LDS History, Faith, and Culture

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

Thursday, we're profiling a new KUED documentary that explores the life of a remarkable woman, Martha Hughes Cannon. Women in 19th-century Utah enjoyed rights unprecedented in other states: they could divorce their husbands, own their own property and vote. Cannon made the most of these opportunities. She was a practicing physician and in 1896 she became the first woman in the US to serve as a state senator. She was also a polygamist wife though, a role that would eventually destroy her public career.

With Mormon personalities on the national stage over the last few years, think Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck, Americans have a lot of questions about the LDS Church. That's where the scholar Joanna Brooks comes in. Brooks writes the candid Ask Mormon Girl blog and she's been a commentator on Mormon life and politics for news outlets like The Washington Post and BBC. Now she's telling her own story in a new memoir and Tuesday, she joins Doug to talk about her complicated relationship with her faith.

2/15/12: Elna Baker

Feb 14, 2012

Three years ago, the comedienne and storyteller Elna Baker published her memoir, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. It’s about being a twenty-something Mormon virgin in a town – New York City – that doesn’t take kindly to that type. A lot has changed for Elna Baker since 2009: now she’s an ex-28-year-old virgin and ex-Mormon comedienne. Wednesday on RadioWest, Elna joins Doug to talk about leaving the church, her journey to Siberia and the challenges of honest storytelling.

A new study by the Pew Forum came out last week. It was about Mormons. The survey contained a lot of information, but one part of it was no surprise: most Mormons call themselves political conservatives. Utah Mormons are nine times as likely to be Republican than Democrat. But why? On Monday we’re broadcasting a show we recorded last week at Utah Valley University. A group of LDS legislators joined Doug on stage to discuss how their political beliefs are informed by Mormonism and vice versa.

Far Between, Part II

Dec 20, 2011

Wednesday, Doug sits down again with Utah filmmaker Kendall Wilcox. Wilcox is creating a documentary that explores the tension between being a member of the LDS Church and being gay. Since joining us in August, Wilcox has been fired from Brigham Young University, but he says he still believes that the Mormon community is leaving polemics behind and "treating each other with genuine love, respect and empathy." We'll talk about his journey and about what he's learning as he films "Far Between."

Tuesday, we're talking about one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters in American music. La Monte Young was a pioneer of the minimalist movement and his work influenced artists like Terry Riley, Yoko Ono, The Velvet Underground and Brian Eno. So it may surprise you to hear that he was born in a log cabin in Idaho and worked the family farm on Utah Lake. BYU Professor Jeremy Grimshaw has just written a new biography and joins Doug to talk about Young's music and mysticism.

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/imnohero/2345543856/">im.no.hero</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Utah has a reputation for some of the strictest liquor laws in the country and the Utah Hospitality Association says the LDS Church directly influences lawmakers on these issues. As part of their effort to overturn a recent law, the group is suing to keep state legislators from considering Church opinion when creating alcohol regulations. Monday, we're talking about Utah liquor laws and about what role morality and religion play in creating public policy.

Courtesy <a href="http://harpers.org/" target="_blank">harpers.org</a>

In a new article for Harper's Magazine, journalist Chris Lehmann argues that Mormon economic life is everything the GOP could hope for and has been since the early days of the LDS Church. Lehmann calls Mormons "free-market apostles," pointing to their distrust of debt and government, their respect for self-reliance over welfare and what he calls a tendency to fetishize precious metals over currency. Lehmann joins Doug to explain why he says when it comes to the economy "We are all Mormons now."

Far Between

Aug 18, 2011

Last month, filmmaker Kendall Wilcox made a bold decision. He decided it was the right time for him to admit publically that he is gay. Of course, this process can be difficult for anyone, but Wilcox is an employee of the LDS Church, he teaches at Brigham Young University and he's a producer for BYUTV. Now, he's in the process of making a film that explores the tension between faith and sexual identity. Thursday, Wilcox joins Doug to talk about being "Far Between."

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