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#107: The Scariest Navy SEAL I've Ever Met...And What He Taught Me. Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is one of the scariest human beings imaginable. He is a lean 230 pounds. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the Special Operations world. His eyes look through you more than at you. He rarely does interviews, if ever. But a few weeks ago, Jocko ended up staying at my house and we had a caffeinated mind meld. Here's some background... Jocko enlisted in the Navy after high school and spent 20 years in the SEAL Teams, first as an enlisted SEAL operator and then as a SEAL officer. During his second tour in Iraq, he led SEAL Task Unit Bruiser in the Battle of Ramadi--some of the toughest and sustained combat in the SEAL Teams since Vietnam. Under his leadership, Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the entire war in Iraq and helped bring stability to Ramadi. Jocko was awarded the Bronze Star and a Silver Star. Upon returning to the United States, Jocko served as the Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams, designing and implementing some of the most challenging and realistic combat training in the world. So why is Jocko opening up? Well, in part, we have mutual friends. Second, he is the co-author of an incredible new book — Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win -- which I've been loving. Trust me. Buy it. This is his first mainstream interview and one you won't want to miss. Show notes and links for this episode can be found at www.fourhourworkweek.com/podcast. This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years, and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it. Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim. Mandatory disclaimer: Wealthfront Inc. is an SEC registered Investment Advisor. Investing in securities involves risks, and there is the possibility of losing money. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please visit Wealthfront dot com to read their full disclosure. This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run...
Placebo power. The placebo effect demonstrates that the mind-body interaction can be powerful. Placebos can turn on the body’s natural biological processes to relieve a range of conditions, and in the future deception may not even be necessary.
Episode 51: Money Tree. When Axton Betz-Hamilton was 11 years old, her parents' identities were stolen. At that time, in the early 90s, consumer protection services for identity theft victims were basically non-existent. So the family dealt with the consequences as best they could. But then when Axton got to college, she realized that her identity had been stolen as well. Her credit score was in the lowest 2%. As she was working to restore her credit, she inadvertently discovered who had stolen the family's identity. It would change everything forever. View the photograph Axton describes here. If you live in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Durham, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, or Toronto. . . come see us tell all new stories live! Learn more at http://thisiscriminal.com/live/. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.
Case 60: Jonestown (Part 3). [Part 3 of 3] You may think you know the story, but do you… This is the chilling conclusion to Jonestown. Researched and written by Milly Raso For all credits and sources please visit casefilepodcast.com/case-60-jonestown-part-3
Rank #1: Pornography: Satan's Counterfeit. Brad Wilcox - Cyber Secrets - Feb 07, 2001
Rank #2: Five Easy Ways to Make School Hard and Five Hard Ways to Make School Easy. Brad Wilcox - New Era - April 2009
Rank #1: The Road of Life. H. David Burton - May 2010 CES Devotional
Rank #2: Preparing for Your Spiritual Destiny. Neil L. Andersen - January 2010 CES Devotional
Rank #1: The Path to Transformative Change | Pam Musil. Pam Musil gives five suggestions to help make permanent change a part of your life. Her knowledge of dance greatly influences her advice.Support the show.
Rank #2: Stand Forever | Lawrence E. Corbridge. How can we faithfully discover the answers to our difficult questions? Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge suggests how to keep the faith when we have moments of uncertainty.Support the show.
Rank #1: When My Prayers Seem Unanswered. S. Michael Wilcox - BYU Education Week - August 15, 2005
Rank #2: Using the Scriptures to Solve Serious Problems. S. Michael Wilcox - Families Under Fire - October 04, 2005
Rank #1: Episode 109: The Power of Godliness with Jonathan Stapley. The Interview: Just one day before Jonathan Stapley was awarded the best book award for The Power of Godliness by the Mormon History Association, I visited with him about the history and development of core ideas essential to current Mormon identity such as priesthood, authority, and ordinances. We also discussed how priesthood power relates to temple practice and what Jonathan refers to as the ordering of heaven. His volume is an academic history of Mormonism, and as such it’s intent is to understand and analyze the past and contextualize and historicize the present. On this episode, Jonathan Stapley shares his perspective on Latter-day Saint liturgy in theory and practice. About Our Guest: Jonathan A. Stapley is an award-winning historian and scientist. An active participant in the field of Mormon Studies, he is also the Chief Technology Officer for a bio-renewables company. Jonathan received his Ph.D. from Purdue University and has been active in the field of Mormon History for over a decade. You can read some of his publications here. He also writes for the academic history Juvenile Instructor blog, and at By Common Consent, a Mormon blog. Download PDF of the transcript. Latter-day Saint Perspectives Podcast Episode 109: The Power of Godliness Released July 10, 2019 This is not a verbatim transcript. Some wording has been modified for clarity. Laura Hales: Hello, this is Laura Harris Hales, and I’m here today with Jonathan Stately to talk about his book, The Power of Godliness, which was published by Oxford press in January of 2018. Jonathan, can you tell us just a little bit about your educational background? Jonathan Stapley: I’m a trained chemist. I have a PhD in carbohydrate chemistry from Purdue University. I did my undergraduate studies at BYU in food science. I deal with what’s called electro-chemistry. That’s using electricity instead of chemicals to change sugars into other useful products. Laura Hales: And you write in Mormon Studies. How did that happen? Jonathan Stapley: Well, after I finished my dissertation in 2004, I created a company that industrialized my graduate work, and I was focusing more on managing individuals and ideas as opposed to actual research. Just at that time, institutions, including the church, began digitizing their collections, and blogs were just coming online. I was part of a group of people that were starting to access these materials and do research, kind of a new generation in the 2000s. Being a scientist and interested in systems, I applied my interest and love of our church to that same study. Laura Hales: What is Mormon liturgy? Jonathan Stapley: We are accustomed to talking about ordinances and priesthood in our church, but those words have a particular meaning within our faith that is peculiar. It’s different than the way those words are used outside of our tradition. There is a technical and scholarly approach to ideas of worship and ritual that exists. I’m using those frameworks and bringing them into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Liturgy is the system of ritual and ritualized acts that believers participate in to mark occasions and celebrate and worship. On Sundays, for example, we go to sacrament meeting and participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and that is the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper. Now, if you are Roman Catholic or Orthodox or Jewish, you will be familiar with those terms because they’re part of the regular worship. They talk about the liturgy, but for us, it’s a little disorienting, I think, because we’re not exposed to that vocabulary. Laura Hales: Sometimes we talk about “high church” and “low church.” Even though we’re technically “low church,” we have liturgy like the Catholics, who would do it maybe with more ceremony. Jonathan Stapley: Yeah, for sure. And, of course, our tradition is complicated by the fact that we have the temple and the temple liturgy. If you were to talk about the baptismal liturgy or baby blessings or the healing liturgy of the church, those are all systems of worship and ritualized acts that are every bit as liturgical as the Roman Catholic Mass. Laura Hales: What got you interested in church rituals and liturgy? Jonathan Stapley: I’m a scientist by training and have always had a scientific approach to the world. Chemistry is very much a part of the way I look at the world. When I look at a tree, I think of the biochemistry that’s happening in the tree as much as I look at the beauty of the foliage. As much as we don’t use terms like liturgy or a sacrament, Latter-day Saints believe that they’re doing something. You know, when we baptize somebody, we’re doing something. It’s changing the world; it’s changing the universe really. And I’m deeply fundamentally interested in the systems and the worlds that people create generally. As a believer, if you cut me, I bleed it. This church is part of who I am. I’m interested deeply and fundamentally in how what we do changes the world and why it matters. Laura Hales: I think a lot of members of the church can identify with bleeding Mormonism or the Latter-day Saint-ism. It’s hard to think how you would live if you remove that component from your intellectual being. How about the term cosmology in a religious studies connotation? Jonathan Stapley: Cosmology is the study of the origin and development of the universe. You’ve got physicists that are experimentally and theoretically probing the universe for black holes and dark matter, but cosmology is something far more ancient and expansive than the modern science. The idea that God so loved the world that he sent his only son is part of the water we swim in and the air we breathe, but the word world is cosmos. And so, God so loved the cosmos. And this cosmos was not just the sphere on which we stand or its population. It encompasses the physical reality and the spiritual planes with these hierarchies of angels and demons. It incorporates spiritual and physical realities, systems of authority, kingdoms, and principalities. It is a vision of the whole of things. That’s the cosmos and cosmology is the study of or the science of this reality. Jonathan Stapley: I think every Mormon probably is aware of the plan of salvation diagrams. Now you’ve seen the pictures of the spheres where you start in a spirit world, you’d have a mortal existence, and then the arrows point to spirit prison. And there’s three heavens. That’s essentially a cosmology scheme. And what I’m doing, and hopefully in an empathetic way, is to approach the