I would say that I had the start of my faith crisis about 7 years ago. I don’t look back at the emotional turmoil with much fondness as it was quite gut-wrenching. Without trying I have always been one to look at situations and attempt to evaluate them from something of an observer. I have been told that I over-think some things rather than just experience them. This has been the case with my faith crisis and as I move into what I would call my faith journey (of course our entire lives are journeys, but my faith crisis was certainly the biggest change I experienced). I have written some about this in The Road Less Traveled post and in other posts I have made on this site. I have made a bit of a study of faith crisis as I find it interesting the patterns that many experience in and after a faith crisis. I have read books such as, “Disenchanted Lives: Apostacy and Ex-Mormonism among the Latter-day Saints” by E. Marshall Brooks and several books from the sociologist Armand Mauss where he views the LDS church with his sociologist lens. And of course there now limitless blogs, sub-reddit’s, youtube channels, etc. to see how people experience these transitions.
Like many others I have moved from having a (somewhat) very clear set of what I was led to believe about God to much more of an “I don’t know” position. Pre-faith crisis I would have assumed this would be totally alarming, but I have come to be comfortable and enjoy not having all the right answers, but having lots of questions to contemplate. With that I have branched out listening to quit a variety of voices. Many don’t resonate with me, but a few do. There are two that call me to give Christianity another look.
I just finished reading the book, “Inspired” by Rachel Held Evans. I really enjoy her books and a few articles I have read from and about her. Many of you may recall that she passed away unexpectedly a year ago this week. Before she passed I had her book, “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church” on my list of “to read.” Hearing of her passing moved it to the top of my list and I really enjoyed it. I feel a bit sad that I didn’t get to know of her work before she passed. I love her honesty and insight leave me wanting to try to feel/believe as she does.
Another person that I really enjoy listening to is Richard Rohr. I have read several of his books and listened to his podcast, “Another Name for Every Thing.” I even mentioned in one of my posts a quote from Rohr that I rings true to my experience. It both gives respect to the LDS church where it is due, but also calls it out on a shortcoming. I think it was from a conversation he had with someone that was LDS.
Mormon’s do first-half of life spirituality better than anybody else. And you have almost no second half of life [that is taught]
There are also a pair of brothers that I also enjoy listening to their words. Those are Richard Ostler, the podcast host of “Listen, Learn, and Love” and David Ostler, the author of, “Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question”. When I listen to either of them I hear someone so sound in their beliefs that they don’t defensibly react to others criticizing the LDS church. Instead they are willing to look at the criticism and also still love the person asking – even if they feel the criticism isn’t valid or it isn’t their experience. And they are willing to admit where there is room for improvement. I love that both of them are doing more than just pointing out issues, but they are working to help fix the issues.
I consider some of these people my spiritual heros. One thing that I notice among all of these is that they are willing to critique and admit there are issues to be worked on – in a loving way. To me that indicates this is an issues that I have – that I feel the LDS top leaders are not truly humble and willing to admit issues and then work to fix those issues. But I am not one that wants to march up to the church office building with signs and chants. That is my perspective and I respect that others don’t feel the same across the spectrum.
I am interested in hearing who are some of your spiritual heros and how they help you.
RHE has been very important in my life. Her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood was wonderfully refreshing. I’m starting to explore more of Richard’s work. Also, Henri Nouwen, Ann Voskamp, Dorothy Day, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Brenda Salter McNeil… to name a few more.
Great post. Thanks.
Without hesitation, I can say that my most influential ‘spiritual hero’ is Pema Chodron. Her warmth and spiritual generosity are, to me, hard to match. She also has an inspiring story where she came from a traditional background–wife, mother–before the rug was pulled out from under her when her husband left the family. For me, Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart was earth shaking. Buddhism works for me because it starts with how people are as opposed to how they SHOULD be, which I think is the starting point for Christianity. Especially as the product of Mormon homes, I think we’re so often focused on what should be because perfecting the human was the paradigm we learned. Before I read Chodron, I did not fully grasp that things fall apart because they are designed to … because impermanence is a universal law about which we can do nothing … because pain is unavoidable in life but suffering is a choice. Pema’s interview with Bill Moyers as part of his Faith and Reason series remains a cherished memory and I would recommend it to anyone interested.
