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.
The Promises We Make as Leaders | An Interview with Jason Hewlett
Jason Hewlett is a speaker, performer, and entertainer. In 2020 he added “bestselling author” and “virtual entertainer” to his repertoire. Jason has served as an elders quorum president and currently serves on the high council in his stake. He is also a husband, and a father to four children.
7:45 Advice to leaders handling virtual events
* 10:55 Instruct people attending meetings to turn on their camera
* Warm up with a question in chat
14:15 Jason’s experience serving on the high council
16:30 Jason’s journey writing and publishing The Promise to the One
* The foundation of his message is in keeping promises to ourselves
19:20 Experience serving as an elders quorum president and trying so hard to do it all that he wasn’t keeping the promise to himself
24:00 Signature Moves: The unique talents, skills, and traits you can share with the world
* Identify, clarify, magnify
* Do this with others and recognize what others see that you might not
31:40 Property line living: recognize where we can stop or keep going in the service of others
* Keeping a promise to those we serve
39:20 Experience struggling to figure out how to work during a pandemic, and the gifts of a friend playing music outside the house, and friends offering to help
44:00 Leaving a legacy: What can you create now that will live beyond you? What do I want the end game to be? How can I serve at the highest level of engagement?
49:35 Experience of choosing to leave in chapter 10
56:00 What it means to keep your promise as a disciple of Jesus Christ
The Promise to the One, by Jason Hewlett
How This Professional Entertainer Can Help Improve Your Next High Council Talk | An Interview With Jason Hewlett
When Leading with Others Results in Conflict | An Interview with Chad Ford
Chad Ford is best known as an analyst and entrepreneur covering the NBA and NBA Draft for ESPN. His primary work, however, is as a peacebringer, an international conflict mediator, college professor, and director of the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding at BYU-Hawaii. In this interview, Chad discusses the concepts in his book Dangerous Love: Transforming Fear and Conflict at Home, at Work, and in the World, and how they apply to church leadership.
4:00 Chad’s path to BYU Hawaii
6:30 The path to writing the book started with writing a textbook, then changing to writing it as stories that connect with people in a variety of circumstances
8:30 Written for a secular audience but doesn’t shy away from faith and religion
10:00 Connection with the Arbinger Institute
12:50 Leaders aren’t called because of their pastoral qualifications and training, but a lot of the day-to-day work in leadership revolves around conflict
14:30 Association of sin with conflict and contention leads to conflict avoidance
21:00 “Easy love” and relationships
23:00 Agape: the Greek notion of love described by Paul
25:30 Outward accommodation and keeping conflict inside is not love
26:30 The most difficult person is the person you actually need to get closest to
27:45 This is the calling of discipleship. This is what Christ does. We naturally pull away when people need us the most, when there is struggle and conflict.
30:35 Learning this concept from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to love your enemies
34:15 This means I have to humbly seek to understand their experience and perspective
37:10 We need to see people we struggle with as people and not as objects. Chad’s own experiences missing this in his life and seeking to truly see at least one person each day.
44:50 The concept of “turning first”: choosing to see the person first and turning toward them, inviting them to connect
48:05 Example of the prodigal son and the father’s open arms
50:00 Example of reconciling with a man in the ward
52:00 We create justifications for loving people less, but can commit to loving more. “In the litany of sins, not loving one of our brothers and sisters is probably there at the top.”
54:10 The unsolvable conflict: you’ve probably tried all of the wrong things on the inside even as you do and say all of the “right” things on the outside
55:00 The seven why’s: Get deeply curious about people. Keep telling me why.
56:15 There can still be disagreement, and this is when you take the time and patience to seek to find the common ground
58:00 Failing to invite those labeled as the terrorist to the peacebuilding process. Unanimous decisions begin with exploring the perspective of others, as with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
1:01:00 When people do feel heard, valued, and seen, they are willing to make adjustments. This can’t be faked and must be felt at a deeper level through the hard work of intentionally building a relationship.
1:03:35 Dangerous love is always a struggle because we are imperfect, but the key is the humility to repent and reconnect.
1:04:30 We have the same stigma around conflict that we have around sinning. Repentance is a gift and our lives should be spent repenting, using this gift to correct relationships and not simply to correct outward sins.