cosmology of Latter-day Saints because not only does the church change from between the time my children attend two-hour church to when my grandparents did, but also the way we view things changes somewhat as well. That dynamism is the living aspect of the church, but it also poses interesting challenges because as cosmology shifts, it becomes more and more difficult to understand the past. Laura Hales: When I read your book, I had several “Aha moments” that were really, really helpful to me. And I want to start this podcast by saying, “Thank you for helping to clear up some of this confusion for me.” Jonathan Stapley: That’s extremely gracious. Thank you. Laura Hales: Let’s start with a brief historical overview. During the Joseph Smith period, how set was Latter-day Saint liturgy? Jonathan Stapley: It wasn’t set at all. What we have is the revelation of a few rituals. In fact, the very first revelation of the organized church is called the Articles and Covenants, which is now section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It’s basically the first general handbook of instruction. It was called the Mormon Creed by observers because it has creedal elements to it. It lists baptism, confirmation or the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost, ordination, rituals, baby blessings, and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. It draws largely from the Book of Mormon about how to perform them. There’s a prayer for ordination, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, and that’s it, right? We have a baptismal prayer, but as anybody who has experienced a baptismal service today knows there are things we do that are not necessarily in the prayer. Jonathan Stapley: For example, we have white clothing, we have witnesses, and we have a talk on the Holy Ghost and on baptism. We have a fairly set way of doing this. But during Joseph Smith’s lifetime, baptism was pretty chaotic. There were many ways of doing baptism, and you could be baptized multiple times. You could be baptized as a healing ritual—baptized for your health as well as for the dead. How we heal, how we ordain, all of these things, have developed over time and by doing it. You learned how to bless the sick by doing it with people that were also learning at the same time. The meaning was also fairly dynamic. This is in contrast to some of the established churches at the time, which had very formal liturgies. For example, the baptismal liturgy of the Methodist Church is outlined in the Methodist Discipline, which was their handbook of instructions. We share essentially the very same baptismal prayer, but they have hundreds of words before and after explaining what you have to read and setting it up and giving meaning to this moment. For a hundred years, Methodist baptism was fairly static, but for Latter-day Saints, that is definitely not the case. Laura Hales: When I was reading about the early history of setting up these ordinances and how they performed them, it sounded a lot like inspired pragmatism. With that first writing down of the Mormon creeds, as you called them, they’re just taking what they have at their hand, the Book of Mormon. Then you mentioned that by 1835, they’re looking at publishing Joseph’s first revelations in a book, and they actually change some of these first few things that they wrote down about the cosmology. Do you want to speak to that? Jonathan Stapley: Sure. I think the idea that Joseph Smith’s revelations were edited and changed should largely be uncontroversial because of the work of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Joseph Smith dictates revelations. In a few cases as new revelations are received, some revelations are essentially revised to comport to the new understanding. You see this with the first attempt to publish revelations in 1833 with the Book of Commandments. In Independence, in Zion, they want to publish a book of revelations. The presses are destroyed, and there’s only a handful of copies salvaged. By the way, if you have one, they’re worth over $1 million, so don’t throw it away. Joseph Smith keeps having revelations, so the idea, for example, that there is a Melchizedek priesthood and an Aaronic priesthood, which is again in the water we swim in and the air we breathe today, was revealed in 1835—five years after the church was formed. Joseph Smith reveals the idea of an Aaronic priesthood and a Melchizedek priesthood. The revelations on priesthood that we’re given in 1831–32 are harmonized with these new revelations and then published in the Doctrine and Covenants. The 1835 Doctrine and Covenants is the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, and it essentially crystallizes Joseph Smith’s revelations. They are no longer edited once that’s published largely because it’s published widely, and it becomes sort of an anchor for those texts. Laura Hales: We have these different periods in the church that we talk about, which are somewhat artificial, but we have the Palmyra period, we had the translation, and we have the Kirtland period where we have all this revelation pouring forth. We have the Missouri period where the church is just trying to not dissolve and Joseph is trying to keep his skin. And then we have the Nauvoo period where Joseph didn’t really record a lot of revelations that we have in the Doctrine and Covenants. Most of his doctrine was delivered either one-on-one secretly like with polygamy or in speeches that he gave and in addresses and talks in conference. The most famous probably is in a funeral speech that he gave. During the Nauvoo period, right before he died, Joseph was still revising his cosmology. How well were Joseph Smith’s views on cosmology articulated to the members of the church by his death? Jonathan Stapley: Yeah, that’s an excellent question. And as you say, written revelations are rare in Nauvoo, but clearly Joseph Smith’s revelation is not rare in Nauvoo. He is remarkably consistent in his explanation of what I call the Nauvoo cosmology— these new ideas that are revealed in conjunction with the Nauvoo temple liturgy. I think you were alluding to the famous King Follett discourse or the King Follett sermon, which was memorialized to King Follett who was a man in Nauvoo who died when a stone fell on his head while he was digging a well, but it was actually a general conference sermon. It was April 7, 1844, and it is Joseph Smith’s best documented sermon. If you have a copy of the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which from today’s modern perspective probably isn’t the best source for Joseph Smith’s teachings because it’s been filtered through several layers of editorial handiwork, you can look it up. Typically, you have three to five different sets of notes, scholars called them audits. In these notes that people were taking in situ or in the moment, they independently witness Joseph Smith’s specific teachings throughout the sermon. It’s important to note that this sermon was somewhat controversial because you had folks like previous first presidency member William Law who left the church and views it as wildly scandalous. But Joseph Smith had been teaching the key teachings of the King Follett sermon publicly since 1839—since the first year that they are in Illinois. Joseph Smith is teaching the concepts that end up in the King Follett sermon. One of the most notorious teachings has been what folks referred to often as the Lorenzo Snow couplet: “As man is God once was, as God is a man may become.” Actually, Lorenzo Snow probably isn’t the first person to come up with that little couplet; Brigham Young attested to teaching it very, very early. Jonathan Stapley: People have often projected that couplet onto the King Follett sermon as probably the best source for that idea, but I would argue that it doesn’t find a home in Joseph Smith’s cosmology. Joseph Smith’s cosmology is more complicated than that simple little couplet. So, what does Joseph Smith actually teach in Nauvoo? Perhaps the best documented teaching is that spirits were never created or made. This is a direct quote: “God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all.” So, we have uncreated spirits. The next idea to go along with that is that God found himself in the midst of the spirits and wanting them to progress, interacted with them and revealed the plan to them to help them increase from there. We then go to the idea of what is the history of God? Jonathan Stapley: Now, Joseph Smith dramatizes this. If you were to pull back the veil from heaven, you would see God sitting on a throne in the very form and image and person of a man. I’m paraphrasing, but these are close paraphrases that people might recognize if they’ve read the sermon. He did not stop there. He did not say God was a man. He said that it was in the very form and image of man and that he lived on a planet once as Jesus lived on a planet. Smith extended this to say, “What did Jesus do? He did what he saw the Father do as Jesus laid down his life and picked it back up again. So did the Father.” This is a teaching, again, that goes back to the early years of Nauvoo. And lastly, and this is perhaps somewhat controversial because Joseph Smith was not explicit in his teachings publicly. Jonathan Stapley: He publicly claimed that human exaltation was to become kings and priests to God—to become gods, if you will, but to become gods by becoming a king and priest of God. Several weeks after the King Follett Sermon, he gave what some scholars have called the Sermon in the Grove, where he revisits this idea of a plurality of gods because it’s so controversial. He says, “Look, I’ve always said there was God and Jesus, right? There are two at least. Jesus by his own blood hath made us kings and priests to the Most High God. He’s revealed that that’s clearly an illusion to the work of the temple. In the temple, the purpose is to make people into kings and priests. What he doesn’t state publicly is the female corollary to that, that women are to be made queens and priestesses, and by extension, God the Father reigns in heaven with a mother God. Jonathan Stapley: Those ideas about a feminine deity and the feminine corollary to exaltation is not stated publicly, but Smith’s closest associates rapidly talk about it publicly after he dies. He also clearly talks about the temple liturgy in terms of priesthood. He tells the Relief Society in 1842 that he intends to make them a kingdom of priests—the evidence is there for this. This final idea is what most people have latched on to—church leaders, church members, and observers, perhaps because they are so powerful. We want this idea of human exaltation so we don’t spend as much time thinking about the other aspects of Joseph Smith’s cosmology—the uncreated spirits and the idea that God was a man. Yes, but a man like Jesus was a man. It’s more complicated and rather ignored. Laura Hales: I want to go back to something you just said. You were talking about how some of the members who listened to the teachings found them blasphemous. I think to understand that we need to put his teachings into context against existing Judeo-Christian