001: Gregory Prince – A Manifesto For Change

For our inaugural installment of this new podcast, I couldn’t think of anyone better to have than Greg Prince. Greg is well known in our little Mormon world for his historical contributions and his grassroots activism within the LDS Church. Greg is an advocate for better curriculum, scholarship, gender equality, and open dialogue within Mormon discourse and church policy. Greg sits on the board of directors for Dialogue Foundation, as well as the Madison House Autism Foundation.

In this interview, Greg and I discuss Dialogue, one of Mormondom’s oldest and most controversial publications, and what role it will continue to play in the Internet Age. Greg is a bold advocate for gender equality and women’s issues within Mormon culture. We discuss the contributions of Chieko Okasaki, women and the priesthood, and what practical solutions are available today to affect positive change in Mormon gender equality.

In October 2011, at the Washington DC Mormon Stories Conference, Greg Prince gave a wonderful summary of his experiences of activism within Mormonism, discussed his role models, and in Section 5 of his speech provided a manifesto for how we should take ownership of the future of Mormonism. Greg and I discussed in further depth his admonitions, which range from influencing curriculum, creating better scholarship, and how to navigate the political intrigue of church service.

Toward the end of the interview, I asked Greg to tell us more about his newest project, the Madison House Autism Foundation (MHAF), which he and his wife JaLynn co-founded in 2009. MHAF is a very important organization that strives to find solutions for the needs of adults with autism. I strongly encourage our listeners to visit MHAF’s website. We will provide links below.

It was a sublime experience to interview one of Modern Mormonism’s greatest champions. I would like to thank Greg from the bottom of my heart for helping us start off on the right foot.

 

Links:

Greg Prince’s Amazon page

Greg Prince’s Manifesto Speech

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought

Madison House Autism Foundation

Madison House YouTube Channel

 

Comments

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10 comments for “001: Gregory Prince – A Manifesto For Change

  1. August 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Amen, Amen and Amen, Greg!!!–regarding the quality of the “singing” in LDS meetings–and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) the lack of actual “preaching” in modern LDS meetings.
    I was inactive for 9 years. When I came back to activity in 1994 I was horrified at the simply awful quality of the “talks.” Having been raised as a United Methodist (in a rather “high church” congregation) when I first visited an LDS meeting in 1977 (at age 18) I was very disappointed in the quality of the “talks.” Indeed, calling the sermons “talks” was correct since nothing more seemed to be involvd than a series of individuals standing at the pulpit and simply “talking”–with little thoughtful content, with no structure, with no passion or emotion (other than getting choked up at the end when bearing their testimony…which I attributed more to nervousness than conviction) and with no skill in public speaking.

    When I read 1830s Mormon hsitory I get the impression that the Pratt Brothers, Brigham Young, Sidney Rigdon and John Taylor were good “preachers.”

    What in the world went wrong? LDS meetings are dead spiritually.

  2. August 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I think it’s important to point out that Mormon’s have long been known for their poor sermons. Early in church history Mormons didn’t even really prepare before speaking in church meetings. They just stood up and started talking. Which is why those who already had training in preaching were so much better. Those who didn’t would have been harder to sit through. I recall reading a quote from an early church leader basically stating that if a person prepares beforehand before preaching they are not inspired by the spirit.

  3. September 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I have been looking on the internet for a write-up about the European area 70 and his faith crisis about historical issues that were unknown to him. Any links someone can provide?

    mike

  4. John
    September 5, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I just finished listening to the podcast, Greg Prince is one of my favorites out there. I feel very similar to him in that I’ve been exposed to everything out there and haven’t ever had a faith crisis. I choose in my life to allow my spiritual experiences balance out issues that I have found disturbing, but seen a hundred years later, I believe culturally, I am in no position to make the kind of judgment I often see from others.

    He makes clear a few things, I believe, there is a responsibility we all have, and that is to live within the Org, I think. We live and work and worship with those around us, many of whom we wouldn’t give the time of day to if they tried to analyze a social issue the church faces, but who cares, really. I believe very strongly that those of us who feel we are not in the majority targeted by the corporate church (be it the liberal side or the conservative side – believe me I’ve seen a letter to a Stake President calling him to repentance for not supporting gardening enough) we must make do, ask thought provoking questions in SS an Priesthood, when in Sacrament Meeting model the talk we wish everyone gave, and when we are called to leadership positions, use subtle influence, but realize that the vast majority of those we serve with don’t give a monkey’s tail about the condition of LGBT, or women’s roles in the church, or whatever our own issue is.

