Mormon Stories - LDS

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

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 2 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:

  • Joseph Smith's polygamy.
  • Racism in the Book of Mormon.
  • The LDS Church priesthood and temple ban on members of African descent.
  • The LDS Church's teachings regarding LGBTQ members and same-sex marriage.
  • What is the role/need for Mormon prophets?

Also, please do not miss my dear friend Bill Reel's super in-depth interview with Jim if you happened to miss it.

Direct download: MormonStories-1379-JimBennettPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:26pm 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 2 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:

  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Witnesses to the Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Abraham
  • The Kinderhook Plates
  • The First Vision
  • And much, much more!

Also, please do not miss my dear friend Bill Reel's super in-depth interview with Jim if you happened to miss it.

Direct download: MormonStories-1378-JimBennettPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm 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 1 of a multi-part series with Jim, we discuss in-depth his approach to maintaining belief in the Mormon church AFTER exposure to 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:

  • How/why to continue believing in God after a Mormon crisis of faith.
  • How/why to continue believing in Jesus after a Mormon crisis of faith.
  • What it means to Jim to be a fallible Mormon prophet.
  • How Jim views the claim that the Mormon church is the "one true church."
  • Jim's condemnation of FAIRMormon's recent YouTube videos attacking Jeremy Runnells and me.
Direct download: MormonStories-1377-JimBennettPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am MST

Are you looking for a story of hope and love to end this gosh-forsaken year? Here you go.

WordPerfect co-founder and philanthropist Bruce Bastian (interviewed here and here) never expected to find love again after his mixed-orientation Mormon marriage dissolved.

Then he met Clint Ford.

This is an epic love story for the ages, folks. So hopeful. So inspiring. I hope you enjoy!!!! And I hope that this story makes you as happy as it made me.

Direct download: MormonStories-1376-BruceAndClint.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19pm MST

Ten years ago I interviewed WordPerfect co-founder and philanthropist Bruce Bastian, wherein we discussed his life growing up as gay Mormon boy in Idaho, his years at WordPerfect, his journey "coming out" as a gay Mormon father in the 1990s, and his early efforts to support LGBTQ rights.

Since this first interview, Bruce became even more active in fighting for LGBTQ equality in the United States, continuing his involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and supporting LGBTQ equality in Utah - all of which meaningfully contributed to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States in 2015.

Recently I sat down again with Bruce to record a history of these past 10 years from his perspective.  I hope you enjoy!

Direct download: MormonStories-1375-BruceBastianEquality.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:46am MST

Today, Anthony Miller, Jana Spangler and Brittney Hartley join us to discuss the topic of navigating and enjoying Christmas after a Mormon faith crisis.

Direct download: MormonStories-1374-ChristmasAfterAFaithCrisis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm MST

Zelph on the Shelf is one of the most successful YouTube channels in history dedicated to exploring Mormonism in thoughtful and entertaining ways.

 

Five years ago I sat down with Samantha Shelley and Tanner Gilliland to discuss their loss of faith as "Mormon Millennials." That episode was extremely well-received at the time, and was highly influential in the journey of tens of thousands of Mormons, including Tyler Glenn (lead singer of Neon Trees).

Today's episode with Tanner and Samantha will be in two parts:

Part 1: Samantha and Tanner discuss the evolution and impact of Zelph on the Shelf over the past 5 years.

Part 2 (My favorite part): Samantha and Tanner discuss how they have healed and grown over the past 5 years in many of the domains most salient to transitioning Mormons, including: creativity, community, identity, mental health, spirituality, sexuality, finding meaning/purpose in their lives, and in thoughts about death and the afterlife.

Part 3: We end this interview by discussing Tanner and Samantha's perspective on the recent Mormon apologetic content released by FAIRMormon, featuring controversial apologist Kwaku El.

I found Samantha and Tanner to be incredibly thoughtful and wise, and am confident that you will thoroughly enjoy this episode.

Direct download: MormonStories-1373-ZelphOnTheShelf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm MST

Recently, the Mormon apologetic organization FAIRMormon has released several aggressive new videos via their YouTube Channel starring the actors Kwaku El, Cardon Ellis, and Brad Witbeck. These videos are intended to appeal to younger Latter-day saints, but also launch aggressive attacks against me (John Dehlin) and Jeremy Runnells (author of the CES Letter). The historical accuracy/honesty of these videos has also been called into question by many.

Today we interview Anthony D. Miller - a wise and thoughtful post-Mormon - about these latest events. Some of the topics we hope to cover are listed below. We would also welcome your questions/comments.

Topics for today:

  1. Motivations behind Mormon apologetics.
  2. Differences between Mormon apologetics and critical scholarship
  3. Contrast traditional apologetics and more progressive, nuanced apologetics
  4. Examples of people who have shifted from apologetics towards critical scholarship, and their explanations as to “the why.”
  5. Examples of people who engage with critical scholarship, but operate within Mormonism with a mostly a metaphorical paradigm with an apologetic bent.
  6. Contrast how GenZ, Millennials, GenX, and Baby Boomers engage with information.
  7. How GenZ at times experiences fragility, catastrophizing, call-out culture, and perception of violence in speech, and how these things affect engagement with apologetics and scholarship. (Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Coddling of the American Mind).
  8. Current spectrum of apologetics
  9. Approaches and methods for distribution
    1. Firesides and conferences
    2. Radical Orthodoxy proclamation, Deznat, etc.
    3. Adaptations to respond to social media, YouTube, TikTok
  10. What we might expect going forward
  11. Will this approach work? Will it backfire? Is it ethical?
Direct download: MormonStories-1372-AnthonyMillerApologetics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am MST

Recently I was super fortunate to sit down with reality tv stars Heather Gay and Dre Nord - who are both currently appearing on BravoTV's "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."  In this three-part series, we focus on Heather and Dre's life experiences within the context of Mormonism (and Utah Mormonism). 

Part 1 covers...

  • Heather and Dre's early years as devout Mormons.
  • Dre's marriage, divorce, and faith crisis as a Mormon in her early 20s.  This includes how Dre navigated her life as a divorced single ex-Mormon Utah Mom without a college degree.
  • Heather's experiences at BYU and serving an LDS mission in France.
  • Heather's somewhat challenging efforts to find a faithful Mormon husband (Billy Gay).
  • Dre shares how she almost lost her mother to death by suicide, in part due to pressures of "perfectionism" that many Mormon women experience.
  • Heather shares some of the reactions she has received from members of the Mormon and ex-Mormon communities, as well as from the Utah LGBTQ community, regarding her participation in the show.

https://youtu.be/svHV0bQEHwA

Part 2 covers... 

  • Heather's marriage to Billy Gay III, which culminated in Heather becoming Relief Society President ended in divorce.
  • How Heather and Dre met, and how they were able to build a successful, multi-million dollar business together (Beauty Lab Laser) as divorced Mormon single women in Utah.
  • Dre shares the tragic story of losing her brother to suicide last year, and how she and Heather created a 501c3 non-profit called "Don't Leave" to help "break the stigma around mental health."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtUYWOc_JOo&feature=youtu.be

Part 3 covers...

  • Heather's struggle to accept the end of her "Eternal Marriage," which included years of denial.
  • Heather's life as a divorced single Mom, which included experimentation with things she never considered trying as a devout Mormon (e.g. alcohol).
  • How Heather's perspective on Mormonism changed once she became dear friends with two wonderful gay Mormon men.
  • Heather and Dre discuss their opinions about how harmful the LDS Church's doctrine around LGBTQ members is.
  • Heather and Dre also discuss the ways in which the LDS Church's "Proclamation on the Famly" harms not only LGBTQ members, but also Mormon women/girls and men/boys as well.
  • Heather discusses her current struggle to reconcile her longstanding orthodox Mormon beliefs as they conflict with her developing beliefs about life.

This is a heartwarming, epic, and inspiring story of resilience.  I was deeply moved by this vulnerability, wisdom, courage, and resilience of these inspiring women.

Please share any questions or comments you have for Heather and Dre below.

Direct download: MormonStories-1371-RHSLCPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:14pm MST

Recently I was super fortunate to sit down with reality tv stars Heather Gay and Dre Nord - who are both currently appearing on BravoTV's "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."  In this three-part series, we focus on Heather and Dre's life experiences within the context of Mormonism (and Utah Mormonism). 

Part 1 covers...

  • Heather and Dre's early years as devout Mormons.
  • Dre's marriage, divorce, and faith crisis as a Mormon in her early 20s.  This includes how Dre navigated her life as a divorced single ex-Mormon Utah Mom without a college degree.
  • Heather's experiences at BYU and serving an LDS mission in France.
  • Heather's somewhat challenging efforts to find a faithful Mormon husband (Billy Gay).
  • Dre shares how she almost lost her mother to death by suicide, in part due to pressures of "perfectionism" that many Mormon women experience.
  • Heather shares some of the reactions she has received from members of the Mormon and ex-Mormon communities, as well as from the Utah LGBTQ community, regarding her participation in the show.

https://youtu.be/svHV0bQEHwA

Part 2 covers... 

  • Heather's marriage to Billy Gay III, which culminated in Heather becoming Relief Society President ended in divorce.
  • How Heather and Dre met, and how they were able to build a successful, multi-million dollar business together (Beauty Lab Laser) as divorced Mormon single women in Utah.
  • Dre shares the tragic story of losing her brother to suicide last year, and how she and Heather created a 501c3 non-profit called "Don't Leave" to help "break the stigma around mental health."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtUYWOc_JOo&feature=youtu.be

Part 3 covers...

  • Heather's struggle to accept the end of her "Eternal Marriage," which included years of denial.
  • Heather's life as a divorced single Mom, which included experimentation with things she never considered trying as a devout Mormon (e.g. alcohol).
  • How Heather's perspective on Mormonism changed once she became dear friends with two wonderful gay Mormon men.
  • Heather and Dre discuss their opinions about how harmful the LDS Church's doctrine around LGBTQ members is.
  • Heather and Dre also discuss the ways in which the LDS Church's "Proclamation on the Famly" harms not only LGBTQ members, but also Mormon women/girls and men/boys as well.
  • Heather discusses her current struggle to reconcile her longstanding orthodox Mormon beliefs as they conflict with her developing beliefs about life.

This is a heartwarming, epic, and inspiring story of resilience.  I was deeply moved by this vulnerability, wisdom, courage, and resilience of these inspiring women.

Please share any questions or comments you have for Heather and Dre below.

Direct download: MormonStories-1370-RHSLCPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:20pm MST

Mormon Stories Listeners,

I really need your help.  The Mormon Church is funneling millions of dollars each year into non-profit "charities" like the More Good Foundation and FAIRMormon to smear my name and Jeremy Runnell's name, in hopes of destroying the positive impact of Mormon Stories Podcast.  Watch any cult documentary.  It's what cults do.

