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Mormon Land

Religion & Spirituality

Mormon Land explores the contours and complexities of LDS news. It's hosted by award-winning religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and Salt Lake Tribune managing editor David Noyce.

Mormon Land explores the contours and complexities of LDS news. It's hosted by award-winning religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and Salt Lake Tribune managing editor David Noyce.


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Mormon Land explores the contours and complexities of LDS news. It's hosted by award-winning religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack and Salt Lake Tribune managing editor David Noyce.








The lesser-known legacy of Emmeline B. Wells | Episode 141

A few weeks after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published the sermons of Eliza R. Snow comes the online release of additional diaries by a lesser known, but no less influential, female leader in the faith’s history. Emmeline B. Wells packed a lot into her 93 years of life. She was a three-time wife, mother of five daughters, a writer, editor, longtime Relief Society record-keeper, Relief Society general president, and, perhaps above all, a zealous advocate for suffrage and...


Latter-day Saints and the end times | Episode 140

Amid a global pandemic, civil unrest, a presidential election and — in Utah — a string of nerve-rattling earthquakes, many biblical believers are thinking anew about the so-called apocalypse. For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though, the end times have always been a part of their theology. After all, the latter days are referenced in their faith’s official name. There also is buzz in pews and on porches about the “White Horse Prophecy,” Mormon politicians, and...


Mette Ivie Harrison on the ‘five doctrines of ex-Mormonism' | Episode 139

Utah author Mette Ivie Harrison has been writing about her transition away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Besides opposing some of the faith’s policies, practices and doctrines, Harrison also has cited the restrictive views held by some members. In a recent column, however, she notes that she again finds herself bumping into rigid thinking — this time coming from former members. In this week’s show, Harrison discusses her spiritual journey and the “five doctrines of...


Church historians discuss the legacy of Eliza R. Snow and her 1,200 sermons | Episode 138

Eliza R. Snow ranks as the most influential Latter-day Saint woman of her time and after Emma Smith, wife of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, perhaps the best-known woman in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Snow was a poet and a preacher, a plural wife of prophets and a defender of polygamy, a leader of the Relief Society and a champion of women. Still, there is much Latter-day Saints don’t know about her. That may change now that the church has launched a new...


How Mormonism embraces the Founding Fathers | Episode 137

As Americans tune into the movie version of the Broadway megahit “Hamilton” amid a national debate about the virtues and vices of the nation’s framers, the question arises: How do and should Latter-day Saints view them? Mormon scriptures prophecy that the Americas would sprout a place of “promise,” a “land of liberty.” Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught that God “raised up” these “choice spirits” to establish a divinely inspired Constitution and a...


How views on sexuality and gender evolved and what that might mean in the future | Episode 136

Perhaps no issues have roiled members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints more than questions about race, gender and sexuality. Scholar Taylor Petrey offers an original exploration of these topics and how they connect and intersect in his new book, “Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism.” On this week’s podcast, Petrey, the current editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and an associate professor of religion at Kalamazoo College, examines how...


BYU activists discuss why the Smoot Building needs a new name | Episode 135

Amid the nation’s reawakening on the issue of systemic racism, Brigham Young University’s president has conceded that “there is work to do” on the Provo campus. Many students and alumni agree, and some of them have called on officials to rebrand the administration building, given that it bears the name of Abraham O. Smoot, a former benefactor who owned slaves. On this week’s “Mormon Land” podcast, two of the activists behind this effort, Tristan Quist and Cole Stewart-Johnson, discuss why...


Joanna Brooks on past LDS leaders’ racist views and how white supremacy took root | Episode 134

In 1852, Mormon pioneer-prophet Brigham Young put The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a path toward a racist practice barring blacks from the priesthood. Some 126 years later, in 1978, church President Spencer W. Kimball ended the policy. But racist doctrines and white supremacist views from Mormon pulpits and within Mormon pews hardly started with the priesthood ban and certainly didn’t stop with its removal. Scholar Joanna Brooks, a professor of English and comparative...


LDS historian Ardis Parshall shedding light on souls lost during a previous pandemic | Episode 133

With the world in the grips of COVID-19, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, Mormon research historian Ardis Parshall has been posting photos and vignettes of Latter-day Saints who died during the Spanish flu of 1918-20, which claimed tens of millions across the globe. By doing so on her blog,, she is putting a human face on what too often can appear in history books as cold statistics. On this week’s podcast, she touches on some of the souls who were lost...


