LDS History, Faith, and Culture

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

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="http://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/7879680064/in/photostream/">Garry Knight</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" 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.

The Utah War

Jul 23, 2012

In the spring of 1857, President James Buchanan appointed a non-Mormon governor for the Utah Territory and sent troops to enforce the order. Armed skirmishes between the Mormon militia and the U.S. Army followed, and the roughly year-long conflict is now known as the "Utah War." Doug speaks with LDS Church Historian Richard Turley as well as independent historians Will Bagley and David Bigler about this pivotal moment in Utah history. (Rebroadcast)

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."

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