200 episodes

This Week in Mormons is the leading podcast on Latter-day Saintnews and issues, peppered with a bit of absurdist comedy and snappy wit! Join our host and editor-in-chief, Geoff Openshaw, as he partners with engaging Latter-day Saint co-hosts from around the world to bring you the best in Latter-day Saint news and commentary. Follow the blog at thisweekinmormons.com



Episodes typically published mid-week.

This Week in Mormons This Week in Mormons

    • Christianity

This Week in Mormons is the leading podcast on Latter-day Saintnews and issues, peppered with a bit of absurdist comedy and snappy wit! Join our host and editor-in-chief, Geoff Openshaw, as he partners with engaging Latter-day Saint co-hosts from around the world to bring you the best in Latter-day Saint news and commentary. Follow the blog at thisweekinmormons.com



Episodes typically published mid-week.

    EP 459 – Are You a Rachel?

    EP 459 – Are You a Rachel?

    Welcome! The Sisters are here to bring us the very best of Idaho, which is much, much bestness!

    Assessing New Young Women Structure

    With a new year is new goals, but also a new youth structure. Young Women, in particular, have been most affected, as the classes have no defined structure or names, leaving that up to the wards in question. The Sisters decided to poll the community and find out what local units are actually doing for their Young Women classes, and the results are interesting.



    First off, according to the survey, most wards are just calling the class "Young Women 14" or "Young Women 15-16," etc.



    Also, 35% of respondents said their ward now has two Young Women classes, while 29% have three, and 27% have only one.



    Advisers also speak to the struggles to coordinate activities with the Young Men because the class structures don't inherently line up.



    Generally speaking, the lack of structure is of concern to many, as there is a fear the Young Women won't follow through on their goals, and putting it on the ward to organize classes on their own - when many in smaller wards had been doing so anyway - unnecessarily complicates things.



    Tiffany also struggles to name The Handmaid's Tale.

    Other News

    This is a screw up that should get someone fired. The printed versions of Come, Follow Me contain outdated teachings on race, particularly the references to the "dark mark" on the Lamanites. The digital versions are fine. Whoops.



    The Church has issued a new statement on feminism. Feminism! WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?



    Excavation works continues on the Salt Lake Temple, with nifty statues being moved off the grounds, and the South Visitors Center now a remnant of the past.



    Also temple related, the First Presidency has announced some changes to temple ceremonial clothing. Read on and listen in to find out more.



    McKenna Denson, the woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by the Provo Missionary Training Center president while she was a missionary, might drop her case entirely.



    A Latter-day Saint was trapped inside a gym overnight, but he escaped in time for his son's missionary farewell. Another happy landing.



    Brigham Young University students have started a satirical website about Provo. Yay.



    And a heartwarming story out of Romania.

    Transcript

    [0:00] Hello twin listeners welcome to this week in Mormons the sisters Edition with Ariane Smith,

    • 59 min
    EP 458 – Alright, Wendy Nelson, I’m Gonna Need to See Some Credentials

    EP 458 – Alright, Wendy Nelson, I’m Gonna Need to See Some Credentials

    The week is here! THE week! Our favorite Singaporean resident, Josie Gleave, is with us from across the world to bring us some international news, as well as her singular form of comedy.



    Last month, the Salt Lake Temple closed for its four-year major overhaul. Renovating a temple means, of course, that the temple can no longer be a dedicated building, as it would be unrealistic for construction workers to hold temple recommends and conduct the work in the appropriate reverence. So when does a temple under revamp cease to be a temple? The Church let us know!



    http://www.thisweekinmormons.com/2020/01/when-exactly-does-a-temple-cease-to-be-a-temple/



    There's much in the world of women's issues this week. First of all, the Herald Extra has been kind enough to let us know that women who serve missions typically develop better leadership skills and gain in overall quality development. That's according to science!



    Next up: the forthcoming edition of the New Era magazine has a section on feminism! What could go wrong?! Actually, there's not a ton to it, although it does make a point that feminism = equality is a good thing, but feminism = agitation outside of a woman's divine role is a bad thing. And no, none of this is in response to recent heightened awareness of the Equal Rights Amendment.



    And how about some blogs on women's role in the Church? Our good friend, Carolyn Homer, sounds off about her fear of having kids. Elsewhere, the Church's own eternal marriage manual needs some serious updating, as it contains language about women that has been contradicted directly by more recent leadership. The Harvard Political Review also has a thoughtful piece on "More for Mormon Women," weakening the entire argument outright by using such a sinful term as "Mormon."



    On a healthy note, the section on unwed mothers and unplanned pregnancies has been mercifully updated in a new Gospel Topics page to reflect the times a bit more. No longer are father and mother encouraged to wed or give up the kid for adoption. Those options remain, but being a single mother is also now considered a respectable choice.



    Also, some history of how Utah women received the right to vote when some at the time in Utah (i.e. male leadership) thought such a thing was absurd.



