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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

Rising numbers of young adult Mormons in the US are gay, lesbian or bisexual

By Jana Riess — June 21, 2021
(RNS) — So far, Gen Z Mormons look like millennials in their sexual orientation, only more so, according to the largest dataset we’ve ever had about Latter-day Saints in America.

Summer hiatus

By Jana Riess — June 1, 2021
I plan to be back in early September with renewed energy and some fresh perspective. Until then, God bless you.

Gen Z lost touch with faith communities during pandemic but kept the faith, says study

By Jana Riess — May 31, 2021
(RNS) — Half of young people (ages 13 to 25) thought their faith communities had done well managing the COVID pandemic even though 90% reported receiving no personal contact from clergy.

A Mormon walks into a megachurch

By Jana Riess — May 26, 2021
(RNS) — Five things Latter-day Saints can learn from Crossroads, one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in America.

Why so many new Mormon temples when LDS growth is flat?

By Jana Riess — May 20, 2021
(RNS) — If yesterday’s temple was a prize bestowed on area members when they had achieved certain milestones related to growth, today’s temple is a jumper cable, a tool to re-energize the sputtering engine of the LDS Church.

If Mormons could just hang out in the church building

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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!

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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

By Jana Riess — 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.
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