Mormon Land explores the contours and complexities of LDS news. It's hosted by award-winning religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and Salt Lake Tribune managing editor David Noyce.
President Russell M. Nelson and his colleagues did it again. They pulled off a momentous General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.They shortened Sunday worship services. They announced a dozen new temples. They gave sermons that made news. They even have members and outsiders talking about how they are supposed to be referring to members and their faith.For this week’s podcast, Patrick Mason, head of Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University, and Emily Jensen, a Latter-day Saint writer, editor and blogger, discuss what did — and did not — happen at the two-day gathering and what its impact will be.
October 11, 2018
In some respects, the Church Office Building in downtown Salt Lake City is a 28-story monument to a program called “correlation.”In the 1960s, authorities in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints introduced in earnest a more consistent approach to the faith that came to be known as correlation. The sweeping effort attempted to make every congregation, class and calling the same across all regions, climates and cultures.These days, critics see correlation as a hinderance. It made the church more patriarchal, they argue, and more bureaucratic. Supporters counter that the undertaking helped the church achieve and accommodate phenomenal growth. It did more to unite the members than divide them, they say, and the fruits of it will be evident at this weekend’s General Conference.Few historians know as much about correlation as Matthew Bowman, an associate professor of history at Henderson State University and author of the critically acclaimed “The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith.” Bowman, who is researching a new book about correlation, discusses his findings on this week’s “Mormon Land.”
October 03, 2018
Mormon Land is alive with the sound of rumors.Probably the only thing on the Latter-day Saint calendar as reliable as General Conference is the buzz, the chatter, the leaks in the weeks before about what will happen at the upcoming sessions.On this week’s podcast, we’re going to unashamedly indulge the love for such gossip and talk about what members are talking about. Latter-day Saints may not know what’s going to occur at the Oct. 6-7 conference, but that never stopped an entertaining debate about the possibilities.Is the three-hour block toast? Will temple changes be announced? What about the missionary program, medical marijuana, women’s issues, the church’s name and more?Here to help us with this conversation is Mormon writer, editor and blogger Emily Jensen.
September 26, 2018
In March, Religion News Service senior columnist Jana Riess joined us to talk about Latter-day Saint millennials, part of her groundbreaking multigenerational survey of Mormons and former Mormons.Now, with her new book — “The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church” — due out in less than six months, she’s back with us to discuss more specifically what her research revealed about women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
September 17, 2018
Sam Young is a Mormon on a mission.He wants bishops’ one-on-one interviews with Latter-day Saint youths to end. He wants the sometimes sexually explicit “worthiness” questions they are asked in these private sessions to cease. To propel his cause, he formed a group, Protect LDS Children, launched an online petition and led a march to church headquarters to deliver tens of thousands of supportive signatures. He even staged a three-week hunger strike to draw attention to the issue.This past Sunday, however, this former bishop appeared at a “disciplinary council” before his local lay leaders, who argue his actions have crossed a line by opposing not only church policy but also church policymakers.As he faces the prospect of excommunication, the question now is: Will Sam Young remain a Mormon on a mission?In this week’s podcast, Young discusses what took place at his hearing, how the accusations against him, to his mind, misinterpret his actions, why he undertook this fight, and why he will continue to work for change, preferably with the church’s help, whether he is in the faith — which is his hope — or out of it.
September 12, 2018
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made history this week — with its own history.For the first time since 1930, it released an authorized, in-depth book that explores the faith’s past. “Saints: The Standard of Truth" is part of a four-volume set that will explore Mormonism from its humble birth to its current global presence.On this week’s “Mormon Land” podcast, Benjamin Park, who is a Latter-day Saint and a history professor at Sam Houston State University, discusses this first installment, its strengths, its weaknesses and its potential to shape members' views about their own religious heritage.
September 06, 2018
Soon after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its opposition to a Utah ballot initiative on medical marijuana, emails began appearing in the inboxes of Mormons across the state. In them, the church stated that while it “does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana,” it is dead set against this particular ballot measure.Will the church succeed in defeating what, to this point, has been a popular proposal? Will the email blast prove effective or could it backfire? If the initiative passes, is it evidence of the church’s waning influence in Utah? If it fails, would it reinforce the notion that the state is essentially a theocracy, governed not by elected leaders but by a sustained religious hierarchy?Morgan Lyon Cotti, associate director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, discusses those issues and more on this week’s “Mormon Land” podcast.
August 30, 2018
Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a one-paragraph statement last week directing members, the media and others to use the full, formal name of the Utah-based faith and urging them to do away with the shorter but more widely known terms “Mormon” and “LDS.”His statement totaled only 71 words, but it prompted tens of thousands more to be published on the topic because the implications could be wide-ranging and long-lasting.In this week’s podcast, Latter-day Saint scholar Richard Bushman looks back at the historical uses of the term “Mormon” and the evolution of the church’s name along with the opportunity members now have to engage in a deeper conversation about their religion. And Stuart Reid, a former Utah lawmaker who used to work in the church’s public affairs department, discusses the reasons for this and past naming campaigns but with a particular focus on the future. In short, he says, Nelson is preparing the church and its followers for Christ’s eventual return.