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.  Here's a clip of their lies.

https://youtu.be/3jYZNBwsS3Q?t=86

I could really use your help in the following way:

  • Please record a short video or write out a paragraph or two describing if/how Mormon Stories Podcast has helped (or harmed) your family.
  • Feel free to include what role (if any) the LDS Church, and/or apologetic sites like FAIRMormon played in promoting family health and unity, or in harming your family.
  • Please email your videos to me here: mormonstories@gmail.com, or you can message them to me on Facebook.
  • Or if you prefer to write your story, please do so in the comments below.
  • Please know that these videos and/or this text could be used publicly.

This would mean the world to me, and will help blunt the lies that FAIRMormon, Cardon, Kwaku, Brad, and the More Good Foundation are telling people.

Thank you so, so much for your support.

John Dehlin


Recently I was super fortunate to sit down with reality tv stars Heather Gay and Dre Nord - who are both currently appearing on BravoTV's "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

In this two-part series, we focus on Heather and Dre's experiences as Mormons.  Topics covered in today's episode include:

  • Heather and Dre's early years as devout Mormons.
  • Dre's marriage, divorce, and faith crisis as a Mormon in her early 20s.
  • Heather's experiences at BYU and serving an LDS mission in France.
  • Heather's somewhat challenging efforts to find a faithful Mormon husband (Billy Gay).
  • Heather also provides glimpses into her emerging Mormon faith crisis, which she is currently in the middle of processing.
  • Heather shares some of the reactions she has received from members of the Mormon and ex-Mormon communities, as well as from the Utah LGBTQ community, regarding her participation in the show.

This is a heartwarming and inspiring story of resilience.  I was deeply moved by this vulnerability, wisdom, courage, and resilience of these inspiring women.

Next week we plan to share Part 2 of this interview, which will cover:

  • Heather's marriage to Billy Gay III, which ended in divorce.
  • Dre's life as a single Mom in Utah.
  • How Heather and Dre met, and how they were able to build a successful, multi-million dollar business together as divorce Mormon single women in Utah (Beauty Lab Laser).
  • Heather will go into more detail about her Mormon faith crisis.
  • Heather and Dre will share their perspectives on life today, as highly successful entrepreneurial non-practicing Mormon single moms in Utah.
Direct download: MormonStories-1369-RealHousewivesPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36am MST

In today’s episode we will provide an overview of several LDS church apologetic non-profits, and discuss recent concerns about dishonesty, mean-spiritedness, and the incitement of violence by some people associated with these Mormon apologist non-profits. The Mormon apologetic non-profits that we will be discussing today include: the More Good Foundation, the Mormon Interpreter Foundation, Book of Mormon Central, and FAIRMormon.

Direct download: MormonApologistNon-Profits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm MST

Paul Cardall battled long odds from birth, eventually triumphing over a serious heart disability to earn distinction as an outstanding composer and pianist. In 1997 he first won widespread notice by setting author Richard Paul Evans’ No. 1 NY Times best-seller The Christmas Box to music. Cardall’s achievements range from releasing 11 chart-topping albums, winning the Gospel Music Association Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the Year, collaborating with Grammy-winning singer CeCe Winans, Audrey Assad, The Piano Guys among other distinguished artists.

With over 2 billion streams, Cardall is one of the most listened to Steinway & Sons sponsored artist in music business. His entrepreneurial activities include founding and directing the Stone Angel Music label and recording studio, promoting medical research and providing scholarships for congenital heart disease through his foundation. Cardall’s music has included works for piano, vocal, band and orchestral settings. On his latest album, Peaceful Piano, he returns to his solo performance roots while exploring complete real-time improvisation for the first time.

Paul's Mormon story includes:

  • Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, learning to "fit in" as a child and youth with a heart condition.
  • Serving an LDS mission, and marrying in an LDS temple.
  • Paul's rise to celebrity as a piano performer - first in Salt Lake City, then joining the LDS Church speaking/inspiration circuit, and ultimately becoming a world-renowned musician, with hundreds of millions of Spotify downloads.
  • Paul's receipt of a human heart transplant, and his recovery.
  • Paul's struggles to maintain a healthy/happy marriage, ultimately leading to his disfellowshipment from the LDS Church and a shaming public divorce.
  • Paul's remarriage to a non-LDS woman, and his invitation to co-author a Mormon hymn with LDS Church apostle David A. Bednar called "One by One."
  • Paul's loss of testimony in the LDS Church, and his discovery of a new faith in traditional, non-denominational Christianity.

Cardall’s story is continuing to evolve as an artist, author and humanitarian. His upcoming album The Broken Miracle, which will be available for pre-order this December, was inspired by J.D. Netto’s biographical fictional novel, based on real events in the artists life from being born with only half a heart, enduring a series of surgeries, which culminated in a heart transplant. While waiting for a donor heart, the pianist’s brother was tragically killed. The album will feature several award-winning guests including David Archuleta, Ty Herndon, Thompson Square, Neon Tress’ Tyler Glenn and more.

We hope you enjoy this episode!  Paul is a fantastic human.

Direct download: MormonStories-1367-PaulCardall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44pm MST

In 2014 the LDS Church released an essay entitled "Race and the Priesthood" as part of its Gospel Topics Essays Initiative. This essay was groundbreaking in that it officially renounced past LDS racist teachings regarding blacks and the LDS Priesthood. This essay has been highly controversial. Some see it as groundbreaking positive progress. Some see it as deceptive and/or inadequate. Others lost their faith in the LDS Church because of it.

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we interview Dr. Matt Harris who recently published an analysis of the Race and Priesthood essay. Matt's essay is entitled "Whiteness Theology and the Evolution of Mormon Racial Teachings." This essay is contained within the newly released book entitled "The LDS Gospel Topics Series: A Scholarly Engagement" published by Signature Books (edited by Matt Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst).

Click here to purchase this very important book: https://www.amazon.com/LDS-Gospel-Topics-Scholarly-Engagement/dp/1560852879

Direct download: MormonStories-1357-MattHarrisRace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:07pm MST

Join me now as I interview historian Dr. Matt Harris about his new book entitled "The LDS Gospel Topics Series: A Scholarly Engagement" published by Signature Books. In this episode we will provide an overview of the book, and discuss the events that led to the release of the essays by the LDS Church.

Direct download: MormonStories-1356-GospelTopicsEssaysMattHarris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:28pm MST

In today's Mormon Stories Podcast episode legendary Utah journalist and investigator Lynn Packer discusses his recent investigation into possible fraud perpetrated by Utah Mormon Tim Ballard and Utah Mormon Attorney General Sean Reyes - as part of Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), which has raised over $30 million claiming to rescue children from sex trafficking.

Packer has raised concerns about Tim Ballard and Sean Reyes being involved in the following:

- Stockpiling $30M in donations that are not being used to save children.

- Excessive compensation to Tim Ballard (over $300k/year). - Unethical accounting that now is likely hiding Tim Ballard's total compensation.

- Lavish expenditures (e.g., first class flights, 5 star hotels, dramatic helicopter appearances) with no financial accountability about how funds are used.

- Using false statistics to over-state the prevalence of child sex trafficking worldwide to lure donors.

- Using excessive emotion and religious manipulation to lure donors, including claims to be called of God, and to be protected by God in OUR's work.

- Using affinity with Mormon celebrities like Mormon apostle M. Russell Ballard, Glenn Beck, and Elizabeth/Ed Smart to lure donors.

- Claiming credit for raids that they were not involved with. - Engaging in illegal and unsafe raids (jump teams) that often yield no positive results.

- Alleged unsavory behavior of jump team members, including illegal drug use during raids, sexual assault, etc.

- Drawing money and attention away from legitimate charities who are meaningfully providing solutions to the problems OUR decries.

- Victimizing and politicizing the suffering of children for political gain (Sean Reyes).

- Associating with and taking advantage of known false conspiracy theories like QAnon.

- Using the LDS Church's law firm (Kirton & McConkie) to intimidate and silence whistleblowers.

- In summary, manipulating wealthy donors through religious and patriotic emotion and misusing or misallocating funds, all on the backs of a very vulnerable population.

Lynn Packer is best know for accurately exposing Mormon General Authority Paul H. Dunn for lying to Mormon church members about made-up World War II heroics and about playing professional baseball, all of which led to Elder Dunn being prematurely fired as a General Authority (and which the Mormon church tried to cover up through intimidation).

Please join us if you have comments or questions for Lynn.

NOTE: This podcast is not asserting that any of these allegations are true. Only that Lynn is claiming to have gathered evidence in support of these positions.

Direct download: MormonStories-1364-TimBallardOUR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:26pm MST

Dear Mormon Stories Podcast Listeners,
 
Due to COVID-19, we have lost several donors in 2020.
 
Please help us keep Mormon Stories Podcast alive by donating today, tomorrow, #GivingTuesday, or any time over the next several weeks.
 
Facebook is matching donations made at or near 6am Mountain time tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. The Facebook Campaign link can be found here:
 
https://www.facebook.com/donate/936338056891340/936338066891339
 
Our Facebook goal is $20,000 for this year, and we are at $1000 at this point.
 
You can also donate directly here:
 
https://donorbox.org/mormon-stories?default_interval=m
 
Please help us stay alive if you are in a position to help!
Direct download: GivingTuesday2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am MST

Paul H. Dunn is one of the most beloved General Authorities in the history of the Mormon church. His vast popularity was based on his uncanny ability to tell gripping stories in General Conference, in firesides, in over a dozen books, and on cassette tapes about his time as a professional baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals, and about his career as a combat veteran in World War II.

The only problems were:

1) Paul Dunn made up these stories. They were literally untrue.

2) Paul Dunn made a great deal of money, and drew his fame from these false stories.

3) Paul Dunn used his fame/reputation to advance fraudulent business schemes.

Even more disturbing, however, were the lengths and breadths that the Mormon church went to, to suppress, cover-up, and kill this story - using its vast financial and legal resources.

This story only came to light because of one courageous Mormon journalist - Lynn Kenneth Packer - who coincidentally was the nephew of super powerful/influential Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer.

In the end, Lynn Packer was fired from his job as a BYU professor for his involvement in investigating and breaking the Paul H. Dunn story. And while this story was minimally covered in an Arizona newspaper and in Sunstone magazine at the time, TO THIS DAY Lynn Packer has never been granted an extensive media interview to tell this story.

Until today that is.

Direct download: MormonStories-1363-PaulHDunn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm MST

Join us now for Part 4 of our interview with legendary Mormon journalist Lynn Packer (nephew of Boyd K. Packer), wherein he will be sharing with us what it was like to cover the darker side of Mormonism or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a journalist. Some of the stories we will cover in this episode include those of: Mark Hofmann, Ervil LeBaron, the Lafferty brothers, and Ted Bundy.

