This delightful interview would probably have been one of my favorites even if I weren't a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Krista and Joanna, you rocked!
And to prove I'm a Mormon, I even cried. Joanna, I was touched by your portraits of your dad and your husband and how you relate to them (you made me love you all) and how we share that long view of time--that God is fair, and it will all work out. And I was touched by the graceful, even humorous way you shared about practices often ridiculed or feared, which are sacred to us.
I laughed about beginning with pioneer stories, because that's so typical! (I've seen it in other countries, though half the Church population resides outside of the US and Canada, and it's common among new converts--pioneers themselves.) On one side of my family, I am descended from real-live-crossing-the-plains pioneers, and that runs deep in my blood. Sometimes I'm zipping down the freeway, off to work on something throughly modern and academic, when I imagine my great-great-great-great-grandmother, who died of cholera on the north bank of the Platte, saying proudly, "Look at that girl go!"
On Being (and Speaking of Faith before that) has been a great blessing in my life BECAUSE I am a Mormon. I love Krista's interviews because they remind me of the deep conversations I have only with friends who share a deep, devout commitment to God, love, humility, conscience, and service--in whatever faith they are found. I am enriched by sharing beyond my own circle; we take less for granted and gain insight as we probe for both common ground and unique perspectives. Mormons would say that's because we're all the children of God, who loves and guides all who are seeking.
I feel tremendous freedom to explore and discern truth through the experiences and wisdom of others. Joseph Smith taught, "Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels at liberty to embrace every truth: consequently the shackles of superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck, and his eyes are opened to see the truth. . . The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same."
Speaking of truth, so many journalists throughout my lifetime have not even checked their own style guide's description of this church before making fools of themselves, and of us. When they get it right, I feel relief and joy, as though it's a personal favor. So Krista, thank you. Thank you for the deep respect and sincere inquiry that characterize all your interviews.
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