Many Mormon Matters listeners find their way to the podcast and other online communities and discussion groups because they recognize that they are experiencing some kind of “faith transition,” a re-orienting in their relationships with life’s fundamental questions, powers, and values. Often, however, this transition feel to us much more like a crisis. Would things get any easier for us if we knew that this time of upheaval and process of trying to find new, firmer grounding was normal–even healthy? That this difficult journey toward new orientation isn’t exclusive to Latter-day Saints or even to just religious people, but to all human beings?
With the 1981 publication of Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning, James W. Fowler presented a road map of sorts for faith transitioning, a descriptive schema that places “faith” (our way of making sense of life, of engaging transcendent values and meaning) alongside other areas of human development and the models that describe them. As they encounter this schema, many people undergoing faith transitions find hope that if they don’t turn away from the difficulties and pain, they will emerge into new and richer perspectives and sense of peace in the face of all of life’s complexities.
Guest hosted by Katie Langston, this episode features Mormon Matters’ usual host, Dan Wotherspoon, and social psychologist and therapist Marybeth Raynes describing the various stages that Fowler outlines, while also applying them to LDS faith transitioning, including their own life stories. The “stages of faith” model has been mentioned many times in past episodes. It’s about time they receive direct attention!
We hope you will listen and then join in the comments section below!
Marybeth Raynes, “How Sex and Spirit are Linked: A Developmental Perspective,” Sunstone, November 2001
Marybeth Raynes’s “Sunstone Gallery” portrait and write-up: “To Be About Doing Things“, Sunstone, May 2003
Dan Wotherspoon, “When I Needed It Most,” Sunstone, April 2002
(The essay starts on page 4 of the file that downloads)
Books by James W. Fowler: