Richie T. Steadman: Never All Out
Richie T. Steadman once found himself in a situation he never could’ve imagined: excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was an unexpected note in the life of someone who had otherwise been a devoted member of the Church his entire life. But even while he worked toward being rebaptized, Steadman never missed a Sunday of church. In the years since, he has devoted much of his personal time and resources to giving voice to fellow Latter-day Saints on his podcast, The Cultural Hall.
The only thing I can ever be perfect in is never giving up.
See Richie’s podcast, The Cultural Hall.
Interviews with Morgan on The Cultural Hall:
- Morgan Jones from LDSLiving “All In” Ep. 377 The Cultural Hall
- All In/Morgan Jones Ep. 546 The Cultural Hall
Peculiar People Podcast interview with Richie: Richie T. Steadman
3:34- No Status Quo
6:02- Clarity in Church Membership
7:48- A Missionary
18:03- A Decision to Stay
19:30- Zero Barrier to Entry
21:33- God’s Plan to Forgive
28:05- Enjoying the Blessings of the Gospel
29:43- Interfaith Marriage
33:19- The Cultural Hall
41:26- Walking Alongside Each Other
45:30- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Jones 0:01
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An important note before we get into today's episode, "Excommunication" is no longer a term used by the Church. Being removed from the organization of the Church is now referred to as withdrawal of membership.
Richie T. Steadman. If you know his name, you likely associate it with The Cultural Hall. For years Richie T. Steadman has devoted a good portion of his free time to bringing people interviews with Latter-day Saints. He has recorded over 550 episodes, but what many people may not know is that Richie once found himself in a spot he never could have imagined–excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Richie T. Steadman got involved with radio at Southern Utah University after convincing a professor to let him in to an already full radio class. After leaving SUU he moved to Salt Lake City where he started in radio professionally. He is currently the co host and producer of the Lisa Show on BYU radio. Richie loves people he loves making them smile, laugh and forget about the pains or worries of their lives.
This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones, and I am so glad to be with Richie T. Steadman in his studio today. Richie, welcome. Welcome to me really.
Richie T. Steadman 2:29
Yeah, well–welcome to you.
Morgan Jones 2:31
This is so fun. Richie has this really incredible little setup behind his home, and that is where we're recording today. So Richie, I want to start out by saying I think that you are–first, one of the nicest people that I know, but also one of the most unique people I have ever met.
And I listened to this podcast yesterday, Nate Jones used to do a podcast. And it was called "Peculiar People," and you were interviewed on that podcast, and I listened to it years ago. And at the time, I did not have a podcast at all. And I remember thinking, "I want to interview this guy."
And I went back and listened to it yesterday, having met you, now gotten to know you a little bit, and I just want to again was amazed you have like 1 million different interests. And yet, you seem so genuinely interested–on your podcast–in other people's lives and in the things that matter to them and what they're interested in, which I think is a gift. But have you always had so many different interest in like parts of who you are? And what do you think cultivated that in you?
Richie T. Steadman 3:43
To the first question, yes. Have I always had the interests? Absolutely. I remember–I've been sort of reminiscing because it's a reunion time looking back at high school and and looking at like school schedules and, and it was things like, it's Student Government, and then it's also choir, and then it's also band. And then it's also the theater thing. And it's, you know, it's also typewriting–I think was one of the classes because I'm old–and it was so varied, but I wanted to do and to be so much that yeah, it has always been something for me that I have just loved doing a lot of things.
Some of that comes from, I really like the excitement of it to think of doing the same day after day after day. I just . . . I don't know. Actually I do know, I could not do that. So, so part of it is the excitement, but part of it is also the introduction to people. To the second part of kind of what you were saying, to be able to get to know and to, to walk around and to meet and to introduce myself to people in all of those different kinds of circles has always been of a particular interest to me.
Morgan Jones 4:55
Where did you grow up?
Richie T. Steadman 4:56
Morgan Jones 4:57
Richie T. Steadman 4:57
Technically a suburb, middle of Salt Lake. But yeah, just born and raised here, college in Southern Utah, served a mission in Cleveland, Ohio, and then came back to Utah.
Morgan Jones 5:08
Well, I was gonna say High School Musical and East High right down the street would be very proud of you for not sticking to the status quo, right.