traditions because to us it just seems normal. Of course, we grow up learning that our Heavenly Father organized the spirits, but that’s a huge departure from God creating man. Jonathan Stapley: It’s complicated because what we generally assume today or are taught today is not necessarily exactly what Joseph Smith is describing in Nauvoo, and it’s clearly not what, as you say, Orthodox Christianity is at the time. Standard Christian thought is that God transcends everything and that he has existed forever, which I think Joseph Smith would have agreed with, but that God created everything, including all physical matter, including human spirits. Joseph Smith is militating against one of the fundamental premises of Christianity, and this is where Orthodox Christians generally are. Creedal Christians generally point to this doctrine to demonstrate that we are not part of their team. If Calvinists were to argue why Mormons are not Christian, they would point here because if God did not create all things out of nothing, then it’s not the same type of being. Laura Hales: Does it appears that he is less divine? Jonathan Stapley: I do not think Joseph Smith is making that argument. Laura Hales: But would the Calvinists? Jonathan Stapley: Yeah, for sure. The Calvinists would definitely argue that. A traditional Orthodox Protestant would definitely make that argument. Joseph Smith’s relationship with creation is interesting compared with Orthodox Christianity. He rejects fundamentally certain premises that have governed Christianity for hundreds of years, if not thousands. That being said, a lot of scholars have pointed to early Christian beliefs that match up well with Joseph Smith’s. I’m not an expert in that area, but clearly in the Antebellum American context, Joseph Smith is ruining things. Laura Hales: Oh, that’s really clever. So, Joseph Smith sets out this cosmology. What do subsequent leaders at the church do with these teachings? Jonathan Stapley: For the most part, they ignore them. The one area that they discuss is the one area where we don’t have a lot of public or no public documentation of, and that’s the idea of this gendered and eternal dyad of male and female in exaltation and in divinity. This idea of a mother God, or a mother in heaven, has legs, the idea of a divine mother, God, and female exaltation is interpreted differently among different church leaders but is still a foundational piece of their cosmology. The ideas about uncreated spirits and God the Father being a man like Jesus was a man is essentially ignored. There is some Orson Pratt and Brigham Young conflict over Joseph Smith’s legacy in this area; they disagreed emphatically with each other. Brigham Young is somewhat controversial in his interpretation, innovation, and how he sees the cycle of exaltation, but it becomes the engine for Utah teachings or belief in a large measure. Laura Hales: Personally, it doesn’t bother me so much that subsequent leaders didn’t opine on it because it was Joseph Smith’s revelation, and it was written down secondhand. He didn’t review it, and we see later when we’re going to talk about the Utah period where they’re just trying to fit it all together. That was just one cog in the wheel that they just said, “We’re not going to touch that one because we just don’t know.” Jonathan Stapley: Whereas the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants is a textual anchor, and you see for hundreds of years, church leaders going back to those texts and reading them and working out what they mean, you did not have that same accessible corpus of Joseph Smith’s teachings available to work through. They simply weren’t available, so oftentimes they were going for memory. It’s only been in the 20th century and really in the last 10 years that we’ve had the critical apparatus to deal with them in an appreciable way. Laura Hales: Let’s review how the temple ceremony was revealed. In 1842 Joseph Smith reveals the temple ceremony in the red brick building to a few of the apostles and some select priesthood leaders, but it isn’t revealed fully to the church until after his death. Joseph Smith is killed at Carthage, the temple is completed, and the leaders of the church are anxious to get temple work done before they have to leave. Now, though, because of persecution, there is a lot of pressure on Brigham Young, and he is wanting to get this temple ceremony right, as he basically says, because it’s given to him orally. Nothing’s written down. How did this temple ceremony change? Do we know how it changed from when it was given in the red brick building to during Brigham Young’s presidency? Jonathan Stapley: I guess we can talk about the temple liturgy and aspects of the temple liturgy. So what we have during Joseph Smith’s life are these oral instructions, but we also have the 1842 sealing text. So this is a revelation that Joseph Smith gives to the Whitney family introducing the concept of eternal sealings. It includes a sealing ceremony that is divergent from later texts that are the basis for what we experienced today in the temple. We have in Joseph Smith revealing in 1842 the endowment ceremony. So a year and a half later he brings in women. By doing that, he includes different administrators. We now have women performing temple rituals and bringing the ideas together in a cohesive, what they called a quorum—a group of people that met together as men and women. Jonathan Stapley: They prayed, they performed the temple liturgy for new initiates, and it had a president. Joseph Smith was the president of the temple quorum. Laura Hales: And Emma was over the women. Jonathan Stapley: Yes. She’s the first woman to be initiated into the quorum and to experience the liturgy. So you have this diffuse liturgy that’s oral that incorporates, again, sealings—and people were generally sealed before they experienced the endowment at that period—an initiation, washing and anointing, and an endowment or a dramatic presentation. There are associated rituals and prayer as well. So from Joseph Smith’s revelation of this kind of diffuse liturgy, we go to the temple. It’s finished. Brigham Young and the Quorum of the 12 introduce it to the body of the Saints. We now have thousands of people participating in the temple. Also, it is clear from documents that new characters are added to the dramatic liturgy. Jonathan Stapley: In the presentation where they describe the plan of salvation, new characters are added. The actual texts for things like sealing are adapted at this time as well. One important piece of what’s happening is what work the temple is doing. So what does the temple do? Well, Joseph Smith was creating heaven on earth. So sealings were literally constructing heaven. Heaven wasn’t a place in Nauvoo that you went to if you were righteous. It wasn’t a gift to the elect. Joseph Smith set it up. He said, “It’s not what the Calvinists or Methodist’s are doing.” Heaven is something that we build. When he performed sealings, he was, again, I’m not using literally figuratively here. He was literally creating heaven. He was making it. It was a material thing. Laura Hales: I’ve been studying Nauvoo polygamy for five years now, and you’re talking about Joseph Smith making heaven on earth now. It’s not something in the future. For me, that was a big, “Oh, that’s why these women and men are agreeing to this whole concept of polygamy.” We scratch our heads at why they would even go there, but they’re not seeing, “Oh, in heaven, I can get sealed to someone. They are saying, “No, I need to be sealed into the chain.” Am I characterizing this correctly? Jonathan Stapley: Correct. Yeah, absolutely. It’s hard for us to imagine from today’s perspective, but for the entire 19th century, essentially, you basically didn’t perform sealings for people who weren’t church members. Now, there are interesting exceptions and some gender dynamics that complicate that a bit. But the idea was that sealings, because they materialized heaven, persevered, and that’s a theological term. That means they were real; they endured in spite earth and hell. If you were to go to your ward and say, “We’re going to build heaven, and we need to be connected to each other,” there’s not a lot of ways of doing that that don’t transgress our Victorian norms. You have interesting connections between people that look very strange from an observer’s perspective and from a believing observer’s perspective. We should look at this and think this is odd. Laura Hales: You mentioned that Joseph was making heaven on earth, but it changed. How did it change? Jonathan Stapley: We still have Doctrine and Covenants 132 in our canon, which is a very complicated document but clearly teaches the idea of perseverance or this idea that once you’re sealed, it cannot be broken unless you sin against the Holy Ghost. When you have a small group, a small community, where everybody trusts each other, these ideas of perseverance, this idea that we are going to literally build heaven, are somewhat easier to manage. Brigham Young opens the temple and thousands are endowed and sealed. They go to Utah, and they perform sealings along the trail west. They perform sealings in Salt Lake, in offices and homes, before the Council House is built. First, in the Council House, then in the Endowment House, and then in the pioneer temples. The challenge is that just because you go to the temple and experienced the liturgy and are sealed, it does not mean that you exit the temple as a celestial being. Jonathan Stapley: Despite having just constructed heaven on the temple’s alters, you immediately exit the temple and begin to tear heaven apart. We all do. And so Brigham Young, for example, was sealed as a father to John D. Lee, who was a prominent missionary and secretary in Nauvoo, but also a perpetrator of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Brigham Young was like, “Whoa, these people are claiming relation to me in heaven, and they’re clearly not doing the right thing. So you know what? They’re responsible for themselves.” This idea of perseverance works well in the abstract, but not in the particulars of our messy lives. Not all of us are perpetrators of mass murderer, thankfully, but all of us do have complicated lives and members of our families, if not ourselves, have experienced singlehood and divorce or sin and abuse and many innumerable things that complicate our views of heaven. Laura Hales: Here’s a quote from your book: “Ultimately micromanaging the construction of heaven proved not only confusing for church leaders, but spiritually unsatisfying.” Jonathan Stapley: From Nauvoo until the end of the 19th century, essentially, you can’t be sealed to your parents or grandparents. You could do their temple work, they could be baptized for the dead, and once St. George was in place, you could do a proxy endowment for them, but you could not be connected to them as a child. Adoption was the solution. In 1894 after dealing with, thinking about, and discussing it in depth with other church leaders, Wilford Woodruff stood in general conference and delivered a revelation. He stood up and addressed the temple presidents, some