Happy New Year! This weekend on State of Belief hear from one woman who was able to get married in Utah thanks to a surprise court decision; learn how a successful corporate lawyer ended up as the bestselling author of novels creatively synthesizing the wisdom of world religions; and find out where the largest Unitarian congregation in the nation is. It’s not where you think. Download Icon

Surprise in the Courts: Same-Gender Marriage in Utah
On December 20, a U.S. district judge in Salt Lake City surprised almost everyone by ruling that Utah’s ban on same-gender marriage is unconstitutional. The prevalence of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah – which has actively worked to oppose marriage equality – only adds to the drama and surprise of the decision. While the decision has since been appealed by the conservative state to the U.S. Supreme Court, there was an immediate rush to obtain licenses, setting records. Nicole Christensen, who married her partner Natalie on that first day, joins Welton this week on State of Belief to talk about the unexpected turn of events in Utah.

Surprise in Life: Lawyer and Developer Turned Religion Novelist
What happens when a successful corporate lawyer and real estate developer decides to write fiction that pulls themes from the study of world religions? It may sound like a recipe for disaster. That is unless you’re best-selling author Jeffrey Small. The author of The Breath of God, which simultaneously held #1 positions on a list of best political thrillers and best religious studies books, and of the new book The Jericho Deception, is on State of Belief to talk about his journey and how he found himself successfully writing religious novels.

The Largest Unitarian Congregation in the Country
With 1,800 active members, All Souls Unitarian Church is the largest Unitarian congregation in the nation. Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the church describes itself as offering “love beyond belief.” The church’s senior minister, the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, talks to Welton on State of Belief about how – even amid many reports that organized religion is growing exclusively among conservative traditions – All Souls Church became a vibrant congregation and an example of a progressive, engaged and inclusive community of faith in an unexpected place.

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