Mormon Stories - LDS (general)

Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen are facing LDS Church discpline for rejecting the LDS doctrine of polygamy (as found in DYC 132).  This is their story.

Direct download: MormonStories-530-VanAllensRejectingPolygamy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am MDT

Marisa Pond Calderwood was raised devoutly LDS in Bellevue, Washington. She was deeply committed to the church as a teen, but she also excelled in school and dreamed of obtaining a Ph.D. in Genetics. After receiving the prestigious Gordon B. Hinckley scholarship at BYU, she married Carson Calderwood after her freshman year. Although she remained devoutly LDS for well over decade, Marisa struggled with feeling like she lost herself and her dreams once she married Carson, especially after going through the LDS temple and receiving the impression that women were less than men in the LDS church. Over the next several years Marisa had four children with Carson, but she also began having chronic headaches, and sinking deeper and deeper into depression. Finally, once Marisa began to allow herself to consider the possibility that the LDS church might not be true, she began feeling better about herself, her headaches subsided, and she and Carson found a happiness and an authenticity in their marriage that they never knew before. Today Marisa and her husband Carson are being threatened with excommunication for speaking openly about their doubts and disbelief. They expect to receive their summons to a disciplinary council within the coming week. This is Marisa's story.

Direct download: MormonStories-529-MarisaPondCalderwood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22pm MDT

10401436_10153066297053798_1624481439957468610_nCarson Calderwood is an LDS dentist and father of four living in Maple Valley, Washington.  He served an LDS mission in Argentina, married his wife, Marisa, in an LDS temple, recently served as an LDS seminary teacher in Maple valley for two years, and served faithfully in the LDS church for almost two decades.  After experiencing significant questions and doubts a few years go, Carson realized how many local LDS church members were struggling over matters of faith, and began trying to help local members of his ward and stake find joy and healing amidst their LDS faith crises.

After showing public support for Ordain Women, and after publicly expressing his doubts about several LDS church truth claims (e.g., polygamy, polyandry, Book of Mormon and Abraham historicity), Carson is now being charged with apostasy by the LDS Church, and by his Maple Valley, Washington stake president.  A disciplinary council for Carson is set to be scheduled within the next few days or weeks.  

This is Carson's story, wherein he explains why he objects to LDS disciplinary councils for apostasy, and why he would prefer to be excommunicated than to resign his LDS membership and walk away quietly.

Direct download: MormonStories-528-CarsonCalderwood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:07am MDT

Mormon Stories alumnus John Hamer returns to talk about Community of Christ as a viable spiritual home for transitioning Mormons in this two-part video series.  John Hamer was raised LDS, but became a doubting teenager and left organized religion altogether as an adult.  In 2010, he joined Community of Christ and currently serves as pastor of its congregation in downtown Toronto, Canada.  
 
In part 1, John Hamer sits down with John Dehlin and makes the case for "non-literalistic" religion.  (The presentation is illustrated with John Hamer's amazing diagrams, so the podcast audience is advised to watch the YouTube version.)  John Hamer describes how a church with Restoration roots has evolved beyond doctrine and dogma to become inclusive of the LGBT community and a wide diversity of individual beliefs.  
 
In part 2, John Dehlin challenges John Hamer with tough questions, including whether it is possible for some transitioning Mormons who feel real betrayal to join a church that traces its origin to Joseph Smith, or, indeed, any organized religion.  The resulting dialogue was wide-ranging and intensely fascinating.  Regardless of where you are in your own Mormon journey, you'll surely find John Hamer's case for Community of Christ thought-provoking. 
 
In the course of their discussions, John Hamer referenced the "Latter-day Seekers" facebook group and the website Latter-daySeekers.org. 
Direct download: MormonStories-527-JohnHamerCofCPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm MDT

Mormon Stories alumnus John Hamer returns to talk about Community of Christ as a viable spiritual home for transitioning Mormons in this two-part video series.  John Hamer was raised LDS, but became a doubting teenager and left organized religion altogether as an adult.  In 2010, he joined Community of Christ and currently serves as pastor of its congregation in downtown Toronto, Canada.  
 
