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Called to Create is a podcast where your desire to create will be supported and celebrated through interviews with inspiring Latter-day Saint creators who are passionate about their craft and share helpful, real-life experiences that will guide you on your creative journey. Look for new episodes on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
 
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Jon Heder, best known for his acting debut role as Napoleon Dynamite in the movie of the same name, is also a filmmaker and voice actor of a number of films and television shows including the voice of Napoleon Bonafrog in an episode of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Jon performed at the Children’s Educational Theater in Salem, Oregon from…
 
Steve Young, best known for his 15-season NFL professional football career as quarterback, first for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then the San Francisco 49ers, previously set school and NCAA records playing college football for Brigham Young University (BYU). While playing for the NFL, Young received a graduate law degree from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark La…
 
A fine arts painter best known for his award-winning contemporary religious art, J. Kirk Richards urges creators to exercise faith and take the next step forward. In his early teens, Kirk decided to put aside the music lessons he’d been taking his “whole life” and follow a persistent tug toward visual arts. Illustrating the book “The Carpenter of G…
 
Jackson VanDerwerken knew he didn’t fit the casting criteria for the role of Nephi in the Church’s new Book of Mormon video series, but his mother urged him to send in his audition video anyway, even if a day late. Despite his lack of screen acting experience and being “skinny as a string bean”, he was chosen for the part out of a thousand applican…
 
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. Also a popular speaker, he enjoys speaking about the miracle of opening doors, faith, failure, the Christmas Jars movement, the lost art of letter writing, and many other topics. Each year Jason visits schools across the country and presents assemblies and wr…
 
This episode of Called to Create: an LDSPMA Podcast features prolific author and highly regarded speaker, Camille Fronk Olson. She shares her journey as a single woman who began her career with no great dream in mind but was led on a God-directed course that has paved the way for women to serve in Church education in expanded capacities. Camille’s …
 
Dan Clark, world-renowned motivational speaker, United States Distinguished Silver Medal winner, contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and Utah Father of the Year, is a man who has literally done it all, yet he self-describes as “a funny man with a serious message.” In this episode, Dan shares what his experiences have taught…
 
Honorable Sela Tukia, Tongan fan of popular 80s dance-pop band The Jets, sat down with host Connie Sokol for a delightful ten-minute interview about the faith and family values The Jets have brought to the music industry in the past and the new generation of Wolfgramm family musicians, 13 Crowns. Tonga Consulate General The Kingdom of Tonga 13 Crow…
 
The Jets, a popular 80s dance-pop, teen pop, R&B band, including LeRoy, Eddie, Eugene, Haini, Rudy, Kathi, Elizabeth, and Moana Wolfgramm started out performing luaus in Canada. They eventually settled in Minnesota and started a band they named “Quasar” after a brand of television set. The band enjoyed great success with several Billboard Hot 100 h…
 
Dora Whitaker knew at a young age that she was more interested in the business side of the entertainment industry than being an actress. Now, a 28-year industry veteran and CEO of Whitaker Entertainment, Dora focuses her efforts on providing and producing quality entertainment. Along the way, she has been able to share her faith in Jesus Christ wit…
 
Jennifer Nielsen is an accomplished New York Times bestselling author of young adult and children’s fiction and a 2022 LDSPMA Conference keynote speaker. In this episode, she shares her failures and triumphs with her trademark optimism and encouragement for all who struggle to keep going when everything is going wrong. Tune in for this inspiring ep…
 
Gerald Lund has written 57 books, including the famed Work and the Glory series, and is arguably the most widely read author of Latter-day Saint literature with 3.5 million copies sold over the course of 51 years. In this episode, he shares little-known details of how “The Work and the Glory'' series came to life and grew from one volume into an ex…
 
Sherry Meidell’s loves include her five boys, mountain biking, kneaded erasers, her sketchbook, and watercolors. Her artistic talent with watercolors has led her to illustrate several books by other authors and one of her own, titled “The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs.” On a humanitarian trip to Kenya, Africa, she used her talents to help schoo…
 
Allison Hong Merrill’s multiple award-winning book, “Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops”, is more than a memoir; it is her “humble offering” to her children. Her deepest desire was to write it so they would know about and cherish their Chinese roots. As a Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese immigrant and newlywed, Allison lived in the United States for sixteen months …
 
Twenty-five years ago, Laurel Day was a college graduate with a useless degree who felt called to move to Utah and work at Deseret Book. When a friend told her about a part-time position as an event specialist with Deseret Book, she applied for and got the job. Opportunity followed opportunity until she came to work under Sheri Dew, who became her …
 
The hero of Tiffany Rosenhan’s heart-pounding spy thriller, “Girl from Nowhere,” is a common, everyday teenage girl who uses her unique abilities to conquer the bad guys. Tiffany’s hope is that her book will help young women “feel empowered to magnify their skills and talents…and embrace [their] different characteristics and unique qualities.” In t…
 
Cheryl Knowlton is a popular speaker brimming with enthusiasm for helping people in her profession learn the craft. She has won numerous awards, most notably the coveted Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. As a 22-year veteran in the real estate and mortgage industry, Cheryl is a teacher, storyteller,…
 
Conductor, composer, pianist, CJ Madsen, with his mom, Laura, won LDSPMA’s 2021 Praiseworthy Award for “I Saw a Pillar of Light” in the Audiovisual-Recorded Music category. A recent graduate of Brigham Young University, CJ earned both a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in choral conducting. CJ’s most recent project culmi…
 
Dan Allen, a scientist, writer, and comic who is out to fill the world with funny, is the award-winning author of “Pizza Boy and the Super Squad”. From his secret-not-so-secret laboratory in the attic, he shares his experience writing his first book on a dare and how he has looked to his kids for character ideas. Dan has also lit a three-story elec…
 
Dr. Jeffery A. Thompson is an author, speaker and professor who knows the secret to finding one’s calling in life. He learned from his own winding and twisting experience that life is a bewildering journey, and those who succeed at discovering their talents and gifts are those who persist through the uncertainty and anxiety to a better place. His a…
 
Heather B. Moore’s beginner attempts to write books were akin to making tossed salad; She threw in ingredients and hoped they’d turn into a good story. Now, as a USA Today award-winning author of over 70 books in multiple genres, she views those early experiences as her version of “going back to college and learning how to write a novel.” Heather, …
 
Susan Easton Black’s accomplishments range from becoming the first female professor of religion at Brigham Young University to writing 170 books, including President M. Russell Ballard’s biography, to being a key partner on her pickleball team. Tune into her delightful conversation with our host, Connie Sokol. You’ll be glad you did. Email: susan_b…
 
Back for its 8th year! The annual conference of Latter-day Saints in Publishing, Media & the Arts (LDSPMA) is the best networking, learning, and professional development opportunity for all Latter-day Saint creatives. In this podcast bonus episode, our host, Connie Sokol, and her guests, Rachelle J. Christensen and Jen Brewer, share fun and life-ch…
 
Eight-year-old Emmy Eaton’s “7 Questions with Emmy” segment on “The Drew Barrymore Show” resulted from a comment on Facebook suggesting she swap roles with her news reporter dad. She accepted the challenge and has gone on to interview over 40 high-profile people, including Elmo, Jeff Foxworthy, Dana Perino, Keith Morrison, and Joy D. Jones. Her dad…
 
Josi Kilpack, an award-winning author of over 30 books covering multiple genres, distinguishes her stories by creating likable, relatable characters with quirks. Never intending to become an author, she wrote her first manuscript while pregnant and bedridden with her third child. In this interview, she shares tips and tricks she uses with every boo…
 
Heidi Tucker is an award-winning author and speaker. She has won multiple “best inspirational” awards for her books which include "Bridge of Miracles", "The Secret Keepers", "Finding Hope in the Journey", and "Servie’s Song". Her passion for writing and speaking about light and hope has inspired thousands. Heidi is known as a great storyteller who …
 
Dubbed ‘America’s Violinist’ for the magic of her artistry, Jenny Oaks Baker is a Grammy nominee and Billboard No. 1 recording artist who knows the thrill of soloing at Carnegie Hall. A devoted wife and mother of four children, Jenny has experienced highs and lows in her life and career but has always trusted God to guide her. “I knew I needed to w…
 
Lisa Mangum knew from her earliest years that she wanted a life surrounded by words and books. Growing up, she and her mother “bonded over punctuation marks and paper clips.” Now as managing editor at Shadow Mountain Publishing, Lisa has guided several writers who have become New York Times bestselling authors. In this episode, Lisa tells all write…
 
Al Carraway’s infectious enthusiasm and “wild optimism” has helped propel her forward through her difficult and uncanny journey of faith. A multi-award-winning author and international speaker, she shares her passion for life, happiness, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. True to her bold New York authenticity, Al talks about her disappointments and f…
 
