Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sunstone, Synchronicity, and SLC Radio

RadioActive! Aug 6 Sunstone Symposium - Critiquing Mormon Theology.

"SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (2008-08-08) The annual Sunstone Symposium is in session and Gena welcomes three of the participants. Jeff Needle is a Jewish Mormonphile who has spent decades fascinated by Mormon theology. Elizabeth Quick sees Emma Smith as a mystical shaman and Sharon Adams is comparing and constrasting Mormonism with Buddhism. All three guests offer new and interesting takes on the religion of the Latter-day Saints."

Download the MP3 while it's still available (click) HERE

Just prior to this year's Sunstone Symposium I was contacted by producer Troy Williams of Salt Lake City's community radio station, KRCL, for an interview regarding my Sunstone presentation.

Two other Sunstone presenters were scheduled to appear on the show with me: Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby and the (interestingly, non-Mormon) Mormon History Association book editor Jeff Needleman.

My husband and I arrived at the station Wednesday evening at 5:45 where I met Jeff and his companion, Richard C. Russell (another Sunstone presenter) at the front door, which turned out to be closed after hours. Jeff was very charming as he described his Sunstone presentation to me on our way to the back door. (My husband) Tim and Russell went to listen to the show in the producer's room with Troy.

When I arrived in the studio I was surprised to see that the third guest was a woman, not Robert Kirby, who turned out to be Sharon Adams, but when I found out that she was giving a paper at Sunstone on "female empowerment in the Mormon and Tibetan Buddhist traditions," I was even more surprised, as I hadn't fully explored the symposium program yet, and a large section of my Emma Smith paper had to do with paralells and possible connections between the Mormon tradition and Tibetan Buddhism.


Abstract: This presentation explores notions of religious 'authority' as it relates to religious experience for women in Mormonism and Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas religious authority appears to be the domain of men in both traditions, I argue that certain aspects of individual religious experience, aspects of worship involving personal meaning, and how a practitioner embodies the tradition, is not gender specific. I explore how some Tibetan Buddhist teachings regarding representations of the divine feminine may compliment LDS practice, giving Mormon women access to the divine feminine in ways that could bring a sense of empowerment.

During the breaks and after the show, Sharon was just as surprised to meet me. She kept asking me if I knew about this or that aspect of Tibetan religion, culture or history that had some auspicious synchronicity with with Mormonism, such as the "Terma tradition." Nearly every time I said, "Yes, I'm covering that in the paper that I am presenting." We also found out that we both practice Tibetan Buddhism at the Shambhala Centers, she in Colorado, and I in California. We were very excited to meet each other, and after the show I mentioned to Troy that I thought that it was a really meaningful coincidence that instead of Robert Kirby, there was another woman talking about Tibetan Buddhism there. Troy said that he felt I had written a really "maverick" paper for Sunstone and that when Mr. Kirby was unable to make it that he thought that Sharon's topic would compliment mine on the show very nicely. Indeed!

While I was being interviewed, Tim found out that Troy needed a ride back to the Sheraton (where the conference was being held and we were staying) and offered him one. I was excited to meet such a fascinating person with so many common interests and was eager to read his blog (which I thought has such a great title),

When we pulled into the parking lot Troy was telling us that he knew the Indigo Girls and mentioned the new song on Amy Ray's latest solo Album that he'd used as bumper music for the show that day. I hadn't noticed until he mentioned it - but the song was titled: SLC Radio, and was inspired, in part, by KRCL! (You can listen to the song HERE.)

It was such a coincidence because the Indigo Girls often remind me of Utah and I had made it a point to bring a couple of Indigo Girls CDs with me on this trip for old time's sake. I was first introduced to the Indigo Girls self-titled first album when I was 18 years old, by my friend Graye Morehouse, in the Spring of 1988. In June of that year, I moved out of my parents house for the first time to Provo, Utah and brought the first Indigo Girls album with me. Already on this trip I'd been driving around Salt Lake singing my heart out to the Indigo Girls. It was also a coincidence because being in the KRCL studio reminded me of my own radio producing days at Salt Lake's K-Talk (KTKK), another independent, grass-roots, radio station, where I interned for several months and occasionally hosted, co-hosted, did news, commercials and PSAs.

Indigo Girl loves Salt Lake's 'vibrant scene'
By Scott Iwasaki
Deseret News,5143,700247705,00.html

KRCL's Troy Williams interviews Amy Ray (short MP3 interview):

I also love Amy's appreciation of punk rock!

Ray Taps Into Her Punk Side On Solo Work:

Another side of Amy Ray:

Lyrics from

Salt Lake City radio radio
fighting the good fight for me
all the songs all the words
that don’t get played that don’t get heard

I’m pulling in to the LDS nation
looking for a community station
Cause we heard about the kids in SLC
and how they fight to be set free
and how they fight for you and me
and radio radio community

I’m sending love to all the Mormons
ain’t nothing wrong with changing their plans
I said keep the good things
and throw out the bad things
you gotta pull the reins
on a whole lot of suffering

Radio radio SLC
fighting the good fight for me
Boys and girls lend a hand
bend an ear in God’s land
Take your city on a holiday from pain
All you missionaries
can you hear what I say?

I know the bible belt
I know the sobering noose
and everybody’s got their own set of rules
But we heard about the kids in SLC
and how they fight to be set free
and how they fight for you and me
and radio radio community

I seen a lotta roads
and pastures and mountains
I met a lotta folks in a whole lotta towns
I feel a crack in the skin of the majority
They’re gonna figure it out
I ain’t here to fuck the family

Take your city on a holiday from pain
All you missionaries
can’t you hear what I say?

Way down in the deep south
I got the bible belt blues
I want to shake these chains off
what have I got to lose?
I said everybody across this nation
stand with me
and your community station
What have you got to lose?

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