Mormon Stories - LDS

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we are interviewing Dr. Frank Turek—a Christian apologist, author, and speaker with Cross Examined and Dr. Mike Licona—a New Testament professor/scholar at Houston Baptist University. Both are highly sought after around the world for their efforts to provide scholarly and intellectual evidence that the Bible is true.

Today's episode will focus on making a scholarly case for belief in Christianity, including a response to our previous interview with Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. In this interview, we will attempt to address some of the same questions as we did with Dr. Ehrman, including:

  1. Did the historical figure we know as Jesus actually exist?
  2. How did the historical figure Jesus come to be viewed as divine/the Son of God?
  3. Who wrote the New Testament?
  4. Do important contradictions exist between the four gospels of the New Testament, and what does that tell us?
  5. How was the New Testament assembled?
  6. What are their thoughts on the historicity of the Book of Mormon and Mormonism as an authentic Christian denomination?

...and more.

Direct download: MormonStories-1003-DefendingChristianityPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am MDT

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we are interviewing Dr. Frank Turek—a Christian apologist, author, and speaker with Cross Examined and Dr. Mike Licona—a New Testament professor/scholar at Houston Baptist University. Both are highly sought after around the world for their efforts to provide scholarly and intellectual evidence that the Bible is true.

Today's episode will focus on making a scholarly case for belief in Christianity, including a response to our previous interview with Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. In this interview, we will attempt to address some of the same questions as we did with Dr. Ehrman, including:

  1. Did the historical figure we know as Jesus actually exist?
  2. How did the historical figure Jesus come to be viewed as divine/the Son of God?
  3. Who wrote the New Testament?
  4. Do important contradictions exist between the four gospels of the New Testament, and what does that tell us?
  5. How was the New Testament assembled?
  6. What are their thoughts on the historicity of the Book of Mormon and Mormonism as an authentic Christian denomination?

...and more.

Direct download: MormonStories-1002-DefendingChristianityPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am MDT

Here it is! Episode 1,000 of Mormon Stories Podcast!! Today we re-interview professional dancer, choreographer, and actor Benji Schwimmer - 13-time undefeated US Open Swing Dance Champion. This episode is jam-packed with good stuff, including:

1) Benji’s professional life since winning Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance, which includes appearing on Dancing with the Stars, dancing with Paula Abdul and Christina Aguilera, choreographing Olympic figure skaters, and appearing in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie entitled “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, and Al Pacino.
2) Benji’s journey to find love, health, and happiness including very candid discussions about navigating sexuality, “masculinity,” and his struggles with heterosexism/body image issues as a gay ex-Mormon man.
3) A deeply moving story about Benji’s return to the site of his LDS mission in Oaxaca, Mexico.
4) Benji’s sharp criticism of how the Mormon church has handled LGBTQ issues since his previous Mormon Stories interview, as they continue to advocate for celibacy and mixed-orientation marriages for LGBTQ members. He also discusses the hypocrisy, deceit, and damage he has witnessed in the LDS NorthStar community, and with the spokespeople the Mormon church uses on the mormonandgay website.
5) We conclude with Benji’s current philosophy for living a healthy, happy life, including his thoughts/feelings about facing the mortality of his beloved father.

Please join us for a funny, fascinating, and deeply moving interview.

WARNING: Adult language and sexually explicit language - viewer/listener discretion is advised.

https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/benji-schwimmer-life-after/

Direct download: MormonStories-1001-BenjiPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am MDT

Here it is! Episode 1,000 of Mormon Stories Podcast!! Today we re-interview professional dancer, choreographer, and actor Benji Schwimmer - 13-time undefeated US Open Swing Dance Champion. This episode is jam-packed with good stuff, including:

1) Benji’s professional life since winning Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance, which includes appearing on Dancing with the Stars, dancing with Paula Abdul and Christina Aguilera, choreographing Olympic figure skaters, and appearing in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie entitled “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, and Al Pacino.
2) Benji’s journey to find love, health, and happiness including very candid discussions about navigating sexuality, “masculinity,” and his struggles with heterosexism/body image issues as a gay ex-Mormon man.
3) A deeply moving story about Benji’s return to the site of his LDS mission in Oaxaca, Mexico.
4) Benji’s sharp criticism of how the Mormon church has handled LGBTQ issues since his previous Mormon Stories interview, as they continue to advocate for celibacy and mixed-orientation marriages for LGBTQ members. He also discusses the hypocrisy, deceit, and damage he has witnessed in the LDS NorthStar community, and with the spokespeople the Mormon church uses on the mormonandgay website.
5) We conclude with Benji’s current philosophy for living a healthy, happy life, including his thoughts/feelings about facing the mortality of his beloved father.

