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Mormon Mental Health Podcast

Supporting mental health within the Mormon community.
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Mormon Mental Health Podcast
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Now displaying: October, 2017
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.

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