Zion: the Progressive Roots of Mormon Correlation

This discussion evaluates the ideas, intentions, and aims behind the correlation movement of the 1960s.  It first explains the history and the functions of correlation, exploring why the General Authorities felt that such a program was needed.  It then explains what precisely ‘correlation’ is and how it works. Finally, it unpacks the theological reasoning and assumptions behind correlation, showing that Correlation was originally understood in millennial terms: that is, the framers of correlation believed that if rightly administered, it would re-make the church into the image of the City of Enoch, the Nephite civilization of 4 Nephi, and hence usher in the Second Coming.



Sunday, July 12, 2015, 7:30-9:30 pm


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

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 


Matt10bwMatthew Bowman is the author of The Mormon People: the making of an American faith (Random House, 2012) and The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism (Oxford, 2014) as well as multiple articles on Mormonism and evangelicalism and Bigfoot. He’s currently working on two projects: an exploration of the meanings of the word ‘Christian’ in American politics in the twentieth century and a religious history of UFOs. He is associate professor of history at Henderson State University. Matt holds a doctorate in religious history from Georgetown.


Read, listen, watch:

Slate: Saturday’s Warriors: How Mormons went from beard-wearing radicals to clean-cut conformists.

Correlation of the Church Administration

Healing from trauma and addiction

Join us for the follow up discussion from June’s Think Again, as we mine the origins of addiction on a physiological and spiritual level, and then explore the impact that community, family, and a spiritual practice has in the role of healing from trauma and addiction.



THURSDAY, June 18, 2015, 7:30-9:30 pm


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

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

IMG_9695About James:

James Ott is Founder, Executive Director, and a therapist at Red Willow Counseling and Recovery, a mental health and addiction clinic in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and a Certified ARISE Interventionist (CAI) and part of the core ARISE clinical team. His outpatient practice helps people with general mental health difficulties, relationship challenges, and life transitions, and specializes in substance abuse and it’s impact on families. As an interventionist, he provides a family centered invitational intervention to promote whole family healing.

Read, listen, watch:

Elder Ballard conference talk on addiction:


Brene Brown Ted Talk on shame and vulnerability:


John Bradshaw on Shame—make sure you listen to parts 2 and 3:


The AA Big Book and 12 and 12:


Bill Wilson on Emotional Sobriety:


Noteworthy Hymn:

Mutual Respect: How to Create Healthy Relationships When Kids Leave the Church

A discussion with the Shields family about how they have dealt with a child publicly struggling and leaving the church. The panel, moderated by Dan Worthspoon, will give both the parents, Heidi and Eric, and the child, Chelsea, a chance to share their story, fears, conflicts, thoughts and inside information in an attempt to create understanding and mutual respect for seemingly opposed views. The panel will talk about things that went well, things that caused pain, and things they hope other families can learn from. As always, questions and comments will be entertained by the group during and afterwards.



Friday, May 8, 2015, 7:30-9:30 pm


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

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

About the panel:

Screenshot_2015-05-03-16-10-13-1Chelsea Shields Strayer is an anthropologist and consultant who has been struggling with a faith transition for the past decade. In the course of that time, she wrote for Exponent II, helped found LDS WAVE: Women Advocating for Voice and Equality, helps run Ordain Women, and is a regular panelist on Mormon Matters, The Mormon Women’s Roundtable, Feminist Mormon Housewives, Mormon Mental Health, Mormon Stories, and Infants on Thrones podcasts.

momdadEric Shields comes from a prominent religious education family in Provo where his father taught in the BYU religion department. He has been in CES Seminaries and Institutes for the past 30 years teaching in Tooele, UT, Gresham, UT, BYU Provo, Lodi, CA, and now Orem, UT.

Heidi Shields has worked as a mother of 8 through all these years and all of these moves and kids lived to tell about it. And lived well.

Dan_Sig Book portraitDan Wotherspoon is a free-lance writer, editor, and podcaster—now in his fifth year hosting the popular MormonMatters podcast. From 2001 to 2008, he served as editor of Sunstone magazine and director of the Sunstone Education Foundation. Dan has a Ph.D. in religion from the Claremont Graduate School, an M.A. in religious studies from Arizona State University, and a B.A. in philosophy with a minor in classical civilizations from Brigham Young University.