Please join us for a funny, fascinating, and deeply moving interview.

WARNING: Adult language and sexually explicit language - viewer/listener discretion is advised.

https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/benji-schwimmer-life-after/

Direct download: MormonStories-1000-BenjiPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am MDT

Join us for this important and time-sensitive edition of Mormon Stories Podcast as we interview Idahoan, Dusty Johns. In Part 1 of this interview, Dusty shares his experience growing up as a gay and closeted Mormon and at times being the only active member of his family. Before becoming a missionary, he covenanted with God that if he served an honorable full-time mission that his sexual orientation would change. Upon returning from his mission to England and quickly marrying, a few months into his marriage he realized that he was unable to connect with his wife in a manner that a man and woman should. Though the marriage did not last, it did produce two boys who Dusty treasures and shares parenting responsibilities with their mother. Dusty began to be involved with LDS-affiliated groups that attempt to diminish "same-sex attraction" and overcome homosexual behavior, but quickly saw that many program attendees were either acting hypocritically or living seemingly miserable lives as celibate Mormons. After experiencing medical complications that almost ended his life, his devotion to the LDS Church and God became cemented and he decided that he could be both an active Mormon, and create a family with someone that he truly loved.

In Part 2 of this interview, we learn how Dusty met his husband and how the two have formed a loving family unit with Dusty's two boys. The family was quickly accepted by their local Idahoan ward, including their ward and stake leadership. Dusty tells us that recently his local leadership was directed by LDS Church authorities in Salt Lake City to initiate disciplinary proceedings because of his same-sex marriage. After receiving a letter in the mail indicating such, Dusty forwarded the letter to Mormon Stories Podcast and 6 hours after the letter was posted publicly, his stake leadership was asked to postpone the disciplinary council until after General Conference, as directed by the church's PR department.  As of today, Dusty's council meeting is now set to take place October 16th.

Direct download: MormonStories-999-DustyJohnsPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am MDT

Join us for this important and time-sensitive edition of Mormon Stories Podcast as we interview Idahoan, Dusty Johns. In Part 1 of this interview, Dusty shares his experience growing up as a gay and closeted Mormon and at times being the only active member of his family. Before becoming a missionary, he covenanted with God that if he served an honorable full-time mission that his sexual orientation would change. Upon returning from his mission to England and quickly marrying, a few months into his marriage he realized that he was unable to connect with his wife in a manner that a man and woman should. Though the marriage did not last, it did produce two boys who Dusty treasures and shares parenting responsibilities with their mother. Dusty began to be involved with LDS-affiliated groups that attempt to diminish "same-sex attraction" and overcome homosexual behavior, but quickly saw that many program attendees were either acting hypocritically or living seemingly miserable lives as celibate Mormons. After experiencing medical complications that almost ended his life, his devotion to the LDS Church and God became cemented and he decided that he could be both an active Mormon, and create a family with someone that he truly loved.

In Part 2 of this interview, we learn how Dusty met his husband and how the two have formed a loving family unit with Dusty's two boys. The family was quickly accepted by their local Idahoan ward, including their ward and stake leadership. Dusty tells us that recently his local leadership was directed by LDS Church authorities in Salt Lake City to initiate disciplinary proceedings because of his same-sex marriage. After receiving a letter in the mail indicating such, Dusty forwarded the letter to Mormon Stories Podcast and 6 hours after the letter was posted publicly, his stake leadership was asked to postpone the disciplinary council until after General Conference, as directed by the church's PR department.  As of today, Dusty's council meeting is now set to take place October 16th.

Direct download: MormonStories-998-DustyJohnsPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am MDT

Today's release is the first in a new series devoted to interviewing prominent historians to gather their evidence-based take on the question, "How did the Mormon Church come to be?"

