Profiles

Kelsie Moore | KUER

Bishop Oscar Solis has no idea why Pope Francis plucked him from sunny Los Angeles and sent him to lead the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. Maybe God, he says, has the answer. The first Filipino to lead an American diocese, Solis entered the seminary at 11 years old, speaks four languages, loves golf, and brings abundant humor to his ministries. He joins us Thursday to talk about where his faith in God has led him in life, and to discuss the challenges facing the modern Catholic Church.

Devil's Bargain

Aug 14, 2017

To understand Donald Trump’s path to the White House and Hillary Clinton’s downfall, journalist Joshua Green says you have to begin with Steve Bannon. In only a few months, Bannon went from the alt-right powerhouse leading Breitbart News, to the CEO of Trump's campaign, and finally to his current position as White House Chief Strategist. Green joins us Monday to tell Bannon’s story - how a brilliant and charismatic man from the fringe of American politics helped “storm the presidency.”

The "Monkey" Trial

Aug 10, 2017
Smithsonian Institution Archives, siarchives.si.edu

Thursday, we’re telling the story behind the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925. You know the basics: the agnostic Clarence Darrow and the Bible-thumping William Jennings Bryan faced off in a court room in a battle about teaching evolution in public schools. Our guest is the historian Jeffrey Moran who says the trial came as American culture was shifting and fundamentalists were freaking out about Charles Darwin. It was the trial of the century.

by H. Charles McBarron, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, we’re taking a different look at the American Revolutionary War. We think of it as brave patriots fighting for a noble cause, which is true, but in his new book historian Holger Hoock is trying to remind us just how bloody it was. The British brutalized American soldiers; we tortured loyalists. In fact, this cruelty shaped the outcome of the war. Hoock’s book is called Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth  and he's joining us to talk about it.

These days, the writer Alexandra Fuller lives in a yurt in Jackson Hole. It’s a far cry from where she grew up: under the cloud of civil war in what was once called Rhodesia in southern Africa. Fuller has chronicled her life in a series of acclaimed memoirs, writing fearlessly about war, family, and the collapse of her decades-long marriage. Her newest book is a novel about two Native American cousins on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She joins us Monday to talk about her life, her work, and how they overlap.

Tuesday, we’re talking about a man some disaffected Mormons believe to be a prophet. Denver Snuffer does claim to have spoken with Jesus, but he says he is not leading a new church. The so-called Remnant movement argues the LDS Church has strayed from Joseph Smith’s teachings and is more corporation than spiritual endeavor. So, they reject structure and authority and believe anyone can receive revelation. Doug and guests will explore the movement and the viability of a leaderless sect.

Ardean Watts

Jul 28, 2017

Friday, we’re rebroadcasting a conversation with Ardean Watts, who died last week at the age of 89. Ardean happened to be one of the most interesting people around here. He was a musician, a heretic, and a Mormon. He had an epiphany at midlife that led him on a journey to rebuild his sense of faith, but he didn’t settle on just one. In fact, he said he found most descriptions of God uninteresting. We talked about a lot of things like mushrooms, music, and strangers. (Rebroadcast)

Cornell University – PJ Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography. Creative Commons.

After the Fall of France in 1940, nearly 340,000 allied troops were stranded at the French port of Dunkirk as the German military closed in. Churchill called what happened next a “miracle of deliverance.” Small civilian ships, along with military transports, brought the British army home. Of course, the story is now a blockbuster movie, which our guests say is pretty accurate. Thursday, historians John Broich and Matthew Booker join Doug to talk about the true story of Dunkirk.

Public Domain

The Salem witch trials haunt the American imagination as a time of extreme injustice. The story is most often told from the perspective of the accused and the accusers, but historian Richard Francis has spent years exploring the actions of Samuel Sewall. Sewall was among the judges who issued the harsh verdicts, but five years later, he became the only judge to issue an apology for his role in the trials. Richard Francis joins Doug to talk about Sewall, his idealism, and his conscience.

Henry David Thoreau famously went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” But as the scholar Laura Dassow Walls shows in a new biography, there was much more to Thoreau’s life and work than his brief experiment at Spartan living in the woods. He was an inventor, a manual laborer, a gifted naturalist, a writer of great originality, and an uncompromising abolitionist. Walls joins us Monday to explore Thoreau’s profound, complex, and influential life.

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