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Faith Matters

Author: Faith Matters Foundation

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Faith Matters offers an expansive view of the Restored Gospel, thoughtful exploration of big and sometimes thorny questions, and a platform that encourages deeper engagement with our faith and our world.We focus on the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) tradition, but believe we have much to learn from other traditions and fully embrace those of other beliefs.
59 Episodes
Ben McAdams has had an unusual life in public service. Running as a moderate Democrat in a very conservative Republican state, he managed to be elected as a State Senator, then as Salt Lake County Mayor, and then as a Utah Congressman. Concern for the disadvantaged among us has been a driving force in his public life. Tasked as Mayor with helping to solve problems with Salt Lake City’s homeless population, he decided to spend a few days and nights living incognito with on them on the streets of the city. He needed to understand the issues first hand.In 2020’s politically polarized elections, McAdams was narrowly defeated. In this conversation with Terryl Givens, McAdams reflects on the disturbing power of tribal political loyalties. Does political identity now hold greater sway in our lives than our identity as disciples of Christ? Givens explores McAdams’ personal life as well as his public life, and they touch on what may be next for this unique public figure.
***"Restoration" is available in every format, including Audiobook, from Amazon, Apple Books, and Deseret Book:***In this episode, we got to speak with Patrick Mason about his new book, Restoration, which was published by Faith Matters Publishing. When we started the Faith Matters Publishing project, one of our goals was to explore what Restoration really means as the church moves into its third century, and that’s exactly what Patrick does in his book.In the interview, we got to ask him about the origins of the book, its most important ideas, and what he hopes for the Church in the coming decades. One of our favorite insights from Patrick in this episode has to do with the meaning of the word restoration itself — he explains that the phrase “restored Church” doesn’t even appear in any recorded sermons until well into the 20th century, and that its original meaning might be really be seen as a call to reach out to the most marginalized and vulnerable in society. That insight alone has changed the way I see our Church membership, but we’ll let Patrick connect the dots as you listen.Obviously, we can’t recommend the book strongly enough, and we hope that you’ll pick it up and even share it with others. It’s available at Deseret Book, Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books. The book itself has so much more than we were able to cover in this one conversation — it’s a brief but powerful read packed with stories and insights that we really think you’ll love.A huge thanks to Patrick for coming on to speak with us, and for all the effort he put into writing what we think is an incredibly important book.
One of John Curtis’s first votes after winning reelection as a U.S. Congressman in 2020 was one of the toughest decisions of his life—whether or not to impeach Donald Trump for instigating a mob attack on the US Senate during its vote to ratify Joe Biden’s election as the next U.S. President.In this conversation with his longtime friend, Terryl Givens, Curtis talks about that vote, the current political climate in America and how we might heal the divisions in our country. They also talk about what role Curtis’s deep personal faith plays in his public life, first as Mayor and now as a U.S. Congressman. He explores this and more in this very personal conversation with Terryl Givens.
In this episode, we spoke with Fiona and Terryl Givens about their new book, "All Things New: Rethinking Sin, Salvation, and Everything in Between."This book has the potential to really change lives. In it, Fiona and Terryl trace the roots of our religious vocabulary and show how many of these words have been unmoored from their original foundation — and how so many traditions that have been carried forward from hundreds, or thousands of years ago are still damaging us today. They then dive into specific ideas for how we might reformulate our language in healthy and inspiring ways.This book is healing and hopeful, even paradigm shifting and we believe you won’t be able to put it down. You can pick up a copy for yourself, or for family and friends at Deseret Book, or on Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books. We’re so grateful for Terryl and Fiona and the amazing work they’ve done here.Our conversation with them was really inspiring for us as well, and we loved hearing more about how the idea for the book originated and what Fiona and Terryl hope people get out of it. We hope you enjoy this conversation!
In this latest installment of Conversations with Terryl Givens, Terryl is joined by McKay Coppins, a highly respected young political commentator and writer, widely known for his back-and-forths with Donald Trump over the past several years. Coppins recently published a truly remarkable piece in The Atlantic titled “The Most American Religion” which is both a retrospective on the place of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American consciousness and a look forward to the third century of the Church and its place in American culture. As part of writing the piece, Coppins was granted a rare face-to-face sit down with Pres. Russell M. Nelson to discuss a wide range of topics.We think you’ll enjoy this conversation between two very insightful Latter-day Saint thinkers.
