Mormon Stories - LDS

"View of the Hebrews" is a book first published in 1823 by Ethan Smith of Vermont.  In "View of the Hebrews," Ethan Smith argues (among other things) that the Native Americans were descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.  This book was so popular that it had a second printing in 1825.  

Mormon General Authorities and apologists have feared "View of the Hebrews" for over a century, starting with B.H. Roberts in the early 1900s.

Why is "View of the Hebrews"  potentially problematic for the Mormon church and the Book of Mormon?  A few reasons:

  • Joseph Smith claimed to have come up with the idea for the Book of Mormon the VERY SAME YEAR (1823) that "View of the Hebrews" was first published.  Coincidence?
  • Ethan Smith (the author of "View of the Hebrews") was Oliver Cowdery's pastor in Vermont PRIOR to his working with Joseph Smith as Book of Mormon "scribe," and it is certain that Cowdery was familiar with the book.  Coincidence?
  • Mormon General Authority and historian B.H. Roberts wrote hundreds of pages doing research on the disturbing similarities between View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon.  Later, B.H. Roberts went on to lose his testimony in the historicity of the Book of Mormon.  Coincidence?

Recently, the brilliant Radio Free Mormon decided to read "View of the Hebrews" from cover to cover to see what the "hubub" is all about.  

Join us as we explore the following questions:

  • What is View of the Hebrews fundamentally about?
  • What are the important similarities and differences between View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon?
  • Was Ethan Smith's "View of the Hebrews" a source of inspiration for the Book of Mormon?
  • What cultural dynamics were at play in upstate New York in the early 1820s that could have influenced BOTH books?
  • Are there any direct connections between "View of the Hebrews" and Joseph Smith?
  • Why has "View of the Hebrews" caused so much concern for Mormon apologists, from B.H. Roberts to today ? How have Mormon apologists responded to View of the Hebrews?
  • Does "View of the Hebrews" present significant, compelling problems for LDS Church and Book of Mormon truth claims?
Direct download: MormonStories-1404-ViewoftheHebrewsRFM.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:12pm MST

Chelsea and Nick Homer were both raised as devout Utah Mormons - with all the good and bad this entailed, and both were equally determined to have the perfect Mormon marriage and family.  After meeting at BYU and an extended, careful courtship, Chelsea and Nick were married in the Bountiful temple. Then their Mormon dream immediately began to fray.

Beginning with the wedding night/honeymoon, Chelsea and Nick experienced problems with sexual intimacy, due (in large part) to unhealthy messages they received around sexual "purity" and "modesty" as Mormon teens.  Then, a year into their marriage, Nick began to lose his testimony in the Mormon church - causing Nick and Chelsea to seriously contemplate divorce.

When it became clear that Nick was not going to perform the priesthood blessing for their their firstborn child, Chelsea and Nick decided to courageously post about their situation on her Instagram account, in part to defy the shaming and unhealthy rumors that so often accompany this situation within Mormonism (e.g., "Nick must be into PORN!"). This post was dated September 24, 2017.

Surprisingly to both Chelsea and Nick, a Public Relations employee for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked if Chelsea would write a post about this experience for the Church’s Instagram. This post (dated February 7, 2018) can be found here, and to date has 58,947 "likes."  Later, the LDS Church PR department asked Chelsea to author an article about navigating her Mormon mixed-faith marriage as a believing wife.  This heavily correlated article is entitled "Who Do I Choose - God or My Husband? - and was published by lds.org on July 25, 2018.

After these social media posts, Chelsea and Nick immediately began receiving messages, emails, and phone calls from other young Mormon couples also experiencing faith crises and/or mixed-faith marriages.  To help provide support and community for all the young Mormon women who were struggling with faith crises, Chelsea formed on July 31, 2019 a Facebook group entitled "Faith Journey Meetups," which at present has over 2,000 members.  The description of this group is as follows:

Welcome! This is a meetup hub for women who are actively navigating their personal faith journeys anywhere along the LDS belief spectrum. Come, make friends, schedule get-togethers. This is a safe place to find support and turn internet acquaintances into real life friends.

Eventually, Chelsea also lost her faith in the Mormon church, and today Nick and Chelsea are navigating a life of healing, growth, and joy after Mormonism.

This is their story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1403-ChelseaNickHomer.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 1:19pm MST

Hey Mormon Stories Listeners!

