Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
131:  Greg Prince:  Analyzing this Mormon Moment

131: Greg Prince: Analyzing this Mormon Moment

greg-prince“I don’t know the way forward yet.  I think that it’s going to be a combination of people at the top exercising their inspiration and the people at the bottom exercising their inspiration as well and somehow coming to a comfortable interface in the middle that takes advantage of both sources.”

Author and commentator Greg Prince and I talk history, theology, technology, culture, communication, relationships, disaffection, and policy in Mormonism, and we wonder together about the church’s present and future.




  1. Michael Huff

    This is a fantastic podcast. Thank you! I’ve been worried about church growth for many years. I’d been focusing on the decline in RATE of growth from the mid-’90s onward, but this discussion of the decline in stake growth (relative to the membership numbers) is even more to-the-point. It actually gives me hope that someone “in the red seats” is noticing this trend, and that it may have a “trickle-up” effect. I’m not hopeful that it will happen any time SOON, but maybe within a few decades. (Don’t know if I’ll be around…)

  2. Neal

    Greg mentioned that he is looking for the genesis of the new policy on gays, apostasy, and children in same-sex relationships. My personal theory is that it all started with Dallin Oaks and the paper he wrote in 1984 outlining a possible position of the Church regarding homosexuals and the looming legal struggle for LGBT rights. It reads like a roadmap to me – give way to “benign” issues like housing rights, but go nuclear on the issue of gay marriage (in his words “devilish”). The Church seems to have followed the recommendations made in this paper almost to a T for the past 30+ years.

    “Principles to Govern Possible Public Statement on Legislation Affecting Rights of Homosexuals. Dallin H. Oaks, 7 August 1984”

  3. A Happy Hubby

    One of the best podcasts in quite a while, but probably just a normal one for Greg Prince!

    If I ever have a GA ever ask me, “well what voice should the church leaders (other than the spirit) on what needs to change?” I would quickly answer with Greg’s name. He is thoughtful, very much up on the history AND how this all plays on the ground today. I hear Greg describing changes that make me think, “If not only the changes were made, but the way of thinking changed to be more like that of Greg, I would be EXCITED about staying fully engaged.” Instead I struggle to have enough desire to attend each Sunday and feel like it is sapping the life out of me.

    Thank you Gina and especially Greg for giving me a bit of motivation to keep trying.

  4. Brian T

    Great podcast, Greg Prince has some great ideas. I read The Rise of Modern Mormonism several years ago and have been following him since.

    I think the comments on race, however, don’t reflect reflect reality in the church. While I’ve only lived in Utah while in college, I do have a lot of family there, I don’t see/hear the racism he discusses. I think it simply reflects the narrative of the left with their ability to see racism where it does not exist.

    I’ve lived in wards in LA, Wisconsin, Minnesota and the four corners states on my mission. As a white person, I was in the minority in my LA ward, and in the majority in the rest. I haven’t witnessed racism in any of them. Quite the opposite, ward members tend to fall all over minorities, especially Black minorities, to help them feel welcome. Additionally, I remember a story from my uncle in Idaho about 25 years ago when he discussed the only black kid in the high school being elected class president. I can’t recall if this was Rigby, Idaho Falls or another predominantly Mormon town, but I’m fairly certain if he had been white, he would have been an ordinary high school kid. These stories don’t jibe with wide spread racism in the church. I don’t believe it.

    1. maddy

      It would be interesting to hear from Darius on this matter–the issue of race. Far be it for any of us white folk to make an accurate or complete assessment of race issues within the church.

  5. Mario S. De Pillis, Sr.

    Greg Prince has to be the most sensible, informed analytical member of the LDS church, and he goes far beyond the current obsession with same-sex policies in Mormonism.
    A deeply faithful Mormon, he is unafraid to comment on the most unsavory aspects of his church both now or in the past.
    Although I have spent 60 years studying Mormonism, I still appreciated Prince’s honest insider’s view of church history. I suggest that non-Mormons could learn a lot listening to him; don’t let the Mormon lingo (quorums, the Twelve, revelation, relief society, correlation) discourage you.

  6. Deg

    The sad part would be if all the liberal Mormon Grassroots people leave the church to make it extremely conservative.

    I don’t agree with Greg on the note of the first vision. I believe Joseph Smith felt more comfortable sharing the details of his first vision over time, that at first he was reserved to talk about. However, I do recognize that this is a personal view, and that the written account can lead you to think otherwise.

