Donate to RNS

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

All Stories by Jana Riess

If Mormons could just hang out in the church building

May 14, 2021

(RNS) — LDS leaders want members to view the church building as a genuine ‘third place’ in their lives. But it’s hard for the church to surrender control and let organic community activities develop outside the chain of command.

The seeds of police brutality in the Bible

May 11, 2021

(RNS) — Monsterization is nothing new, says Esther Hamori, an associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary in New York. In fact, it’s right there in the pages of the Bible.

Half of US Mormons are COVID-19 ‘vaccine hesitant’ or ‘vaccine refusers,’ study shows

May 6, 2021

(RNS) — The study finds Mormons believe in vaccinations in general, and they trust their church leaders to do the right thing. Yet church leaders have been urging members to get the COVID-19 shot, and half don’t want to.

Mormons’ petitions help to save historic artwork in Manti Utah Temple

May 1, 2021

(RNS) — Many are breathing a sigh of relief that Teichert’s murals, as well as other irreplaceable pieces of art and history, will be saved from destruction.

Finally! Single Mormons have new opportunities, greater respect

April 30, 2021

(RNS) — New leadership policies and a general shift in attitude could help invigorate single members, who have low activity rates in the LDS church.

From Mormon missionary to Lutheran pastor

April 27, 2021

(RNS) — Langston ‘tried millions of ways’ to make Mormonism work, but she eventually found peace in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and began to pursue a path toward ordination. Her parents and husband, who are still Latter-day Saints, were supportive, but ‘they were heartbroken.’

Mormon excommunication: Need not be present to win!

April 22, 2021

(RNS) — I find excommunication to be not only a theologically barbaric practice but also one of dubious utility. It doesn’t come from the example of Jesus. It also doesn’t work.

Parent like your religion depends on it

April 21, 2021

(RNS) — ‘Successful religious parents don’t just drop their kid off at church and then expect someone there will take care of everything,’ says researcher Amy Adamczyk. Instead, they lead by example.

When she doesn’t want a baby

April 14, 2021

(RNS) — It’s often assumed that of course women want to be mothers — that this desire is natural, God-given and universal. It’s not, Donna Freitas asserts in the new novel ‘The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano.’

Overcoming Mormon doubt is hard when you’ve never been given the tools

April 8, 2021

(RNS) — LDS leaders want doubters to be able to magically know how to do something we’ve never taught believers how to do, which is to understand that we could be very wrong in what we are currently thinking about religion.

Mormon leader blasts some right-wing US extremists, but will they know he’s talking to them?

April 5, 2021

(RNS) — Latter-day Saint apostle Dallin Oaks just sounded the alarm about the recent actions of some Trump supporters in the United States. But the talk did not let liberals off the hook, either.

Younger US Mormons voted for Biden, but Trump performed well overall

April 1, 2021

(RNS) — Millennials and Mormons of color chose Biden over Trump, but overall, two-thirds of US LDS Church members voted Republican.

The Mormon Israel and the problem with “Let God prevail”

March 29, 2021

The overall idea of translating “Israel” as “let God prevail” ignores the original story, in which Jacob actively refuses to let God prevail.

The ‘nones’ are growing — and growing more diverse

March 24, 2021

(RNS) — ‘Church attendance is the first thing that goes, then belonging, and finally belief—in that order,’ says Ryan Burge, author of a new book on who is leaving religion and why. ‘Belief goes last.’

What the LDS church wants to know from young adult Mormons

March 22, 2021

(RNS) — A peek behind the scenes of a landmark survey of LDS church members reveals the stirrings of possible change.

Page 1 of 65