I’ve also recently been introduced to Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens For a Reason (For a Reason is lined out in the title) podcast. Bowler was also living what she considered her intended life as a devout Christian wife and mother, and then stage 4 cancer paid a visit. Now she talks to people about the weight of expectation and dealing with bad things that happen to supposedly good people.
As RFM says, inspiration can come from anywhere, including great world literature. It does seem to be everywhere when you open up to the possibility.
If you are looking for names that other people can research, I don’t have any for you. But if you are looking for a description of my spiritual heroes, I can certainly contribute.
I used to be a very binary, black and white guy. The conservatives had all the political answers. The Church had all the religious answers. You get the picture. But as I get older I’ve developed a strong sense of gray (not hair). I’ve discovered that real answers are more difficult to identify. back in the day, my “spiritual” heroes were the members of the Church that were rock steady and firm and never deviated (as far as I could tell) from the party line. I tried to be like that and I admired their faith and obedience.
I’m now much more nuanced. I used to be very critical of fence sitters both in the political arena as well as the Church one. I’d be the first to call the s0-called moderates and RINOs (Republican In Name Only) as well as the “cafeteria Mormons”. But I now see that there is wisdom in approaching every issue (political) and every question (religious) separately from some pre-determined orthodoxy of beliefs. Example: The Nov. 2015 policy was one that in my previous life I would have endorsed but now I’m able to see it for what it was before it was reversed.
When I think of my spiritual heroes, I think of people who really care about their fellow humans. They are charitable with their time, resources, and most of all, they give their fellow man the benefit of the doubt. They may be religious, maybe not. But they care about the world around them as opposed to being self absorbed with money making or virtue signaling. They care about their home, neighborhood, community, country, and world and that includes the earth itself. I may not be that person yet but I admire those that are and I consider them to be my spiritual heroes.
Ditto on the ones you’ve listed. I would add Greg Boyle. One of the best books I’ve read recently – and probably a top 5 book ever for me – is Greg Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart. I love his vision of God’s love, of faith, of community, and his message that we belong to God and we belong to each other.
In some ways reading Boyle’s book – and Rohr’s – made my Mormon faith crisis worse. They made me realize that things I had long considered important, but peripheral, problems (like the church’s treatment of LGBTQ folk) were actually rooted in much bigger, fundamental theological problems (like a belief in a God whose love is conditioned on worthiness – and yes, we absolutely teach that version of God in Mormonism IMO). But they also gave me a way to salvage Christianity for myself.
Another – Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy). Not overtly religious or spiritual but subtly and beautifully so.
I’m a huge David Ostler fan.
Krista Tippett with her ‘On Being’ podcast; Alan Watts – his early books on Christianity are great, particularly his ‘Behold the Spirit ‘ tho I’d say his masterpiece in his Xtian series is his ‘Supreme Identity’, altho it’s rather a steep read; the works of Stephen Batchelor, and his ideas of a praxis- rather than belief-based ethico-religious system (cf. Spinoza in his ‘Tractatus’: ‘…everyone should be free to choose for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be judged only by its fruits; each would then obey God freely with his whole heart, while nothing would be publicly honoured save justice and charity.’) Joseph Campbell is great. Laotzu’s great. Lotta good stuff out there.
Happy Hubby’s penultimate paragraph may explain why, or it may be simply the nature of the reader/commenter community here, but I’ve been interested to note that no one has yet mentioned any general authority of the LDS Church, past or present, as a spiritual hero. For me Hugh B. Brown is one. In 1978 Spencer W. Kimball was one, though I felt some of his earlier writings should be classed as anti-hero. Maybe on serious reflection and study I could find others, but I’d rather be reading some of the spiritual heros others have mentioned here.
Kate Bowler! She’s amazing!
My spiritual heroes aren’t typical. I’d say the biggest two are Gerard Manley Hopkins and Steve Prefontaine. Hopkins because he was able to have a much wider and deeper view of both god’s world and the human role in it; he honored all of the “dappled things” that god created and he took joy in all of the variegated shades and textures of nature. He taught me what a mistake it was to seek purity, whatever that might mean, and instead encouraged me to see things as they are and thus celebrate all of god’s creations. And once one sees things as they truly are, one can perhaps work to effect positive change in the world. And though a long distance runner might seem strange to choose for a spiritual hero, Pre taught that we ourselves were the determiners of our own destiny. That might seem antithetical to some folks’ notion of a religious framework (leaning on god, not on ourselves, etc.) but it’s my experience that although god may provide opportunities/worlds/paths, we are the ones who need to be the conscious architects of our own lives. In the movie “Without Limits”, someone asks Pre if he believes in god and he replies, “no, I believe in me.” I don’t think that was arrogance, I think that was Pre saying that it was hard work, focus and dedication that got one to the finish line, not miracles. I believe in god, but I also believe that he gave us the tools with which to determine our own destiny and that he therefore wants us to determine our own destinies.
