Latter-day Faith host Dan Wotherspoon is joined by his two Faith Journey Foundation partners, Mark Crego and Susan Hinckley, for this episode reflecting on the times we are now facing vis a vis covid-19/coronavirus. We are all very likely undergoing big shifts in our daily routines, as well as being hindered in various plans for travel, certain kinds of recreation, and dealing with shut-down schools and universities, and more. Dan, Mark, and Susan reflect on this moment in time, sharing about their current lives and what’s being impacted, but ultimately they focus on the kind of spiritual shifts that are happening within them. Even though we are being forced to make changes and give up certain freedoms and opportunities, might this time be a Lenten-type season for us (and we actually are in that season of the Christian calendar)? What are other framings that might be helpful at this time and place?
Listen in! This episode is being released just a few hours after being recorded, but even with a bit less post-production than usual there is a great spirit and much good thought in what is offered. Share with us about your experiences in the comments section!
Sending only good thoughts for all of you and your dear ones during this difficult season!
Don’t forget to register and join us for this Thursday’s virtual fireside on expanding our understandings, as well as our repertoire’s, regarding prayer. Registration is free, but we need you to do it in order to receive the Zoom link for joining in the call!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recently released policies (and made policy reversals) regarding LGBTQ+ persons that have brought on protests, with activists staging events on the Brigham Young University campus (both Provo and Rexburg), near the Church Office Building in downtown Salt Lake City, as well as across from the LDS temple in New York City. And there are no signs that these gatherings and expressions of grief and disagreement will die down anytime soon. In the midst of these troubled times, we at Latter-day Faith have decided to add to the mix some thoughts on activism, its role and place within the ongoing Restoration, in spiritual journeying writ large, as well as about the spirituality that is inherent in and available to those who find themselves called to make their voice heard in the public arena.
In this episode, Latter-day Faith host Dan Wotherspoon discusses with his friend, a well-known and powerful activist on LGBTQ+ issues, Jody England Hansen, about her journey to arrive at a point in her life and spiritual development that she can sustain a life of active involvement in social issues that are in service of those who are being harmed by various societal and cultural practices being able to make themselves and their pain more visible in ways that might lead to positive changes. In all of this, Jody recognizes how her engagement in these ways is sustained by her understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, many teachings of the Restoration, and especially through her inner work with herself and the Divine. What perspectives assist her the most? How have they come to be part of the very fiber of her being and to be understood as vital spiritual practices? What cautions does she have for activists that might help keep them from demonizing those persons and situations against which they are fighting? How might we all draw from her many decades of practice and hard-fought wisdom keys to allowing ourselves to hear the Divine call to grow, expand, and be God’s hands and mouthpieces when we are prompted?
Jody is powerful, articulate, and clearly grounded in Spirit when sharing about these things. Please listen in on this conversation. This is one of the most powerful LDF episodes to date!
In this terrific episode, Latter-day Faith host Dan Wotherspoon brings on his good friend and a Jungian analyst, Christine Chao, to talk about the psychological insights of Carl Jung and, especially, how they relate to good mental, social, and spiritual health. In their conversation, Christine introduces us to Jungian terms and ideas, many of which we likely already heard of yet don’t really understand all that well. If you’ve heard of concepts such as the collective unconscious, archetypes, complexes, dream analysis, individuation, Shadow, and others, Christine wonderfully elucidates these, illustrating them from her own life experiences as well as those of her colleagues and Jung himself. Following this tour through many of the basic insights, the discussion turns to difficulties she and others have with Jung the individual and also with some of his teachings. In this section we can find many similarities with Latter-day Saints who are forced to wrestle with bad ideas and hurtful teachings by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other LDS leaders while still recognizing the brilliance and spiritual power they ushered into the world. C.G. Jung understood human as well as spiritual development, and this episode closes with the way he responded near the end of his life to questions about whether or not he believed in God.
Listen in! You’ll love meeting Christine and will find much here to chew on!
…thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still, we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.
C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 8, para 784
“Introversion and the Mormon Experience,” Mormon Matters podcast, December 2014.