Richie T. Steadman 5:15
Morgan Jones 5:16
But I think that that's awesome. And I think that that's why Richie, you're a talented interviewer, because you do genuinely enjoy people and talking to people and hearing their stories. There are 1 million things that I feel like we could talk about today. We could talk about you going to clown school, true story.
Richie T. Steadman 5:38
Yup. Saved my life. Clown college saved my life.
Morgan Jones 5:41
Unbelievable. And maybe I do want to hear about that. But we could talk about how you minored in dance in college. You DJ today, not just–you DJ on the radio, meaning you talk on a radio show, but you also DJ parties, weddings, everything like that.
Richie T. Steadman 5:58
Morgan Jones 5:59
So we could talk about all of that stuff. I want to focus on your Church membership and about how much that has mattered to you in your life. Because I think you're a great example of this. Did you always, Richie, love the gospel growing up?
Richie T. Steadman 6:14
Well, so I guess that's one of those things where you go, "So, what is the gospel?" Right?
Morgan Jones 6:18
Richie T. Steadman 6:18
Because I think growing up, I don't think I understood it. In fact, I can remember–I get sort of embarrassed to share this, but I can remember the vivid. . . I can remember which room I was at in the MTC in Provo after being called after being set apart, after going and reporting on my mission and sitting there and having it finally dawn on me that the Book of Mormon is the testament of Christ here in the Americas. It didn't ever–that was never clear to me.
I had never–that had never dawned on me. I didn't realize that that's what it was. And I can remember in that class, with the other elders that served in my particular mission being like, "Guys, do you realize that this here, this is a–this a book about when Christ came here."
Morgan Jones 7:03
"This happened here?"
Richie T. Steadman 7:04
Yeah, almost. It sounds, it sounds ridiculous. But it was what I felt. And so I think that sort of gives us a little inclination as to what I knew about the gospel. But what I had always known is that being with fellow members of the Church and being not only within the walls of the Church on Sunday, but in the various, like activities, and those kind of things, being around other members of the Church was when I felt good. Was when I felt complete. Was when I felt like there was clarity for me.
Morgan Jones 7:40
So then you get home from your mission. And–well actually, let me back up. On your mission you've talked about how you feel like you have a little bit of a regret when it comes to your mission, that you felt like you kind of went into your mission with an idea of This is how you're supposed to be as a missionary and how you want to serve. And I think that's super admirable to want to be an obedient missionary and do it the right way. But that you feel like in that process, you didn't, you weren't maybe the greatest companion, right, that true.
Richie T. Steadman 8:15
Yeah, yeah, there–so there was a lot of things, like I felt like um . . . I sort of went into it. And I was like, "Okay, this is what an obedient missionary looks like." And if you'll indulge me, sort of a funny story, you know, within the confines of a mission structure, it's up by a certain time, out by a certain time, home by a certain time and potentially asleep by a certain time.
And I was, I was like, these are things I can do. I can be up by a certain time, maybe I can't, you know, find a bunch of people and convert them or anything like that. But I can get up on time. And I remember the first time that I overslept, that for whatever reason, the alarm didn't go off and I was laying in my bed, and there was like this blue electrical light that surged up the walls of our apartment where we were staying. And that's what woke me up. And I looked over at my alarm clock, and I saw that it was past the time that I was supposed to be awake.
And I was like, "God is mad at me that I'm not awake at the time that I'm supposed to. And he has, you know, sent lightning to our building to wake me up. That's how mad he is about this!" Right? It sounds so ridiculous.
What it was, was a powerline had fallen and was arcing to our apartment. And, and so it was, you know, coincidental as far as that goes. But but the, like, the detail and the obsession to be obedient to that level was like that. So that's just a thing within me. But yeah, absolutely. There were opportunities that I had to serve with other individuals where, you know, they were having faith struggles or like, you know, personal or physical or mental health struggles that . . . because I felt like what defined whether or not was good or bad, or righteous or unrighteous, or what would be the thing that would allow us to find those that were seeking the gospel was my exactness to the various things, that oftentimes I just sort of turned a blind eye or a deaf ear to those opportunities that I could have really connected and been something to the companion as opposed to, you know, the amount of doors that we knocked, or the individuals that we would try and meet.
Morgan Jones 10:28
Right. And in the interview that I was listening to, you talked about how you don't really believe in regret, because if you did you wouldn't be where you are. But that there are some regrets that cause us to want to be better. So how did that–recognizing that, that you wish, maybe you had had like a little bit more compassion or empathy–how has that shaped your life since?
