Redefining our Ideas about God: Crucial to Healing an LDS Faith Crisis

The Vision of Mother Julian and the Compassionate Nature of God

Mother Julian of Norwich’s vision brought a refreshing perspective to Christianity by portraying God as compassionate and nurturing rather than punitive and distant. During the 14th century, her divine revelations conveyed that God deeply cares for each individual, especially in their moments of struggle and important choices. This understanding was significant in an era often marked by fear and uncertainty.

God’s Presence in Human Experience

Mother Julian’s vision suggests that God’s loving presence is woven into every part of the human experience, rather than being separate from it. Her writings offer a sense of comfort and closeness, helping people understand that God is always near. This contrasts with the stern image of God as a distant judge and instead provides a divine caregiver who embraces humanity with limitless understanding and compassion.

Endless Compassion and Understanding

Despite life’s complexities and our personal flaws, Mother Julian’s view of God emphasizes endless compassion. Her revelations remind us that God’s nature is less about fear and condemnation and more about guiding people kindly and encouraging them to grow. This gentle approach inspires individuals to see themselves through a lens of love and patience.

Trusting in Cosmic Love

Mother Julian’s theology invites people to develop a trusting relationship with God, rooted in nurturing support and cosmic love. By offering reassurance in the face of hardship, she inspires individuals to embrace faith that encourages spiritual growth and recognizes that every soul deserves kind guidance. Her writings continue to inspire us to look beyond fear and condemnation and find strength in love and divine care.

Self-Discovery and the Personal Journey of Faith

Self-discovery and personal faith are closely connected processes that help shape our spiritual identity. As we navigate life’s complexities and consider questions about purpose and meaning, we seek to understand both the divine and our place within a larger spiritual context. This journey is often prompted by the challenges and transitions we face daily, driving us to reflect on our beliefs and values.

Unique Journeys and Transformation

Each person’s spiritual journey is unique, marked by moments of doubt, insight, and transformation. No two paths are alike, and the experiences that shape our beliefs can vary widely. Sometimes, we have to dig beneath layers of tradition and doctrine to find a core understanding that resonates with our deepest convictions. This search often leads to periods of change and growth that bring clarity and deeper self-awareness.

Building a Personal Relationship with the Sacred

Through this exploration, we develop a personalized relationship with the sacred that influences our values, guides our actions, and provides comfort in times of uncertainty. This relationship is not something static but is continuously refined by new insights and experiences. Building this connection requires introspection and openness, allowing us to cultivate a form of faith that feels uniquely genuine.

Weaving a Tapestry of Experiences

The journey of faith is like a tapestry woven from our experiences and reflections. Each thread tells a story of how we struggled, grew, and gained new understanding. This tapestry reveals how our personal journey connects with something greater, helping us realize that the divine is not distant but as near as our own heartbeat. Understanding this brings peace and fulfillment, offering a strong foundation that grounds us in moments of doubt.

Atonement Theology and the Image of God

This topic often leads us to confront the traditional idea of a wrathful God who demands appeasement, trapping us in a faith based on fear. This perspective can hold our spiritual journey captive, discouraging growth and curiosity. The notion of a punitive deity fosters a narrative that focuses more on punishment than on transformation.

Exploring Punitive vs. Nurturing Narratives

Through reflection, we’ve considered how a punitive portrayal of God creates a narrative of atonement that’s harsh and discouraging, fostering fear instead of love and discovery. This mindset emphasizes chastisement, making spiritual exploration feel like a burden rather than a journey of growth. However, when we view God through the lens of unconditional love, atonement becomes an invitation to transformation, not punishment.

The Perspective of Unconditional Love

Together with Nathan, we’ve explored how seeing God as unconditionally loving shifts the idea of atonement from a demand to a loving gesture that encourages change and self-betterment. In this view, divine love invites us to transform our lives in meaningful ways. Rather than living in fear of punishment, we’re motivated by the compassion and encouragement that divine love provides.

Drawing Inspiration from Contemporary Thinkers

We draw inspiration from modern thinkers like Richard Rohr and Fiona Givens, whose insightful writings help us see a more benevolent and nurturing relationship with the divine. They encourage us to shift our thinking toward a compassionate God who seeks to guide us rather than condemn us.

Moving Toward Radical Love

Reimagining atonement in this light can profoundly change our spiritual consciousness and lead us toward a deeper and more liberating relationship with a loving God. Join us as we explore these complex but vital themes, seeking to move beyond fear-based faith and instead cultivate a spiritual life rooted in the light of radical, divine love.

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LDS Activity, Differentiation, and Healthy Boundaries

LDS Activity, Differentiation, and Healthy Boundaries

Anyone navigating the complexities of a faith crisis, undergoing an expansion of their faith, or experiencing growth in their spiritual beliefs is likely familiar with cognitive dissonance. This term, coined by psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s, refers to the mental discomfort experienced when someone holds two conflicting thoughts, beliefs, values, or attitudes simultaneously. This inner conflict can lead to significant psychological stress, pushing individuals to seek ways to resolve the contradiction and achieve mental harmony. Strategies to address this dissonance may include altering one of the conflicting beliefs, seeking new information to outweigh the discordant beliefs, or diminishing the importance of one belief over the other. Cognitive dissonance influences a wide range of human behaviors and decision-making processes, especially in situations involving moral choices, personal convictions, and social interactions.

I find discussing this concept particularly rewarding because understanding it can equip us to better navigate the uneasy feelings or situations it can cause. Knowing that such experiences are common and learning strategies to healthily manage this dissonance can significantly aid in navigating these challenging periods.

Navigating Cognitive Dissonance within the LDS Faith: Strategies for Psychological Health

Navigating cognitive dissonance within the LDS faith—or, indeed, any faith tradition—demands a thoughtful, compassionate strategy that respects the complexity of individual belief systems. Recognizing doubt and questioning as integral components of spiritual growth marks an essential step toward safeguarding psychological health. This journey begins with the encouragement for individuals to develop a keen sense of self-awareness, enabling them to discern which personal values align with their faith’s teachings and which may not.

Cultivating an open-minded attitude is equally important, as it allows individuals to approach potentially divisive topics with a willingness to understand perspectives different from their own. Engaging in respectful, meaningful dialogue within one’s community not only aids in exploring complex issues but also builds a supportive network for individuals wrestling with their beliefs.

Navigating with Integrity

The establishment of clear personal boundaries plays a pivotal role in this process. By doing so, individuals can navigate their faith with integrity, honoring their personal convictions even as they continue to participate in the wider faith community. This delicate balancing act requires an acknowledgment of one’s needs and beliefs alongside a commitment to the communal aspects of faith.

Embracing one’s spiritual journey as a continuous process of learning and growth fosters a resilient and nuanced understanding of faith. It’s about seeing doubts not as threats to spiritual stability but as opportunities for deepening one’s connection to their beliefs and the broader community.

Intentional Interactions

In summary, fostering psychological well-being within the LDS Church—or any religious context—necessitates a harmonious blend of tradition and personal integrity. It involves a conscious effort to find common ground between established beliefs and individual truths. This approach not only enhances personal spiritual fulfillment but also contributes to the overall health and vitality of the community, creating a space where faith and doubt can coexist in a productive, meaningful dialogue.

The Role of Individual Growth in Collective Faith Practices

The interplay between individual growth and collective faith practices is complex and profoundly impactful. As members of a faith community embark on their spiritual journeys, they do more than seek personal enlightenment; they enrich the collective spiritual tapestry with their diverse experiences and insights. This individual quest for truth and understanding doesn’t just fulfill personal spiritual needs—it also enhances the communal faith experience, making it more vibrant and inclusive.

