Can We Talk?

A few weeks ago, I was getting a haircut and chatting with my stylist/therapist. She asked me what I was doing these days. I told her. She asked me if I was getting paid.

“Um, no,” I replied. “Then why are you doing it?” Crickets.

The question caused me to pause. In all honesty, I realized, the reason I started a podcast is the same reason I am involved in all of my non-profit projects: there is either a resource I want that is non-existent or a resource I can create that I wish I had had at one time in my life.

In this case, it is probably a mixture of both. I began my audio-listening habit about three years ago after replacing my full-time cubicle in a law office for part-time work from a computer at home. With extra time just floating around waiting to be harnessed, I combined remodeling my home with buffing up my religious education.

It was time. My children were looking to me for answers, and I didn’t even understand the questions. Over ten thousand hours of church participation had prepared me to bear my testimony but not to evaluate criticisms regarding foundational truth claims.

So I started studying, and as I studied I became more and more curious … in a good way. My appetite for “new” information grew as I began to slowly take items off of my proverbial shelf. This was actually starting to be fun.

I started in the land of Dehlin because that’s where the LDS scholars were sharing their goods. That turned south pretty quickly.

I listened to every episode the Maxwell Institute had to offer, meeting some phenomenal biblical scholars like Peter Enns and Amy-Jill Levine.

Soon I moved on to podcasts by non-LDS biblical scholars. Mark Goodacre’s NT Pod was fantastic, presenting bite-sized pieces of biblical insights.

Then last February, Elder M. Russell Ballard gave a talk to CES employees encouraging them to seek out the best LDS scholarship available, which is what I had been trying to do for the last several years.

Guess what?

It sounds easier than it actually is unless you have unlimited time and an unlimited budget. (Two things, unfortunately, that I am sadly lacking.)

I knew there had to be a way to present the best LDS scholarship available in a time- and budget-friendly manner.

LDS Perspectives Podcast grew out of a desire to fill the void between the excellent devotional podcasts of the Mormon Channel and the “Doubtcasts” that proliferate the internet.

My team and I hope to offer a place for mainstream members to learn more context about history, seek more depth to doctrine, and gain more support with cultural challenges.

Each week one of our podcasters sits down with a respected LDS scholar, author, or educator and has a casual discussion about some aspect of LDS doctrine, history, or culture. We are just everyday Mormons, but we are sharing extraordinary conversations about our religion and our faith.

Whether you are just beginning your studies or are an expert, we hope you will enjoy listening to our conversations.

Browse our past episodes today, and check back tomorrow to catch our latest episode, “When Was Jesus Born?” with Jeffrey R. Chadwick.

Episode 1: The Historical Jesus – Thomas Wayment Sep 19, 2016

Episode 2: What is Grace? – Brad Wilcox Sep 28, 2016

Episode 3: LDS Artwork Revisited – Anthony Sweat Oct 4, 2016

Episode 4: Homosexuality and the Gospel – Ty Mansfield Oct 12, 2016

Episode 5: Book of Mormon Central – Neal Rappleye Oct 19, 2016

Episode 6: DNA Detective Work – Ugo Perego Oct 26, 2016

Episode 7: Pursue-Withdrawal Relationship Syndrome – Jonathan ShermanNov 2, 2016

Episode 8: What is Isaiah Doing in the Book of Mormon? – Joseph Spencer Nov 3, 2016

Episode 9: Joseph’s Seer Stones – Michael Hubbard MacKay Nov 15, 2016

Episode 10: Book of Mormon Scholarship, Theories, and Folklore – Brant A. Gardner Nov 23, 2016

Episode 11: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus – Eric Huntsman Nov 29, 2016

Episode 12: Revelations in Context – Matthew J. Grow Dec 1, 2016



13 thoughts on “Can We Talk?

  1. I would add that I obtained the URL a while ago, hoping to stand up a platform for Mormons to record their own StoryCorps-style story and share.

    Alas, I haven’t had bandwidth to do this yet…

  2. Yes, the easiest way to subscribe is to click on one of the subscribe links on the home page of LDS Perspectives Podcast. ( There are subscription options through email or popular podcast providers.

    You can also subscribe directly in iTunes, Stitcher, or on Google Play Music.