1:07:30 Offering grace to others just as we receive it from Christ
1:10:50 Begin to encourage this by talking about what a Zion ward would look like and how we can build the relationships we need
Dangerous Love: Transforming Fear and Conflict at Home, at Work,
Creating Ward Unity Through Story | An Interview with KaRyn Lay
KaRyn Lay produces LDS Living's This is the Gospel podcast and the Sunday on Monday study group, and hosts and writes the This is the Gospel segments. KaRyn has a degree in English Literature and a masters in Communication with an emphasis in film, and loves storytelling and the power of story. She has served in Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society presidencies.
5:15 KaRyn’s background and path to podcasts with LDS Living
7:30 Careful with the wording in the introduction to This is the Gospel: Every one of us is practicing discipleship.
11:00 Bringing storytelling into your organization: We discount our own experiences, but everyone has a story of transformation.
14:15 Vulnerability: we are missing an opportunity for connection when we fail to share our failings and struggles because it helps us see one another the way Christ sees us.
17:30 Our first reaction might be to step back, but if we keep listening we can lean in and connect. Our brains are wired for this.
19:15 Sharing past sins: no need to give the details, but don’t leave out your mistakes. Example of the Brother of Jared.
21:00 Formulating a story
* Tell your own story, not someone else’s story.
* Create an outline of the main points of decision in your story. Set up the context, tell what happened, the results, and your takeaway.
* Determining what details to include: choose carefully, keep it short, and be real. Be curious about your own story and consider previous experiences where it was different. Don’t gloss over moments of doubt or other hard experiences.
* Find the moment of transformation and build around that. Touch lightly on the takeaway.
* Know your audience. Tell the right story to the right people. How will it be useful, interesting, and meaningful to them? Consider telling the story from the perspective of where you were at the time.
28:25 Speaking to youth: how to get them to pay attention and respond
31:30 Vulnerability with youth will increase the power of hope and connection in your message, and show youth that you can be trusted with their struggles
33:05 Doctrine & Covenants 50:21-23 Edifying and rejoicing together is a gift of storytelling, creating true communion
34:00 Developing questions to encourage youth to talk, offering them an opportunity to tell a story of their own
35:20 KaRyn’s own learning experience with believing in “inappropriate pulpit disclosure” and coming to recognize that the listener needs to offer grace and mercy to the speaker telling their story.
* Sharing difficult experiences so that the ward can share your burden.
* Vulnerability hangovers
39:45 It’s the leader’s place to gently pull the conversation back from situations where there was uncomfortable oversharing. Teach and train that this is a safe space.
41:30 Part of a leader’s stewardship is to practice sharing stories and to set the tone. We get better at telling stories by listening to stories by great storytellers such as Elder Holland.
44:30 Brene Brown: You cannot tell your story until you’re far enough removed from it that you don’t care what other people think of it. Know yourself well enough to know when you’re at that point.
46:00 Journaling about your stories to process what it means and why it’s important.
46:25 Sister Aburto’s response to the difficulty of telling her difficult stories
48:20 Boundaries for storytelling: Will it do harm for the person telling it or to the faith of someone listening? Ask for guidance with knowing what stories to tell.
51:05 The weight of ministry and understanding the love the Lord has for her through hearing the stories of others
Experiencing God Through the Scriptures | An Interview with Jared Halverson
Brother Jared Halverson has been an institute teacher at the University of Utah for the past six years. He hails originally from Los Angeles. His YouTube channel and podcast, “Unshaken,” helps people study the scriptures. He and Sister Halverson are former residents of Tennessee where Brother Halverson studied in the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University, where he is now a PhD candidate in Historical Studies with a focus on American religious history. While attending Vanderbilt, he sometimes was called upon to speak to college classes or to non-LDS congregations in the Nashville community to explain his religious beliefs, especially during the Mitt Romney presidential run. Bro. Halverson was an avid athlete in high school (football and track) and interacted with a broad spectrum of religions among his boyhood friends. He served a Spanish speaking mission.
05:20: Feeling at home as a religious minority.
07:15: Guidance to leaders confronted by tough gospel questions. Conviction brings courage.
