The Dystopian Novel(s) We Are Now Living

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Once upon a time, religious conservatives in America found themselves increasingly disliked within a society more and more rejecting of their core convictions about life, sexuality and family. By the time 2016 rolled around, these orthodox religious folks were definitely not the cool cats, anymore: “Sexist!” “Racist!” “Heterosexist” “Is that even a… Continue reading

A Gathering of All Goodness: Some Optimism in this Somber Political Moment

Originally published on the Bridge Alliance blog, as “Glimpsing a Silver-Lining in this Otherwise Gloomy American Moment“ Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Amidst the tumult of this perilous moment in the United States, could something surprisingly beautiful arise? Could this be the moment when good-hearted people across the political spectrum are forced to decisively come together – in… Continue reading

The Problem with Love Loud

Originally published on the Millenial Star blog, under the title “Lies Don’t Feel Loving: A Response to LoveLoud“ Jacob Hess, Ph.D. Standing in the middle of 30,000 people, it’s hard – even impossible – to imagine that something could be wrong with what’s happening.  It’s even more difficult to imagine that such passionate work may,… Continue reading

Two Different Stories Being Told About Religious Folks Supporting President Trump (And Why It Matters Which Story We Tell)

If you’re breathing and living on Planet Earth, you know by now that Donald Trump has attracted the support of many Americans – including a surprising number of religious Americans.

But why?  Isn’t he living contrary (like, remarkably so) to much of what religious folks believe? If so, how could they possibly go along with his antics, let alone keep supporting him?  One evangelical writer, Warren Throckmorton, called this the “big puzzle” – namely, “Why would these moral crusaders fall behind a womanizer who bragged about sexual assault?”

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Another Hypothesized Contributor to Youth Suicide That We’re (Mostly) Not Talking About. Can We Start Now?

Prefatory Notes: Losing one life (of any age) to suicide is one too much. We all know that. And so, we’re doing ALL we can to stop it – in Utah and across the nation. In addition to all the new programs, grants and funding, I wonder: Are we willing to have difficult conversations (we’re not currently having enough) that might make a significant difference in reducing these numbers?

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Does Taking a Progressive View of Identity Make It Difficult to Be a (Happy) Latter-day Saint?

During graduate school, two new classmates arrived in the program and announced, “He, we’re looking for a church to attend – anyone have ideas?”

At the time, I was the President of the Latter-day Saint Student Association at the University of Illinois, and so I naturally let them know about the LDS branch that met each Sunday. In that moment, I expected they would actually consider the invitation (among other options they had)…and who knows, maybe even come and try our our little congregation sometime?

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Are Mormons Trump’s Biggest Fans? (Really!?)

You may have heard the news earlier this year – a Gallup poll reporting that President Trump’s “approval [was] highest among Mormons” (compared to other religious groups).

Wow. Shocker, right?

Or maybe not.  Maybe, like multiple commentators I’ve read, you thought to yourself something along the lines of, “No Surprise here” or, “Doesn’t shock me in the slightest!”

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A Plea for a More Honest + Less Despairing LGBT-Religious Conservative Conversation

One of my openly gay friends told me the other day that he felt sorry for me, specifically for “how deeply people have misunderstood” my writing about LGBT/religious conservative disagreements.  Though I’ve gone back and forth with a few people since my post about the Mama Dragons, I mostly haven’t been privy to people’s thoughts, especially since more and more online conversations happen in private forums of like-minded people (which research has shown predictably serves to reinforce and deepen convictions unilaterally).  So needless to say, I was a little surprised at what he had seen.

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