Jana Riess is the author of "The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor!" and "Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor." She has a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University.
Late last week, news outlets began reporting that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had issued a statement distancing itself from Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, which uses quasi-military sting operations to combat the sexual exploitation of children. The organization was celebrated in the recent movie “Sound of Freedom.”
It’s taken more than half a century for Judy Blume’s iconic 1970 novel “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” to appear on the silver screen. But in many ways, the story’s more apt for a 2023 crowd than it was in the era of Richard Nixon and “The Brady Bunch.”
I well remember the 1980s, when I was growing up. My generation saw scandal after scandal with “name it and claim it” preachers whose own lavish lifestyles held out the promise that God could and would make followers rich.