Direct download: MormonStories-1362-LynnPackerPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:25pm MST

As part 3 in my interview with groundbreaking Mormon journalist Lynn Packer (nephew of Boyd K. Packer), I want to share with you a fascinating 30 minute video produced by Lynn, which provides essential background information to understand the following:

  1. The evolution of the LDS Church away from valuing thought, science, and scholarship (based on the influence of GA B.H. Roberts and others), and towards the prioritization of emotion-based orthodoxy and fundamentalism (based on the influence of J. Rueben Clark, Harold B. Lee, Joseph Fielding Smith, etc.)
  2. The careers of both LDS apostle Boyd K. Packer and GA Paul H. Dunn,  And,
  3. The eventual backlash against science and scholarship led by Boyd K. Packer from the 1980s through today, which led to the intentional hiding of factual LDS Church history, and the punishment of scholars and thinkers (from the September 6 to modern excommunicants like myself).

This 30 minute video will provide important background for the subsequent 3 episodes with Lynn.

Direct download: MormonStories-1361-LynnPackerPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm MST

Twelve years ago Adam Hughes was serving as a Mormon bishop in Northern Arizona and Marlana was a stay-at-home Mormon mother of four. Last year, Adam and Marlana were still active, believing, orthodox Mormons living in Tucson, Arizona. Only a few months ago, Adam and Marlana lost their faith in Mormonism, while their son was preparing to leave on his mission.

This is their story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1360-Hughes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07pm MST

Join me today in my series with Lynn Packer - journalist, investigative reporter, and nephew to the late LDS/Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer.

Lynn Packer was involved in many significant Utah news stories including that of forger/bomber Mark Hofmann and serial killer Ted Bundy. Lynn is perhaps most well known for his investigation of Mormon General Authority Paul H. Dunn. Lynn's investigation directly led to Elder Paul H. Dunn being put on Emeritus Status by the LDS Church First Presidency for repeatedly telling fabricated stories to the worldwide church membership.

  • In Part 1 we discuss the early life of Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packer, and his rise to power within the LDS Church.
  • In Part 2 we discuss Lynn Packer's life, and his perspectives on and interactions with Boyd K. Packer while he was working as a Utah investigative reporter (and while working at BYU).
  • In Part 3 we will discuss Lynn's investigation of LDS General Authority Paul H. Dunn, discovering that he was telling false stories to LDS Church members about his involvement in professional baseball, and in his activities as a World War II soldier.
  • In Part 4 we will discuss Lynn's recent investigation into Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard.
Direct download: MormonStories-1359-LynnPackerPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:57pm MST

Join me today in my series with Lynn Packer - journalist, investigative reporter, and nephew to the late LDS/Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer.

Lynn Packer was involved in many significant Utah news stories including that of forger/bomber Mark Hofmann and serial killer Ted Bundy. Lynn is perhaps most well known for his investigation of Mormon General Authority Paul H. Dunn. Lynn's investigation directly led to Elder Paul H. Dunn being put on Emeritus Status by the LDS Church First Presidency for repeatedly telling fabricated stories to the worldwide church membership.

  • In Part 1 we discuss the early life of Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packer, and his rise to power within the LDS Church.
  • In Part 2 we discuss Lynn Packer's life, and his perspectives on and interactions with Boyd K. Packer while he was working as a Utah investigative reporter (and while working at BYU).
  • In Part 3 we will discuss Lynn's investigation of LDS General Authority Paul H. Dunn, discovering that he was telling false stories to LDS Church members about his involvement in professional baseball, and in his activities as a World War II soldier.
  • In Part 4 we will discuss Lynn's recent investigation into Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard.
Direct download: MormonStories-1358-LynnPackerPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:02pm MST

On November 3rd U.S. citizens will vote in what many believe will be a defining election for the United States of America.

Today, in a two-part series on Mormon Stories Podcast, we seek to understand why some Mormons and Post-Mormons are choosing to vote for either of the main presidential candidates: Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

This episode features Mormons and Post-Mormons who support Joe Biden. Please join us for comments and questions.

Direct download: MormonStories-1357-Biden2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22pm MST

On November 3rd U.S. Citizens will vote in what many believe will be a defining election for the United States of America.

Today, in a two-part series on Mormon Stories Podcast, we seek to understand why some Mormons and Post-Mormons are choosing to vote for either of the main presidential candidates: Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

This episode features Mormons and Post-Mormons who support Donald Trump. Please join us for comments and questions.

Direct download: MormonStories-1356-Trump2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:08pm MST

For the past two years a predominantly LDS neighborhood in southeastern Sandy, Utah (known as "Autumn Ridge") has been flying an unusually large number of rainbow flags during PRIDE week to show their support for fellow LGBTQ community members. 

Last week, a faithful, non-LGBTQ-affirming Latter-day Saint neighbor in this community sent a somewhat self-righteous, pretentious, and cowardly letter to his/her fellow LDS neighbors, questioning their faithfulness to the LDS Church due to their flying of these rainbow flags.  In response, a wonderful, faithful LDS Church member and neighbor named Cynthia K. Phillips penned a courageous, thoughtful response to this letter, which can be accessed here.

Today we interview the two founders of the "Project Rainbow" initiative in the Autumn Ridge section of Sandy, Utah: Kristy and Willy Donahoo.  We also interview Cynthia Phillips, who is an active, believing member of her local LDS ward, and who fervently supports this initiative.

Our goals with this episode are:

  1. To spotlight good people doing good things.
  2. To inspire YOU to sponsor a Project Rainbow initiative in your neighborhood.  Our hope is to turn Utah, Idaho, and Arizona RAINBOW-COLORED!

Please join us with your comments and questions!

Bios:

  • Kristy Donahoo is a financial advisor and partner with Ray LeVitre, CFP™. Together, Much of Kristy’s career spanned over 20 years in executive management positions in Northern California/Silicon Valley with high tech and early internet companies. When she relocated to Utah, she was personally recruited by Utah’s Governor Michael O. Leavitt to lead the state’s hosting and business development programs for the 2002 Olympics. She later went on to teach in a highly regarded private Utah school prior to becoming a financial advisor. Kristy and her husband moved to Utah from California about 20 years ago. They enjoy Utah for its people, the four seasons and proximity to their four adult children. She and her family enjoy beach time in California and Hawaii during summers and snow sports during Utah winters. Kristy serves on the Advisory Board of the John Williams Encircle Home in Salt Lake City, a resource center for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth and their families.
  • William Donahoo is an attorney with Donahoo & Associates and also handles case management and firm administration. William joined the firm in 2009 and specializes in prevailing wage cases, representing employee interests. 
  • Cynthia Phillips has been a teacher and administrator in secondary schools for the past 35 years during which she has taught Latin, History, English Language Arts, and Ancient Greek. Cindy is currently a secondary teacher at the Weilenmann School of Discovery, a public charter school located in Park City, UT, where she also served as the Executive Director for many years. During her career, she has never allowed administrative assignments take her fully out of the classroom because teaching and students are her love and passion.  Prior to her administrative and teaching positions at the Weilenmann School, Cindy was an administrator and teacher at the Waterford School, a private school located in Sandy, UT. Cindy is currently a member of the governor-appointed Utah State Charter School Board, a member of the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission, a member of the Lone Peak Hospital Board in Draper, UT, and a former member of the Northeastern Utah Educational Services Board.  Cindy holds a BA in Latin from Brigham Young University, an MA in Classics from Tufts University, an MA in History from the University of Utah, and she is currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Utah. Cindy and her husband, Greg, reside in Sandy, UT and Heber, UT. They have five children and fourteen grandchildren.
Direct download: MormonStories-1355-SandyRainbowRevolution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39pm MST

Katie Harmon was raised Catholic in Laramie, Wyoming. After falling in love with a Mormon boy at age 15, Katie became socially/emotionally converted to the LDS Church in spite of...

  • High ambitions for herself (Katie was a 4.0 student, got a 33 on her ACT, was in AP classes, got a full ride scholarship to the University of Wyoming, and wanted to become a doctor) and
  • Strongly valuing social justice (e.g., anti-homophobia, anti-sexism, anti-racism).

As Katie became fully committed to the Mormon church, she saw her original aspirations slowly slip away, as she began to follow "the Mormon way for women." Katie ended up:

  • Experiencing severe Scrupulosity as a Mormon woman.
  • Enduring an invasive and inappropriate "sexual repentance" process.
  • Marrying 3 months after graduating high school to a man she had only known 7 months.
  • Getting sealed to her husband while her non-LDS family sat outside the Mormon temple.
  • Having three children within a short period of time before she felt ready to do so, based on LDS teachings.
  • Feeling frustrated when, after her 2nd child was diagnosed with major health issues at 20 weeks, priesthood blessings failed to heal her ailing child. She basically discovered after conversion that the "Priesthood power" was not real, and did not work.
  • Confronting the stifling "ableism" of Mormon doctrine, theology, and culture.

As Katie's hopes and dreams began to fall apart, she began studying Mormonism more closely, and discovered that she was not taught as an investigator important truths about Mormon history and the LDS church that would likely have prevented her from joining.

Katie's motivation for doing this interview is to call on the LDS Church to be fully honest in its missionary efforts, and in its education of children and youth, so that people like her can not be misled into joining and/or committing their lives to the Mormon church without being fully informed about its history, doctrine, and theology.

Direct download: MormonStories-1354-KatieHarmon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am MST

The TikTok platform has become a major player in global culture, and the ExMormon TikTok community has become very active/vibrant over the past few months.

Today we feature ExMormon TikTok sensation Kayla White (ExMormonMindy). Her channel can be found here.

This is Kayla's story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1353-ExMormonMindyTikTok.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm MST

Brennan Harris’ dad, Kip Brower Harris, took his own life on January 9, 2019, while he was employed as Dean of Students at Brigham Young University - Idaho.  During his 30 year career at BYU Idaho, Kip Harris had served twice as a Mormon bishop, served in a Mormon Stake Presidency, and was personal friends with LDS Church apostle David Bednar. 

In the final years of his second term as bishop, Kip Harris became involved in an extra-marital affair with a neighbor and ward member.  Inexplicably, when Kip Harris was found in a car with this neighbor/ward member by a Sugar City police officer, this police officer informed Kip Harris' LDS church leaders (violating the separation of church and state).  Kip Harris' church leaders, in turn, notified Harris' employer (BYU Idaho), who then put Kim Harris on leave (threatening to fire him).  This horrific sequence of confidentiality violations led Kim Harris to feel like his only option was to take his own life, which he did in January of 2019.  Press coverage of Kip Harris' death can be found here and here.

Brennan Harris, Kip's son, believes that the LDS Church, BYU Idaho, and Sugar City police are all partially responsible for his father’s death.  Brennan has written publicly about his father's story at these links:

This is Brennan’s story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1352-BrennanHarris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03am MST

Ezra Taft Benson is perhaps the most controversial apostle-president in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For nearly fifty years he delivered impassioned sermons in Utah and elsewhere, mixing religion with ultraconservative right-wing political views and conspiracy theories. His teachings inspired Mormon extremists to stockpile weapons, predict the end of the world, and commit acts of violence against their government. The First Presidency rebuked him, his fellow apostles wanted him disciplined, and grassroots Mormons called for his removal from the Quorum of the Twelve. Yet Benson was beloved by millions of Latter-day Saints, who praised him for his stances against communism, socialism, and the welfare state, and admired his service as secretary of agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Using previously restricted documents from archives across the United States.