I am planning some super-cool interviews for the newly released "Murder Among the Mormons" documentary (released today on Netflix).  A few SUPER important requests for you all:

  • Please watch it ASAP! It's fantastic!
  • Please share it with all your believing Mormon family members and friends.  If they are concerned about the content, consider letting them know that:
    1. Richard Turley (former assistant LDS Church historian and head of LDS Church Public Affairs) participates in the documentary, and
    2. The documentary was carefully designed by both Jared and Tyler to be fair/balanced.  In my opinion, the doc is TOTALLY TBM worthy, so please watch it AND tell everyone about it!

I am planning several super cool interviews, including an interview with Directors - Jared Hess and Tyler Measom.  So stay tuned for that!

Here's where I need your help.  I would REALLY love it if you would share with me: a) your reactions to the doc, and b) any questions you have for Jared and Tyler. This will help me make the most of time with them (which I see as precious).  It will also stand as a cool record of progressive and post-Mormon reactions to the film.

Please post your reactions here!

If you want to watch additional coverage of the Mark Hofmann bombings on Mormon Stories Podcast, you can check out the following episodes:

Thank you in advance for your support!  And a HUGE thanks to Jared and Tyler for making a documentary that we ALL can be proud of as Mormons/Ex-Mormons. More soon!

Direct download: MormonStories-PSA-MurderAmongMormons.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 2:20pm MST

  • Do you miss the "spirituality" that you once felt as an active Mormon?
  • Have you struggled to find joy/meaning/mental health after losing your Mormon faith?
  • Are you still active in the LDS Church, but feeling spiritually empty as of late?

Join me as I assemble am amazing panel of wise humans to discuss "Spirituality After Mormonism." Panelists include Margi Weber Dehlin, Anthony D. Miller, Samantha Shelley (Zelph On The Shelf), and Holly Ashton Wallin.

You will not be disappointed with this amazing lineup of wise humans.

Feel free to bring your own questions, comments, and suggestions!!!!!

Direct download: MormonStories-1402-SpiritualityAfterMormonism.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:02pm MST

Join us today on Mormon Stories Podcast as we interview Mike Rinder - former top-level Scientology Executive. Mike was raised a Scientologist, knew L. Ron Hubbard personally, and became David Miscavige's "right hand man" as he lead Scientology's "Office of Special Affairs" (OSA). The OSA handled media and public relations, legal and government relations, and dealing with the "enemies of Scientology."

Mike appeared in the Scientology documentary "Going Clear," as well as in the documentary TV Series "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath." He currently co-hosts a podcast with Leah Remini called "Scientology: Fair Game."

Direct download: MormonStories-1401-MikeRinder.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 1:24pm MST

Hey Mormon Stories Listeners - I need your help!!!! This Friday (9am mountain time) I will be interviewing Mike Rinder - a former high-level leader of the Church of Scientology. I only have an hour with Mike, so I want to spend at least a few minutes of the hour comparing the Mormon church with the Church of Scientology.

To be clear - I have studied Scientology enough to know that it is deeply problematic....from literally kidnapping/imprisoning members, to having members physically beaten, to militantly suing members, etc. In short, I know that Scientology is a brutal, inhumane, super-harmful cult. Consequently, I am also fully aware that any comparison between the Mormon church and the Church of Scientology is deeply fraught. But hear me out.

I once read in Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" that sometimes the less immediately lethal viruses are often the most harmful viruses overall, primarily BECAUSE they are less deadly than their counterparts. In other words, if a virus is so deadly that it immediately kills its hosts, it has a tougher time spreading, and ultimately harms fewer organisms. Conversely, if a virus doesn't kill its host, but makes its hosts sick enough for a long enough time, the virus can spread much more successfully to a much larger population, and do more harm overall to many more people . Get it?

And so this is where I would like your feedback...and it's only an intellectual exercise. Here is the question:

If the variables we are measuring include:
1) Total human hours extracted from members without fully informed consent (total hours wasted under false pretenses, in a sense),
2) Total abuse/pain/suffering inflicted on humans under false pretenses, and
3) Total $$$ amount fraudulently extracted from its members over the lifetime of the church....again, under false pretenses and without informed consent....

...could an argument be made that the Mormon church, in aggregate, causes more overall harm than the Church of Scientology...in part BECAUSE it is somewhat less severe overall?

Also, what arguments/points am I missing?

Please make your best case below (one way or the other), and I will do my best to incorporate your input into my discussion with Mike Rinder on Friday.

Also, if you have any questions for Mike, please share them below and I will try my best to incorporate them.

THANKS IN ADVANCE!

John Dehlin

P.S. Please know that I KNOW that the Mormon Church does a TON of good in the world (particularly for its members). Believe me....I see that, and I believe that. I am talking about the harm that the Mormon Church causes IN SPITE of all the good it does as well.

