Flunking Sainthood

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

By Jana Riess — 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).

More from Flunking Sainthood

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

By Jana Riess — 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?

By Jana Riess — 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.

For Mormons, a wonderfully boring opening day of General Conference

By Jana Riess — October 3, 2020

(RNS) — Saturday’s General Conference was like Corn Flakes—nutritious, fortified, and blissfully predictable. After a tumultuous week in our nation, boring was helpful. Boring gave me time to think.

Donald Trump just gave white supremacists legitimacy, and the Proud Boys were never prouder

By Jana Riess — September 30, 2020

(RNS) — The moderator asked Trump if he would tell white supremacists to ‘stand down,’ which is to withdraw. Trump instead told the group to ‘stand by,’ which means to stay near at hand to be of use in an emergency. Then he gave them the emergency.

General Conference would be a good time for the LDS church to apologize to the Black community

By Kristin Lowe — September 28, 2020

(RNS) — ‘Racist statements and policies were once made by prophets and apostles, and we specifically need prophets and apostles to overturn them now,’ says guest columnist Kristin Lowe.

For adult Mormons, there’s more to spirituality than ‘endure to the end’

By Jana Riess — September 23, 2020

Feeling burned out? A new online course from author Thomas McConkie casts a wide net to help Latter-day Saints deepen their faith through meditation, theology and psychology.

Does serving a Mormon mission make people want to help developing countries?

By Jana Riess — September 21, 2020

(RNS) — Does serving a Mormon mission to a place like Africa make someone more supportive of global development? Yes … and no.

Donald Trump’s twisted interpretation of ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ is killing Americans

By Jana Riess — September 18, 2020

Norman Vincent Peale’s classic hasn’t aged particularly well, but it deserves to be remembered more fondly than Trump’s denial of reality ensures it will be.

How fundamentalist Mormons recovered after the trauma of Warren Jeffs

By Jana Riess — September 16, 2020

(RNS) — As the polygamist sect’s members and ex-members recover from the trauma inflicted by Warren Jeffs, an excellent new podcast goes behind the scenes to document the FLDS community’s transformation.

Biden campaign targets Mormons, evangelicals

By Jana Riess — September 10, 2020

(RNS) — In 2016, 81% of white evangelicals supported Donald Trump, as did 61% of Mormons. The Biden campaign is making a direct appeal to some of these voters.

Controversial Mormon book pulled from publication

By Jana Riess — September 8, 2020

(RN) — Last month, the BYU Religious Studies Center halted publication of ‘Saving Faith’ because of author John Gee’s statements about homosexuality and child sexual abuse. But the book’s problems run even deeper.

The problems with ‘Latter-day Saints for Trump’

By Jana Riess — August 31, 2020

What Mormons do in this election matters – not only politically, in swing states such as Arizona, but in terms of the church’s own reputation and even its missionary efforts.

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