    I’ve been a clerk for most of my adult life in the church, that means I’ve been in Bishopric meetings and Stake Presidency meetings. I have always felt free to ‘sustain’ my leaders by providing my own thoughts. There are times I express them directly to the Bishop or Stake President rather than in meetings, but I always express them.

    Examples are, when a new temple opened, I asked what the Presidency was doing to help women who were traumatized by their experience in the temple. Is this the time to bring them in for an open and honest conversation?

    Ideas like sponsoring a Father/Sons…. but no Daddy/Daughter, or what about the idea that some are son/daughter-less and some are father-less they are an asterix to the activity typically… with a big target on their forhead… hey, look at me, I’m the exception that has to be dealt with.

    I believe this is what Greg means when getting into the politics of things…

    Anyway, it is a great interview, should be listened to by EVERY member of the church.

    I do have a couple of tone or agenda issues. It seems that the language being used by the interviewer is attempting to standardize the use of terms that is an agenda to get adopted in the world.

    I am on the outskirts of Mormonism when you consider my position relative to others in my ward. I am TBM, card-carrying, like Greg, I assume as he mentioned being on the High Council.

    • John
      September 5, 2012 at 8:10 am

      oops, I mentioned to end with the fact that I do not live an alternative Mormon lifestyle. The borderlands column in Sunstone had the same issues for me. Maybe I’m naive and don’t realize just how large this alternative movement is, but it seems to me that agitators want a label to brand… very 21st century of us, but leave me out… I loved that Greg NEVER bit on any of those questions designed to give credibility to this ‘fringe’ I hope everyone else looks at that and reconsiders their own thoughts.

  5. Molskinner
    September 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Micah and Greg,

    Thank you! Thank you! Well done! Interestingly, I heard a talk from a High Councilor that sounded strangely similar to Greg’s “Manifesto” the other week… It was great! I am sure he is a fan as am I! Afterwards the Bishop got up and said from the pulpit with a bewildered look on his face, “I have never heard a talk like that before…” I think he was a little surprised by the high councilor’s complaining about talks and lessons which put everyone to sleep… How women are under utilized in the church… And how our singing has got to improve.. Almost identical just repackaged.. I couldn’t stop from smiling for a while after.. Thank you!

  6. Morconsin
    September 6, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for a thought-provoking podcast and an opportunity to comment.

    There is good news to note here in Wisconsin.

    The woman called to conduct the music in our meetings had enough zeal and simple leadership ability to create a program to improve the singing dramatically. Teachers are excused at the end of sacrament meeting to prepare their rooms. Everyone remains for a singing lesson! It’s fun, and positive. The solution is local leadership, not some top-down answer.

    Talks have improved too, despite the amateur status of the presenters, because the topics are chosen with purpose and quality is praised. Again, it’s a local thing. We have a congregation of converts from all over the country and the world. The most recent converts give the most interesting and energizing talks.

    Finally, speaking as a convert of 30 years, I want to state for the record that I didn’t give up motorcycle races on Sunday to be entertained and have my battery charged by the singing and preaching.

    I did give up my former life, time and treasure to get the truth about where I came from, why I’m here and where I’m going. No kidding, plain and simple, that’s what I got in the bargain and having served as a Bishop and on the high council for many years, I feel I can attend any sacrament meeting and get something of value from the experience. But, I’m there because I want to demonstrate my gratitude for finding the truth and to offer myself as opposed to seeing what I can gain.

  7. Michael
    December 1, 2016 at 2:41 am

    I enjoyed what Gregg Price has to say. I think the interviewer was more concerned about himself than he was his first. I wish he would have dug dressier intro what Gregg was sharing with him. Instead, he would just jump in with another of his pre-concieved list of questions. There was little flow to this interview. It tested my patience to even listed to it because of whoever led the questioning. I’m trying to be as generous as I can, but honesty compels me to say otherwise.

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