Kathleen Melonakos's book Secret Combinations: Evidence of Early Mormon Counterfeiting 1800-1847 has created buzz in many online Mormon communities and we are excited to launch our series with Kathleen's expertise and careful research. Her book chronicles the evidence that early Mormon leaders, starting with Joseph Smith Sr., dealt in counterfeit money beginning in Vermont, and continuing throughout Joseph and Hyrum's careers. It places the Smith brothers in the early American context where counterfeiting networks and some of their CEO-like bosses posed as preachers. It is the only book of its kind that uncovers the problems counterfeiters caused in early America and what really happened before, during and after the Book of Mormon appeared on the scene. Her book is both fact-based and fast moving, supported by more than 1400 footnotes and over 100 photos and illustrations. It is also based on nearly 10 years of research, conducted in Vermont, New York, Illinois, Missouri, and Utah.

In this interview, Kathleen attempts to provide the historical context for the life of the Smith family and the founding of the LDS Church. In particular, we focus on the counterfeiting culture of the time period (Part 1), treasure digging as a practice (Part 2), the origins of the Book of Mormon (Part 3), and finally we delve into how her research and work influences Kathleen's personal beliefs (Part 4).

Direct download: MormonStories-997-MelonakosPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am MDT

Today's release is the first in a new series devoted to interviewing prominent historians to gather their evidence-based take on the question, "How did the Mormon Church come to be?"

Kathleen Melonakos's book Secret Combinations: Evidence of Early Mormon Counterfeiting 1800-1847 has created buzz in many online Mormon communities and we are excited to launch our series with Kathleen's expertise and careful research. Her book chronicles the evidence that early Mormon leaders, starting with Joseph Smith Sr., dealt in counterfeit money beginning in Vermont, and continuing throughout Joseph and Hyrum's careers. It places the Smith brothers in the early American context where counterfeiting networks and some of their CEO-like bosses posed as preachers. It is the only book of its kind that uncovers the problems counterfeiters caused in early America and what really happened before, during and after the Book of Mormon appeared on the scene. Her book is both fact-based and fast moving, supported by more than 1400 footnotes and over 100 photos and illustrations. It is also based on nearly 10 years of research, conducted in Vermont, New York, Illinois, Missouri, and Utah.

In this interview, Kathleen attempts to provide the historical context for the life of the Smith family and the founding of the LDS Church. In particular, we focus on the counterfeiting culture of the time period (Part 1), treasure digging as a practice (Part 2), the origins of the Book of Mormon (Part 3), and finally we delve into how her research and work influences Kathleen's personal beliefs (Part 4).

Direct download: MormonStories-996-MelonakosPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Today's release is the first in a new series devoted to interviewing prominent historians to gather their evidence-based take on the question, "How did the Mormon Church come to be?"

Kathleen Melonakos's book Secret Combinations: Evidence of Early Mormon Counterfeiting 1800-1847 has created buzz in many online Mormon communities and we are excited to launch our series with Kathleen's expertise and careful research. Her book chronicles the evidence that early Mormon leaders, starting with Joseph Smith Sr., dealt in counterfeit money beginning in Vermont, and continuing throughout Joseph and Hyrum's careers. It places the Smith brothers in the early American context where counterfeiting networks and some of their CEO-like bosses posed as preachers. It is the only book of its kind that uncovers the problems counterfeiters caused in early America and what really happened before, during and after the Book of Mormon appeared on the scene. Her book is both fact-based and fast moving, supported by more than 1400 footnotes and over 100 photos and illustrations. It is also based on nearly 10 years of research, conducted in Vermont, New York, Illinois, Missouri, and Utah.

In this interview, Kathleen attempts to provide the historical context for the life of the Smith family and the founding of the LDS Church. In particular, we focus on the counterfeiting culture of the time period (Part 1), treasure digging as a practice (Part 2), the origins of the Book of Mormon (Part 3), and finally we delve into how her research and work influences Kathleen's personal beliefs (Part 4).

Direct download: MormonStories-995-MelonakosPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am MDT

Today's release is the first in a new series devoted to interviewing prominent historians to gather their evidence-based take on the question, "How did the Mormon Church come to be?"