Each person’s unique journey contributes to a broader, more dynamic understanding of faith within the community. Individual growth pushes the boundaries of traditional practices and beliefs, challenging the community to adapt and grow. This ongoing process of personal development fosters a culture of adaptability and empathy among congregants as they learn to appreciate and integrate the wide range of spiritual experiences and perspectives present within their community.

Deeping the Collective Faith

Moreover, the pursuit of individual spiritual growth has the power to deepen the collective faith in meaningful ways. When individuals nurture their spiritual selves, they bring back to the community a wealth of insights and revelations that can inspire and encourage others. This not only adds depth and resilience to the community’s shared beliefs but also ensures that these beliefs remain relevant and responsive to the congregation’s evolving spiritual needs.

The reciprocal relationship between individual and collective spirituality underscores the critical role that personal growth plays in strengthening the faith community. It highlights the importance of fostering an environment where individual journeys are supported and valued, not as separate from but as integral to the collective practice of faith. This approach promotes mutual respect and understanding, ensuring that the community’s practices evolve in harmony with its members’ diverse spiritual landscapes. Ultimately, the commitment to individual spiritual evolution is a commitment to the ongoing vitality and relevance of the collective faith, creating a community that is both resilient and ever-evolving.

Staying or Leaving with Purpose: Understanding Motivations within the LDS Church

The decision to either stay in or leave the LDS Church represents a deeply personal and often complex journey, influenced by a myriad of motivations and considerations. For those who choose to stay, their decision is frequently anchored in significant spiritual experiences that affirm their faith, the deep connections formed within their community, and the sense of fulfillment and purpose found in the church’s teachings and practices. These elements combine to create a strong foundation of faith that resonates with their personal and spiritual identity.

On the other hand, the choice to leave the church can stem from an equally profound place of personal reflection and need. It might be driven by a desire for self-discovery and the exploration of beliefs and values that lie beyond the church’s established doctrines. For some, this decision is influenced by the experience of cognitive dissonance, where there is a felt discrepancy between personal beliefs and the teachings of the church, leading to a search for spiritual integrity and authenticity outside of its bounds.

The Gift of Growth

Navigating this crossroad is no small feat; it requires a great deal of courage, introspection, and resilience. Individuals embarking on this journey must confront and reconcile various aspects of their identity, often against the backdrop of family expectations and societal pressures. The path one chooses—whether to stay within the fold of the church or to venture outside it—demands a nuanced understanding of one’s self and a steadfast commitment to personal truth.

Irrespective of the outcome, at the heart of this journey is the quest for psychological well-being and spiritual integrity. The ultimate goal is not merely to make a decision but to arrive at a place of peace and empowerment that aligns with one’s deepest convictions and sense of self. Embracing the journey towards this alignment, with all its challenges and revelations, allows for an authentic expression of one’s relationship with faith. It is in this pursuit that individuals can find a sense of belonging and contentment rooted not in external expectations but in the truth of their personal experiences and beliefs.

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Demystifying LDS Hierarchy & Corporate Politics

Demystifying LDS Hierarchy & Corporate Politics

In this final post about the podcast’s recent guest, Dr. Greg Prince, we’ll discuss the complex politics and hierarchy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was intellectually inspiring and stimulating to talk with Dr. Prince about so many relevant and impactful topics surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

George Santayana’s famous words echo in my mind as we talk about the complex time in church history during the presidency of David O. McKay, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” You see, as a prominent voice in the realm of Mormon history and church dynamics, Dr. Prince provides expertise and discussion that centers on the complex politics and hierarchy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, specifically during David O. McKay’s presidency.

Covering McKay’s contradictory views on race, priesthood policies, and interracial marriage, his work interrogates the balancing act between church growth and social progress, a place we find ourselves again, although with new topics. McKay’s leadership qualities, the influence of figures like Harold B. Lee, and the church’s resemblance to a corporatized institution. His work addresses the broader themes of leadership fallibility, abuse of power, and the importance of individual faith ownership within the church.

