Mormon Stories - LDS

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

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 MST

Join us for our highly anticipated follow-up interview with both Hans and Birgitta Mattsson during our recent trip to Sweden to visit with those who attended the original "Swedish Rescue" fireside in November, 2010. Our first interview with Hans and Birgitta was released on July 22, 2013 and is noted as one of our most important releases given Hans' church leadership pedigree as a bishop and stake president in Sweden before serving in the LDS church 3rd Quorum of the Seventy from 2000-2005 in the Europe Central area under LDS Apostle L. Tom Perry, as well as the sincere struggles with testimony that both Hans and Birgitta faced after his release as an Area Authority.

In this two-part interview, we relive both Hans and Birgitta's ascent through the LDS Church, we elaborate for the first time on Hans and Birgitta's experience receiving the Second Anointing (a rarely-talked about temple ordinance reserved for those in the upper echelons of the LDS Church and described in detail during our epic interview with Tom Phillips), and we discuss the motivations for writing the book, "Truth Seeking: The Story of High-Ranking Mormon Leader Hans Mattsson Seeking Sincere Answers From His Church but Instead Finding Contempt, Fear, Doubt ...and Eventually Peace."

Direct download: MormonStories-985-TruthSeekingPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am MST