About the show
Brother Jones and Brother Knox describe themselves as staunch advocates for the theology and harsh critics of the culture when it comes to Mormonism. A black life-long member and queer convert respectively, they bring a less heard perspective to the notoriously white and heteronormative faith. They feel their desire for justice, love, and salvation for all people, regardless of color, sex, orientation, and other identities is not only consistent with the message of Christ, but *is* the message of Christ. In that spirit, they share their thoughtful, honest, and occasionally raw and humorous take on Mormonism in an effort to shift the culture of Mormonism more into alignment with the theology of Mormonism.
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To clarify, I had high hopes for this podcast considering the hosts and the quality of ideas they have expressed in the past. The concept of the podcast itself is incredibly compelling: two Latter-day Saints who occupy spheres of identity that many would consider to be impossible to maintain alongside a believing, albeit at times heterodox, Mormon worldview. What James and Derek demonstrate is that not only are these identities not mutually exclusive in nature, they can be reconciled in ways that can inform, deepen, and give meaning to each other. Beyond the Block, along with its insightful analysis of current events, is valuable in that it brings together two Latter-day Saints who represent less-heard voices within the community, thereby inviting all who feel unheard to come, speak, and contribute to the conversation of the Restoration.— Jaxon W.
I am grateful this podcast exists! It’s incredibly informative and helps me as a white, straight, female living in the heartland of the church see doctrine and culture from a viewpoint that I often don’t consider because it’s beyond what I personally go through on a daily basis. I really appreciate the helpful, applicable, on-the-ground advice they give on how we can be better advocates and ministers of those on the margins of the church and live more as Christ did through love.— Lauren L.
I recommend BTB to all of Mormondom, orthodox and unorthodox alike! Entertaining, heartfelt and occasionally raw, this podcast straddles loving, familiar topics with deep-dives into how we as a people should do better to represent the the savior. Because we all could be doing better. I can’t believe I’ve only been listening for a week. I let the episodes play while I drive, and am learning quite a lot. As a lifetime member and full-time homosexual it’s hard to explain how desperately we need this lovingly fresh take on Christ’s perfectly imperfect gospel. They explore the ways our church handles its quirky culture, combining a comfortable faith tradition with the underutilized blessings available through modern revelation. I feel less guilty rolling my eyes on Sunday because I finally feel as though I’ve found two kindred spirits. My appreciation is hard to describe with a handful of characters, but I’m grateful THESE characters are dedicated to enriching, informing and enlightening my own faith journey. Thanks, guys!— David D.
As a currently inactive Mormon, I have had to find different ways to engage with the pieces of the gospel and church worship that resonate with me and my spiritual journey. There are a lot of LDS podcasts out there, but I appreciate this one because of the thoughtfulness, humor, and diversity of the hosts. I’m excited to see how this podcast develops over time.— Niecie J.
I’ve know and interacted with Brother Jones and Brother Knox for a while now. Watching them interact in different Church spaces, and seeing the transfer of their productive ideas and bridge building efforts to a podcast format is exciting. Definitely worth the listen.— Green6060
Thank you for taking time each week to share your unique, important voices. As a newer listener, I have enjoyed each episode and it helps me get more out of my Come Follow Me study. Keep sharing! you are making a difference in my life.— Limabeanhome
I discovered this weekly podcast about 3 months ago after James visited someone else’s show, gave it a shot, and instantly fell in love with it. These guys model how to be actively practicing members of the Church of Jesus Christ, live by the word of God, and make sense of the world with compassion and bravery. I love that they honor the lives god gave them as they do this, speaking their truths as experienced throughout their lives. The three typical segments are: commentary on the weekly news; discussion of and mining the “Come Follow Me” scripture study program (in its own right, a great curriculum, made even more interesting with their thoughts); and a weekly “prayer roll” (not unlike the Festivus public airing of grievances). I can’t wait to see where they’ll go next year when the curriculum focused on the Book of Mormon! They regularly acknowledge that there are other voices and perspectives that could be included in the episodes, and I also look forward to that day. (And would be happy to help out - not that you need my help!) Keep up the good work, guys.— Daniel C.