    Geoff got really excited when the Church announced an application for a "multicultural" choir at the next General Conference might have revealed the location of the mysterious event.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    EP 457 – It’s the New Year, and We Can’t Think of a Title for This Episode

    EP 457 – It’s the New Year, and We Can’t Think of a Title for This Episode

    As seems to be the case whenever Kurt is in the hot seat, it's a strange grab bag of news this week without a single, dominating headline (unless you want to talk about Iran, which we don't). So let's dive in!



    So there's this interesting Tree of Life augmented reality app that the Church just released. For the uninitiated, augmented reality is something like Pokemon Go, where your phone shows you what is around you - as it normally would when taking a photo or video - but other material pops up in the process and you can interact with it. In this case, it's the opportunity to live through the Tree of Life story from the book of 1 Nephi. It's interesting. We had some trouble getting it to play nice on Android, but we'd love to hear what you think of it if you manage to use it.



    Also new from the Church is a new podcast focused exclusively on the First Vision, Joseph Smith's experience seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ. It's pretty great and contains interviews with scholars and historians. Certainly the best episode is the one about how the Sacred Grove must have smelled at the time. We're guessing like dirt and leaves.



    Our own Jeff Borders wants to talk about how much Latter-day Saints love acronyms. We're not a so-called "corporate church," you say? Tell that to the purveyors of layers upon layers of internal jargon!



    Random stuff: learn about the behind-the-scenes process of the new youth video, President Nelson encourages us to think seriously about the Restoration, Kurt wants to talk about the schedule changes at church that come with the new year for some reason, and a submarine commander somehow finds a way to get his church on even in the darkest abyss.



    Should Mormons use Medicaid? The idea here is that we preach self-reliance but also have a history of using government programs. A Washington Post article outlines the alleged double standard, while a Times and Seasons piece provides a brilliant takedown of the WaPo story.



    Lastly, Church growth is slowing in Utah and actually declining in Salt Lake County - the entire county, not just Salt Lake proper. There's some interesting data here, and it's worth exploring why the nucleus of the Church is not growing as one might hope. It's not only about urbanization and folks moving in from out of state.



    Check out that Patreon link! We'd really appreciate just $1 a month! That's it! Don't buy that candy bar (unless it's a Whatchamacallit). Aside from serving up the poorly targeted ads you're likely seeing on this page, Patreon is our main source of revenue.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    EP 456 – Money

    EP 456 – Money

    Given our production schedule the past few weeks, we haven't actually discussed the big one: the Church's wealth! In case you missed it, a whistleblower alleged that the Church has mishandled charitable contributions and used them to either build a war chest or bail out other for-profit, Church-owned entities as opposed to spending the charitable contributions on charitable purposes.



    The Church is famously opaque about its finances, but that was not always the case. You might have read in passing that Salt Lake used to publish financial reports well into the 20th century, but then stopped sometime in the 1950s or 160s. The presumption is that this was to avoid shedding a light on all of our money. However, that wasn't the case, as this great op ed explains. It was to avoid embarrassment for being in the red during the McKay era due to spending so much money on international expansion. The tradition has continued, but at this point, for what purpose? Who is benefiting from caginess about money? We don't need to know everything, but perhaps some greater detail would take away the mystery and the bogeyman in the process.



    For its part, the First Presidency released a statement that largely said nothing new, and Newsroom also published an article purporting to explain how Church funds are used, but it was also (perhaps predictably) bereft of detail. If you want to see that lack of detail in video form, enjoy below.







    There's actually been news not related to the Church having a portfolio half the size of Apple's cash on hand! The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington performed at the Washington, D.C. Temple visitors center as part of the beloved Festival of Lights celebration. This seems like a perfectly good thing, right? Ecumenism! Outreach! New friendly relationships! Well, many of you on Facebook did not think so, and that makes us sad.







    In temple news on the other side of the country, the Salt Lake Temple is now closed for about four years to undergo the largest, most extensive renovation in its history. As one might expect, there are many couples who  have wanted to wed in the historic building, which resulted in a major crunch of weddings leading up to the temple's closure. One bride even reserved the temple before even being engaged!



    Also in Utah, a man claiming to be frustrated with the gentler sex's refusal to pay him the attention he feels he deserves decide to run around in the Logan Utah Temple with an ax. Neat.



    This is more Latter-day Saint-adjacent,

    • 53 min
    EP 455 – Stories of Christmas

    EP 455 – Stories of Christmas

    Merry Christmas to you! To mix things up a bit this week, we've gotten together your favorite This Week in Mormons co-hosts to share personal stories of Christmas most relevant to them. You'll find laughter, tears, joy, and humility in these stories from Tiffany Hales, Devin Thorpe, Al Doan, Kurt Francom, Jared Gillins, Arianne Smith, and Geoff Openshaw. We hope they will bring you Christmas cheer.

    Transcript

    Geoff Openshaw:

    [0:16] Hello my little elves to die Santa.

    Headed to this week in Mormons thanks for taking the time to tune in this week because this week is Christmas were right upon it we wanted to mix things up a little bit.

    So what follows in this special episode are small Christmas anecdotes from the various co-hosts of this week in Mormons.

    Some of the stories are humorous some of the stories are tearjerkers summer touching summer spiritual summer secular.



