LDS History, Faith, and Culture

A collection of RadioWest conversations about LDS history, faith, and culture.

KUER file photo

The LDS Church may have been founded by an uneducated, 19th century tenant farmer, but historian D. Michael Quinn estimates its 2010 tithing income at $33 billion dollars. And that’s to say nothing of the Church’s investments, business holdings, and “seemingly endless capital.” To understand the Church’s economic history, Quinn says you have to understand God as the ultimate CEO of the Church and its business on earth. He joins us to talk about his new book on Mormon “Wealth and Corporate Power.”

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

From 1947 to 2000, the LDS Church ran the “Indian Student Placement Program.” It took 50,000 native children from reservations and placed them in Mormon homes. This effort to educate and convert them came naturally out of Mormon theology, which taught that Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel and were cursed for their wickedness. Wednesday, we’re talking about the program and what it reveals about Mormonism’s complicated relationship with Native Americans.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Years ago, Tom Christofferson asked to be excommunicated from the LDS Church. He says he couldn’t figure out how to be Mormon and gay, so, he aimed at being happy and gay. And he was. He had a man he loved, and his family - including Mormon apostle D. Todd Christofferson - made them both welcome. But he still wasn’t fulfilled. So Tom Christofferson left his partner and returned to his church. He’s written a memoir and joins us Tuesday to talk about reconciling his sexuality with his faith.

Monday, we’re talking about the complicated relationship between the Mormon Church and homosexuality. Our guest is historian Gregory Prince who is working on a history that includes the public and not-so-public campaigns against same-sex marriage and their attempt at punishing and curing same-sex attraction. He also examines whether the LDS theology of an afterlife will ever have room for gay people. Prince is coming to Utah, and joins us to talk about Mormons and Gays.

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.

We’re live Wednesday morning, talking about Millennials and Mormonism. Religion scholar Jana Riess has been studying what she calls “The Next Mormons,” and while nearly all say they believe in God, the way they practice their religion is very different from older generations. And like other faiths around the country, the LDS Church is experiencing its share of young adults leaving the fold. We’ll talk with Riess and others about this generational shift, and what it means for Mormonism.

Mormons and Sex

Jun 29, 2017

Thursday, we’re talking about Mormons and sex. LDS therapist Jennifer Finlayson-Fife says that Mormon theology of the body is very different from many Christian traditions. Within marriage, sex isn’t just for procreation, but also for pleasure, intimacy and becoming god like. So, what’s the disconnect in a culture where there seems to be so much shame and guilt around sexuality? She’ll join us live, along with LDS sex therapist Kristin Hodson and Chris Duce of the “Celestial Sex” podcast.

Thomas Wirthlin McConkie is a descendent of two highly influential Mormon leaders.  And yet, his close ties to the LDS Church didn’t insulate him from questioning his faith. He left the church as a teenager and found spiritual fulfillment in Zen Buddhism. After almost 20 years, he returned to Mormonism, and he wants to help others navigate their own faith crises. McConkie joins us Monday to discuss how the tools of developmental psychology can help guide us through faith transitions.

North Star International, Voices of Hope Project, http://bit.ly/2o08ydI

Monday, we’re talking about the delicate balance of being religiously conservative and attracted to the same sex. Ty Mansfield is a family therapist and he’s attracted to men. He’s also married to a woman, has kids, and is a faithful Mormon. Mansfield believes that human sexuality is fluid enough for some gay people - not all - but some to be perfectly happy married to someone of the opposite sex. Mansfield joins us to share his own story, and to talk about what he’s learning about sexuality and happiness.

Pages