    By that same token, what is God doing to show His hand in His work?

  7. Kristen

    Thank you so much Gina and Greg. This was a fantastic discussion. I wish I could hear more like this within the church.
    My 17 year old daughter, after the new LGBTQ policy was announced, told me with tears in her eyes that she didn’t want to associated with an organization that would do something like that. She was born and raised in the church and has always been fully engaged. More than messy church history, the new policy has been a very bitter pill to swallow. We’re currently holding on, maybe because the church was once a place we loved, but unsure if we will be able to for very long. So grateful to hear thoughtful people talking about these difficult issues.

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  9. I had the good fortune to hear Gina speak at a small local tent-meeting sponsored by Mindy Gledhill in Provo not long ago. It was such a fabulous experience and a very real moment of inspiration for me, personally.

    This particular podcast is remarkable and such a validation of my feelings and concerns within the church. As a ‘hanger-on” I find that I am hungry for the voices that speak my struggles and still lead me on in hope.

    Thank you.

  10. Mary

    Hello to all the remarkable, intelligent, people who podcast about their challenges inside and out of Mormonism

    Greg Prince’s talk with you, Gina, was just top-notch. Gina, you are a talented interviewer (this time I put my money where my mouth is) and Greg Prince is remarkable. I listened to the talk three times because every sentence revealed a scholarship that to me was thrilling. I didn’t want to miss a word. I will probably listen to it again!

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.

  11. Liz

    I loved the interview. I agreed with it all, except for the statement about racism. I am conservative, and I did not vole for President Obama because he was very liberal. Years ago, I would have voted for Colin Powell, and I would gladly vote for Ben Carson if he were the nominee. I do not vote with racist motivation, and I really believe that this would be true of a majority of conservatives. Please realize that we can have political differences and still love people who are different than us. We want the good that you want, but just believe it can be better achieved through conservative principles.

  12. Mark P

    Gina, I thought this was one of the best interviews that I have heard in many years. Two of my favorite LDS progressive writers in one place!! It was insightful, timely and extremely accurate in terms of my own observations. I have 4 children who are millennials, one just got home from a mission and I can tell you that these are exactly the issues they are dealing with and struggling with today. The church is in for a very hard time unless they listen to more people like Gina Colvin and Greg Prince. Too bad they never will.

  13. Lloyd

    One of the best, and I believe most important, interviews I’ve heard in a long time. Thank you both. And now that President Nelson as asserted that the LBGT policy changes was “Revelation”, I’d be very interested on Greg’s take on things now.

  14. maddy

    I echo the comments above–one of the best interviews ever!

    I will be looking forward to the completion of Greg Prince’s book. For me,a life-long, devoted LDS member with prominent LDS leader ancestry, nothing damaged the fabric of my relationship with the church more than Prop 8 campaign and its treatment of LGBT issues. As a result, my activity and engagement with the church has dramatically declined. It is hard to see evidence that those at church headquarters interface, in an attitude of emotional, intellectual or spiritual openness with those directly or indirectly affected by these issues. And, no, one doesn’t have to be LGBT or have LGBT family members/friends to feel the harm done by these policies and campaigns.

    Thank you Greg and Gina!

  15. Noel

    I always found the timing of his family’s conversion to the Presbyterian church was in 1820 interesting. Bushman seems to argue that circumstantial evidence that the family joined in 1823-24. Which revival was he talking about? Did Walters make a good argument for the 1823-24 date.

  16. Jean Bodie

    Without bias Greg explains what he sees as the problems the church faces today. Though I believe in nothing today, having a community of people I care about; share things in common with IS vital to life and happiness.
    Had I known or had a bishop or SP (like Greg Prince) or a husband who understood that this was what I needed – love, answers to troubling questions, not being told that I was being misled – I might have stayed in the church or at least taken longer to find my way out and retained some friends and family relationships.

    THERE ARE NO LOCAL LEADERS who can deal with this faith crisis because they look to their ‘upline’ to give them direction. NOBODY helps those who discover the truth. The wagons get drawn into a tight circle to keep the ‘disease germs’ on the outside. It’s lonely on the outside and the ‘lepers’ form colonies (communities) and are further disdained as ‘anti-Mormons’ as they assist others to find the truth and navigate those troubled waters of relationships with those who usually ‘will not’ listen to anything that doesn’t fit in their own narrative of what is true.

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