This episode is an attempt to aid in processing the current moment in which various Mormon-watching communities are beginning to digest the preliminary results that have recently been released from the Open Stories Foundation survey about why Mormons leave the church, which comes on the heels of remarks made in December at Utah State University by LDS Church Historian Elder Marlin Jensen and reported on in numerous recent news stories in which he reflects on the current disaffection crisis and the Church’s plans to help address it. What does the survey suggest? How might the LDS Church move ahead more effectively–and how might we as members of these online communities assist in claiming a greater space within Mormonism for a more accurate telling of its history and an acceptance of a wider variety of ways of orienting toward Mormonism’s scriptures and shaping narratives? What are some tools or framings that might be helpful to those who through these news stories (and others yet to come as more results are released) might be hearing about are deciding to truly examine many of the complexities of church history and doctrine for the first time?
Joining Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in reflecting on this current moment are podcast veterans, professor, blogger, and LDS commentator Joanna Brooks, professor and holder of the Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University Philip Barlow, and first-time podcast guest and business strategist Scott Holley, who served as a key analyst for the survey.
We hope you’ll enjoy the discussion and will share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Links to Sources:
Preliminary results of Open Stories Foundation Survey
Joanna Brooks Religion Dispatches blog post on Mormonism facing its history
Reuters article reporting on Elder Marlin Jensen’s remarks at Utah State University
Salt Lake Tribune article about topics under discussion in this podcast
Deseret News article about topics under discussion in this podcast
Carrie Sheffield Washington Post essay on LDS Church in need of reform