What society and the LDS Church can do to erase the sin of racism | Episode 132

George Floyd’s death — as just the latest example of a black person dying at the hands of law enforcement — has shaken, angered, agitated and, some say, awakened the nation, setting off waves of sometimes-violent protests against racism and police brutality. Days later, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a faith with its own racist history, took to social media, condemning prejudice, calling racists to repentance and decrying the lawlessness that...


BYU professors discuss gender research and how to elevate women’s voices in the church | Episode 131

Women are gaining a higher profile in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at both the local and general levels. But having women in the room — and usually vastly outnumbered by men when issues are discussed and decisions are made, often by the faith’s all-male priesthood — doesn’t necessarily mean these women are being heard, let alone heeded. New research from three Brigham Young University professors — Olga Stoddard, Jessica Preece and Chris Karpowitz — sheds light on these...


A Latter-day Saint artist on the church’s move to display more paintings of Jesus | Episode 130

A week ago, top leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints directed that all displays in foyers and entryways in the faith’s meetinghouses across the globe be reserved exclusively for artwork that depicts Jesus. They even included a list of 22 paintings for such use. While the push to focus on Christ won wide praise, some observers questioned the approved pieces, suggesting they lacked gender and cultural diversity while offering only a narrow, Eurocentric vision. In this...


College administrator examines BYU’s Honor Code reversal on LGBTQ issues | Episode 129

Back in mid-February, Brigham Young University set off shock waves when it quietly removed from its Honor Code the section forbidding “homosexual behavior.” Many students believed — and had been told by school officials — that the shift meant the prohibition against such actions as same-sex hand-holding, kissing and dating was no longer in place. The LGBTQ community and its allies celebrated. Two weeks later, however, the Church Educational System, which oversees all BYU campuses for The...


A graphic designer who worked on a previous church logo evaluates the new symbol | Episode 128

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled a new symbol last month as part of President Russell M. Nelson’s continuing efforts to emphasize — to insiders and outsiders alike — that the faith is centered on Jesus Christ. Does this logo, from a design perspective, help accomplish that aim? Yes, says Randall Smith, a Salt Lake City graphic designer who helped craft a previous logo for the church. But the new symbol, while “safe and expected,” he adds, is “not very progressive” and...


Mountain Meadows, Mark Hofmann & more: Historian Richard Turley reflects on his career | Episode 127

Richard E. Turley Jr. retired recently after nearly 30 years working for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most of that time in the History and Family History departments. He has co-written or penned several books, including the acclaimed “Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy” and “Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case.” Most recently, he served as the managing director of the faith’s Public Affairs Department. He reflects this week on his career, the...


Neylan McBaine discusses blessings, sacrament and how COVID-19 is changing LDS worship | Episode 126

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently released guidelines to help members and lay leaders navigate various religious rites during the coronavirus pandemic. Virtual sacraments are out, a decision that has deprived some women and other members of regular communion. Baptisms, where permitted, are in. Priesthood ordinations and baby blessings still can take place. Temple recommend interviews can be conducted via video, even though the temples themselves remain closed. As for...


Expert discusses where LDS church is growing fastest, who is getting temples and why | Episode 125

During its recent General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported that its global membership has topped 16.5 million, with nearly 249,000 new converts in 2019, a substantial increase from the previous year. Here to help drill down on those numbers — and other recently released church statistics, including country-by-country breakdowns — is independent researcher Matt Martinich, who tracks church growth on his website,, and is project...


A look back at General Conference | Episode 124

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just concluded one of the most unusual General Conferences in its history. Due to crowd restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, the sessions took place in a small auditorium in the Church Office Building in downtown Salt Lake City. While no more than 10 people were in that room, the conference may have never had a larger audience — transmitted online and on TV to millions around the world, many of them forced to hole up in their...


LDS scholar examines the coronavirus’s effects on the global church | Episode 123

It’s been several weeks since our latest “Mormon Land” podcast. Thankfully, not much has happened in that interval. OK, let’s just say the world has turned upside down. For The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its fundamental operations, programs and plans have been upended by the coronavirus. Services have been canceled. All temples are closed. And tens of thousands of missionaries have been recalled, released or reassigned. All of this coming in front of an online spring...


A deeper look at the new handbook | Episode 122

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a major shift recently when it published online, in full, its updated General Handbook, which spells out policies, practices and procedures in the worldwide faith. Previous handbooks were for leaders only. Now rank-and-file members and even outsiders can be on the same page when it comes to church governance. The guidelines include, for instance, new nomenclature for church discipline and a new section on transgender individuals. It even...