Richie T. Steadman 10:55
Well, I mean, certainly, given the circumstances that have occurred since my mission, to be able to have led that life between then and now has given me the opportunity to look for those moments of empathy or compassion. To be able to see maybe the thing as black and white, and then remember that there is so much gray in those variants between that black and white, and that the opportunity for connection with me and other individuals is maybe sometimes the point.
It's not about that mystery of "Oh, could I find meet and help someone else?" Maybe the person that I'm to find, meet, and help is the other individual that I'm interacting with at that point. And so trying to be open to those experiences where I feel like God has led me to have those people in my life, rather than focus on, you know, a very delineated a right or wrong, or "This needs to be this way," instead can look at it all and be like, "This connection, this is the value right here."
Morgan Jones 11:57
Right. I think a lot about Christ, and I think, you know, had He been so focused on getting from point A to point B, we would have missed some of the best stories in the scriptures.
Richie T. Steadman 12:11
Morgan Jones 12:11
And so I think sometimes when we are very focused–and I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to be obedient.
Richie T. Steadman 12:19
Morgan Jones 12:20
You know, but recognizing that in that, are we leaving opportunities for the spirit to guide us? And are we recognizing those in our path? Or are we just so focused on, "I got to get to this destination,"? I think that's a that's a really powerful point.
Richie T. Steadman 12:36
Right. To jump in on that I think of like, when Christ is walking and someone touches his garment, can you imagine if he would have turned and said, "I don't have time for this. I need to get here," like that–that is not the gospel, that is the epitome of the difference between taking time and being sort of so laser focused that you miss the point,
Morgan Jones 12:56
Right. Absolutely. So then you get home from your mission, you go to college and in college . . . well, so after what we just talked about, this is going to come as a shock. But you had something happened to you that you never, ever would have imagined. And that is that you were excommunicated from the Church. We don't even use that word in the Church anymore. But that was the word that was used at the time.
I don't want to focus, Richie, in this episode on why, but in a previous interview that you did, you seemed to feel like had the Church leaders involved with the Church disciplinary council been different, it may have been handled differently. Is that still how you feel?
Richie T. Steadman 13:42
I mean, so this is where it gets into . . . I think this is a particularly hard thing to talk about, not because we're going to talk about the nature of the excommunication, but I think that it's difficult to even have this conversation as a faithful believing, you know, to use your word "all in" member of the Church, it's hard–it's hard to say, "Hey, this particular leader handled it differently than I think a different leader would have, "and look at it that way.
Sometimes, I really feel strongly that that's how it is and maybe that's a way to explain it away. But it really is a hard–I mean, it's hard–it's messy to talk about excommunication in any sort of way, only to say I guess the resolve for it for me is that I have to return to the faith that God knows me, knows what I needed, and was able to give me that through one of the leaders because anything else that I try and make sense out of or look or compare or justify or any of those things, like it just become–it almost becomes too messy to make sense out of.
Morgan Jones 14:53
Right. So tell me a little bit about what that experience was like for you. And I understand–tell me if I'm wrong about this. But I remember hearing that from the time you were excommunicated to when you were rebaptised you never missed a Sunday of Church, is that true?
Richie T. Steadman 15:14
That is true. Yeah. So um . . . being excommunicated, or I would even take this out to facing Church discipline in general of any kind is about the worst–it . . . it's hard. I can remember that first Sunday after being excommunicated–and it's different things, right.
Like, sometimes it's the big thing, like, I remember that Sunday morning, you know, waking up and kind of getting ready for Church and then sitting in my car and thinking, "Well, wait a minute, what am I doing? If God doesn't want me there, why would I go?" You know, "He could have changed the result of what the disciplinary action was. And if that's not what He wanted–well, then I, you know, forget it. I'm not gonna be there." It's that very sort of serious and questioning of faith.
And then there's a whole, it almost even sounds silly on the other side of it, but as an endowed member of the Church, and then to find out that I was excommunicated, part of the excommunication process is that you no longer wear the garment, right? And I can remember that they go through all these very serious, you know, things about how I could be able to gain readmittance to the Church and what that process would look like and timeline and all that stuff.