In part 1, John Hamer sits down with John Dehlin and makes the case for "non-literalistic" religion.  (The presentation is illustrated with John Hamer's amazing diagrams, so the podcast audience is advised to watch the YouTube version.)  John Hamer describes how a church with Restoration roots has evolved beyond doctrine and dogma to become inclusive of the LGBT community and a wide diversity of individual beliefs.  
 
In part 2, John Dehlin challenges John Hamer with tough questions, including whether it is possible for some transitioning Mormons who feel real betrayal to join a church that traces its origin to Joseph Smith, or, indeed, any organized religion.  The resulting dialogue was wide-ranging and intensely fascinating.  Regardless of where you are in your own Mormon journey, you'll surely find John Hamer's case for Community of Christ thought-provoking. 
 
In the course of their discussions, John Hamer referenced the "Latter-day Seekers" facebook group and the website Latter-daySeekers.org. 
Direct download: MormonStories-526-JohnHamerCofCPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11pm MDT

In this episode, co-released with Mormon Stories, Wendy Williams MontgomeryJohn Dehlin, and Dan Wotherspoon speak about the difficult dynamics at play in discussing with loved ones, whether family, friends, or ward members, about differences in faith positions after one party or another has shifted. In contrast with the types of challenges presented to people by “outsiders” to their faith, a change in stance and the new worldview presented by those who were once in sync with you (or at least perceived to be in sync) can be far more devastating. Their shifts often feel very personal, a rejection of something we hold most dear. And they have no excuse! They once knew what we know and now challenge and say they are seeing more clearly or experiencing something else more richly? For those who are the ones who have shifted, a loved one’s negative reactions to that person’s change also can feel quite personal. Why don’t they trust me that I’m on a good path, that I have information or insights that open the world to me in new ways? Why are they choosing stubbornness and clinging to ideology and dogma over really exploring and staying in close relationship with me no matter where my faith journey takes me?

How can we see these and other dynamics more clearly? What is “our” responsibility as those who have been the one whose perspectives have shifted? How can both parties better understand the challenges of this situation and learn to have compassion for each other? What are key virtues needed in such relationships? What are some “dos” and “don’ts” for negotiating this difficult interpersonal terrain?

Please listen and then share your stories and insights in the comments section below!

Direct download: MormonStories-525-WotherspoonSpeakingAboutFaithDiff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54am MDT

Direct download: John-Dehlin-Excommunication-Appeal-Letter-FINAL-NoAddress.pdf
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm MDT

Jedediah Rogers discusses the history of Joseph Smith's "Council of 50" with J. Jed-head-231x300Nelson-Seawright. Jed is a co-editor of the Utah Historical Quarterly and the Senior State Historian at the Utah Division of State History. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and received his doctorate at Arizona State University in 2011. Recently, Jed was the editor of the Signature Book documentary, The Council of 50 - A Documentary History.

The Council of 50 was formed in Nauvoo in 1844 by Joseph Smith Jr. The council provided a pattern for political government through priesthood authority and revelation. “It was, to its members, the nucleus or focus of God’s latter-day kingdom”

Direct download: 524__Jedediah_Rogers_Discusses_Council_of_50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:03pm MDT

Interview with Radiowest's Doug Fabrizio about My Excommunication

Direct download: MormonStories-523-RadioWestExcommunication.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:37am MDT

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Main Navigati2014 McMurrin Lecture on Religion and Culture with Kathleen Flake

"The LDS Intellectual Tradition: A Study on Three Lives"
April 11, 2014

Symposium: "Faith and Reason, Conscience and Conflict: 
The Paths of Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and Obert Tanner"
April 12, 2014
 

Kathleen FlakeMcMurrin Lecture: In her lecture, Flake defines an intellectual as one who loves and is committed to the life of the mind, one for whom thought is both a delight and a necessity, a source as well as means for human flourishing. This does not mean a life without conflicts, as illustrated by three intellectuals - Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and Obert Tanner. Flake will consider their intellectual lives in relation to the religious culture from which they came. Doing so will tell us something about whether there is a Mormon intellectual tradition and, if so, what are its distinctive features.

