Brother Jared Halverson has been an institute teacher at the University of Utah for the past six years. He hails originally from Los Angeles. His YouTube channel and podcast, “Unshaken,” helps people study the scriptures. He and Sister Halverson are former residents of Tennessee where Brother Halverson studied in the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University, where he is now a PhD candidate in Historical Studies with a focus on American religious history. While attending Vanderbilt, he sometimes was called upon to speak to college classes or to non-LDS congregations in the Nashville community to explain his religious beliefs, especially during the Mitt Romney presidential run. Bro. Halverson was an avid athlete in high school (football and track) and interacted with a broad spectrum of religions among his boyhood friends. He served a Spanish speaking mission.
Brother Jared Halverson

Highlights

05:20: Feeling at home as a religious minority.
07:15: Guidance to leaders confronted by tough gospel questions. Conviction brings courage.
10:30: Open your mouth and it shall be filled (D&C 84), if you are prepared. The Holy Ghost can help us remember things we have studied. Respect people’s questions. Study; learn from experience/mistakes.
14:50: Being defensive can offend the Spirit and invite contention. Unity, not just orthodoxy, is vital. Seek to understand. Sometimes being loving will earn us a second conversation with someone whereas being overly bold will not. Open your ears and the heat will evaporate (elephants). Don’t stomp around with big head and sharp tusk like elephants, which also have a thick skin. Create safe space for questions.
27:00: Be grateful for faith of others. Brother Halverson has worshiped with Quakers, Bahai, Evangelicals, Catholics, etc. Beauty is everywhere. The Church has a monopoly on a few things but not all good things. Holy envy. Some Evangelicals are concerned about “cheap grace” too.
32:00: Responding to questions about grace. Just as Martin Luther may have overcorrected in breaking away from Catholicism, have we overcorrected in not trying to understand grace? Toxic perfectionism. Serving God does not mean we are trying to earn His love. The Book of Mormon addresses grace often. Joseph Smith spoke of proving contraries. Jesus was justice and mercy combined. Broad brush answers may be just what half the class needs and not at all what another half needs at a given time. People are all over the map. It’s often difficult to have a pat answer that speaks to all of them. Ministering visits are an opportunity for one-on-one, tailor-made dialogue.
41:25: General authority discourses, of necessity, often speak to the masses who are at different places of spiritual development. Alma 42 is dissected as to Alma’s balance in teaching his son Corianton about justice and mercy.
45:32: Don’t make interfaith activities a covert missionary operation. God has made ample provision to bring us all home. Do not lessen your zeal but show an increase in patience. Cheer on people in other faiths who are doing good things.
47:30: Interfaith work. The meaning of“ward.” Be a good neighbor. Brother Halverson was clearly a religious minority in his Tennessee neighborhood. Find common goals with which to team up. Non-members sometimes don’t trust our intentions. Based on doctrine and practice, our church can be patient because of what we know about temple work and spirit world.
53:30: Come Follow Me YouTube channel “Unshaken.” Many people’s scripture study habits are changing for the better during Covid-19. Striking a balance between external resources available vs pure scripture study. The purpose of scripture study is not merely an academic exercise but to draw us closer to God. We have eternal life in Christ, not the scriptures per se. Scriptures as a signpost or burning bush to get our attention. How does the phrase “Expectation without education is frustration” apply to scripture study? The flipped classroom model under Covid-19. Example of Philip and the Eunuch in Book of Acts re: Isaiah.
1:04:58: What does a given scripture mean vs what does it mean to me. Joseph Smith said: “Our minds are now enlightened and the meaning and intention of the scriptures were laid open to our understanding” (paraphrased).
1:11:18: Lord to Joseph re: Apocrypha. Does it have benefit? How does it compare to canonized scripture? Scriptures, in some instances, are only hints of what was in the minds of ancient prophets.
1:14:45: Description of Bro. Halverson’s “Unshaken” podcast channel focusing on scriptural texts. There are many podcasts–sometimes the best channel is to turn them all off and fall in love with the scriptures to be in tune with God. Having an experience with a “burning bush” (“turn aside and see”). Treasure them.
1:18:53: The excellent purpose and occasional disadvantage of a scripture reading schedule. Are we ever really finished anyway?“ Listen to the Holy Ghost. Am I to only read the Book of Mormon?
1:23:50: There is divinity poking out between the humanity of the messiness of the scriptures and history. The gospel does not need to get old or maxed out. “Permanent bad news is against my religion.” God plays the “long game.”

Links

Unshaken YouTube channel
Unshaken Podcast

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