of whom were the members of the Quorum of the 12 and said, “Look, we are doing the temple wrong,” which is a pretty dramatic statement. I mean, can you imagine a church president standing up in general conference and saying that today: “We’re doing it wrong.” Jonathan Stapley: He said we need to go and seal our parents to their parents and our grandparents to their parents and go on as far as we can go. The question arises, “Well, how is this possible if the links in the chain are what’s important and if we couldn’t be sealed to our parents because we didn’t know if they would accept the gospel in the next life because the seals need to persevere. How can we rely on our ancestors to perform that function?” He, in a stroke of perhaps great mercy, declared, “We can do it because there will be few if any who do not accept the gospel.” He essentially proclaimed a Mormon universalism. What that did was to say instead of focusing on creating heaven and micromanaging how it’s going to look between believers today, we’re going to do massive amounts of sealings, some temple work for the dead, and essentially we’re going to let God figure it out. Laura Hales: What a blessing because there was some crazy innovations when they’re trying to solve the problem themselves: “Okay, that doesn’t make sense. Let’s try this. Let’s try this.” I think in the book you call this revelation one of the most significant in the foundation of the restored church. Jonathan Stapley: Yeah. I think it’s more foundational to our modern experience than the manifesto is frankly. Laura Hales: Oh, I do because it made way for these nuclear families are forever doctrine that we have now, which dominates our theology. Jonathan Stapley: What it allows is a shift in the 20th century, and I don’t think that Wilford Woodruff necessarily would’ve framed it this way, but you have a shift from Joseph Smith’s creation constructing heaven now to a situation in a 20th century where heaven is a lot more similar to what Protestants believe in. It’s something that you can get if you are faithful. Right? And then God will figure out everything, all the weird details. And there has been a process of essentially liberalization in that cosmology every decade of the 20th century or even to the present with how we do proxy work, who can be sealed to whom. If your ancestor had more than one husband, who do we seal her to?” Questions like that are resolved with more and more openness and with more liberality throughout the 20th century. Laura Hales: At this point in our discussion about Latter-day Saint cosmology, we’re going to take a little side road and talk about the priesthood, because it’s so important to understanding cosmology. How did the meaning of priesthood change in the early 20th century? Jonathan Stapley: To answer that, I’m going to go back a little bit. So I mentioned earlier that Joseph Smith revealed in 1835, five years after church was formed, the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods. So it’s clear that conceptions of priesthood are dynamic. The temple liturgy in Nauvoo, as well, was referred to as the priesthood. We have kings and queens, priests and priestesses. True, but the quorum itself referred to themselves as the priesthood, and I argue that these are different. You have an ecclesiastical priesthood and a temple priesthood that I call the cosmological priesthood. It doesn’t really matter. They are viewed as ways of channeling the power of God. Part of Joseph Smith’s cosmology from the earliest moments, and this goes back to the question of how he complicated Antebellum Christianity or Orthodox Christianity, was to say that God still works in history. Miracles still exist. The ecclesiastical priesthood channeled that power in the lives of the saints and the temple is an endowment of power. It was to channel the power. Laura Hales: Let’s just unpack that a little bit because you’ve used some good terminology there. You mentioned two kinds of priesthoods. One is a cosmological priesthood that we use in the temple. There’s a lack of terminology differentiating the kinds of priesthoods we use in the church and that has led to a lot of confusion about what goes on in the modern temple ceremony versus what goes on in church on Sunday. There’s a conflation of terms. You also talked about an ecclesiastical priesthood. What is that? Jonathan Stapley:Ecclesia is Greek for church. It means other things in Greek, but it becomes a term for church. Ecclesiastical means a church organization. So when you have an ecclesiastical office, you have a position in the church. And so the priesthood early on is ecclesiastical in nature. The church is comprised of ecclesiastical officers, and these priesthood officers are deacons, teachers, priests, and elders. And they have jobs in the church. It’s hard because Joseph Smith uses priesthood language and priesthood terminology around the temple, but it’s clearly not serving an ecclesiastical purpose. He’s not making priestesses of female initiates as an ecclesiastical office. This is a position in heaven. And so that’s why I’m making the distinction. Without understanding that context, you can go back and read these Nauvoo era documents, these journals, these sermons, and you will see references to priesthood, and people have come to it from a presentism perspective and said, “Well, clearly this means that Joseph Smith was, for example, giving women the priesthood by having them participate in the temple.” And by saying that, they are meaning he is giving them an ecclesiastical priesthood or the Melchizedek priesthood as we would say today. But that is, I would argue, clearly not the case. We have these different uses of priesthood language in church history. The trouble for us is we’re coming from a modern perspective where we have very formal and well established definitions that don’t map well onto the past, Laura Hales: I would argue they don’t even really map well currently. Jonathan Stapley: No, no, that’s true. Five years ago they don’t. Laura Hales: So we talked about how the meaning of priesthood has changed in the early 20th century. Jonathan Stapley: Okay. So let’s go to that. For some technical reasons that I don’t think are important, priesthood cosmology shifts, and it becomes the nexus for organizing the church. Whereas polygamy kind of organized people’s lives in the 19th century, Utah priesthood becomes the primary organizational factor in the 20th century for the church. And it gets a new definition. In the 19th century, you might experience power in the priesthood as a way to channel the power of God. In the 20th century, you start talking about the power of the priesthood. In fact, if you were to crack open a general handbook of instruction today or the doctrinal core mastery document for seminary, or the True to the Faith booklet or Preach My Gospel, it would have a definition of priesthood. Jonathan Stapley: And it would say priesthood is the power of God. It is the power of God that he used to create the world. That is the catechism definition for the church today. That is a 20th century definition. For most of the 20th century, priesthood is exclusively and cosmologically male. So, for example, in 1965 you have Elder Critchlow get up in general conference and say, “Priesthood is the power of God presently and purposely denied to women for reasons, which he has not revealed. Don’t ever, sisters, make a pretense to priesthood power.” And that was a non-controversial statement to make in 1965. Laura Hales: You alluded to the dynamism of our current lived experience. The rhetoric dramatically changed five years ago. This is usually associated with a talk given by Elder Oaks. How did it change? Jonathan Stapley: It’s clear that Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard and the presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary are all wrestling with the role and experience of women in relation to the priesthood. And frankly, this has been something that people have been wrestling with for the entirety of the 20th century. But it reached a climax in 2014. There are some interesting antecedents in local and regional discussions. In 2014, Elder Oaks stands in general conference and delivers this earthquake not dissimilar from when Wilford Woodruff stands up and proclaims this new revelation. Elder Oaks changes everything by saying any authority or power that women experience in church is priesthood. Therefore, if a woman is set apart to be a missionary, she is wielding priesthood authority. The Relief Society president has priesthood authority to execute her duties. Immediately the rhetoric of the church shifts. The lesson a few months later that was supposed to be taught to young women on the duties and powers of the priesthood shifts to be about how young women can participate in the work of the priesthood. Friend articles are written about how children can wield priesthood authority, male or female. And frankly, I don’t think we’re finished. I think we’re still experiencing the ramifications from this change, and we’re seeing new ways that it is being understood and implemented on the practical level. Laura Hales: It’s interesting because I went to the temple for the first time 31 years ago to get my endowments. Of course, I’d gone to do baptisms for the dead before that. One of the temple recommend questions is, “Do you attend your priesthood meetings?” I always responded that I didn’t have the priesthood, but now that question is actually valid in the way that it’s being interpreted in the church because when I perform my duties in Relief Society, that’s attending my priesthood meetings. Would you say that’s right? Jonathan Stapley: It does appear. I am not a church leader, and I don’t get to explicate normative theology for the church, but that’s what it appears to me as an observer as well as a believer. It appears that we are experiencing priesthood meetings. And what’s interesting is that with President Nelson’s reformatting and reconceptualization of quorums and the two hour block, he essentially reorganized priesthood quorums to follow the Relief Society pattern. And so not only is Relief Society becoming more like priesthood, priesthood is becoming more like Relief Society. I think to the benefit of the saints. Laura Hales: More recently, the meaning of priesthood has changed, which brings into question how priesthood functions and the difference between priesthood authority and priesthood power. What are those differences? Jonathan Stapley: I am going to answer that question, and it’s going to be my observation of the way it’s currently framed by church leaders, which may not be how it was framed five years ago and may not be how it is tomorrow. I believe church leaders are saying it’s much like a car. You might have a car that has the power to go 120 miles an hour, but you might not have the authority to go 120 miles an hour on the freeway. Before 2014, male and female church leaders were kind of debating whether or not women could have priesthood authority or priesthood power. But after 2014, they’re saying it’s both. Jonathan Stapley: You are authorized to perform a