Why is the story of one Mormon bishop disguising himself as a homeless man for an hour or two captivating the public imagination?
Author Archives: Jana Riess
About Jana Riess
Since 2008, Jana Riess has been an acquisitions editor in the publishing industry, primarily acquiring in the areas of religion, history, popular culture, ethics, and biblical studies. From 1999 to 2008, she was the Religion Book Review Editor for Publishers Weekly, and continues to write freelance articles and reviews for PW as well as other publications.
She holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University. She speaks often to media about issues pertaining to religion in America, and has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Time, Newsweek, People, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsday, among other print publications, as well as “Voice of America,” the "Today" show, MSNBC, and NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Tell Me More,” and “Talk of the Nation.”
She is the author, co-author, or editor of books including The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor!; Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor; What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as a Spiritual Guide; Mormonism for Dummies; and The Writer’s Market Guide to Getting Published. She blogged for Beliefnet before coming to RNS in 2012.
We know the primary school version . . . but where did Thanksgiving really come from? And why did it take more than 200 years for it to become a national holiday?
On December 15, Mormon feminists will wear pants and the color purple as signs of their commitment to the full flourishing of LDS women.
The way Pope Francis has re-energized the Roman Catholic Church in just eight months is nothing short of astonishing. What might Mormon leaders learn from this example?
It’s easy to lash out in an immature fashion when we feel we’ve been unfairly judged. I’ve got three strategies for dealing with this, the last one inspired by President Lincoln.
My college classmate Ji Hyang Padma, now a Zen leader, walks beginners through the first steps of meditation practice in “Living the Season.”
While the predatory sexual behavior of this bishop occurred in his home and car, and not in the church building, Mormon cultural practice certainly paved the way for him to have time alone with his victims. Our controversial practice of sending teenagers alone into a room with a bishop for an “interview” that can include questions about sexual behavior gives teens the message that they are not fully in charge of their bodies. Moreover, our religion’s emphasis on obeying those in authority leaves little room to resist when leaders abuse their trust.
Our culture tries to tell us over and over again that having more things will give us more freedom, but the reverse is true.
Guest blogger Stephen Carter says every writer’s dream is to find “an unexplored mine of myth and metaphor that you can dig in to forever.” His suggestion? Try the Book of Mormon.