Understanding the Organizational Dynamics within the LDS Church

Unveiling the intricate dynamics within the organizational structure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) presents a compelling case study on the interplay between divine guidance and human imperfection. At the heart of this exploration is the church’s hierarchical framework, which, much like the structures found in corporate organizations, showcases the complex relationship between bureaucracy and power. This parallel not only highlights the mechanisms through which religious institutions govern and disseminate their doctrines but also sheds light on the ways in which such structures influence policies and practices within the church.

The LDS Church, with its structured leadership from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles down to local congregational leaders, epitomizes a blend of spiritual guidance and administrative governance. This duality fosters a unique environment where divinely inspired directives coexist with human decision-making processes, mirroring the corporate world’s blend of visionary leadership and practical management. As we delve into historical precedents, such as the presidency of David O. McKay, we gain insights into how past leaders have navigated the challenges inherent in steering a vast and diverse religious community. McKay’s tenure, marked by significant growth and doctrinal shifts, serves as a pivotal example of how leadership within the church has evolved in response to both internal and external pressures.

Examining Leadership and The Human Impact

This discussion inevitably leads to broader questions about the nature of leadership in religious settings. By examining instances where LDS Church leaders have had profound impacts on the church’s direction, as well as moments of human fallibility, we can engage in a more nuanced conversation about the role of authority in faith communities. Such a dialogue encourages members of the church to critically evaluate their relationship with doctrine and the ways in which they contribute to the collective narrative of their religious community.

Furthermore, acknowledging the potential for human error among church leaders invites a deeper consideration of faith, authority, and personal responsibility. It prompts members to reflect on how they can actively participate in their religious community while maintaining a critical awareness of the fallible nature of those in leadership positions. This awareness does not diminish the spiritual authority or the divine inspiration attributed to church leaders but rather enriches the faith experience by allowing space for personal growth and understanding within the framework of collective religious life.

A Candid Look at LDS Leadership and Governance

Dr. Greg Prince’s work tackles the complexities of LDS leadership and governance by examining the nuanced and sometimes contradictory positions held by David O. McKay during his tenure as president of the church. His book, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism provides an in-depth look at how McKay’s liberal views on black men and the priesthood starkly contrasted with his conservative stance on civil rights and interracial marriage. McKay’s approach to compartmentalizing the priesthood from civil rights issues, insisting on a revelation to change policy, is laid bare.

Additionally, Prince’s insights into the church’s gradual approach to changing policies on race, driven by the need for growth rather than an immediate response to human rights concerns, underscore the practical considerations that govern church decisions. A reading of this book encourages a candid reassessment of the portrayal of LDS leaders as infallible by acknowledging their vulnerability to mistakes and susceptibility to flattery and power. The dialogue further delves into the parallels between the church and corporate power structures, exploring themes of bureaucracy, hierarchy, and the universal potential for the abuse of power. By discussing McKay’s influential role and the challenges that arose during his time, Prince invites readers to thoughtfully engage with the complex history and governance of the LDS church, reflecting on the human elements that shape its leadership and policies.

Navigating the Complexities of Hierarchy and Decision-Making in the Latter-day Saint Context

Navigating the complexities of hierarchy and decision-making within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for both leaders and members alike. The church operates under a structured authority system deeply rooted in the belief that its leaders receive divine guidance. This foundational principle shapes the way decisions are made, policies are implemented, and teachings are disseminated throughout the global congregation. For members, this creates a dynamic interplay between personal revelation—individual insights and inspirations believed to be from God—and the official doctrine as articulated by the church leadership.

This intersection often becomes a fertile ground for reflection and sometimes tension, particularly when members find themselves trying to reconcile their personal beliefs with the institution’s teachings. The LDS Church, like many religious organizations, faces the challenge of addressing contemporary social issues. These issues, ranging from gender equality and sexual orientation to racial justice and environmental stewardship, demand a delicate balance between maintaining traditional values and incorporating progressive insights. The hierarchical structure of the church, designed to ensure unity and coherence across its global membership, sometimes struggles to be agile and responsive to the diverse experiences and needs of its members.

