith crisis and to those in leadership and he collected data. From that data his book ‘Bridges; Ministering to those who Question’ emerged, and the results are fascinating. This episode is co-hosted with Nathan McCluskey.
Rank #2: 258: Taking the Mormons to Court: Defending Sexual Abuse Victims against the LDS Church: Tim Kosnoff
Tim Kosnoff is a US attorney who has spent the last two decades representing victims of sexual abuse. His introduction to the LDS Church and their lawyers was when he represented Jeremiah Scott who was sexually abused by a serial paedophile Frank Curtis. His work, in this case, appears in Lisa Davis' legal thriller, 'The Sins of Brother Curtis.' This case has lead to a practice in which he has come to represent over 150 Mormon sexual abuse victims bringing him face to face with the Mormon law machine time and time again.
Tim joins me to discuss his experiences as a representative and advocate for sexual abuse victims against the LDS Church.
Rank #3: 302: FLDS, Section 132 & The Handmaid's Tale: Brenda Nicholson
Brenda Nicholson joins me to discuss the social life of women in the FLDS church where she grew up under Rulon and Warren Jeffs. She’s since left the sect and fiercely argues that there is no way, that polygamy benefits anyone. Women, she argues are dehumanized in a system that was designed, as Section 132 intends, for the glory of men. More recently Brenda has made some interesting connections between Hulu’s Gilead in the Handmaids Tale and the social hierarchy in the FLDS community.
Rank #4: 284: The Next Mormons: Jana Riess
Jana Riess discusses her study 'The Next Mormons' and how the changing worldviews of Millennials will impact the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. From 'The Next Mormons': "American Millennials--the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s--have been leaving organized religion in unprecedented numbers. For a long time, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was an exception: nearly three-quarters of people who grew up Mormon stayed that way into adulthood. In The Next Mormons, Jana Riess demonstrates that things are starting to change."
Rank #5: 244: Uncovering a Doctrine of Black Priesthood Denial: Newell Bringhurst
Historian Newell Bringhurst discusses the background to his seminal work, "Saints, Slave and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism." Originally published in 1980, Newell's important contribution to racial politics in the LDS Church is being republished by Greg Kofford books in light of the 40th year anniversary of Official Declaration Two, which extended the priesthood to 'all worthy men.' Newell joins a chorus of scholars who argue that the Priesthood denial was less about Blackness than it was about White supremacy and as such isn't really worthy of the celebrations that the church intends in the coming months.
Rank #6: 236: Hope and Change for the LDS Church: Is it all worth it? Jana Spangler and Peter Bleakley
In this episode, Jana Spangler (Salt Lake City) and Peter Bleakley (London) have a hard conversation about what is troubling the LDS Church and they seek to grapple with these questions. Is there any hope for change in the LDS Church? Should the church change? What could change? Who could bring that change? And whether or not change in the LDS Church is even worth hanging around for?
Rank #7: 300: For New Beginnings: Gina Colvin
Gina Colvin, host of A Thoughtful Faith Podcast offers a reflection on her personal spiritual and religious journey and how a vibrant spiritual life is invariably filled with interesting twists and turns; some quite surprising!
Rank #8: 006: Women's Bodies, Motherhood, Sex and Oblivious Husbands: A Review of Tully: The Cheeky Mormon Movie Review
Derrick Clements and Gina Colvin get real about the price of motherhood in this somewhat Mormon flavoured review of Tully by Jason Reitman, starring Charlize Theron.
Rank #9: 250: Living Honestly with Mormonism's Past and Present: Brian Whitney
Brian and Gina discuss the complexity of the experience of Mormonism when confronted with eyes wide open to both its past, its present and its changing contexts.
Rank #10: 291: "Your Children Are Not Safe!": Alice Koivu & Kelly Plante
At the beginning of May 2019 two mothers of children who were sexually abused by convicted pedophile, Michael Jensen, appeared back in their former ward in Martinsburg, West Virginia to warn the congregation that the children there are not safe. This is a community, they argued, that circled their wagons around the perpetrator and their leaders. This is a community that made sinners out of those who pointed out the sin. This is a community that never apologized for their role in creating a climate that turned a church against the victims and their families.
Alice Koivu and Kelly Plante join me to talk about their journey back (as uninvited guests with a message) to the LDS Church pulpit.
Rank #11: 225: Finding a Faithful Leadership Response to Faith Crisis: Richard Tenney & Ganesh Cherian
Two former Bishops who have both experienced a faith crisis respond to the question: 'How can LDS leaders behave more sensitively and with more wisdom to those experiencing a faith crisis?'