Latter-day Faith Virtual Fireside, March 19th, 7 to 9 pm Mountain Standard Time.
Topic: Expanding our Understanding of Prayer.
Read more about it and sign up for the free link to join the Zoom discussion!
Latter-day Faith Retreat, March 27th to 29th, Salt Lake City (Murray area).
“Understanding and Navigating Healthy Faith Journeys”
Read more about it and register soon! We hope to see you at the end of the month!
A Latter-day Faith Retreat
DAN WOTHERSPOON, Ph.D.
NATASHA HELFER PARKER, LCMFT, CST
JANA SPANGLER, IPC
March 27th – 29th, 2020
Salt Lake City, UT
Many of us find ourselves a bit outside the Mormon norm but still feel committed to continue our journeys as engaged members of the church, or we are committed to a spouse who chooses this. This retreat is focused on building community among and strengthening Mormons like us in the following ways:
- Navigating faith development in adulthood, including the integration of new and enriching perspectives within a less-traditional Mormon paradigm
- Creating and nurturing healthy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, especially in light of faith and worldview differences
- Finding ways to full and healthy sexuality
- Raising children in ways that encourage them to have confidence and depth as they negotiate various Mormon terrains
- Finding friends/community who have similar outlooks and can offer support
Cost: $275 per person; $425 per couple (even two friends or family members deciding to register together). Click below to register:
If you cannot afford to pay to attend, or can only swing some of the cost, please inquire abut partial or full scholarships and volunteering. We are working hard to encourage people to donate funds for others to attend, and we are happy to put you on a waiting list to see what might unfold.
If you would like to donate toward scholarships to those who cannot otherwise attend, please click below! Thank you!
Friday (27th): 6 to 10 pm
Saturday (28th): 9 am to 9 pm or later
(includes lunch and dinner, and entertainment afterward—much of it starring you!)
Sunday (29th): 9 am to 5 pm (lunch included)
CONTACT AND FURTHER INFORMATION:
To learn more about retreat content, purposes, logistics of the venue/meals, etc., what to expect, or to inquire about possible scholarships that would allow you to attend:
Dan Wotherspoon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Helfer Parker: email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you at this event! We know it will be something everyone will really enjoy as well as receiving great perspectives, renewed energies, and making new friends!
In this terrific episode, Latter-day Faith host Dan Wotherspoon is joined by Dr. Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen, a psycho-therapist and longtime friend, to talk about the nuts and bolts of our brains, our conscious and subconscious minds, our theological notions about God and the meaning of our lives, and the overlay of spirituality upon it all (or is it the underpinning of it?). Lisa takes us into the brain and how it processes experiences and stores memories, how our subconscious minds carry both incredible wisdom and traumatic memories, and how we can access these and heal (and how the areas of the brain activate when we do). The participants also move into how we create God (Spirit, Life) via our own experiences and theologies in ways that often determine whether we will remain stuck in certain kinds of suffering or move on to new understandings that are based in deep and overpowering experiences of divine love, acceptance, and peace. They also discuss hypnosis and hypno-therapy and how that works and is often effective in calling out of us and our subconscious minds deep meaning and wonderful, healing insights.
This is a most excellent episode! Listen in!
In this episode (Part 2 of 2), we continue our discussion of the divine feminine with panelists Kristen Rogers-Iversen, Kathryn Knight Sonntag, and Brittney Lowe Hartley. Whereas the first segment featured each participant’s search for and journey with the feminine divine, as well wide-ranging conversations about goddesses in faith traditions besides Mormonism, various other female deities or aspects that are reverenced, symbols such as the Tree of Life, etc., this discussion zeros in more directly on ways to talk about her in communities that have failed to emphasize Mother. For Mormonism, is it or isn’t it a blessing that not much direct teaching on the feminine divine has come forward in comparison to the lists of qualities and attributes of Father in Heaven? What opportunities and spiritual blessings are open to us with a Mother that is much more mysterious? How might we know when the time is right to say speak up about Her? How do we know when the setting isn’t optimal for being received well? What are some prerequisites to sharing effectively from the pulpit or in classroom settings, or even among family members and other groups that are predominantly Mormon? What are the best strategies for pushing this discussion in the church and helping it grow spiritually through paying closer attention to the divine feminine?