    [0:45] What's Ray's we see the common threads of the Christmas season through different lenses through different hosts I want to take this time out front to thank everyone who participated and to get things kicked off.

    We're going to hand it over to our very own Tiffany Hales of the twin sisters was a story.

    About how she eventually got the best of her mother during Christmas.



    Tiffany Hales:

    [1:17] Now you may think the game of Survivor was invented by Mark Burnett and made famous by CVS and its host Jeff proust but you would be incorrect.

    The game of Survivor was invented by me and my mother.

    During my entire childhood Christmas was a dance my mother and I played to see who could outwit outplay Outlast,

    my mother never wanted anybody to know what they were getting for Christmas,

    she was famous for wrapping small items in big boxes with extra heavy items like bags of beans or towels to throw you off when you were trying to guess the gif,

    and you always had to guess the gift before opening it so it became a game between me and my mother for her to outwit my guessing skills,

    now my guessing skills became finely-tuned and quite Adept at a very early age I would scour the house for all the hiding places for presents until my parents got smart and started keeping the presents at my dad's business.



    [2:20] I would dig through the trash for receipts,

    I would look in the trash for bags from stores I would even go into my mother's sewing room and dig through the fabric scraps in her trash to figure out what she might be making me

    I would eavesdrop on conversations and I would unwrap and rewrap a present and you couldn't even tell

    I was obnoxious and I'm pretty sure I drove my mother that to the brink of Christmas insanity,

    no Christmas 1975 was a particularly memorable one in our game of Survivor I was 8 years old,

    the rule in my family was you could not have a Barbie and her accompanying accessories until you were 8 years old.

    I turned eight about a month before Christmas and received my first Barbie so of course for Christmas I wanted all of Barbie's accessories,

    specifically the carrying case with the fold-down bed and her Country Camper.

    I had picked them out of the Sears catalog as usual I could not sleep on Christmas Eve with the excitement of Christmas and my anticipated new Barbie toys.



    [3:27] Sleeping on Christmas Eve or rather not sleeping on Christmas Eve was normal and again part of the game of Survivor that my mom and I would play I would always be sent to bed about 10 p.m. I would struggle to fall asleep,

    and I usually wake up somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m. which was generally shortly after my mother went to bed we would then spend the next 4 hours with my parents yelling at me to get back in bed,

    threatening to take away my Christmas presents if I didn't I got really good at being as q...

    • 53 min
    EP 454 – Fake Plastic (Christmas) Trees

    EP 454 – Fake Plastic (Christmas) Trees

    Original picture: Merrick's Art



    Have you survived your ward Christmas party? Did kids disappear? Was all hope lost? Was the program too long? Did Santa make an appearance? This is serious stuff!







    Tiffay is very bothered by Geoff's, Al's, and Devin's thoughts on the forthcoming Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, going as far as saying she has "street cred" on this issue. Do. Not. Mess. With. Tiffany. Either way, the Sisters are excited now that the cast has been revealed, a member of which is LDS and owns a tequila company....



    Did you catch the Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert? How did such an affair become such a tradition? The Deseret News has the answer.



    In more Christmas news, what have the prophets said about Santa Claus? If this matters to you — and it shouldn't — LDS Living compiled a list containing such pertinent information.



    Here's a tragic tale of competing visions of what it means to "sustain" leaders and how it relates to LGBT rights. A young missionary from Idaho, serving in California, favored same-sex marriage. His stake president approved of him going to the temple and going on a mission. While in the field, the missionary lost his recommend. His mission president did not believe that he could sustain his Church leaders if he favored same-sex marriage, and a Seventy agreed. The problem? You can't be a missionary if you don't have a temple recommend.



    Related to same-sex marriage, we reported about 18 months ago that Family Search would be updated to allow records for same-sex couples. That effort has taken many years because the back-end infrastructure has required a complete rewrite to support such relationships. Now, the Church has announced that the functionality is live.



    Jeremy Goff is something of an influencer on Facebook. But sometimes noted bloggers are desperate for content, which brings us to his recent piece, "Have I Covenanted to Go to Church When I Am Sick?" No, you have not. Look, we've written stuff in desperation for clicks, too, but, come on....



    The supposedly Latter-day Saint-friendly Trump administration, via the Department of Homeland Security, is dramatically increasing the cost to access records - by 500%. Mitt Romney is trying to stop it.

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

Granny-luv ,

Fun show!

I’m a spunky middle aged grandmother living in Texas who really enjoys this show. I’ve been listening for a couple of years now, so I’ve witnessed the show’s transition from Geoff and Al weekly (which I must admit is my favorite because I love the bantering between the two) to Geoff with a guest host and the addition of the TWIM sisters. I think that Geoff has done a great job of keeping the show fun and informative while it continues to evolve.

mereviewingtwim ,

Life long listener, first time reviewer

I’ve been listening since the beginning! Sad the dynamics of Geoff and Al are less frequent now, let alone it’s not even a weekly podcast anymore. I get it, adulting and life happens. I will still listen every week without fail. The sisters are “ok” at best. Wish they would fact check more though.

Saraquilts ,

Still listening

I’m a woman.
I’m not family.
And I’m still listening.

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