My current world view does not have room for the supernatural, and to that end I don’t find usefulness in using the term “spiritual“ as anything other than language we use to describe that part of human existence where we feel connected to something larger and more important than ourselves. Even though I don’t believe there exists a literal human spirit, I do believe it is important to seek out this connection because it enriches our lives and adds meaning where there is no inherent one.
I don’t know how to break out of this way of thinking. I honestly want to believe that God exists, but I just can’t find myself convinced, and everything I understand about the world leads me to conclude that a God is not necessary to explain the existence of anything.
So all that said, my current “spiritual” heroes are those voices that help me to think clearly and rationally about the world and still find meaning and connection in my existence. Carl Sagan has been huge, especially his book Demon Haunted World. Also Yuval Harari with Sapiens.
I appreciate some of the atheist voices out there, like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, even if I disagree with the conclusions that all religions are more harmful than good and we’d all be better off without them. Religions provide a real human need that is packaged up nicely into a digestible portion and I don’t know of a more convenient way to provide community and meaning, even though I think we can find all those same benefits outside of organized religion.
I like to keep challenging my current perspective and see if I come to find some meaning in the concept of God, but I just can’t quite get there yet. To that end, voices like Richard Rohr and Rob Bell are inspiring, even if I can’t get my mind to accept the conclusion that God is anything other than a human construct.
Any others in my boat? Should I just accept my default atheism or is it worth it to push myself to find God again?
Very interesting, HH. That first half / second half quote from Rohr makes me think of Carl Jung’s thoughts on the same theme. He thought we live the first half of our lives working out our conscious identity. In the second half, items we have repressed into our “shadow identity” start to emerge and get incorporated (hopefully in a positive way) into our conscious personality. Maybe that’s why so many things that seemed black and white when we were younger somehow seems like shades of gray later in life.
I wish I were a deep enough person that I’d been able to see discrepancies, and reject doctrines that hurt people when I was younger. For me it took one of those life experiences that felt like a ton of bricks being dumped on me to create the inertia for change.
In that initial my-world-is-turned-upside-down period when god made no sense to me anymore, Teryl and Fiona Givens’ book “The God Who Weeps” helped me slog through the losses I was feeling. They helped me see there’s no need to believe in anything other than a completely loving god. By extension, I now contemplate the attributes of a god worth worshipping. I don’t know if there’s a god. If there is, it mostly matters how we live our lives. If there’s not, it mostly matters how we live our lives.
I find that the god many on the right tout, like blaming school shootings on a separation of church and state, or prosperity gospel, devoid of anything godlike. Christ’s last great parable about providing for the hungry, thirsty, immigrants (“stranger” could apply to any disenfranchised person, really), naked, ill, and prisoners provides a worthwhile template of how to live life well.
Great post, HH. This topic hits so close to my heart. I’m in my early 50’s and definitely feel stuck. Mormonism was so powerful and fulfilling in my life for the first half, why can’t I seem to make it work for the second half?
In the first half of my life I had an easy formula. Just find a few people 10-15 years older than me and use them as a role model or mentor…..usually without them knowing. Now, that doesn’t seem to work. I look at the Q15 and other general authorities (with perhaps the exception of Elder Gong and Elder Soares) and have no desire to use them as role models. They seem competent and sincere but they don’t seem Godly to me. I don’t feel God working through them. Elder Bednar is a good example of this. The things he speaks are interesting and thought provoking, but his countenance doesn’t match what he speaks. He seems cold and stressed and tired. I don’t see the fruits of the gospel in him. I don’t single him out to be derogatory or to tear him down. My heart goes out to him. I sustain him and wish him well. He just is the most obvious and visible example to me of what is missing in all of them.
Then I look around my ward and stake and see no men in the second half of life that I would consider a role model. They all seem spiritually burned out and adrift…even the stake president (who is a member of my ward) seems to be just going through the motions.
I feel that I can’t leave Mormonism because my marriage and family is built upon it. But I feel guilty and unworthy if I venture out and read other Christian authors.
