As Krista and I hop from meeting to meeting here in New York, we’re overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of listener response to our program on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We’re receiving very positive responses from non-Mormons and Mormons alike, from those who know and have studied the church as well as those for whom this was an introduction; at the same time, some listeners have expressed concern that this program was not critical enough to be journalistically valid.

Speaking of Faith models a distinctive approach to journalism about religion. The ethic of the interview is informed by deep listening and informed questioning. That is purposeful, based on her sense that adversarial questioning simply puts the interviewer on the defensive and shuts down the possibility of authentic and genuinely revealing answers. There are many legitimate ways to approach the multitudes of subjects in the news. This approach works for matters as deep and sensitive as religion and what we believe.

In the case of this show, her questions drew out a great deal of information that was new to many listeners. Some drove to the substantive core of distinctions between Mormon thought and traditional orthodox Christianity. As we also stated throughout the script, there are numerous controversies surrounding this faith in historical, cultural, theological, and social terms.

We didn’t omit to mention these “hot button” topics, nor did we dismiss them. But we did and do feel they have been often reported and examined in the mainstream media. We wanted to cover some new ground. We wanted to explore the basic parts of this faith that make it distinctive, and that are little understood.

We had a journalistic goal — to provide a more basic theological and human context for non-Mormons to understand this faith of 13 million human beings globally — and a broad and basic human foundation on which they might navigate the controversies for themselves.

We tried to determine where to post a response like this — on the show’s reflection page, to each individual, in next week’s newsletter? — and then we had to check ourselves and ask: “Are we too defensive?” “Are we overreacting and should we just allow our listeners to air their grievances?”

What do you think?


Share Your Reflection

6Reflections

Reflections

The style of interviewing you use of not being adversarial is wonderfully refreshing. Robert Millet was able to talk about things he didn't truly understand about his Mormon Faith even after a lifetime of belief and and study. I found his openness to accept new ideas quite surprising. It goes well with my belief that the search for spiritual truth should last our whole lifetime. Although I believe that a true religion from God can only be revealed by a Prophet or Messenger expressly appointed by God such as Jesus, Mohammad or Bahá'u'lláh, I admire Professor Millet's dedication to his Faith and to the life it causes him to live.

The Reflections page serves as a terrific forum for listeners, both pleased and otherwise. However, getting into a dialogue with each of your unhappy listeners would be time-consuming and open-ended, creating more heat than light.

If you found that a particular topic generated several posts that were worth summarizing or amplifying, I would enjoy reading a staff-created entry that provides insight and, maybe, some closure.

SOF is a remarkable show. Thanks!

i've loved your show for about a year now. i am so impressed with the way the show promotes compassion and understanding for ALL beliefs, so necessary for promoting peace!!
i am so grateful for all i've learned about the differing viewpoints presented. i'm really quite passionate about your program.

just discovered the blog, & appreciate this, too! thank you.

i agree with bruce. and that people mostly just want to air their grievances.

i'm mormon, as well. thank you for the very "fair" journalistic approach.

and i can't resist adding, to janamona, that from a believer's viewpoint, mormonism fits perfectly into your description of true religion! :)

I just heard about the blog too. I'm so excited to discover it. I thought the program was amazing - especially the beginning when Krista was saying that Mormonism is very rarely discussed these days, especially with Mitt Romney's Presidential run, without a lot of political discussion and touching on all the "hot button" issues like polygamy, etc. I grew up in Nevada where I had many Mormon friends and saw what their faith was all about on a daily basis, but not everyone gets to be exposed to the Mormon faith and educated about it in this way, so I thought the program was brilliant. Krista as ever had amazing questions and feedback. I just love this show so much!

Thanks for a great program. Speaking of faith is new to me but feels very familiar. I have had a lot of worldwide contacts with other people of faith who remain my friends. I am LDS and appreciate the way the SOF interview was done. I would like to suggest a program of great interest to me. The "religion" of Kim Il Sung in North Korea would be a great program. I have had some interactions with North Koreans in my life. If possible it would bring a lot of understanding like Bruce Cummings "North Korea Another Country", but be enhanced with the SOF way of presenting the topic. thanks again.

Thank you for this show about Mormonism. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Professor Millet share his beliefs and share about some of doctrines of the LDS faith. I've come to see, as one who is an Evangelical Christian, that many of the other faiths in the world are not so different from mine and that we are all striving to serve the same God however we get there.

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