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 541 - Biological Children, I Am Done with You!
They missed all of July because we just had to join forces with the Cultural Hall, but Arianne and Tiffany, the TWiM Sisters, are back with another fabuloso breakdown of Latter-day Saint news.
The big question! Should you attend two hours of church if you're on vacation or just sacrament meeting?
Let's get to the stories!
* The Alaskan assistant attorney general who was outed as a DezNat supporter has lost his job. But is that enough?
* How a heroin addict overcame addiction, found the gospel, and became a noted scholar
* Despite canceling the Saturday evening session of General Conference outright mere weeks ago, the Church has resurrected it, and it will be a session like any other
* Olympics news galore!
* Some female athletes have worn more modest apparel in their respective sports, provoking the condemnation of some and earning the admiration of others
* Meet the Latter-day Saint Olympians!
* Latter-day Saint MyKayla Skinner was leaving Tokyo for home after failing to qualify for the individual medal round in gymnastics, then she was called back, and she won a silver medal
* Meet the Tongan Latter-day saint female weightlifter
* We love Lisa Valentine Clark, who was on the pod just a few weeks ago, and now LDS Living has a new profile of her, checking in a year after she lost her husband to ALS
* How this celebrity photographer found out she's relayed to royalty!
* A band of friends created a documentary about Marc Simons, a teenager from Murray, UT who died in 1996
* Quintuplets received their missions calls on. the. same. day.
* a href="https://www.deseret.com/2021/7/31/22603618/makenna-myler-former-byu-cougars-runner-new-mom-goes-vi...
EP 540 - Hell Freezes Over (w/ Richie Steadman of The Cultural Hall)
What has happened? This Week in Mormons has been hijacked by a ne'er-do-well out of Utah, one Richard Thelonious Steadman of The Cultural Hall, a podcast that adamantly claims not to be one. So why is Richie here? Both This Week in Mormons and The Cultural Hall hit 540 episodes at the exact same time, so it was the perfect moment for a crossover between your favorite frenemies.
Lest you fear, we don't just rip each other to shreds for 100 minutes. Oh no! There's actual news. Let's get to it in the order of discussion!
* The Washington DC Temple finally has an open house and rededication date.
* Brigham Young University hires a non-Latter-day Saint cross country coach, which is actually a big deal!
* BYU also has some sort of Virginity Club? But is it legit? Is it satire?
* Have you heard of the dating site TrueLDS? Apparently it's the only Latter-day Saint dating site actually run by Latter-day Saints, and they also make sure you are a "good" Mormon.
* Did the Church somehow get caught up in a Ponzi scheme? Sorta.
* The president of the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission dies from complications with COVID-19.
* Two missionaries die in a major car accident in New Mexico.
* We covered this a few weeks ago, but Richie really wanted to talk about Greg Prince giving his collection of Latter-day Saint materials to University of Virginia's Mormon studies program.
* President Ballard gets a day in Utah just for himself, and it's the day after he did something wonderful!
* A St. George man does the right thing - drives his Jeep onto a church lawn, strips naked, and enters sacrament meeting.
* Care to join the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square? Apparently you don't even know how to sing!
* In DezNat news (ugh) - an Ogden city council hopeful is a href="https://www.
EP 539 - Once I Was Engaged - Lisa Valentine Clark, Hailey Smith, and Tanner Gillman
We're pumped to have back in the TWiM dungeon Lisa Valentine Clark and Hailey Smith – threepeating! – and Tanner Gillman, stars of the new film, Once I Was Engaged, a sequel to 2015's Once I Was a Beehive, for which we interviewed Lisa and Hailey at the time.
So how did a sequel to a beloved film about girls camp come about, this time focusing on a different character and following a different arc? How did COVID affect filming plans, particularly in Hawaii, where BYU and the Polynesian Cultural Center were basically shut down at the time? What inspirations did the actors take for their characters.
Learn more about the state of Latter-day Saint cinema, what's working, and what we can do as the paying public to make it even better and more accessible. Is it difficult to make a film that is broadly appealing while keeping the overall plot in an LDS lane?
Once I Was a Beehive reasonably subverted expectations upon its release, is Once I Was Engaged designed to do the same?
You can also listen to Hailey and Lisa talk improv comedy on their BYUtv program, Show Offs, which recently concluded its third season, in a previous interview below.
Big thanks to everyone for being part of this week's show. Once I Was Engaged will be out in Utah cinemas on July 21st, and as is the case with most LDS cinema, a strong first week can make all the difference. So if you are interested in seeing the film (we have, and we recommend it), make haste to the cineplex!
EP 538 – The REAL Illuminati
Our dearest Josie Gleave is back after a minor hiatus. She's been plenty busy, and we'll get you all caught up on the happenings in Singapore.
There is a new musical composed in response to The Book of Mormon called 1820: The Musical, and it is stated to be a musical journey through the start of the Restoration, framed around the love story of Joseph and Emma Smith. Check out its hot soundtrack!
Do you watch The Chosen? It's a huge hit among Christian audiences, but plenty of America is unaware of its existence. The Atlantic wrote a lengthy piece about the history and nature of the show, and was largely positive about its story, acting, and production values, which is saying something, since the venerable publication is often difficult to please!
Historian Gregory Prince donated over 10,000 Latter-day Saint-related materials to the University of Virginia, giving it the largest Mormon studies program outside of Utah.
Hey, so the REAL Illuminati have announced their own version of the Book of Mormon. Yes, this is a thing!
Some temple news. First, all temples globally are now open in some capacity. The Kyiv Ukraine Temple was the lone holdout, having remained closed since March 2020. Also, you know how temples were often built on the same lot as a meetinghouse? Well now they are replacing meetinghouses. Check out a history of that change.
