Leading Saints is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon) be better prepared to lead.
Here are 4 ways Leading Saints accomplishes the above mission statement:
1. Connect Latter-day Saint Leaders
2. Enhance Leadership Ability
3. Present Leadership Scholarship & Research
4. Celebrate Divine Guidance
Kurt Francom is the founder and executive director of Leading Saints, a nonprofit organization helping Latter-day Saints be better prepared to lead. He manages the day-to-day efforts of Leading Saints and is the host of the podcast by the same name. Leading Saints has reached individuals internationally and has received over 2 million downloads. Kurt currently lives in Utah with his lovely wife Alanna. They are blessed to have three children. He enjoys drawing caricatures, playing basketball, reading, and watching college football. Kurt has served as a full-time missionary (California Sacramento), as a bishop, 1st counselor in a stake presidency, and elders quorum president.
Coming Alongside Youth & Young Adults | An Interview with Steve Hitz
Steve Hitz describes himself as a Baby Boomer with a Millennial heart. He studies, thinks like, celebrates, and advises what he calls “a great new generation.” As a company founder, president, and CEO, he employed more than 10,000 Millennials; he has also served as a young single adult bishop. Steve is a founding member of Launching Leaders Worldwide Inc., a faith-based nonprofit leadership program which helps young adults examine their lives, determine where they are now, where they want to be, and how to create their future while embracing their faith. Steve and his wife Ginger are blessed with three sons, two daughters, and eleven beloved grandchildren.
In this podcast, Kurt and Steve discuss how to address the concerns of the rising generation.
2:45 Launching Leaders is an online personal leadership course. It’s facilitated by youth to empower youth.
7:20 How to address the concerns of the rising generation.
* Connecting with God
9:30 Lessons Steve has learned from his cows and his coming alongside theory.
10:50 Example of coming alongside theory. We need to lead, not force.
16:30 Steve quotes President Nelson, “Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how he feels about you and your mission here on earth.”
17:30 What’s more important than knowing our true identity?
19:15 How can youth leaders help their youth with knowing their identity?
22:00 As teachers we want to have everything planned out to the minute. Plans are great but following the spirit is more important. Be vulnerable and trust the spirit.
25:15 Young people believe they can live compartmentalized lives. They have their church life, school life, etc. Many youth are unhappy because of this.
32:00 Steve talks about the things that he has learned in his studies and working with youth.
* Implement and learn the doctrine come alongside theory
* Allow youth to discover their own answers even if it’s different from ours. Let them progress and use their free agency.
34:00 Relationships are the key to everything. Youth today don’t want us to tell them what to do but they want us to listen.
35:20 Give space to your youth so that they can find their identity.
37:40 Giving people love is more important than trying to push religion on them. Creating loving relationships is the most important thing.
39:30 Opportunities to share the gospel come when we have a foundation of community and deep relationships.
45:50 Steve’s final encouragement on how leaders can connect with youth.
Launching Leaders: An Empowering Journey for a New Generation
Steve's articles and previous podcast at LeadingSaints.org
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Why We Married in the Temple After 20 Years in Same-Sex Relationships | An Interview With Bennett & Becky Borden
This is a rebroadcast. The episode originally ran in August 2017.
Bennett and Becky Borden are a married couple who both experience same-sex attraction and who were both in same-sex marriages and relationships for many years prior to returning to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and prior to their marriage to each other. Bennett and Becky both grew up in the South in active LDS families. They met about 30 years ago when Bennett was a young man and served his mission in Becky's ward. Bennett became close with Becky's family and over they years they have remained friends. In their early 20s, both Bennett and Becky came out as gay, left the Church and went on to live a gay lifestyle for many years.
After many years away they each decided separately they wanted to come back to the Church. They met up at Becky's family reunion and knew they should get married. Returning to church attendance, they were married and after a time had their blessings restored and were sealed in the temple. A lot can be learned and gained from their amazing journey, their relationships, their faith transitions, their interactions with family and church leaders, and their spiritual experiences.
3:15 Bennett's upbringing
5:00 Becky's upbringing
7:30 Bennett's close relationship with Becky's family
8:00 After his mission, Bennett's first marriage to a woman
9:30 Bennett lives a gay lifestyle and stops going to church
10:30 Becky's journey coming out as gay
13:30 Their relationships with God as they left the church and lived the gay lifestyle
14:30 Bennett's experience studying other religions
16:00 Becky's experience joining several other churches
18:00 What can we learn from our crises of faith?
