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 Holladay, 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.
4 Reasons Why Bishops Should Be Meeting with Youth | An Interview with Jennifer Roach
Jennifer Roach earned a Masters of Divinity from the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and a Masters of Counseling from Argosy University. She was an ordained Anglican Pastor prior to her baptism 18 months ago in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
4:20 Introduction to Jennifer. Spoke about bishops interviews at FairMormon conference. Recent interview on Latter-Day Lives.
5:43 How she was introduced to the Book of Mormon through a reporter who was covering a lawsuit she was involved in. She was happy in her church, and not "looking" for anything. Introduced to the Pearl of Great Price, particularly the Book of Moses. She thought it was fan-fiction.
8:24 Speaks of giving up ordination and position in her church. Family supported, leaders supported, community questioned.
10:24 She was a survivor of abuse in her church growing up, starting about age 14.
12:50 Discussion regarding bishop interviews and her interest and research into it. Teenagers need a safe place to talk about issues; it is vital in an "incredibly confusing world". What do teenagers need, what do abuse victims need?
14:53 Kids with best outcomes are those with three adults in their lives, besides their parents, that they can relate to. Mom and dad should still be safety net, but others are needed (James Furrows research). The importance of the "person who is at the top of the organization" knows and cares about the youth.
20:45 4 reasons why bishops should be meeting with youth
* It is developmentally important to them to have these discussions. This is a high expectation religion. If they are going to stay, they need to know that they are accountable to bishop.
* The peers of LDS teens are getting this support and these interviews in other churches (Catholic/Protestant)
* Even though bishops are not specifically asking about abuse, discussions about chastity can sometimes bring out hints of abuse. 75% of abuse disclosure is accidental. Average age people disclose past abuse is 54 years old. Bishop interviews are NOT grooming. Grooming requires intent.
* Teenagers need a place for self-determination, to know they are accountable, so they can grow into their own faith and not relying on parents.
45:15 Further discussion about the importance of 3 adults, besides parents, in each youth life. Help them to understand and discuss "here is what you are going through, and how does that apply". James Furrows research shows that for best outcome, one of the adults should be the "top person" in the organization.
47:20 Advice for a leader that wants to develop better relationships with youth: be aware in group, small group setting and listen to them, help them contextualize what is going on with their world around them.
50:17 Any caution for leaders? We have to do the gymnastics of the rules (not alone with youth, etc.), but that is not the same thing as being the kind of adult in a kid's life they can open up too. You are protecting them, but also need to be available to them. The interest is, "what does the youth need?", not curiosity of the adults needs. Follow the youth. Create a culture that abuse can be talked about, and be safe to discuss
56:20 Final encouragement: Be brave enough to ask youth the hard questions. Do not abandon those kids who are struggling in a world that is far more sexualized than in the past. Be willing to talk to them.
Latter-day Lives Podcast with Jennifer Roach
Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault | An Interview with the Staff of The Refuge
The Refuge is an advocacy group for sexual assault victims located in Orem, Utah. In this episode, Kurt discusses with Lori Jenkins, Stephanie Heaps and Bethany Crisp about how we as leaders can recognize and help sexual assault victims.
3:30 What is the Refuge?
6:15 In Utah sexual assault is the one crime that we're above the national average.
9:15 When you first hear about sexual abuse start by believing the victim.
11:15 Remember what your role is: to connect them to Christ.
12:15 0% of victims chose to be victimized. They need love and support and are never to blame.
13:30 When someone first comes to you and they have done something wrong, it's not the time to talk about that.
14:45 The first person a victim tells about the assault sets the tone for their recovery.
16:45 Rapists cause rape. It can happen to anyone.
17:30 Don't question why they didn't fight back.
18:15 Submission is not consent.
19:30 90% of the time the victim knows the perpetrator.
20:00 When defining consent, coercion can play a part.
20:45 What is trauma brain?
23:45 Things leaders can say to a victim.
24:15 Reflective listening
26:30 Many victims are wondering if they are to blame or need to repent.
