LDS History, Faith, and Culture

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

  Utah Senator Steve Urquhart says the LDS Church “effectively snuffed out” his bill to strengthen the state’s hate crime laws. Last week, the Church criticized any legislation that would upset the “careful balance” Utah achieved between LGBT rights and religious liberty with last year’s anti-discrimination law. Wednesday, Urquhart and others will join us to talk about the timing of his bill, what balance should look like it, and why proponents argue the state’s current hate crime law falls short.

Last week, an advocacy group made headlines when they said there’s been a startling increase in suicides among LGBT Mormon youth. They blamed LDS Church policy which labels members in same-sex marriages as apostates. It’s hard to get a line on those statistics though, and while the anecdotal numbers are problematic, they still raise serious concerns. Tuesday, we’re asking what we know about depression and suicide in gay Mormons and whether the Church’s vocal stance contributes to that risk.

Bundy-style Mormonism

Jan 14, 2016
Gage Skidmore, cc via Wikipedia

Thursday we’re asking if the occupation of a federal office in Oregon is a Mormon enterprise, and if so, what kind of Mormonism? The Bundy brothers leading the group are LDS, and they use Mormon theology to talk about motives and dealing with “tyranny.” The Church has condemned the tactics, and while the Bundys’ views aren’t mainstream, historian Patrick Mason says they didn’t come out of thin air. He and others join us to talk about the groups’ politics and faith in relation to Mormon orthodoxy.

The LDS Church recently made headlines with new guidance for lay leaders in dealing with same-sex couples and their children. Critics call it a step backwards in the Church’s efforts to show compassion to the LGBT community. Defenders say it’s simply a reflection of Church doctrine. The LDS Church has declined to join us. So Thursday, historian and Mormon scholar Russell Stevenson takes us through the doctrine that under-girds the Church’s religious policies towards its LGBT members.

via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/1XVcKVC

News broke last week that the LDS Church was adopting new policies aimed at married same-sex couples and their children. Mormons in a same-sex marriage will now be considered apostates and could be subject to disciplinary hearings and excommunication. Their children, meanwhile, will be barred from many of the faith’s sacred rituals, unless they get permission from church’s highest leaders. Monday, a panel of guests will join us to discuss the impacts and ramifications of these new church policies.

Evolving Faith

Oct 28, 2015

Wednesday, we’re talking about the complicated and surprising relationship between Mormonism and science. Brigham Young University boasts a highly regarded biology department, and while the LDS Church has no official doctrine on evolution, many members view the theory with suspicion. It’s that tension that BYU Professor Steven Peck addresses in his new book Evolving Faith. He joins Doug to explain why he says religion and science are simply two different ways of knowing.

Sunday night and Monday morning, a total lunar eclipse will give the moon a blood red appearance, a sign some say heralds the apocalypse. September 28th is also the anniversary of Julie Rowe’s near death experience. She’s a Mormon who’s gotten a lot of attention for her personal visions of the end times. So Monday, we’re talking about end of the world predictions: what inspires them, how different Christian groups imagine Jesus’ return, and how these ideas have played out among Latter-day Saints.

LDS Missions

Aug 24, 2015

Two men with white shirts and name badges may be *the* stereotype of Mormons. 85,000 missionaries are currently proselytizing for the LDS Church, but that’s not all a mission is for. The scholar Patrick Mason says it’s a rite of passage, as much about making and keeping the missionary a member of the church as it is recruiting new converts. Monday, Mason and historian Greg Prince join Doug to discuss the history of LDS missions, what’s changing and what it all means for the young men and women who serve.

Seer Stones

Aug 11, 2015

Tuesday, we’re talking about seer stones, the instruments Mormons believe Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon. Last week, the LDS Church published a photo of one stone, likening it to Biblical objects that helped people “communicate spiritually.” Historians Matthew Bowman and Benjamin Park join us to explain how these types of objects were used in early 19th century America (it wasn’t just the Mormons). We’ll also ask what role these stones played in the development of Mormonism and what they tell us about the idea of revelation.

As a lifelong servant of the LDS church, apostle Boyd K. Packer was admired for being a bold speaker, a dedicated teacher, and a protector of conservative doctrine. However, his outspoken condemnation of feminists, LGBT people, and intellectuals, among other actions, brought him plenty of scorn and controversy. His passing late last week leaves a glaring hole in the church’s upper administration. Tuesday, we’re taking stock of Packer’s life and legacy and asking how his impact will continue to be felt.

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