And I can remember my first question to them was, "So is it alright, if I wear my garments tonight, because I don't have any other underwear?" and it seems so silly, but but it was, from the deepest of deep to the, to the simplest and almost ridiculous in nature of questions, it affects everything. When you're in–and you're sort of constantly reminded about it, too, especially as I found myself going to Church, I'm an an extroverted person, I like to be engaged, and people knew that. And so I would sit in Sunday school classes, or at one point when I was excommunicated, I was part of a performing group that would sometimes perform at firesides. And as part of that, you would be asked to bear a testimony or say, a prayer.
And, and there was always sort of this moment where it's like, the nature of who I am would love to do that. My ability, because of current situation, is not able to do that. And so it's sort of constantly being confronted with that. And being able to deal with it, and some times being really calm and recognizing that that is what–because of the actions that I pursued, brought me to and other times being like, "But I'm still this person." And sort of, you know, going back and forth with those things constantly. It is, it is hard, in every sense of the word.
Morgan Jones 18:02
So Richie, take me back to that day that you're in the car. And you are having this kind of wrestle with yourself. And I would say kind of a wrestle with like the natural man versus the part–the Richie that you are, which is you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. How did you rally and end up in Church that Sunday?
Richie T. Steadman 18:26
Well, I almost didn't, if we're being 100% transparent with one another. But I remember . . . and as I think about it, I can see the parking lot and I can even see that dumpy old car that I was in, in my mind. And I just remember the oomph that got me to take the seatbelt off, to get out and to go into the Church was–I had the very clear distinction, that if I didn't get out of the car that day, I probably wouldn't go back.
And I think, you know, to the other part of your question to the going to Church, every Sunday, even on vacation, even in other places of the world, would find, seek out a Church to be able to worship in in that time of excommunication was because I really felt so committed to continuing on the path because of the choice that I made that one day in that parking lot.
Morgan Jones 19:25
That's remarkable. So you mentioned earlier that you feel like the way that you're able to reconcile all of this in your mind is that it's what God knew that you needed. How did that experience change you in that time in your life?
Richie T. Steadman 19:44
Well, one of the things that I feel like I'm able to do now, is I feel like there's zero barrier to entry with me. When people, you know, when I can engage with people that are no longer members of the Church and you know, I'm surrounded by those in my neighborhood and in, you know, some of the things that I pursue interest wise, when I'm surrounded by members of the Church, like, I am, who I am, and I'm able to say, "Where are you?" "Oh, I get it. I've been there." "I can experience that with you."
There isn't any sort of pretense that comes with me. And really just being able to connect in a way that, that because of all of those experiences, coming through it and feeling at times, like I was judged, I never want to do that to anyone, and so I try and offer that with anyone who I'm able to, to interact with. And so think about it, if you know that you can interact with someone that isn't going to judge you, that just wants to know you, and really believes that you have something not only to contribute, but maybe a story, but maybe, you know, a perspective, something that can be gained from that interaction, I mean, you give to that person.
And I'm really grateful to to be able to have those type of interactions with people, people will comment, you know, to me, "How long do you know–how long have you known that person?" If they're out with me when I'm visiting or if I have someone in the studio and there happens to be another person here, and I'm like, "Oh, I've never met them before. That was the first time." And they would absolutely say, "No way. I cannot believe that." It's just because of an absence of judgment of pretense. And just to be able to say, "Yeah, come on, what do you got? Whatever it is, it's great and I love it."
Morgan Jones 21:32
Yeah. What would you say that you learned about God's love and about repentance through that time?
Richie T. Steadman 21:39
That it's hard. That it is . . . we hear in the scriptures sometimes that, you know, people talk about a wrestle, a wrestle with God. There were times that it felt more than just spiritual, that it actually felt like a, like a physical wrestle. Because of, you know, I can remember at one point within it, that there was a thought that, "Hey, you know what? Not only does God maybe not want me in Church, but maybe I don't need to be around anymore." So thinking of the opportunity and the existence that I had, and thinking about that, and recognizing that as a child of God, as the potential to be forgiven, that I have value no matter what I've done, or haven't done . . . I mean, it really is that sense of redemption, of cleanliness, of, yeah, we'll be alright. And it's not just a thing that we say, you know, like, "Once you repent you'll be okay." It's not just words, it is actually a feeling of, you know, fast forward the years that I was excommunicated, and then able to come back to the Church and be rebaptised, and, you know, coming out of the water, just as I had when I was eight years old and going, "Yeah, we're good. We got this." Forgiven of all of the things of all of the, you know, the struggles, all of the difficulty that it took to get me there, that as part of God's plan that can be completely forgiven.
