Mormon Stories - LDS

me now400Jacob realized he was gay only a few months before he left for me missionary400his LDS mission. He served in the San Jose, Costa Rica mission from August 2012 to September 2013.

While serving in Costa Rica, a zone leader became attracted to Jacob, and as they began to do "splits," During these splits, Jacob and his ZL would occasionally "cuddle" in bed - but did not engage in any overt sexual behaviors.

This is Jacob's mission story.

Direct download: MormonStories-648-JacobHampton.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 8:31pm MDT

Rose Sorenson was raised in a devout LDS household (Idaho Falls, ID), but began having doubts as a 12 year old. Although she continued to struggle with perfectionism and doubts as a teenager, Rose decided that the LDS church's decision in 2013 to lower the missionary age for women was a "sign" that she should serve a mission to strengthen her testimony.

She served in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission from March 2013 to August 2014.

After a year of struggling with her testimony, including bouts of depression and anxiety -- and after reading the Book of Mormon four times without receiving a spiritual witness that the book was true -- Rose decided that she was an atheist, but remained determined to complete her mission.

This is Rose's story.

Direct download: MormonStories-647-RoseSorenson.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:50pm MDT

Tre was raised in Oakland, CA as a bi-racial Mormon (Filipino mother and New Zealander/Maori father).  While he was very committed doctrinally to Mormonism, he was not crazy about Mormon culture, and was taught the fundamentals of critical thinking from a young age.  Prior to and during his mission, Tre was tormented by doubts, along with teachings and rules regarding "self abuse." For over a year on his mission Tre was taught that lack of success on his mission was due to these practices/weaknesses.  After becoming zone leader, Tre became aware of a sex scandal that reached the highest levels of missionary leadership. This is Tre’s story. 

Direct download: MormonStories-646-TreShortland.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 11:23pm MDT

Mike Woodruff knew that he was attracted to men by age 14. After consulting with his LDS bishop, he was told that his “same-sex attraction” would “resolve itself” once he served an LDS mission. His LDS patriarchal blessing also assured him that he would serve a complete LDS mission.

After being called to the Leeds, England mission, Mike was physically and emotionally abused by his first companion. Suffering with severe PTSD symptoms, he tried for two months to remain in the mission, but did not receive appropriate mental health care. Instead, his mission-assigned therapist focused primarily on encouraging Mike to read his scriptures and pray more, which only reinforced his feelings of shame/blame as an abuse victim. In addition, Mike’s abusive companion was never punished for the abuse (to his knowledge), and was simply reassigned to other missionaries.

Mike ended up returning home early from his mission (after 3 months of service), and spent several years trying to reconcile the shame/guilt that he felt, heal from his PTSD, and reconcile his same-sex sexuality. Mike consulted North Star LDS to help him manage his sexuality and remain faithful LDS, but this approach ultimately led him to a suicide attempt.

Mike ultimately found peace and mental health by leaving the LDS church, and coming out as a gay man.

Direct download: MormonStories-645-MikeWoodruff.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 7:56am MDT

Today's interviewee was a graduate of Dartmouth University and a regular listener to Mormon Stories podcast when she decided to serve an LDS mission in 2012. Towards the latter half of her mission she began to experience depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation, due in part to a culture of perfectionism within Mormonism, along with doubts she began to experience as a missionary (primarily around LGBT and historical issues). When she informed her mission president of her depressive symptoms, he allowed her only three visits to a talk therapist.

Over time on her mission, she began to experience significant suicidal ideation, and on the final month of her mission was self-admitted to a psychiatric behavioral health unit/hospital.  After her stay in the hospital, she decided that she no longer believed the church to be true, and terminated her mission service early (a few weeks shy of completion). While the LDS church attempted to make her parents pay her hospital bills while a missionary, her parents declined and threatened to sue the church if they continued with such insistences.

Eventually she decided to leave the LDS church, and has experienced significant improvement in her mental health, and elimination of her suicidality, as a result of this decision.  At present, she is engaged to be married and works as a nurse at Planned Parenthood in California.

Direct download: MormonStories-644-SageDalton.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 6:07pm MDT

Joshua Tesch served in the California Roseville Mission from 2013 to 2015.  When the LDS church introduced the use of Facebook and iPads to missionaries, Elder Tesch was asked by his mission president to become one of the "Tech Missionaries" to help the mission adopt the new technology.  Through this new program Elder Tesch was exposed to credible information critical of the LDS church, including the  Over time Elder Tesch developed a faith crisis and turned to the Mormon Stories Podcast Community on Facebook for support.  Ultimately his involvement in the MSPC was reported to his mission president and his iPad was taken away.  He continued as a missionary until his final month, when his mission president sent him home dishonorably for openly sharing his doubts.

Direct download: MormonStories-643-Missions01-Tesch.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 6:18pm MDT