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3 years of the “All In” podcast: A look at the 20 most popular episodes

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The All In podcast is closing in on its third anniversary. Launched in October 2018, it has since collected over 10 million downloads. If you’re a new listener wondering about the best place to jump in, or if you just want to revisit some highlights, look back with us at our top 20 episodes.

At the 2019 BYU Marriott School Commencement, Qualtrics CEO and cofounder Ryan Smith said, “If you have one foot in and one foot out the door, you will never experience true happiness and fulfillment.” It is a simple sentence, but it sums up the way Ryan and Ashley Smith seek to live their lives. In this episode, the couple shares the many byproducts they have discovered as a result of their decision to be “all in” their careers, “all in” their family, and “all in” their faith.

“Nothing I've ever done has ever been great if I haven’t gone all in.” —Ryan Smith

McArthur Krishna is one of the coauthors of the popular book series Girls Who Choose God. Not long before the first book in the series was published, McArthur faced a significant choice of her own—should she marry her now-husband and move to India with him? Although she still had her concerns when she received an affirmative answer, McArthur trusted the revelation she received and chose God anyway. Now, she is determined to share the stories of other women who chose to follow Him as well.

“Our heavenly parents sent us to this earth to succeed. … They didn’t send us here to fail. It’s actually not a test; it’s a school to learn and grow.”

Samuel Brown is an academic, a shock trauma ICU doctor, and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He has achieved much professionally, but it was not until his wife, Kate Holbrook, was diagnosed with cancer in her eye and he faced the risk of losing his beloved that Sam realized he had neglected things in his home. This realization was painful and required work to undo the hurt of the past, but together, he and his wife have rebuilt a home and a marriage they are grateful for and proud of.

“You can’t introspect your way into another person if you don't spend a lot of time with them.” —Samuel Brown

After having her baby, Brooke Snow’s health started declining, and she was life-flighted in a helicopter. But when the reserve of oxygen on the helicopter ran out, Snow recalls feeling a distinct prompting that literally saved her life. In this episode, Snow shares how this moment has forever turned her heart to Jesus Christ and made her determined to help others draw upon the lifesaving power of the Savior in every single breath.

“The amazing thing about the gospel is that the framework is there—we can just do a lot to improve upon how well we receive the revelation in those moments.”

How has the world’s perception of Eve affected women throughout history, and what is the cost of misunderstanding her choice in the garden? Can the restored gospel help us make sense of Eve’s choice? Could adopting Eve’s perspective of mortality bring increased joy into our own lives? Melinda Wheelwright Brown seeks to address these questions and more in this episode.

“It isn’t a story about sin. The transgression involved is very different. It’s not your typical sin by any means. It was a crossing of a threshold that was done by choice because of the beautiful gift of agency.”

With general conference quickly approaching, we have the privilege of bringing you a candid conversation with the Relief Society General Presidency. These three women are uniquely qualified with life experiences that make them a powerful force for good. In this episode, the General Presidency discusses what they have learned from working closely with the First Presidency. They also share what they wish women in the Church understood right now and what 2020 has taught them about God’s love.

“When we want what He wants we find joy, even in times of difficulty.”

You may have never heard of scrupulosity, but it is possible it has hijacked the religious experience of you or someone you love. In her September 2019 Ensign article, Dr. Debra Theobald McClendon wrote, “Scrupulosity masquerades as a desirable, higher standard of righteousness and personal worthiness—but it’s not!” So, what is scrupulosity? How does it manifest itself? How is it treated? Dr. McClendon helps us answer all of these questions and more on this week’s episode.

“If it is a spiritual prompting, and you go through the things you need to repent, including a confession to an ecclesiastical leader if necessary, you will feel better. If it is driven by toxic anxiety, you will not feel better, because it's an anxiety issue. It's not a moral issue or a spiritual sensitivity issue.”

The complexities surrounding conversations of racism today are numberless, but the root of the solution is the two great commandments: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. In this episode, we talk with Abe Mills and Stephen Jones, two Black Latter-day Saints, about their experiences with racism within Church culture, the faith of those who came before them, and why they don’t hesitate to share their faith in Jesus Christ.