10:30: Open your mouth and it shall be filled (D&C 84), if you are prepared. The Holy Ghost can help us remember things we have studied. Respect people’s questions. Study; learn from experience/mistakes.
14:50: Being defensive can offend the Spirit and invite contention. Unity, not just orthodoxy, is vital. Seek to understand. Sometimes being loving will earn us a second conversation with someone whereas being overly bold will not. Open your ears and the heat will evaporate (elephants). Don’t stomp around with big head and sharp tusk like elephants, which also have a thick skin. Create safe space for questions.
27:00: Be grateful for faith of others. Brother Halverson has worshiped with Quakers, Bahai, Evangelicals, Catholics, etc. Beauty is everywhere. The Church has a monopoly on a few things but not all good things. Holy envy. Some Evangelicals are concerned about “cheap grace” too.
32:00: Responding to questions about grace. Just as Martin Luther may have overcorrected in breaking away from Catholicism, have we overcorrected in not trying to understand grace? Toxic perfectionism. Serving God does not mean we are trying to earn His love. The Book of Mormon addresses grace often. Joseph Smith spoke of proving contraries. Jesus was justice and mercy combined. Broad brush answers may be just what half the class needs and not at all what another half needs at a given time. People are all over the map. It’s often difficult to have a pat answer that speaks to all of them. Ministering visits are an opportunity for one-on-one, tailor-made dialogue.
41:25: General authority discourses, of necessity, often speak to the masses who are at different places of spiritual development. Alma 42 is dissected as to Alma’s balance in teaching his son Corianton about justice and mercy.
45:32: Don’t make interfaith activities a covert missionary operation. God has made ample provision to bring us all home. Do not lessen your zeal but show an increase in patience. Cheer on people in other faiths who are doing good things.
47:30: Interfaith work. The meaning of“ward.” Be a good neighbor. Brother Halverson was clearly a religious minority in his Tennessee neighborhood. Find common goals with which to team up. Non-members sometimes don’t trust our intentions. Based on doctrine and practice, our church can be patient because of what we know about temple work and spirit world.
53:30: Come Follow Me YouTube channel “Unshaken.” Many people’s scripture study habits are changing for the better during Covid-19. Striking a balance between external resources available vs pure scripture study. The purpose of scripture study is not merely an academic exercise but to draw us closer to God. We have eternal life in Christ, not the scriptures per se.
Leader Expectation Pain | An Interview with Jody Moore
Jody Moore is a master certified life coach, well known as the host of the Better Than Happy podcast and for her live events and online coaching program, Be Bold. She also has a BA in Communications and an MA in Adult Education along with 15 years of experience as a corporate trainer and leadership coach. Jody and her husband live in Spokane, Washington, and are the parents of four children.
9:00 We hear counsel or advice and immediately see where others could use it.
11:10 We have an idea of what the "right way to be" looks like for certain roles that people fill in our lives.
12:00 Expectations are premeditated disappointment. We create manuals for others and are disappointed when they don't follow those rules.
14:00 We lose our own authority for ourselves when we blame others for our thoughts and emotions; instead we can get to compassion by recognizing they are imperfect people doing their best.
15:30 The Atonement has two parts: the saving part, and the strengthening and enabling part; we can access that strengthening and enabling power.
17:00 We are punishing ourselves and it doesn't change the other person; we also then unconsciously mirror them and we end up "doing it wrong", and that's what feels terrible.
19:30 How to recognize when you default to these negative thoughts: Examine yourself instead of others. What am I doing that might be similar to what they're doing? In what way am I doing the very thing that I'm judging this person for?
21:45 Next we start to judge ourselves. Recognize that sometimes we are also imperfect. When we can do that for ourselves, we get better at doing it for other people.
23:20 The adversary helps us take the gospel and turn it into part of our manual, and then we judge others by it, driving a wedge between us. We should look at the gospel and counsel for ourselves, not others.
27:00 David O. McKay quote: "The purpose of the gospel is to make bad men good and good men better." Susan Easton Black quote: When I go to church, I go to take the sacrament. That part's for me. But everything else, I go there thinking, What am I bringing? What can I give to other people?
29:15 Sometimes we take the principle of obedience too far; obedience should not come at the expense of our own integrity and relationship with Jesus Christ.