Read, listen, watch:

This is the first time Eric, Heidi and Chelsea are sitting down publicly to share their journey but there are some preparatory reading that could come in handy. Listen to this Mother-Daughter discussion with Chelsea, Heidi and other LDS mother/daughter combos on Patheos.com: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theroundtable/2011/05/podcast-5-intro/

Check out this panel discussion about Motherhood on Mormon Matters: http://mormonmatters.org/2011/08/30/49-mormonism%E2%80%99s-messages-about-motherhood/

Read Eric’s Ensign article about his son’s death: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2005/03/all-your-losses?lang=eng

Listen to Chelsea on a podcast about Mormon Mental Health which combines her religious activism and anthropological training: http://www.mormonmentalhealth.org/057-mental-health-benefits-risks-of-religion-part1/

And if you want to hear someone ask tough questions about Ordain Women listen to Chelsea explain her stance on: http://mormonhistoryguy.com/2014/06/10/podcast-9-ordain-women-mormon-history/


The Shields family would love participation from the group in the form of sharing their own stories or struggles and by asking questions. Come prepared with some hard hitting questions you would like to ask either a child leaving the church or parents who stay–maybe the kinds of questions you would get into trouble asking your own kids or parents.

Tikkun k’nessiah: Repairing the Church: Bob Rees

The Jews have a term, “tikkun olam,” which means “repairing the world.” It is both a statement of belief and a commitment to action by individual Jews to heal, repair and transform the world. Appropriating the concept and inspired by the Jewish passion for repairing the world, I have coined the term “Tikkun k’nessiah”—meaning repairing or healing the Church. We will explore the dimensions of what Tikkun k’nessiah may mean to those of us who are members of the Restored Church at this critical juncture in its history.



Thursday, April 2, 2015, 7:30-9:30 pm


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

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.21.11 PMWhat about Bob?

Robert A. Rees received his undergraduate education at Brigham Young University. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was for many years a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was also a bishop of the Los Angeles 1st Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Bob served for a time as a Fulbright Professor of Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.

Bob and his wife Ruth served as education, humanitarian, and service missionaries in the Saint Petersburg, Russia and Baltic States Missions of the LDS Church. In October 1992, Bob and his wife became the first LDS Church missionaries to work in Lithuania since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Bob has taught at a number of universities, including the University of Wisconsin, UCLA (for twenty-five years), UC Santa Cruz, Vytautaus Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania), and California State Universities at Northridge and Los Angeles. Recently he held the position of visiting scholar at the Centers for Arts and Humanities at Claremont Graduate University (1994-95). Currently he teaches religion at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

He established and was the Director of Studies for three UCLA Extension programs in England, with Cambridge University and with the Royal Colleges of Art and Music. Between 1992-1996, Rees was a visiting professor of American Literature at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, where he also served as a Fulbright Professor of American Studies (1995-96).

More recently, Bob co-authored (with Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University) Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children—hailed by many as the best resource for LDS parents and leaders with LGBT children and young people in their families and congregations. In addition to his writings on LGBT people and the Church, 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.

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. Currently he serves on the Board of the Marin Interfaith Council and as the Ward Mission Leader in the San Rafael II Ward.

More about Bob:

Bob Rees: The poetic life of a devout Mormon dissident
Mormon Scholars Testify

Stuff to study:

First Principles: Samuel Brown

Exploring faith, fidelity, and faithfulness in a time of skepticism and doubt.

Samuel Brown was an atheist and then agnostic in his younger years.
He reconnected with God through some transformative experiences. Since then, deeper research, thinking, and his practice as a physician has informed his world and gospel view in rich and profound ways. Relationships have been key to his understanding and appreciation of the
first principles and ordinances of the gospel.

And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13


Friday, March 13, 2015   7:30-9:30 pm


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

If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.
And let’s all try to be gone by 10:30 pm 

About Samuel Brown

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.17.36 AMSamuel Brown graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in Linguistics with a minor in Russian, then received his MD from Harvard Medical School, where he was a National Scholar and Massachusetts Medical Society Scholar. After graduation he completed residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he remained on faculty as an Instructor in General Medicine at Harvard Medical School before moving to the University of Utah, where he completed fellowship training. He is now Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah, based clinically at the Shock Trauma ICU at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Brown studies, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the clinical epidemiology of life-threatening infections, with a special emphasis on patterns in cardiovascular function as indicators of disease severity and responsiveness and patient-relevant outcomes after critical illness. His research incorporates ultrasound images of the heart and complex analysis of heart rate and blood pressure signals in the interest of understanding better how to prevent death from life-threatening infections. Dr. Brown also merges quantitative and qualitative/humanistic approaches to making medicine human through the Center for Humanizing Critical Care, which he founded and directs at Intermountain. Avocationally, he studies cultural history, with a particular emphasis on how religious ideas assist believers in coming to terms with embodiment, sickness, and death. He has published widely in both medicine and history.

