Watch: Morgan Jones: 5 Lessons Hosting the "All In" Podcast Has Taught Me About Faith

by | Nov. 08, 2019

When I was asked by Brooke Walker, host of KSL’s Studio 5, to come on her show and share five things I’ve learned about faith from hosting All In, I tried to really think, “What do I know about faith that I didn’t know a year ago?” Unfortunately, I’m pretty long-winded and am not used to having a really strict time limit, so I am to blame for not having time to hit all five points on the show. However, I still wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned, because I think they’re valuable and I was grateful for the exercise. 

Watch the segment from Studio 5 below.

1. Being a person of faith looks different for everyone.

When we first started this podcast, we wanted to have one question that remained the same on each episode. We wanted that question to be something that allowed people to share why they believe and that their belief is not passive but active—that the choice to believe is deliberate and thoughtful. When we first started brainstorming around the idea of All In, the obvious question seemed to be “Why are you ‘all In’ the gospel of Jesus Christ?” and yet, that didn’t feel right. We wanted something that wouldn’t make our guests seem like they were bragging but that was sincere.

Someone (we can’t remember who it was on our team, but bless their hearts forever) suggested a slight change to the question: “What does it mean to you to be ‘all In’ the gospel of Jesus Christ?” We thought that by asking that question, it would show that there isn’t just one way to be all in. But to be totally honest, we had no idea just how different that answer would vary from person to person. I never cease to be amazed when, after a year of doing this, people still come up with a completely unique answer, and it happens almost every week. In a very powerful way, I have learned that being a person of faith looks different for everyone.

2. Faith can be constantly evolving and changing.

After the podcast started to take off, people began telling me they wanted to hear my answer of what it means to be “all in.” Obviously this is something I had thought about each time I sat and listened to others answer the question, but I couldn’t seem to sum up what it meant to me. One day it meant one thing and the next it meant something different. And then one day, it hit me: our guests come in for their interviews one particular day and they give their answer. That answer is influenced by what they’re experiencing in their lives on that day or what they’ve recently gone through, and their answer might be different two weeks from now. As Patrick Mason said on the podcast, our faith is something that should grow with us, so as we’re experiencing new things and growing and evolving, what it means to us to be “all in” is likely constantly changing. I’ve learned that’s not only okay but good.

3. There is power in personal experience.

Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner said we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story. I believe this is why our experiences are so powerful and why we are encouraged to share them. A recent example of this on the podcast was Marilee Killpack’s episode, where she shared her family’s experience of one son donating bone marrow to save the life of another son. There are obvious parallels between their story and a Savior who made huge sacrifices for us, His siblings. But my dad pointed out that Marilee did an incredible job of making the listener feel like they were the one making the connection between the two stories. The very best storytellers are able to do this because it allows the receiver of the story to feel that they are having an experience of their own as a result of the story. We have had so many incredible storytellers on this podcast and I am grateful to each of them for opening their hearts and lives up to the people who listen.

4. People crave connection.

I really love observing audience behavior, and one thing that has been fascinating to meabout watching this podcast grow is that, unlike articles (which typically spread over social media), podcasts spread via word of mouth. I think this reflective of how much we as human beings are wired and hungry for connection. Podcasts not only make the listener feel like they are taking part in an intimate conversation but they create conversation starters for people to have deep, below-the-surface conversations with the people in their lives. Sometimes I think we have become so used to communicating behind screens that when we interact with people face-to-face, we often don’t know what to say and our conversations remain very surface level. Podcasts allow people to do what a man named Greg Madsen taught me and “go deep fast.” Just this morning, I received a message from someone who said, “My husband and I go for walk, and our conversation is about the podcasts I listened to.” For me, being able to be a small part of facilitating these kind of conversations of faith that really matter is pretty incredible.

5. We're all more the same than we are different.

Frequently, people leave reviews or make comments that they started out listening to only the episodes that seemed applicable to their lives, but they ended up listening to all of them. I think this is because we often create artificial divides between ourselves and others around us. For example, I have often falsely assumed that my single marital status made others incapable of understanding my experiences. I have come to recognize and believe this is a lie from Satan to keep us from connecting, to keep us from being there for one another in the moments that really matter, and to make us feel that we are alone and isolated. The truth is, regardless of our circumstances, the principles we are learning as a result of our experiences are very much the same. It is by going beneath the surface and coming out from behind the screen that we discover the faith and connection God has always wanted us to have, and hosting All In has helped me understand this powerfully. 

So, after all of this, I guess I want to say “thank you” to anyone who has allowed us into your lives in this way. Thank you for being a part of teaching me these lessons. This podcast is changing my life. It still amazes me that it has given us the chance to reach as many people as we have in the last year but I couldn’t be more grateful to those who do. Stay with us, there’s more good to come.

Listen to All In by clicking here

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Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones comes to LDS Living after writing for the Deseret News since 2014. She published more than 480 stories and served as Senior Web Producer prior to her departure from Deseret News. Jones is a passionate storyteller and loves having the opportunity to share stories that deserve to be told. She is the host of the All In podcast. 

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