Matthew L. Harris breaks new ground as the first to evaluate why Benson embraced a radical form of conservatism, and how under his leadership Mormons became the most reliable supporters of the Republican Party of any religious group in America.

Matthew L. Harris is professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He is the author of The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History and editor of Thunder from the Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics.

Matthew's new book can be purchased here: https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/watchman-on-the-tower/

Direct download: MormonStories-1351-ETBMattHarrisPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07am MST

Ezra Taft Benson is perhaps the most controversial apostle-president in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For nearly fifty years he delivered impassioned sermons in Utah and elsewhere, mixing religion with ultraconservative right-wing political views and conspiracy theories. His teachings inspired Mormon extremists to stockpile weapons, predict the end of the world, and commit acts of violence against their government. The First Presidency rebuked him, his fellow apostles wanted him disciplined, and grassroots Mormons called for his removal from the Quorum of the Twelve. Yet Benson was beloved by millions of Latter-day Saints, who praised him for his stances against communism, socialism, and the welfare state, and admired his service as secretary of agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Using previously restricted documents from archives across the United States.

Matthew L. Harris breaks new ground as the first to evaluate why Benson embraced a radical form of conservatism, and how under his leadership Mormons became the most reliable supporters of the Republican Party of any religious group in America.

Matthew L. Harris is professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He is the author of The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History and editor of Thunder from the Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics.

Matthew's new book can be purchased here: https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/watchman-on-the-tower/

Direct download: MormonStories-1350-ETBMattHarrisPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:24am MST

Mormon Stories Podcast Friends,

Have you ever been touched, inspired, or educated by a particular 3-10 minute segment of a Mormon Stories Podcast episode? If so, I could really use your help.

I am looking to create 100 short, 5-10 minute YouTube videos that include highlights of the most touching or memorable Mormon Stories podcast moments. Consequently, I am seeking volunteers who are willing to go to YouTube and email to me the episode link and time codes (start and stop) of their favorite highlights from past Mormon Stories Podcast episodes. From there I will chop up the videos and put them on my new "Understanding Mormonism" YouTube channel.
 
If you are willing to help, please email the YouTube link and time code (start/step) to:  understandmormonism@gmail.com

And thank you SO much!

John Dehlin
Direct download: MormonStories-VideoShorts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45pm MST

Is there more than one way to be a Mormon? What qualifies as "authentic Mormonism"? Has it always been this way? Is it possible to reconcile religious belief with a natural, scientific view of the universe?

Many people see secular and religious views as incompatible. They seem to believe it necessary to suspend disbelief and accept superstition in order to be religious, or that religion is an obstacle to productive engagement with the world. Even many of us who still profess some level of religiosity will admit that religion sometimes makes productive engagement more difficult and is sometimes less effective than it could be. For those who believe in prophecies of the eventual redemption of humanity, is it possible to work toward a vision of the future that is understood only vaguely, if at all? What is the effect of faith that is not active? Might active faith in Mormon (and other religious) visions of the future be essential to realizing them?

Today we'll be talking with Carl Youngblood about his life as a Mormon and a transhumanist, what that word even means, and how his struggle to apply his faith meaningfully in our rapidly changing world has led him to co-found the Mormon Transhumanist Association, where he currently serves as a member of the board of Directors. Carl looks forward to sharing his ideas and answering your questions about his life and faith.

Direct download: MormonStories-1349-CarlYoungblood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:35pm MST

Was your marriage destroyed, or almost destroyed by the LDS Church's 12-step program for pornography "addiction"? Join us today as we sit down with Nik and Dawna Berry to discuss how the LDS Church's 12-step program for Pornography addiction almost ruined their marriage, and how they survived and healed from it.

Direct download: MormonStories-1348-DawnaNikBerry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40am MST

Mitch Shira is an actor and impressionst whose TikTok videos have been taking the progressive and post-Mormon world by storm.  Under the TikTok handle "genie_man," Mitch impersonates past and present LDS Church General Authorities with incredible accuracy and sharp-edged humor.  Today, meet the man behind the voices. 

Warning: Adult humor.  Discussion of electro-schock therapy of LGBTQ Mormons.

A sampling of MItch's videos:

Direct download: MormonStories-1347-MitchShiraGenieMan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm MST

Join us today as we bring back the wonderful, groundbreaking historian Shannon Caldwell Montez.

Previously on Mormon Stories, Shannon shared with us:

  1. Her research regarding how LDS Church general authority, historian, and chief apologist B.H. Roberts lost his testimony in Book of Mormon historicity, and
  2. Her own heartbreaking and inspiring story as a Mormon woman, wife, and mother.

Today Shannon returns to share with us her research regarding "The Secret Mormon Meetings of 1922" - which were organized by LDS Church General Authority B.H. Roberts after he failed to obtain any meaningful or useful answers from the LDS Church First Presidency, Quorum of the 12, or other General Authorities regarding the deep and significant scientific problems that completely undermine the credibility of the Book of Mormon as ancient history.

Shannon's thesis is outstanding, and it can be found here.

Direct download: MormonStories-1346-SecretMormonMeetings1922.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:37pm MST

As part of our ongoing series on 21st century Mormonism outside of the United States, today we interview Douglas Stilgoe. Douglas is a 23 year old, 3rd generation Mormon raised in Warwickshire, England (Coventry England Stake).
 
Douglas' story is interesting for many reasons:
  • He discusses life as a Mormon in the UK in the 2000's.
  • He was raised in the same area as Tom Phillips, the high-ranking Mormon church leader in the U.K. who lost his faith and left the church AFTER receiving his 2nd anointing.
  • His story explores how painful and damaging Mormonism can be on families when a parent loses their faith.
  • He discusses his own very recent loss of faith as a young adult in the U.K., after being a very devout believing youth (just over the past year).
 
For more information on Tom Phillips and the 2nd Anointing, see here.
Direct download: MormonStories-1345-DouglasStilgoe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am MST

Today I will be reviewing my recent research into the topic of how the pirate Captain William Kidd and the practice of New England treasure digging that followed Kidd directly inspired Joseph Smith to create the Book of Mormon.
 
I've been doing this research in preparation for a new Youtube channel I'm launching called "Understanding Mormonism with Dr. John Dehlin."
 
I need your help in the following ways:
 
1) I'd love to know if there are any important errors or omissions in my research.
2) I'd love to know if you find the research interesting/worthwhile overall.
3) I am making a call for listeners to submit their own essays/PowerPoint presentations for future videos in this project.
 
Any feedback, questions, or any submissions can be sent to:
 
understandmormonism@gmail.com
 
 
Direct download: MormonStories-1344-CaptainKidd.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am MST

Karen Adam was raised in a same-sex household in Scotland (her mother identified as Lesbian). She joined the Mormon church at age 17 in 1992 after a teenage pregnancy. Karen lived as a member of the LDS Church in Scotland for almost 20 years - maturing from a young teenage mother to serving as LDS Sunday School teacher, Young Women’s President, Compassionate Service Leader, Relief Society Teacher, Primary Presidency, etc.
 
Karen was married and sealed for eternity in an LDS temple, and for years helped raise six children, living a very traditional LDS family life.
 
When Karen’s marriage fell apart she found solace in serving the wider community in Scotland outside the confines of her Scottish Mormon ward. This led on to a political awakening, and ultimately to her leaving the LDS church, and running for political office in Scotland.
 
Topics covered in this episode include:
  • Converting to the LDS Church in Scotland,
  • Teenage pregnancy.
  • Being a devout Mormon in Scotland.
  • Navigating an abusive marriage that included drug addiction.
  • Navigating divorce and remarriage within the Mormon church in Scotland.
  • Dealing with harmful messages and policies regarding female sexuality as a Mormon Scott, including damaging bishop interviews.
  • Responding to the Mormon church's harmful LGBTQ policies as a Mormon Scott having been raised in a same-sex household.
  • Experiencing a Mormon faith crisis in Scotland.
  • Rebuilding life as a post-Mormon divorced Scottish mother.
  • Throwing her hat into the political ring in mid-life as a Scottish ex-Mormon woman.
This is Karen's story.
Direct download: MormonStories-1343-KarenAdam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:40pm MST

As many of you will recall, Shannon Caldwell Montez joined us on Mormon Stories Podcast in July, 2020 to tell us her own story, as well as to tell us the story of B.H. Roberts - the LDS Church historian and General Authority who was tasked to answer problems about Book of Mormon historicity, only to lose his testimony of the Book of Mormon as a historical document.

During the B.H. Roberts episode we learned about a series of all-day meetings B.H. Roberts had in January, 1922 with the LDS Church First Presidency, Quorum of 12 Apostles, and the Quorum of 70 to discuss these Book of Mormon problems in-depth. Ultimately, Shannon shows in her thesis that the LDS church leadership was both unprepared and unwilling to address the problems Roberts presented - resulting in much disappointment and frustration for Roberts.

In this follow-up interview with Shannon, we review evidence addressing the question as to whether or not Mormon General Authority and church historian B.H. Roberts lost his testimony of the Book of Mormon as a historical document.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast Include:

Direct download: MormonStories-1342-BHRobertsBOMShannonCaldwellMontez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm MST

URGENT: Dr. Ritner is facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research. If you can help, please contact Dana McClain, Northwestern Medicine Transplant Coordinator, 312-695-0828. Living donors save lives!

Also, if you are grateful for Dr. Ritner's time and expertise with this podcast, please email him and express your gratitude!!!

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

Part 1: Dr. Ritner's story, the historical context for the Book of Abraham, and Facsimile 1

https://youtu.be/ORNYUyHg3pY

Part 2: Facsimiles 2 & 3

https://youtu.be/df4flxToFvM

Part 3: The Abraham Egyptian Papers, return of the "lost" papyrus, and an in-depth discussion of LDS Book of Abraham Apologetics

 

Series Description: 

For more than a century Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham "translation" has been revered as holy scripture by devout Mormons, and denounced by all credible non-LDS Egyptologists as a 100% erroneous translation -- a combination of Joseph Smith's imagination and some plagiarism (much like the Book of Mormon, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, and the Mormon temple ceremony.

The first major scholarly analysis and critique of the Book of Abraham by world-class Egyptologists came in 1912 and was published in the New York Times.  Of course this article was neither appropriately considered nor adequately addressed by LDS church leadership, and ultimately the issue faded from LDS church membership consciousness for several more decades.