“Understanding what He did for us, it gives us hope, which we live in a world with a lot of people that have no hope or they’ve lost their hope—whether it’s hope in equality, hope in fairness, hope in whatever—they’ve lost their hope, but the gospel has taught us hope because we know what Jesus Christ did for us. ”

In February 2019, Charlie Bird published an op-ed in the Deseret News that revealed two secrets: (1) He was the man underneath the Cosmo the Cougar suit that made national headlines and led NBC Sports to dub 2017–2018 the “Year of the Mascot.” (2) He is a gay member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Charlie authored the book Without the Mask, and on this episode we talk with Charlie about what the gospel continues to teach him as he embraces a life that is very different than the one he planned for himself.

“Connecting with God has helped me see that my faith and my orientation are not mutually exclusive. They are both integral parts of who I am and if I try to reject either one of those, I’m not really me.”

The Piano Guys’ Steven Sharp Nelson has lived many people’s dream as he traveled the world playing the cello. And yet, his journey has been one with many highs and lows that have taught him to trust God and to consecrate each and every performance to Him.

“As incredible as all the views are, as incredible as Carnegie Hall’s stage is, as incomparably sublime as playing in front of the Christ Redeemer statue is, nothing out there is better than being a dad and being a committed husband. Nothing is better than that and I remember that every time I come home from tour and my 7-year-old locks me in this hug I want to live in and says, ‘Daddy.’”

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Steven Sharp Nelson and All In host Morgan Jones

In February 2019, Lori Walker walked into her family’s vacation home but never walked out, as the house exploded while she was trapped inside. She did, however, make it out alive thanks to countless miracles and three heroes. In the days, weeks, and months that followed the explosion, Lori has become more convinced of the goodness of humanity, the omniscience of a loving Heavenly Father, and the resilience that is found inside each one of us.

“I don't remember the pain at all. I remember how amazing it felt to feel carried through that experience.”

Neylan McBaine was raised in New York City by a single mother who also happened to be a singer in the Metropolitan Opera. She watched as her mother was applauded and recognized within her faith community for her accomplishments. But as a young student at Yale, Neylan began to realize that many women perceived a woman’s role in the Church as something different—something prescriptive. Neylan has since dedicated her time and talents to helping women see there is no one way to be a Latter-day Saint woman.

“Looking at His example and constantly being reminded of how the Savior favored the underdog and went against the conventions of His time gives me the confidence that I need, is really the only thing that I need, to feel like there’s room for exploration and for a little bit more disruption in our lives today.”

We all find ourselves in circumstances where we are in desperate need of help, moments where we find ourselves incapable of doing what is asked of us. For each of these moments, there is an answer: Grace. But do we only receive grace after doing everything within our power? And how do we know if we’ve done everything within our power? In this episode, Emily Belle Freeman shares what she has learned about grace and what she believes “after all we can do” really means.

“That’s how we would describe grace to people: It’s when we feel that abundance of love, it’s when we feel that hope, it’s the increase of what Christ can bring into mortality for us so we can make it through.”

In a 2017 BYU devotional address, Eva Witesman testified, “Latter-day Saint women are courageous, particularly when they have been emboldened by the knowledge that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and that He will qualify us to do the work that lies before us. … We will seek every good gift in the service of our God. All we ask is that others not stand in our way as we pursue the Lord’s errand.” In this episode, we talk with Eva about the importance of understanding our individual spiritual gifts as we seek to contribute to the world at large.

“It's a complicated time and we can't always see the pathway by ourselves. We need these spiritual gifts to be able to see them. And these spiritual gifts are real. They're as real as any other thing that we've proven with science. … And I think the more of us that talk about it, and the more of us that expect that and aspire to that, the more we will see that diversity of beautiful gifts and the more we will be able to develop those beautiful gifts, and share the development of those gifts with each other.”

