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A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS
63 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
378: When the Church isn't Enough: Tali Aitofi
Some years ago, Tali Aitofi found Mormon podcasts and became hooked. But Tali isn't Mormon, he's Pentecostal. His faith journey has played out with the hum of Mormon faith crises in the background. Tali recently came out as gay; he left his family church, and is currently suffering from a life threatening illness. All of this has caused deep and searching questions. Tali joins me to talk about his life journey and how the Netflix series Midnight Mass spoke to his larger questions about church, God, Jesus, shame and forgiveness.
68 minutes | Jan 20, 2022
377: Bright Spark: The Reconciliation of Artist Trevor Southey: A Conversation with Director Nathan Florence
Painter, now documentary film maker and producer Nathan Florence joins me to discuss ‘Bright Spark: The Reconcilation of Trevor Southey’ For eleven years, artist Nathan Florence documented Trevor Southey's life with his heart and with his lens in order to tell an unfolding story that ended in Trevor’s death in 2015. It’s an unusual documentary but nonetheless affecting because like a painting it constantly unfolds. The film is a soft place among the polarized voices of LDS folk in and out of the church, because it has no agenda beyond the story of art as an expression of the deepest musings of humanity; How it's made; at what cost; who it's for, and mostly, how does it change lives?
70 minutes | Jan 13, 2022
376: Doing Our Inner Work: Jana Spangler
Utah based life coach, Jana Spangler, reflects on her extensive work with Mormons who are in the thick of deconstruction and reconstruction. She argues that being in healthy relationship with our bodies will yield precisely the wisdom we need to make critical life decisions.
55 minutes | Dec 31, 2021
375: Let's Cancel Christmas! Nicola Petty
If you love Christmas, then this episode isn't for you. But, if you or someone you know doesn't approach Christmas with merriment and cheer, then this conversation between me and my good friend Nicola Petty might be worth listening to. Both of us are avowed Grinches and as a concession to those who have to put up with our annual disagreeableness we get together for a chat to identify our points of disagreement with the Silly Season. And we wonder if we need to cancel it next year?
69 minutes | Nov 30, 2021
374: Trauma & Moral Injury in Mormonism: Dr. Sean Aaron
At Syracuse University, moral injury is defined as, "… the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct." In this episode, clinical psychologist Dr. Sean Aaron joins me to discuss moral injury. Many coming from the LDS tradition have been taught to spiritually bypass our gut reactions to practices or doctrines, chalking our doubts up to our personal failings and faithlessness. Sean draws on the concept of moral injury to help us understand what is happening when we do so, and how we can trust and respond to our emotions in healthy ways.
78 minutes | Oct 17, 2021
373: The LDS Church's Response to Sexual Abuse: Neville Rochow QC
Child sexual abuse in the church is pernicious and confounding. Why anyone purporting to be Christian would sexually abuse a child is beyond the imagination of many. Yet it happens, and far too often to be dismissed. The Royal Commissions of Inquiry into Sexual Abuse in Ireland and Australia, and currently being conducted in New Zealand, have resulted in powerful evidence-based recommendations for best practices that keep children safe from predatory behaviour in faith-based institutions. Despite the extent, breadth and thoroughness of these inquiries, the Salt Lake church seems largely disinterested in the wisdom and advice originating from any legal jurisdiction or cultural context other than their own. Neville Rochow joins me to discuss how child sexual abuse is managed legally and ecclesiastically in the LDS Church in light of the Royal Commissions of Inquiry.
58 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
372: The Spiritual Formation of Children: Amanda Suarez and Drew Hansen
Author of the Spiritual Child, Professor of Psychology Lisa Miller writes in ‘The Spiritual Child’: “Spiritual development through the early years … provides a protective health benefit, reducing the risk of depression, substance abuse, aggression, and high-risk behaviors.” It’s for this reason that the team at Upliftkids have created a resource for parents to help them spiritually nurture their children, regardless of religious persuasion. The resources at Uplift Kids help both parents and children find their inner compass by integrating the best of modern science and ancient wisdom that honour and support the gracious spiritual development and sensitivity of children. Amanada Suarez and Drew Hansen join me to discuss the healthy spiritual formation of children.
66 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
371: The LDS Church & Its Business: Neville Rochow QC Part 2
Australian barrister Neville Rochow QC has offered the LDS Church legal advice over the years and has appeared for the church at parliamentary committees on the question of religious freedom. For two years, he also represented the church at the European Parliament in Brussels. He has been intimately involved in the church’s legal concerns and is well versed in how its legal machinery works, particularly internationally. In part two of this series, Neville joins me to discuss the LDS Church and its financial activities.
50 minutes | Sep 26, 2021
370: The Church and its Legal Machinations Part One: Neville Rochow
Australian barrister Neville Rochow QC has offered the LDS Church legal advice over the years and has appeared for the church at parliamentary committees on the question of religious freedom. For two years, he also represented the church at the European Parliament in Brussels. He has been intimately involved in the church's legal concerns and is well versed in how its legal machinery works, particularly internationally. In part one of this series, Neville joins me to discuss the LDS Church and its legal machinations. In this episode he offers an overview of the relationship between the US church in the international legal arena.
