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

How do Mormons deal with conflict and faith crises? Avoidance doesn’t work, expert says

November 25, 2020

Step One, says Chad Ford, is to let go of the fear of conflict, and recognize that conflict itself is not sinful. But for Mormons steeped in both niceness and hierarchical leadership structures, that may be hard to achieve.

Thanksgiving has always been about grief. Pass the mashed potatoes.

November 24, 2020

(RNS) — Marking both grief and gratitude isn’t antithetical to the Thanksgiving holiday; in fact, it’s baked into its very history.  

Mormon prophet says to ‘flood social media’ with gratitude this Thanksgiving week

November 20, 2020

(RNS) — “Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems,” LDS President Nelson said.

Mormon apostle’s comments on racism fall short

November 19, 2020

Dallin Oaks recently said that “of course” Black Lives Matter. But Adam Harris and Carlene Fraser-Harris take issue with his underlying message.

Utah is the most generous U.S. state, study finds

November 17, 2020

Since approximately three out of five residents of Utah are Mormons, it makes sense that Utah would perform well in the measures about financial generosity and volunteering.

A very COVID Christmas: Having an unforgettable holiday season when you’re stuck at home

November 16, 2020

(RNS) — Traci Smith’s book of Advent crafts and practices is perfectly timed to help you have a joyous Christmas even in the midst of a pandemic.

Did Mormonism’s anti-LGBT policy cause more people to leave the LDS Church?

November 12, 2020

(RNS) — For many former Mormons, the 2015 LGBT exclusion policy was an important grievance. But we do them a disservice when we imagine it was the only reason they said goodbye.

Joe Biden has best showing of any Democrat in Utah since 1964

November 5, 2020

(RNS) — Even heavily Mormon Provo, once reliably red, turned purple.

Mormonism made me a Mama Dragon

October 30, 2020

“I still believe that most Mormon of doctrines for women: that being a mother is my most important role,” writes Mette Harrison. So when LDS policies toward LGBTQ persons seemed to be harming her children, she chose them over the church.

Senator Mike Lee’s just one example. Mormon men still like Donald Trump.

October 29, 2020

(RNS) — Mike Lee’s fawning comment comparing Donald Trump to a Book of Mormon hero reveals a fault line among U.S. Latter-day Saints.

For Mormons in a faith crisis, the Gospel Topics essays try to answer the hard questions

October 27, 2020

For the first time, there is a resource to help ordinary LDS members understand the Gospel Topics essays—what they say (which is often a leap forward in the church’s transparency about its history) and, just as importantly, what they don’t say (which is often a lot).

Retired BYU professor denounces Donald Trump in viral video

October 21, 2020

Fox’s video outlines five reasons why he thinks Trump is a threat to America’s democratic principles. He does not mince words.

Suicide, complicated grief and the hidden darkness of the heart

October 15, 2020

(RNS) — Do we ever truly know people?

10 years after Elder Packer’s anti-LGBTQ talk, have Mormons turned the corner on gay rights?

October 13, 2020

(RNS) — We’ve certainly come a long way since 2010, but it remains to be seen if the LDS church charted a new course on LGBT issues.

How did Mormons become so Republican?

October 7, 2020

(RNS) — What explains more than a half-century of ruby-red Republicanism in the Mormon-dominated state of Utah? How did Latter-day Saints become so Republican in the first place? A new book about Ezra Taft Benson sheds some light.

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