  3. What a wonderful resource! Thank you. I immediately listened to the Anthony Sweat interview on art. I have made my own attempt at depicting LDS church history scenes as well as Book of Mormon scenes and feel that many of the illustrators for Church manuals and magazines have failed to take due diligence in the information conveyed by their images, such as portraying Nephite armies as if they were Roman soldiers. In one instance a well known artist of historical scenes depicted a lush marsh full of lotus and other water plants along the shore adjacent to the red brick store and the farmhouse where Joseph Smith lived in Nauvoo, allegedly of the pioneer era. A painting by Alexander Smith, one of Joseph’s sons, shows the same location clear of marsh. In preparation for a stained glass panel I visited Nauvoo and learned that a dam at Warsaw, south of Nauvoo, caused a 15 foot rise in the water level in the area, producing the marshland depicted by the artist. This may seem a very picky criticism but when children see images that are inaccurate or misleading it can lead to cynicism about other information. I am acquainted with several artists who have been commissioned to provide images for manuals and magazines and some of them mentioned editorial input that counters accuracy.

  4. Pat,

    You may find Anthony’s article on the topic interesting. You can find a link to it on the sidebar of the posting page for this episode.

    Anthony interviewed several prominent artists to get their take on why art is not necessarily “historically” accurate or even physically accurate.

    Last Sunday I taught the Gospel Topics Essay on the Book of Mormon translation process to the 14 year olds in my SS class. We had a great discussion on this topic and pointed out how all types of art is used within the Church.

    The Ensign article about the seer stones published last year has a great catalog of the various depictions of the translation process as does the Gospel Art kit. An 8 x 10 of Anthony Sweat’s depiction can be found in the most recent issue of the Religious Studies Center Review. Be sure to grab a copy while you can because the picture is out of print. (You can find it on the internet, though.)

    Teaching opportunities give us opportunities to broaden this discussion.


  5. The series is excellent. My one criticism of it might also be a strength: the episodes are very short. Often the Doubtcasters will go on for hours exploring every aspect of their doubt, sometimes over several episodes, perhaps giving them an unfair “time on the air” advantage. Maybe they don’t have much else to do. Active, committed members of the Church already have heavy time commitments on their plate in addition to being interviewed. Perhaps you could have some of those already interviewed come back again to explore their topics further or address new ones.

    One person I would like to see return is Thomas Wayment, to pick his brain as to how he reads scripture. He likely didn’t even realize he was doing this a few years ago at BYU Education Week, as the topic was about Nephi and Lehi. What he did was put verse after verse up on the screen and read it closely phrase by phrase, discussing each one in detail, to wit: “this is how we commonly read this, however, this is what one commentator said about it and this is what Apostle ——- has said, however, given its context, this is how I look at it…” etc. etc. (Nothing about documentary hypothesis junk in this class). I thought I was a careful reader before, but this taught me a lot and got me out of the “chapter a day” mode of quantity over quality.

    I think most of the time in apologetics we answer critics by good and exhaustive history and context. This is good. However, a careful reading of scripture, ALL scripture, many times will do the same thing while basing us in a major object of our faith, i.e. scripture. One cannot read for long without realizing that God’s kingdom on earth, and his people and Prophets, have always been imperfect and requiring our patience (and God’s!) Nonetheless, it was and is God’s kingdom, people, and Prophets.

    One thing I want to call to readers’ attention is that “A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History” is now available as an audiobook…something I have been waiting for in order to “read” it. It is not yet on Amazon in this format, but I got my copy as Deseret Book.

  6. Stephen,

    We will definitely have Dr. Wayment back on the podcast. Several of the people we have interviewed have offered to make return appearances.

    There is an upcoming episode airing on February 16 called “In Brigham Young’s Words.” It is a double episode with Gerrit Dirkmaat and LaJean Carruth and absolutely fascinating (in my unbiased opinion). It will give you over an hour of insightful discussion.

    We intentionally make the episodes short and often have to cut some fairly wonderful discussion points. Editing down my interview with Grant Hardy was particularly painful. Couldn’t bear to cut that one down past the 45-minute mark.

    Thanks for listening.

    Laura Harris Hales

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