James McLachlan is a professor of philosophy and religion at Western Carolina University, and is actively involved in academic discussions of Mormonism as a co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Mormon Studies Group and a board member and past president of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. But to overplay his academic bona fides is possibly a mistake, because, as this interview with longtime friend and Mormon Stories contributor Dan Wotherspoon reveals, Jim is the opposite of the stuffy scholar stereotype. In this two-part interview, his incredibly quick and inquisitive mind is on full display, but it’s his good humor and ability to use observations from everyday life, great literature, and important films to elucidate powerful philosophical and religious questions that will surely captivate listeners. Among other discussions, through Jim’s lenses Mormonism’s fully engaged God—as Sterling McMurrin described: a God with his “own problems”—comes alive and becomes a highly compelling alternative to traditional Christian views that borrow so heavily from Greek ideas about the nature of perfection. Hear, too, Jim’s wonderful take on why those of us who experience many of Mormonism’s theological ideas differently from many in the mainstream might still feel confident in answering temple recommend questions affirmatively.