Morgan Jones 23:35
So what would you say–because I think that what you just described, and I appreciate you sharing that, what you just described I think is a feeling that a lot of people probably feel, which is this feeling that I believe comes from the adversary, which is like, "Why are you even here?" What would you say to someone that maybe as a result of decisions that they've made, guilt that they feel or shame may feel similarly to how you felt at that point in your life? What would you say to that person?
Richie T. Steadman 24:11
You know, as I hear you ask that question I think of three things. One, I feel like I'd want to look that person in the eye and have that opportunity to connect with them in that way. Spirit to spirit, which isn't just eyeballs. Two, I think I'd want to give them a hug. In a pandemic, I'd still probably push my luck and try and do the hug. But then three, you know, sadly, I've had friends who have have taken their life and I just . . . I wish I could scream from the top of a wall, from the, you know, from the mountains from whatever it is, how much value each individual person has, even when you don't–and I've been there–where you feel like man, sure, that value thing that we talk about, that's for everybody else but not for me. I've done too much. I've done this thing, there's no reason that I have value.
But to be able to have the opportunity to tell them, "You are so valuable. God needs you, even if it's just for you to be able to speak like others like you that you'll have the opportunity to meet down the road or, you know, to be able to share your story, to be able to just interact and to get to know you." We can say faith and gospel aside, just people have such tremendous value that we understate. And and I think I would just tell them how valuable they are, and then if they didn't believe me, I think I'd hug them again. And then I'd say, "Do you feel it yet?" And they'd say, Oh, I don't know." And then I'd keep hugging them and keep telling them how valuable they are until they got it.
Morgan Jones 25:57
Let me ask you this, Richie, so I feel like there may be people who are listening to this episode, and they would think, "Why, if the Church played any part in these feelings that you described, would you choose to stay in it?” How would you respond to those people?
Richie T. Steadman 26:18
Hmm. That's valid. . . I wish that I had like a more. . . what's the words I'm trying to say? I wish that I had like a more fulfilling answer for some of those people. Because what I'm going to say, is two things. One, that I feel that this is true, and two, that I know that I need to be here. And for some people, I just don't think that's satisfying. They say, "But what about the hurt? But what about the pain? What about, you know, all of the feelings that you had about that?" And those are real, and I'm not saying that they didn't occur.
And, and to some extent, I'm not saying that they don't even still exist on some level and have been things that, that I continue to, you know, the adversary will bring them up and be like, "Ah, doesn't this kind of feel familiar? What about this?" But without, without a doubt, knowing that God wants me to be a part of this, to be able to speak to the opportunities that I've had, to be able to share the light of the gospel with those who need it to be shared with them in a way that isn't from some other way, you know, that need it to come to them in a way that I can be able to do it and maybe uniquely be able to do it, is why I can't leave. Because it would have been easier, man, it would have been so much easier. But my life now–today–wouldn't be what it is, if I would have just said I'm out.
Morgan Jones 28:04
After having gone through that period of time where you were working toward rebaptism, do you feel like your Church membership means more to you now, or did it always mean just as much?
Richie T. Steadman 28:17
Oh, it always, it always meant just as much. Now I just get to enjoy it. I get to go to the temple and I get to add my testimony to others in testimony meeting and I get to be able to say prayers and be able to participate in this thing that I absolutely loved. And it allows me to be able to have more experiences to be able to share. It was–and I wish I had this in front of me and I don't, but I remember going home and and writing, right after being you know, excommunicated I remember that night, I'm sitting down and writing a letter to myself that says something to the effect of, "I know no matter how long it takes me, that I will be rebaptised a member of the Church because it's where I know I need to be, in order to be able to do the things that God expects of me."
And I think I've actually held on to the terribly old computer that I wrote that on because I haven't transferred it over or sent it to me in an email. But because that thing means so much to me. Knowing that from that moment, even of the excommunication that it was like, there isn't a question, I'm coming back. It means too much.
Morgan Jones 29:39
That's beautifully said. Richie, you are now married to your wife who is not a member of our faith. And I wondered for you what has that experience been like and how has it opened your eyes to maybe the perception of members of our faith from those who do not belong to our faith?