Information to review:

First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple
Mormon Matters: 261: Faith and Repentance
Sam Brown discusses First Principles and Ordinances at Benchmark Books
FAIR interview

Hindsight and How-tos for Raising a Family in a Household of Faith

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


A discussion with the McConkie parents AND their children about parenting methods (both successful and not-so-sucessful) the senior McConkies used in their household as their children grew into adults and parents themselves. The McConkies will likely tackle how, by design or even default, they dealt with friends, doctrinal and and ethical questions, accurate and inaccurate information about the Church in the media, disagreement with Church stands, as well as testimony and the study of the gospel in what they call a “free speech zone.”


Friday, February 6, 2015   7:30-9:30 pm


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

If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.
And let’s all try to be gone by 11:00 pm 


About Jim and Judy

FullSizeRenderJim and Judith have 3 children and 12 grandchildren. They have been CES instructors for over ten years. They are currently teaching two CES courses: The New Testament and the Biblical Inter-testamental Period and The Doctrine and Covenants (for mid-single adults in the Salt Lake Region).  

Jim is an attorney practicing in Salt Lake City for more than 35 years as a partner in Parker and McConkie.  He has been the Chief of Staff for a U. S. Congressman, a Federal Prosecutor and an adjunct instructor in Constitutional Law for non-lawyers at Westminster College.  He is the author of Looking at the Doctrine and Covenants for the Very First Time. He has published in BYU Studies. A book of essays on Jesus are about to be published by Kofford Publishing in the spring of this year.    

Judith is semi-retired and is currently an A.P. and I.B. instructor in art history on the High School level.  Prior to retirement she was variously the Curator of the Utah State Capitol Building, Senior Educator at BYU’s Museum of Art and director of the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah.  She holds an MFA in drawing and printmaking and a PhD in the philosophy of contemporary art history in museum settings. She has taught in many of the area universities. She has written for Dialogue:A Journal of Mormon Thought and the Salt Lake Sunstone Symposia. Judith is the author of With Anxious Care: The Restoration of the State Capitol. 

Come ready with questions and issues you’d like discussed.

A couple of interviews with Jim:

James McConkie: Family, Faith, and the Historical Christ
FairMormon Frameworks 15: Jim McConkie on Preserving and Nurturing Faith

Exploring Mormon Transhumanism

“We will not go extinct before becoming posthumans.”

If you have a scientific bent, are an atheist or agnostic, or just plain find it difficult to swallow that “old time religion,” then you will likely find this discussion enlightening and encouraging. If you are struggling in your faith journey, this may well give you some framing that you can feel comfortable with. And if you fall solidly on the believing side then you too will be richly rewarded. —jay griffith


Friday, January 9, 2015   7:30-9:30 pm


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

If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.

ccacbaa74bad00854d182e8e2f039f06Lincoln Cannon is a technologist and philosopher.

Lincoln has over eighteen years of professional experience in information technology, including leadership roles in software engineering at Ancestry.com, where he mentored management and reorganized teams to align with strategic shifts, and at Symantec, where he reduced costs by millions of dollars through process automation and globalized teamwork; and in marketing technology at Merit Medical, where CIO Magazine and others featured him for innovation. He holds degrees in business administration and philosophy from Brigham Young University.

Today, Lincoln works as a consultant, assisting clients with vision, ethics, strategy, and marketing in emerging technology, including cloud and mobile computing, e-governance, rejuvenation biotech, neural enablement, and machine intelligence. He is also a board member at The World Table, where he advises on technical and product strategy for quantified reputation networks to improve the quality and value of social interactions, and serves as president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, an international nonprofit that has become the world’s largest advocacy network for the ethical use of technology and religion to improve the vitality of our world.

Lincoln is married with Dorothée Vankrieckenge, a French national, and they have three bilingual children. In his spare time, he enjoys touring, backpacking, watching science fiction movies, playing strategy games, reading and writing philosophy, cheering for his children at sporting events, and discussing just about anything controversial over good food with family and friends.

Good stuff to dig into:

Mormon Transhumanism in a Nutshell

Transfiguration: Parallels and Complements between Mormonism and Transhumanism and YouTube version

What Is a Mormon Transhumanist? and YouTube

The Consolation: An Interpretive Variation on the Last General Conference Sermon of Joseph Smith and YouTube


Mormon Transhumanist Association Website


New God Argument Website

Jesus Wants Me for a Sonbeam

baby jesus3 [Converted]

And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.


Please join us at the England home for a delightful evening of sharing food, thoughts and feelings about Jesus, singing Christmas carols, and bringing a little to share with our friends at the Road Home.