Hearing the Unheard

The church’s approach to decision-making within this framework highlights the emphasis on unity and coherence. Leaders seek divine inspiration in guiding the church, aiming to present a unified front on doctrinal and policy matters. However, this can lead to tensions, especially when individual members or groups within the church feel that their experiences, insights, or needs are not fully addressed or acknowledged. The challenge lies in fostering an environment where open discourse is not only allowed but encouraged, enabling members to express their views, ask questions, and seek greater understanding.

Efforts to navigate these complexities involve a continuous process of dialogue, prayer, and reflection, both at the individual and collective levels. The church has mechanisms in place, such as general conferences, local congregation meetings, and church councils, where issues can be discussed and guidance can be sought. Yet, the effectiveness of these mechanisms in addressing the nuanced and often deeply personal concerns of members varies, highlighting the ongoing need for adaptability and sensitivity within the church’s leadership structures.

Fostering an environment that accommodates meaningful changes without compromising core principles is an ongoing journey for the LDS Church. It requires a nuanced understanding of doctrine, a deep respect for personal revelation, and a commitment to engaging with contemporary issues in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. This journey is marked by efforts to balance tradition with progression, unity with diversity, and leadership with personal conscience, reflecting the complex but rich tapestry of faith and community life within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Navigating Mormon Fundamentalism, the New Mormon History, and Spiritual Growing Pains

Navigating Mormon Fundamentalism, the New Mormon History, and Spiritual Growing Pains

Dr. Greg Prince is a distinguished scholar and author renowned for his extensive research and insightful contributions to the understanding of Mormon history and culture. With a background in dentistry and a deep passion for religious studies, Prince has authored several pivotal books that delve into the complexities and nuances of the Latter-day Saint movement. His work is celebrated for its rigorous scholarship, nuanced analysis, and the ability to provide fresh perspectives on the evolution and challenges of Mormonism. Through his writings and public engagements, Dr. Prince has significantly influenced both academic and public discourse on religious topics.

The Latter-Day Struggles Podcast has been blessed to have Dr. Prince as a guest for several episodes where we delve deep into Mormon Fundamentalist, the New Mormon History, and spiritual growing pains.

Faith and Reason

The intricate dance between faith and reason takes center stage in the work of Greg Prince. His work has been a sanctuary for those experiencing the growing pains of spiritual maturation within the Mormon tradition, shedding light on the tensions between traditional narratives and the nuanced realities unveiled by modern scholarship. As we seek understanding and healing, thinkers such as Greg Prince illuminate the pathway for those on all sides of the belief spectrum in our encounters with the multifaceted nature of spiritual growth.

Greg Prince explores the delicate balance between belief and logic in a way that speaks to anyone going through the ups and downs of spiritual growth, especially within the Mormon community. His books and talks are like a safe space for those wrestling with their faith, as he helps reveal how what we’ve always been told and the nuances presented by modern scholars now say can sometimes clash. As we all look for deeper meaning and some peace of mind, Greg Prince shines a light on the journey, making it easier for everyone, no matter where they stand on matters of faith, to navigate the complex journey of spiritual growth.

The Rise of Fundamentalism in Modern Mormonism: Insights from Greg Prince’s Historical Perspective


The phenomenon of the rise of fundamentalism within modern Mormonism presents a fascinating and complex topic that goes beyond the boundaries of the Church itself, touching on broader themes of how religion adapts to the contemporary world. This trend reflects a broader global pattern where religious communities grapple with the challenges posed by modernity, including technological advancements, shifts in social values, and increased scrutiny of traditional beliefs.

In the context of Mormonism, the resurgence of fundamentalist beliefs can be seen as a reaction to these pressures, where certain factions within the faith seek to reaffirm their identity through strict adherence to original doctrines and practices. This includes, but is not limited to, polygamy, traditional gender roles, and other early church teachings that mainstream Mormonism has since moved away from.