duty and you have this capacity or power to enable you to actually do it. Now, historically, before 2014, it’s somewhat more complicated. During the 20th century, we had this normative priesthood definition that excluded women. And so there were questions especially about how women perform temple ordinances if they don’t have priesthood authority or power. How did women in the church perform healing blessings, something that was common from the earliest moments of the restoration until the late 20th century? Under what authority did they do those things? They are questions that are not easy to answer in light of an intense focus on a male priesthood cosmology that incorporates all of God’s power and authority into priesthood office and excludes everybody else. Laura Hales: You’re saying that as the priesthood is being practiced right now, it takes care of some of these problems that existed. Jonathan Stapley: I think it’s a framework for understanding and explaining historical practice in a way that is coherent. There are lots of reasons that church leaders do things, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were one of the reasons that they made the changes they did. Laura Hales: Sometimes there’s not existing vocabulary to discuss these concepts. Jonathan has taken the last ten years or more to research this and put it in a nice little book for us. Personally, I read it twice in preparation for this interview. You’ve laid the framework for further discussion on the topic, but you got into studying rituals and the priesthood and this type of subject matter with female ritual healing, which some of our listeners may not be familiar with, but I think it’s an important discussion to add in here at the end because it was so much a part of our past and sometimes people wonder what kind of authority was exercised with female ritual healing and why it was stopped. Jonathan Stapley: Okay, that’s a wonderful question. Kristine Wright and I spent five or six years working on the healing liturgy together. It culminated in a paper on female ritual healing. It is one of the most useful ways of probing conceptions of priesthood and authority and cosmology because it differs so much with the way we do things today. In short, female ritual healing is the idea and the practice that women performed healing rituals, the same rituals that men performed from the earliest portions of Kirtland until the late 20th century. Now, there isn’t a final cutoff date because there was no formal end to the practice. It was a complicated declension throughout the 20th century. But it’s safe to say that for a large portion of our history, it was very common and normal for women to bless and anoint the sick and to bless and anoint the afflicted. Jonathan Stapley: Women used the same rituals that the men used in the church. If you were to look at the general handbook of instructions today, it would say the only men who hold the Melchizedek priesthood office can perform a healing ritual. So again, if we’re taking that as the basis for our interpretation of history, then someone might say, “Well, therefore, women must have had the Melchizedek priesthood or something similar to it to be able to do this work. Laura Hales: They were trying to go backwards. Jonathan Stapley: Right. You just can’t do that. So by what authority did they do it if they didn’t have priesthood office? I think it’s really important to approach historical moments and experiences from a contextual approach. So how were they understood at the time? I make an argument about different types of authority. From today’s perspective in the church, we are making an argument that all authority is God’s authority and all authority is priesthood authority. But I think everybody can also agree that that’s only been in the last five years that we’ve been able to make that argument. So what happened before then? I would argue and do argue and there’s oodles of evidence demonstrating that women were authorized or had authority to participate in the healing liturgy. That authority was not a priesthood office, it was essentially liturgical authority. Jonathan Stapley: So today, a great example would be for most of the 20th century women were not allowed to pray in sacrament meeting for much of that. It’s only been relatively recent, in the 1970s, that women were authorized to pray in sacrament meeting. Now, if you went back to 1965 and asked what authority is needed to pray in sacrament meeting, someone might say that you need a priesthood office to do that. And if you were to ask that same question today, “Laura, what authority do you need to pray in sacrament meeting?” Laura Hales: I just need to be baptized. Jonathan Stapley: Okay, you have some authority that you didn’t have 40 years ago. You have that authority today. I say that’s a liturgical authority. Now that’s a term we don’t use. It’s an outside terminology, but it’s a descriptive terminology. Women had liturgical authority to perform these rituals, these liturgies, in the church. Jonathan Stapley: In the 20th century with the rise of this priesthood cosmology that we talked about that was centered on male priesthood office, the majority of church liturgy was concentrated in priesthood office. There are a lot of reasons for that shift and if you really are interested in the details, there are hundreds of pages for you to read through. There is a point in which it is so rare that it becomes forgotten by the majority of the church. And to be frank, the 20th century is also the time of our greatest growth. By the end of the 20th century, the majority of church members are converts or the children of converts and don’t have this tie to historical practice. But there are still some interesting bits and pieces. When President Kimball was going in for brain surgery, he asked for a blessing and Elder McConkie came to the hospital to do it. He asked President Kimball’s wife, Camilla, to lay hands on him. Laura Hales: The title of your book is the Power of Godliness. Jonathan, at the conclusion of this interview, what is the power of godliness? Jonathan Stapley: So again, I am a historian and so I take a historical and contextual approach to that term. The power of godliness is a term that Christians have used for a long time. It goes back to Paul when he’s talking about having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof or lacking the power thereof. For Paul, the power of godliness wasn’t the power of God. The power of godliness is the power of being godly or being faithful or righteous. Essentially there is a power that comes with living a godly life. Now as Joseph Smith was wont to do, he takes bits and pieces of the King James Version and endows them with expansive meaning or uses them in ways that allows subsequent Latter-day Saints to interpret them in useful and interesting ways. One of the early revelations on priesthood cosmology says it’s through the ordinances of the high priesthood that the power of godliness is manifest. And that’s an interesting little bit of linguistic experimentation or revelation. You could interpret that many ways, but I think church leaders and members have, at least for the last hundred years, looked at that and said this is talking about the power of God. It is through the ordinances of the priesthood that the power of God is manifest. I like a more complicated and nuanced reading, but I think we have to be aware of and empathetic towards those standard readings that we encounter at church every week. Laura Hales: Jonathan, why did you write this book? Jonathan Stapley: Because it’s meaningful to me. That’s the short answer on a fundamental level. I mentioned earlier that if you were to cut me, I would bleed Mormonism. It’s part of who I am, but also I am captured and enthralled by our spiritual progenitors and the lives and experiences they had and led. And so for me, my experience, my lived experience, is enriched by an understanding of our past and our systems of authority and cosmology that accounts for their experiences. As church members, we take a lot of effort to imagine ourselves and experience ourselves in Micah’s hearts of the children and fathers being turned towards each other. Now Joseph Smith had some unique translations of that, which are interesting and fascinating. At the same time, there is a real and important demand upon us to do the work of the temple, to go and spend time on a computer and find ancestors and submit names, and to do proxy rituals for them. But if it’s to mean anything, we have to understand each other. Laura Hales: And even if that is understanding the first generations of the church and how they saw and did things. Jonathan Stapley: And it’s okay to be different. My experience is different than my grandparents, and my experience will certainly be different than my grandchild’s. Laura Hales: Thank you so much, Jonathan. Jonathan Stapley: It’s a pleasure. Thank you. Disclaimer: Latter-day Saint Perspectives Podcast is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The opinions expressed on this episode represent the views of the guests and the podcaster alone, and Latter-day Saint Perspectives Podcast and its parent organization may or may not agree with them. While the ideas presented may vary from traditional understandings or teachings, they in no way reflect criticism of Latter-day Saint Church leaders, policies, or practices. The post Episode 109: The Power of Godliness with Jonathan Stapley appeared first on Latter-day Saint Perspectives.
Rank #2: Episode 27: What is LDS Doctrine? – Michael Goodman. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to read the LDS Church’s “Race and the Priesthood” essay, it would be worthwhile to do so. Not only does it articulate the […] The post Episode 27: What is LDS Doctrine? – Michael Goodman appeared first on Latter-day Saint Perspectives.
Rank #1: "Things Too Wonderful for Me" | Vaughn J. Featherstone, Feb 2001. These stories and testimonies shared by Vaughn J. Featherstone highlight the wonderful blessings of the gospel, of living righteously, and of loving one another.Support the show.
Rank #2: For Times of Trouble | Jeffrey R. Holland, Mar 1980. Trouble will come, but discouragement doesn't have to. Jeffrey R. Holland teaches that if we work now to prepare ourselves through patient and faithful discipleship, we will get through.Support the show.
Rank #1: 774: 30 Questions Nobody Asks My Husband at Church - Julie DeAzevedo Hanks . In this episode of Mormon Stories/Transitions, John and Margi interview the brilliant Dr. Julie DeAzevedo Hanks about her article titled “30 Questions Nobody Asks My Husband at Church.” John, Margi, and Julie focus on the powerful cultural messages about gender, potential, life decisions, and worth that are broadcast in the questions we ask. During the interview, cultural assumptions are challenged in some of the questions from Julie’s article: Did you know that you are a son of your Heavenly Mother? What does your wife do for a living? Who’s watching your kids? Why are you getting a graduate degree? Will you go home and change? Your clothes are distracting the sisters. …and many more.
