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Mormon Mental Health Podcast

Supporting mental health within the Mormon community.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 19, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker continues the series on “boundaries” that is being hosted by a panel of providers from Symmetry Solutions, who specialize in mental health and relational issues within Mormonism. This is the third segment which focuses on Young Men and Young Women (12-17 years of age). 

We notice in our mental health work with primarily LDS clientele, that there are difficulties understanding what healthy boundaries are and look like… as well as how to implement them in a patriarchal and authoritative structure, where often people feel like boundaries have already been set for them by the system. Unfortunately, not having the ability to create healthy boundaries for oneself, one’s children, and one’s family… can contribute to issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, negative relational dynamics and even abuse. From simple things, like whether or not one feels personal permission to reject a calling, to more serious issues such as whether or not we should support children’s interviews behind closed doors where they are asked sensitive questions including about their sexuality…. this is a relevant topic to today’s Latter-day Saints. We hope you will join in the discussion through the comments section to share either things you want us to address, things you are concerned about, ways you disagree/agree with us, things that have helped you balance healthy boundaries, etc.

Those who join Natasha in this episode are Lisa Butterworth and Sara Hughes-Zabawa. 

Dec 14, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff in regards to her unique experience being both the spouse of man diagnosed with bipolar disorder and a mental health professional. This is a podcast that discusses many sensitive topics, including the death by suicide of Gail’s husband. Please be careful to listen in ways that your self-care is prioritized.

This interview is meant to help people understand the complexities of what living with serious mental illness can look like… whether from the perspective of the diagnosed individual or being part of their support systems. Gail is careful to explain that ways she chose to cope with her situation are not necessarily ways that would be appropriate or healthy for everyone. We both encourage that personal safety always come first — regardless of the situation. At the same time, we recognize that dealing with mental health is often a messy process and that people choose to deal with their situations in a variety of ways for a number of reasons. Access to good mental health services is a universal problem. And the reality stands that most people stay in family situations where there can be difficult dynamics… even abusive ones.

I want to thank Gail for her vulnerability in sharing such a raw and personal interview. It takes a lot of guts, especially in light of her profession. Wanting to help validate people’s experiences in similar situations as well as offer any helpful education was her main goal in doing so.

 

Shurtleff Counseling and Consulting Services

 

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Dec 5, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff in regards to her unique experience being both the spouse of man diagnosed with bipolar disorder and a mental health professional. This is a podcast that discusses many sensitive topics, including the death by suicide of Gail’s husband. Please be careful to listen in ways that your self-care is prioritized.

This interview is meant to help people understand the complexities of what living with serious mental illness can look like… whether from the perspective of the diagnosed individual or being part of their support systems. Gail is careful to explain that ways she chose to cope with her situation are not necessarily ways that would be appropriate or healthy for everyone. We both encourage that personal safety always come first — regardless of the situation. At the same time, we recognize that dealing with mental health is often a messy process and that people choose to deal with their situations in a variety of ways for a number of reasons. Access to good mental health services is a universal problem. And the reality stands that most people stay in family situations where there can be difficult dynamics… even abusive ones.

I want to thank Gail for her vulnerability in sharing such a raw and personal interview. It takes a lot of guts, especially in light of her profession. Wanting to help validate people’s experiences in similar situations as well as offer any helpful education was her main goal in doing so.

Shurtleff Counseling and Consulting Services

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Nov 29, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff in regards to her unique experience being both the spouse of man diagnosed with bipolar disorder and a mental health professional. This is a podcast that discusses many sensitive topics, including the death by suicide of Gail’s husband. Please be careful to listen in ways that your self-care is prioritized.

This interview is meant to help people understand the complexities of what living with serious mental illness can look like… whether from the perspective of the diagnosed individual or being part of their support systems. Gail is careful to explain that ways she chose to cope with her situation are not necessarily ways that would be appropriate or healthy for everyone. We both encourage that personal safety always come first — regardless of the situation. At the same time, we recognize that dealing with mental health is often a messy process and that people choose to deal with their situations in a variety of ways for a number of reasons. Access to good mental health services is a universal problem. And the reality stands that most people stay in family situations where there can be difficult dynamics… even abusive ones.