Direct download: Scientology_vs._Mormonism_-EDITED.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm MST

Join us as we talk with cult expert Steven Hassan about how to help a loved one who believes in and follows the QAnon conspiracy cult. Questions we will address include:

  • What is QAnon?
  • Does QAnon qualify as a harmful cult?
  • How is QAnon harming people, families, and our nation?
  • How can you help a loved one who believes in and follows AQnon, or any other destructive cult?

Dr. Steven Hassan's Reddit AMA (Q&A) at QAnonCasualties entitled "How to Help People Involved in QAnon" can be found here.

Steven's main web site is: Freedom of Mind.

Books Mentioned in Today's Episode:

Cult Documentaries Mentioned in Today's Episode:

Direct download: MormonStories-1400-HassanQAnon.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:47pm MST

Is it possible to stay active in the LDS Church in 2021 after....

....learning all of the problematic history... ....becoming an ally for LGBTQ Mormons... ...becoming a feminist... ...becoming an "intellectual Mormon"... and after losing one's orthodox faith?

More importantly, why would anyone WANT to?

In Part 1 of my two-part interview with dear friend and faith transitions coach Jana Spangler, Jana told us the story of her Mormon faith journey, which includes:

  • Battling with perfectionism as an LDS teen and young adult.
  • Feeling broken and inadequate as a single Mormon woman attending the University Utah, struggling to meet the church's standards of "worthiness."
  • Being threatened with an LDS Disciplinary Council be a well-meaning Mormon bishop, and how that actually HELPED turn Jana's life around at the time.
  • Finding and marrying Rob - who "checked all the Mormon boxes" at the time.
  • Batting with infertility.
  • Experiencing self-doubt and depression as a Mormon Mom.
  • How Jana's passion for self-improvement and retreats/workshops led to a Mormon faith crisis.
  • Jana's shifting views of Christ's atonement, which include absolute, unconditional love.
  • Jana's courage to share her testimony struggles with her Holladay, Utah ward and stake.
  • How untraditional Mormon podcast hosts, authors, and organizations (such as Bill Reel, Gina Colvin, Dan Wotherspoon, John Dehlin, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, Sunstone, etc.), along with a supportive husband and understanding church leaders, helped Jana find a way to stay ACTIVE in the LDS Church.
  • What factors led Jana to decide to stay active in the LDS Church...for now.

In Part 2, Jana provides a more detailed framework for how others can find a way to remain active in the LDS Church if they so desire, inspired by the works of Richard Rohr and James Fowler (among others).

Direct download: MormonStories-1399-JanaSpangler2.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:46am MST

Is it possible to stay active in the LDS Church in 2021 after....

....learning all of the problematic history... ....becoming an ally for LGBTQ Mormons... ...becoming a feminist... ...becoming an "intellectual Mormon"... and after losing one's orthodox faith?

More importantly, why would anyone WANT to?

In Part 1 of my two-part interview with dear friend and faith transitions coach Jana Spangler, Jana tells us the story of her Mormon faith journey, which includes:

  • Battling with perfectionism as an LDS teen and young adult.
  • Feeling broken and inadequate as a single Mormon woman attending the University Utah, struggling to meet the church's standards of "worthiness."
  • Being threatened with an LDS Disciplinary Council be a well-meaning Mormon bishop, and how that actually HELPED turn Jana's life around at the time.
  • Finding and marrying Rob - who "checked all the Mormon boxes" at the time.
  • Batting with infertility.
  • Experiencing self-doubt and depression as a Mormon Mom.
  • How Jana's passion for self-improvement and retreats/workshops led to a Mormon faith crisis.
  • Jana's shifting views of Christ's atonement, which include absolute, unconditional love.
  • Jana's courage to share her testimony struggles with her Holladay, Utah ward and stake.
  • How untraditional Mormon podcast hosts, authors, and organizations (such as Bill Reel, Gina Colvin, Dan Wotherspoon, John Dehlin, Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, Sunstone, etc.), along with a supportive husband and understanding church leaders, helped Jana find a way to stay ACTIVE in the LDS Church.
  • What factors led Jana to decide to stay active in the LDS Church...for now.

In Part 2, Jana provides a more detailed framework for how others can find a way to remain active in the LDS Church if they so desire, inspired by the works of Richard Rohr and James Fowler (among others).