Known for her work as an actress, writer, radio show host, and co-producer of Once I Was a Beehive, Lisa Valentine Clark has “stumbled into” a variety of roles throughout her life and career. With her trademark humor, Lisa shares what she has learned from her experiences and how she feels “called to create a beautiful life” to honor the legacy of h…
 
An experienced podcast host, Connie Sokol brings her trademark enthusiasm and positivity as the new host of the LDSPMA podcast Called to Create. She is a bestselling author, media personality, speaker, and devoted mother of seven children. Connie describes the Called to Create podcast as “part devotional, part scripture, part life experience, and p…
 
Sherry Meidell is a watercolor illustrator who often sees in life what others miss. For her, art is a way to connect with people and highlight the grandeur of life. Sherry serves as president of the Utah Watercolor Society and has received acclaim for illustrations of children’s books and landscapes. Watercolor is magic, she says. You don’t always …
 
CJ Madsen is a graduate student studying choral conducting at Brigham Young University. CJ received his bachelor's degree in piano performance, also from BYU. CJ is fluent in composing, piano accompanying, arranging, and singing. He has performed in over 275 concerts and recitals during his time at Brigham Young University. CJ's recent choral/orche…
 
Becky Fawson pursues her passion for art with the same ferocity she did as an 18-year-old first-generation college student. Over the years, as she raised her family, she continued to hone and refine her skills as a graphic designer and illustrator. But it wasn’t until the grandchildren needed better picture books that she found her niche. “There ar…
 
Since 2014, Margaret has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help start the film industry there. Her Congolese team recently released its first feature--Heart of Africa--in both the Congo and the USA. Margaret worked for twenty years with Darius Gray telling stories of Black Latter-day Saint pioneers. She taught creative writing at BYU fo…
 
Jeff Wheeler is a sensitive soul. He once broke into wild tears as a young teen after reading a novel. But now, as a writer who creates books so engaging that readers stay awake late into the night, he feels no guilt for their loss of sleep. In this week’s podcast, Jeff shares his desire to create spellbinding fantasy fiction using religious themes…
 
Gregg Deal is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Husband and father of four, Deal describes himself as a professional disruptor of the cowboy/Indian stereotype. He combines his artistic skills with a love of history to tell the story of his people, stirring new appreciation and soul searching in his audience. On this episode Deal and host T…
 
Be prepared to be stirred by two authors, Ka Hancock and Spencer Hyde. They both share how they portrayed the delicate subject of mental health by drawing on their up-close and personal perspectives. Ka Hancock, the author of Dancing on Broken Glass, is a former psychiatric nurse, and Spencer Hyde, professor at BYU and author of Waiting For Fitz an…
 
This week’s podcast features Heidi Tucker, a grandmother of 10 whose irrepressible happiness and deep-rooted hope have inspired many to take heart and rise to their opportunities. She is an award-winning speaker and writer who has been awarded Book of the Year, Best Inspirational, and Best Cover awards for her first two books Finding Hope in the Jo…
 
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. He is also a popular speaker about the miracle of opening doors, faith, failure, the Christmas Jars movement, the lost art of letter writing, and many other topics. Each year Jason visits schools across the country and presents assemblies and writing workshop…
 
In 2017, President Clark G. Gilbert became the first president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, a global online organization serving over 50,000 students in over 150 countries. President Gilbert previously served as the president of BYU-Idaho, the CEO of the Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media, and on the faculty of the Harvard Business School. Preside…
 
Abigayl Finch is a writer, baking expert, theatre aficionado, and might be a little obsessed with musicals. She is currently a public policy major at BYU-Idaho. On our journey to become voices of light, we don’t travel alone. Sometimes you are the hero. Other times you might be the mentor or an ally. You might even be all of these roles at the same…
 
Rob Eaton has authored or co-authored multiple books for an LDS audience, including President Eyring’s biography, I Will Lead You Along. He is currently a professor of religious education and a Learning and Teaching Fellow at BYU-Idaho, and he serves as a stake president. Rob has worked as an attorney, institute director, seminary teacher, and othe…
 
Al Carraway is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ, writer, multi-award-winning international speaker, and author of the best-selling books, “Wildly Optimistic,” “More Than the Tattooed Mormon,” and “Cheers to Eternity!” After a decade spent in Arizona & Utah, she is now living with her husband, Ben, and her three kids back where she was raised…
 
Steven Piersanti is one of the founding members of the Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association. He currently serves as the director of conferences and programs. Steve is also the president and publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., a leading independent publisher of books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and manag…
 
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