I am so thankful for your perspectives. Rarely have I felt such spirit and honest pride for being a Latter Day Saint than when listening to this podcast. Recognizing and respectfully discussing the difficult issues around church history and policy, your podcast has offered me such a constructive, safe, and thoughtful space to grow my faith and ponder difficult questions. It is not easy doing what you do, and I am indebted to your courage for making this podcast despite some of the cruel reviews which sadden my heart. Keep being thoughtful and loving as you two are! From one member to another, thank you so much for lifting the spiritual burden of a brother. Thank you.— Daichi_Maeshiro
Derek and James bring an amazing, doctrinally based, perspective about LDS gospel. They have verbalized things I have felt in my heart but have never been able put into words. They had clarified so many things about the LDS gospel I had questions about. And their podcast has helped me bring a fresh new take to my Sunday School Class. Every member of the LDS faith should listen to this podcast. Everyone who wants to understand the Christian faith better should listen to this podcast.— Javi F.
Any member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (active, inactive, or former member) should listen to this podcast. As a straight, white, and privileged (not a humble brag whatsoever) member of the Church born in Utah this podcast has stirred me to be uncomfortable. That’s how I know this is something that God is trying to communicate to me - it draws feelings in my heart to repent of my racist, homophobic, and sexist ways to become who the Lord needs me to be. There are people who have been and continue to be marginalized throughout the world and in my community which is what I have come to realize thanks to Brother Jones and Brother Knox. Thanks to their voices, I am bound and determined to help facilitate change that needs to take place in the restored Church. I’m not saying this to boost my image in way or to earn any sort of social accolades. I have realized now through this podcast what I must do throughout mortality. For every white listener - Listen to this podcast intently; allow yourself to become uncomfortable. Determine within yourself to be the change that those of our brothers and sisters who are marginalized need to see in the world, because they have suffered by our hand. Let us proclaim and own up to our sins, plead for forgiveness from our marginalized brethren and sisters, and stand in solidarity with them. I will continue to listen and re-listen to this podcast and forever be grateful for it, especially what it has taught me and inspired me to do!— Insulin Drummer
This podcast is essential listening for all - for people who struggle with the church’s failures to relieving the suffering of marginalized groups in its ranks as well as for people who want/need to learn more about how to relate to and help the marginalized. The hosts’ knowledge of scripture and all gospel matters is deep and profound. My commitment to stay in the church and love others has been strengthened from listening each week.— Evan S.
I am so beyond grateful that I found BTB. Brother Jones and Brother Knox share their inspiring and essential takes on LDS doctrine and how to center the marginalized members within the church in such a way that is accessible to everyone. It is a perspective that is so very needed in modern LDS theology. Brother Knox’s scriptural expertise is especially useful in navigating the complex historical context of the scriptures. His and Brother Jone’s perspectives in the context of their lived experiences lend a vibrancy and authenticity to their gospel discussions that you can’t find anywhere else. They’ve helped revitalize my own testimony and given me the tools to share it more authentically with others. On a personal note, I always believed the gospel truths being shared on this podcast and how they should apply to everyone equally, but finally having them broken down in such an affirming and validating way is a balm to my spirit which I was desperately seeking without realizing how badly I needed it. Since I’ve begun listening to BTB I’ve been able to explain the WHY behind my beliefs that I was never able to fully articulate before and to back it up with solid scriptural evidence and unshakable testimony. And at the same time my heart has been forced to stretch and grow and accept new ideas and perspectives that I didn’t fully understand before. My heart has been changed, and I’ve also been given the tools to share this newfound understanding with others. So much so that I was finally able to have a long needed discussion with my father about LGBTQ issues and back up my testimony in such a way that forced him to see it with new eyes and study it out for himself for the first time. Thank you Brother Jones and Brother Knox for giving me those tools and helping me to open my Dad’s eyes to a new perspective. We’ve still got a ways to go, but we have made a beautiful beginning together. And I hope it will only be the first of many. Both for him and others like him.— Grateful Gay Mormon
The brain-dad of Beyond The Block. As an army brat, he claims no hometown, but currently resides in New York City attending Union Theological Seminary where he's becoming the first theologian to study Black Liberation Theology from a Mormon perspective. He's been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints his whole life where he's held numerous callings at the ward and stake levels and also served a mission in South Africa before graduating from BYU. He has since embraced the life of a creative entrepreneur and has traveled the country working on projects like singing in Carnegie Hall and back-up dancing for Flavor Flav.
Derek Knox is a theologian, educator, poet, and scholar hailing from Texas. His research interests involve grounding LGBTQIA+ theology and activism in the scriptures. He joined the LDS Church in 2015 after starting a masters degree in biblical studies at Andover Newton Theological School and has quickly become one of the most respected queer voices in the church, speaking at and hosting various events. When he's not studying scriptures or learning ancient Greek, he can be found teaching high schoolers.
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