Rank #12: 257: The Sins of Brigham: The granddaughters of Brigham's wives speak out: Jacobs, Jensen & Chamberlain
While Mormons claim Joseph Smith as the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is still very much Brigham Young's church. Brigham's leadership was formative in shaping the LDS movements as it is today. The husband of 55 wives Brigham's influence was more than organisational. He was also responsible for establishing a patriarchal structure and suite of doctrines and practices that affirmed that loyalty to the highest priesthood office in the church was the church's primary orthodoxy, and the feminine role was to honour that priesthood.
So, what of those who directly inherited Brigham's legacy. What of his female posterity? Great, great, great granddaughters of Brigham, Kristen Jensen and Crystal Chamberlain along with the great great great granddaughter of Zina Huntington (one of Brigham's wives) join me to discuss what it means to have inherited Brigham's legacy along with the wounds of their grandmothers.
Rank #13: 259: The Feasibility of Staying: Tom Mikota
Tom Mikota has designed special effects on such blockbuster movies as Avatar, King Kong, Tintin etc. But it wasn't until he was shoulder tapped to work on the 360 degree Joseph Smith film on Temple Square that things began to occur to him. After a lifetime of faithful service, he was introduced to the contradictory first vision accounts that he was employed to represent as an employee of the church. In this interview, we walk through Tom's faith crisis and we confront the question, 'Can I continue in the church without the trappings and social markers of orthodoxy?'
Rank #14: 217: How Patriarchy Hurts Men and Boys: Wendy Christian
Manhattan-based Psychotherapist Wendy Christian discusses patriarchy in the LDS Church and how this imbalance hurts everyone including men and boys.
Rank #15: 232: A God Who Changes: Blaire Ostler
Who is God, Blaire? Thus, begins a discussion that unsettles, moves, disrupts our taken for granted conceptions of the Divine. The God of process theology doesn't entirely fit the script of the male, authoritarian, patriarchal, unchanging, anthropomorphic God written into the contemporary LDS curriculum. But it does fit an early Mormon emergent theology that brings God closer to the chaos and change of humanity. To be God and human, Blaire argues, IS to change.
Rank #16: 220: When Mormons need a Psychiatrist: Neuroplasticity, Scrupulosity, and Children Hoarding: Dr. Bill Bunn
Dr.Bill Bunn is a BYU psychiatrist who specializes in adolescent and young adult psychiatric disorders. He joins me to discuss mental illness, the brain and neuroplasticity. We also consider how scrupulosity and anxiety disorders present among young Mormons and missionaries.
Rank #17: 275: Spiritual Formation through the Liturgical Year: Maxine Hanks
When Maxine Hanks returned to the LDS Church after being excommunicated with the September 6 in 1993, she returned to the LDS Church having taken a spiritual formation pathway in the Gnostic tradition. One of her great passions upon her return to Mormonism has been to surface the LDS Church's own spiritual formation pathway.
In this discussion, we consider the Liturgical Calendar, so important to the sacramental traditions. We consider what the 'church year' from Advent to Pentecost, can offer us in helping us live more intuitively into the story of Jesus Christ and thus more kindly attend to our personal spiritual journeys.
Rank #18: 231: Revisiting Fowler's Stages from 0-6: Stage 0-1: Sara Hughes-Zabawa
In thinking about Fowler's stages model, adults don't tend to discuss the childhood phases. Yet, we all have parts of each stage present in us, whether some have been mostly passed through, and others are nascent. In this series of podcasts with Sara Huges-Zabawa (LMSW) we revisit and consider each of these stages and their spiritual usefulness. Sara also offers a guided meditation that helps us reconnect with their beauty and wisdom. Stages 0-1 are worth considering, particularly as parents, as we navigate the spiritual and religious socialization of our children. But they are also instructive for adults and thinking about them helps us make sense of our early faith beginnings.
Rank #19: 251: Impasse: When your ward turns on you: Sabine
Sabine (name changed) served faithfully in the church for years. Then several incidents involving her children occurred causing her to act swiftly to protect them from bullying and shaming from adult leaders. The result was a fall-out with her local LDS community followed by a request that she no longer enter the church premises. Sabine's is one of many stories in which solvable interpersonal problems are compounded by poor pastoral practice, difficulties in dealing with interpersonal difficulties, an attachment to affirming the status of leaders and a subtle rejection of parents as the ultimate authority when it comes to their children.
Rank #20: 278: To Win at All Costs: The LDS Church and its Heartless Legal Machine: Craig Vernon
Craig Vernon has represented clients in several high profile church and clergy perpetrated sexual abuse cases including cases involving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Litigating cases against the LDS Church shows them to be formidable adversaries who are motivated to win at all costs - after all - they are defending the Kingdom of God. But, what puzzles Craig, like so many other others, is where is the pastoral care for the victims of LDS church and clergy related sexual abuse? Why is the defence of the institution more important that care of the abused? And, why do the LDS Church's public statements about their zero-tolerance for sexual abuse not square with how they handle sexual abuse cases involving their own members?