Richie T. Steadman 30:00
Yeah, it's fun. It's fun. And I mean, man getting into marriage and dating someone who's not a member of our faith is another entire episode. But I'll do my best to sort of summarize it like this: what I love about her, in addition to the ways that I feel like, you know, she is everything that I could want in a spouse, someone who is supportive, who loves me, who cares for me and genuinely has the purest intent for what she wants, both from me from my life and from our lives together, the thing that I love about it is, she was raised in a different faith and actually went to an all girls Catholic school.
Not terribly familiar with our faith. And so what I love about it is if you've ever hung out with a child under 10, and they are always asking, "Why?" That's what I love about her. "I gotta go do ministering." "Why? What is that?" "Well, it's a thing that we're assigned to do." "No, but why are you doing that?" And there are various opportunities that come in the why questioning that I go, "Oh, yeah, why am I doing this? Am I doing this because, you know, I want to have 100% and check a box? Am I doing this because I care about the other people? am I doing, you know, various when there's various callings within the ward, or different parts of our rituals and those things, why they happen that way. And it's just something having been raised in the faith, although excommunicated for a time still staying close, that maybe at one point I sort of wondered about why we do that, but had never been faced with the very outright question of, "Why do you do that?" "Well, I don't know." And then to be able to find my testimony through the–I don't know why I do this, but I'm going to figure out why I do this, and let me get back to you. It's the greatest.
Morgan Jones 31:51
How does she support you in living your faith?
Richie T. Steadman 31:55
So, she's really great. And I need this and maybe you know people like this. But she will say things like, "Well either do it or don't do it. But stop telling me that you're going to do it." And I absolutely love that sort of like, if you say you're this thing, be that thing.
Morgan Jones 32:13
Richie T. Steadman 32:13
Otherwise don't be that thing. But also don't tell people that that is who or what you are. So what are you? And it really is a thing, you know, some would maybe define that as like a tough love or man, I don't know what she sounds like, but that doesn't sound super comfortable. For me, it is very much what I need. It is that call to the carpet where you are like, yeah, so what am I doing?
Morgan Jones 32:38
Richie T. Steadman 32:39
You're right, I'm living under my privilege, or I need to rise to the occasion or just, you know, very simply, I need to go to Church because I can go to Church now or the temples are back open, I need to go, you know, worship in that way.
Morgan Jones 32:55
I love that so much. And I think also to that point, I think we all need sometimes–first of all the check of why do we do the things we do, but also the reminder, like if we say that we're lucky to be members of the Church or to have the gospel of Jesus Christ, like, why don't we act happy about it?
Richie T. Steadman 33:14
Morgan Jones 33:14
Like be happy. Be grateful, act like you appreciate it. Richie, I have heard this story before. But for those listening, tell us how The Cultural Hall came to be.
Richie T. Steadman 33:26
So this was early. This was a long time ago. This was before All In was even a glimmer in young Morgan's eyes.
Morgan Jones 33:34
I have no doubt.
Richie T. Steadman 33:34
When podcasts were first being introduced, I had a good friend who had started a podcast. And his was a part of like culture. That's what his sort of topic was. And I thought, well, I want a podcast, that sounds like fun. But I was like, I don't want to talk about that. That particular, you know, topic doesn't sound interesting to me. So I sort of, you know, searched my brain and I thought, well, what do I want to talk about? Oh, I love Church things. I love culture within the Church, I love doctrinal, I especially love historical things.
And so for me, I just was like, yeah, that's what I'll do. And then I came up with the name The Cultural Hall, and I was like, this is perfect, could there be a better name for this thing, and then I hopped online and found that that domain was already sold and all of the air was let out of my idea. Fast forward a couple years later, where I talked to the gentleman who owned that domain into selling me it, got the social media handles and thus a podcast was born.
The original concept was–and it's where I admire you and what you set out to do where you're like, you just don't–you had mentioned earlier, you didn't want it to be about meeting famous Mormon people. That's very much what I wanted it to be. I wanted to–and we joke around about this, but I very much wanted to meet the music Peter Breinholt. His music, I love, he seemed awesome. And I knew he was a member of our faith. And I thought, that will be the thing. That's my white whale. If I can interview Peter Breinholt, well, six episodes in, we interviewed Peter Breinholt. And I was like, well, there's something else to this, otherwise, this thing is done right now.
