Studies are showing a huge increase in the number of people who claim hybrid spiritual identities, in which their religious lives include a combination of practices and emphases from different traditions. Mormons are no exception, with many, and for many reasons, supplementing their LDS lived religion with meditation, energy work, channeling, nature spirituality, participation in Freemasonry, and with many more things.
In this two-part episode, we discuss with Doe Daughtrey her research into LDS women who, to use a term coined by Janet Bennion, “double dip”—that is, they draw on resources in both Mormonism and another tradition in their quest for spiritual fulfillment. We also hear from two Mormons—Patrick McCleary and Katie Langston—who are very active and happy as Latter-day Saints but who practice Freemasonry and mindfulness mediation, respectively. What led them and the LDS women Daughtrey studied to attempt these ideological and ritual syntheses? How does some of Mormonism’s rhetoric collude in their choice to explore additional paths? What resources within Mormonism do they draw on for strength and affirmation as they choose to add other things to their LDS practices? How do they talk about their practices and spirituality with family, friends, and ward members? What types of reactions do they receive?
We are excited to have you listen into this wonderful conversation and then ask questions and share your own experiences and reactions in the comments section below!
John W. Morehead, “Daughters of the Moon: Eclectic Mormon Women and Their Search for a Place in the Light of the Sun” (will download to your computer)
Great post. I’ve been meditating for many years, incorporating different approaches. It has become a central focus of my spiritual practice and has added substantial new dimension and meaning to reading the words of Christ in our cannon.
Read Philip G McLemore’s sunstone article The Yoga of Christ if you really want a new deeper dimensions on the the Teachings of Jesus Google it
I “supplement” as well. I do yogic meditation. IT has profoundly changed my life. I wonder though if church attendance and activity was ever supposed to take the place of personal spiritual paths to begin with. In essense, people with real spiritual lives have always done different practices, but the outward things have taken over becuase they are more justifiable to the will of the collective.
I agree with you. I started doing Ashtanga Vinasa flow yoga about a year ago six days a week and have just started to do meditation and I agree it has profoundly changed my life as well! What type of meditation do you do? Paramahansa Yoganandas Kriya Yoga? I also agree about the will of the collective
My paper related to this, an Eclectic Mormon Women Ethnography, is now available on my Academia.edu page: http://www.academia.edu/2049646/Eclectic_Mormon_Women_Ethnography_paper
I love you.
You are consistently positive, bright, and (dare I say it?) inspired. This has nothing whatsoever to do with this particular podcast (which is also wonderful, by the way) it is more of an overall observation after listening to almost every MM podcast that you have done:
Keep doing it, please. You can reach and leaven folks that others can’t. And wow! Your talent at answering negative (from any side) comments to try to turn them into positive discourse is stunning. Mormonism needs more like you.
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Great podcast! Thank you. Very interested in reading Doe’s study. Did I miss the link…or how do I find it?
Kudos to you Dan for exploring yet another facet of our Mormon experience that lies well outside the corral of correlation. Delightful guests.
Until several years ago, talk of our connection to pagan cultures would have set off alarm bells for me. But no more.
The work of Anthony E. Larson first introduced me to the notion of the something called the Polar Configuration and it’s profound impact on the human family. Larson was drawn to the work of Immanuel Velikovsky and David Talbot who concluded that within human memory the planets, Saturn, Venus and Mars once resided very close to the earth and were locked with earth in a central axis of rotation–a Polar Configuration. As their positions changed over time the planets interacted with one another in planetary-scale electrical discharges millions of times more powerful and destructive than our Northern Lights.
In this world view these nearby, active planets were the gods of all cultures around the world. The interactions of the planets formed the basis for the myths of all cultures. The appearance of the planets during this time shows up as visual echoes all around the world from the Catholic crucifix to our church and temple steeples to the crescent used in three dozen flags around the world to the moonstones and Saturn stones used in the Salt Lake Temple to the same curious rock art petroglyphs that show up from Saudi Arabia to southern Utah.
The Polar Configuration opens a fascinating window on the possibility that humanity is truly more linked together in our beliefs and traditions than we would like to admit. When we understand that our sacred icons and holidays have roots in the same cosmic displays that gave rise to the sacred traditions of all peoples around the world starting with what we consider pagan cultures, we can better embrace Jesus’ injunction to love all human beings as ourselves.