This movement raises important questions about the nature of faith, the search for authenticity, and the struggle for religious communities to maintain coherence and unity in the face of internal and external change. It also highlights the tension between the desire for the preservation of traditional values and the need for adaptation to ensure relevance in a rapidly changing world.

In-Depth Analysis

Historian Greg Prince’s in-depth analysis on this subject often highlights how fundamentalism gains traction during periods of societal uncertainty, proposing a return to perceived traditional values as a bulwark against rapid change.

His historical perspective underscores the Mormon response to modernity, referencing pivotal figures like Joseph F. Smith and his reaction to the scientific study of scripture that created a conservative pivot in the Church. This back-to-basics movement reflects a wider desire for certainty and clarity within the faith community.

Prince’s work accentuates the complexity inherent in religious belief and organizational structure, suggesting that the vitality of Mormonism lies, in part, in its ability to reconcile its rich historical tapestry with the evolving spiritual and social landscapes of its adherents.

Exploring the New Mormon History: Greg Prince’s Journey Through Spiritual Complexity and Church Narratives

The phrase ‘Exploring the New Mormon History’ encapsulates the scholarly trek undertaken by Greg Prince. Through his profound exploration of Mormon history, Greg has carved out a pivotal space in the dialogue surrounding the Latter Day Saints movement. This journey unravels the tightly woven fabrics of religious narrative and historical complexity, revealing a landscape where faith and fact coexist in a delicate balance. Prince’s work illuminates the evolution of church historiography, shedding light on figures like Leonard Arrington, who ushered in an era of data-based historical inquiry. Greg’s examination of the past is not limited to an academic exercise but probes the deeper interplay between institutional narratives and individual belief systems, a testament to his enduring commitment to understanding and interpreting the labyrinthine nature of spiritual heritage.

Spiritual Growing Pains: How Greg Prince’s Work Highlights the Struggle Between Faith and Historical Knowledge

Greg Prince’s scholarly contributions are pivotal in fostering a critical discourse within the Mormon Church, serving as a beacon for those navigating the delicate balance between devout faith and an educated grasp of the church’s history. His biographical explorations, particularly of figures like Leonard Arrington, the church’s first professional historian, do not merely recount lives but probe the depths of faith challenged by historical scrutiny. Prince’s meticulous research and engaging prose invite readers into a realm where the reverent narratives of the church are juxtaposed against a backdrop of historical facts, often leading to a spiritual dissonance among the faithful.

Stumbling Block to Stepping Stone

This dissonance is not presented as a stumbling block but rather as a stepping stone toward a more profound understanding of faith. Prince argues that the discomfort arising from confronting the historical complexities of the Mormon Church is a necessary phase in the evolution of belief. Through his writings, he meticulously unravels the entwined threads of myth, metaphor, and factual history that constitute the Mormon narrative, urging believers to undertake a journey of reconciliation. This journey is not about diminishing faith through critical inquiry but enriching it by embracing the full spectrum of its history, including the parts that are complex, challenging, or even unflattering.

Prince’s scholarship is a clarion call for a mature faith that does not shy away from the rigors of historical examination but instead finds strength in it. He posits that the true resilience of belief lies in its ability to adapt and grow in the face of new understandings, suggesting that a faith that ignores or simplifies its past may be doing a disservice to its adherents. By advocating for an informed faith, Prince illuminates a path for the Mormon community to navigate the growing pains associated with integrating a nuanced historical perspective with traditional beliefs.

Illuminating Path

The impact of Greg Prince’s work extends beyond the confines of academia into the very heart of the Mormon community. It serves as a guide for believers wrestling with the questions that arise when faith meets fact, offering a vision of a faith that is not weakened but strengthened by historical truth. His advocacy for a more informed and resilient understanding of Mormonism challenges the community to grow, not by rejecting its past but by embracing it in all its complexity. In doing so, Prince’s scholarship does not just contribute to the historical discourse but plays a crucial role in shaping the future trajectory of the Mormon faith.

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