All posts by faithadmin

Jay Griffith, Facilitator and co-founder

Why I Stay

Join us to hear why Curt Bench, owner and manager of Benchmark Books, is still holding fast to the Mormon faith. Come with questions or comments about your faith journey and his.

Time:

Friday, September 1, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

Curt will discuss some of the most important reasons for why he stays an active and believing member of the LDS church. He will also talk briefly about a genetic disorder he is afflicted with—that of being born with a WHY chromosome.  Due to Curt’s decades long experience in buying and selling rare and scholarly books on Mormonism, he has a wide range of knowledge on an even wider range of Mormon subjects. He has some very personal knowledge and experience with Mark Hoffman, which is quite fascinating. Witty and self-effacing, Curt promises to deliver a delightful evening of thoughtful conversation about the merits of holding fast to Mormonism.

About Curt Bench

Curt is an active, lifelong member of the LDS Church and has no plans to change his status. He does this by choice as an adult with eyes wide open and without looking through rose-colored glasses. He has been heavily influenced by his profession—that of selling and dealing in Mormon books. And, he confesses, has used his own product often, which has affected his behavior and daily life. At our discussion, Curt has promised (well, will try very hard, anyway) not to attempt to sell any of that product to us, but still hopes some or most of us are fellow users. He’s thinking of starting BA (Biblioholics Anonymous). “My name is Curt, and I’m a biblioholic…”

Stuff to explore:

Hold onto your hats folks. Here’s what Curt sent me:

“A small sampling of my favorites in that line of products in the past few years (mostly—the first one is from 1986, when I was twelve) (WARNING: these products are known to contain addictive ingredients that may lead to unexpected expansions of thought and, in extreme cases, even faith. Use at your own risk!):”

A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief (edited by Philip L. Barlow)

Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling (Richard L. Bushman, Jed Woodworth)

This is My Doctrine (Charles R. Harrell)

Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History (Gregory A. Prince) (taken before or after Prince’s earlier David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism)

Planted: Belief and Faith in an Age of Doubt (Patrick Q. Mason)

The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith (Terryl and Fiona Givens) (same directions as above, but with The God Who Weeps)

Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact (Neylan McBaine)

I encourage everyone to find and listen to the “Why I Stay” and “Pillars of my Faith” sessions in general from past Sunstone symposia –https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/sunstone-audio-by-year/

Something you can listen to or watch that are by, about, or with me during periods of inactivity or boredom without any guarantee that your condition will improve with so doing: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/panel-pillars-of-my-faith/

http://www.mormonmatters.org/2015/10/27/matters-of-perspective-4-what-the-church-means-to-people-like-me/

http://www.mormonstories.org/203-204-the-mormon-forgery-bombings-the-complex-legacy-of-mark-hofmann-25-years-later/

https://gospeltangents.com/2017/05/

Compassionate Conversations

The bright and indefatigable Lindsay Hansen Park will join us Faith Again—again. Which is quite remarkable and appreciated since, as Acting Director of Sunstone, Lindsay just spent months of intense preparation for last weeks symposium.

Time:

Friday, August 4, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

Lindsay will share how she has developed the trust and respect of diverse individuals and groups by having thoughtful and compassionate conversations with them. From some of the most infamous fundamental polygamists to Community of Christ leadership, to exMormon scholars, to orthodox Mormon scholars, Lindsay has sincerely and tirelessly worked to understand people where they stand. She does this by building bridges and then walking across those bridges to meet people where they are.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Hansen Park is the Acting Director for the Salt Lake City non-profit Sunstone and blogs for feministmormonhousewives.org about women’s issues inside and outside of the LDS Church. She is the main voice behind Feminist Mormon Housewives Podcast, which has been recommended by New York Times Religion Reporter Laurie Goodstein. Her work and voice have been referenced in The Wall Street Journal, Prevail, The Salt Lake Tribune’s Trib Talk, City Weekly, and Quartz Magazine. As the Assistant Director of Sunstone, Park has been credited with expanding the Sunstone audience to be more diverse. The 2015 Sunstone Symposium was described as having “many contributors from the millennial generation, racially diverse communities, and non-Americans,” along with “the sea of white, gray-haired presenters and participants” that have frequented Sunstone’s events throughout its history.