Anthony Larson’s contribution has been to explore the Polar Configuration from the perspective of Mormonism as taught by Joseph Smith. Remarkably, Joseph Smith’s cosmology bears a striking resemblance to that described by Velikovsky and Talbott, right down to the earth being part of a polar configuration at one time. Viewed from the perspective of the Polar Configuration, the miracles of the Old Testament and the catastrophes prophecied in the Book of Revlations take on a meaning and clarity that is refreshing.
Books, DVDs and web information about the Polar Configuration and the electric universe that it suggests are available online: http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/ The DVD and YouTube series, Symbols of an Alien Sky is a good introduction.
Larson’s Prophecy Trilogy books are a great introduction to his ideas and are as fresh today as when they were written over 30 years ago. Perhaps as a bellweather of broadening attitudes, the trilogy is back in Deseret Book after being pulled during the intellectual chill of the early 1990s. If you find Larson’s books interesting definitely consider his 14-part online course where he explores the Polar-Configuration-meets-the gospel in rich detail. Information about books and online webinars is available online: http://www.mormonprophecy.com/ . A large collection of essays is available online: http://www.scribd.com/anthonyelarson
So wonderful to hear this podcast! I thought I was the only pagan-buddhist-reiki-mormon out there. I am not alone… how wonderfully comforting! Thank you, thank you for sharing!
Wow! Me too!
Picking up on the comments during the first hour about magic, did anyone see the spread in a recent Ensign about Joseph and Emma’s life? There was a part that described Joseph healing the sick in Nauvoo. He couldn’t get to another community, so he sent someone with his handkerchief and told them that if they wiped the brow of those who were sick, they would be healed as well as those who he had blessed personally.
Makes you wonder what might happen if someone tried to do that today.
This podcast touched on a cornucopia of things that have become interesting to me over the years.
Somehow you’ve got to let us know when your book comes out, Doe.
Thanks to John Dehlin’s ground-breaking interview seven years ago with Master Mason and member of the Church, Greg Kearny, I assumed right from the start that you’re a friendly, exceptional soul, Patrick. I think you represented the organization and its aspirations well. I loved your well-spoken, thoughtful observations. Hopefully Dan invites you back. The world is gasping for anyone willing to champion brotherhood and sisterhood. http://mormonstories.org/mormon-stories-podcast-005-masonry-and-mormonism-and-interview-with-greg-kearney/
Mention of JZ Knight channeling Ramtha brought to mind Jane Roberts channeling Seth, another wise, ancient soul interested in today’s human condition. Like several of the women that Dr. Daughtrey mentioned, Knight and Roberts didn’t set out to answer life’s perplexing questions by contacting folks from another dimension but they embraced the possibilites when they came along. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Material
Another connection to this much broader, deeper perspective comes from Brian L. Weiss, M.D. Weiss came to embrace the notion of reincarnation and eventually past-life regression therapy somewhat against his secular training and personal beliefs. The idea of reincarnation radically changes the dyamic of so many of our thorny questions–along with raising more questions of its own. http://www.brianweiss.com/
The mention of quantum Mormonism brings to mind Lynne McTaggart’s delightful book, The Field. Taken individually, any of the conclusions of the iconoclastic scientists profiled in The Field would probably cause us to scoff or shrug our shoulders. Taken together, however, they suggest a universe wildly more interesting than we can percieve or want to percieve, with a number of really interesting implications for Mormon theology. http://www.lynnemctaggart.com/
It really enjoyed your observations on mindfullness meditation, Katie. As I listened I could imagine you teaching a class in Relief Society! Not. Anyone with even a passing interest in yoga, meditation and Mormonism would probably enjoy the Mormon Stories interview with Phil McLemore. Even if yoga and meditition don’t appeal to you, you owe it to yourself to listen to McLemore’s story and introduction to meditation. interhttp://mormonstories.org/246-249-a-mormon%E2%80%99s-spiritual-transformation-through-meditation-the-hindu-yogic-tradition/
I’ve been interested in meditation ever since I was a teenager. Ten years ago I ran across Hemi-Sync audio technology from The Monroe Institute and jumped at the chance to enter deep, meditative states just by listening to CDs– and have been using them ever since. TMI also offers week-long programs in Faber, Virginia devoted to personal development, exploration and service. I’d love to talk to another member of the Church who has attended any of the TMI onsite programs. http://www.monroeinstitute.org/
Is there somewhere we can read Doe’s dissertation she referenced? I would love to read it. I really enjoyed this podcast. I am interested in energy work and was alarmed to hear Doe mention the conflict it presents with the priesthood. I’d never thought of that. But I’ve never thought of men (who hold the priesthood) as the only human source for healing or of women as powerless when it comes to healing. We all (regardless of the priesthood) are more powerful than we realize.