August 22, 2018
Emma Smith stands alone as the most famous woman in Mormon history. The wife of church founder Joseph Smith is mentioned in histories, journals, even LDS scripture.Less known is her enduring and endearing friendship with the early church’s most noted black woman, Jane Manning James.A forthcoming film, titled “Jane and Emma,” documents and dramatizes that friendship.The movie’s director, Chantelle Squires, and its screenwriter, Melissa Leilani Larson, discuss the film, its title characters and their hopes for what it might do for race relations within — and without — the LDS Church.
August 16, 2018
You probably read about a woman who secretly recorded an interview with her former Missionary Training Center president about alleged sexual misconduct he committed. Or maybe your heard that Mormon general authorities are paid more than $120,000 a year in salary. Perhaps you wonder about the LDS Church’s vast wealth. You swear you’ve seen that it has at least $32 billion in stock holdings.Well, if you know those newsy nuggets, it’s probably because of a website called MormonLeaks, which posts documents, recordings and videos secretly provided by church leaders, employees, sources, whistleblowers or other moles from within the Utah-based faith.So how did MormonLeaks get its start? What is its goal? Which leaks have been the biggest? And how does it navigate often-tricky ethical waters?We put those questions and more to the forces behind the website, Executive Director Ryan McKnight and technical director Ethan Dodge.
August 07, 2018
The northern Utah mother at the heart of a spat about public breastfeeding has reached a “compromise” with her LDS bishop: She’ll now wear two tops to help hide her breast from above and below while nursing her 19-month-old daughter at her Mormon meetinghouse.But the dispute isn’t dead. The woman is “not quite ready,” she said in her first audio interview on the matter, to meet with the LDS leader who denied her a “temple recommend” unless she covered up.“I would like to see [LDS authorities] put out a policy worldwide, throughout the whole church, to protect mothers, to make it so that women can breastfeed their babies however is comfortable for mom and baby — whether that’s covered or not covered,” the woman said Wednesday on The Salt Lake Tribune’s “Mormon Land” podcast.The woman, who agreed to go by the initials S.D. because she hopes to resolve the impasse with her clergy, also addressed misinformation that has sprung up in the viral venting since her story surfaced.“[One misperception] is that … as soon as [my daughter] is done nursing, I leave my breast hanging out for the world to see, which is, again, completely inaccurate,” she said. “As soon as my daughter unlatches, I put it away immediately because I don’t want people seeing my breast. The only person I want seeing my breast is my husband.”Carrie Stoddard Salisbury, the Exponent II blogger who exposed the controversy, said on “Mormon Land” that hundreds of women have agreed to write letters to the faith’s top female leaders calling for a consistent, female-friendly policy on breastfeeding.
August 01, 2018
This week, Utahns are celebrating the 1847 arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.By all accounts, the Mormon migration from Illinois to the Great Basin was a monumental journey, one that helped shape the LDS Church and the American West.But, as with many historic events, the truth about the trek can get twisted and turned through the years. Did Brigham Young, for instance, really say “this is the right place”? Did sea gulls save crops from marauding bands of crickets? Did no handcart pioneer ever leave the faith?In this special Pioneer Day edition of “Mormon Land,” LDS historian Ardis Parshall helps separate the fact from the fiction.
July 23, 2018
The LDS Foundation recently made a historic contribution of $25,000 to Affirmation. That sum may not be a big amount, but symbolically it is huge.It marks the first significant collaboration between the Mormon church and the independent LGBTQ support group.President Carson Tueller and Executive Director John Gustav-Wrathall discuss that donation, the resulting fallout, their group’s diverse membership and whether Affirmation is getting too cozy with the LDS Church in the latest edition of “Mormon Land.”
July 18, 2018
Art expresses and evokes deep human emotions, which makes it intimately connected to spirituality. It makes sense, then, for LDS artists to explore their faith through their creativity. In 2017, such links prompted a group of Latter-day Saints in New York City to launch the Mormon Arts Center Festival, which LDS author Terryl Givens called "a seminal event in Mormonism's coming of age artistically."A year later, the festival has grown larger and even more international, says one of the organizers, Richard L. Bushman, the famed Mormon scholar and emeritus history professor at Columbia. Before the festival gets underway on June 28, Bushman explains why a rigorous look at Mormon arts is crucial to the Utah-based faith.