On to some demographics. Latter-day Saints are getting older, according to a new study. The median age of Church members is now three years higher than it was the last time the study took place. What's up with that?
A Deseret News op-ed goes into some of the reportedly flawed methodology in the headline-grabbing report that one in five young Latter-day Saints are not heterosexual.
And why haven't other states followed Utah's lead when it comes to LGBTQ rights? The "Utah Compromise" came into law in 2015, but little else has changed nationally in the time since then.
Latter-day Saint bishops and other leaders have historically been able to perform civil marriages for just about anyone, but new guidelines from the First Presidency have drastically restricted that ability. Why?
The Church aims to be a good steward of the environment, so it is responding to Utah's drought by a href="https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/07/12/lds-church-cuts-water-use/" target="_blank" r...
EP 537 - Keith Erekson, Director of the Church History Library
Director of the Church History Museum, Keith Erekson, joins us for a discussion on how Latter-day Saints can equip themselves with the necessary tools to discern truth from error, particularly as we wade into aspects of Church history and Latter-day Saint urban legends. Even faith-promoting stories are not always true. Keith has a new book, Real vs. Rumor: How to Dispel Latter-day Saint Myths.
Whether it's a girls camp motto that is erroneously the words of Satan, or the truth behind the destruction of the original cupola on the St. George Temple, it's important for Latter-day Saints to learn the difference between what is real... and what is a rumor. And why has fact checking become a four-letter term not just among those of the Latter-day Saint faith, but across society?
Keith A. Erekson is an award-winning author, teacher, and public historian. Since 2014 he has worked for the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, directing the Church History Library and encouraging historical outreach and public engagement. He also serves on the editorial board of the Church Historian’s Press.
Erekson has authored numerous books and articles on topics including politics, hoaxes, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, and Church history. His work has been published in various scholarly journals, including the Journal of American History, The History Teacher, the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Oral History Review, and Latter-day Saint history journals.
03:09 - Keith's background
05:14 - What is a public historian?
06:41 - What does the director of the Church History Library do?
10:09 - Protecting ourselves from misinformation
12:37 - Latter-day Saints being susceptible to scams
17:29 - Who decides which past to remember?
21:31 - Examples of bias in the Book of Mormon
25:19 - The importance of firsthand accounts
30:12 - We don't believe in infallible prophets
33:46 - What to do when prophets are wrong
39:24 - Working through doubt
44:33 - Constantly revising our understanding of history (even LDS history)
53:44 - Overcoming resistance to fact-checking
1:00:29 - Involvement in publishing Joseph Smith's seer stone
1:03:54 - What's the coolest object in the Church History Library?
1:06:16 - What are the best sources?
1:08:23 - Why little mention of Mark Hofmann in the book?
1:10:20 - Opinion (or not) on Book of Mormon geography?
1:13:22 - Pro or con "The Last Jedi"
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EP 536 - The Temple Chef
Sariah Wilson is back with us, and she's got some great stories from inside the temple and the Missionary Training Center, including the personal chef that serves the Brethren.
Speaking of said MTC, small groups of missionaries have returned to three training centers for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The Church is wisely easing into such moves, but with vaccinations on the rise (and required for many missionaries), it's great to see a return to in-person learning for new missionaries.
Have you heard of the screenwriting and songwriting duo Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio? They are Latter-day Saints who have penned such hits as Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets. They clearly have a nice working relationship with NBC/Universal, as they are now the brains behind the upcoming AppleTV+ series Schmigadoon, a loving sendup of classic musicals like Brigadoon, in which the protagonists get stuck in an ostensibly perfect town and can't escape until they find loooooove.
#DezNat is waning, or at least the presence of some of its notable members, including the founder, is. Many supporters of the bizarrely overly pious #DezNat movement have backed off of social media. Why? Because investigative journalists have been discovering their identities and doxxing, or unhiding, them. Apparently it's fun to support a "righteous" cause until people find out you're involved in it.
It was a battle between two large holding companies for miles of pristine farmland along the Columbia River, and the one controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beat the one controlled by Bill Gates. That's right, Microsoft's founder is not only reeling publicly from his messy divorce. He also just lost thousands of acres of farmland those pesky Mormons.
Unsurprisingly, Latter-day Saint Democrats have a tougher time breaking into politics in Washington, DC, but not necessarily because of their politics, but because the network is weaker compared to the massive opportunities available to Republican members of the Church. The Deseret News ran an interesting piece where it interviewed a number of prominent Latter-day Saint Democrats (including previous podcast guest Congressman Ben McAdams) about the challenges the political minority within our faith community faces as it tries to navigate a career.
A new study argues that one in five young adult US Latter-day Saints are LGBTQ. There's some salt to take with all of this, but the study is overall sound. Why are younger generations "more" LGBTQ than their forebears? Is it a change in taste or a change in the culture that makes it easier to be public with such identity? Can Boomers even admit their sexual orientation as easily as Gen Z?
Temple news: the Church announced the locations for three temples in the we...
Love the TWIM sisters
I love the TWIM sisters episodes! I feel like I’m sitting around a kitchen table hanging out with my own sisters!
You can't go wrong with Geoff!
Great weekly podcast to keep one up-to-date with all things Latter-day Saint. Geoff and his co-hosts have a fun, light-hearted perspective on the news items they review while also adding commentary that is very thoughtful and light-hearted. I highly recommend this podcast.
Loved Sariah as cohost!
The latest episode with Sariah as cohost was so fun! Good conversation and well selected topics. Loved it!