Direct download: MormonStories-1398-JanaSpangler1.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:53pm MST

Recently, BYU Egyptologist John Gee published an article via the online Mormon apologetic website "The Interpreter" - attacking the scholarship of the Joseph Smith Papers Project, specifically Volume 4 of "The Joseph Smith Papers Revelations and Translations." The article is entitled: "Fantasy and Reality in the Translation of the Book of Abraham."

Gee's main attack targets are recently retired BYU professor Brian Hauglid and current LDS church employee Robin Jensen.

- Why would a BYU professor be attacking the work of the Joseph Smith Papers project - both of which are owned and controlled by the LDS Church?

- What issues are at stake in this battle between old style and new style Mormon apologists?

Join me and Radio Free Mormon on Friday at 11:15am Utah time as we discuss the history and details of this "civil war" within the world of Mormon apologetics.

Direct download: MormonStories-1397-Civil_War.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:12pm MST

Please join me as I interview Dr. William L. Davis about his book "Visions in a Seer Stone: Joseph Smith and the Making of the Book of Mormon."

In this interdisciplinary work, William L. Davis examines Joseph Smith's 1829 creation of the Book of Mormon, the foundational text of the Latter Day Saint movement. Positioning the text within the history of early American oratorical techniques, sermon culture, educational practices, and the passion for self-improvement, Davis elucidates both the fascinating cultural contexts for the creation of the Book of Mormon and the central role of oral culture in early nineteenth-century America.

Drawing on performance studies, religious studies, literary culture, and the history of early American education, Davis analyzes Smith’s process of oral composition. How did he produce a history spanning a period of 1,000 years, filled with hundreds of distinct characters and episodes, all cohesively tied together in an overarching narrative? Eyewitnesses claimed that Smith never looked at notes, manuscripts, or books—he simply spoke the words of this American religious epic into existence. Judging the truth of this process is not Davis's interest. Rather, he reveals a kaleidoscope of practices and styles that converged around Smith's creation, with an emphasis on the evangelical preaching styles popularized by the renowned George Whitefield and John Wesley.

William L. Davis, an independent scholar, holds a Ph.D. in theater and performance and has published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; John Bunyan Studies: A Journal of Reformation and Nonconformist Culture; Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies; Style; Text and Performance Quarterly; and Textual Cultures.

Dr. William L. Davis’ book, “Visions in a Seer Stone: Joseph Smith and the Making of the Book of Mormon” can be purchased in the following ways:

University of North Carolina Press

Amazon

Direct download: MormonStories-1396-William_L._Davis.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 11:47am MST

For those who really care about Mormon Stories Podcast, and particularly for those who donate, please provide feedback when you can.

Thanks!

John

Direct download: MormonStories-1395-UMFeedback.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 4:14pm MST

Please join me as Neon Trees front man Tyler Glenn and award-winning pianist and composer Paul Cardall return to Mormon Stories Podcast to premiere a new music video: "I Know It Hurts", from Paul Cardall's memoir-style album "The Broken Miracle." We would welcome your questions for Tyler and Paul during this live Q&A.
 
“I Know It Hurts” was co-written by Cardall and Glenn after they met several years ago at the famed LOVELOUD Festival, where they were both performing. Glenn is co-founder of the festival, alongside Imagine Dragon’s Dan Reynolds.
 
“Before writing this song, Tyler and I discussed at length the challenges we all feel that result from trauma,” Cardall explains. “In my case, though my heart transplant was a beautifully orchestrated miracle, it was still the grand finale to a lot of years of medical trauma. It triggered anxiety and depression. For everyone who is suffering, not necessarily physically, but because they are different or feel like an outsider, I want to say to them, ‘I know it hurts.’ This song acknowledges that you are not alone. This song validates our feelings in a way that says, ‘keep going, keep fighting, we understand.’”
 
Glenn adds,
 
“I wanted the lyric and performance of this song to convey a sense of understanding how it feels to get through a trauma or heartache. So much of life for many is the search for a sense of belonging, a sense of self-worth. This song feels more like an acknowledgement of that, and I hope it brings a feeling of being seen and comforted. I hope those in pain from whatever it may be, feel a sense of validation.”
 
