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, NewsweekPeople, the Boston GlobeUSA 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 NeighborWhat Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as a Spiritual GuideMormonism for Dummies; and The Writer’s Market Guide to Getting Published. She blogged for Beliefnet before coming to RNS in 2012.

Stories

The dangers of idolizing Mormon prophets

The Church teaches us on the one hand that a living prophet is more valuable to us than even the scriptures (!), and instructs Primary children to follow the prophet and never “go astray.” But then it also tries to emphasize that a prophet is only a prophet “when he is acting as such,” and that not every teaching is doctrine. Which is it?

Seattle Mormon leaders to gays: Come back to church

“Seattle is mirroring what we’ve done in [the] San Francisco Bay Area: throwing the doors open for anyone who wants to join with us on Sunday,” says Mitch Mayne. “That means LGBT individuals are welcome to come to church regardless of where they are in their personal lives — single and living under the confines of the policy as we understand it today, married to a partner of their same gender, or dating someone new every night.”