In 2014, Park started the Year of Polygamy podcast, where she details the history of Mormon polygamy from the viewpoint of women. The podcast was referenced in a New York Times article on Leslie Olpin Petersen’s Forgotten Wives series of paintings.

Stuff to explore:

Mormon Matters: Improving Our Conversations about Important and Emotional Topics

The Let’s Go Eat Show

More Letters to a Young Mormon

Miller has a unique and fresh way of looking at traditional concepts in the Mormon Faith. They speak both to the heart and the mind, using the current culture and language as currency to communicate gospel ideas and ideals to his teenage daughter. Scholars, adults, and teens all find his approach accessible and powerful.

Time:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

Adam Miller’s second edition of Letters to a Young Mormon will be published by Deseret Book—a sizeable upgrade, greater legitimacy, and of course a much larger audience. Adam will share two of three new  letters he has written, seeking feedback and critique. One is on science and one is on the environment. A third essay on women, was mutually decided between he and Deseret Book, not to be included.

About Adam Miller

Adam S. Miller is Honors Institute Director and a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He is the author of seven books, including Speculative Grace, The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace, Letters to a Young Mormon, and Grace Is Not God’s Backup Plan. He is the director of the Mormon Theology Seminar and co-edits, with Joseph Spencer, a series of books for the Maxwell Institute called “Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture.” He and his wife, Gwen, have three children.

Stuff to explore:

Read Letters to a Young Mormon (Better yet, buy it from an independent bookseller.)

 

 

Science, The Key to Theology

“I want a theology that allows both prayer and pterodactyls. A faith that is dynamic and readjusts to the ever-changing findings of science. A science that does not look askance when I experience something deeper and bigger than the biological processes that keep my material body ticking and tocking.”

Time:

Friday, June 2, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

A couple of times a year I receive a letter from a worried parent whose child has decided to leave the church—purportedly over science. The parent is dumbfounded, because typically the parent loved science and perhaps even raised their child sitting in front of colorful and informative documentaries. And yet in many of these cases there has been a tendency for parents to downplay science even while praising its discoveries. They hold science in suspicion and communicated that to their children. This is especially true of my field, evolutionary ecology. I don’t think this suspicion of science is healthy and we should not find science threatening to Mormonism. I’ll argue that even Mormon theology can be informed by science in productive ways—in particular by evolutionary biology. I can’t think of another religion that should hold evolution in higher regard. Join me for a discussion on the joys of science.

Who is Steve Peck?

Steve Peck is Associate Professor in the Biology Department where he teaches the History and Philosophy of Biology and Bioethics. He did his undergraduate in Computer Science and Statistics at BYU, a Masters in Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Doctorate in biomathematics and entomology at North Carolina State University. He is a mathematical modeler who specializes in the simulation of ecological and evolutionary systems. He has been academically involved publishing in philosophy of science, especially in exploring how computers are used as representational devices to generate scientific knowledge; his work in this area has appeared in a number of philosophical journals. He has also published widely on the relationship between religion and science. His publishing history includes lots of academic work—over 50 scientific articles, including publications in American Naturalist, American Entomologist, Biological Theory, Biology & Philosophy, Newsweek, Evolution, PNAS, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Agriculture and Human Values, and other scientific and philosophical journals. He blogs at ByCommonConsent. com.

What’s especially unexpected is Steve Peck is an accomplished fiction writer and poet. Creative works include three novels. His magical realism novel, The Scholar of Moab (Torrey House Press), won the Association of Mormon Letters highest honor, the Best Novel of 2011 (given to a book by or about Mormons. His novella A Short Stay in Hell (Strange Violin Editions) has received 1,206 Ratings and 318 Reviews with an average of 4.16 out of 5 stars. Wandering Realities, a book of speculative short fiction was just published by iconoclastic Press and was nominated for the AML best story collection published in 2015, and it contains a number of short stories, four award winners (including the AML Best Short Story of 2014, ‘Two-dog Dose.’ A collection of speculative stories based on A Short Stay in Hell, called Windows into Hell was just released by Curiosity Quills Press. In September London-based iconoclastic Books will publish his fourth novel Gilda iconoclastic: Shepherdess of Rats.