Years ago, while sitting alone in a hospital waiting room as his wife had an emergency C-section, Randal Wright made a commitment to God as he called upon the powers of heaven to help his wife safely deliver their newborn child. In that commitment, he promised that for the rest of his life he would look for important lessons. Not only would he look for those lessons, he would record them and share them. The Lord protected and preserved the lives of Randal’s wife and child, and in return, Randal has kept his promise to God. In this episode, Randal reveals the power of sharing our experiences and learning from the experiences of others to inspire us to be better and live life to its fullest.

“The first thing I say in the morning is ‘I’m alive.’”

The Chosen explores the life of Christ through the eyes of those who knew Him. The narrative multi-season show has received high praise from viewers and critics alike, earning a 9.8 out of 10 rating on IMDb. But with the praise, it has also attracted skeptics. Some don’t believe evangelical Christians should be working with Latter-day Saints on a show about Jesus or vice versa, and others believe scripture should only be portrayed exactly as it is written without creative liberties. The show’s writer and director, Dallas Jenkins, believes that exploring faith, especially in relation to the Savior, is something that requires trust. On this week’s episode, he shares the triumphs as well as the challenges of depicting the life of the Son of God.

“Even though He spoke to crowds, He was always talking personally, and He was always seeking that personal relationship. And that's what He wants from your heart. He wants that more than your accomplishments, and He wants that more than any kind of mass movement. He wants the personal.”

In 2010, S. Michael Wilcox lost his wife, Laurie, as the result of an inoperable brain tumor. Previously, the couple had dreams of traveling the world together. Instead, for the last decade, Wilcox has traveled alone, seeking solace from the grief of his loss and looking for confirmation from God that he is on the right track to see his beloved wife again. In this episode, we discuss the lessons he has learned from loss and the truths he has found in love that lasts forever.

“Grief is love’s shadow. If we didn’t love, we wouldn’t grieve.”

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S. Michael Wilcox and All In host Morgan Jones

How do you follow the Savior’s example if your child has left the Church or is struggling with their faith? What's the balance between giving your child room to use his or her agency while showing your love for them? In this episode, parenting guru Justin Coulson explains how the Savior’s teachings about love, compassion, and mourning with those that mourn apply to the family. Whether we’re a parent or not, we can all learn from the Savior’s example of how to “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14).

“Sometimes in our angry moments, or in our tired moments, or, let’s be honest, in our selfish moments, we might be less loving than we could be towards our children. Sometimes we feel inclined to hurt rather than to help, or … we’re neutral or ambivalent, or we shrug our shoulders and say ‘Whatever.’ But He doesn’t. The scriptures tell us again and again, His hand, His arm is stretched out still.”

While pursuing a doctoral degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, where his studies have been focused on anti-religious rhetoric, Jared Halverson has simultaneously sought to help students who wrestle with questions and doubts about the restored gospel. And while many say that divinity school tends to weaken faith, he says he has only become more convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“The Father of every prodigal is still staring out the window waiting for any movement home.”

A lot happened in 2020: the pandemic, wildfires, social unrest, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes—the list goes on and on. It is understandable, then, that many are curious about what this all means in regard to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. While the “day or hour knoweth no man,” Gerald Lund has devoted years of his life to studying the Second Coming. In this episode, he explains what he believes our current circumstances mean and what we can do to prepare so that regardless of what comes, we “shall not fear.”

“One of the things that I found curious is that even though many of the members are focused on COVID, and rightly so, it dominates our life right now, [and] defines our schedule. But we’re overlooking what I think are other really quite evident and quite remarkable signs of the times.”


All In: Exploring What It Means to Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ

What does it mean to be "all in" the gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days? The answers might surprise you. All In, the well-loved podcast from LDS Living, has explored this question with the help of Saints who are striving to live their faith every day—just like you. Now, in this collection of excerpts from All In guests, organized by topic, you can explore the question yourself. Perfect for gifting to friends, using as a nightly devotional, or picking it up when you need it, All In will help you define just what being "all in" means to you.

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