June 27, 2018
For years, a standard Mormon refrain has been “give us a new hymnbook.” Well, the pleadings from that chorus have been answered.The LDS Church has announced that it is developing a new hymnal for use by Mormons across the globe along with a new songbook for children.So which hymns should stay? Which should go? And which new ones should be added?Writer Kristine Haglund, a former editor of Dialogue and a self-professed “serious amateur” singer and musician, discusses those questions and the vital role music plays in LDS worship services in the latest edition of “Mormon Land.”
June 20, 2018
Islam and Mormonism share some religious traditions. Both have histories rooted in a prophet. Both tout modesty and family values. And both embrace fasting and shun alcohol.As we approach the end of Ramadan, we explore those Muslim and Mormon ties with Shuaib Din, imam at the Utah Islamic Center, and Kristen Ullrich Hodges, a Latter-day Saint who last year organized an iftar, or break-the-fast meal, for her LDS and Muslim neighbors on the latest edition of “Mormon Land.”
June 12, 2018
On the latest episode of “Mormon Land,” University of Utah professor Paul Reeve offers insight on where the LDS Church's ban on giving black men and boys the priesthood and black women and girls entrance into temples originated.
June 06, 2018
In the latest episode of “Mormon Land,” Cathy Stokes describes her conversion to Mormonism, what it means to be a black Latter-day Saint and what's next for the church after it celebrates its 1978 decision to end a centurylong ban on black men and boys being ordained, and on black women being allowed in Mormon temples.
May 31, 2018
In 2015, the LDS Church issued a short essay matter-of-factly affirming its belief in a Heavenly Mother. Some argue whole books should be written about her. And that’s precisely what Rachel Hunt Steenblik did with her volume “Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother.” She discussed her writings and research on the latest “Mormon Land” podcast.
May 24, 2018
This breakup is sure to have a profound impact not only on the faith — which was Scouting’s largest chartering sponsor, especially in Utah and the Intermountain West — but also on the longtime youth organization itself.How much smaller will Scouting get? Will LDS boys and girls stick with or join the program? How much will it cost? What happens to all those camps? Will Scouting even survive?Mark Griffin, a Scout executive with the Great Salt Lake Council, answers those question and more on this week’s “Mormon Land.”
May 17, 2018
They decide which Mormon missionaries should be teamed up together. They make sure the young proselytizers stay healthy and safe. They shepherd these eager elders and sisters through any faith, physical or emotional crisis. In the end, LDS mission presidents can rank among the most influential church leaders in individual lives.This week on “Mormon Land” — and in the wake of recent revelations about misconduct by a couple of former mission presidents — Jim and Jeanne Jardine, who oversaw the California Sacramento Mission from 2008 to 2011, discuss the roles of LDS mission presidents.
May 09, 2018
In her 2014 book, “Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women's Local Impact,” Neylan McBaine examined the roles of Mormon women in their congregations and suggested paths toward more gender equity within the global faith.Why not, for instance, have teenage girls hold the microphone at testimony meetings? How about letting young women take part in what was then called visiting teaching? Why shouldn’t mothers be allowed to hold their infants during formal baby blessings at church? And why aren’t husband-and-wife teams who oversee LDS missions co-presidents?Well, some changes have occurred since her book’s release. Lots of others, McBaine says, are needed. Hear her thoughts on feminism, Ordain Women, the Mormon #MeToo moment and more in the latest edition of “Mormon Land.”
May 02, 2018
On the latest installment of “Mormon Land,” Clinical social worker and therapist Marybeth Raynes discusses the relationship between apologies and forgiveness — both of which were discussed at the latest General Conference.
April 18, 2018
On this episode of “Mormon Land,” independent demographer Matt Martinich discusses how the LDS Church is faring in the countries Mormon President Russell M. Nelson plans to visit on his international trip.
April 12, 2018
In the latest edition of ‘Mormon Land,’ historian Matthew Bowman reflects of the changes announced at the most recent Mormon General Conference.
April 06, 2018
In the latest episode of “Mormon Land, ” LDS relationship and sexuality counselor Jennifer Finlayson-Fife discusses the repercussions of the latest sexual abuse scandal to hit the Mormon church.
March 28, 2018
LDS professor Andrea Radke-Moss discusses her own experience with raising a young son and daughter to overcome gender stereotypes — especially within the LDS Church.
March 14, 2018
In this edition of “Mormon Land,” author, scholar, researcher and senior columnist for Religion News Service Jana Riess discusses a massive survey she did of current and former Mormons.
March 07, 2018
In this edition of ‘Mormon Land,’ BYU biology professor Steven Peck discusses why all Mormons should believe in evolution.
February 28, 2018
One of the nation's most respected legal scholars, former Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham talks about her Mormon faith, the intersection of law and religion, and her relationship with LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks. The Salt Lake Tribune's Peggy Fletcher Stack and David Noyce host.