Beginning in 1966 with the rediscovery of the core Book of Abraham papyri fragments found in the archives of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (that were thought to have been lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire), Mormon apologists such as Hugh Nibley, John Gee, Daniel C. Peterson, Kerry Muhlestein, Michael D. Rhodes, etc. have attempted to employ apologetic tactics to rescue the Book of Abraham from a total loss of credibility - once credible translations of the papyrus demonstrated undeniably that Joseph Smith's "translation" was 100% inaccurate, and in fact, had nothing to do with Abraham at all.  In fact, the papyri were dated to be written over 1500 years after the time Abraham would have lived.

For decades questioning, doubting, and non-believing Mormons have engaged with Mormon apologists like Nibley, Gee, Muhlestein, and Rhodes to determine the historicity and legitimacy of the Book of Abraham - with the credibility of Joseph Smith and the LDS church restoration hanging in the balance.  In spite of the LDS church's century-long efforts to either hide or convolute the issues surrounding the Book of Abraham, many Mormons have lost their faith and left the church over the Book of Abraham, as it is often listed as one of the primary reasons that Mormons lose their faith.

While many orthodox, doubting, and post-Mormons have heard the opinions of pseudo-Egyptologists/Book of Abraham apologists like John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, and Michael D. Rhodes, few Mormons or post-Mormons have actually heard the opinions of a legitimate, world-class Egyptologist about the historicity and credibility of the Book of Abraham - until today.

Today, as a joint production of Mormon Stories Podcast and Radio Free Mormon podcast, we interview Dr. Robert Ritner.  Dr. Ritner is Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and was from 1991-1996 the first Marilyn M. Simpson Assistant Professor of Egyptology at Yale University.  Dr. Ritner is the author of over 100 publications on Egyptian religion, magic, medicine, language and literature, as well as social and political history. He has lectured extensively on each of these topics throughout the United States, Europe and Egypt.  Ritner has led Oriental Institute tours of Egypt for 30 years.  He is also the author of The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, and an essay entitled “Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham” — A Response - written as a response to the LDS church's gospel topics essay on the Book of Abraham, which is deeply problematic according to Dr. Ritner.

In this three-part sit-down with Dr. Ritner, we will discuss his upbringing in Houston, Texas and his scholarly background and the events that led to him becoming interested in the Book of Abraham.  We will provide a contextualizing history to the Book of Abraham story, and discuss in-depth Joseph Smith's completely erroneous translation of Facsimiles 1-3 from the papyrus.  We explore the emergence of the Abraham Egyptian Papers in the mid 1960s, along with the discovery of the "lost" Book of Abraham papyrus.  We end this series by exploring some of the seemingly unscholarly and disingenuous tactics used by Book of Abraham apologists John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, and Michael D. Rhodes to try to bolster belief in the Book of Abraham.

Finally, a HUGE thanks to Bruce MacArthur for making this interview possible. Also, a MASSIVE thanks to RFM for co-hosting, Bill Reel for all of his great work over the years, along with all of the amazing scholars who helped me/us prepare for this interview, including: Mike Brown of the Mormon Stories Truth Claims essays, MormonThink, Jeremy Runnells and the CES Letter, Dan Vogel, Brent Metcalfe, Letter for my Wife, MormonInfoGraphics.com, this super cool video, and much much more content than I could ever fully list here.

URGENT: Dr. Ritner is facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research. If you can help, please contact Dana McClain, Northwestern Medicine Transplant Coordinator, 312-695-0828. Living donors save lives!

Direct download: MormonStories-1341-RobertRitnerPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:53pm MST

URGENT: Dr. Ritner is facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research. If you can help, please contact Dana McClain, Northwestern Medicine Transplant Coordinator, 312-695-0828. Living donors save lives!

Also, if you are grateful for Dr. Ritner's time and expertise with this podcast, please email him and express your gratitude!!!

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

For more than a century Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham "translation" has been revered as holy scripture by devout Mormons, and denounced by all credible non-LDS Egyptologists as a 100% erroneous translation -- a combination of Joseph Smith's imagination and some plagiarism (much like the Book of Mormon, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, and the Mormon temple ceremony.

The first major scholarly analysis and critique of the Book of Abraham by world-class Egyptologists came in 1912 and was published in the New York Times.  Of course this article was neither appropriately considered nor adequately addressed by LDS church leadership, and ultimately the issue faded from LDS church membership consciousness for several more decades.

Beginning in 1966 with the rediscovery of the core Book of Abraham papyri fragments found in the archives of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (that were thought to have been lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire), Mormon apologists such as Hugh Nibley, John Gee, Daniel C. Peterson, Kerry Muhlestein, Michael D. Rhodes, etc. have attempted to employ apologetic tactics to rescue the Book of Abraham from a total loss of credibility - once credible translations of the papyrus demonstrated undeniably that Joseph Smith's "translation" was 100% inaccurate, and in fact, had nothing to do with Abraham at all.  In fact, the papyri were dated to be written over 1500 years after the time Abraham would have lived.

For decades questioning, doubting, and non-believing Mormons have engaged with Mormon apologists like Nibley, Gee, Muhlestein, and Rhodes to determine the historicity and legitimacy of the Book of Abraham - with the credibility of Joseph Smith and the LDS church restoration hanging in the balance.  In spite of the LDS church's century-long efforts to either hide or convolute the issues surrounding the Book of Abraham, many Mormons have lost their faith and left the church over the Book of Abraham, as it is often listed as one of the primary reasons that Mormons lose their faith.

While many orthodox, doubting, and post-Mormons have heard the opinions of pseudo-Egyptologists/Book of Abraham apologists like John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, and Michael D. Rhodes, few Mormons or post-Mormons have actually heard the opinions of a legitimate, world-class Egyptologist about the historicity and credibility of the Book of Abraham - until today.

Today, as a joint production of Mormon Stories Podcast and Radio Free Mormon podcast, we interview Dr. Robert Ritner.  Dr. Ritner is Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and was from 1991-1996 the first Marilyn M. Simpson Assistant Professor of Egyptology at Yale University.  Dr. Ritner is the author of over 100 publications on Egyptian religion, magic, medicine, language and literature, as well as social and political history. He has lectured extensively on each of these topics throughout the United States, Europe and Egypt.  Ritner has led Oriental Institute tours of Egypt for 30 years.  He is also the author of The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, and an essay entitled “Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham” — A Response - written as a response to the LDS church's gospel topics essay on the Book of Abraham, which is deeply problematic according to Dr. Ritner.

In this three-part sit-down with Dr. Ritner, we will discuss his upbringing in Houston, Texas and his scholarly background and the events that led to him becoming interested in the Book of Abraham.  We will provide a contextualizing history to the Book of Abraham story, and discuss in-depth Joseph Smith's completely erroneous translation of Facsimiles 1-3 from the papyrus.  We explore the emergence of the Abraham Egyptian Papers in the mid 1960s, along with the discovery of the "lost" Book of Abraham papyrus.  We end this series by exploring some of the seemingly unscholarly and disingenuous tactics used by Book of Abraham apologists John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, and Michael D. Rhodes to try to bolster belief in the Book of Abraham.

Finally, a HUGE thanks to Bruce MacArthur for making this interview possible. Also, a MASSIVE thanks to RFM for co-hosting, Bill Reel for all of his great work over the years, along with all of the amazing scholars who helped me/us prepare for this interview, including: Mike Brown of the Mormon Stories Truth Claims essays, MormonThink, Jeremy Runnells and the CES Letter, Dan Vogel, Brent Metcalfe, Letter for my Wife, MormonInfoGraphics.com, this super cool video, and much much more content than I could ever fully list here.

URGENT: Dr. Ritner is facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research. If you can help, please contact Dana McClain, Northwestern Medicine Transplant Coordinator, 312-695-0828. Living donors save lives!

Direct download: MormonStories-1340-RobertRitnerPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:32pm MST

URGENT: Dr. Ritner is facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research. If you can help, please contact Dana McClain, Northwestern Medicine Transplant Coordinator, 312-695-0828. Living donors save lives!

Also, if you are grateful for Dr. Ritner's time and expertise with this podcast, please email him and express your gratitude!!!

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

For more than a century Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham "translation" has been revered as holy scripture by devout Mormons, and denounced by all credible non-LDS Egyptologists as a 100% erroneous translation -- a combination of Joseph Smith's imagination and some plagiarism (much like the Book of Mormon, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, and the Mormon temple ceremony.

The first major scholarly analysis and critique of the Book of Abraham by world-class Egyptologists came in 1912 and was published in the New York Times.  Of course this article was neither appropriately considered nor adequately addressed by LDS church leadership, and ultimately the issue faded from LDS church membership consciousness for several more decades.

Beginning in 1966 with the rediscovery of the core Book of Abraham papyri fragments found in the archives of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (that were thought to have been lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire), Mormon apologists such as Hugh Nibley, John Gee, Daniel C. Peterson, Kerry Muhlestein, Michael D. Rhodes, etc. have attempted to employ apologetic tactics to rescue the Book of Abraham from a total loss of credibility - once credible translations of the papyrus demonstrated undeniably that Joseph Smith's "translation" was 100% inaccurate, and in fact, had nothing to do with Abraham at all.  In fact, the papyri were dated to be written over 1500 years after the time Abraham would have lived.

For decades questioning, doubting, and non-believing Mormons have engaged with Mormon apologists like Nibley, Gee, Muhlestein, and Rhodes to determine the historicity and legitimacy of the Book of Abraham - with the credibility of Joseph Smith and the LDS church restoration hanging in the balance.  In spite of the LDS church's century-long efforts to either hide or convolute the issues surrounding the Book of Abraham, many Mormons have lost their faith and left the church over the Book of Abraham, as it is often listed as one of the primary reasons that Mormons lose their faith.

While many orthodox, doubting, and post-Mormons have heard the opinions of pseudo-Egyptologists/Book of Abraham apologists like John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, and Michael D. Rhodes, few Mormons or post-Mormons have actually heard the opinions of a legitimate, world-class Egyptologist about the historicity and credibility of the Book of Abraham - until today.

Today, as a joint production of Mormon Stories Podcast and Radio Free Mormon podcast, we interview Dr. Robert Ritner.  Dr. Ritner is Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and was from 1991-1996 the first Marilyn M. Simpson Assistant Professor of Egyptology at Yale University.  Dr. Ritner is the author of over 100 publications on Egyptian religion, magic, medicine, language and literature, as well as social and political history. He has lectured extensively on each of these topics throughout the United States, Europe and Egypt.  Ritner has led Oriental Institute tours of Egypt for 30 years.  He is also the author of The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, and an essay entitled “Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham” — A Response - written as a response to the LDS church's gospel topics essay on the Book of Abraham, which is deeply problematic according to Dr. Ritner.