Mark and Elizabeth are going to lead out our evening of sharing. Then those who would also like to share, may.

Please bring a little something to share to eat.

Go to the Road Home website for items to help our brothers and sisters who are in need. We’ll deliver what is brought.

Come “beaming.”

We look forward to basking with you in your Sonbeams one last time this year.

7:30 pm at Mark & Elizabeth England’s:
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT


“Let us for an hour put aside our faith and doubts and instead consider a related but distinct realm. Let us postulate in advance that something is indeed true and worthy, and then ask: ‘What sorts of things get in the way of my accepting this truth?’ Let us also consider if faith is merely ‘wish-fulfillment.'”



Sunday, November 9, 2014   7-9 pm


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

If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.

Thanks to Dan Wotherspoon for recommending Phillip Barlow.

Phillip Barlow

Philip Barlow is the Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, where he teaches courses on American Religion, Mormonism, Religion & Human Suffering, and Religion & the Concept of” Time.” His writing includes a treatment of the role of “place” in the nation’s history (The New Historical Atlas of Religion in America, which the Association of American Publishers named as the “Best Single-volume Reference Book in the Humanities” for 2001). Oxford University Press has recently released his updated edition of Mormons and the Bible. Barlow is the compiler and editor of A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief by Mormon Scholars and, with Terry Givens, the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Mormonism. His current book-length project, co-authored with Jan Shipps, is a series of unconventional angles of vision on contemporary Mormonism for Columbia University Press. He is the past President of the Mormon History Association.

Questions to ponder in advance:

1) Is “faith” merely “wish-fulfillment” ­–a projection of our manufactured hopes to buffer us from an indifferent universe and other hard truths?

2) There are plenty of critical questions one might ask about faith in Mormonism or in Christianity or any religion. Some such questions are healthy and wise, perhaps even necessary. Let us for an hour put aside our faith and doubts and instead consider a related but distinct realm. Let us postulate in advance that something is indeed true and worthy, and then ask: “What sorts of things get in the way of my accepting this truth?” More specifically, let us for an evening posit that Joseph Smith did in fact encounter the divine and that the message and movement that emerged from this encounter are at their core good and worthy. What dynamics within me get in the way of my accepting this blessing?

Possible material to look over in advance:

“Questions at the Veil” (Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2013: pp. 203–216).

“Ten Commandments for Balancing the Life of the Mind and Spirit on Campus” in Jacob Werrett & David Read, eds., A Twenty-Something’s Guide to Spirituality (Deseret Book, 2007), pp. 134–171.

“Why I Stay”  (brief talk: Sunstone plenary session, 2012)

Sigmund Freud: The Future of an Illusion

Advancing Gender Balance in the LDS Church by Harnessing the Power of Art & Storytelling

Girls_Who_Choose_God_cover“Where are the women?” 3 year-old Simone asked her mom, Bethany, while reading LDS scriptures with her family. Bethany embarked on a journey to help her three daughters answer this question and to help others hear more of women’s voices and learn from their courageous examples.



Thursday, Octobrer 2, 2014   7-9 pm


Home of Elizabeth and Mark England

1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Thanks to Tiffany Ivins Spence for engaging and arranging these stellar dialogue leaders as well as providing this introduction.

Spaldings-2_Cropmcarthurkrishna.jpegScreen Shot 2014-09-12 at 10.49.42 PM

Bethany Brady Spalding (Virginia) & McArthur Krishna (India) along with artist Kathy Peterson (Spring City) will discuss the process and challenges to address the paucity of resources reflecting female voices in our faith.


These guest authors carved out a bit of time for us (between book signing & speaking gigs) as part of the release of their ground-breaking book Girls Who Choose God.

Celebrating bold women who make difficult choices, the authors of this book (which draws from the Bible) and future volumes (which draw from other scriptures) aim to:

  • Provide strong spiritual role models for girls;
  • Illustrate how female leadership historically can motivate us to be powerful leaders today (not only as moms, but as prophetesses, judges, generals, social justice advocates & endless other roles & to be a force for good in the world);
  • Raise generations of girls & boys who view themselves as spiritual equals;
  • Include women’s perspectives in LDS leadership & decision-making at all levels of the church;
  • Promote dialogue about our Heavenly Mother co-leading with Heavenly Father.

All proceeds of this book are donated to help educate and empower girls & women across the world through Interweave Solutions. Dr. Lynn Curtis (Founder & Director) will also attend and share a few snapshots of those who are supported by the authors and readers of this book.

Here are a few teasers:




P.S. If you arrive late, please use the back door to enter.