Rank #2: 860: Carol Lynn Pearson - The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy Pt. 1. Mormon Stories Podcast is excited to team up with Sunstone to present a recording of our live podcast on 1/25/18 with Carol Lynn Pearson where we discuss her book, The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy. Special thanks to the Salt Lake City Community of Christ for hosting such a wonderful evening and for the many listeners who came to enjoy the experience. These episodes closely follow the abstract of the book: "'Polygamy?' says the mainstream Mormon Church, “We gave that up long ago.” Not so, claims noted LDS poet and author Carol Lynn Pearson, who examines the issue as it has never been examined before. Any member of the LDS Church today who enters the practice of polygamy is immediately excommunicated. However, Pearson claims, polygamy itself has never been excommunicated, but has an honored and protected place at the table. It has only been postponed, a fact confirmed by thousands of “eternal sealings” giving a man an assurance that he will claim as wives in heaven the two, three, or even more women he has sequentially married during his lifetime. No such opportunity is available to women. Through her own personal stories, those of her ancestors, and the thousands of stories that came to her through an Internet survey, Pearson shows the power of the Ghost of Eternal Polygamy as it not only waits on the other side to greet the most righteous in heaven, but also haunts the living—hiding in the recesses of the Mormon psyche, inflicting profound pain and fear, assuring women that they are still objects, harming or destroying marriages, bringing chaos to family relationships, leading many to lose faith in the church and in God."
Rank #1: Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, ""We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight"".
Rank #2: Brother Nick Rammell, "A Decade of Decisions...and Distractions".
Rank #1: 337: June 23; Even though it be a cross (New Testament Week 25). Jesus’ crucifixion isn’t really about his death… it is about misunderstanding, humiliation, and the tragic subversion of Jesus’ proclamation that the Kingdom has come near. Reading: Mark 15; Matthew 27; Luke 23; John 19 Recurring Donation:$5$10$25$50One Time Donation:$10$25$50$100 Related Episodes You can access my Lesson Notes here (or PDF). Thanks to Trent Oliphant for postproduction and to Marshall McDonald for the bumper music! Thanks to Lisa Salisbury for donating our beautiful logo.
Rank #2: 336: June 9, 16; Let this cup pass from me (New Testament Weeks 23-24). Gethsemane. These chapters teach us some of the hardest, most essential lessons life requires. How do we deal with betrayal? How do we have the strength to show up for each other? And most importantly, how do we align what we want with what must be? How do we shift, turn, return, to God’s path? Reading: Mark 14; Matthew 26; Luke 22; John 18 (Also John 13-17 from last week). Recurring Donation:$5$10$25$50One Time Donation:$10$25$50$100 You can access my Lesson Notes here (or PDF) Previous Episodes 149: Love One Another ( Luke 22:1-38; John 13-14)150: That We May Be One (John 16-17)151: Atonement (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)
Rank #1: Thomas Wirthlin McConkie: How Meditation and Being Still Help Us Know God. Despite being born into a family with strong Latter-day Saint roots, Thomas McConkie stopped attending church at the age of 13. However, a spiritual journey, which spanned nearly two decades and included becoming proficient in Buddhist meditation, brought him back to an unlikely destination: The faith of his youth. "I'm really comfortable with the definition of meditation as remembrance. And that feels very much like a gospel principle to me, like when we remember what are we remembering? Well, let me just riff a little bit: We remember that we are sons and daughters, that we're children of a living God. And when we remember that, the quality of our whole life in this very moment changes." Show Notes 3:08- Leaving the Church at 13 years old4:51- Discovering Meditation5:46- Redemption in Stillness12:26- Power to Heal a Generation16:49- The Meaning of Meditation19:34- Stillness Among Saints25:34- Changing a Culture28:15- Home-centered Church's Opportunity31:49- Ministering and Meditation33:05- Creating a Community35:56- Message to a Teenager Struggling With Faith37:50- If You Love Someone Struggling With Faith39:29- A Grandfather's Love42:36- What Does It Mean To Be All In The Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Rank #2: Gerald Lund: Signs of the Second Coming. Elder Gerald Lund began writing his first book about the Second Coming nearly 50 years ago. He has devoted much of his life to studying the topic and recently began working on a rewrite of “The Coming of the Lord.” In this week’s episode, Elder Lund answers questions from Twitter users about the Second Coming.
Rank #1: A True Change of Heart. When Dusty first came in contact with anti-Mormon literature, he had no idea that his desire to refute it would eventually lead him to become a vehement persecutor of the Church he once loved. What does it take to come back from the precipice of lost faith? Dusty’s unique story of belief lost and found is a reminder that the Savior’s atonement reaches for us even in our seemingly unreachable places.
Rank #2: How We Minister. Stories in this episode: A High School Student tries to find his tribe when he moves with his parents to Eastern Europe; A no-coffee, no-swearing study-abroad with BYU students sets one woman on a path to Christ; and a congregation in Virginia shows us what it means to truly love every person as they are, where they are.
Rank #1: An Open Letter to Bishops From a Wife of a Porn Addict. Sara Walker currently lives in Amity, Oregon. She served in the Chicago Illinois North mission, met her husband at BYU-Idaho, and has a been striving to improve her marriage and help her husband overcome his addiction to pornography. Enter Sara… Dear Bishop, Thank you for your service as a bishop in the Church. I believe you were called of God to your calling for such a time as this. We need people who are willing to be on the front lines in the battle for families and individuals against sexual addiction. I am hoping to give you some insight into what women with husbands involved in sexual addiction (SA) need from you as an ecclesiastical leader. I have talked with many women who are dealing with this in their lives, and their stories are varied and poignant. All the women who shared their insight did so knowing that I would be submitting this to you. Out of respect for them and the battles they continue to fight, I won’t use names or specific details. The feelings and thoughts expressed in this letter are my own, although not every item listed has been applicable to me and my situation. It is my hope that you will use this letter—as well as the spirit of discernment—when counseling with individuals and couples, as each situation is somewhat unique. There are, however, a number of similarities between them as well. I will be attempting to address those. I feel like it’s important to begin this by sharing with you some attitudes and attributes of the addict. Many of those who come to you with SA will be men—although not exclusively. Therefore, I will use the term addict and husband interchangeably. When a man comes to you admitting he has looked at pornography, please consider the following: Most men do not fully confess everything the first time, or the second, or the third… They may say they don’t have an addiction, that it was just a here-and-there problem. They have likely struggled for years, and are only coming to you because they got caught. They have lied to themselves and to their spouse for so long that they believe many of their own lies. They are so programmed to hide everything that it usually takes a “hitting rock bottom” moment before full confession happens, and sometimes not even then. Often there are things like masturbation and infidelity that they are not talking about. As a bishop, please consider asking the difficult questions. Be specific. Ask: Do you masturbate? Have you had virtual relationships or physical relationships? Do you go to strip clubs or porn shops? How often? For how long? Do you use your phone or tablet? Do you call hotlines? And so forth. They do not need to be graphic in the details of what they do, but they do need to be accountable. Many of these men have a distorted sense of time. They will say the last time they looked was a few months/weeks ago. In reality, it was likely sooner and for longer than they would admit. They are most likely in something referred to as “addict brain” or “addict mode.” Unless they have been actively working at recovery, they are in addict brain. It gives them a distorted sense of reality. (For more in-depth discussion of addict brain, see the book, Like Dragons Did They Fight.) Dealing with someone who lives much of their life in addict brain is difficult. When we—the women dealing with this—come to you for help, we often have no one else to turn to. Begin to educate yourself about the nuances of SA. Each of the below items is just a brief overview; this is meant as a starting point and not a comprehensive document. Please consider the following as you seek guidance in counseling us: 1. Do not imply or flat out say that if we would give our spouse more time sexually he wouldn’t have this problem This is probably the number one source of depression, frustration and abandonment women feel from ecclesiastical leaders. This is the quickest way to alienate the wife. Women will immediately throw up a wall when a priesthood leader tells her this. I actually had a priesthood leader angry with me because he thought I was neglecting that “duty.” I don’t know how to state this more clearly: Sexual addiction/pornography addiction is not about the sex. It may be difficult to understand this, but the addict does not know how to deal with life and pornography/masturbation is his coping mechanism. A wife could quite literally prostitute herself for her husband and it would never be enough. When told that we need to do more for the man sexually, we are being put in danger emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically. This addiction is not the wife’s fault. Often the addiction began even before the marriage. Blaming the wife is a way for the addict to deflect the feelings of guilt and responsibility. 2. Counsel with husband and wife individually at first Because he has been in addict brain for so long, the husband has not been emotionally available in many ways to the wife. He is often unwilling to be vulnerable and accountable. To ask a couple to begin mending their marriage requires that the addict is actively working recovery. Be aware that sobriety and recovery are not the same. Sobriety is part of recovery, but it is not recovery in and of itself. It is important for each spouse to be working recovery on their own before coming together to mend the marriage. In addition, if you are meeting with the couple, do not use it as a time to side with one spouse or another. 