Each panelist shares wonderful insights! Listen in!
Because many Latter-day Saints, as well as many people in general, have not been taught evolution very well, they will often dismiss it out of hand, especially when it it encroaches upon their understandings of the origins of human beings. Likewise, it is very unlikely that they have explored the evolutionary process, along with the environment, all of nature, and persons in a web of life, as wonderful gateways to spiritual exploration and transformative experiences.
In this Latter-day Faith podcast episode, host Dan Wotherspoon is joined by evolutionary biology professor T. Heath Ogden in an effort to focus on the spiritual sensibilities that go hand in hand with evolution as the creative force that brings forth change, increased complexity, specialization, and the ever-widening diversity that is produced through its quiet but powerful work. They don’t delve here into the nuts and bolts of the basic processes (so no real biology lessons here) as much as engage each other in an effort to convey how their understandings and acceptance of this process have enriched their spiritual understandings and vitality for life, including a greater appreciation for their fellow beings as also part of this pathway to growth, development, and flourishing.
There is a spirituality in the study of nature and in immersion in the natural world that, when experienced, changes us, grounds us, and brings forth in us greater compassion, gratitude, and also a greater appreciation for all life and its significance–including our own lives. Toward the end of the discussion, they also wrestle together about how the concept and reality of God might or might not enhance and inform, or perhaps distract and obscure, all the wondrous views of life and energy that are ours to experience, should we allow ourselves to do so.
Listen in! We know you’ll find a lot in it worth chewing on.
Additional materials related to nature, oneness, spirituality found there, etc.
Birdtalker, “One,” song and video
Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”
Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Symeon the New Theologian, “We Awaken in Christ’s Body”
We Awaken in Christ’s Body
English version by Stephen Mitchell
Original Language Greek
We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ, He enters
my foot, and is infinitely me.
I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in His Godhood).
I move my foot, and at once
He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? — Then
open your heart to Him
and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ’s body
where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,
and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed
and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light
he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.
This short(ish) episode contains the announcement of a change to the upcoming Latter-day Faith retreat to be held October 11th to 13th in Salt Lake City. Natasha Helfer Parker can no longer be part of that event, so Jana Spangler, Jody England Hansen, and LDF host Dan Wotherspoon have re-designed the retreat to focus more on spirituality, development, practices, faith journeys, and possible reframings of what we had previously experienced only in limited ways, and more. And though this episode was launched because of the changes to the upcoming event, the panelists all try to make what they share here relevant for those who might not even be able to consider coming to the retreat. What are some of the larger issues at play in LDS lives and faith journeys that serve as excellent jumping off points for our own spiritual reflections? Listen in to see what they say!
Link to write-up (and registration) regarding the retreat.
As my good friend Jana Spangler and I talk in this episode about the quality of “spiritual maturity,” we note the difficulty involved in a subject like this because such maturity is more of a thing that we might notice in other people and, perhaps, ourselves, yet it is hard to explain in words (and definitely not something someone should claim about themselves). But we pushed on anyway! Our approach was to discuss three qualities or hallmarks that we believe are universal across all spiritual traditions and communities. Jana leads us through a discussion of transformational vs transactional relationships with God and others. We move next to someone’s ability to examine what ego needs are playing out with others and ourselves, leading us in our relationships and soul work to over-identify with these needs and trying to protect others and us from seeing them rather than coming to center in our highest selves. Our final topic is differentiation. How comfortable are we with expressions of genuine difference, whether they be in others’ experiences vs ours or even another’s critique? Are we able to validate the positions of and see those who differ from us as fellow travelers rather than enemies who are standing in the way of our vision becoming normative? Do we lead out always with love and compassion first? Are we comfortable enough with ourselves to be okay even in settings in which we might feel a bit like an outsider?
This episode contains many terrific insights. Jana knocks everything out of the ballpark here. Prepare for a good and potentially important transformative listen! Cheers!
Links to things mentioned in the episode:
Mormon Matters episode on the Enneagram for Mormons”
On Being episode with Alain de Botton, “The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships“