I must begin by thanking all of you for an amazing 2010. We started this year at episode #112, and after only 12 months are now up to #231. And while the numbers are good…..I feel even better about the quality of the interviews that we were able to land (Joanna Brooks, Peter and Mary Danzig, Shawn McCraney, Richard Packham, Daymon Smith, Bruce Bastian, Mr. Diety, Tresa Edmunds, Lisa Butterworth, Ed Kimball, Richard Dutcher, Carol Lynn Pearson, Bill Bradshaw, all of my personal friends who came on the show like Jacquie and the Gallaghers, etc.)…the list goes on and on. I am also super grateful for the help of friends like Natasha Parker, Dan Wotherspoon, Andrew Ainsworth, and the mysterious “Richard Allen” for their podcast support last year. We literally could not have done it without them, or without you.
Looking into 2011, there is much to be excited about, and one major concern. I’ll start w/ the concern first.
- Financial Support: Back in the summer of 2010 I made a deal w/ the listeners. If enough of you would sign up for monthly financial donations to Mormon Stories , I would promise to release a quality episode each week. The way that I was able to make this happen as a super busy Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student was to turn down other paid assistantships and do Mormon Stories as my part time job while in school. While the money in no way covers my family’s annual expenses, it does help us pay for things like health insurance, groceries, etc. Well — the good news is that many of you signed up to help. The bad news is that many of you have lost jobs or fallen on hard times — and I’ve received a number of cancellations over the past few months and donations have fallen substantially. So as donations begin to drop — I need to ask those of you who listen to Mormon Stories but do not support us financially to please consider going up to http://mormonstories.org ( right corner) and either make a one time donation, or sign up for monthly donations. Without this support, I will not be able to continue with Mormon Stories. With it, we can continue to provide more cool things for Mormonism over the coming years.
What’s on tap for 2011 and beyond (with your support)? I don’t have time to write about these ideas in detail, but I’ll summarize them here. For the record, this is our new 40 year plan. :)
- More Mormon Stories Interviews: Based on your feedback, we have some fantastic interviews lined up for 2011. I won’t ruin the surprise — but the future looks very, very bright for Mormon Stories interviews.
- Mormon Matters Revamp: We have been working on a revamp of the very popular Mormon Matterswebsite. There are 2 things we’re hoping to do w/ Mormon Matters:
- Turn it into the “Huffington Post” of Mormon news and information. Today, sites like “The Mormon Times” are the only places to get Mormon news and information in a centralized place. We hope to re-purpose Mormon Matters into a “one stop shop” for Mormon news, including: Sports, Business, Politics, Entertainment, Advice Columns, etc.
- Bring back the Mormon Matters Panel Podcast. We feel like there is a need for a “This Week in Mormonism”-type podcast to discuss the latest news and information in Mormonism (think Mormonism plus ”Meet the Press”…think weekly discussions about the latest antics of Mitt Romney, Harry Reid, Glenn Beck, David Archuleta, the Southpark guys, the Bloggernacle AND the DAMU, etc.), so we hope to bring that discussion panel format podcast back with a vengeance.
- MormonPublicRadio: We feel like there is a strong need for additional Mormon-themed podcasts, and so we are looking to form an NPR-like network thereof. Some of the podcasts we hope to help produce include:
- A Mormon Women Podcast: A podcast dedicated to Mormon women’s issues.
- A StayLDS Podcast: A podcast dedicated to helping struggling Mormons stay in the church, sponsored by http://staylds.com
- An ExMormon Stories Podcast: A podcast dedicated to building understand for Mormons who have left the church
- An LDS Homosexuality Podcast: A podcast dedicated to building greater understanding around the issues of Homosexuality within Mormonism
- An LDS Apologist Podcast: For credible LDS apologetics.
- A Mormon Entertainment Podcast: Focusing on Mormon music, film and entertainment
- A “This Week in Mormonism” Podcast: See above.
- A Global Community for “uncorrelated”Mormons: All over the world there are people who are struggling to navigate Mormonism “outside of the box,” so to speak…from liberal Mormons, to gay Mormons, to feminist Mormons, to single Mormons, to ex-Mormons, etc. One thing we’ve realized is that if we can create an integrated, global community of “Mormons like us” — we can do all sorts of really exciting things as a community, including:
- Local Meet-Ups: Helping to facilitate local or regional meet-ups for non-traditional Mormons who need additional support (support groups, book clubs, play groups, dinner dates, etc.)
- “EFY’s” for Children of Liberal or Post-Mormons
- A Liberal/Post-Mormon Dating Service for Single Mormons
- Online Content: To support non-traditional or post-Mormon families in navigating alternative or post-Mormonism in a healthy way.
- Annual Conferences: To bring Mormons of all types together to support and inspire each other, with presentations, workshops, retreats, etc.
This is the vision — and this is what we hope to accomplish over the coming years. It’s a definitely a long-term vision….but we believe that with your support, we can totally make this happen. More importantly, we feel like initiatives like this could really help bring a lot of joy, and lessen the pain, for people who are trying to more successfully navigate their non-traditional Mormon experience.
Thanks for your support, and please let us know if you’re interested in helping out.