Kathleen Flake holds the Richard L. Bushman Chair of Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

Professor Flake has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, Lily Endowment, Pew Charitable Trusts, and American Philosophical Society.  She has held office in the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion. Frequently invited to comment on Mormonism in the news, she is also a panelist for the Washington Post/Newsweek "On Faith" blog.

 

2014 Symposium

Symposium: Mormonism is often seen as a religion of conformity, with a hierarchy in tight control of members’ beliefs and behavior. Yet this perspective misses a rich tradition of intellectual independence and principled dissent. With an eye to the present and future, the Tanner Humanities Center will offer a unique symposium on the lives and legacies of Sterling M. McMurrin, Obert C. Tanner, and Lowell L. Bennion. Their stories reveal the tensions between faith and reason, conformity and dissent. This symposium will mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center.

Panels include “Challenge of Conscience: Sterling M. McMurrin” (9:00-10:30 AM), with Bob Goldberg (Chair), Jack Newell, James Clayton, and Brian Birch; “Challenge of Loyalty: Lowell Bennion” (11:00 AM-12:30 PM), with Irene Fisher (Chair), Greg Prince, Tony Morgan, Sam Allen, and Emma Lou Thayne; and “Challenge of Faith: Obert C. Tanner” (1:30-3:00 PM), with Greg Thompson (Chair), Kent Murdock, Bob Goldberg, and Grethe Peterson. A concluding panel, titled “Public Men and the Challenge of Their Private Worlds” (3:30-5:00 PM), will focus upon the personal, intellectual, and working relationships that existed among these men, with panelists Linda King Newell (Chair), Carolyn Tanner Irish, Ellen Bennion Stone, Charlotte Hansen Terry, and Bill McMurrin.            

These three intellectuals who shared a determination to act were rooted in Mormonism, but possessed distinctive visions that penetrated beyond their treasured religious heritage and drove them to embrace—and respond to—the pressing social, cultural, and political issues of their time.  With mutual respect, but using distinctive methods, Tanner, McMurrin and Bennion shared a passion for justice and impatience with racial discrimination in their church and across American society.  At various points in their careers, they served the LDS Church, the University of Utah, their state, and the nation in pursuit of their visions of a more enlightened and humane society.

Pursuing justice and adhering to conscience brought its own rewards, but also exacted a cost. As Director of the University of Utah’s LDS Institute of Religion, Lowell Bennion chafed at supporting church authorities in their denial of the priesthood to African American men.  Largely over this issue, he surrendered this post, swallowed his disappointment, and vigorously channeled his religious instincts into serving the needy in Salt Lake City.  Sterling McMurrin chose to proclaim himself a heretic and relished that identity, but lost friendships and some sense of community. Obert Tanner, a closet skeptic, muffled his doubt and kept his silence to play prominent roles in the life of his country, state, and city.

Symposium speakers and panelists will not only examine the specific, contemporary impacts of Lowell Bennion, Sterling McMurrin, and O.C. Tanner, but also consider their enduring legacies on the issues facing the Mormon Church today: the inclusion of women more fully in church leadership circles, the need to face painful facets of church history more honestly, the challenge of retaining the engagement or affiliation of socially and culturally liberal members and young adults, the quest to understand the effects of new technologies on Mormon practices and beliefs, and other concerns of our time. A concluding panel will focus upon the personal, intellectual, and working relationships that existed among these men. 

The Tanner Center is partnering with the College of Humanities, Smith-Pettit Foundation, and Michael Morris to bring you this event.