Morgan Jones, Scott Brandley and Steven Kapp Perry shared how they spread the gospel as hosts of popular Latter-day Saint podcasts.
Jones, from Menlo Park, California is the host for the “All In” LDS Living podcast and talked about how she first got involved as a podcast host.
“Toward the end of my time, the opinion editor at Deseret News came to me and he had an idea for a podcast,” Jones said.
Jones’ editor said that the decision to stay in the Church is just as deliberate and thoughtful as the decision to leave, but many people are not hearing those stories.
After transitioning to work at LDS Living, Jones said she had an opportunity to counter the voices of the adversary by starting the “All In” podcast.
“The goal was to interview people about their faith,” Jones said. “We’ve been doing ‘All In’ for four years this month, and we just recently hit 15 million downloads.”
Scott Brandley, from Ogden, UT said his idea to start the “Latter-Day Lights” podcast sprouted from his experience as a bishop.
“I had a couple of families in my ward leave the church,” Brandley said. “I did everything I could to try to get them to stay, but ultimately, they left.”
Brandley said he felt impressed to write a book about his experience called “Space to Stay,” and is working to publish it. He teamed up with Alisha Coakley, another aspiring Latter-day Saint author, to make the podcast “Latter-Day Lights” to highlight the experiences that other Church members have had like them.
“I was feeling this need to make a difference and help through missionary work and bringing more light to the world,” Brandley said. “Why not let the regular members of the Church share their stories?”
Brandley said they have done the podcast for five months now and have finished 20 episodes.
“We all have really cool stories in our lives, whether it’s a conversion story, overcoming tragedy or overcoming a trial of faith,” Brandley said. “If you never share them, then you never get to share your light with anyone else other than your immediate family and your ward.”
Steven Kapp Perry from Cedar Hills, UT, started his podcast “In Good Faith” at BYU Radio after transitioning from a career in broadcast show hosting.
According to the BYU Radio website, “In Good Faith” is meant to be a “place to hear stories and accounts from believers, told in their own words … celebrating the power of faith and belief.”
Perry said he tackles this objective by breaking down the barriers between different faiths.
“Sometimes people have a fear of the unknown — a wariness that if they listen to other people’s beliefs, then they are somehow being unfaithful to their own,” Perry said. “We don’t believe in fear on our show.”
Perry said he hopes by sharing these stories, people will be able to learn how to build their own faith.
“Whenever you listen to someone else’s honest life experience and how they see God working in their lives, it strengthens your own faith and helps you find commonality with more of God’s children,” Perry said.
Jones explained the struggles she faced when it came to connecting to her faith as she grew up in North Carolina, where she was one of very few members of the Church.
“When I was a little kid, I recognized the power of content in connecting people through the Church magazine, ‘The Friend,‘” Jones said. “I always had a desire to feel connected to my faith.”
Jones said she hopes to bring members like her together through the “All In” podcast.
“I (hope) the content we create can help somebody feel a little bit less alone in living their faith,” Jones said. “I can help people see that they’re not the only Latter-day Saint going through this thing, and show how somebody is getting through it.”
Brandley said sharing these stories has helped people to have the faith that things will work out and that God will show up for them.
“You see how God’s hand is in each person’s life in a different way,” Brandley said. “We all have different trials, struggles and things that we have to overcome.”
Brandley said one of his favorite episodes was with Emily Hemmert, who started a nonprofit called The Marcovia Project to help children in Honduras go to school.
Thousands of dollars have been donated to the Marcovia Project since airing this podcast, according to Brandley.
“We have a little sphere of influence, but it made a difference in the lives of a lot of kids,” Brandley said. “They’re going to be able to go to school now.”
Perry shared how “In Good Faith” listeners have been able to open up to the religious practices of people of other faiths.
“Listeners have written in telling us how they’ve lost their fear of their Muslim neighbors after hearing particular guests share their experiences with prayer and fasting for the month of Ramadan,” Perry said.
Perry said one of his favorite episodes is with Jewish Rabbi Danya Ruttenburg. She speaks about her book “Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World.”
“God doesn’t only do his work through the Latter-day Saints, and as we heard in the most recent General Conference,” Perry said. “We can accomplish so much good when we partner with other people of faith to tackle problems in our communities.”
Jones said podcasts are a unique way to build human connection.
“I think that the biggest reason people listen to interview style podcasts is because we struggle as human beings in our society to talk and to have conversations that dig beneath the surface,” Jones said. “Podcasts give people something to talk about.”
Jones also said listening each week can allow listeners to build a connection to the host because people can tune in while they are running, hiking or going to the store.
“It builds a deeper connection with the host, and then it allows us to connect deeper with people around us,” Jones said. “People are hungry for that.”
Brandley said sharing the light of the gospel through podcasts is easier than ever.
“It’s really cool to think that if somebody just pushes share on their Facebook, it goes to all their friends,” Brandley said. “In a matter of five seconds, you can do missionary work to hundreds of people.”
Jones said she also thinks podcasts are a great way to reach people, especially if they do not want any pressure to learn more.
“It’s a very non-threatening way for people to share the gospel,” Jones said. “It reaches people in ways that many things can’t.”
Perry said he hopes people find more connections than differences with each other through the podcast.
“For our guests who are Christian, I hope our listeners discover how much they have in common with their fellow Christians,” Perry said. “For our guests who are Hindu, Baha’i or Buddhist, I hope our listeners come to appreciate how God is working in people’s lives of many faith traditions.”