This episode begins with a description of occasions in which one of our guests expresses feelings of anger over something only to be told one of two things (or both): (1) Be careful, as Satan is behind contention and will use your anger to lead you astray; and (2) We should only focus on positive thoughts and emotions, so count your blessings and these negative feelings will disappear. Many of you can relate to this, as these two responses are quite typical. Mormons generally do not like to talk about things like anger or sadness or loneliness or feelings of betrayal–and certainly not at church!
We are thrilled to have three great guests on this show discussing ways we can improve our understanding and discussions about anger: Cynthia Winward, Jordan Harmon, and Lisa Butterworth. In a lively and insightful conversation, the panelists speak about ways Latter-day Saint discussions often confuse the basic emotion of anger with ways that sometimes people will act out their anger–rage, intimidation, destructiveness, etc. They speak of the impossibility of fully suppressing anger and the negative consequences that follow from imagining one can and then trying to do so. They cover cultural views of anger with regards to men versus women feeling and expressing this emotion. They speak directly about way that ideas about Satan and his influence colors much Mormon discourse about anger. Are there alternative (read: better) ways to understanding the reasons we feel angry? They offer fundamental insights into not only anger but all basic emotions and the ways they can serve us positively (even the ones that are no fun to experience). The panel then shares possible ways to improve our discussions of anger at church. Following the end of the panel’s conversation, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon shares a few thoughts about the role of anger as a featured emotion in the early aspect of many people’s faith journey.
Please listen and then share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Information about and registration for the June 1-3 Mormon Matters retreat in Salt Lake City.