27:30 Become acquainted with services that can help victims.
31:00 Code R exam
33:00 Plan B pill that can be given after a rape and what it does.
34:00 We need victims to know there are resources and that they are free.
35:00 Reporting the assault and what is required.
35:40 Turn to the handbook and the church's counseling and legal line: overuse it!
37:00 What to do when a victim doesn't want to report the assault.
39:45 Going to the hospital doesn't mean they have to report the assault.
40:15 Ask what is concerning to them and what you can do to help.
40:30 Rape trauma syndrome
40:50 Phase 1- The crisis
41:30 Phase 2- Initial adjustment
42:15 Phase 3- Resolution phase
43:20 The phases aren't always linear.
43:40 What not to say to victims.
44:00 Don't question their choices.
46:00 Do not share details or information with others even if you think the victim should tell them.
48:00 Allow the victim to make decisions.
49:00 Sexual assault can happen to men too.
50:30 Loved ones of the victim are affected and also may need to be referred to resources to help them.
53:30 What to do when a membership council is involved for the perpetrator. Don't retraumatize the victim.
58:00 Kurt's experience with a sexual assault victim.
The Center for Women and Children in Crisis
How to Talk to Your Ward About Sexual Abuse | An Interview with Chris Yadon
Chris Yadon is the executive Director of the Younique Foundation in Lehi, Utah, and a former stake president. Their mission is to "inspire hope in women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents by providing healing services through educational retreats, support groups, and online resources. [They] educate and empower parents and caregivers to protect children from sexual abuse through community and online resources. [They also] advocate for open discussions about sexual abuse through community dialogue and social awareness." The Younique Foundation was founded by the same founders of the Younique Beauty Company due to their desire to fight against sexual abuse and it’s devastating consequences.
2:20 Background of the Younique Foundation.
4:27 How did you get involved in working with Non-profit organizations?
* “We need to become experts in combating pornography.” Finding a connection between pornography and sexual abuse or exploitation.
7:05 Statistics – realizing the magnitude of sexual abuse
* 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
9:00 What constitutes abuse? “any unwanted coercion or force into sexual activity”
10:50 Where does sexual abuse come from? Who is doing it?
* 80-90% of sexual abuse is coming from trusted family relationships in other words someone in the family or someone the family knows.
* 10-20% is perpetrated by unknown individuals aka “stranger danger”
* What is often uncomfortable and hard for families to realize is that it is usually people in your circle ( ie.coach, teacher, uncle, older sibling, older sibling’s friend, a person at church, etc…)
12:00 Other foundational knowledge for leaders in the church.
* It happens in the church. It happens to church members.
* It happens to families that are engaged with their children. As a parent, you can do everything “right” and it can still happen.
* It happens in every race, religion, culture, every socio-economic group. The statistics do not change from one group to another.
13:15 Is there a correlation of sexual abuse to the church’s culture, structure, or habits of the church?
* The church as an organization has been putting a tremendous effort into addressing and preventing abuse in positive ways.
* How individual congregations can apply the church’s policies and guidelines can be more problematic.
* Sexual abuse is typically a crime of opportunity.
* 16:00 When a leader stands up against abuse it gives members permission to speak openly about their experiences.
* Distinguishing between a secondary issue (behavior) versus the primary issue (trauma).
20:00 Combating pornography
* In almost every case of pornography addiction or compulsion, there were some early trauma issues (death, divorce, sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect)
* A church leader’s role is not to combat the root trauma but to refer members to professionals who can
23:10 As a leader how approachable am I? How do I start talking about it?
* Have conversations of healthy sexuality that include sexual abuse as part of that conversation.
* Be direct. Educate parents on how to educate their children.
* The use of professionals in committees to aid leaders.
28:05 How do leaders get to root issues so members can receive the proper help they need?
* Listen first. Don’t dig into details initially.
* Ask good secondary open-ended questions. ( “tell me about when this started”, “What was going on in your life the first time this happened”, “tell me more”, “help me to understand”, etc.)