*** Find out more at ***In this episode, we spoke with Thomas McConkie about something really exciting that he’s been working on over the past year in partnership with Faith Matters.Thomas has created an online course called Transformations of Faith. Many of our listeners are familiar with Thomas’s unique story. He’s a mindfulness teacher and practitioner of over 20 years, a committed and thoughtful Latter-day Saint, and a researcher and teacher in the field of adult development. In Transformations of Faith, Thomas draws on all three of these perspectives to create some truly transformative insights and practices.It’s an extraordinarily rich course with over 10 hours of teaching and guided meditations by Thomas, plus some fascinating conversations between Thomas and Adam Miller in which they dive deeper into the ideas in the course. Faith Matters is a non-profit organization, but we’ve made a substantial investment to produce this course because we believe what Thomas has to share  will be life-changing for many people. For that reason, the course is the first product we’ve made available for purchase through Faith Matters. We’re offering a discounted price of $98 for the first 100 purchasers. We’ve also decided to make financial aid available for those who can’t currently afford it — we don’t want money to be the reason anyone misses out on the course.Subscribers will also be able to access an audio-only version of the course on a private podcast channel.For those of us who have taken the course, it’s been a subject of constant conversation. Many of the ideas and practices Thomas shared have truly been life-changing and opened up new awareness for both of us about ourselves and others around us that we simply couldn’t see before. We expect we’ll be back to it over and over again to process and uncover new layers of meaning. We think it could be particularly helpful if you feel spiritually or emotionally stuck or stagnant, or if you struggle with anxiety.You can head to in order to see more detail about the course, watch a sample video, and enroll. We had a ton of fun talking with Thomas about some of the most interesting and impactful moments in the course for this episode of the podcast. We can’t wait for you to listen and hope you enjoy the conversation.
In this episode, we got to speak with Carol Lynn Pearson about her new book, "Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World."Carol Lynn has been a powerful and well-known voice in the Latter-day Saint community for many years. She’s perhaps most well known for her memoir "Goodbye, I Love You," about her marriage to and care for her husband Gerald, a gay man who died of AIDS in 1984. Her full catalog of works is too impressive to list here, but one other highlight is that she wrote one of our very favorite primary songs: "I’ll Walk with You," which has recently been published as a children’s  book. Carol Lynn’s new book of Poetry, "Finding Mother God," is incredibly moving — Carol Lynn found a way to somehow simultaneously mourn and celebrate the way we interact with Heavenly Mother, both personally and in community. We found ourselves both laughing, crying, and everything in between as we read — and we can’t recommend the book highly enough.Carol Lynn was kind enough to read several of her poems and discuss them with us — we were only able to get through a few of our long list of favorites, but we think you’ll find her words and insights inspiring, and hope you pick up the book to find your own favorites.Thanks so much to Carol Lynn for coming on, and we hope you enjoy this episode.Finding Mother God: Asking Father21:06 Before Prayer29:08 Jesus Remembered36:36 What to Do40:04 Imagine42:17 A Motherless House46:07 First Thought of Me
In this episode, we spoke with Jane Clayson Johnson about a really tough and important topic.Jane is an award-winning journalist widely known for her work at CBS News, ABC News, and on the nationally syndicated NPR program, On Point. At CBS News, Jane was co-anchor of The Early Show, a regular correspondent for 48 Hours, and an investigative reporter for “Eye on America” segments for the CBS Evening News.We spoke with Jane about her 2018 book Silent Souls Weeping, an incredibly important book that addresses depression, specifically within a Latter-day Saint context. In our discussion, Jane shared her own moving story about her struggle with depression, along with insights about how depression relates to missionaries and missionary work, a culture of perfectionism, social media usage, suicidality, and the stigma that still remains around mental health issues.We’re so grateful to Jane for coming on and for her vulnerability and openness. If you or anyone you know struggles with depression, we invite you to listen to Jane’s message of hope, survival and resilience.11:24 Depression and Feeling the Spirit22:01 Finding Traction When Depressed26:51 Having OCD While Serving a Mission36:36 Dealing With Toxic Perfectionism47:22 Returning To Our Wards During A Pandemic 
This episode is part 2 of our mini-series we’re calling “The New Normal.”We spoke in Part 1 with Ashley Mae Hoiland a few weeks back. For this episode, we spoke with Melissa Inouye.Melissa’s been on our podcast before, and is one of our very favorite guests and people. After receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2011, Melissa became a Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She’s now working for the Church History Department, and last year published a new book called “Crossings."In this conversation, Melissa shared with us her reflections on the crazy year we’ve had so far. The discussion we had was wide-ranging, and includes reflections on lockdown, home church, parenting, and even how we can use a lack of stability as a transformative experience.We’re really grateful Melissa came on the podcast and are excited to share her insights. We hope you enjoy the conversation!