Has anyone here ever figured out how to be a faithful and active member of the LDS church who is at peace with the church and its leaders all the while not believing all that it teaches and actively reading/learning from christian writers of other faiths on the side? Is their some public person in Mormonism that i could look to as a role model in that regard (Bushman? Givens? Clayton Christensen?).
Your comment really resonated with me. I felt a painful sincerity in it, as you described things I myself have gone through. Thank you!
I did not go through a faith crisis per se, but I wanted to stay in the Church, so I did have to adjust the parameters of my testimony, in a way that could accommodate leaders and members who do nasty things, and the fact that even in the Church, there is no Santa Claus.
Fortunately, I was able to learn that, to preserve our capacity to learn by trial and error and become more like Christ, God allows us, including our leaders, to make mistakes, and that we have to grant our leaders the same grace that Christ gives us.
I would also note that the Christ of the NT was not always an easy Man to live with. He told the woman caught in the act of adultery, “neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.” But He also told a sincere, if mistaken Peter, “get thee behind me, Satan!” The point being, spiritual heroes lift us to higher and better levels, sometimes through gentleness, sometimes with a kick in the backside.
I believe that certain personalities are more uplifting to be around, and therefore draw us closer to Christ (Uchtdorf, Holland), but God chose to use all of us.
Givens, Bushman, yes. I would also add Armand Mauss. Mauss is what I call a “disillusioned believer.” Recommend his book, “ Shifting Borders and a Tattered Passport.” It is his description of his faith journey as he drew flack from Church leaders over his research into the Priesthood ban against African-Americans. (IMO, his research played a key role in setting the stage for SWK’s 1978 revelation.)
Spiritual heroes also have feet of clay. Joseph Smith said, according to Bushman, that he never claimed to be a good man, only to have been called by God. Many Church members have trouble accepting that, whether they are orthodox or disaffected. To them, it is a black or white thing. And look at Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Winston Churchill: all great people who made tremendous contributions to our world, each with an unsavory side to them.
Just like us, in fact.
There are reasons to stay in the Church and reasons to leave. I choose to stay in the Church, because I believe that God chose to give us things through Joseph Smith, that have not come from anywhere or anyone else.
I read other Christian authors without the least bit of guilt. God does not do things only through the Mormon Church. I particularly enjoyed Bonhoffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.” He was a true spiritual hero.
I hope this helps.
Emma Lou Thayne (deceased LDS poet who wrote the words to ‘Where Can I turn for Peace’). I found her book ‘The Place of Knowing’ when I was in the midst of the painful part of my faith crisis and she really held up a light on the idea that I could do Mormonism any way I wanted to. She was both very orthodox and highly unorthodox all at the same time.
Fred I’m your age and I feel ya. I think it’s part of the journey. I have to lean more on my relationship with Christ now than ever before because of the loss of meaningful mortal role models in some situations. I think it’s an opportunity for spiritual growth.
Thanks for those thoughts and recommendations Taiwan Missionary and ReTx. It feels so good to know someone else understands what im feeling and working through.
Some of us have been blessed to know stake presidents and others who are definitely not “spiritually burned out [or] adrift” — as well as other types.
No good reason, Fred, for anyone to exclude Christian or other writers of other faiths. Even our general authorities regularly quote non-Mormon writers in general conference. One went so far as to say: “God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of his great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous, for any one people.” Apostle Orson F. Whitney, April 1928 general conference, https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/148-80.pdf
I know several and believe there are many who have figured out “how to be a faithful and active member of the LDS church who is [relatively] at peace with the church and its leaders all the while not believing all that” is taught at church and learning from others at the same time. It does sometimes seem to require abandoning rigidity about others’ narrow Mormon-speak definitions of words like “sustain” “testimony” “restoration” “doctrine” etc. and a willingness to take responsibility for one’s own thoughts and actions, but those things can be done within the context of service in the Church and the temple recommend questions. Taiwan M mentioned Armand Mauss. He published an interesting testimony here: https://www.fairmormon.org/testimonies/scholars/armand-l-mauss
Not everyone who has figured out how to do it has figured it out the same way. There’s no need to expect that. It doesn’t work for everyone.
Thanks E and wondering. Your words are stirring a feeling of hope inside of me.
Thanks E and wondering. Your words are stirring a feeling of hope inside me.
Doubting Tom, you asked if anyone was in the same boat as you. You are not alone.