Ethical Dilemmas in Church Leadership | An Interview with Brad Agle
Brad Agle, the author of The Business Ethics Field Guide, is a professor of Ethics and Leadership in the Marriott School of Business Management at BYU and has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh. In this podcast, he discusses how ethical dilemmas can come up in the church setting and how to better approach them.
05:31 GRAY AREAS
Ethical gray areas come when values conflict. He teaches practical tools for prioritizing.
06:46 His well-received book, The Business Ethics Field Guide, started with collecting thousands of written accounts of ethical dilemmas faced by executive MBA students in North America, São Paulo, and Prague.
07:23 Thirteen types of fundamental ethical dilemmas
As a church member, knowing how to repent provides a really good formula to help you repair when you or someone in your organization has done wrong: recognize what you did wrong, ask for forgiveness, provide restitution if you can, and resolve never to do it again. People don’t often do all these steps in repairing harm done to others.
10:54 SHOWING MERCY
Church members who have served in bishoprics or stake presidencies have particularly been trained well in the appropriateness of showing mercy from experiences serving in a Church Membership Council (formerly known as a Disciplinary Council). In these councils, showing mercy is balanced with ensuring the good name of the Church and innocent victims are protected.
13:00 CONFLICT OF INTEREST
In the church, we’re not well trained for situations when we are in two different roles, such as business positions and church leadership.
14:25 MAKE A PROMISE AND THE WORLD CHANGES
We church members teach each other that we keep our promises: we keep covenants and keep our word (e.g. a bishop gets an emergency call which conflicts with a commitment to a family member). Church leaders must teach boundaries for marriages and family and how to make tough decisions: sometimes you need to say no.
17:29 Imperfect leaders make mistakes
18:11 INTERVENTION DILEMMA (or Counseling Together)
How do we balance sustaining leaders with the command to council together in decision making? When do we sustain revelation and when do we push back by speaking up for something we think is wrong?
An Intervention Dilemma (or Standing up to Power): As a bishop who lived close to the site of a new stake center, Brad was delegated by a beloved stake presidency to coordinate with Church Facilities, the general contractor, and the local architect. The first plan from Church Facilities had the kitchen close to the bishop’s office and chapel instead of the cultural center. He proposed the change to the stake presidency but was denied. A bishop serving in the one other building built according to this new plan agreed that a change was needed from personal experience, so Brad asked again and was denied again. The switch would cost about $1,500 for a multi-million dollar building that you want to get right. On the third time requesting a change to the stake presidency, he came with the change request from the whole ward council, and they finally granted the change: he wore them down like the petitioner to the unjust judge. Meanwhile, the granted change actually ended up saving $500.
24:47 QUESTIONS for the 13 DILEMMAS in The Business Ethics Field Guide
The book provides examples of and pitfalls for each of the thirteen dilemmas. It also includes actions for prevention as well as questions. Some questions for an intervention dilemma include these:
(1) Are you the right person to intervene? Intervention is necessary because of a violation of ethics, or harm may be done to people: i. e.
How I Lead as Stake Relief Society President | Interviews with Angela Griffiths and Jennifer Coleman
In this How I Lead episode, Kurt talks with two stake Relief Society presidents about their experiences and the principles of leadership they have learned while serving.
Angela Griffiths lives in Sale, UK, near Manchester, England, where she has served as a stake Relief Society president for four years. She is an IT teacher and also has a degree in educational leadership and management, and has also served as a stake Primary president and stake Young Women president.
4:25 About her stake in the Manchester area
5:20 Had not been a ward Relief Society president first
6:40 Principle 1: The importance of being organized
* Regular monthly meetings with minutes, planning ahead, seeing what training is needed for the wards and being proactive
9:40 Principle 2: The importance of relying on prayer
* Recognizing inspiration and being flexible to follow it
* 11:45 Brainstorming ideas and creating mind maps
* 12:45 Praying to help the sisters become more unified: inspired to have a Relief Society camp for three days with a variety of activities
17:10 Manchester pageant: change management and getting people on board
23:15 Working with the stake presidency to plan the ward conferences for the year
24:30 Meeting with the bishops, preparing to reopen church meetings
26:15 Learned to rely more on her counselors
Jennifer Coleman lives in Rutland, Vermont, where she serves as a stake Relief Society president. Originally from Seattle, Washington, she and her husband also serve in mission leadership in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission.
