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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

Faithful Mormons won’t be happy with Hulu’s ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’

By Jana Riess — April 25, 2022
(RNS) — Despite excellent performances and production values, Hulu's 'Banner' left me with the same wary bewilderment I felt after reading Jon Krakauer’s book.

European Mormon women band together for solidarity in an American-led church

By Jana Riess — April 21, 2022
(RNS) — By Women, For Women aims to bring European Latter-day Saint women together for fellowship — and to talk honestly about tough issues.

Is Mormonism still growing? Five facts about Latter-day Saint growth and decline

By Jana Riess — April 7, 2022
(RNS) — COVID-19 continues to take a toll, but it could be a lot worse.

For Mormons, it’s General Conference time. Remind me why we do this?

By Jana Riess — April 2, 2022
(RNS) — General Conference is touted as being prophetic and revelatory — must-see TV for Latter-day Saints the world over. So why does the format feel so stale?

Mormon support for same-sex marriage has doubled in the last decade, survey shows

By Jana Riess — March 24, 2022
(RNS) — Mormons have broadened their support for LGBTQ rights in three key areas, though they still lag the nation in supporting the right of gay couples to get married — or to walk into any bakery in the country and buy themselves a wedding cake.

If we want equality for women in Utah, we can look to history

By Jana Riess — March 18, 2022
(RNS) — A look back to when things seemed more hopeful for Utah’s women.

Evangelicalism isn’t dying, and Catholics are going Republican

By Jana Riess — March 8, 2022
(RNS) — Sociologist Ryan Burge does some myth-busting about American religion, tackling the narratives that evangelical Christians are in a serious decline, that only lapsed Christians voted for Trump and that people who leave religion also no longer believe in God. All are untrue, he says.

Amid Russian invasion, LDS Church issues generic denunciation of ‘armed conflict’

By Jana Riess — February 28, 2022
(RNS) — The LDS Church’s official 'statement on armed conflict' is well-intentioned but vague; Russia and Ukraine are never even mentioned. This is not the time to be Switzerland.

In Mormonism, yesterday’s heresy is today’s orthodoxy

By Jana Riess — February 25, 2022
(RNS) — In 1973, Mormon author Carol Lynn Pearson's feature article for the 'Ensign' magazine was pulled at the last minute, and she was banned from writing about women for Church publications. What was controversial then has become the party line.

Ross Douthat: Lyme disease, Catholic suffering and the frontiers of medicine and faith

By Jana Riess — February 18, 2022
(RNS) — Seven years ago, Ross Douthat began a sudden descent to a hellish nightmare of chronic pain. He recounts his experiences of illness and faith in the beautiful memoir "Deep Places."

Mormon leader’s apology for racist remarks does not go far enough

By Jana Riess — February 16, 2022
(RNS) — Brad Wilcox, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has apologized — sort of — for one part of his remarks earlier this month. But it doesn't go far enough.

Softening Mormon patriarchy, one correction at a time

By Jana Riess — January 31, 2022
(RNS) — The LDS Church's addendum to a 1973 'Ensign' article about patriarchy shows some progress in how it conceives of women's roles — and in how it acknowledges the mistakes of its own past.

What Mormon bishops should and should not say in counseling LGBTQ+ Latter-day Saints

By Jana Riess — January 28, 2022
(RNS) — A new study sheds light on the experiences of LGBTQ+ Mormons who seek counsel from Church leaders.

‘Who Killed Joseph Smith?’ and other amateur-hour conspiracy theories

By Jana Riess — January 21, 2022
(RNS) — A new documentary recycles old conspiracies about the murder of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.

The top 10 changes President Russell M. Nelson has made in the LDS church

By Jana Riess — January 18, 2022
(RNS) — While many Mormons — including me — expected a Nelson presidency to be staid and uneventful, it’s been full of pleasant surprises.
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