My former home teacher gave me Brian McLaren’s “The Secret Message of Jesus” which all about truly understanding and living the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount which is basically Christ’s kingdom manifesto. The Sermon is so important that it is also found in 3rd Nephi when Christ visits His people in the Americas. The book has had a profound influence on my life. NT Wright is another hero. He insists that we can’t fully understand the Old and New Testaments (and thereby the beginning of the Book of Mormon) unless we learn think like the Jewish people did throughout their history. Usually the Sunday School lessons on both books are like chloroform in print to me because it’s the same old same old. Not with Wright! The Bible lives for me now in a way that I wish that the Book of Mormon would. Among LDS heroes I would definitely say that Emma Lou Thayne, Cheiko Okasaki and Lowell Benion are people that I look up to. I wish that I could’ve known them personally, but their goodness affected and made me a better person nonetheless.
Good question Doubting Thomas, Is there a way to be spiritual without God? This word is best explained as matter and no spirit. We are alone. I feel it most when I consider how, by reading the best books, I have destroyed any confidence in the Son of God being remotely close to historical. I try to keep the God concept and it seems to work without a Christ.
I wonder if there is something out there for it seems like there is a higher feeling to this earthy life. Late at night alone in my study, I feel it. I read poetry, Rumi, Rilke, William Blake, Dickinson I am elevated to the point where I think I am “spiritually minded” or that I experience “cosmic consciousness”
Bach: St Matthew’s passion, excerpts from Wagner and Mozart are some of the most elevating works on earth.
Epic: Dante, Homer, Gilgamesh are journeys of the mind I take often, they ask the hardest questions while entertaining me with their different and similar ways of seeing God/gods.
Other sacred texts; Dao de Jing, trans: Stephen Mitchell, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, They point to a spirit within. A universal religion we are all a part of.
The best thinkers: Nietzche, Buddha, Rohr, Abraham Hershel, Joseph Campbell and Alan Watts. There is a joyfulness to them all. Freedom of thought and spirit, clarity of mind. Watts, a must to listen to his voice as he points to that God within us, “Tat Tvam Asi” – “Thou art that.” the Absolute, the Self, which is Ultimate Reality, all Existence inside us and out!
Great post, thanks to all comments as well for the many book suggestions. I’ll mention All About Love by bell hooks and Every Day is a Good Day, which is compiled thoughts from a number of native women arranged by Wilma Mankiller. I wouldn’t say either one particularly deals with institutional religion but they have very thoughtful perspectives on spirituality.
@Fred no good answers, just that you’re in good company.
That said, some resources I’ve liked:
Thomas McConkie’s Mormon Faith Crisis – this is more descriptive (of faith stages) than prescriptive, so it won’t necessarily tell you how to handle but it was helpful to understand from a developmental perspective what’s going on. Makes it feel less scary.
Terryl and Fiona Givens books (Including Crucible of Doubt) – they are definitely apologists, but their view of the gospel is not black and white and is much richer than what we get at conference.
Greg Prince – has written a lot of books on Mormon history and has a very unorthodox view of the church and gospel yet somehow makes it work. I haven’t actually read his books but he’s got a ton of interviews online (on Mormon Stories and elsewhere) that I really appreciated.
Plus many of those authors already mentioned (both LDS and not LDS).
Not to get off topic but since so many people have been mentioning the difficulties of second half living within Mormonism, I’d add that what is particularly vexing to me right now is how to live second-half life while still raising young children who are in their (very important) first half, particularly in the church. My mom went through a big transition when her kids were all adults and it was honestly still hard on us (to see the person who raised us LDS really fundamentally change her faith and relationship with the church – there were some extenuating factors that probably made her transition more painful than many people’s and she just couldn’t really stay active). I don’t blame her but I definitely do not want to do that to my kids and spouse, and since my kids are still all young trying to figure out how and whether to raise them in the church when my views are so unorthodox is really tricky. How do we give them the container benefits the church provides when I don’t necessarily believe in the container stuff anymore?
Anyway – off topic perhaps should be another post ;-).
Spiritual hero to me – Radio Free Mormom
Wow – lots of great comments. I was busy this weekend and only now have had time to look over the comments. They are better than my post! Thanks everyone. Lots of hero’s to go check out.