3. A woman’s recovery is separate and distinct from her husband’s As women dealing with spouses with SA, we are largely on our own to seek information and find what works for us. However, there are a few things that will help: Although our spouse may not be worthy to go to the temple, the wife should not be denied access. The temple can be the most inspirational and comforting place for us. Ministering to us individually may include regular check ins, blessings, and temporal support. Assisting us in setting and maintaining boundaries with the addict is vital. They are not meant to be used as a punishment, but as a way to keep us safe and allow for healing for us and the addict. If women are willing, it would be fantastic for you to help us connect with other local women who are going through the same issues. Satan works in isolation. Having others to talk with allows us to share experiences and assist one another in the healing process. 4. Forgiveness does not equal trust Forgiveness is given when: We recognize that we are not in control. We recognize that we cannot control the addict and their choices, but can only control ourselves. We choose to give it to God and trust in Him. Trust is given when: We see accountability on the part of the addict. The addict is actively working all aspects of recovery. The following is an accurate description of betrayal trauma, provided by the website bloomforwomen.com: Betrayal trauma is a condition that parallels the symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and is caused when someone experiences betrayal and deception within their primary relationship; this betrayal damages the trust and safety of the relationship and calls into question the bond they have with their partner. If you have been betrayed by your spouse through pornography use or infidelity, you may experience tremendous anxiety, high stress, fatigue, depression, despair, grief, fear, and other serious symptoms. As bishop, you can help by not giving the spouse a timeline for either forgiveness or trust. This has to be freely given. And in the case of trust, it must be actively earned by the addict. Misplaced trust can lead to more betrayal and emotional, spiritual, and physical trauma. 5. Another common attitude from ecclesiastical leaders is to ask us to treat the addict like our child, asking, “What would you do for your child?” This is a complete misunderstanding of the husband/wife relationship. Women look to their spouses to do three basic things: provide, preside, and protect. To treat a spouse as a child diminishes them in all three of those roles, and implies that we ought to assume some responsibility for their behavior. The addict often struggles with all three of these roles. We have to assume them for ourselves just to make sure that they are present in our children’s lives. Again, this is something that we cannot make the addict choose to do. 6. Local church leaders can make a difference Women have a natural instinct to protect their children and those they love. Most women, when given the proper help, are able to move past the trauma that SA causes in their life. What I hear from almost every woman that I talk with is a desire to have this problem brought to light. Satan works in isolation and darkness. As a bishop, you are put into the unique position within the ward family to lead the charge against sexual/pornography addiction. You can: Have a 5th Sunday lesson on SA/pornography. Life Changing Services (LCS) has several YouTube videos, including one geared specifically towards 5th Sunday lessons. Talk to the youth! They need to be educated on the dangers of pornography and masturbation. Another website geared towards understanding the science of porn addiction is Fight the New Drug. It has a free app for those struggling with addiction as well as numerous articles talking about the specific dangers of this addiction. Talk to the sisters. Educate them on the signs to look for in their spouse and children. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this find someone who does. As stated before, ask specific and sometimes difficult questions to both the youth and adults who come to you. Educate yourself! While I cannot possibly hope to make this letter comprehensive, I hope it will assist you in dealing with this issue as it comes to you. I have no doubt that it will come to you more and more often. I believe it is truly one of the great plagues spoken of in the scriptures. Thank you for your service! Sincerely, The Wife of a Porn Addict Podcast Episode Highlights 30:34 – Do not imply that more sexual attention from a spouse will help with an addiction 35:05 – Counseling with husband and wife should not be the first avenue 45:51 – Our recovery is different from our husband’s 49:38 – How to make the invitation to the spouse to come talk to the Bishop or a counselor easier? 55:10 – Forgiveness does not equal trust 58:45 – Bishop’s are put in a place to lead the charge against sexual and pornography addiction. 6:39 – Sara’s email to Kurt 8:04 – Were you aware of your husband’s addiction prior to marriage? Sara’s husband told her after the subject was brought up jokingly. Addicts have a hard time with empathy and often get stuck in cycles. Emotional situations, good or bad, are triggers for addicts to return to previous behavior. 12:25 – Realize that it’s not about you Addicts need to change because they want to change, hitting rock bottom is often necessary 12:58 – How long has this been an issue? This started 15 years and has been a constant issue, recovery is long. They participated in the church’s addiction recovery program and that helped, it’s hard to address pornography in a group program. 15:17 – From the perspective of a wife or spouse, explain to us how you would describe your interaction with leaders, why was it frustrating? Bishop’s never spoke with her as the spouse of an addict, most of the bishop’s counsel was basic and didn’t fully address the severity of the issue. 18:05 – Pornography addictions aren’t always about sex, a healthy spousal relationship can still have problems 18:34 – How can you better describe that pornography addiction is not about the spouse and sexual intimacy? The spouse can stay true to themselves, keep a close relationship with Heavenly Father and continue to read scriptures and pray. Fight the New Drug is a good resource for pornography addiction information. Addiction usually starts in their teens as a curiosity. A lot of addicts use pornography to handle stress. 24:52 – The importance of a Bishop being specific in their counsel Addicts have a tendency to downplay their addiction. Bishops need to ask additional questions about masturbation, intimate online relationship, strip clubs, etc… Bishops need to understand the full scope of a pornography addiction. Bishops don’t need to know every detail but to understand how it’s happening and the level of what’s going on. 27:20 – Bishop’s need to assess their level of repentance and recovery. Is this a one time slip up or is this an indulgence? 30:00 – Speaking from the perspective of a spouse, a list of six suggestions: 30:34 – Do not imply that more sexual attention from a spouse will help with an addiction. Encouraging a spouse to be more intimate could be exposing them to physical or emotional danger. 35:05 – Counseling with husband and wife should not be at first. If the spouse isn’t in a recovery situation, counseling together will be difficult for the addict to take responsibility for their actions. Separate counseling is ok but a professional counselor is recommended. 38:54 – How does codependency manifest in addict relationships? A spouse’s role in helping the addict should not be all consuming, trying to police every moment should not be their responsibility. Restrictions should be put in place because the addict asks for it. Have the addict be accountable for their actions. 42:08 – How do you set up accountability? Men of Moroni recovery program. A daily journal helps them to be accountable to a group of people in recovery and to their spouse. Having a plan in place to deter situations that trigger a relapse is important for the addict. A leader can help the addict be accountable to them and set up meetings and check ups to see how recovery is going. 45:51 – Our recovery is different from our husband’s. Two books that have been helpful: Rhyll Croshaw – What Can I Do About Me? Stephen R Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Remembering to put God first in our lives is very important, continuing to seek revelation and inspiration. Recognize that it isn’t just a trial of the addict, but the spouse as well. 49:38 – How to make the invitation to the spouse to come talk to the Bishop or a counselor easier? The addicted spouse is ashamed and doesn’t want the other talking about it. The wife doesn’t fully understand the “why” of the situation and it’s a struggle of faith and personal revelation. The spouse questions a lot about their role in the situation. It’s important for the Bishop to tell the addict that they would like to speak with their spouse. 55:10 – Forgiveness does not equal trust. Don’t let their bad behavior affect your life. When you see that the addict is making changes then they can earn their trust back. Bishop’s should be cautious about forcing a wife to forgive their husband and tell them to move on. Trust cannot be forced, spouses need to arrive there on their own in their own time. Bishops need to be a resource along the path to help them to forgive and trust again. 57:34 – Leaders shouldn’t ask us to treat the addict like a child. 58:45 – Bishop’s are put in a place to lead the charge against sexual and pornography addiction. The addiction recovery program is great but the needs of sexual and pornographic addictions needs to be addressed. These types of addictions are isolating and it doesn’t need to be that way. The youth and adults need to be proactive in discussing these issues. Stake Presidents and Bishops need to address sexual and pornographic addictions in fifth Sunday lessons or firesides. 