LDS Perspectives Podcast: Vanity Prayers, with Leta Greene

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Leta Greene never thought she would grow up to be a beauty consultant and motivational speaker. But she has overcome the scars of emotional and physical abuse and feelings of awkwardness and ugliness to excel at life by choosing happiness.

Leta has developed a system of changing the way women perceive themselves through daily validation or “vanity prayers.” She has learned that nobody can give from an empty well. One of the most important things women need to nurture is their relationship with themselves.

Through her experiences, she speaks to setting healthy boundaries to protect against emotional and physical abuse and listening to our inner compasses in our interactions. She advocates only allowing into our spheres of influence those we love, trust, and who take responsibility.

The way women perceive themselves is often the biggest “glass ceiling” they need to break in order to excel and achieve their dreams. Leta gives us some tools to begin thinking in new ways. Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she interviews Leta Greene about harnessing our inner beauty.

LDS Perspectives Podcast: Balancing Religious Tensions, with Mauro Properzi

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Finding a balance between loyalty or commitment to one’s faith and sympathetic openness to other faiths is one of the biggest challenges Mormons face in an age of inclusiveness.

The classic “theology of religions” view of other faiths known as “Inclusivism” broadly fits what Dr. Mauro Properzi thinks this balance should look like in an LDS context. The idea is that one’s faith is unique, most effective, and overall preferential (or if you want to use the term “truest”) in leading to our eternal destination. Other religions, however, while being positive paths that move as a whole in the same direction, lack some elements that characterize the faith you embrace. Perhaps other paths take unnecessary detours, perhaps they have holes that cause slower progress, perhaps they are not as scenic. Still, these roads are going in the same general direction as your road, not in the opposite one. In short, if your road leads to God, the other roads don’t lead to Satan; they are also oriented toward God.

Inclusivism is the middle ground. Two other positions represent the ends of the spectrum. On one side is exclusivism, which in its bluntest form is the message that only my religion is good, true, divinely inspired, and salvific. At its opposite is pluralism with the message that all religions are true, divinely inspired, and salvific since it is believed that they teach the same message in different cultural contexts.

What is clear is that in our postmodern Western culture many people, whether religious or not, lean in the direction of pluralism and exclusivism is not very popular. Exclusivism, however, is an important component of Christianity, and of Mormonism in particular; in fact, in the pursuit of truth in general. It is not the whole of the answer but it is a significant part of it.

The challenge for us, and for any other person of faith who feels these tensions, is to be reflective about them and not succumb to pressures that aim to eliminate them. For us these pressures can come from social interactions both within the church and outside of it … pressures that want to obliterate one side or the other of the spectrum.

Join Laura Harris Hales as she interviews Mauro Properzi about false obstacle and rich opportunities that come from learning about other religions.

LDS Perspectives Podcast: Tithing and the Law of Consecration, with Steven C. Harper

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Steven Harper points out that one of things the Revelations in Context series was designed to do was to encourage study of the history and doctrine of the LDS Church in order to get past folk doctrines.

One of the misunderstandings that has developed over time is the relationship between the law of consecration and tithing.

The law of the Lord is given in D&C 42, and it is to love God and love one’s neighbor. All are encouraged to give of their time and temporal means to relieve the suffering of others.

It is not a law governing ownership but one that asks us what we are willing to do with what we have.

Tithing didn’t replace the law of consecration but rather is one way in which we practice it. The law is eternal and does not change but the way we practice it does.

In the early days of the LDS Church, any freewill offering was considered tithing. This has changed over time.

The law is also about agency, accountability, and stewardship.

Listen in on this fascinating discussion between Steven C. Harper and Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast as they delve into the essence of the law of consecration.

LDS Perspectives Podcast: Jewish Holy Days with Gale T. Boyd

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Gale Boyd is an ethnic Jew who convert to the LDS Church. In 1983, she and her husband decided to move their family to Israel to explore their Jewish heritage.

She was unprepared for the culture shock she experienced as an American Jewish Mormon living in Jewish Zion. Not only was there the language barrier but also the differences in money, weights and measures, Sabbath observance, and even the year was counted differently.

As she became immersed in Israeli culture, she learned about Jewish holy days and their symbolism.

Her experiences led her to write Days of Awe with the purpose of sharing with Latter-day Saints the Christian symbolism found in the celebration of Jewish festivals.

The book contains a history of Old Testament feasts, their ancient and current patterns of observance, their prophetic symbolism, and their relevance to Latter-day Saints today.

She also clears up some misconceptions about the Jewish people, their scripture, the complexity of their religion, and their history.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast and Gale Boyd as they discuss Judaism, holy days, and the religious past, present, and future.

To access your free copy of Days of Awe, check out the links to resources at LDS Perspectives Podcast.

LDS Perspectives Podcasts: Art is Sacred Space with Rita Wright

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Rita Wright is the curator for the Springfield Museum of Art. Formerly she taught art at Brigham Young University and was the curator for the LDS Church History Museum. Currently she sits on the worldwide committee for art selection for the LDS Church.

She joins Laura Harris Hales to discuss the function of art in sacred space beginning with the first Christians. Together they discuss the beginning of art in the catacombs, through the dark ages, enduring symbols, and overlooked and creative use of art to create a sacred atmosphere.

Through her years of teaching, Rita realized that sometimes members of the LDS Church have difficulty understanding the art of other religions because of bias and ignorance of the meaning of iconography. She walks us through some common symbols and architectural styles and how they strive to create a feeling of sacredness.

While cathedrals may sometimes come off as garish and colorful to some, members can gain better understanding about these places if they learn more about them and their purpose.

The initial cathedrals were built as Bibles for the poor because the commoners had no access to Bibles and could not read.

Rita shares some insights on how we can appreciate sacred art on a theological, social, and psychological level.