I want to thank Gail for her vulnerability in sharing such a raw and personal interview. It takes a lot of guts, especially in light of her profession. Wanting to help validate people’s experiences in similar situations as well as offer any helpful education was her main goal in doing so.

Shurtleff Counseling and Consulting Services

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Nov 28, 2017

Mormon Mental Health Podcast desperately needs funding to keep it sustainable. Episodes get downloaded anywhere from 6,000-12,000 times a month! So lots of people are listening to it... only about 10-15 people donate to it on a consistent basis. Yikes! I hope you will consider donating if this work is of value to you. I think it is a great resource and I've received overwhelmingly positive feedback. #givingtuesday to donate: https://www.facebook.com/openstories

Nov 21, 2017
Supporting mental health within the Mormon community.
Nov 21, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker continues the series on "boundaries" that is being hosted by a panel of providers from Symmetry Solutions, who specialize on mental health and relational issues within Mormonism. This is the second segment which focuses on Primary and Nursery age children (11 and under). 

Those who join us in this episode are Lisa Butterworth, founder of Feminist Mormon Housewives; Kimberly Anderson, founder of the Mama Dragons Project; and Jen White who serves clients also from the Sandy Counseling Center.

 

 

Oct 23, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Duane E. Jennings on the topic of his extensively researched volumes, Stumbling Blocks & Stepping Stoneswhere he examines the history in Mormonism in regards to the theological and social messages focused on LGBTI+ members. His work and attention to detail is impressive. And his goal is to embolden dialogue so that we can reach a point where this population is not excluded as it is presently from the faith community, rituals, traditions, lifestyle trajectories and even the very plan of salvation. 

DUANE E. JENNINGS was born in Mount Pleasant, Utah, and raised in Salt Lake City in a devout LDS family. His parents stressed scripture study, prayer, and meditation as the source of revelation and personal growth. This active mind-and-spirit approach to religion may be attributed to living in an LDS community situated between the University of Utah and Westminster College. He graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in English and history, and a secondary education teaching certificate (junior high and high school), as well as graduating from the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah. He served his mission in South Africa.

​Duane has been aware of his sexual orientation since about age fourteen and, after confronting what seemed to be the contradictions between being a devoted Latter-day Saint and his sexuality, embraced these contradictions and has transferred his energies into harmonizing the two. He has held leadership positions in the Salt Lake Chapter of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons and in 1996 received the Mortensen Award, Affirmation’s highest award for excellence in continual service.

​Duane has also represented Affirmation at the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, which supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals in religion. In addition, he edited and published the Salt Lake Affirmation chapter’s newsletter for over 10 years, and was religion/spirituality editor and writer (1994-1996) for The Pillar magazine (Utah’s LGBT Magazine (published from 1993-2007)).  In 2000 Duane worked with an Episcopal minister and Metropolitan Community Church ministers and together started what has become the annual Pride Interfaith Service that kicks off the annual Utah Pride events each June.

​A sixth-generation Mormon, Duane proudly claims his spiritual place in creation and his relationship with God, in spite of limitations in religious traditions, including Mormonism.

Oct 23, 2017

Mormon Mental Health Podcast will be creating a 5 to 6 part series on boundaries within Mormonism. Natasha Helfer Parker has invited the providers from Symmetry Solutions to discuss boundaries… starting with a general overview, then with children, following with teens, then as adults and other topics such as sexuality, etc. in panel format. We notice in our mental health work with primarily LDS clientele, that there are difficulties understanding what healthy boundaries are and look like… as well as how to implement them in a patriarchal and authoritative structure, where often people feel like boundaries have already been set for them by the system. Unfortunately, not having the ability to create healthy boundaries for oneself, one’s children, and one’s family… can contribute to issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, negative relational dynamics and even abuse. From simple things, like whether or not one feels personal permission to reject a calling, to more serious issues such as whether or not we should support children’s interviews behind closed doors where they are asked sensitive questions including about their sexuality…. this is a relevant topic to today’s Latter-day Saints. We hope you will join in the discussion through the comments section to share either things you want us to address, things you are concerned about, ways you disagree/agree with us, things that have helped you balance healthy boundaries, etc.

In this first part Natasha is joined by Sara Hughes Zabawa and Jana Spangler for a general discussion on boundaries and some of the common issues that tend to come up within a Mormon framework.

Sara received a Masters Degree in Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. She completed her Bachelors Degree in Social Work with a minor is Women’s Studies from Brigham Young University. She has extensive experience working with trauma survivors and with teens and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety. Sara helps LGBT+ individuals and their families develop advocacy skills, foster acceptance, and explore the relationship between their sexual and/or gender identity with their religious beliefs. Sara also helps clients navigate difficult life transitions, especially those related to their faith, is a skilled yoga instructor and uses mindfulness training to support clients in cultivating self-care practices.

Jana Spangler, IAC is an Integral Associate Coach and dedicated student of personal growth strategies. Over the past 5 years she has continually attended seminars and retreats, participated in on-line courses, studied world thought and spiritual leaders through books and interviews, and participated in several support groups. In July 2014, after having been born and raised in the LDS faith (Mormonism), she experienced a near-complete collapse in her faith. Since that time, she has used the tools she has gained through her study to travel a path of increasingly fulfilling spirituality and has spent countless hours supporting and mentoring others who are experiencing pain in their spiritual life and relationships.

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Oct 13, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Miguel Barker-Valdez, one of the founders of Rational Faiths mainly about the concepts of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. They talk about his experience as a physician assistant in orthopedic surgery, as well as a specific circumstance where he was part of helping with a fatal roadside accident (for those who might find this type of discussion disturbing, Miguel does go into detail as to his efforts to save a young woman’s life). Many jobs lead to opportunities to be part of other people’s suffering, often called vicarious trauma (mental health practitioners, physicians, police officers, fire safety, paramedics, soldiers, teachers, etc.). Even how many callings in the church are ripe for members to experience compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.

Their discussion goes in many rich directions, specifically about issues regarding race and culture (Miguel’s “race awakening”), complicated family dynamics and Miguel’s relationship with the LDS church.

Racism 101 Podcast 

CES Podcast 

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Sep 21, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Miguel Barker, one of the founders of Rational Faiths mainly about the concepts of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. They talk about his experience as a physician assistant in orthopedic surgery, as well as a specific circumstance where he was part of helping with a fatal roadside accident (for those who might find this type of discussion disturbing, Miguel does go into detail as to his efforts to save a young woman's life). Many jobs lead to opportunities to be part of other people's suffering, often called vicarious trauma (mental health practitioners, physicians, police officers, fire safety, paramedics, soldiers, etc.). 

Their discussion goes in many rich directions, specifically about issues regarding race and culture (Miguel's "race awakening"), complicated family dynamics and Miguel's relationship with the LDS church. Even how many callings in the church are also ripe for members to experience compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.

Racism 101 Podcast 

CES Podcast 

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Sep 14, 2017

This is a special release on Mormon Mental Health shared by Mormon Sex Info due to the upcoming Rocky Mountain Sex Summit that will be taking place September 22-23, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Natasha Helfer Parker wants to help promote the event and therefore is making this podcast available on this platform for free. 

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Al Vernacchio on the topic of providing the most effective types of sexual education to adolescents. What's the difference between abstinence and comprehensive sexual education? What's the history of the importance of virginal status and the impact it has on our culture? How do we teach teens what it means to have sex outside of the mechanical definition? How do we honor our teens as sexual beings? What kinds of sexual options can we offer our teens, so that they are better prepared to make sexual decisions that parallel their values? 

Al Vernacchio is the K-12 Sexuality Education Coordinator at Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, PA. A Human Sexuality educator and consultant for over 25 years, Al has lectured, published articles, and offered workshops throughout the country. His work has been featured in “Teaching Good Sex”, a November, 2011 cover story in The New York Times Magazine. In addition Al has given four TED Talks, and has appeared on national programs such as NPR’s “Morning Edition”. He is the author of For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Young People About Sexuality, Values, and Health published by Harper-Collins.

Resources mentioned during podcast:

Action Aids

For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Young People About Sexuality, Values, and Health by Al Vernacchio

Sex Needs a New Metaphor. Here's One. by Al Vernacchio 

The Danger of the Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

Rocky Mountain Sex & Intimacy Summit

 

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.

Jun 20, 2017

Savannah is a 12-year old young woman who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After several months of convincing her parents that she wanted the opportunity to bear her testimony in church about how she identifies as gay, she went ahead and spoke to her congregation at the beginning of May of this year. About two thirds of the way through, the microphone was turned off by the presiding leader and she was asked to sit down. In this interview, Natasha Helfer Parker offers Savannah the Mormon Mental Health Podcast microphone so that she can share her testimony without interruption. Savannah is delightful as she talks about her thoughts and feelings about this experience, as well as her concern for other teens and pre-teens who are in her position. 

Because this interview involves a minor, the audience should be aware that several precautions and safeguards have been put in place to offer protection and boundaries for Savannah's sake. Some of these precautions are mentioned here.

Comments will be highly moderated and only those of support for Savannah's journey will be allowed. If there are any concerns that commenters want to share with the host, you can reach her at mormonmentalhealth@gmail.com.

This interview will only be available in the future according to Savannah's and her family's discretion. At any point in her life, she will have the right to ask for it to be removed from the podcast archive.

Both Savannah and her mother have reviewed and approved this podcast before it's publication. 

Jun 1, 2017

Four Certified Sex Therapists who routinely work with Mormon clientele offer a response to An Open Letter to Bishops from a Wife of a Pornography Addict: 7 Things I Wish You Knew.  Natasha Helfer Parker, Kristin Hodson, Kristin Marie Bennion and Shannon Hickman lead a thorough discussion walking listeners through both the clinically sound parts of the piece, as well as the perspectives they consider misinformed, inappropriate or even harmful to potential readers and ecclesiastical leaders. 

May 25, 2017

Four Certified Sex Therapists who routinely work with Mormon clientele offer a response to An Open Letter to Bishops from a Wife of a Pornography Addict: 7 Things I Wish You Knew.  Natasha Helfer Parker, Kristin Hodson, Kristin Marie Bennion and Shannon Hickman lead a thorough discussion walking listeners through both the clinically sound parts of the piece, as well as the perspectives they consider misinformed, inappropriate or even harmful to potential readers and ecclesiastical leaders. 

May 11, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Brian Willoughby, associate professor at Brigham Young University, in regards to his involvement with the recent research publication written in The Journal of Sex Research titled: Damaged Goods: Perception of Pornography Addiction as a Mediator Between Religiosity and Relationship Anxiety Surrounding Pornography Use. There has been much media frenzy around what these results mean and Mormon Mental Health Podcast felt it was important to reach out to the researchers themselves and get their take on what the study was striving to understand, how it was conducted, and how they hope the public and media will interpret and best understand the results. 

May 6, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Jennifer White, a clinical social worker who leads groups in regards to domestic violence (DV) in the Salt Lake City area. This podcast will be useful to those who are experiencing some sort of domestic violence in their lives, as well as family, friends or ecclesiastical/auxiliary leaders who are aware of those who need help with this issue. The podcast covers statistics, definitions and different types of DV, why it can be difficult to leave these types of relationships or seek safety, how to start developing a safety plan and suggestions for all parties involved. On a topic such as this that is often dealt with in family and community secrecy, and can be deadly to many, it is extremely important that we educate ourselves on how to get help and how to help others.

Apr 29, 2017

After the recent podcasts where Ryan Flake shares his story about having been treated as a “porn addict,” it is perfect timing to release a podcast Mormon Mental Health partnered with Mormon Matters on last fall. Natasha Helfer Parker teams with Dan Wotherspoon to provide a panel discussion, including leading national experts, on the issues with treating sexual and relational problems through the lens of addiction treatment.

Natasha Helfer Parker and Kristin Hodson, two of the panelists, helped author an Op-Eds in the Salt Lake Tribune focusing on the issue of pornography, and especially if an “addiction” model is appropriate to be taught in high school settings. The impetus for the initial opinion piece was the propriety of allowing the group “Fight the New Drug” (FTND) to offer presentations in public school assemblies or other gathering types, especially since the science behind the claims FTND makes about pornography as “addicting” is not credible. There are major divisions within helping communities with regard to the effects of pornography upon the human brain and body, and the best approach(es) to take when someone comes to a therapist for help with a level of pornography usage they feel is is problematic.

Natasha notes that Mormon Matters went on to interview some clinicians who take the opposing stance to this podcast. However, Mormon Mental Health Podcast is purposefully not including those on its website due to the concern of spreading misinformation that continues to confuse the public. The information found on the episodes that are shared by MMH are supported by the position statements of the national body of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

Apr 25, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker teams with Dan Wotherspoon of Mormon Matters to provide a panel discussion, including leading national experts, on the issues with treating sexual and relational problems through the lens of addiction treatment. 

Natasha Helfer Parker and Kristin Hodson, two of the panelists, helped author an Op-Eds in the Salt Lake Tribune (here and here) focusing on the issue of pornography, and especially if an “addiction” model is appropriate to be taught in high school settings. The impetus for the initial opinion piece was the propriety of allowing the group “Fight the New Drug” (FTND) to offer presentations in public school assemblies or other gathering types, especially since the science behind the claims FTND makes about pornography as “addicting” is not credible. There are major divisions within helping communities with regard to the effects of pornography upon the human brain and body, and the best approach(es) to take when someone comes to a therapist for help with a level of pornography usage they feel is is problematic.

Mormon Matters went on to interview some clinicians who take the opposing stance to this podcast. Mormon Mental Health Podcast is purposefully not including those on its website due to the concern of spreading misinformation that continues to confuse the public. The information found on the episodes that are shared by MMH are supported by the position statements of the national body of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

   

 

Apr 18, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Ryan Flake, who was referred to the LDS Addiction Recovery Program by his bishop due to confessions about viewing sexually explicit material and masturbation. They discuss his upbringing as a Mormon and the many messages he received from an early age that contributed to quite a bit of sexual shame by the time Ryan was preparing to go on a mission, even though he was not having any relational sexual experiences. Ryan’s story does a good job of highlighting how certain rigid expectations and attributed meanings can do harm in regards to self-esteem, anxiety management, relational dynamics, sexual development and self-identity. Ryan talks about his experience with the ARP and how he found the messaging shaming and unhelpful in his particular situation where “addiction” was not a correct assessment.

It is the hope of podcasts like these to educate the public about the difference between things such as chemical dependency from relational and behavioral problems that are more common among the general population. It is important to get help and find adequate resources for whatever issues one might be facing. Correct assessment and competent professional help are vital first steps. Unfortunately, the research shows that mental health professionals who come from a religious background themselves, will be more willing to follow a “sex” or “porn addiction” model even though there is no such formal diagnosis. Therefore, the Mormon community needs to be aware that getting adequate help for this topic is complicated and one needs to use caution and good research to get appropriate help.

Apr 8, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Ryan Flake, who was referred to the LDS Addiction Recovery Program by his bishop due to confessions about viewing sexually explicit material and masturbation. They discuss his upbringing as a Mormon and the many messages he received from an early age that contributed to quite a bit of sexual shame by the time Ryan was preparing to go on a mission, even though he was not having any relational sexual experiences. Ryan's story does a good job of highlighting how certain rigid expectations and attributed meanings can do harm in regards to self-esteem, anxiety management, relational dynamics, sexual development and self-identity. Ryan talks about his experience with the ARP and how he found the messaging shaming and unhelpful in his particular situation where "addiction" was not a correct assessment. 

It is the hope of podcasts like these to educate the public about the difference between things such as chemical dependency from relational and behavioral problems that are more common among the general population. It is important to get help and find adequate resources for whatever issues one might be facing. Correct assessment and competent professional help are vital first steps. Unfortunately, the research shows that mental health professionals who come from a religious background themselves, will be more willing to follow a "sex" or "porn addiction" model even though there is no such formal diagnosis. Therefore, the Mormon community needs to be aware that getting adequate help for this topic is complicated and one needs to use caution and good research to get appropriate help.

Mar 28, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Daniel Parkinson, a psychiatrist who was raised Mormon and left the church partly due to being gay, and Thomas Montgomery, Mormon father of a gay son and husband to Wendy Montgomery who helped found the Mama Dragons. Both men recently collaborated on some articles they decided to publish on the same day, Utah’s Escalating Suicide Crisis and LDS LGBTQ Despair on Rational Faiths and Rejection and the Family on No More Strangers. They discuss the alarming increase in suicide rates in Utah — a trend that has been apparent since the Church’s involvement in Prop 8, increased focus on anti-gay rhetoric in talks over the pulpit and the “November 5th policy” which specifically calls out homosexual marriage as a sin worthy of excommunication going as far as disallowing children who reside in such marriages to participate in Mormon ordinances. Many from within church activity dismiss this type of “anecdotal evidence” stating that one can not blame the Church or any one reason for something as complicated as suicide. Both interviewer and interviewees challenge this type of thinking and call on leaders and members alike to take note and be alarmed at the harm that is being done to LGBT+ members across the age spectrum. With the April 2017 Ensign having yet another anti-LBGT article being published just this coming month… these types of podcasts sharing valuable information can be life-saving to many within our midst. Please listen.

Mar 21, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Daniel Parkinson, a psychiatrist who was raised Mormon and left the church partly due to being gay, and Thomas Montgomery, Mormon father of a gay son and husband to Wendy Montgomery who helped found the Mama Dragons. Both men recently collaborated on some articles they decided to publish on the same day, Utah's Escalating Suicide Crisis and LDS LGBTQ Despair on Rational Faiths and Rejection and the Family on No More Strangers. They discuss the alarming increase in suicide rates in Utah -- a trend that has been apparent since the Church's involvement in Prop 8, increased focus on anti-gay rhetoric in talks over the pulpit and the "November 5th policy" which specifically calls out homosexual marriage as a sin worthy of excommunication going as far as disallowing children who reside in such marriages to participate in Mormon ordinances. Many from within dismiss this type of "anecdotal evidence" stating that one can't blame the church or any one reason for something as complicated as suicide. Both interviewer and interviewees challenge this type of thinking and call on leaders and members alike to take note and be alarmed at the harm that is being done to LGBT+ members across the age spectrum. With the April 2017 Ensign having yet another anti-LBGT article being published just this coming month... these types of podcasts sharing valuable information can be life-saving to many within our midst. Please listen. 

Mar 9, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Kelly and Kendra in regards to the effects they felt as a result to ecclesiastical counsel that was not helpful within the context of their experiences. Kelly talks about being in an abusive relationship with her ex-husband and the resistance she encountered as she began to pursue divorce proceedings. Kendra discusses her experience as a sexual assault victim and how she was directed towards a repentance process instead of the help she needed to address trauma treatment. Both women share specific details of their stories that some may find difficult to listen to and that may trigger difficult emotional responses. 

The hope of this podcast is to draw attention to the limitations that LDS ecclesiastical leaders, who are not trained theological nor mental health professionals, have when dealing with particularly difficult and complicated family, marital and trauma situations. Leaders are often very well-intentioned and care deeply for the members of their congregations. At the same time, they carry a role within the religious context of representing God's will for those they minister over. And so when counsel or advice is inappropriate to the situation at hand, the damage can leave a lasting impact that affects the spiritual and emotional health of the parties involved for years to come. Therefore it is imperative that leaders gain a better understanding when to refer to capable professionals, and when the issues at hand are even beyond the scope of what LDS Family Services can offer. 

Mar 3, 2017

Natasha Helfer Parker and Lisa Butterworth, both mental health professionals, have a rich discussion about the role of both emotion and logic when it comes to how we think through positions we take, beliefs we have and communication styles we engage with others on. This is particularly relevant in understanding dynamics relating to faith transitions, political differences, racial and other types of discrimination and differing moral priorities. We tend to make assumptions that we think and behave from a place of critical thought and self-awareness. Not so much. Emotion and subconscious factors play huge roles in motivation for movement towards anything we lean into. Natasha and Lisa delve into how understanding that both of these human traits are pivotal towards individual and relational growth helps us have more empathy for self and others.  

Lisa Butterworth, LPC, NCC has a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Idaho State University, primarily working with issues of relational health, faith transitions and journeys, women's issues and sexuality. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â¹She is the founder of the popular Feminist Mormon Housewives website and support group.

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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