I’m sorry I didn’t see this until now, SEAmama–I’ve been out of the country and then stranded in NYC because of the hurricane. I hope I didn’t say that energy healing is in conflict with the LDS priesthood. What I meant to convey is that when I interviewed LDS women who do energy work, they virtually all mentioned having to deal with that issue. Some of them have had absolutely no trouble with local authorities. Others report having significant challenges and/or losing their temple recommends. They all report having to develop ways of discussing what they do so as to make sure others know they are not trying to compete with the LDS priesthood or that they don’t think what they do is the SAME as the LDS priesthood.
To answer your question about publication, I received an embargo for my dissertation, which gives me up to two years to seek a publisher before it’s made available through ProQuest. I am beginning that process now. I’d be happy to keep you posted on my publication quest. 🙂
Katie- can you give me a source for the C.S. Lewis quote? It’d be great for use in a YW program I’m working on. Thank you!
Me. I’m in this camp. Yoga, energy medicine, meditation while fully integrated into the Mormon Religious faith. My own article of faith says that first and foremost I will connect with my spiritual practices to stay close to God, and hold lightly to dogma, doctrine, and temporal structure of the church.
i havent listened to this yet but ill be sure too. i do agree with the title of the topic at least. just as a brief example mormons and dont get me wrong i am LDS and will forever believe it is the restored Gospel. that said mormons tend to for example know very little about the bible since the book of mormon is the book that is pushed endlessly which is fine but it also means the bible is not really studied all that much. part of the problem is the cycling of material every year every 4 years we cycle through so the bible never gets its full credit.
and even then the book of mormon gets brought up more often than the bible because mormons believe in the bible in so far as it is translated correctly. this is fine and all but it creates a problem if you want to learn about the bible you really shouldnt ask your average LDS folk that is taught to study the book of mormon above all else. there is sweet irony in this given Joseph Smith starts this era of the restored gospel thanks to a bible verse.
this also creates a weird dynamic in church sunday school classes ive seen where if a bible verse is too complicated we simply ignore it and say oh its not translated correctly. this could be true but it could also not be true.
so thats my two cents and why i am more and more supplementing my mormon faith with outside material.
i would add one last thing of irony. the creation story. it is found in genesis, the book of moses, the temple ceremony, and all over the book of mormon converts are taught the creation story as there introduction…..yet we do not seem to give that story much credit and we do not truly try and analyze it. the reported theories of what actually happened during that time and the flood are somewhat alarming. this is just another case of we have so much extra stuff and scriptures yet we don’t seem to take full advantage of it.
I’ve long believed in Big Tent Mormonism, but this podcast has inspired me to believe in Big Theology Mormonism. Love it!
I have practiced and studied mediation for several years and have found it highly effective. I had to chime in and share my experience regarding the topic of Mindfulness Meditation in a church setting. Contrary to the panelist not having any negative experiences – mine was disastrous.
I taught a lesson on “listening to the still small voice” in priests quorum and I guided them – using passages in Psalms – to calm their minds to open themselves up to inspiration. The boys absolutely loved it. However, I was called into the Bishop’s office for it. I learned that parents were complaining all the way to the Stake President about me. In the meeting, my Bishop regarded mediation as having no worth at all. I was released from teaching the youth the following Sunday.
My experience is that even the using WORD “meditation” in a church setting can be problematic. To some it means “teaching Buddhism” and even is considered “mind control.” In trying to explain the practice to more “open minded” Mormons, they suggested that it was a matter of using words like “thinking” and “pondering” instead. (Those that know anything about meditation know that those words are completely inappropriate.)
When the word “meditation” is used in Gospel Doctrine class is used I ask “What is meditation?” Class comments are quite revealing that within the Mormon community, meditation is something in which there is profound ignorance.
Approach the topic with extreme caution.