Episode 130: Welcome to Latter-day Saint Perspectives

Welcome to the Latter-day Saint Perspectives Podcast. I’m your host Laura Harris Hales.

I created this podcast over four and a half years ago. As I prepare to shutter the production, I am going to follow the example of fellow podcaster Nick Galieti and post an introductory episode explaining how this podcast got started, what I hoped to accomplish, and what you can expect as you listen.

The story of this podcast began in June 2016. After co-authoring the book, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding and the website josephsmithspolygamy.org, my husband and I were asked to speak at a conference held in Sweden.

After our presentation, I was approached by a local member, who mentioned he was grateful my husband and I as well as other conference presenters traveled so far to visit with the Swedish members.

“We don’t have many options when we want to learn about church history,” he said. “Many of the books published in the United States are difficult to get ahold of here,” he continued. “So we are left with only listening to podcasts from antagonistic sources or devotional ones. There is no middle ground.” Then, he looked into my eyes and asked, “Can you help us? Can you give us a podcast that gives us an alternative?”

I was fresh off my experience with compiling and editing, A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS History and Doctrine. It had been such a positive experience where all of the pieces seemed to fall naturally into place.

So when I returned to the US, I approached this new project with the same fearless gusto. Latter-day Saint Perspectives would interview respected LDS scholars about church history, doctrine, and culture from a faithful perspective.

With new audio equipment and a quivering voice, I taped my first interview with Thomas Wayment, which aired on September 19, 2016. Our topic was the Historical Jesus. It was rough and awkward, but to my great surprise and delight listeners tuned in.

Million of worldwide downloads later, it is with a appreciative heart that I say goodbye to this project.

I am thankful for the man who had the courage to approach me with his request, grateful to the guest podcasters who also shared my vision, indebted to the many outlets among them Meridian Magazine, the Mormon Interpreter, and LDS Living that reposted my material, and forever beholden to the scholars who volunteered to share their knowledge gained from years of study.

When I started this podcast, I hoped to present the most recent academic scholarship to a general audience from a faithful but not necessarily devotional perspective. I also hoped to take a deeper dive into Latter-day Saint topics than listeners could typically find in Sunday School discussions. Through the years, Latter-day Saint Perspectives has done just that. We have interviewed noted scholars about recent works as well as older but influential publications.

I invite those new to the podcast to check out our complete catalog on their favorite podcast application or at Latter-day Saint Perspectives.com. On the website, you can locate additional episodes on similar topics as well as check out a new feature.

While we will not be regularly releasing new episodes (I hesitate to say never here), our newly designed website contains a new feature. Periodically, I will be posting bite-sized blogs about books, podcasts, and video features that promote the best in Latter-day Saint scholarship. If this is something that interests you, then subscribe at latter-daysaintperspectives.com.

I have been the most unlikely of podcast hosts. Not only do I suffer from more social anxiety than average but also my vocal talents are limited. What I do have is a lot of questions. Fortunately, I was able to spend hours with scholars who have become my friends and have answered some of them. Thanks, listeners, for sharing this journey with me.

In 2016, there were not a lot of options for those seeking academic enrichment from a faithful perspective, but the landscape has changed over the last several years. Like me, individuals and institutions are doing what they can with their unique talents, gifts, and means to promote understanding and deeper engagement with our religion and faith. As I leave this venue, I know I leave it in good hands.

If you feel you have benefited from our show, please consider rating and reviewing this podcast in your podcast platform, so others may continue to find our content for years to come.

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