February 23, 2018
Mormon bishops and the counsel they give spouses in abusive marriages are in the news.What should — or should not — these lay leaders say and do in these confidential conversations?David Cook, a former LDS bishop, stake president and area Seventy, and Alice Faulkner Burch, president of the all-female Relief Society for the Genesis Group of black Mormons, discuss those questions and more in the latest edition of “Mormon Land.” Listen here.
February 14, 2018
If any gay man and a straight woman could make a marriage work, Josh and Lolly Weed could. But after 15 years, the two are divorcing. In this edition of “Mormon Land,” Josh and Lolly Weed discuss their divorce and how it will affect their family dynamics and their relationship with the LDS Church.
January 31, 2018
Drawing inspiration from Martin Luther's action 500 years ago, Mormon blogger Liz Layton Johnson recently wrote 95 ways to improve her church. Johnson joined Tribune senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce to talk about her wide-ranging, practical ideas.
January 26, 2018
Mormon historian Ardis Parshall sits down with The Tribune's Managing Editor Dave Noyce and Senior Religion Reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack to discuss the woman's role in the Mormon church and the new First Presidency.
January 19, 2018
For 22 years, Don Harwell served as branch president of the Genesis Group, a support group for black Mormons. Don and his wife Jerri Harwell visit with Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce about the group, race in the church and President Monson's special relationship with Genesis.
January 15, 2018
What is the relationship between faith and doubt? Author Adam S. Miller describes his take on reconciling personal belief with LDS Church doctrine in a new edition of his book, "Letters to a Young Mormon." He talks with Salt Lake Tribune senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce.
January 11, 2018
How will LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson be remembered? Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce discuss Monson's 50-year imprint on the faith with Henderson State University history professor Matthew Bowman, author of "The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith."
January 03, 2018
While reporting in Hong Kong, Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack discovered a Mormon congregation that only serves domestic workers. Stack spoke about the group with a woman known as Ling Ling, a former Relief Society president of the Everyday Branch.
December 23, 2017
BYU religion professor Eric Huntsman describes Mormon history, cultural tradition and his personal observance of Christmas with Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce.
December 19, 2017
How much does a Mormon bishop need to know about a person's sexual behavior during a worthiness interview? Former LDS bishop Richard Ostler and therapist Julie de Azevedo Hanks discuss the issue with Salt Lake Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce.
December 12, 2017
President Donald Trump plans to visit with Mormon Church leaders when he comes to Utah on Monday. Morgan Lyon Cotti, deputy director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, and BYU political science professor Kelly Patterson join Salt Lake Tribune senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce to talk about LDS encounters with U.S. presidents and why many Utah Mormons still like Trump.
December 02, 2017
Jim McConkie, co-founder of the Refugee Justice League which provides pro bono legal help to Utah refugees, explains how his Mormon faith influenced this effort to Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce.
November 28, 2017
Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack talks about Mormon life, practices and cultural influences in Indonesia, Vietnam and other southeast Asia sites she recently visited.
November 20, 2017
Authors Fiona and Terryl Givens argue much of contemporary LDS thought has been contaminated by Protestant rhetoric and is inconsistent with the theology articulated by Mormon founder Joseph Smith's original vision. They discuss their new book "The Christ Who Heals" with Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce.
November 14, 2017
Salt Lake Tribune religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack interviews Lewis Hassell, an LDS mission president based in Hanoi, Vietnam.
November 06, 2017
Salt Lake Tribune humor columnist Robert Kirby says he lied in order to serve a Mormon mission years ago. Now he offers his take on the LDS Church's new set of questions for prospective missionaries.
October 30, 2017
Historian D. Michael Quinn discusses money and finances throughout Mormon Church history and theology with Salt Lake Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce and managing editor David Noyce.
October 25, 2017
Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce talk with Laurie Lee Hall about her transition from a former stake president and LDS temple architect to a transgender woman.
October 17, 2017
Mormon Church-owned Brigham Young University recently changed its policy to allow Coke to be sold on campus. Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and managing editor David Noyce talk about the reversal and the Mormon health code called the Word of Wisdom with Philip Barlow, Arrington Chair of Mormon Studies and a Religious Studies professor at Utah State University.
October 09, 2017
Salt Lake Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack talks about her fascinating career, from encounters with Mormon prophets to the Dalai Lama. Recorded before a live audience at the City Library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.
October 06, 2017
Blogger Steve Evans of By Common Consent and Darius Gray, former president of Genesis Group, join Salt Lake Tribune managing editor David Noyce and senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack to discuss October 2017 General Conference.
October 04, 2017
Tom Christofferson describes his life as a gay man, his complicated relationship with the LDS Church and the unwavering love of his parents and brothers in his new book, "That We May Be One: A Gay Mormon's Perspective on Faith and Family."Each week, Mormon Land explores the contours and complexities of LDS News. Award-winning Salt Lake Tribune religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack, managing editor David Noyce and editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce host.
September 24, 2017