In this three-part sit-down with Dr. Ritner, we will discuss his upbringing in Houston, Texas and his scholarly background and the events that led to him becoming interested in the Book of Abraham.  We will provide a contextualizing history to the Book of Abraham story, and discuss in-depth Joseph Smith's completely erroneous translation of Facsimiles 1-3 from the papyrus.  We explore the emergence of the Abraham Egyptian Papers in the mid 1960s, along with the discovery of the "lost" Book of Abraham papyrus.  We end this series by exploring some of the seemingly unscholarly and disingenuous tactics used by Book of Abraham apologists John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, and Michael D. Rhodes to try to bolster belief in the Book of Abraham.

Finally, a HUGE thanks to Bruce MacArthur for making this interview possible. Also, a MASSIVE thanks to RFM for co-hosting, Bill Reel for all of his great work over the years, along with all of the amazing scholars who helped me/us prepare for this interview, including: Mike Brown of the Mormon Stories Truth Claims essays, MormonThink, Jeremy Runnells and the CES Letter, Dan Vogel, Brent Metcalfe, Letter for my Wife, MormonInfoGraphics.com, this super cool video, and much much more content than I could ever fully list here.

URGENT: Dr. Ritner is facing kidney failure and is in need of a living donor to secure his life and continued research. If you can help, please contact Dana McClain, Northwestern Medicine Transplant Coordinator, 312-695-0828. Living donors save lives!

Direct download: MormonStories-1339-RobertRitnerPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm MST

Over the past several decades. credible Mormon-themed scholarship has determined beyond any reasonable doubt that Joseph Smith's claim have special powers to "translate" ancient languages was not true, and that Joseph often relied on plagiarism to produce his "revelations."  Up until recently, at least three clear instances of false translation by Joseph Smith were widely known: the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, and the Kinderhook Plates.

In the summer of 2015, something truly remarkable happened.  A BYU undergraduate, along with her professor, discovered a fourth example of false translation, and yet another example of plagiarism on the part of Joseph Smith - this time in the canonized "Joseph Smith Translation" of the Holy Bible (found in modern LDS scripture)

Join me and scholar Haley Wilson Lemmón today as we discuss this groundbreaking research she conducted at BYU, along side professor Thomas A. Wayment -- as together they discovered literally hundreds of instances where Joseph Smith plagiarized portions of the Joseph Smith "Translation" of the Bible directly from Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary.

Today's story includes:

  • Haley's early years growing up as a highly devout Mormon girl and young woman who struggled significantly with undiagnosed religious anxiety (possibly scrupulosity).
  • Haley's LDS mission to Panama.
  • Haley's discovery of Joseph Smith's plagiarism, as she was working as a BYU undergraduate research assistant under Dr. Thomas A. Wayment.
  • Haley's deep struggle with her Mormon faith once she began studying the authenticity of Mormon scripture and other truth claims.
  • Haley's troubling brush with the BYU Honor Code Office, which almost resulted in her being expelled from BYU.
  • How Haley's name was almost removed from the publishing of her research with Dr. Wayment.
  • A review of Haley's current views on LDS Church truth claims.

As a part of this interview, we will be discussing in-depth the article/chapter "A Recently Recovered Source: The Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary in Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation" that she co-authored with Thomas A. Wayment, which recently appeared in the newly released book "Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity," edited by Michael MacKay, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Brian M. Hauglid.

Direct download: MormonStories-1338-HaleyWilsonLemmon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm MST

How does a Mormon wife and mother become a groundbreaking historian?

Join us today on Mormon Stories Podcast as Shannon Caldwell Montez shares with us her journey to become a historian after living an orthodox Mormon life for decades.

Shannon recently obtained a Master's degree in history from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her Master's thesis is entitled "The Secret Mormon Meetings of 1922" - which chronicles how Mormon General Authority B.H. Roberts lost his faith in the historicity of the Book of Mormon, called a multi-day meeting with all of the top LDS Church leadership to inform them of the many, credible scientific problems with the Book of Mormon.

Shannon's Master's thesis can be downloaded here: https://scholarworks.unr.edu/handle/11714/6712

Shannon's previous Mormon Stories Podcast interview about the life of B. H. Roberts can be found here.

Direct download: MormonStories-1337-ShannonCaldwellMontez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:17pm MST

Have you ever wondered how much the top-level Mormon church leaders know about the problems with LDS Church truth claims, and for how long they have known about these problems?

Long before Mormon General Authority F. Enzio Busche lost his testimony in the Mormon church…

Long before Mormon Area Authority Hans Mattsson lost his testimony in the Mormon church....

Long before the CES Letter…
Long before Mormon Stories Podcast...
Long before Grant Palmer....
Long before the Leonard Arrington church history years…
Long before Fawn Brodie wrote “No Man Knows My History”....

….did you know that a high-level Mormon General Authority lost his faith in the historicity of the Book of Mormon -- in the early 1900s - after an in-depth study of the scientific problems with the Book of Mormon (e.g., archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, geographic)?

More significantly, did you know that this same General Authority notified the LDS First Presidency of the scientific problems with the Book of Mormon via three separate manuscripts, and in 1922 led a two-day emergency meeting in Salt Lake City with all the top Mormon church leadership -- the LDS First Presidency, the Quorum of 12 Apostles, and the Quorum of the Seventy -- to candidly discuss what to do about these problems with the Book of Mormon?

Did you know that soon after this General Authority led this meeting with all the top Mormon church leadership, he was sent on a mission -- far, far away from LDS Church headquarters?

Did you know that these three, in-depth manuscripts -- outlining in great detail the credible scientific problems with Book of Mormon historicity - were intentionally hid from LDS Church membership for over 60 years?  Did you also know that after this General Authority died, top LDS Church leaders intentionally did all they could to erase from church membership the memory of this thoughtful, honest, and courageous General Authority?

Did you know that the only reason we know any of this is because progressive Mormon church members quietly delivered copies of these manuscripts to Mormon scholars, and that these manuscripts were eventually published - against the Mormon church’s will - by the University of Illinois Press in the 1980s (and eventually by Signature Books)?

Today’s Mormon Stories Podcast episode covers the rise and fall of Mormon General Authority Brigham Henry (B.H.) Roberts.  You will not want to miss this story.

Our interviewee is Mormon historian Shannon Caldwell Montez - who recently completed a Master’s Thesis at the University of Nevada - Reno entitled: “The Secret Mormon Meetings of 1922.”

The song for today’s podcast bumper is called “All is Well” by The Sabre Rattlers.

Direct download: MormonStories-1336-BHRoberts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:13pm MST

Today we interview Ed Decker -- ex-Mormon, Evangelical Christian, career "Anti-Mormon," and creator of the controversial 80's "anti-Mormon" movie called “The God Makers.”  Today’s interview focuses on four main areas:

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

Direct download: MormonStories-EdDecker-Full.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm MST

Today we interview Ed Decker -- ex-Mormon, Evangelical Christian, career "Anti-Mormon," and creator of the controversial 80's "anti-Mormon" movie called “The God Makers.”  Today’s interview focuses on four main areas:

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

Direct download: MormonStories-1335-EdDeckerPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32pm MST

Today we interview Ed Decker -- ex-Mormon, Evangelical Christian, career "Anti-Mormon," and creator of the controversial 80's "anti-Mormon" movie called “The God Makers.”  Today’s interview focuses on four main areas:

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

Direct download: MormonStories-1334-EdDeckerPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:31pm MST

Today we interview Ed Decker -- ex-Mormon, Evangelical Christian, career "Anti-Mormon," and creator of the controversial 80's "anti-Mormon" movie called “The God Makers.”  Today’s interview focuses on four main areas:

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

Direct download: MormonStories-1333-EdDeckerPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30pm MST

Today we interview Ed Decker -- ex-Mormon, Evangelical Christian, career "Anti-Mormon," and creator of the controversial 80's "anti-Mormon" movie called “The God Makers.”  Today’s interview focuses on four main areas:

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

Direct download: MormonStories-1332-EdDeckerPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm MST

When someone loses their faith in Mormonism, there are several paths  often followed.  One is to become agnostic or atheist, and never to rejoin a religion again.  One is to re-join a Christian church.  One is to follow a more fundamentalist Mormon path (e.g. Denver Snuffer, Preppers, Julie Rowe).  And one is to become susceptible to new age beliefs and other gurus or cult leaders.  Today we will be talking about the last option.

Teal Swan (born Mary Teal Bosworth) is described on her web site as an American spiritual teacher, author, and social media personality.  She was raised in Logan, UT, and as a teenager was connected to controversial Mormon therapist Barbara Snow, who was at the center of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 1990s and 2000s.  After a very turbulent childhood, which involved self harm and suicidality, Teal pursued modeling for a time, and eventually began pursuing the path of becoming a spiritual guide.

Teal's teachings on how to manage mental health issues have often been described as unconventional and she has received criticism for how she attracts fans, with some critics nicknaming her "The Suicide Catalyst".  At present she has 700,000 followers and has been covered by the BBC, and in several documentaries, including a recent documentary on Netflix.

Her history of work is highly controversial because it incorporates various super controversial and problematic ideologies and practices such as:

  • The cultivation of repressed/recovered (false) memories.
  • Claims of Satanic ritual abuse.
  • Energy healing.
  • Clairvoyance.
  • Numerology.
  • The Law of Attraction.
  • A belief in a "Third Eye."
  • The usage of crystals to "raise your vibration or frequency."
  • A belief in multiple lives.
  • A belief that she is an alien from another planet.
  • A belief in spiritual projections/possessions.
  • When dealing with suicidal clients, referring to suicide as "pushing the reset button" for a future life.
  • Communal living.

Jared Dobson was raised LDS, served an LDS mission, got married and divorced, became suicidal, and started searching for answers in New Age Spirituality.  He came across Teal Swan, and became a follower in her movement (a "Tealer") for 2 years.  He ended up moving in with Teal and became a part of her communal family in Park City, Utah.  They were romantically involved for 5-6 months, were set to have a child together, and as the relationship began to fray, Jared was kicked out of the commune and checked himself into a psychiatric ward (UNI at the University of Utah).

He has been recovering ever since.

This is Jared's story of his experiences with Teal Swan.  This story also has important connections to other cult-like phenomena occurring in recent times, including the Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Julie Rowe/Prepper phenomena.  It also is an insider's view into the emergence of a modern cult.

Direct download: MormonStories-1331TealSwanJaredDobson-Pt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm MST

When someone loses their faith in Mormonism, there are several paths  often followed.  One is to become agnostic or atheist, and never to rejoin a religion again.  One is to re-join a Christian church.  One is to follow a more fundamentalist Mormon path (e.g. Denver Snuffer, Preppers, Julie Rowe).  And one is to become susceptible to new age beliefs and other gurus or cult leaders.  Today we will be talking about the last option.

Teal Swan (born Mary Teal Bosworth) is described on her web site as an American spiritual teacher, author, and social media personality.  She was raised in Logan, UT, and as a teenager was connected to controversial Mormon therapist Barbara Snow, who was at the center of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 1990s and 2000s.  After a very turbulent childhood, which involved self harm and suicidality, Teal pursued modeling for a time, and eventually began pursuing the path of becoming a spiritual guide.