And so then it started to get into things like, you know, unique parts of Church history that we don't talk about, or being able to talk about marginalized groups within the Church, to be able to talk about current affairs within the Church that people just don't have that outlet to be able to speak to, to be able to have sort of beyond the conversations with book authors, where it's like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you got a book, but there's also so much more to you. Let's find out all those other things. And of course, we will tell people about your book." And a few other famous people along the way, which has been kind of fun.
Morgan Jones 35:57
Well, I have told you this 1 million times, probably at this point, but I think The Cultural Hall is the best name for a Latter-day Saint podcast. It's brilliant. So I can see why you like held out until you're able to secure the domain. But also, I think your tagline at the very end is so good. And I was wondering if you could give it to our listeners.
Richie T. Steadman 36:18
Of course. Well, we hope that this episode has nourished and strengthened your body. And that if you're not healthy enough to listen this week, that you'll be healthy enough to listen next week, and that when the time comes, you'll be able to travel home in safety. In the meantime, we'll be saving a seat for you on the back row of the Cultural Hall.
Morgan Jones 36:34
It's so good. It's so good. I love it. So I had to tell you too, Peter Breinholt, fun fact, when I was in college, I sang a little bit.
Richie T. Steadman 36:44
Oh, cool. I didn't know that about you.
Morgan Jones 36:46
And I got to open for Peter Breinholt.
Richie T. Steadman 36:48
Oh, I didn't know that. I didn't–there's a whole lot that I didn't know about you apparently.
Morgan Jones 36:51
We just unpacked some things, I don't think anybody listening to this podcast probably knows that. But that is a true story. And it was really cool, he's so talented.
Richie T. Steadman 37:00
And such a unique, tender heart that. I mean, he and I have corresponded many times since in homage to where we started, he is a part of every episode of The Cultural Hall. He does our outro music and sound.
Morgan Jones 37:15
That's so cool.
Richie T. Steadman 37:16
So it's fun to to be able to recognize that from the very beginning. He has been with us and continues with us.
Morgan Jones 37:21
So cool. So Richie, how many episodes have you done total now?
Richie T. Steadman 37:26
So this is where it gets–
Morgan Jones 37:28
Complicated, because you've done like, offshoots, right?
Richie T. Steadman 37:31
Yeah. Yeah. Yep. And, and unnumbered episodes, and there's a big thing among some LDS podcasters that would say, "Hey, no, this number and this number, and this number." All that aside, I think that we're right around the neighborhood of like, 810. And so it is a lot.
Morgan Jones 37:50
It is remarkable I am like, holy cow. That is a lot of podcast episodes.
Richie T. Steadman 37:56
Yeah. It's super fun, though. And it starts to become where, like, listeners become friends, the various co hosts that come on, become friends. And in some ways, though, not literally, but become family. And so when when they feel, I feel. People that listen are like, oh, no, this is happening, what happened, what's going on? We need to know those things. And, and it's a particular unique community of people just caring about one another, and kind of being a little nerdy about all things within the Church.
Morgan Jones 38:26
Richie, so 700 plus episodes later, what would you say that this podcast has meant to you?
Richie T. Steadman 38:35
Well, I would say two things. I would say, first of all, those diehard listeners of The Cultural Hall would get mad at me if I didn't tell you it's a show, not a podcast. That's just a little thing that we sort of do within the show. And then the second thing that I would say is, I've really tried to define what what The Cultural Hall is. And in short, it's a it's a couple hours a week, typically a News episode and an interview episode where we talk about all things of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right? I mean, that's, that would be a great sort of elevator pitch of what it is.
But as we've recently started to kind of be looking back on some of the episodes, and listening to them, and remembering where we recorded that, or where I was at in my life when I recorded that. You know, people that have been longtime listeners have seen me through my first marriage, both the meeting of my first wife, the dating, the courtship, the marriage, the divorce, and, you know, dissolvement of that first marriage, and so what it interestingly enough for me has meant is, it is my faith journey in a way, shared with a lot of people.
It's the things that I'm curious about. It's sometimes the things that I'm questioning, wanting to know more about, trying to find resolve with, it's me visiting with my friends within the gospel, it's me, you know, seeking out those people to see if I can get that, you know, it's those bucket list things, those challenges in life, it is very much my faith journey. And that makes it sort of that much more tender part when–if people say something like, "Oh, I don't really care for this," it takes it to that level where it's like, "That's me!" "You are telling me you do not like me." And I have to remove that and recognize that they don't see it that way. But I would say it's my faith journey.
