In 1935, Lowell L. Bennion, at the University of Utah’s LDS Institute of Religion introduced “fireside chats” as inspirational talks for students. In January, 2019 Sunstone will launch a new podcast that incorporates a nod to these firesides. Featuring a weekly evening podcast, join a range of incredible hosts as they chat with diverse guests from across the Mormon spectrum.
Listen to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and on Sunstone.org.
About Our Hosts
Kimberly Anderson has over three decades of telling stories as a documentary photographer, educator, blogger, author, and publisher. She is excited to explore new story-telling opportunities with the Sunstone podcast series. Kimberly identifies as a queer woman with a transgender experience. Being raised as a man in the LDS Church, she found herself ticking off all the right boxes. She has subsequently realigned her life with her inner truth and is fully engaged in the latest chapter in her life story. Living in Northern California she is graduating in May of 2019 with an MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco. She plans to work with queer and trans youth, their parents and families, particularly those with an orthodox religious background. Kimberly has a BA and an MFA from Utah State University and is the author and photographer of the Mama Dragon Story Project.
Kalani Tonga is an author and current board member for the Feminist Mormon Housewives nonprofit organization. She and her five children recently moved to Utah and Kalani is working as a substitute teacher. She also works as a women’s empowerment group facilitator and literary sector coordinator for PIK2AR, a nonprofit organization for Polynesians in Utah.
Blaire Ostler is a philosopher and leading voice at the intersection of queer, Mormon, and transhumanist thought. She is a board member and former CEO of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the world’s largest advocacy network for the ethical use of technology and religion to expand human abilities. She presents and writes on many forums, and speaks at conferences promoting authentic Mormonism. Blaire holds a degree in design from the International Academy of Design and Technology-Seattle. She is currently pursuing a second degree in philosophy with an emphasis in gender studies. She is also an artist, and spends her spare time hiking, painting, writing, and bickering with her friends about almost any topic imaginable. Blaire and husband Drew reside in Utah with their three children.
Malia Burgess Halstvedt is a writer and mental health advocate who loves adding sarcastic commentary to Sunstone productions. She loves good works, integrity, and funeral potatoes with extra cornflakes.
Shirlee Draper was born and raised in Colorado City, Arizona, within the sect now known as FLDS. After the ascent of Warren Jeffs, she took her children and moved to St. George. She has a degree in Social Work and a Master of Public Administration program, both from the University of Utah. She is the Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the United Effort Plan Trust and Director of Operations for Cherish Families, a nonprofit which offers wraparound services and crime victim advocacy for people from Fundamentalist backgrounds. She is also a founding member of the Short Creek Community Alliance, a grassroots citizens group which fosters voter registration and political engagement inside Colorado City/Hildale.
Cristina Rosetti is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside, with an emphasis on Mormonism and spiritualism, and alternative forms of Mormon religious practice. In 2017 she was awarded the Mormon Studies Fellowship at the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah.
Cristina Gonzalez Cole is a lead organizer of Detainee Allies, a San Diego-based grassroots organization that stands in solidarity with detained migrants and refugees in the U.S. Each week she manages the sending and receiving of letters and donations to ensure that ICE detainees have human connections, the ability to contact family members, and a chance to tell their stories. She has worked professionally in the healthcare industry for over 10 years, with hands on experience caring for individuals in skilled nursing, rehabilitation, hospice, and recreation therapy settings. A self-described “newbie feminist,” Cristina is a single mother and recent transplant to southern California where she strives daily as a woman of color to “raise a white man child to not grow up to be an asshole.”
Lindsay Hansen Park is host of the Year of Polygamy podcast and executive director of the Sunstone Education Foundation.