I enjoyed Wayfaring’s comment on how understanding ancient Jewish religious thought is helpful to provide context to the Bible. I was in Avraham Gieliadi’s New Testament class at BYU (before his “September 6” excommunication which was reversed on appeal). He said something to the effect that every Biblical prophesy or revelation should be able to be applied in three contexts: 1 – Historical, 2 – Contemporary, and 3 – Messianic. It’s been fun and challenging to look at Bible verses in that context.
John Shelby Spong, a retired Episcopal Bishop who has written dozens of books on the bible and other topics, has a fairly recent book called “Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy”. He describes Jewish scriptural tradition as one of sacred stories that are told around historical events. The stories are told to reinforce important concepts, not to describe actual events.
In that vein, he posits that the synoptic gospels were written to coincide with the Jewish liturgical calendar. Sabbath morning worship involved reading from the Torah passages that refer to the historical events celebrated in the calendar. Break for lunch, then sermons. Bishop Spong thinks whoever wrote Mark started a Jesus narration the paralleled the celebrated historic events. This narration was given in the “after lunch” session. The aim was to describe Jesus as the new Moses – the Messiah. Mark got about halfway through the calendar. Mathew finished it up and Luke wrote a version.
His claim is that the stories of Jesus relayed in the gospels are just that – stories. Sacred stories or myths. The Hebrews of the day would have understood that the NT stories were told in the same tradition of the OT stories. They were considered sacred – but under no circumstance as a factual retelling of actual events.
When the Christian sect of Judaism was excommunicated some 77 years after Christ, Jewish Christians quickly ceased to exist. The new Christians were Gentiles converted by the early apostles and other missionaries.
The Gentiles, not understanding the Hebrew tradition, accepted Bible stories as literal, historic events. A tradition that is alive and well today.
I recommend the book. Even if you don’t come to a accept the theory (it challenges the virgin birth, resurrection, the sermon on the mount, etc.), it will expand your understanding of the early NT church – the restoration of which is getting a lot of attention by the brethren these days.
I am completely down with the Brethren being fallible just as I am. I understand they make mistakes. I can live my life and think my thoughts independently of that.
The problem is that they claim to speak for God. “Please feel free to pray for confirmation that what we say is from God. And, if you get a different answer than we did – you are getting your answers from the wrong source.” How free to think their own thoughts do the youth feel? Even if you have the chops to stand up to it, wouldn’t it be nice to not have to?
I love the quote from Apostle Whitney. But if we have to go back 92 years to get a statement that expansive and inclusive, and spoken with that kind of humility, we’re in trouble. The early Mormon tradition of “bring us your truth” just isn’t there anymore. We are the voice of truth on the earth.
“Seek ye out of the best books” originally included history, science, and literature. Elder Ian Ardern of the Seventy, put it this way in the October 2017 GC: “There is a rich abundance of these books, written by heaven-inspired Church leaders and recognized, safe, and reliable Church history and doctrine scholars. With that said, none surpass the majesty of the revealed word of God in canonized scripture. From those thin pages thick with spiritual insights, we learn truth through the Holy Ghost and thereby increase in light.”
Recognized, safe, and reliable Church sources. My how our vision has narrowed.
For me, there are two kinds of spiritual teachers/leaders – affect leaders and informational leaders. The lds scholars, bloggernacle thought-leaders, lds activists, historians, podcasters, theology authors, etc. are informational mentors.
Then, there are mentors who move my soul and spirit. There are a small number of GAs (last and present combined), artists, poets. Carol Lynn Pearson, Emma Lou Thayne, Minerva Teichert, Eliza R Snow, Robert Robinson (hymn writer), Phil McLemore, Janice Kapp Perry, are a few.
I suppose there is a cross over between the two groups, but that list is minuscule.
I’m half way through Emma Lou Thayne’s ” The Place of Knowing” and I’m ready to abandon it. I hate to be so blunt, but I think she’s flat out nuts. I always thought I kind of had my head in the clouds and was overly philosophical, mystical etc. Good Lord, I don’t hold a candle to this lady. Next up is Armand Mauss. Glad you guys gave me a long list!
Are all the academic historians listed here really spiritual heroes? I tend to think of them as scholarly/logical heroes, not always spiritual heroes. I agree that there are people in the center of that venue diagram, but I’m having difficulty seeing the list as large as has been presented on this thread.
Don’t get me wrong- I love me some bloggernacle, blabbernacle, and ivory tower brainiacs, I just don’t get all my spiritual vitamins and nutrients from them.