Teal's teachings on how to manage mental health issues have often been described as unconventional and she has received criticism for how she attracts fans, with some critics nicknaming her "The Suicide Catalyst".  At present she has 700,000 followers and has been covered by the BBC, and in several documentaries, including a recent documentary on Netflix.

Her history of work is highly controversial because it incorporates various super controversial and problematic ideologies and practices such as:

  • The cultivation of repressed/recovered (false) memories.
  • Claims of Satanic ritual abuse.
  • Energy healing.
  • Clairvoyance.
  • Numerology.
  • The Law of Attraction.
  • A belief in a "Third Eye."
  • The usage of crystals to "raise your vibration or frequency."
  • A belief in multiple lives.
  • A belief that she is an alien from another planet.
  • A belief in spiritual projections/possessions.
  • When dealing with suicidal clients, referring to suicide as "pushing the reset button" for a future life.
  • Communal living.

Jared Dobson was raised LDS, served an LDS mission, got married and divorced, became suicidal, and started searching for answers in New Age Spirituality.  He came across Teal Swan, and became a follower in her movement (a "Tealer") for 2 years.  He ended up moving in with Teal and became a part of her communal family in Park City, Utah.  They were romantically involved for 5-6 months, were set to have a child together, and as the relationship began to fray, Jared was kicked out of the commune and checked himself into a psychiatric ward (UNI at the University of Utah).

He has been recovering ever since.

This is Jared's story of his experiences with Teal Swan.  This story also has important connections to other cult-like phenomena occurring in recent times, including the Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Julie Rowe/Prepper phenomena.  It also is an insider's view into the emergence of a modern cult.

Direct download: MormonStories-1330TealSwanJaredDobson-Pt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm MST

When someone loses their faith in Mormonism, there are several paths  often followed.  One is to become agnostic or atheist, and never to rejoin a religion again.  One is to re-join a Christian church.  One is to follow a more fundamentalist Mormon path (e.g. Denver Snuffer, Preppers, Julie Rowe).  And one is to become susceptible to new age beliefs and other gurus or cult leaders.  Today we will be talking about the last option.

Teal Swan (born Mary Teal Bosworth) is described on her web site as an American spiritual teacher, author, and social media personality.  She was raised in Logan, UT, and as a teenager was connected to controversial Mormon therapist Barbara Snow, who was at the center of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 1990s and 2000s.  After a very turbulent childhood, which involved self harm and suicidality, Teal pursued modeling for a time, and eventually began pursuing the path of becoming a spiritual guide.

Teal's teachings on how to manage mental health issues have often been described as unconventional and she has received criticism for how she attracts fans, with some critics nicknaming her "The Suicide Catalyst".  At present she has 700,000 followers and has been covered by the BBC, and in several documentaries, including a recent documentary on Netflix.

Her history of work is highly controversial because it incorporates various super controversial and problematic ideologies and practices such as:

  • The cultivation of repressed/recovered (false) memories.
  • Claims of Satanic ritual abuse.
  • Energy healing.
  • Clairvoyance.
  • Numerology.
  • The Law of Attraction.
  • A belief in a "Third Eye."
  • The usage of crystals to "raise your vibration or frequency."
  • A belief in multiple lives.
  • A belief that she is an alien from another planet.
  • A belief in spiritual projections/possessions.
  • When dealing with suicidal clients, referring to suicide as "pushing the reset button" for a future life.
  • Communal living.

Jared Dobson was raised LDS, served an LDS mission, got married and divorced, became suicidal, and started searching for answers in New Age Spirituality.  He came across Teal Swan, and became a follower in her movement (a "Tealer") for 2 years.  He ended up moving in with Teal and became a part of her communal family in Park City, Utah.  They were romantically involved for 5-6 months, were set to have a child together, and as the relationship began to fray, Jared was kicked out of the commune and checked himself into a psychiatric ward (UNI at the University of Utah).

He has been recovering ever since.

This is Jared's story of his experiences with Teal Swan.  This story also has important connections to other cult-like phenomena occurring in recent times, including the Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Julie Rowe/Prepper phenomena.  It also is an insider's view into the emergence of a modern cult.

Direct download: MormonStories-1329TealSwanJaredDobson-Pt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:21pm MST

When someone loses their faith in Mormonism, there are several paths  often followed.  One is to become agnostic or atheist, and never to rejoin a religion again.  One is to re-join a Christian church.  One is to follow a more fundamentalist Mormon path (e.g. Denver Snuffer, Preppers, Julie Rowe).  And one is to become susceptible to new age beliefs and other gurus or cult leaders.  Today we will be talking about the last option.

Teal Swan (born Mary Teal Bosworth) is described on her web site as an American spiritual teacher, author, and social media personality.  She was raised in Logan, UT, and as a teenager was connected to controversial Mormon therapist Barbara Snow, who was at the center of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 1990s and 2000s.  After a very turbulent childhood, which involved self harm and suicidality, Teal pursued modeling for a time, and eventually began pursuing the path of becoming a spiritual guide.

Teal's teachings on how to manage mental health issues have often been described as unconventional and she has received criticism for how she attracts fans, with some critics nicknaming her "The Suicide Catalyst".  At present she has 700,000 followers and has been covered by the BBC, and in several documentaries, including a recent documentary on Netflix.

Her history of work is highly controversial because it incorporates various super controversial and problematic ideologies and practices such as:

  • The cultivation of repressed/recovered (false) memories.
  • Claims of Satanic ritual abuse.
  • Energy healing.
  • Clairvoyance.
  • Numerology.
  • The Law of Attraction.
  • A belief in a "Third Eye."
  • The usage of crystals to "raise your vibration or frequency."
  • A belief in multiple lives.
  • A belief that she is an alien from another planet.
  • A belief in spiritual projections/possessions.
  • When dealing with suicidal clients, referring to suicide as "pushing the reset button" for a future life.
  • Communal living.

Jared Dobson was raised LDS, served an LDS mission, got married and divorced, became suicidal, and started searching for answers in New Age Spirituality.  He came across Teal Swan, and became a follower in her movement (a "Tealer") for 2 years.  He ended up moving in with Teal and became a part of her communal family in Park City, Utah.  They were romantically involved for 5-6 months, were set to have a child together, and as the relationship began to fray, Jared was kicked out of the commune and checked himself into a psychiatric ward (UNI at the University of Utah).

He has been recovering ever since.

This is Jared's story of his experiences with Teal Swan.  This story also has important connections to other cult-like phenomena occurring in recent times, including the Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Julie Rowe/Prepper phenomena.  It also is an insider's view into the emergence of a modern cult.

Direct download: MormonStories-1328TealSwanJaredDobson-Pt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm MST

For the past year a generous donor has been supporting a Mormon Stories billboard in Idaho Falls, Idaho (picture below).  Unfortunately, because of a change in financial situation, the donor is no longer able to continue supporting the billboard.

If we can raise recurring pledges of $650/month from community members, or $7800 in total donations, we can continue this billboard for the next year.  If we can raise $3300 (only $700 more at this point) we can secure it with a 6 month contract.

Please know that 100% of billboard donations go to billboards, and are fully tax deductible in the U.S.

Here is the link to donate to this billboard campaign:
https://donorbox.org/idaho-falls-mormon-stories-billboard-campaign-2020

Please support this billboard if you would like to see it continue in Idaho Falls.  Also, please spread the word if you know others who might be able/willing to support.

Direct download: IdahoFallsBillboard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1327-PinsonExcommunicationPt7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1326-PinsonExcommunicationPt6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1325-PinsonExcommunicationPt5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:11pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1324-PinsonExcommunicationPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1323-PinsonExcommunicationPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:06pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1322-PinsonExcommunicationPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm MST

Every once in a while we have an epic, multi-part Mormon Stories Podcast episode about a family who experiences a faith crisis together -- wherein multiple family members (including some of the children) participate in the re-telling of the story.

This is one of those episodes.

Sam and Sara Pinson were living the Mormon dream: raised in the LDS Church, married in the LDS temple, etc.  Sam obtained his “dream job” working 5 years for Microsoft, and later left Microsoft to start his own business.  The Pinson dream culminated in Sam and Sara moving to Ammon (Idaho Falls), Idaho, wherein Sam was called as a Mormon bishop.  Everything seemed perfect - except it wasn’t.

  • Their teenage daughter, Olivia, was questioning both the church, and her sexuality.
  • Their son, Sam Jr., was suffering with Scrupulosity (religious OCD)
  • And both Sam and Sara were beginning to question their Mormon faith while Sam was serving as bishop.

Today’s episode tells the story of how a devout Mormon family in Ammon, Idaho, led by a Mormon Bishop, can end up losing their faith in Mormonism in 2020.  It also includes a full recounting of how Sam began to speak openly about his struggles with the church after losing his faith - leading to threats and ultimately a disciplinary council/excommunication.  And yes, Sam recorded and is now sharing here the full audio of his excommunication (Part 6).

Sam’s wife Sara, along with two of their brilliant children - Olivia and Sam Jr. - also participate in this super-thoughtful story/discussion.

You will not be disappointed in this episode.  HUGE thanks to Sam Sr., Sara, Olivia, and Sam Jr. for their willingness to join us on Mormon Stories Podcast and tell their epic story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1321-PinsonExcommunicationPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm MST

Yesterday afternoon I sat down with eight super-thoughtful Post-Mormons of color to discuss the unlawful killing of people of color by law enforcement officers and white citizens in the United States of America.

While these killings happen on a monthly basis in the United States, and have been occurring for centuries -- three of the 2020 killings that seem to be invoking particularly strong reactions are those of:

- George Floyd (46) - Killed in May in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin, while fellow officers watched.

- Ahmaud Arbery (25) - Killed in South Georgia by Travis McMichael, while his father watched.

- Breonna Taylor - Killed in March in Louisville by narcotics detectives after they knocked down her apartment door

We are aware the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery only because they were recorded by smart phones. As summarized by actor Will Smith, “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.”

These killings have led to numerous public protests throughout the United States, including this past weekend in Salt Lake City. In some instances, it has been reported that white supremacists have infiltrated some of the protests to stoke violence and disorder.

We also discussed LDS Church president Russell M. Nelson’s recent statement in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, and the corresponding protests surrounding public awareness of Floyd’s death.

Our panelists included the following:

Cecile Shellman

Spencer Nugent

Darron Smith

Jason Ball

Kimilyn Poulson

Mark Nugent

Solange Renfroe

Victoria Denise

Direct download: MormonStories-1320-GeorgeFloydPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:23pm MST

Yesterday afternoon I sat down with eight super-thoughtful Post-Mormons of color to discuss the unlawful killing of people of color by law enforcement officers and white citizens in the United States of America.

