LDS History, Faith, and Culture

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

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Thursday, Doug is joined by Mormon scholars Richard Bushman and Gregory Prince for a conversation about the Presidency of the LDS Church. President Thomas S. Monson is 87 years old, and there are unconfirmed rumors that he may be suffering from some form of dementia. There have been similar issues with past Presidents, and with an average age of 80 for the highest offices, it's likely to continue. We’ll talk about what this means for the Church, its members, and for the leaders themselves.

There have always been questions about the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah politics. Many say the Church’s influence is indirect, but former state lawmaker Carl Wimmer is questioning whether Church lobbyists on Capitol Hill go too far. Last month, he wrote that he was bullied when his stance on immigration diverged from his then Church’s position. Monday, we’re asking Wimmer and others how lawmakers decide whether to vote with their politics or with their faith.

  Monday, we’re focusing on one of the most talked about bills of the 2015 legislative session: the LGBT anti-discrimination bill. Republican Representative Brad Dee called it the “Utah solution.” It was crafted with careful negotiation between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the LGBT community, and clarified exemptions for religious organizations. We’ll talk about the role the Church played in getting it passed and what the legislation does or doesn’t do for LGBT people and people of faith.

Tuesday, Doug is joined by John Dehlin, whose popular podcast Mormon Stories focuses on “exploring, celebrating, and challenging Mormon culture in constructive ways.” It’s a mission that’s put him at odds with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Sunday, they held a disciplinary council to decide whether he will be excommunicated. Dehlin has received a letter with their decision and joins us to reveal what it says. We'll also discuss what it means for his life and his work going forward.

Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made headlines by announcing its support of LGBT anti-discrimination laws. But leaders also expressed deep concern over religious liberty and called for laws to protect churches and individuals when acting “in accordance with their beliefs.” Wednesday, we’re gathering legal experts to answer questions at the heart of the Church’s statement: Is religious freedom at risk? Is there a conflict between anti-discrimination and religious liberty? And finally, is there a place for compromise?

TLC

 

The TLC network aired a controversial reality show Sunday night featuring three LDS Utah couples in mixed-orientation marriages. That's when the husband or wife is attracted to members of the same sex but wants to be in a heterosexual relationship. While some critics say gay people in mixed-orientation marriages are denying their true identity to be accepted by their faith, people in the relationships say they're living the lifestyle of their choice. We'll hear from both sides on Monday.

Women at Church

Jan 7, 2015

Wednesday, our guest is blogger and columnist Neylan McBaine. As Mormon feminists made headlines in a quest to gain access to the all-male priesthood, media including RadioWest turned to McBaine as a voice for moderate and faithful LDS women. Now, she’s written a book that explores ways to improve the role of women while respecting the structure of the Church. As one blogger put it, it’s left McBaine “taking crap from all sides.” We’ll ask how she answers critics who say change is unnecessary and those who argue her ideas don’t go far enough.

It may not be breaking news that LDS church founder Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. And yet, many were shocked when the church released an essay last month acknowledging the ages, number, and marital status of Smith’s wives, including a 14-year-old girl. Thursday, we’re examining how Mormons have reacted to the essay. We'll examine how common conception of Smith's plural marriages contrasts with reality, and we'll ask whether Smith's actions compromise the infallibility of the church's prophets.

 Late last month, the LDS Church published a video to explain a Mormon practice that has been a curiosity for outsiders: the Temple Garment. It’s underclothing worn by faithful members and is considered a sacred symbol of their religious commitment. Wednesday, our guest is religion scholar Colleen McDannell. We’re talking about the temple garment: its history, the way Mormons have incorporated it into their daily lives and how these and objects of various faiths connect the believer to the divine.

Thursday, our guests are political scientists David Campbell and Quin Monson, co-authors of a new book that explains Mormons’ place in the American political landscape. Some facts they outline won’t come as a shock, like that Mormons are primarily conservative. But there are surprises in the research. For instance, there are more Republican LDS Church members than ever before, and the numbers seem to be growing. We’ll talk about what makes Mormons tick politically, how America responds, and what it teaches us about faith and politics.

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