Morgan Jones 40:39
I think that's so cool. I think, Richie, one thing that is endearing about you is you are who you say you are. And so when people are hearing these interviews, they're getting a look at what you're asking, like, when you're asking a question, it genuinely is something that you're trying to figure out or work through. And I think that it makes your interviews that much better, because you–it does feel like we're getting to know who you are and what you're going through and what you're experiencing. And I think that's something that people look for, in not only a podcast or a show host, but also a friend is somebody that's going to be honest with them. You said on the Peculiar People interview, that you believe your mission in life is to expose people to the Church in the way that you believe it was intended to be seen. What did you mean by that?
Richie T. Steadman 41:39
Ooh, now we save the hard hitting for the end, I think this will lend into how I may respond to the final question. But the Church is this big thing, and the gospel is this even bigger thing. And it's all of the things. And I feel like–I feel a personal responsibility to be like, yes, it's everything that you say, Morgan. But it's also everything that that person over there says, and me, and that's part of it, as well. And it's also what those people say.
And, and so being able to have all of that together. And recognizing–first of all, it quickly establishes that no one is right, because everyone have their own experiences in the way that they come to Christ and the way that they appreciate or understand or, or live the gospel within their lives. But also, it keeps everyone equally valued. Because we all come to that.
So for me, I think the ask that I have with people who would listen is to trust me, I'm there. I'm there with you every Sunday, we'll be there together. But there is so much more that I need to know about that I don't know, that you need to know about that you don't know. That as we can walk this journey the one thing that I can promise you is that I'll be there walking alongside you as we make our way.
Morgan Jones 43:09
I think that is so beautiful. And I think it's even more beautiful, Richie, coming from you. Because you had the choice to walk away. Right? You had been–in a sense when someone is excommunicated, or has their Church membership removed, they are relieved of the covenants that they've made. And so that was you. You had been relieved of those covenants, and yet you chose to make them again. And so you saying like, "I'll be with you to walk that." It's like, this is somebody that deliberately chose to stay in it. And I think that that is beautiful. Do you feel like you have been able to help and maybe other people as well who have kind of joined in trying to show these same things that you're trying to show, do you feel like we're getting somewhere with that effort?
Richie T. Steadman 44:04
Yeah, without a question. Yeah, without a question. It's hard. Sometimes it feels like you're not. Both personally and with other people. But there's probably like some sort of, you know, scientific law or rule that says just so long as we never give up, a difference will be made because of our existence. And so the opportunity that we take by taking each day, and man there are days right? There are days. But by taking each day and continuing to just never give up, it is a thing that leads my life ,which is the only thing that I can ever be perfect in is never giving up. And so day after day, mistake after mistake, sharing after sharing, disappointment after disappointment, the never giving up is the thing.
Morgan Jones 45:10
I just heard the other day the quote by Winston Churchill where he says, "Never, never, never, give in." And I think that that is–it's a mantra of sorts and something that can replay in our heads if we allow it to and push us onward and upward. Richie, thank you so much for sharing all of this with me. My last question for you is what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Richie T. Steadman 45:35
I want to say, first of all, the tremendous amount of pressure that is surrounded around this question now knowing that in future volumes of a book, Morgan, there is that pressure, but all joking aside, I love this question.
And, and for me, I think it speaks, I mean, it's, it's . . . I think, for me that all in is, it's all of it. It is the challenges that we personally have. It is the challenges that we as a Church, as a community, have. It's the successes that we all have. It is all of it and to deny any of it, I think denies the true beauty of the gospel. So all in means I'm here for all of it. The nighttime, daytime, deepest, darkest, worst day of my life to the greatest thing, the brightest day the time when I'm able to be reunited with my Heavenly Father, and those that have gone before me. It's all of it. Every single bit.
Morgan Jones 46:56
Thank you so much, Richie. It's been a treat to be with you and I appreciate you more than you know. A huge thank you to Richie T. Steadman for joining us on today's episode. Be sure to check out The Cultural Hall wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Richie and I have done a couple of interviews together on his show and I always have such a good time chatting with him. Thank you to Derek Campbell of Mix at Six studios for his help with this episode. And thank you so much for listening. We'll be with you again next week.