A collection of speculative poetry called Incorrect Astronomy was recently published by Aldrich Press, and includes his Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2011 Rhysling Award nominated poem, The Five Known Sutras of Mechanical Man. A long, magical realism poem is scheduled for publication in the literary journal Prairie Schooner. Other publications in Analog, Abyss & Apex, Bellowing Ark, Daily Science Fiction, Dialogue, Nature Futures, Pedestal Magazine, Red Rock Review, and many others.

Maybe of most interest to this group are two of his most recent books that dive into Mormon theology with enthusiastic iconoclastic musings that are not to be missed.  Evolving Faith is is a collection of technical, personal, whimsical essays about Mormon theology, evolution, human consciousness, the environment, sacred spaces, and more. Science The Key to Theology asks if science has anything to contribute to Mormon theology. Peck argues that it does, and offers this book as an attempt to start a conversation on that notion. But fair warning: The theology ahead will be chaotic, emergent, ecological, and evolutionary. There will be few answers and much with which to argue. If you find yourself arguing with the book as you read it, the book’s purpose will have been fulfilled. Peck hopes the questions you are left with will leave you curious, excited, or angry enough to keep the conversation going.

Stuff to explore:

Radio West interview with Doug Fabrizio

Summerhays Lecture

Mormon Matters on Evolution

 

Walking One Another Home: Why I Continue to Stay

The landscape of Mormonism has changed dramatically since the first volume of Why I Stay was published. The horizon now looks and feels both urgent and complex, causing many who never before wondered—why they, or should they—stay in the church.

Time:

Friday, May 5, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

In spite of denials to the contrary, Mormonism is currently in the throes of a faith crisis. It is safe to say that many more Latter-day Saints than at any other time in the modern Church have left, are in the process of leaving or are contemplating leaving—or at least struggling with that question. While there has been no comprehensive scientific study of the Mormon faith crisis to date, informal studies, reports and signs suggest that it is both real and growing. Jana Riess’s new study, The Next Mormons gives important insights into where Mormonism is at present in terms of faith crisis issues.

This presentation is based on Bob’s forthcoming second volume of Why I Stay: The Challenges of Discipleship for Contemporary Mormons. It includes material from some of the essays in that volume, including Bob’s personal essay, “Walking One Another Home.”

What about Bob?

Bob has taught at the University of Wisconsin, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, where he was also a Fulbright Professor of American Studies (1995-96). Currently he teaches Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and at the University of California, Berkeley. He was recently appointed Director of Mormon Studies at GTU. Bob blogs on LGBT issues at www.nomorestrangers: LGBTMormonForum.

Bob is well known in the LDS community for his explorations of other LDS-related issues, from the Book of Mormon to a broad array of subjects relating to Mormon culture and religion. The former editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Bob continues to make significant contributions to Mormon scholarship in such journals and presses as Dialogue, Sunstone , The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Brigham Young University Press, Signature Books, and other venues.

Bob Rees is currently completing the second volume of Why I Stay: The Challenges of Discipleship for Contemporary Mormons, a collection of poetry, a musical on the American Dream, and various articles and essays on Mormon religion and culture.

Bob is the author or co-author of a number of publications relating to LGBT issues, including: Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children, (co-authored with Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University);  “A Failure of Love,” in Michelle Beaver, The Gay-Mormon Decade: Changing a Church from Within (2013); “Forward” to Carol Lynn Pearson’s No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones (2007); A Guide for Latter-day Saint Families Dealing with Homosexual Attraction (2002); The Persistence of Same-Sex Attraction in Latter-day Saints Who Undergo Counseling or Change Therapy (2004); “Requiem for a Gay Mormon” (2007); “’In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See’: Personal Reflections on Homosexuality among the Mormons at the Beginning of a New Millennium,” (Dialogue 33:3 [Fall 2000]) (winner of the Lowell Bennion Award); No More Strangers and Foreigners: A Mormon Christian Response to Homosexuality (1998), trans. Into Spanish by Hugo Olaiz, “El Amor y la Imaginación Cristiana.”

For the past twenty years Bob has been active in humanitarian and interfaith work. Currently he serves on the Advisory Board of S.A.F.E. (Save African Families Enterprise), a non-profit organization providing antiviral drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women in Zimbabwe. He is a founding member and Vice-President of the Liahona Children’s Foundation, an organization that provides nutrition and education to children in the developing world.

Worthwhile writings by Bob:

Bob’s essays and poetry are mindful and soulful. You will be grateful and enlightened by them.