19:00 Every relationship has goodness to them
20:30 "The light and love of God shines everywhere"/Growth can happen even as we are lost
22:00 Becky's excommunication and the blessing of it
24:30 The thing that brought them back to the gospel
26:00 Bennett's same sex relationship and what brought him back
28:20 Becky and where she was as Bennett's relationship ended
31:00 Leaders and family members and how they reached out to Bennett and Becky while they were living a gay lifestyle
34:00 Love within church membership councils
35:30 Bennett and Becky's friendship as they came back to the church
44:00 How to reconcile thoughts of going back to the church with being gay
45:00 Reading the scriptures assuming it's all true
48:00 Bennett and Becky decision to get married
50:00 Becky's experience meeting with her bishop to discuss coming back to church
53:20 Bennett's experience meeting with his bishop to discuss coming back to church
56:15 How Satan worked to keep them from coming back
57:00 Their marriage by a bishop in Washington D.C.
58:45 Bennett's ex-husband Richard joined the church
1:02:30 How to pray for a child with same sex attraction
1:08:00 How can leaders use Northstar to help them
1:09:00 Message to individuals wanting to come back to the church
Bennett & Becky's North Star Conference Keynote
Bennett & Becky would love to connect with anyone who has questions or needs further support. You can reach them at their joint email: Bennettandbecky@gmail.com
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The Story Behind Pornography Use | An Interview with Jay Stringer
Jay Stringer is a therapist, author, and public speaker. He guides men and women to overcome unwanted sexual behaviors, and to discover how their story is shaping unwanted sexual behavior or betrayal trauma. He grew up as the son of a Protestant minister in the Presbyterian church, holds a master of Divinity and masters of Counseling Psychology, and is an ordained minister.
Steven Shields, ACMHC CET1, is a therapist who acts as a guide to help others heal from trauma and addiction. As founder of Unashamed Unafraid, a non-profit organization, he hosts the podcast that shares hope for sexual addiction recovery. Unashamed funds scholarships for people to go to retreats and receive therapy. Steve works in his private practice in Salt Lake City, at OnSite in Nashville Tennessee, and at the Oaks in San Diego California doing trauma intensives and workshops. His favorite event to speak at is the WarriorHeart Bootcamp every year. Steve is unofficially the biggest Leading Saints and “KF” fan!
In this podcast episode, Kurt and co-host Steve speak with Jay about how leaders can best provide help and guidance to those who have been affected by unwanted sexual behaviors.
6:15 How can leaders help members with sexual brokenness? Leaders should stop trying to ‘manage’ the problem but try to help the member find the core problem.
8:10 Unwanted sexual behavior is a roadmap to healing, not a life sentence to sexual shame or sexual addition.
9:30 Leaders need to listen to the stories and experiences that are behind the unwanted behavior.
13:30 Invite people to take authorship and authority over their unwanted behaviors. It’s so much more than ripping out their behavior from their life. Behaviors and addictions come from somewhere much deeper.
17:00 Many people turn to unhealthy sexual behavior or porn because they lack purpose.
17:45 How can a leader create space to listen? Stories are what change the human heart. Stop the practical suggestions because they are not going to work.
20:10 Jay gives a list of questions that can help leaders in interviews. These questions will lead to stories and help the member connect the dots between the current unwanted sexual behavior and the past pain or underlying story.
22:30 You don’t have to be a therapist but a safe place for people to share their stories. People don’t always need suggestions but someone that has compassion for them.
30:00 How do you help members come to you to confess and talk about the problems they are having?
34:15 Shame convinces people to stay silent about their sexual brokenness. Leaders need to normalize talking about sex and porn.
40:45 Share your scars, not your wounds, when you are in leadership. Be vulnerable to share your scars and experiences too. God wants us to share our stories.
42:30 This is not just a men’s issue but a human issue. Many women are also viewing pornography and having affairs.
47:30 While connection and community are very important to recovery and healing it’s also very important to take time alone. You have to learn to sit with yourself and not just try to distract yourself all the time.
53:00 How can we find the right community?
Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing
The Journey Course
Liberals, Doctrine, & Apologetics at Church | An Interview with Blair Hodges
Blair Hodges is host, producer, and editor of the Fireside podcast and works as a communications manager for a non profit in Salt Lake City. He served a mission in Wisconsin and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications (journalism) at the University of Utah and a master’s degree in religious studies at Georgetown University. Blair hosted the Maxwell Institute Podcast for eight years and has served many years as a Sunday School President and Sunday School instructor. He loves reading, family time, weekend napping, the Utah Jazz, and living in Salt Lake City.
9:00 Blair talks about being a liberal in a very conservative church.
12:00 How can leaders help everyone feel welcome despite having different views?
14:40 Leaders need to address tattletale culture. Instead of going to the bishop to complain, go directly to the person you have a problem with.
19:00 What is doctrine?
24:30 We all mingle the doctrine of men with scripture. We all see doctrine a little differently. We don’t have to be so rigid in our views but be open to new ways of thinking.
26:15 It’s a strength to hold space for uncertainty and let go of the need to be certain about everything.
31:15 Discussion of apologetics
46:30 The most important thing that a leader can do is provide a welcoming space for everyone. Give people space to disagree or to have questions. What matters is finding common ground. A leader can change the whole dynamic of their ward.
50:25 People become disaffected from the church. Meaning that many people come to feel unloved and disconnected. Feelings are the root of it all.
55:40 Our love and relationship with others shouldn’t be contingent on whether they stay in the church or not.
56:30 What does it look like to love someone without trying to change them?
56:45 Blair encourages leaders to get familiar with other resources and entities to help them get familiar with different situations. Examples: read a book from the Maxwell Institute, listen to podcasts, presentation from a FAIR Conference, BYU studies, read a couple of Dialogue articles, etc.
58:45 Even general authorities have different views on things. We don’t always have to agree. Some choose to defend their faith aggressively and others passively. The key is to be charitably peaceful.
Fireside with Blair Hodges
Maxwell Institute Podcast
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Seeing Leadership as a System | How I Lead as Area Seventy | An Interview with Gene R. Chidester
Gene R. Chidester served a mission in Argentina and has since served as a bishop, branch president, high councilor, stake president's counselor, mission president in Uruguay, and Area Seventy. He is a BYU fan, husband, father, grandfather, the owner of Evince Naturals, and producer for the Latter-day Lives podcast. Gene and his wife Robyn live in North Salt Lake, Utah.
In this podcast, Kurt and Gene discuss what leadership is and the key leadership processes Gene has used in his church service.
9:45 Gene defines leadership as a process of exerting social influence over others. This process can be learned, studied, observed, and trained. That is why anyone can be a leader.
10:40 Attributes of a leader. D&C 121:41-42.
11:50 Key leadership process one - A leader needs to create a vision, mentally and verbally, for their followers. What is your vision for your organization or ward? How can you convey that vision to others?
13:50 Key leadership process two - Create a shared plan that can help you get to your outcome. It’s not just the leader’s plan. Everyone in the organization should contribute to the plan.
15:00 Delegation. The leader has the responsibility for setting clear expectations. Such as: who will carry out the plan, time frame, provide appropriate resources, and follow up consistently.
16:00 Key leadership process three - Develop appropriate measures and metrics. Measures to track performance and progress.
17:30 Example of how to carry out a plan.
20:20 Key leadership process number four - When appropriate, celebrate successes.
22:00 Leadership gives power and influence. It can lead to either unrighteous dominion or righteous dominion. D&C 121:39.
27:00 In leadership meetings, set aside calendaring and administration. Come prepared to talk about specific individuals and their needs. Who needs ordinances done?
32:15 Communication councils play a vital role in connecting stakes to other faiths.
37:15 Gene’s approach to zone conferences when he was a Mission President.
45:00 Gene’s advice to prepare leaders for a visiting seventy. A seventy is not there to judge the meeting but to help the stake or ward.
47:00 Gene talks about his experience giving out callings. It’s not about who has the best church resume or who is the best prepared. Let God inspire you because it’s His calling, not yours.
The Latter-day Lives Podcast
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Counseling Together as Disciples of Christ | An Interview with Frantz Belot
Dr. Frantz Belot is co-founder of Tyfoom, an engagement mobile-first platform that documents and improves communication, productivity, and training. He is also a co-founder of Tech Trep Academy, a tuition-free, public school program tailored to the unique needs of each student. He worked as an executive with Imagine Learning, which provides a complete suite of adaptive digital curriculum and assessment solutions for PreK–8 in language development, and was instrumental in helping the company to a successful acquisition.
Frantz is a native of Haiti and was raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He obtained his PhD from Brigham Young University in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior, and his entrepreneurial spirit permeates all aspects of life. He’s passionate about helping people access education and training so they can positively impact their lives, businesses, and communities for good. He and his wife Brandi are joyfully raising their five sons in Mapleton, Utah.
In this podcast, Kurt and Frantz discuss the principles that Frantz has learned from his professional life, along with his experience as a bishop and counselor in a stake presidency.
12:00 A bishop presides over a ward but his mission is to help “the one.” Frantz always tried to go out and visit the members to help him focus on individuals.
13:20 Kurt and Frantz discuss how to schedule visits with the members and how Frantz went about visiting.
18:00 What Frantz has learned as he has been transitioning from a bishop to the stake presidency.
20:00 Stake and ward dynamics. Stake leaders should counsel with ward leaders before making decisions. Ward and stake leaders should be working together.
24:15 Counsel with one another to create the best outcomes.
25:00 Our Heavenly Father established councils. Members can receive more inspiration about planning and coordinating the Lord’s work.
26:30 Learn your duties and responsibilities. Use the handbook more to learn and know the purpose of each organization.
34:30 Seek to love, unify, and lift others.
38:45 How do we unify? One way is to counsel and not have one person dominate the conversation. Each person listens respectfully to one another.
43:00 There is no person that is the fountain of all knowledge.
43:30 You are a representative of Jesus Christ. Understand the nature of the savior and do your best. He can make up the rest.
46:40 You are not representing yourself in a meeting but the savior Jesus Christ.
48:10 The greatest leader is the greatest servant.
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