In this episode, Terryl Givens and Paul Reeve explore the history of the Church’s priesthood-temple ban that concluded in 1978.Paul is the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies  at the University of Utah. His award-winning book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, is considered by many the best book written to date on the subject.Dr. Reeve has also written a fantastic essay that addresses how to make sense of our history of denying priesthood and temple blessings to our Black brothers and sisters. It’s a fascinating read—and you really shouldn’t miss it. You can view it on our website here: this episode, Paul and Terryl go both wide and deep on the priesthood-temple ban. Among other historical details, they discuss how the church was broadly criticized as being too inclusive in its early years—not white enough. This became a factor in Brigham Young’s 1852 decision to ban Black people  from the priesthood and temple. They also explore some of the explanations that developed in the church to explain the ban during its 126 year duration—and how each of these explanations have since been rejected and disavowed by the church.We think this is an incredibly important and insightful episode. We suspect you’ll enjoy it.
In this episode, we speak with two amazing guests, Kimberly and Matt Teitter. Matt and Kimberly have been married for ten years. Kimberly is a clinical psychologist at the Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment, and Matt is an assistant principal, and Bishop of their ward in Salt Lake City.In this episode, they discuss their experience as an interracial couple in the Church, their experience of privilege in the different roles they have, what it’s been like navigating local leadership right now, and how we can make our spaces safer for minorities of any kindEven with their extremely busy schedule, Kimberly and Matt were kind enough to join us for a late night conversation. We just wanted to preface that they have two adorable kids, and in the podcast, you’ll hear some family sounds in the background as we talk. If you’d like to read a transcript of the conversation, head to the website at and click on the post with this conversation.We’re so grateful that Matt and Kimberly came on the podcast, and hope you enjoy the conversation.
In this episode, we speak with Joanna Brooks, author of a new book exploring the Church's problematic history on the issue of race. Joanna holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA. She’s the Associate Vice President for Faculty Advancement at San Diego State University, and has written or edited ten books on race, religion, gender, social movements, and American culture.As we all continue to grapple with issues of race not just in America but in our own faith, we thought it was important to understand how we got where we are. Joanna helps us explore the history of the Church as it relates to race  — she illustrates where we could and should have done better in addition to telling the stories of heroes who stood up against racism even at great personal cost.We’re really grateful to Joanna for coming on the podcast, and for her willingness to share what she’s learned over many years of research. We hope you enjoy the conversation.Resources:Mormonism and White Supremacy, Joanna Brooks: Color of Money, Mehrsa Baradaran New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander They See Us the World and Me, Ta-Nahisi Coates
In this episode, we speak with two amazing guests, LaShawn Williams and Yahosh Bonner.In addition to the work they do in their communities, LaShawn is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Utah Valley University and Yahosh is the Athletic Director at American Heritage School and host of BYUtv’s Family Rules.LaShawn and Yahosh discussed with us what it’s like to be a Black person in America and in the Church today, how we can healthily engage in introspection to find our own biases and shortcomings, and how we can move from listening and understanding to making a difference in our communities.We’re so grateful that LaShawn and Yahosh came on the podcast, and hope you enjoy the conversation.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused a huge amount of suffering and death. It’s disproportionately afflicted vulnerable and minority populations, and its second-order effects have destroyed livelihoods and wreaked economic havoc on society.All of that remains true, and truly awful. But there has been an unexpected silver lining for many of us in which we’ve discovered new things about ourselves and our lives that only surfaced due to such an intense disruption.In this episode, and a short series of episodes, we’ll be discussing the New Normal — we’re hoping to to find ways to take what we’ve learned and, as society begins to reopen, make sure we’re living intentionally and incorporating the best of what this period of stillness has brought us.This first conversation is with Ashley Mae Hoiland, author of “One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly” and several other books. We’re really grateful that Ashmae came on — she shared some fantastic insights, and we hope you enjoy the conversation.Links referenced:Free prayer writing course and written prayer collection: Ashmae’s other work:’s books on Amazon:
