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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

On Joss Whedon, cancel culture and the Bible

February 25, 2021

(RNS) — I won’t be torching my Harry Potter books or throwing my Buffy DVDs on a bonfire. I’d have to throw my Bible to the flames as well.

The Mormon Jesus can handle your grief and pain

February 22, 2021

(RNS) — I hunger greatly for deeper connections at church, a frank acknowledgment that most of us are the walking wounded.

Leadership by old men: In Mormonism, gerontocracy is a blessing and a curse

February 15, 2021

(RNS) — With an average age of 90, top Mormon leaders are unlikely to be named in headlines about religious sex scandals. The cost of gerontocracy, though, is that they are also resistant to needed social change.

When the Bible doesn’t make sense

February 12, 2021

Kristin Swenson wants to give readers space to understand that the Bible is weird, and a box full of tools to deal with that weirdness.

Mormons, submit your COVID-19 stories

February 9, 2021

(RNS) — Members of various Mormon traditions are being asked to upload their stories, photos and social media posts about what life was like during COVID-19.

Mormonism and the ‘one true church’

February 4, 2021

(RNS) — Author Patrick Mason says Latter-day Saints’ focus on being the ‘one true church’ may be missing the larger purpose of the restoration.

Mormon leaders and the erosion of traditional power

January 29, 2021

(RNS) — What’s at stake when conservative Latter-day Saints begin to see following the prophet as a matter of individual conscience on an issue-by-issue basis?

A real Mormon’s guide to the temple

January 27, 2021

Card takes a sensible and open approach to those elements of the temple experience Latter-day Saints are permitted to discuss—which, as she points out, is actually most of it.

Top Mormon leaders get Covid vaccine and urge church members to do the same. Will they?

January 20, 2021

Some members are not happy that the LDS Church is taking a very public stand in favor of Covid-19 vaccinations.

Will the LDS Church condemn the right wing’s Capitol violence?

January 15, 2021

The problem is that if/when the Church issues a statement condemning the violence and reminding members of President Oaks’s wise counsel about accepting the results of elections, it will do little than reinforce people’s existing ideas.

At the Capitol, we saw the best and the worst of US Mormonism

January 8, 2021

(RNS) — The domestic terrorist who dangled from the Senate balcony and occupied Mike Pence’s seat is a returned missionary of the LDS Church, to our shame. But Mitt Romney, also a Mormon, showed some of the best qualities our religion is capable of.

Brian McLaren says there’s a good reason your beliefs stopped working

January 5, 2021

People who doubt their faith often get the “you are not wanted here” message from their religion, says author Brian McLaren. After the anger and loss, is there room for them to build a different kind of faith?

Hollywood loves the Mormon afterlife

December 31, 2020

Stories like ‘Soul,’ ‘Coco’ and ‘The Good Place’ depict core Mormon ideas that are alive in the popular imagination about the afterlife—and the “before life.”

Why I stopped tithing to the LDS Church

December 23, 2020

At tithing settlement this year, I declared myself a full tithe-payer and explained why none of that money has gone to the LDS Church.

Gen Z is lukewarm about religion, but open to relationships, study shows

December 21, 2020

(RNS) — Religious affiliation among Gen Z Americans continues its steady decline, but affiliation isn’t everything.

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