Forgiving The Church
Repairing the Church
The Goodness of the Church
Heisenberg
Somewhere Near Palmyra
Some additional essays
A podcast interview

 

Here is a recording of the evening. Not great quality but you’ll get the gist of it. 

The Sin of Certainty

Peter Enns, theologian, biblical scholar, and writer, wrote a remarkable book in 2016 called “The Sin of Certainty.” Jeff Christensen, currently a Bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and his brother Doug, currently an LDS seminary instructor, will lead us in a discussion about this book and how being certain about certain things can lead us away from following Christ’s teachings.

Time:

Friday, April 7, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

When did being “right” with God come to mean believing the right things about God—believing the right doctrines, reading the Bible the right way, holding the right views? For many Christians, this idea is at the very center of their religious lives. And that’s the problem. Because this focus on being correct can actually distract us from faith and from God. What happens when the security of “knowing what you believe” gets disrupted—as it does sooner or later? What if once settled questions—like “What is God really like?”—suddenly become unsettled.

These are some of the questions that teacher and scholar Peter Enns addresses in The Sin of Certainty. And these are the questions that Jeff Christensen and his brother Doug will help us explore.

About Jeff: 

Jeff Christensen lives in East Millcreek, UT with his wife Chris. They have five children. Their first grandchild will arrive in August. Jeff is the CEO of a 9 year old start-up called EntryPoint Networks, a tech company developing solutions to fix our country’s broken internet service provider system. Jeff has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah and a M.S. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from Purdue University.

About Doug:

Doug Christensen is a Salt Lake native, educated at the U of U with a English BA, Creative non-fiction MFA, and a Rhetoric and Writing Studies PhD. He has logged 25 years teaching for the LDS Church Seminaries and Institutes of Religion,  as well 17 years as an Associate Instructor in writing at the University of Utah and Westminster College, among other places. Doug’s avocation is building hand made furniture. He also enjoys running, biking, hiking, backpacking, wandering, gardening, and travel.

Resources to explore:

Review of the Sin of Certainty by Jeff’s brother Doug Christensen for The Association of Mormon Letters

Some favorite quotes of Jeff’s from The Sin of Certainty

The Neal L Maxwell Institute interview with Peter Enns

Peter Enns on reading the Bible critically and religiously [MIPodcast]

Pete Enns: The Bible for Normal People podcasts

Raising Children Un-Fundamentalist with Peter Enns

Amazon: Peter Enns, The Sin of Certainty

 

An evening of exploration with Gregory Prince

Greg Prince has a resume wide and deep. From the development of Mormon priesthood to exploring David O. McKay’s tenure as prophet and how the top tier of priesthood operates, to Leonard Arrington and the writing of Mormon history, to the challenges of Mormons and the LGBT community, Greg has researched many of the critical areas of our faith. On this evening your questions for Greg will drive the discussion.

Time:

SATURDAY, March 4, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

A rare and valuable opportunity to ask questions of one of the most well researched, thoughtful, and faithful scholars of the LDS Church. His professional background as a scientist and researcher makes him an exceptionally thorough analyst of difficult topics.

Please submit your questions ASAP via our email address at: ThinkAgain.FaithAgain@gmail.com

Heather Nan Photography -analyst 50th Anniversary

About Greg: 

Gregory A. Prince was born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended what is now Dixie State University (St. George, UT) from 1965-67, served a mission to Brazil from 1967-69, and then attended UCLA for six years, earning doctorate degrees in dentistry and pathology. He moved to Maryland in 1975 to work at the National Institutes of Health, and over a four-decade career in biomedical research pioneered the prevention of RSV pneumonia in high-risk infants. He has published over 150 scientific papers, three books on Mormon history—Power From on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood (1995), David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (2005), and Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History (2016)—and over two-dozen articles, chapters and reviews in the field of Mormon Studies. His current project is a book with the working title, Mormons and Gays: A Turbulent Half-Century. He is the Interfaith Liaison in the Washington, DC Stake. He and his wife, JaLynn Rasmussen Prince, are the parents of three children, the youngest of whom (Madison) is autistic. JaLynn and Greg now spend their time heading the Madison House Autism Foundation (madisonhouseautism.org), through which they hope to address the national issues facing autistic adults and their families.

Resources to explore:

Interview Greg Prince

Greg Prince on New Mormonism

Gregory Prince—Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History

Where is Jesus in America and Can Zion Help Us Find Him?

