Mormon Stories - LDS

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 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:

Facebook Page:

Instagram: @bdownpatriarchy

Twitter: @bdownpatriarchy #patriarchy #feminism #mormon

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

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:
  • 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 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:Religion -- posted at: 12:05pm MDT

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:Religion -- posted at: 2:14pm MDT

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:Religion -- posted at: 3:23pm MDT

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:Religion -- posted at: 11:48am MDT

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

Direct download: MormonStories-1382-MormonismAndTrumpism.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 2:37pm MDT

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:Religion -- posted at: 9:53am MDT

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:

Direct download: MormonStories-1380-JimBennettPt4.mp3
Category:Religion -- posted at: 3:55pm MDT