In this episode, we have a conversation with our friend Jeralee Renshaw about what it means to be “on the edge of inside.”In Richard Rohr’s wonderful essay on the topic, he says that one who lives on the edge of inside is “not an outsider throwing rocks, not a comfortable insider who defends the status quo, but one who lives precariously with two perspectives held tightly together.” In referencing Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonnhoeffer, Dorothy Day, and others, Rohr says: “they tend to be, each in their own way, orthodox… conservative, intellectuals, believers, but that very authentic inner experience and membership allows them to utterly critique the systems that they are a part of. [They] critiqued Christianity by the very values that they learned from Christianity.”We’re really grateful Jeralee came on the podcast to discuss this important topic with us, and hope you enjoy the conversation.01:58 What is the edge of inside?14:30 Value(s) in discomfort 17:58 How to find belonging in church24:37 The importance of local leadership29:56 Patience in waiting it out39:22 Drawing circles like Christ
This episode is part of our Big Questions project, and in it, we discuss our Big Question #12 - “In what way is our church the true church?”For this conversation, we asked Patrick Mason to come back on — Patrick is the Leonard Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University. Bill Turnbull, one of the founders of Faith Matters, also joined us for the conversation.We know that this is a really big question for many Latter-day Saints, ourselves included — and if you’d like to explore more of what we’ve published on this subject, you can check out our website here: so much, as always, for listening, and we hope you enjoy the conversation.4:22 Is the concept of a “one true church” still relevant?12:00 The problem with total exclusivity 18:12 In what sense is the Church true?27:18 The Body of Christ today31:29 A Methodist reads the Book of Mormon38:01 The Gift of Saving Ordinances43:58 Why the Church is as True as the Gospel
Deseret Book recently published a remarkable book titled “The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints.” Mindfulness practices like meditation have become central to an emerging spirituality in the broader world. Latter-day Saints are busy people; we're doers. Our lives and our faith seem to keep us constantly in motion. But our souls yearn for stillness. This book explores how to infuse our daily lives and our spiritual and religious practices with a quality of mindfulness.We think this is an incredibly important book. So we invited one of its authors, Ty Mansfield, to explore this topic with us at a gathering in February. He was wonderful, so we decided to share it with you. Ty is a marriage and family therapist at the Marital Intimacy Group and teaches at Brigham Young University. We hope you enjoy this episode.
We know it’s been an eventful, and uncertain, and even scary couple of weeks for everybody. We’ve been grappling with our “new normal,” just like everyone else, and have been feeling the anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation that we know a lot of people are. We asked Thomas McConkie to come on the podcast and share the way he’s thinking about what’s been happening; Thomas always seems to have an ability to find the calm in the middle of a storm, and we think everyone that takes a moment to listen will really benefit from what he shares. As we spoke with him, he really helped us gain some insights that we think are transcendent but also practical.Thomas is continuing his community mindfulness practice at Lower Lights School of Wisdom, which normally meets in person but has moved online — you can see the upcoming event dates at He’ll also be starting the upcoming season of his podcast, Mindfulness+, a bit early in light of our current situation, and is anticipating releasing his first episode on Wednesday, April 1, so make sure to go subscribe if you’re interested in hearing more insights from ThomasLower Lights: What is Alembic?08:16 Getting on the path we would like to be on13:27 Dealing with the anxious mind22:42 A mindfulness exercise led by Thomas39:18 Finding the gold in mindfulness practice
Steven C. Harper is a Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, and author of the new book, First Vision: Memory and Mormon Origins. Steve has also served as the Managing Historian and General Editor of Saints, and as a Volume Editor of The Joseph Smith Papers. President Nelson declared 2020 a bicentennial year to commemorate Joseph Smith's first vision, and invited us to study the first vision in advance of General Conference. There's no one better to talk with about this subject than Steve. Reading his book completely changed our perspective on the First Vision itself, and he explains why it was never a given that the First Vision would become the seminal story of our faith. This was an absolutely fascinating conversation and we hope you enjoy it.06:43 How Memory Impacts the First Vision19:50 The First Vision and the Early Church36:03 The First Vision and Missionary Work 43:52 The First Vision as an Identity Marker55:36 Historical Criticisms of the First Vision01:05:52 Which First Vision Account is True?
In this episode, Terryl sits down with his good friend, Judge Thomas Griffith. Thomas has had a fascinating career in the highest levels of power in Washington, D.C., but politics takes a back seat as Terryl and Tom explore what really matters most. Their conversation covers a lot of interesting ground, and we hope you enjoy it.01:01 - Tom Griffith’s Career and Conversion11:34 - How History is Invaded By God22:43 - How Tom’s Religious Background Informs His Faith26:03 - What Deficiencies May Exist in Our Spiritual Foundations34:15 - Christ as Our Healer44:54 - A Mormon Approach to Politics
Comments (2)

Jen Anderson

LaShawn Williams for president!!🥳 Please let her speak her truth from the pulpit! We need her voice, her truth, her beauty and her testimony!

Jun 16th

BJ Spurlock

looking forward to more content

Nov 25th
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