LDS History, Faith, and Culture

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

Ordain Women, CC via Flickr,

Saturday, Mormon women made headlines as they sought entrance into the all-male Priesthood meeting at the LDS Church's General Conference. One-by-one, 130 women organized by the group Ordain Women were turned away. Gender roles were the topic of some talks from the pulpit, but there were also messages of inclusion for those who have left the Church and of compassion for people suffering from depression. Tuesday, we're gathering a panel of observers to talk about the conference – and what it tells us about today's LDS Church.

Black Mormon

Aug 20, 2013

In 1836, Elijah Ables, a man of mixed-race, was ordained to the priesthood of the Mormon Church. He was a committed friend of Joseph Smith, and Ables dedicated himself to the faith. But in his lifetime, he'd see the Church ban blacks from full membership and his adopted home of Utah become a slave-holding territory. Historian Russell Stevenson has written a new biography of Elijah Ables, and Wednesday, he joins Doug to talk about Ables' life and Mormonism's racial history.

Teaching Chastity

May 7, 2013
Seth Youngblood, CC via Flickr,

Last week, Elizabeth Smart spoke at a human trafficking forum about her 9 months as a kidnap and sexual assault victim. She said one reason she didn't run away was a story she remembered that equated a girl that had sex to a chewed stick of gum that no one would want. It's an object lesson on purity that many LDS women recognize and it's sparked a conversation on the language we use to discuss chastity, sex and a woman's worth. Wednesday, Doug is joined by Mormon writer Joanna Brooks and others to talk about it and we hope to hear from you as well.

J. Stephen Conn, CC via Flickr,

Thursday, we're talking about the role of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over the last few years, a movement of Mormon women asserting their rights within the Church has reemerged. They've been asking to pray in general conference and be more involved in day-to-day decisions. Now there is a group asking to be given the LDS priesthood. But why haven't women been given the priesthood? Is it a doctrinal issue or a cultural one? Doug is joined by Mormon women to talk about the history and about what's at stake.


Apr 7, 2013

Monday, we’re talking about a new work by local playwright Jenifer Nii. It’s called “Suffrage,” and it looks at the complicated history between women’s right to vote and polygamy in 19th century Utah. Utah was the second territory in the US to grant suffrage, but in less than two decades, the right was stripped away as part of a national effort to eradicate plural marriage. Nii joins us, along with the director and cast of Plan B Theatre Company’s production to talk about the social and political roles of women.

Why? A Mormon Answer

Feb 6, 2013

Why would a loving God allow horrible tragedies to happen? It's an age-old question and one that gets revisited whenever stories of mass shootings and sweeping natural disasters make headlines. Thursday, we're beginning an occasional series of conversations with theologians and thinkers to explore the question. We begin with Mormon scholars Terryl and Fiona Givens. They've recently co-authored a book called The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life

Mormons and Gays

Dec 9, 2012

Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a website that explores its position on "same-sex attraction." Some in the LGBT community see it as a baby step in the right direction: it calls for love and compassion, it asks Mormon families to support their LGBT sons and daughters and it invites gays and lesbians to remain in the church as long as they're not "yielding" to their sexuality. Monday, we invite you to react to the website and share what you think it means for Mormons and the LGBT community.

<i>Image by <a href="">Garry Knight</a>/<a href="" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

A lawsuit was filed in New Jersey on Tuesday against groups that say they can help gay people be straight. A University of Utah student and LDS Church member is among the four plaintiffs who claim they were defrauded and endangered by conversion therapy. Proponents of “reparative therapy” insist that it can help reverse homosexuality. Critics say it can lead to severe depression, anxiety and even suicide. Wednesday, we’re asking whether gay conversion therapy is “quackery” or a legitimate treatment.

Pioneer Prophet

Oct 11, 2012

When historian John Turner decided to write a book about Mormonism, it didn't take him long to settle on Brigham Young as his object of study. Turner says that the LDS Church's second leader was a colossal figure not just in American religion, but also in the history of politics and westward expansion.  His new biography reveals a complicated man: blunt, aggressive and sometimes profane, but also charismatic and a fierce protector of his people. Thursday, Turner joins us to talk about the "Pioneer Prophet."

Sandra Wahl via Flickr/Creative Commons & University of Utah Press

The growing season may almost be over, but many people have more tomatoes, cucumbers and other veggies than they know what to do with. Monday, we’re discussing a solution to that problem: food preservation. We’ll be talking about the joys, traditions and methods of putting food by when the harvest is heaviest, and we want to hear about your family recipes and customs. We’ll also explore Mormon pioneer foodways and uncover the culinary challenges and delights of settling the Great Salt Lake Basin.