30:10 Be clear about the difference between the gospel and the people. If you want to believe and sustain your leaders, that is enough. The Lord will work with you where you are.
31:40 Giving people permission to be themselves. Sometimes we can manipulate people to be what we want, but then they aren't really who they are.
33:10 What if our only expectation is that they be themselves?
34:25 We can make requests of people, but it becomes a problem when we hang our emotions on whether or not they do it.
36:40 We don't need more people who are like us. We need people who think differently than we do.
38:00 We can define our own success, keeping our expectations to ourselves and holding ourselves to them because others are outside our control.
40:40 When you are the leader, you can start to wonder what others expect of you and become a people pleaser.
42:10 We step into our best version of ourselves as leaders when we try to be ourselves instead of trying to live up to the expectations of others.
44:00 Managing up: you can make a request of the person above you to try or change things.
45:00 Have boundaries and don't allow mistreatment, but don't take it too far and have expectations that diminish the quality of your life and relationships.
48:00 If you want to do something differently, do it now, wherever you are. Example story of people asking a farmer about the people in the town. You will find whatever you are looking for.
Vulnerability is the Key to Uniting a Quorum | An Interview with Michael Brody-Waite
At the age of 23, Michael Brody-Waite was a full-blown drug addict. Today, Michael is an acclaimed speaker, Inc. 500 entrepreneur, award-winning, three-time CEO, a leadership coach, and an author. He is on a mission to teach individuals, organizations, and communities how to how to be vulnerable, surrender the mask, and do uncomfortable work. In this podcast, he shares the leadership principles he learned through addiction recovery, which he speaks and details in his book, Great Leaders Live like Drug Addicts: How to Lead like your Life Depends on It.
8:00 Michael has a whole part of his family tree who are Latter-day Saints, and one of his Latter-day Saint cousins turned down the opportunity to date one of his NFL idols on the San Francisco 49ers.
9:00 Michael is originally from California, had a normal growing up experience there, but in college, he remembers “losing his marbles” over his good friend asking a small thing of him. That night he was confronted with the reality that he didn’t feel equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. He said something like “I don’t think I got the instructions on how to deal with life.” It was that night that he first drank alone.
10:28 Michael gives a tip for all parents: If you think your kid might have the genetic proclivity to be an addict, DO NOT sit them down and tell them, “You will probably be an addict, so never do drugs or drink.” That’s going to be the first thing that child wants to do.
11:28 “I can’t be an academic, I can’t be an athlete, but I think I could be a drunk.” It was one thing Michael could control over his life, he was able to make himself numb. Michael believes that addicts have an obsessive-compulsive variant that makes the person want to be able to predict how they are going to feel. He would rather choose a drug I knew would make him feel bad than one that he didn’t know how it would make him feel. It was about having control and knowing how he would feel. Since he couldn’t get that from life, he turned to addiction.
13:15 In the summer of 2002, Michael’s life took a severe downturn. He was a junior in college with only one year’s worth of college credit. He was kicked out of college, kicked out of his house, fired from his job, and his car was repossessed. He was throwing up blood on this twenty-third birthday, and he knew he wouldn’t be alive for his thirtieth birthday, and maybe not even his twenty-fifth, and that didn’t sound too bad to him. His friend let him stay on his couch, but he completely overstayed his welcome, but at that point, if he didn’t stay there, he would have been homeless and Michael didn’t want that. His father would reach out and come take him to breakfast every once in a while, and his father said he just wanted to buy him a meal, but Michael knew it was because he just wanted to see if his son was still alive. He always offered to pay to send Michael to rehab, but Michael denied having a problem.
15:00 Michael’s friend eventually talks him into considering rehab. “I chose to go to rehab to have 28 days of bedding and food.” But Michael hasn’t used drugs or a drop of alcohol since. It was in rehab that he was introduced to the 12-Step program, which he still participates in.
16:00 Michael gives his 3 principles he has learned from living the 12-Step program:
* Practice rigorous authenticity
* We talk about being authentic, but we don’t really practice it in leadership.
* How to take off the “masks” we wear to be strong?
* Surrender the outcome
* Leaders are not taught to surrender the outcome
* In faith, we are taught to surrender the outcome,