‘Mormon Land’ podcast: What was lost when the LDS Church started emphasizing covenants over community

‘There’s so much loneliness,’ blogger Candice Wendt observes, adding that backing for parents has taken a hit under the ‘home-centered, church-supported’ model.

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune) In this week's episode of "Mormon Land," blogger Candice Wendt describes the losses that come with a shift in Latter-day Saint worship away from the meetinghouse and toward the temple.

Since shortening its Sunday services and refocusing its curriculum more than five years ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has trumpeted a home-centered, church-supported approach with an emphasis on covenant-making and covenant-keeping.

This shift has some members worried about a loss of community.

Gone are roadshows, pageants, sports leagues, cultural celebrations and more. While there has been an explosion of temple building, there has been a slowdown in chapel building. The church meetinghouse of today has become just that — a house for staid and stiff meetings, mainly on Sunday — and not the buzzing and bustling community centers of yesteryear.

Would a return to some of that past help not only the church’s present but also its future?

Candice Wendt, a staff member of McGill University’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and a contributing editor at Wayfare magazine, wrote about the church’s evolution from community to covenants in a recent blog post for Exponent II.

She joined us for this week’s episode of “Mormon Land” to talk about what she sees as lost in the church’s efforts to emphasize individual covenants over community building.

“I find when community connection and belonging get weak,” she said, “motivation to be engaged in the faith tradition falters, and religious life actually becomes a lot less relevant to people.”

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