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‘Real stories from real people’: A look at this year's most-downloaded episodes of ‘This Is the Gospel’

by | Dec. 30, 2020

Have you ever felt imperfect in your practice of living the gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, you’re in good company and the This is the Gospel podcast is on a mission to prove it to you. Like host KaRyn Lay says at the beginning of every episode, the podcast “features real stories from real people practicing and living their faith every day.” These people are facing real triumphs, successes, challenges, and hardships in the best way they can. Sound familiar? Whether it’s heartache, loss of a loved one, fatherhood, motherhood, or true conversion, the 23 episodes we shared this year include powerful stories of practicing faith that we’re sure will remind you that you’re not alone in your journey of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are grateful to everyone who has shared their stories with us this year and to you, our listeners, for spending time with us. 

We wish we could highlight every single story at the close of this year but alas that would be a lot of stories so, without further ado, here are the top 10 most-downloaded episodes this year:  

The Heavens Are Open  

Stories in this episode: In the early days of his firefighting career, Steve enters a burning home to save a life and is forced to choose between protocol and following the Spirit; Heidi anguishes over her efforts to help create a documentary about Joseph Smith’s life until she receives a special witness from God; Alone in the rainforests of Madagascar, Elizabeth finds herself in dire need of heavenly power to call down a miracle. 

BONUS: Come As You Are 

Stories in this Father's Day bonus episode: While John admits he's not very handy, his attempts to create the perfect swing set falls short when he allows comparison to take over; Donald isn't sure he's got what it takes for fatherhood to begin with but when infertility makes that even harder, he learns that "what it takes" might be different than he imagined.  

BONUS: At The Feet of Extraordinary Women

Stories in this episode: Sarah and KaRyn share lessons learned from their very first storytelling project over 15 years ago when they invited accomplished, faithful women (like Emma Lou Thayne, Ariel Bybee, Liz Lemon Swindle, Olene Walker) into their living rooms; Leslie, Claire, Cari, Tennisa, & Emily give us 2 minute stories of letting the Lord lead from the start of our THIS IS THE GOSPEL video series. 

Sacred Ground 

Stories in this episode: As a missionary in Chile, Brad Wilcox struggles to the find the answers to his gospel questions until a transfer leads him to the light and hope he is looking for; Cody finds the spark of her testimony in a barren patch of desert after she prays for the impossible; An empty Primary room becomes sacred ground for Dave as he seeks to come back to the gospel he once knew. 

Weak Things Made Strong

Stories in this episode: Bullied most of her life, Julie discovers that the autism that made her different is actually the exact thing that makes her gifted at family history work; A comic book heroine helps Sarah find her own superpowers when it comes to connecting with others; Kurt struggles with the weight of his calling as a bishop until the memory of a red superhero cape reminds him of his true desire to help others. 

Lost and Found 

Stories in this episode: Laric breezes through sleep deprivation games on the Netflix show "Awake," but the final results leave him wondering if God cares about what matters most to him; A lost set of scriptures devastates Mark, but how they come back to him years later is nothing short of a miracle; David struggles to adjust to his mission in the Philippines until losing a contact lens in the mud helps him gain a new perspective. 

Converted Unto the Lord 

Stories in this episode: Jim, a devout Baptist, sends his five of his seven children on Latter-day Saint missions despite his misgivings about what they will teach and finds himself “tapped on the shoulder” by God; Though she grew up a member of the Church, Brooke doesn’t really search out her own testimony until devastating loss puts her faith, or lack thereof, at the forefront of her life; Missionaries go the literal extra mile to find Martin when he moves back to Norway after a visit to temple square; Dumdi finds the strength to remain faithful after baptism despite being alone in her efforts; When Monique’s family moves to a predominantly Latter-day Saint community, she vows to steer clear of “The Mormons” but finds herself drawn to the doctrine despite negative experiences. 

Who Do You Think You Are?  

Stories in this episode: Christie and her brother learn they are never alone as they name-drop their eccentric great-uncle and embark on daring adventures wandering a local hospital. Artist Kate struggles with her self-worth until an unusual assignment from her stake president leads to a new understanding of God’s love for her and a new mission to share her testimony through art. 

Love Lessons  

After a devastating breakup, broadcast journalist Tamara decides to do something a little different for her 31st birthday: 31 dates in 31 days. But what starts as a fun blogging experiment quickly turns into big news and an even bigger spiritual eye-opener than Tamara initially assumed as she discovers more about who she is and how God sees the potential in all of us. 

Glass Half Full

During a week-long break from running track at Utah State University, Brittany fell in love with climbing the red rocks of southern Utah. And a moonlight repel from a 200-foot cliff with a friend was just the adventure Brittany was looking for. But that night, adventure quickly turned to tragedy, leaving Brittany with a life-changing diagnosis and leading her to a new relationship with her Savior. 

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