Kathleen Melonakos's book Secret Combinations: Evidence of Early Mormon Counterfeiting 1800-1847 has created buzz in many online Mormon communities and we are excited to launch our series with Kathleen's expertise and careful research. Her book chronicles the evidence that early Mormon leaders, starting with Joseph Smith Sr., dealt in counterfeit money beginning in Vermont, and continuing throughout Joseph and Hyrum's careers. It places the Smith brothers in the early American context where counterfeiting networks and some of their CEO-like bosses posed as preachers. It is the only book of its kind that uncovers the problems counterfeiters caused in early America and what really happened before, during and after the Book of Mormon appeared on the scene. Her book is both fact-based and fast moving, supported by more than 1400 footnotes and over 100 photos and illustrations. It is also based on nearly 10 years of research, conducted in Vermont, New York, Illinois, Missouri, and Utah.

In this interview, Kathleen attempts to provide the historical context for the life of the Smith family and the founding of the LDS Church. In particular, we focus on the counterfeiting culture of the time period (Part 1), treasure digging as a practice (Part 2), the origins of the Book of Mormon (Part 3), and finally we delve into how her research and work influences Kathleen's personal beliefs (Part 4).

Direct download: MormonStories-994-MelonakosPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am MDT

Join us as we begin a new series on instances where the LDS Church protects alleged abusers instead of advocating for their victims.

Trigger warning: This interview discusses sexual assault. Please practice self care, and use discretion regarding who else listens in.

In Part 1 of this interview, Jared shares how he was allegedly sexually abused as a young boy by his uncle and how these experiences formed the basis for his most vivid memories. Jared also talks about the guilt and shame he carried from those experiences throughout his youth and through his LDS mission. As Jared progresses through life, he feels he has forgiven his uncle and was ready to move on, until his uncle was called as a bishop and given stewardship over a ward, including children.  Feeling pressure to say something, Jared finally told his wife Juli of the abuse he suffered decades earlier.

In Part 2 of this interview, Jared and Juli discuss multiple meetings and interactions with LDS Church leaders including multiple stake presidents and bishops, and a private meeting with Elder Steven O. Laing of the Seventy (recorded by Jared and Juli and presented as Part 3 of this interview) to warn them of his uncle’s alleged history of abuse. During this meeting, both Jared and Juli were still true believing members, but now regard the inaction taken by their priesthood leaders and instead focusing on their personal faith as a major tipping point for their testimonies. As of today, Jared’s uncle remains bishop in a northern Utah ward.

Direct download: MormonStories-993-EgleyPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Join us as we begin a new series on instances where the LDS Church protects alleged abusers instead of advocating for their victims.

Trigger warning: This interview discusses sexual assault. Please practice self care, and use discretion regarding who else listens in.

In Part 1 of this interview, Jared shares how he was allegedly sexually abused as a young boy by his uncle and how these experiences formed the basis for his most vivid memories. Jared also talks about the guilt and shame he carried from those experiences throughout his youth and through his LDS mission. As Jared progresses through life, he feels he has forgiven his uncle and was ready to move on, until his uncle was called as a bishop and given stewardship over a ward, including children.  Feeling pressure to say something, Jared finally told his wife Juli of the abuse he suffered decades earlier.

In Part 2 of this interview, Jared and Juli discuss multiple meetings and interactions with LDS Church leaders including multiple stake presidents and bishops, and a private meeting with Elder Steven O. Laing of the Seventy (recorded by Jared and Juli and presented as Part 3 of this interview) to warn them of his uncle’s alleged history of abuse. During this meeting, both Jared and Juli were still true believing members, but now regard the inaction taken by their priesthood leaders and instead focusing on their personal faith as a major tipping point for their testimonies. As of today, Jared’s uncle remains bishop in a northern Utah ward.

Direct download: MormonStories-992-EgleyPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am MDT

Join us as we begin a new series on instances where the LDS Church protects alleged abusers instead of advocating for their victims.

Trigger warning: This interview discusses sexual assault. Please practice self care, and use discretion regarding who else listens in.