Both liberals and conservatives claim Jesus and Christian values. How can this be?  And how can the Mormon idea of Zion reclaim the essence of Christ and his message?

Time:

Friday, February 3, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

What new wisdom about Jesus does this embattled space between white American liberals and conservative arouse in all of us? The fact is that even as we press Jesus into our political narratives He evades partisan appropriation on either side of the divide. The only government that Jesus served was the Kingdom of God and that Kingdom is utterly characterised by its motivation to rid the world of injustice, inequality and violence. We Mormons have called this Kingdom, ‘Zion’ – an idea that has become sadly more nostalgic than it motivates our faith. Yet, though we have failed the idea of Zion, around the world we still sing and ache for Zion.

What would Mormonism look like if we marked our religion with the imprint of the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed? What if we lived into a spiritual narrative that looked for the God in the wounds of the very least and we used that wisdom to build a Zion Kingdom that could fill the Earth? And what new posture of faith would we need to live out Jesus’ Kingdom of God teachings?

In this discussion we’ll reclaim Zion and mine our collective wisdom to find a path that gives us a reason for radical trust in God’s generosity to transform the world.

 Gina ColvinAbout Gina Colvin: 

Gina Colvin PhD, a Research Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch New Zealand, and a student of theology at Laidlaw College is the host of A Thoughtful Faith Podcast and blogs at KiwiMormon. A discourse and cultural analyst by training Gina writes about the intersection of faith, religion and culture. Her forthcoming book with Joanna Brooks ‘Towards a Post-Colonial Mormonism: Consciousness, Resistance and Creativity” highlights the need for all Mormons to look beyond the discourses of White American colonial patriarchy that now characterise its fiercest and most divisive cultural expressions.

Resources to explore:

Youtube: The Heart of Christianity: Dr. Marcus Borg and Dr. Gary Ferngren

Doubt, Resolutions, and the Big Three Ideals

Jon Ogden, author of When Mormons Doubt, will speak about how the ancient framework of truth, beauty, and goodness can help us navigate religious doubts and set resolutions for a new year.

Time:

Friday, January 6, 2017, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

The Discussion: 

Come, hopefully having explored one of the resources that Jon has recommended, so that we can fruitfully discuss what’s in our hearts and minds in this safe space.  

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-2-59-39-pm

About Jon Ogden: 

Jon has a BA and an MA from Brigham Young University, where he studied methods of civil discourse. He is the author of When Mormons Doubt

Jon wrote When Mormons Doubt primarily because he knew his relationship with Mormonism was evolving, and wanted to find something firm to hold onto in the process and beyond. He was especially concerned about giving his kids something to hold onto. As Jon researched the ancient framework of truth, beauty, and goodness, he realized it worked well as a way to carve out common ground between Mormons and former Mormons alike.

“The one thing I kept thinking about as I wrote was that I wanted to write the book I wish I’d had 5 years ago when I faced a faith crisis.”

Resources to explore:

Mormon Matters podcast (feat. Jeralee Renshaw and Kim Puzey)
SLTribune Op-Ed: Belief in ‘Sad Heaven’ Hurts Relationships in Era of Mormon Doubt
Utah is divided by belief, but this ancient framework can help us close the gap

Light and Love from Above

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In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
-John 1: 4-5

A Christmas Carol Gathering
Friday, December 2, 6:30 pm

At the Mostert-Ott Home
928 S Windsor St,  (850 E) SLC, UT 84105

Operatic Tenor and Cellist, Brian Stucki will grace us with Christmas Carols as well as leading us in song. Thanks to Zendina Mostert and James Ott for sharing Brian and their home with our Faith Again group. And Thanks to Brian for sharing his talents with us.  

Please bring a vegetarian savory or sweet hors d’oeuvres to share. 

RSVP at thinkagain.faithagain@gmail.com

While we are greatly blessed, many others are struggling. There are many worthy causes to give to and you likely have your favorites. Below are some of the remarkable organizations that we have had represented at our Faith Again and Think Again groups the past several years. 

Liahona Children’s Foundation

Interweave Solutions

Fahodie for Friends

New Light

LDS Earth Stewardship

Fern Foundation

FarBetween

 

We look forward to enjoying your love, light, and thoughts one last time this year. Blessings to you and yours.