30:50 Receiving the call to serve
32:10 Church experience and also serving in the mission
34:00 Coordinating council of stake Relief Society presidents
37:10 About her stake and visiting each unit
39:30 Principle 1: Speak up in meetings
42:00 Principle 2: When discussing a topic or challenge with your presidency, before telling them what you think, ask them first what they think
43:25 Principle 3: Decide what is of most value to you and your leadership and don’t try to duplicate what others have done
* Choice to visit the units more frequently instead of putting their energy into a project the previous presidency had established
46:45 Not being afraid to fail
50:00 Principle 4: When problem-solving, you may need to take some non-traditional approaches
Suggestion to use a talking stick to keep sisters who talk over others in meetings
Having difficult conversations
55:15 Principle 5: Often the little things you do as a leader are much more important than the big things
* Decision to put more energy into one-on-one interactions than into big events
Seeking Out LGBTQ Saints | Clips from the LGBT Saints Virtual Summit
The LGBT Saints Virtual Summit is almost here. It all begins on September 8th. To register for this online conference for FREE CLICK HERE
This episode highlights four principles of seeking out and listening to LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and features clips of interviews from the LGBT Saints Virtual Summit.
3:40 Seeking out the LGBTQ Latter-day Saint
* Kurt’s experience being sought out as a bishop
* Bishop’s responsibility "to seek out the poor and provide assistance to those in need"
* Being proactive rather than reactive
10:10 Principle 1: Find and Listen
* 11:00 Carl Hull interview clip: seeking out an old colleague to listen to their story
* 18:15 Making it real by sitting down with and listening to LGBTQ individuals
* 19:00 Listening to transgender people
19:45 Principle 2: Start a Dialogue
* 20:20 Experience of a Young Women leader who was asked by one young woman in her ward to leave her alone because the young woman is bisexual and “by your standards I’m already going to hell”
* 23:20 We have to stay ahead of these conversations, especially with the youth
* 24:10 President Fersch interview clip: What starting a dialogue looks like
* 31:50 One heart and one mind: making a welcoming place for those individuals
33:55 Principle 3: Stand in the Tension
* Kurt’s regret for not reaching out to a gay ward member
* 34:45 The tension is between love and law: show love while respecting doctrines
* 36:30 Ty Mansfield clip: the difficulty of holding the tension
* 38:35 Elder Oaks quote
* 41:00 It’s in the tension that safety is created
* 42:30 Scott and Becky Mackintosh clip: attending a gay wedding
* 45:50 A bishop’s wrestle with attending his transgender brother’s wedding
48:00 Principle 4: Being an Advocate for Christ
* 48:40 Offering hope-filled messages
* 50:25 Mixed-orientation marriage: not the unicorn some people believe it is
* 52:00 We can be alive in Christ and thrive in Christ, even in this context
* 52:25 Resources are available
LGBT Saints Virtual Summit
Church resources: same-sex attraction and transgender
Loving Our LGBT Brethren & Sisters | An Interview with Bishop Carl Hull
Customer ReviewsSee All
More teaching tips please
Love your podcast. I would like to request more interviews with great teachers. Teaching in the church is a part of so many callings.
First-rate perspectives, very accessible!
The guests on his podcast, as well as the host, always deliver inspiring and thought-provoking discussion. I consider this content to be in line with the exhortation to seek wisdom out of the best books. I strongly recommend this content to anyone in LDS leadership—novice or veteran.
New YSA ward bishopric counselor
I am recently called to a YSA ward bishopric and this podcast was recommended. As I ponder and pray to know how to serve, listening to this podcast has been very helpful. I especially appreciate the insight regarding serving LGBTQ people. Thank you!