In Part 1 of this interview, Jared shares how he was allegedly sexually abused as a young boy by his uncle and how these experiences formed the basis for his most vivid memories. Jared also talks about the guilt and shame he carried from those experiences throughout his youth and through his LDS mission. As Jared progresses through life, he feels he has forgiven his uncle and was ready to move on, until his uncle was called as a bishop and given stewardship over a ward, including children.  Feeling pressure to say something, Jared finally told his wife Juli of the abuse he suffered decades earlier.

In Part 2 of this interview, Jared and Juli discuss multiple meetings and interactions with LDS Church leaders including multiple stake presidents and bishops, and a private meeting with Elder Steven O. Laing of the Seventy (recorded by Jared and Juli and presented as Part 3 of this interview) to warn them of his uncle’s alleged history of abuse. During this meeting, both Jared and Juli were still true believing members, but now regard the inaction taken by their priesthood leaders and instead focusing on their personal faith as a major tipping point for their testimonies. As of today, Jared’s uncle remains bishop in a northern Utah ward.

Direct download: MormonStories-991-EgleyPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am MDT

Continuing our series of European Mormon Stories, we visit Switzerland to interview Philipp Gysler to hear his important and fascinating Mormon story.  As a former branch president and member of the Stake High Council, and as a lifelong member from an influential family in the Mormon community, Philipp has a unique perspective on the LDS Church in Switzerland.

These episodes cover topics in Philipp's life such as his experience growing up in the LDS Church, divorce, second marriage, and achieving tremendous business success—but also importantly how he responded to the difficulty of having his faith challenged. These episodes contain great advice from Philipp on how to navigate your own faith journey and also how to include believing family and friends as you forge a new life.

Direct download: MormonStories-990-SwitzerlandPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Continuing our series of European Mormon Stories, we visit Switzerland to interview Philipp Gysler to hear his important and fascinating Mormon story.  As a former branch president and member of the Stake High Council, and as a lifelong member from an influential family in the Mormon community, Philipp has a unique perspective on the LDS Church in Switzerland.

These episodes cover topics in Philipp's life such as his experience growing up in the LDS Church, divorce, second marriage, and achieving tremendous business success—but also importantly how he responded to the difficulty of having his faith challenged. These episodes contain great advice from Philipp on how to navigate your own faith journey and also how to include believing family and friends as you forge a new life.

Direct download: MormonStories-989-SwitzerlandPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am MDT

Continuing our series of European Mormon Stories, we visit Switzerland to interview Philipp Gysler to hear his important and fascinating Mormon story.  As a former branch president and member of the Stake High Council, and as a lifelong member from an influential family in the Mormon community, Philipp has a unique perspective on the LDS Church in Switzerland.

These episodes cover topics in Philipp's life such as his experience growing up in the LDS Church, divorce, second marriage, and achieving tremendous business success—but also importantly how he responded to the difficulty of having his faith challenged. These episodes contain great advice from Philipp on how to navigate your own faith journey and also how to include believing family and friends as you forge a new life.

Direct download: MormonStories-988-SwitzerlandPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am MDT

Because of a large international presence during our event in Stockholm, Sweden to celebrate and remember the "Swedish Rescue," we challenged our attendees to agree to an interview to represent their country's unique perspective in Mormonism and this panel of Norwegian Mormons rose to the occasion.

Join us as we learn about our panelists, Stein Carlsen, Elisabeth Olsen, Daniel Lillegård, and Runar Strandunique, and their Mormon roots either generationally or as a convert, and how each developed cracks in their faith. We also learn how some of our panelists found faith in other places, or moved away from religion altogether—all while focusing on how the close-knit Mormon community in Norway influenced their journeys.

Direct download: MormonStories-987-NorwayPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am MDT

Because of a large international presence during our event in Stockholm, Sweden to celebrate and remember the "Swedish Rescue," we challenged our attendees to agree to an interview to represent their country's unique perspective in Mormonism and this panel of Norwegian Mormons rose to the occasion.

Join us as we learn about our panelists, Stein Carlsen, Elisabeth Olsen, Daniel Lillegård, and Runar Strandunique, and their Mormon roots either generationally or as a convert, and how each developed cracks in their faith. We also learn how some of our panelists found faith in other places, or moved away from religion altogether—all while focusing on how the close-knit Mormon community in Norway influenced their journeys.

Direct download: MormonStories-986-NorwayPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am MDT

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