The video, directed by Rob Norbutt, is in stark black and white, the simplicity of which amplifies the power of the message:
 
You’ve been floating out in space
You just wanted to believe
There were tears upon your face
And your body felt no ease
Dear God is there not more
Cuz it’s cold on the church floor
 
Cardall’s new album is more than a colorful collection of 19 emotionally-charged songs. The Broken Miracle is a musical memoir, a personal manifesto that celebrates a life filled with nearly unfathomable tragedy and heady triumph. An enthusiastic collaborator, Cardall welcomes an all-star cast of creative partners on The Broken Miracle. The title track was penned with Christian music veteran Matt Hammitt and Carter Forge, and is sung by Hammitt. “Broken Machine” features singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata’s vocals on the tune Cardall co-wrote with Yamagata and Trevor Price. In addition to Glenn, the project also includes appearances by Ty Herndon, J. Daniel, and Akelee; while pop star David Archuleta sings the power-ballad “My Heart Beats for You.” His collaboration with Thompson Square on “All I See is Snow” was declared “ the Christmas song of the pandemic.”
 
Cardall’s evolution as an artist continues with the release of The Broken Miracle, a title inspired by his true-to-life story of being born with a congenital heart defect, which nearly took his life numerous times. Cardall received a heart transplant 10 years ago and continues to thrive as a father, husband, and artist. The Broken Miracle will also be released as a biographical fiction novel written by J.D. Netto. The book will be released February 2.
Direct download: MormonStories-1394-GlennCardall.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 5:25pm MST

Join us for a review of Fiona and Terryl Givens' new book: "All Things New: Rethinking Sin, Salvation, and Everything in Between."

According to Amazon: "In this book, Fiona and Terryl Givens trace the roots of our religious vocabulary, explore how a flawed inheritance compounds the wounds and challenges of a life devoted to discipleship, and suggest ways of reformulating our language in more healthy ways all in the hope that, as B. H. Roberts urged, we may all cooperate in the works of the Spirit to find a truer expression of a gospel restored." Panelists include Jana Spangler, Anthony D. Miller, and Brittney Hartley.

Direct download: MormonStories-1392-AllThingsNew.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 8:50am MST

After being raised by an orthodox Mormon mother and a "redneck, somewhat Jack Mormon Pioneer stock dad," Gretchen Day decided that she was going to be an "all in" Mormon mother.  After getting engaged at age 19 (as a BYU Freshman), Gretchen went on to get married in the LDS temple, and to fulfill many of the stereotypes of a Utah County Ultra-Orthodox Mormon mother, including:

  • Having 8 children.
  • Homeschooling her children using Book of Mormon-based curriculum.
  • Raising her children with little to no media.
  • Imposing strict "modesty" guidelines on her children (mostly her daughters).
  • Doing at least one underwater home birth.
  • Pursuing strict dietary practices ("perfect eating) such as restricting sugar, eating only raw, vegan foods, etc.

Over time, Gretchen's ultra-orthodox Mormon dream began to crumble in several different ways:

  • She began to experience serious depression.
  • She started making serious life decisions based on "spiritual experiences" based on feelings -- that may not have been very healthy for her (in hindsight).
  • Some of her children started to lose their testimonies of the church.
  • She had a son who became seriously depressed and ultimately suicidal, based in part on inhumane "worthiness" interviews conducted by well-intentioned bishops, mission, and stake presidents - who were/are operating within an abusive system.  This included feeling pressure to lie about his faith crisis to his home ward and BYU bishop, in order to keep his place at BYU and to stay in good standing with the church.
  • She began learning about factual Mormon church history (e.g., polygamy, Book of Mormon problems), which became deeply triggering for her.

As Gretchen's faith began to crumble, she started to feel trapped within the Utah County Mormon bubble.

  • Should she lie to her son about her faith journey, as he was preparing to leave on his mission, or should she be honest with him and risk spoiling his experience?
  • Was she trapped in a "Mormon mafia" of sorts, with no escape?
  • Should she "come out" to fellow ward members and leadership, and risk social ostracization?
  • Or should she quietly "fade away" from church activity to avoid any conflict?

In Gretchen's case, she decided to leave the church in a very vocal fashion.  This has included:

If you are seeking a powerful, inspiring story of one ultra-orthodox Utah county Mother's journey out of Mormonism, this is it.  If you enjoyed the interviews of folks like Donna Showalter, Leah Young, you will deeply treasure this interview (but only after it breaks your heart).

Direct download: MormonStories-1392-GretchenDay.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 1:09pm MST

Gregory Barnes is a Mormon filmmaker and artist raised in Oak Park, Illinois. He studied film at BYU and served a Mormon mission in Argentina. Raised a faithful Mormon, Gregory was influenced by the comedic absurdity of exiting that Jell-O-obsessed desert religion.

Gregory currently is a Master’s Student at TISCH at NYU where he made his most recent short film The Touch of the Master’s Hand -- a dark comedy about a Mormon missionary who confesses an unusual pornography addiction to his mission president. The film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

Gregory's work has been featured by NPR, Playboy, and Pitchfork.