While these killings happen on a monthly basis in the United States, and have been occurring for centuries -- three of the 2020 killings that seem to be invoking particularly strong reactions are those of:

- George Floyd (46) - Killed in May in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin, while fellow officers watched.

- Ahmaud Arbery (25) - Killed in South Georgia by Travis McMichael, while his father watched.

- Breonna Taylor - Killed in March in Louisville by narcotics detectives after they knocked down her apartment door

We are aware the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery only because they were recorded by smart phones. As summarized by actor Will Smith, “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.”

These killings have led to numerous public protests throughout the United States, including this past weekend in Salt Lake City. In some instances, it has been reported that white supremacists have infiltrated some of the protests to stoke violence and disorder.

We also discussed LDS Church president Russell M. Nelson’s recent statement in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, and the corresponding protests surrounding public awareness of Floyd’s death.

Our panelists included the following:

Cecile Shellman

Spencer Nugent

Darron Smith

Jason Ball

Kimilyn Poulson

Mark Nugent

Solange Renfroe

Victoria Denise

Direct download: MormonStories-1319-GeorgeFloydPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21pm MST

As part of our ongoing series on claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within the Mormon Church, today we interview Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist and the author of some 70 books on religious pluralism and new religious movements.

Massimo is author of the article: A Rumor of Devils: Allegations of Satanic Child Abuse and Mormonism, 1985-1994, a paper read at the Mormon History Association in Park City, Utah on May 21, 1994. In today's episode we review the highlights of this article.

Dr, Introvigne was until 2016 professor of Sociology of Religions at Pontifical Salesian University in Torino, Italy. He has written articles inter alia for Dialogue and BYU Studies. In 2011, he served as the Representative for combating racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in which the USA and Canada are also participating states.

Direct download: MormonStories-1318-RumorOfDevils.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm MST

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we continue our series on the history of Repressed Memory Therapy and claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Utah Mormonism.  

 

Today’s interview is with “Kim,” who tells her experiences of being subjected to techniques of hypnosis and repressed/recovered memory in Provo/Orem Utah between 1988 and 1992.  In the interview Kim discusses her traumatic childhood - which led to her conversion to Mormonism, and left her vulnerable to Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques in adulthood while she was attempting to recover from childhood PTSD.

 

While living in Provo/Orem, UT and struggling in her early marriage, Kim was referred to Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack - both of whom were practitioners of Repressed/Recovered Memory therapy.  Interestingly, Ruth Killpack was referred to Kim by her LDS bishop, and was also a therapist to Martha Beck, who controversially claimed that her late father, Mormon scholar and apologist Hugh Nibley, sexually abused her.  Martha Beck has acknowledged that her memories of abuse were recovered through these same Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques. 

 

As Ruth engaged in therapy with Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack, Ruth was pressured in therapy using hypnosis to “remember” being sexually abused during her childhood, which resulted in her accusing several family members of sexual abuse - even though she was never convinced that the “memories” produced under hypnosis were real.  As these accusations left Kim increasingly paranoid, ostracized from her family, and ultimately re-traumatized - and as Kim grew increasingly uncomfortable with her therapists’ lack of appropriate boundaries and unethical therapeutic ethics -- Kim determined that her “memories” of family abuse were in fact implanted or manipulated by her therapists. 

“Kim” was later directly interviewed by Mormon General Authority Glenn Pace as a part of his investigation into Satanic Ritual within Mormonism, and eventually Kim spoke out as an advocate against “”Repressed or Recovered Memory” Techniques in newspapers, and on TV.

 

This is Kim’s story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1317-RepressedMemoryPt4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43pm MST

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we continue our series on the history of Repressed Memory Therapy and claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Utah Mormonism.  

 

Today’s interview is with “Kim,” who tells her experiences of being subjected to techniques of hypnosis and repressed/recovered memory in Provo/Orem Utah between 1988 and 1992.  In the interview Kim discusses her traumatic childhood - which led to her conversion to Mormonism, and left her vulnerable to Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques in adulthood while she was attempting to recover from childhood PTSD.

 

While living in Provo/Orem, UT and struggling in her early marriage, Kim was referred to Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack - both of whom were practitioners of Repressed/Recovered Memory therapy.  Interestingly, Ruth Killpack was referred to Kim by her LDS bishop, and was also a therapist to Martha Beck, who controversially claimed that her late father, Mormon scholar and apologist Hugh Nibley, sexually abused her.  Martha Beck has acknowledged that her memories of abuse were recovered through these same Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques. 

 

As Ruth engaged in therapy with Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack, Ruth was pressured in therapy using hypnosis to “remember” being sexually abused during her childhood, which resulted in her accusing several family members of sexual abuse - even though she was never convinced that the “memories” produced under hypnosis were real.  As these accusations left Kim increasingly paranoid, ostracized from her family, and ultimately re-traumatized - and as Kim grew increasingly uncomfortable with her therapists’ lack of appropriate boundaries and unethical therapeutic ethics -- Kim determined that her “memories” of family abuse were in fact implanted or manipulated by her therapists. 

“Kim” was later directly interviewed by Mormon General Authority Glenn Pace as a part of his investigation into Satanic Ritual within Mormonism, and eventually Kim spoke out as an advocate against “”Repressed or Recovered Memory” Techniques in newspapers, and on TV.

 

This is Kim’s story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1316-RepressedMemoryPt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm MST

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we continue our series on the history of Repressed Memory Therapy and claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Utah Mormonism.  

 

Today’s interview is with “Kim,” who tells her experiences of being subjected to techniques of hypnosis and repressed/recovered memory in Provo/Orem Utah between 1988 and 1992.  In the interview Kim discusses her traumatic childhood - which led to her conversion to Mormonism, and left her vulnerable to Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques in adulthood while she was attempting to recover from childhood PTSD.

 

While living in Provo/Orem, UT and struggling in her early marriage, Kim was referred to Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack - both of whom were practitioners of Repressed/Recovered Memory therapy.  Interestingly, Ruth Killpack was referred to Kim by her LDS bishop, and was also a therapist to Martha Beck, who controversially claimed that her late father, Mormon scholar and apologist Hugh Nibley, sexually abused her.  Martha Beck has acknowledged that her memories of abuse were recovered through these same Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques. 

 

As Ruth engaged in therapy with Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack, Ruth was pressured in therapy using hypnosis to “remember” being sexually abused during her childhood, which resulted in her accusing several family members of sexual abuse - even though she was never convinced that the “memories” produced under hypnosis were real.  As these accusations left Kim increasingly paranoid, ostracized from her family, and ultimately re-traumatized - and as Kim grew increasingly uncomfortable with her therapists’ lack of appropriate boundaries and unethical therapeutic ethics -- Kim determined that her “memories” of family abuse were in fact implanted or manipulated by her therapists. 

“Kim” was later directly interviewed by Mormon General Authority Glenn Pace as a part of his investigation into Satanic Ritual within Mormonism, and eventually Kim spoke out as an advocate against “”Repressed or Recovered Memory” Techniques in newspapers, and on TV.

 

This is Kim’s story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1315-RepressedMemoryPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm MST

Today on Mormon Stories Podcast we continue our series on the history of Repressed Memory Therapy and claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Utah Mormonism.  

 

Today’s interview is with “Kim,” who tells her experiences of being subjected to techniques of hypnosis and repressed/recovered memory in Provo/Orem Utah between 1988 and 1992.  In the interview Kim discusses her traumatic childhood - which led to her conversion to Mormonism, and left her vulnerable to Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques in adulthood while she was attempting to recover from childhood PTSD.

 

While living in Provo/Orem, UT and struggling in her early marriage, Kim was referred to Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack - both of whom were practitioners of Repressed/Recovered Memory therapy.  Interestingly, Ruth Killpack was referred to Kim by her LDS bishop, and was also a therapist to Martha Beck, who controversially claimed that her late father, Mormon scholar and apologist Hugh Nibley, sexually abused her.  Martha Beck has acknowledged that her memories of abuse were recovered through these same Repressed/Recovered Memory techniques. 

 

As Ruth engaged in therapy with Mormon therapists Rex Kocherhans and Ruth Kilpack, Ruth was pressured in therapy using hypnosis to “remember” being sexually abused during her childhood, which resulted in her accusing several family members of sexual abuse - even though she was never convinced that the “memories” produced under hypnosis were real.  As these accusations left Kim increasingly paranoid, ostracized from her family, and ultimately re-traumatized - and as Kim grew increasingly uncomfortable with her therapists’ lack of appropriate boundaries and unethical therapeutic ethics -- Kim determined that her “memories” of family abuse were in fact implanted or manipulated by her therapists. 

“Kim” was later directly interviewed by Mormon General Authority Glenn Pace as a part of his investigation into Satanic Ritual within Mormonism, and eventually Kim spoke out as an advocate against “”Repressed or Recovered Memory” Techniques in newspapers, and on TV.

 

This is Kim’s story.

Direct download: MormonStories-1314-RepressedMemoryPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm MST

As part of a multi-part series on claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Mormonism, today we are interviewing Dr. David Frankfurter - author of "Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History."

David Frankfurter holds the William Goodwin Aurelio Chair of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University. He joined the faculty of B.U. in the fall of 2010. A scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions with specialties in Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, magical texts, popular religion, and Egypt in the Roman and late antique periods, Frankfurter’s particular interests revolve around theoretical issues like the place of magic in religion, the relationship of religion and violence, the nature of Christianization, and the representation of evil in culture.

After earning his B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University, M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and M.A./Ph.D. from Princeton University, Frankfurter taught at the College of Charleston and the University of New Hampshire, and he held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study (1993-95) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study (2007-8), as well as research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1992) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2007-8).

A HUGE thank you to Rick Phillips for making this episode possible.

Direct download: MormonStories-1313-DavidFrankfurterPt2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:15pm MST

As part of a multi-part series on claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse within Mormonism, today we are interviewing Dr. David Frankfurter - author of "Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History."

David Frankfurter holds the William Goodwin Aurelio Chair of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University. He joined the faculty of B.U. in the fall of 2010. A scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions with specialties in Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, magical texts, popular religion, and Egypt in the Roman and late antique periods, Frankfurter’s particular interests revolve around theoretical issues like the place of magic in religion, the relationship of religion and violence, the nature of Christianization, and the representation of evil in culture.

After earning his B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University, M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and M.A./Ph.D. from Princeton University, Frankfurter taught at the College of Charleston and the University of New Hampshire, and he held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study (1993-95) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study (2007-8), as well as research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1992) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2007-8).

A HUGE thank you to Rick Phillips for making this episode possible.

Direct download: MormonStories-1312-DavidFrankfurterPt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12pm MST

In today's episode I will provide a brief introduction to the history of Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims Within Mormonism. My intention is to follow up a few more episodes from experts and others who are able/willing to give first-hand accounts relating to this topic.

Direct download: MormonStories-1311-SatanicRitualAbuse-Overview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:22pm MST