In the 1830s, Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, offered Latter-day Saints an expansive view of education. In his mind, temple (a religious space) and school (a secular place) were linked in a joint spiritual and intellectual venture. Smith urged followers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint to gather “every needful thing” to further that kind of learning.
Now, writer/editor Melissa Inouye and the late Kate Holbrook, who directed women’s history for the church, have gathered two dozen essays by Latter-day Saint women wrestling with what it means to “flourish in a world of complexity and abundance.”
The book is titled “Every Needful Thing: Essays on the Life of the Mind and the Heart.” On this week’s show, two of the authors, Farina King of the University of Oklahoma, and Tanya Wendt Samu of New Zealand’s University of Auckland, discuss their views of the Book of Mormon, seen by some as an exploration of racism, and their identities as Indigenous scholars and Latter-day Saints as they navigate a life of learning and a life of faith.