74 minutes | Aug 28, 2021
368: The Illegitimacy of Jesus: Mark Crego
Mark Crego and I met around eight years ago, fellow sojourners in the quest to understand our shared faith in the LDS church. We had a similar curiosity about the spiritual life and consequently we both completed a Masters degree: He in theology and me in ministry. Having taken a Christian formation path we find ourselves similarly interested in the necessity of the divinity of Jesus. Was he literally, biologically the Son of God? Neither of us think so. This conversation is not new. Jane Schaberg is one scholar who tackled the question front on, and she paid dearly for it. Mark and I come to similar conclusions, that the divinity of Jesus has more to do with claims of power, authority and Empire than it has to do with biology. For Mark and I, the illegitimate, fatherless Jesus who God chose as his son is a far more spiritually enlivening and plausible alternative.
96 minutes | Aug 25, 2021
367: The Law of Chastity or Sexual Ethics?: Linkhart, Ross & Mangelson
While the Mountain Saints speak of the Law of Chastity being the iron clad rule that anything sexual should happen in marriage, the Praire Saints have a statement of Sexual Ethics. The Statement of Sexual Ethics is the distillation of years of discussion with church leaders across the world and continues as a living document up for discussion and debate. Community of Christ Apostle Robin Linkhart and former LDS members and now Community of Christ Ministers, Brittany Mangelson and Nancy Ross join me to have the conversation about sex from the perspective of two very different restoration traditions.
105 minutes | Jul 25, 2021
366: Breaking Up Well: Dr. Nicola Petty
When I began questioning the LDS Church, I did not expect the Stake Relief Society president to join me. Nicola Petty went from orthodox and loyal member guided by the priesthood to a Stake Relief Society President who had been woken up by the Ordain Women movement. It was in this capacity that I watched her press priesthood button after priesthood button advocating intelligently and determinedly for the women in our stake. And then, when the church was no longer reconcilable, rather than spit the church out, Nicola planned her exit well, and took up the challenge to build a new life. Her’s is a story of integrity, integration, and extraordinary grace for a church she once loved deeply but no longer sees as essential to her human becoming. This is a personal story of breaking up well.
78 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
365: Sealed: A Memoir by Katie Langston
Born and raised a devout Mormon in Utah, Katie Langston chronicles her unexpected conversion to orthodox Christianity with candor and theological depth. Her remarkable debut memoir explores themes of religious fundamentalism, mental illness, and family belonging—culminating in her surprising and liberating encounters with the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Gina and Katie dive deep into the question of faith and family.
76 minutes | Jun 12, 2021
364: Death By a Thousand Cuts: Ordinary Mormon Trauma: Lindsay Hansen Park
We were made for tenderness, gentleness, openness, authenticity, vulnerability, compassion and caring. We are threaded through with the strands of genuine goodness. Our true selves, our inner landscapes are beautiful and potentiated for wholeness, fullness and love. Mormon trauma is most profoundly felt into being culturally, or institutionally permitted to be our true selves but to live in this highly controlled world where we are treated as potentiated for evil and best kept managed, where the greatest virtue is obedience. Mormon trauma is experienced as death by a thousand cuts, from the way that policy and doctrine is dropped to way we serve, teach and lead, to the way we are with each other and in our families, to the stories we tell about the world beyond Mormonism. Lindsay Hansen Park joins me to discuss the ordinariness of Mormon trauma.
71 minutes | May 23, 2021
Why the RLDS Reformed but the LDS Didn't: Prof. David Howlett
Some people say that Community of Christ is just LDS lite. This simply isn't true. Despite their common roots, you would be unlikely to find two more differently wired faith traditions than the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS (Mormons). To discuss how this came to be and why the RLDS set about revising and reforming their church in the 1960's while the LDS took on a renewed commitment to restoration fundamentalism and American political conservatism, Professor of American religion, David Howlett from Smith College joins A Thoughtful Faith Podcast.
142 minutes | May 19, 2021
362: 'That Was Not of God': Natasha's Witnesses Speak Up
Ambivalence, ambiguity, lack of accountability and spiritual abuse characterize Natasha Helfer's membership council. Her witnesses speak out about their experience.
67 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
361: American Excommunication: Spencer Wells & Isaac Barnes May
Spencer Wells and Isaac Barnes May seek to put the recent ex-communication/name removal of Natasha Helfer from the LDS Church into the broader context of church boundary maintenance in America.
49 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
360: Perfoming Art with Bread: Andi Pticher Davis
As a performance artist, Andi has been feeding her culture with bread for many years. She bakes, graffitis and gifts her bread warm to those in need. Artistically weaving mountains, fire, lament and bread comes from an elemental and a cosmic drive to make the spiritual immanent. Andi and I talk about how material culture becomes spiritual culture.
103 minutes | Apr 18, 2021
359: When a Woman's Professional Expertise Becomes a Question of LDS Apostasy: Natasha Helfer
Natasha Helfer (LCMFT, CST, CSTS )is a licensed clinician and mental health professional who has been summoned to a LDS Church trial for her public stance on sexual health. Taking offence at the idea that the LDS Church is a toxic religious home for our LGBTQIA+ community, and that masturbation can be both appropriate and healthy, a Kansas Stake President has held onto Natasha's records for 18 months in order to execute this action. Natasha joins me to discuss the broader context of LDS Church culture that makes such punitive measures acceptable and actionable.
73 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
358: The Spiritual Advice Line With Katie Langston: March 2021
This month, our discussion comes from listeners' questions about; white supremacy, intra-faith marriage, community belonging, spirituality and the true church!
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