1:03:11 – As a wife, what are your thoughts about your husband losing his temple recommend? Links Interview with Steven & Rhyll Crowshaw FOOTNOTES: 1. You can find a fantastic explanation of what recovery is and isn’t, and why a definition if it is so vital to true recovery, in this post on the blog Make My Burden Light. ↩ 2. Recommended readings: Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend Boundaries in Marriage, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend Moving Beyond Betrayal, Vicki Tidwell Palmer Like Dragons Did They Fight, Maurice Harker (The reason this particular book and the LCS program are so fundamental in changing the addict is that there are physical steps to take each day and ways to chart your progress. My husband continues with the LDS Church’s ARP program, but he says that the two together are the best thing.) What Can I Do About Me?, by Rhyll Croshaw (especially helpful for women) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey Resources that have been the most helpful for my spouse and I: Life Changing Services – The therapists here have some amazing services for both spouses. It’s also a fantastic resource for young men and young women who are struggling with this. I can’t say enough good things about Maurice Harker and the program he has developed. It is changing lives. Fight the New Drug – This is another website geared toward helping break the cycle of sex addiction. It has an app that is free to use. They continually update their website with new information about the dangers of sex addiction. Healing Through Christ – This website is very underdeveloped, but the workbook for families is phenomenal. In fact, the church at one time used it as their recovery program, but due to copyright issues with some of the contributors it is no longer being used. I would strongly recommend getting the workbooks as a resource for families. Healing with Worth – LCS offers a program specifically for women, called WORTH. There are a number of online groups that are therapist-led that they can participate in. They are also free, which is great for most couples going through recovery. Often the cost of therapy for the addict is straining on the family budget, but LCS really tries to make recovery as affordable as possible. S.A. Lifeline Foundation – This site has a number of resources and their story is a powerful one of addiction and recovery. Their book, What Can I Do About Me?, by Rhyll Croshaw, was the first book I read that really began to help me as a woman as I dealt with everything. ARP – The LDS church program for addiction recovery. It offers wonderful spiritual insights and generally has a meeting close enough for most people to be able to attend in person. For women, it can bring a lot of comfort to be able to meet face-to-face with other women who are going through the same struggles. The six-video Breaking the Chains seminar by Maurice Harker, is especially helpful for women. Additional suggested readings: Outwitting the Devil, Napoleon Hill Putting on the Armor of God, Steven A. Cramer The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis He Restoreth My Soul, Donald L. Hilton Jr The Drug of the New Millennium, Mark B. Kastleman For the Girls Who Struggle With Addiction: Daughters of Light ↩
Rank #2: Leading Relief Society With Boundaries | How I Lead: President Amy Durham. Amy Durham lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and is the Director of Production for Deseret Book. She was recently released as Relief Society president in her ward and has also had experience working in the Young Women program. In this episode we discuss how she led as Relief Society president, including what were the unique dynamics she faced as a single Relief Society president in a traditional family ward. She shares some incredible tips on how she handled Church welfare requests, and how she ministered to the many different demographics in her ward. 5 Leadership Principles Assess your own strengths as a leader (13:05) Delegate (16:30) Provide opportunities, not obligations (30:59) Sometimes it is a jungle gym! (39:06) This is His gig! (42:17) Episode Highlights Rapid Fire Questions (04:09) What is your best advice for Young Women leaders? (07:50) How were you called as RS president? (09:05) “I don’t have the Relief Society voice.” (10:42) What processes did you go through to prepare to be RS Pres? (12:07) Principle 1: How did you assess your own strengths as a leader? (13:05) What are the demographics and unique challenges of your ward? (15:08) Principle 2: Delegate (16:30) What were you focusing on and not delegating to others? (18:28) What was your ward welfare process like and how did you approach it? (19:51) How did you tell people no? (28:23) Principle 3: Provide opportunities, not obligations (30:59) Why plan a weekly Relief Society activity? (36:27) Principle 4: Sometimes it’s a jungle gym! (39:06) Principle 5: This is His gig! (42:17) What unique challenges did you face as a single Relief Society president? (45:55) What was your approach to visiting teaching? (51:08) As you have served as a Relief Society president, how has that made you a better disciple of Jesus Christ? (53:41) Amy’s Food Order Packet Food Order Process Explanation Food Order Sample Menu Food Order Blank Menu For serving size menu see the Food Order Reference Guide Links: Like a Broken Vessel, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Rank #1: FairMormon Conference Podcast #35 – Jeff Lindsay, “‘Arise from the Dust’: Digging into a Vital Book of Mormon Theme”. This podcast series features past FairMormon Conference presentations. Please join us for the 2019 FairMormon Conference coming up August 7-9! You can attend in person (tickets are no longer being sold online, but will be available at the door) or purchase the video streaming. Jeff Lindsay, “Arise from the Dust”: Digging into a Vital Book of Mormon Theme Transcript available here. Jeffrey Dean Lindsay and his wife, Kendra, are residents of Shanghai, China. Jeff has been providing online materials defending the LDS faith for over twenty years, primarily at JeffLindsay.com. His Mormanity blog has been in operation since 2004. He also wrote weekly for Orson Scott Card’s Nauvoo Times from 2012 through 2016. Jeff has a PhD in chemical engineering from BYU and is a registered U.S. patent agent. He serves as Head of Intellectual Property for Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the world’s largest paper companies. Formerly, he was associate professor at the Institute of Paper Science (now the Renewable Bioproducts Institute) at Georgia Tech, then went into R&D at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, eventually becoming corporate patent strategist and senior research fellow. He then spent several years at Innovationedge in Neenah, Wisconsin, helping many companies with innovation and IP strategy. Jeff has been in China for five years, where he works with various APP companies and mills in advancing their intellectual property and innovation. Since 2015, Jeff has been recognized as a leading IP strategist by Intellectual Asset Magazine in their global IAM300 listing based on peer input. He is also lead author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). He is active in the chemical engineering community and was recently named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Jeff served a mission in the German‑speaking Switzerland Zurich Mission and currently serves as counselor in the district presidency of the Shanghai International District. He and his wife Kendra are the parents of four boys and have nine grandchildren. Audio and Video Copyright © 2018 The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Inc. Any reproduction or transcription of this material without prior express written permission is prohibited. The post FairMormon Conference Podcast #35 – Jeff Lindsay, “‘Arise from the Dust’: Digging into a Vital Book of Mormon Theme” appeared first on FairMormon.
Rank #2: Articles of Faith Podcast: Joseph Smith’s Polygamy – Interview with Brian and Laura Hales. Bio: Brian and Laura Harris Hales are the co-authors of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding. Brian is the award-winning author of six books on polygamy, including the first three volumes in the Joseph Smith’s Polygamy series. Together they are the co-webmasters of JosephSmithsPolygamy.org and speak frequently about the history of early polygamy. Laura is an active blogger and editor of an upcoming anthology on 16 topics of historical and theological significance to members of the LDS Church (BYU Religious Studies Center, early 2016). Laura and Brian, combined, have nine children. Questions addressed in the interview: How did you both work on this, what was the work contributed from each of you? There are three sources of information that you use for information on Joseph Smith’s polygamy and basically the earliest teachings and implementations of polygamy. What are those three main sources? Let’s start out with theological polygamy, what is the theological reasons for the practice of polygamy? What is the difference (if there is a difference) between plural marriage and polygamy and what does that distinction matter? You also make the distinction that there were times where plural marriage was permitted, and other times it was commanded. What are the examples of those differences? With an issues such as Race and the Priesthood, there are many who distance themselves from the idea that God commanded the priesthood ban in the first place. Is there such a position when it comes to polygamy? Is there any merit to a dismissal of the practice as having no divine origin? One of the conflicts that seems to catch people is the concept of Plurality of Husbands or Polyandry. There is a couple sections of your book that discusses this particular issue. What is the main question that people have here, and in what way does your text resolve questions about polyandry. Emma Smith, Joseph Smith’s first and primary wife, had a role in this story that is heart wrenching at times, and can leave a person feeling conflicted. What was Emma’s view of polygamy? Explain the Mini-biographies on Joseph Smith’s wives. To purchase a copy of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding, click here. The post Articles of Faith Podcast: Joseph Smith’s Polygamy – Interview with Brian and Laura Hales appeared first on FairMormon.
Rank #1: Ep 62. Interview with LDS Sex Therapist Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife. If you haven’t heard Dr. Finlayson-Fife’s message before you are in for a real treat. On today’s episode I interview her and she talks to us about our sexuality in the context of our religious beliefs. She offers useful advice about how to best teach children about their sexuality and the law of chastity without shaming or creating potential problems later in life. We discuss pornography, what to do if you are married and feeling a lack of desire, and other insight related to this topic. The post Ep 62. Interview with LDS Sex Therapist Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife appeared first on Jody Moore.
Rank #2: Ep 211. Navigating a Faith Crisis with Amanda Voelker. Join us on the show this week as we discuss what contributes to people distancing themselves from the church and what they’re really going through. You’ll discover why questioning your faith is not the evil we sometimes consider it to be, and why, if somebody you love is going through a faith transformation or perceived crisis, that is not the end of their journey with Heavenly Father. Oftentimes, it’s just the beginning, and there are things you can do to help them through. Get full show notes and more information here: https://jodymoore.com/211
Rank #1: 5060 Behold the Man!. Dieter F. Uchtdorf - Those who find a way to truly behold the Man find the doorway to life’s greatest joys and the balm to life’s most demanding despairs.
Rank #2: 1020 Precious Gifts from God. M. Russell Ballard - Life can be filled with faith, joy, happiness, hope, and love when we exercise the smallest amount of real faith in Christ.