Clip from movie: https://letterboxd.com/festiville/story/exclusive-clip-greg-barnes-mormon-masturbation/?fbclid=IwAR1wLkfTSrP06TpCoMac0ccOdq_uKWvikcPE_ODomZ8gACJCBfwz-h939rI

https://fpg.festival.sundance.org/film-info/5fd1639604818b0ec7648fa7?fbclid=IwAR0_XlPZxkvM_JkWJbl3NrZV7EHJIdr5b-cZLmDzUAqWQlbBB0krBYjOTKo

https://www.gregorybarnes.com 

Direct download: MormonStories-1391-TouchOfTheMastersHand.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 8:50am MST

After losing your orthodox Mormon faith, have you given up on the possibility of any sort of belief in and/or association with "God" or "Jesus"? More importantly, are you seeking to fill some of the existential and/or spiritual holes left over after your faith crisis?

Today I sit down with John Hamer, Community of Christ Seventy and pastor of the Community of Christ Toronto Congregation to talk about why he thinks theists especially, but also some atheists have adopted a counterproductive position about the idea of "God." We'll also discuss why he thinks this is even a relevant conversation to have in the 21st century. Didn't rational people hash this all out in the Enlightenment? John Hamer believes that the majority of Christians including many intellectual leaders of the movement took a wrong turn centuries ago and with negative consequences for the whole path of Western civilization today. He proposes going back and exploring an alternative path, including opening up the term "God" as a variable in need of undefinition and reexamination. What, if anything, might this accomplish?

Tune in and pose your own questions and objections.

Direct download: MormonStories-1390-UndefiningGod.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 10:50am MST

John Larsen is one of the most influential and well-respected figures within Modern progressive and post-Mormon communities.  John (along with his ex-wife Zilpha) was the co-host of Mormon Expression podcast for several years, and he is an occasional host of Sunstone Podcast.  He has appeared on Mormon Stories Podcast several times over the past decade.

In today's episode I bring John Larson back, and we discuss several topics, including:

-Divorce after a faith crisis.

-Raising children with mental illness after a faith crisis.

-Alcohol and drug use after a faith crisis.

-Non-monogamy/swinging after a faith crisis.

-The LDS Church's response to the COVID pandemic.

-The impact of the QAnon phenomenon within the United States, and within the LDS Church.

-How conservative politics within the U.S. are tearing apart some Utah wards and families.

-What it would take to bring John Larsen back as a podcaster.

-The need for kindness within both political and religious discourse, and how challenging this can be.

John Larsen is one of my favorite thinkers in modern Mormonism, and is a fantastic guest.  you will not be disappointed with this episode.

=============

Some of the Mormon Expression episodes mention in this episode include:

-Episode 27: The Word of Wisdom for Dummies

-Episode 95a: Doctrine and Covenants 132 for Dummies Part 1

-Episode 95b: Doctrine and Covenants 132 for Dummies part 2

-Episode 275: How to Become an Ex-ex-Mormon

-Episode 276: How to build a transoceanic vessel

 

John's past Mormon Stories Podcast episode include:

-Episodes 186-187: "Mormon Stories Broadcasts Live with John Larsen and You!"

-Episode 312: Mormon Expression Interviews John Dehlin

-Episode 531: "John Larsen's Mormon Expression"

-Episode 1097: "Building Community after Mormonism: A Conversation with John Larsen"

Direct download: MormonStories-1389-JohnLarsen2021.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 1:36pm MST

In this short Mormon Stories Episode I sat down with Trent Told, who created a prototype of Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon Plates. Based on Dan Vogel’s theories surrounding the “Tin Plates” and the Book of Mormon, Trent created a proof of concept model of the Book of Mormon made out of tin, in order to help demonstrate the physical size and weight of the plates. This model is also intended to help illustrate complexity and improbability that Joesph Smith could have possessed and handled actual Gold Plates (let alone run with them).

Direct download: MormonStories-1388-Recreating_BOM.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 12:06pm MST

Join me today for one of my favorite Mormon Stories Podcast interviews/interviewees of all time. In today's episode, Stanford University graduate student Amy McPhie Allebest returns to discuss the development of patriarchy within human civilization, with a specific focus on the religious context. She also announces her new podcast entitled "Breaking Down Patriarchy - An Essential Texts Book Club."

Patriarchy has incredibly deep roots in the human condition, and harms everyone - especially women, but also men, youth, and children. This episode is for ALL of us, and you will not be disappointed with Amy's incredible knowledge, insight, and compassion.

The Oxford Dictionary defines patriarchy as "a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it." All cultures all over the world practice patriarchy, sometimes violently, sometimes seemingly benevolently, sometimes in ways we are so accustomed to that we don't even notice. But when was patriarchy instituted? How? Why? Who has challenged this system, and how have their critiques changed the world?

Breaking Down Patriarchy: An Essential Texts Book Club answers these questions, as well as addressing the very personal ways that patriarchy impacts our lives and relationships. Every week, an intelligent, insightful, relatable guest joins host Amy McPhie Allebest to read and discuss a historical text. Listeners are invited to read the book ahead of time, but even if they are not able to read, Amy and her reading partners provide a thorough "breakdown" of the issues and powerful, practical takeaways that benefit the real lives of women - and men! - everywhere.

Check out the introductory episode to hear about the reading list, and the egalitarian vision that aims to foster the flourishing of all human beings, including boys and men.

Amy's Bio: I grew up in Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, reading, writing, drawing, singing, and practicing the piano and violin. I attended Brigham Young University, where I met Erik Allebest during my first week of freshman year, studied abroad in Israel, lived in Chile for a year and a half as a missionary, and married Erik all before graduating with a degree in English. Erik and I moved around - to Colorado, Southern California, Utah, Spain, and Northern California - while Erik started and ran chess businesses for a living (primarily chess.com) and I stayed home to raise our four children. Those four kids have become brilliant, hilarious people and are our very best friends. I am a long-time trail runner, a recent CrossFitter, a lifelong reader and writer, and an almost-graduate of Stanford University's Master's of Liberal Arts program.

Web Site Link: www.breakingdownpatriarchy.com

Facebook Page: facebook.com/breakingdownpatriarchy

Instagram: @bdownpatriarchy

Twitter: @bdownpatriarchy #patriarchy #feminism #mormon

Direct download: MormonStories-1387-BreakingDownPatriarchy.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 11:41am MST

In my opinion, one of the most damaging books ever published by the Mormon Church is Spencer W. Kimball’s “The Miracle of Forgiveness.” Among other things, this book teaches that:

  • No young Mormon man or woman is worthy to go on a mission if they masturbate.
  • Masturbation alone leads to masturbation with others, which leads to “homosexuality.”
  • Being gay or lesbian is “ugly,” “repugnant,” and comparable to a disease.
  • “Homosexuality” leads to bestiality.
  • “Homosexuality” can be easily “cured.”
  • People who have pre-marital sex, and even rape victims, are “blighted” and “scarred.”
  • It is far better to die than to lose one’s “virtue.”
  • Death by suicide is a sign of foolishness, faithlessness and/or weakness and/or sin.

To be clear, this book is currently sold at Deseret Book, and remains on the book shelves of hundreds of thousands of Mormons across the world.

In this short presentation, I offer my brief argument for why I believe that “The Miracle of Forgiveness” should be removed from Deseret Book, and I let listeners and viewers know what they can do to help. I also share my thoughts on what the Mormon Church can do to help “atone” for selling this damaging book for several decades.

How You Can Help:

  • Share this Presentation.
  • Email Deseret Book:
    • service@deseretbook.com
    • mediainquiry@deseretbook.com
    • hrdept@deseretbook.com
  • Call Deseret Book
    • 1-800-453-4532 (Toll-Free US and Canada)
    • 1-801-517-3369 (International)
  • Speak to any influencers you know.
  • Do what you can to remove this book from the access of people who might be vulnerable (book shelves, etc.).
  • Please share with me/us what you did, and the reactions.
  • Remember the date: 1/18/2021.
  • Monitor deseretbook.com for when they take the book down.
  • I will throw a party when it’s gone (likely this summer post-COVID)

P.S. This is a re-recording to make the video less “ranty,” and to remove the discussion of book bans and book burnings, which is not useful. HUGE thanks to everyone who gave feedback on this. I always want to be a constructive voice.

Direct download: MormonStories-1386-Miracle_of_Forgiveness_Re-Record.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05pm MST

Please join me and Radio Free Mormon for a discussion of “Laura A. Gaddy vs. the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” – a class action lawsuit currently before the United States District Court for the District of Utah, with Robert J. Shelby as the Presiding Judge.

The main purpose of the case is as follows: “The case seeks certification as a class action based upon the large number of former Mormons who have been deceived by Defendant COP’s fraud, as a result of the Mormon Corporate Empire’s longstanding coordinated lies and material omissions about its history as well as lies about its use of tithing donations and how it would use that tithing in the future.”

Two of the main documents central to the case can be found here (for your review):

Click here to contact Kay Burningham (the attorney on this case), or to follow this case.

Financial donations to support the past and ongoing expenses for the case can be made here.

P.S.  One primary motivator for this episode is to fundraise for Radio Free Mormon so that he can be supported in his podcasting efforts, and so that we can keep him around for a very long time.  Please click here to become a monthly donor to Radio Free Mormon.

Direct download: MormonStories-1385-Gaddy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14pm MST

In a recent video released by paid actors supported by FAIRMormon and the More Good Foundation, Kwaku El, Brad Witbeck, and Cardon Ellis make the claim that I and Mormon Stories (and Jeremy Runnells) are intentionally "homewrecking for profit" with the work we do.

In an attempt to combat this hurtful claim, I reached out to our amazing Mormon Stories Listeners, requesting your help by sharing if/how Mormon Stories Podcast has helped your family. I have been deeply honored and humbled by the overwhelming support we have received, and would like to personally thank each one of you that were brave enough to share your own “Mormon Story” with me.

Mormon Stories podcast seeks to understand, explore, challenge, and improve the Mormon experience through stories, and has never had the intention of harming families in any way. In fact, we strive to support and mend family relationships by promoting healthy communication skills and unconditional love.

The primary objectives of Mormon Stories podcast include:

  1. Providing support to Mormons who are transitioning away from either orthodox Mormonism, or from Mormonism altogether, with a particular emphasis on:
    • Minimizing the anxiety, depression, and occasional suicidality that can accompany a transition away from religious orthodoxy.
    • Reducing the number of unnecessary divorces attributable to Mormon faith crises.
    • Creating a community of support for liberal/progressive and post-Mormons.
  2. Building greater awareness regarding accurate LDS/Mormon church history, doctrine, and theology – so that both active, believing Mormons and investigators of the church can make informed decisions regarding their investment in, and engagement with the church.
  3. Identifying opportunities for growth/improvement within the LDS church, and within broader Mormon culture.

Mormon Stories Podcast by no means benefits from the destruction of families, and we are saddened to see our community mis-represented in this way. It is my hope that the personal accounts represented in this video will be evidence of how Mormon Stories has actually benefited the lives of our listeners, and lay to rest the claim that Jeremy Runnells and myself have ever participated in “homewrecking for profit.”

Thank you.

Direct download: MormonStories-1384-Testimonials.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:23pm MST

Recently two friends of mine (Liz Cannon and Ray Purcell) asked to interview me about my role and experiences over the past 20 years trying to support people experiencing a Mormon faith crisis.

This is our interview.

Note: This interview is not a "typical" Mormon Stories Podcast interview, in that it warrants a PG-13 "rating" due to some adult language and topics in the interview.  Listener and viewer discretion is advised.

I hope you enjoy.

Direct download: MormonStories-1382-LizAndRay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am MST

My reaction to yesterday's riot at the U.S. Capitol (January 6, 2021).

Direct download: MormonStories-1382-MormonismAndTrumpism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm MST

Jim Bennett is the author of "A Faithful Reply to the CES Letter." He is also the son of the late Utah U.S. Senator Bob Bennett.

In Part 5 of a multi-part series with Jim, I bring to Jim listener/viewer questions, along with several questions/observations of my own, into a passionate, 4 hour final conversation.

If you were frustrated that I gave Jim "a pass" in the previous episodes, you may be more satisfied with this episode.

Direct download: MormonStories-1381-JimBennettPt5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am MST

Jim Bennett is the author of "A Faithful Reply to the CES Letter."  He is also the son of the late Utah U.S. Senator Bob Bennett.

In Part 4 of a multi-part series with Jim, we discuss in-depth his approach to maintaining belief in the Mormon church AFTER exposure to all of the historical and social problems currently vexing the LDS church, as highlighted in Jeremy Runnell's groundbreaking book "CES Letter: My Search for Answers to my Mormon Doubts."

Today's episode covers:

  • Women and the church and the Ordain Women movement.
  • The Mormon church's approach to "Law of Chastity" issues including pornography, masturbation, and one-on-one "worthiness interviews."
  • The Mormon church's handling and mishandling of sexual abuse cases.
  • The Mormon church's treatment (including excommunication) of activists and critics.
  • A closing discussion of the faith crisis "epidemic" within the modern LDS church, and Jim's opinions about the best way to handle the situation.

To thank Jim for his participation so far in this series, please email him at: jim@canonizer.com.

Direct download: MormonStories-1380-JimBennettPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm MST

1